By Gina Kramer
Cruise Critic Editor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Disney Magic Entertainment & Activities

Theater

There are two theaters on Disney Magic -- one reserved for the ship's magical production shows, and the other for Disney movies, which are played multiple times throughout the cruise.

On Deck 4 forward, the Walt Disney Theatre hosts the ship's lineup of Broadway-caliber shows -- most notably, "Tangled: The Musical," which portrays the fairytale-turned Disney animated movie story of Rapunzel and her path to discovering she's the missing princess, alongside character favorites Flynn Rider and Maximus.

The remaining two shows -- "Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story" and "Disney Dreams, An Enchanted Classic" -- are equally as impressive. The former is a continuation of the story of Cinderella, picking up from where the movie ended. The latter incorporates characters from a handful of Disney movies. Favorites from "Peter Pan," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," "The Little Mermaid" and "The Lion King" come together to teach a young girl the power of her dreams.

In addition to production shows, the Walt Disney Theatre hosts special events, such as magic shows, and occasional Disney movies. All main events take place twice per night (7 and 9 p.m.).

All shows contain jaw-dropping talent, backdrops, costumes and special effects, such as bubbles and lanterns "floating" above the seats during Tangled. The theater itself boasts a classic style, with red carpet-lined walkways and plush seating with cup holders on every arm.

The Buena Vista Theatre is adjacent to the kids' clubs, on Deck 5 midship. It's dedicated to streaming movies throughout the day (many in 3D). Movies might include "Spider Man: Homecoming," "Moana" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." One perk of being on a Disney ship is that whenever a Disney-owned movie production company has a theatrical release, Disney Magic passengers get to see it at the same time. Check your Personal Navigator for exact times.

Daily Fun

It's pretty much impossible to not pass by a character at some point on your cruise -- whether it's Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" taking pictures with little princesses, Captain America high-fiving a super hero in the making or Captain Hook surreptitiously roaming the ship, surprising kiddos around every corner.

Character meet-and-greets take place at all hours of the day, in the atrium and in an open space by Prelude's.

Enrichment activities vary by itinerary, but might include regional wine tastings, a pastry-making or dinner party-planning class and an educational seminar on the history of ocean travel, hosted by bridge officers.

Other activities such as trivia, bingo, crafts and themed family competitions also are held in various lounges, throughout the day and at night. An arcade on Deck 9 is open from 8 a.m. until midnight. Passengers can purchase a play card at the front desk and recharge it by purchasing more when their credits run out.

Note: There's no casino on any Disney Cruise Line ship.

At Night

Evening activities are structured in a way that's considerate of families' needs and routines. Theater productions are held twice a night, so parents can choose to attend before or after dinner, depending on their kids' bedtimes.

Parents even have their own space -- After Hours -- a cluster of themed bars that heat up with activities (adult-themed trivia, magic shows and couples' games) after 8 p.m. For mom and dad to take advantage of a night out, the kids' clubs are open till around midnight.

A highlight of every cruise, for both kids and adults, is The Pirates in the Caribbean Party -- a nighttime affair for which some passengers begin donning hats and pirate garb as early as breakfast. Some go all-out, dressing up in full costumes they brought with them. For everyone else, Disney provides "Pirates of the Caribbean" bandanas to all passengers the night before and shops sell themed attire for those with FOMO (fear of missing out).

Other, smaller deck parties also are held on the Funnel Vision stage, and movies are streamed under the stars on Funnel Vision, the ship's outdoor screen.


Disney Magic Bars and Lounges

Promenade Lounge (Deck 3, midship): It's hard to miss the Promenade Lounge, an open space with a bar, small stage and plenty of seating, nestled in between Lumiere's and Carioca's. Like most public areas on the ship, this venue boasts an Art Deco design, with navy blues, light woods and black-and-white checkered chairs. Live music takes the stage before and after dinner. Other daytime activities include games such as a Wii challenge and charades, origami-making crafts and Disney tunes trivia.

