The debut of the Disney Wish, which welcomed media for a preview last week and will do the same for guests starting on July 14, marks a major milestone in the history of Disney Cruise Line, bringing another 1,254 staterooms into the fleet and kicking off a brand new ship-class for Disney.
Disney’s fleet was just four ships until Wish’s debut this month, which makes the accolades it has received, including the top mega-ship ocean cruise line from Travel + Leisure, that much more impressive.
One of the things that Disney does best, not only on its cruise ships but also in its theme parks, hotels, and resorts worldwide, is immerse guests into its iconic stories, allowing them to experience beloved characters firsthand.
However, that is not necessarily what makes Disney Cruise Line that best-in-class brand. It is something else, according to Sharon Siskie, the senior vice president and general manager at Disney Cruise Line, who spoke to TMR onboard Disney Wish last week.
“We do a lot of research to figure out what is most important to our guests when they take a Disney cruise,” she told TMR.
Here are the four reasons that guests cite when booking Disney Cruise Line:
Being able to experience Disney’s stories first-hand, either as part of live-stage shows, in onboard movie theatres, or at various points throughout the rest of the ship, is one of the major reasons that families, couples, and solo travelers alike choose Disney cruise.
“It really gets them excited, and really wants them to go ahead and make a booking,” Siskie said.
On Disney Wish, guests will be able to see three shows, including two brand new productions in the ship’s Walt Disney Theater. The first, Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular, returns from previous Disney voyages. The other two—Disney The Little Mermaid and Disney Seas the Adventure!—are brand new stage shows that only guests on Wish will be able to experience.
Entertainment extends outside of those theaters, too—Disney’s rotational dining allows guests to take in another two, new experiences—a live production by characters from Frozen in Wish’s Arendelle restaurant and a separate, completely unique Marvel show at Worlds of Marvel.
There is a total of 1,254 staterooms on Disney Wish, ranging from the standard inside stateroom to massive, two-story suites that sleep 8 guests. According to Siskie, the staterooms, at all levels, are major selling points for Disney’s guests.
“When you think about how spacious they are, how well designed they are, how well appointment…for families, that’s really important and a reason a lot of them book,” she said.
Disney offers a number of staterooms for families outside of those suites including a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom that has more square footage than the standard version (237 sq. ft. instead of 218 sq. ft.) and can sleep up to four guests. It does the same with its verandah staterooms (284 sq. ft. instead of 234 sq. ft. for the standard including verandah space).
And just as Disney pulls its characters into its entertainment and dining, it does the same with its staterooms, including murals from some of Disney’s classic stories painted about each bed. Another unique touch for families comes when the upper-berth bed of some cabins is pulled down (for those staterooms that sleep four), and a message from Disney’s Fairy Godmother reveals itself.
3. Castaway Cay
Disney’s private destination in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay “comes up very high in reasons that guests chose us and sale with us,” Siskie said. The destination, which was purchased by Disney as part of a 99-year land lease in 1997, is a hallmark of almost every Disney Bahamas sailing.
The destination, which was honored as the Best Cruise Line Private Island by Cruise Critic in 2019, brings the onboard Disney experience to land. It also offers guests the chance to snorkel off Castaway Family Beach or have an adults-only experience at Serenity Bay.
According to Siskie, being able to experience Castaway Cay, is one of the major reasons that guests book a Disney Cruise line sailing.
4. Rotational Dining
Though others have made the move, Disney Cruise Line was the first line to employ a rotational dining system for dinner onboard. How it works is that guests rotate from one main dining room to the next each night, experiencing different menus, different themes, and different entertainment each night, all while keeping the same wait staff (though they are dressed differently depending on the restaurant).
The system has long been one of Disney Cruise Line’s trademarks and has been used on each one of Disney’s previous ships, with the new Wish being no different. What is different on Wish is the three main dining rooms—the Frozen-themed Arendelle, superhero-themed Worlds of Marvel, and 1933, a classic California American eatery. Each one offers vastly different menus, with Arendelle and Worlds of Marvel bringing guests into two unique storylines.
“You think about the complexity of that,” Siskie said, “dinner in one restaurant, and then the next night you’re going to move to another one while keeping that service level. That continues to enhance your cruise each night.”