The Disney Wish, Disney Cruise Line’s eagerly anticipated fifth ship, has finally started welcoming guests.
When I booked a four-day sailing a while back, I had no idea that I’d be on board for six nights thanks to Hurricane Ian. It was an excellent opportunity to explore the ship fully.
I’ve been on thirteen Disney Cruise Line sailings across all ships in the fleet, so I was looking forward to seeing the differences on this ship. The photo renderings and video previews looked absolutely amazing. While I really did enjoy my sailing, there were some things I liked about the ship and other things I didn’t.
What I Liked About the Disney Wish
The three-story atrium, featuring a stage, a balcony, and a statue of Cinderella, is stunningly beautiful. The chandelier, which lights up in different colors, is gorgeous. As the first place guests enter, it definitely makes a great first impression of the beauty of the ship.
The atrium is also where many of the characters greet guests. Often we’d walk by to see Cinderella and Price Charming, or Rapunzel and Flynn Rider waving at guests from the third-story balcony.
The Disney Wish features three Broadway-style musicals, which are performed in the Walt Disney Theater. The first night, we were treated to Disney Seas the Adventure, featuring Goofy, Captain Minnie, and many Disney favorites. It’s a short show - perfect for the first night when you may want a little extra time to unpack.
There are also two shows based on existing Disney movies. The Little Mermaid is a brand new show, while Disney’s Aladdin was originally shown on the Disney Fantasy.
We were most impressed with the quality of talent on the ship. These shows were really fantastic and the perfect way to end the evening.
While I didn’t have any children with me on my Disney Wish sailing, I did take the opportunity to tour during the open houses on the first day. The themed areas, including the Marvel Super Hero Academy, Star Wars Cargo Bay, Walt Disney Imagineering Lab, and Fairytale Hall, are a dream come true featuring things kids could only imagine experiencing.
When you sign your kids into the club, be sure to visit the podium above so the kids can slide right into the club. This kids-only slide (adults, however, can experience it during open house hours), is a fun little bonus.
Themed Bars - Hyperspace Lounge, The Bayou
The fun-themed areas aren’t just for kids. There are several incredible themed bars for adults. Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge is a Star Wars-themed bar tucked away along the side of the ship. Although I’m not specifically a Star Wars fan, I loved the theming of this bar, as well as the uniqueness of the drink menu (which is presented on a tablet).
The Bayou is located right in the center of the ship and is a beautiful Princess and the Frog-themed bar. It offers a Bloody Mary bar in the mornings, as well as beignets for a treat (an additional fee applies).
Outdoor Area at the Rainforest Room
Located in the Senses Spa on all of the Disney Cruise Ships is the Rainforest Room, an oasis with special showers, heated lounge chairs, steam rooms, and more. On the Disney Wish, there are a few additions, including an ice room and a gorgeous outdoor area with hot tubs, and swinging seats. This outdoor area, due to its location below the bridge, can’t be lit up, so can’t be open in the evenings, unfortunately.
We did feel that the Rainforest Room had been oversold during our sailing. That may have been due to the extended sea days on our ship, but at times it was difficult to get a seat.
Disney Cruise Line really improved the quick service options on the Disney Wish. Located on Deck 11 is Mickey’s Festival of Foods, a food court-style area offering a variety of food options.
These include Donald’s Cantina, Goofy’s Grill, Daisy’s Pizza Pies, and Mickey’s Smokestack Barbeque. These quick service options are included in your cruise fare and are a great place to grab a quick lunch.
I especially loved Mickey’s Smokestack Barbeque and wished it was open past 6 pm. On most Wish sailings, however, you’ll want to experience all of the restaurants. Because we were extended to 6 days, we did have one early dinner at Mickey’s Festival of Foods since we had started repeating restaurants and menus.
What I Didn’t Like
Stairs and General Layout
While I initially thought my dislike of the general layout of the Wish was because it was unfamiliar, after six days I still found the layout to be awkward. Getting to the Cove adult area was difficult, and you couldn’t walk all the way around because of the AquaMouse. One door led to the Hero Zone sports area, where you had to walk all the way around and downstairs to leave.
The main pool deck also has an awkward layout. While I appreciate the aesthetics of smaller pools on multiple levels, I didn’t love the stairs. Because the pool deck was often wet from rainy weather, these stairs were often slippery.
While the kids' areas of the ships are incredible, I felt that the adult areas were too small. The Cove Pool is a gorgeous, infinity pool with beautiful views. However, it is small, and got crowded on hot days. They definitely could have made larger adult pool decks and pools, especially since the kids’ clubs are so fun. Parents will have a lot more free time!
I also missed the evening adult areas, like Europa on the Fantasy and the District on the Dream. There aren’t as many larger venues for evening activities, and things got crowded.
The Disney Wish does have a great, large gift shop, called Mickey’s Mainsail. But most of the other retail shops were for luxury goods, and they never seemed crowded or busy.
I think more shops with Disney specific merchandise would be a better experience.
The Temperature on the Ship
I’m typically chilly in the air conditioning on a cruise ship, but the Disney Wish seemed warm and humid. Some of the ship areas, like the Mickey’s Festival of Foods and the outside of Marceline Market, were especially hot. With the rain keeping many guests indoors for a few days of the sailing, things got uncomfortable.
Overall, I really did enjoy the ship and feel that families with young kids will especially love the restaurants and youth clubs. As it’s a new ship, I’m hopeful that with a few modifications, the ship will be as beloved as the others.