O'Gills Pub (Deck 3, forward): Disney Magic's twist on an Irish pub is one of the most popular hangout spots for adults (located in the After Hours section) onboard. Decked out in dark woods, kelly-green accents and leather booths and barstools, O'Gills Pub sets the mood for casual drinks and activities, day and night. The menu includes a small selection of beer (we expected more variety from a pub), cocktails, wine, scotch, single malt and Irish whiskey -- with unique options like the Royal Velvet (Guinness Stout and sparkling wine, which we surprisingly loved) and a "Blarney Stone" tasting, which includes O'Gills own Irish cream, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and Irish coffee. During the day, O'Gills hosts live Irish music, trivia (mostly music by the decade) and other games such as a Jenga challenge.

Complimentary small bites such as raw veggies with dip, nachos and cheese and Buffalo wings are available throughout the day; late-night snacks are served between 11 p.m. and midnight. (A more expansive, a la carte menu is offered on Snuggly Duckling night, after "Tangled: The Musical" is shown in the theater.)

Fathoms (Deck 3, forward): Although Fathoms -- found in the adults-only After Hours area -- is labeled as a nightclub, it's more often used for activities such as couples' challenges (Match Your Mate) and music video dance parties. A DJ comes on every night, but you'll seldom see a hopping crowd -- unless it's the night before a sea day. A full bar is located at one end of the venue. The space itself is fun and trendy, boasting an underwater theme with jellyfish-like lighting fixtures and intimate seating nooks along the wall. The hours are 7:15 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Keys (Deck 3, forward): Those looking for a more low-key night should head to Keys, the ship's dedicated piano bar. Open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., the adults-only After Hours hangout has a bar and is best known for its musical tribute nights honoring legends like Billy Joel, the Beatles and Nat King Cole.

D Lounge (Deck 4, midship): This fun-for-all lounge is a hub for entertainment -- thanks to its central location on Deck 4, just above the atrium, where passengers participate in game shows, exhibitions and other family-friendly activities. Highlights include family karaoke, a "Who Wants to Be a Mouseketeer" game show and various crafts and towel-folding classes. The D Lounge doesn’t have set hours, so check your Personal Navigator for activity times.

Signals (Deck 9, forward): This outdoor bar is located in the adults-only Quiet Cove area and offers beer and cocktails poolside. Barstools and tables hug the bar area, while servers make the rounds taking orders from loungers on the sun deck and in the hot tubs. The hours are 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Cove Cafe (Deck 9, forward): This Quiet Cove venue is popular during the day for its specialty coffees, but it also has a full bar with assorted cognac, scotch, single malt, martini and wine (glass or bottle) options a la carte. Coffees -- such as cappuccino, espresso and a variety of flavored lattes and frappuccinos -- as well as a wide selection of teas also carry a fee. Coffees range from $2.50 for an espresso or macchiato to $7.50 for a Scandinavian coffee made with Baileys Irish cream. Teas costs $5 each. Cove Cafe is open 7 a.m. to midnight.

Frozone Treats (Deck 9, midship): Next door to Eye Scream, Frozone Treats sells smoothies for a minimal fee. Drinks include Berrilicious Mirage (raspberry yogurt with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries); the Gazerbean (pineapple, mango, vanilla yogurt, lychee, ginger and lemon grass); and the Mode Chai (vanilla soy milk, peaches and blueberries). Prices range from $3.95 to $5.25. A small selection of bottled and draft beer also is on offer. The hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pinocchio's Pizzeria (Deck 9, midship): Disney Magic's pizza joint also happens to include a bar, for those who don't want to stray too far from Goofy's Pool. It's open from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Concierge Lounge (Deck 10, forward): Overlooking the Quiet Cove, the Concierge Lounge is a small space exclusive to passengers who booked a Concierge package. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the lounge is overseen by a concierge host who assists passengers with making reservations, as well as other perks. Unlimited refreshments and complimentary drinks are available throughout the day; there's also an outdoor deck space, albeit it only has tables and chairs -- no loungers for sunbathing.


Disney Magic Outside Recreation

Pools

Disney Magic's three swimming pools -- all freshwater and heated -- are located on Deck 9, each with a different theme or purpose. (Kids must be toilet-trained to enter any pool.) To help keep kids safe, Disney Cruise Line provides lifeguards and life vests in a variety of sizes at all family pools.

Goofy's Pool (4 feet deep all around) is a family favorite, thanks to its location on Deck 9 midship, right by the stage and Funnel Vision TV. The pool is complemented by two whirlpools and a plethora of deck space, and is only steps away from the pizzeria and ice cream stop. Throughout the day, Disney classics and new releases -- ranging from "Cinderella" to "Frozen" -- are played on the big screen.

At night, Goofy's Pool area hosts movies and deck parties, including the line's much-loved "Pirates of the Caribbean Party" -- complete with a character music and dance party, and fireworks show (weather-permitting). A second pool is located in the kids-only AquaLab, and is essentially a water jungle gym, with a slide and other play areas.

Quiet Cove, all the way forward by the ship's spa, is a peaceful adults-only area with a pool and two whirlpools and an upper deck with additional lounge space (seating surrounding the pool is limited). The space is open to passengers 18 and over, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; its late hours and positioning toward the front of the ship make for good star-gazing opportunities.

Recreation

For adults and kids looking for an adrenaline rush, the AquaDunk -- a straight-drop slide version of the AquaDuck found on Dream and Fantasy -- is a must. Walk up the forward funnel (accessible from Deck 10 midship), step inside a capsule and count down until the floor opens up beneath your feet. Passengers both young and old loved it, while others asked themselves, "What the heck was I thinking?" Note: Kids must be more than 48 inches tall to ride.

AquaLab, on Deck 10 aft, is a kids-only water play area designed to portray a water experiment, with pop jets, geysers, bubblers and a freshwater pool. The area also includes the Twist n' Spout Slide -- an exciting way for little daredevils to cool off -- and the Nephews' Splash Zone, a water playground that's safe for youngsters under 3, who aren't toilet-trained and must wear swim diapers.

All the way forward on Deck 10, the Wide World of Sports features basketball and volleyball courts, soccer nets, Ping-Pong and shuffleboard. It's open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sun Decks

Lounging space surrounds all three pools on Disney Magic, though the only sun deck designed for an escape from all the outdoor activity is in the Quiet Cove (which has padded deck chairs as opposed to the plastic ones found by the other pools.

Additional deck chairs can be found all along Deck 10 -- a handful are located under shaded canopies, overlooking the Quiet Cove.


Disney Magic Services

Disney Magic's Guest Services and Port Adventures desks both can be found on Deck 3, just outside the atrium. The line's shore excursions offer a variety of experiences, many of which include a family-friendly option with activities geared toward kids and an adults-only choice. Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries include visits to Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, with areas especially designated for families, teens and adults.

There are three shops onboard -- two on Deck 4 midship (Mickey's Mainsail and White Caps) and one (Sea Treasures) on Deck 3, right by the adults-only After Hours enclave. Mickey's Mainsail sells postcards and Disney memorabilia. White Caps has a variety of logo apparel, jewelry and watches, while Sea Treasures offers duty-free perfumes and liquor.

Note: Any liquor purchased in one of the ship's duty-free shops will be held for you until the end of the cruise.

The most popular splurge, however -- at least among the little ones -- is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a salon/shop on Deck 10, forward. For a whopping $194.95 fee, girls receive the ultimate princess makeover -- complete with hairstyling, makeup, nail polish, a Disney Princess dress, a crown, wand, sash and tote. More wallet-friendly options include a mini-makeover for girls (sans dress, wand and crown) for $59.95; for boys, there's a superhero look that includes hair gel, Mickey hair confetti, a sword and shield ($18.95) and one step up, hairstyling plus a costume of choice ($34.95). Shoes for girls and boys cost an additional $29.95.

The Internet Cafe is located adjacent to the Promenade Lounge, with 10 computer stations for getting online. Wireless internet access is available throughout the ship, including cabins. We found the connection on our Mediterranean cruise to be fairly good, at different times in the day. Internet packages are based on megabytes and available through the line's Connect@Sea program. Pay-As-You-Go is the cheapest option (if you don't plan to use Wi-Fi often), at $0.25 per MB. The remaining packages are as follows: $19 for 100 MBs, $39 for 300 MBs and $89 for 1,000 MBs.

Self-service launderettes are located on Decks 2, 6 and 7, and are open 24 hours a day. Each has an ironing board and iron, washers, dryers and automated machines selling laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Hint: A limited supply of laundry detergent is available for free on embarkation day, but it runs out quickly. For those who wish to have their clothes washed for them, laundry and dry cleaning services are available for an additional charge.

A small art collection -- which sells paintings mainly featuring Disney characters -- can be found in the Vista Gallery, along a corridor on Deck 4, midship. Unlike other cruise lines, Disney does not hold art auctions.

Shutters Photo Gallery (Deck 4, aft) is where passengers can go to browse photos taken by professional photographers throughout their cruise, create albums on kiosks (available for print), arrange private portrait sessions and purchase cameras. It's open from 7 to 11 p.m.

Disney Magic's medical center is located on Deck 1, forward.

Smoking is allowed only outdoors on Deck 4 (starboard) from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., as well as on Decks 9 and 10 (starboard), with the exception of the Goofy Pool area.

Disney Magic Spa & Fitness

Spa

The Senses Spa and Salon is a small yet peaceful retreat, hidden at the very front of the ship, next to the adults-only Quiet Cove on Deck 9 forward.

An area just off the spa lobby, called The Rainforest Room, houses a coed steam room (including one with an aromatherapy injector), sauna, fog shower and heated ceramic loungers -- all surrounding a central fountain. Despite its name, the space has neither rain nor a forest, nor is it particularly tropical; it boasts a Tuscan-inspired design.

The Rainforest Room costs $16 for an unlimited one-day pass, or you can purchase a cruise-long pass, which is priced depending on the length of your cruise. (A three-night pass is $42, a five-night pass is $69, and a seven-night pass is $99.) If you have a treatment at the spa, you can use the room at any time during that day at no additional charge.

Spa treatments range from the usual (Swedish massage, hot stone therapy) to the unusual (chocolate body wrap with massage).

For an even more intimate experience, Spa Villas (Mediterranean-inspired suites with verandas) are ideal for couple's massages and extensive individual services. A standard Swedish massage costs $118, or you can spend several hundred dollars for a day of pampering. The Personal Navigator will indicate which specials are offered; port days usually have the best deals.

The salon portion provides haircuts and styling treatments for women, a barber shop that offers haircuts and hot shaves for men, an area for manicures and pedicures, and a "Smile Spa" for teeth whitening. There's also a Chill Spa reserved for teens 13 to 17, with a simplified menu of massages, facials, hair care and tanning treatments, as well as special mother/daughter and father/son massages.

Fitness

Deck 9 forward is also where you'll find the fitness center, which is part of Senses Spa and Salon. Hugging the front of the ship, the gym offers a variety of cardiovascular and weight machines -- most facing a wall of windows -- as well as aerobics classes and, for an additional fee, yoga and Pilates. You'll also find an open-air track, showers, lockers and complimentary water and towels.

Private hourlong sessions with a personal trainer are available for a $75 fee.

The ship's jogging track can be found on Deck 4; three laps equal 1 mile.

Disney Magic For Kids

Disney Magic was designed with families in mind, so it's no surprise that most of the programs onboard tend to appeal to all age groups. While there is no in-cabin babysitting on Disney ships (only group sitting), the areas designated for kids are probably the most extensive at sea, with activities for every age level and late hours available so parents can have a night out.

One of the nicest and unique things about Magic's kids club is that everyone has a chance to experience each area. While activities are organized by age groups, all children, ages 3 to 12, have access to the same two clubs on Deck 5 midship (Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab) and can move freely between them.

The programs for children from age 3 are provided at no additional charge. Kids get their own version of the Personal Navigator and can join their groups at any time during the day, including dinner with fellow kids-clubbers, while parents dine alone. Parents are also able to leave their little ones in the kids' clubs (including the nursery), on a port day, if they wish to have a day to themselves.

It's a Small World Nursery (Deck 5, midship) takes babies as young as 3 months and children up to 3 years of age. Typical open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. the nursery is stocked with baby swings, walkers, books, toys, games and a TV, as well as a quiet area with cribs. There is a per-hour charge of $9 ($8 for the second child in a family) for this service, but it allows parents time to be on their own for dinner in Palo or a trip to the spa, for example. You can reserve a limited number of hours of nursery time for your child online up to three days prior to sailing: 10 hours for cruises of seven nights or less, 18 hours for seven-night cruises, 28 hours for 10- to 12-night cruises and 35 hours for cruises of 14 nights or longer. You can also sign up your child in person, onboard.

Disney has an online service that allows passengers to order baby supplies in advance of their cruise and have them delivered to their cabins (provided by Babies Travel Lite). There are more than 1,000 brand-name baby products to choose from, including diapers, baby food, infant formula and specialty travel items. The dining room can also provide mashed or pureed food for babies upon request.

Kids

The Oceaneer Club (open 9 a.m. to midnight) is a combination of four individually themed spaces. Andy's Room brings the famous set from "Toy Story" to life -- only kids are the ones who are toy-sized. The room includes a two-story structure resembling Andy's bed, a Slinky Dog slide and a Mr. Potato Head. Marvel's Avengers Academy is a S.H.I.E.L.D. command post, where kids can interact with the Avengers (through a virtual game) while they train and prepare for special missions. The two remaining rooms are Mickey Mouse Club, where kids can partake in crafts and games, and Pixie Hollow, a fairytale space in which Tinkerbell's teapot home serves as a closet filled with dresses fit for a princess.

The pirate-themed Oceaneer Lab, also open from 9 a.m. until midnight, hosts Disney movies in front of a 103-inch plasma screen, computer time in the Captain's Workshop, cupcake-making classes and other activities -- many with a pirate twist.

Parents have the option to obtain Oceaneer Bands for their kids, ages 3 to 12, which alert parents to when their kids sign in and out of the club areas. The bands are free to use onboard but will cost money if not returned. Parents also have the option to purchase the bands, which are capable of unlocking "gifts" on the Disney Infinity video game, for kids to play back home. Note: The bands are not equipped with a GPS tracking system. Kids 8 and over are allowed to sign themselves in and out, with a parent's consent. (Younger kids can only check in; a parent must be present at checkout.) Once kids hit 11, they no longer require parental consent, since there is no check-in/checkout system at the older ages' clubs.

Tweens (11 to 14) have their own small hangout space called The Edge, on Deck 2 midship. It offers computers, video games and a variety of activities ranging from talent shows to glow parties. Parental permission is required for 10-year-olds to visit Edge.

All kids' club services are available on Castaway Cay.

Teens

Teens (14 to 17) also have their own special area, Vibe, which is housed in the nonfunctioning funnel on Deck 11, midship. Similar to the policy allowing 10-year-olds in Edge, teens 13 and 14 have access to both Edge and Vibe. (Kids here are not required to check in and out.) Vibe has a hip lounge feel, with oversized couches, flat-screen TVs and video games. Although it's supervised by Disney personnel, no parents are allowed.

Activities in Vibe include video game challenges, dance parties, bingo and a variety of crafts. Nonalcoholic drinks and coffee also are served. All drinks are free with the exception of smoothies, which bear a minimal fee.

Additional Disney Magic Information

Disney Magic Details
  • Crew: 950
  • Launched: 1998
  • Decks: 11
  • Passengers: 1,754
  • Registry: Bahamas
  • CDC Score: 100

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