Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Wish, started sailing this summer – and we just got off of our first sailing on her last week! My sons and I joined our friend Lou Mongello’s group for a Very Merrytime sailing that left on Monday, December 5th, and returned 4 nights later, on Friday, December 9th. Because we’d wanted to enjoy everything with our own eyes and ears (and taste buds!), we tried to avoid most details about the ship as best we could. I’m still happy we went that route – it was great experiencing things for the first time right there in person – but in hindsight there are a few things that I wouldn’t have minded knowing going in (or that I’m glad I figured out early on). Here they are:
- Don’t miss the first night’s show!! If I had to pick one stage show to watch on the Wish, believe it or not it would be the first night’s: Disney Seas the Adventure. Without giving much away, it’s effectively a playlist of most of my all time favorite upbeat Disney music performed by some unbelievably talented people. The opening song is one of my absolute in park favorites and it doesn’t let up from there. And while we’re talking shows, needless to say, catch the Pirate’s Rockin’ Parlay Party on the deck on Pirate Night – the music is awesome and the vocalists are crazy talented. And while we’re talking vocalists – do NOT miss Disney’s Victrophonics when they perform. Their Postmodern Jukebox-style, jazz-inspired takes on songs like Poor Unfortunate Souls…just wow. You’ll likely catch some of the same performers in the ship’s on stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but I might have enjoyed them even more during the Victrophonics’ performances.
- Mickey & Friends Festival of Foods. Marceline Market and the various table service dining options on the ship are generally great – but do not under any circumstances miss the food options at the Mickey & Friends Festival of Foods on Deck 11. It’s a sort of open air food court where you’ll find Mickey’s Smokestack Barbecue’s barbecue and fixings, Donald’s Cantina’s tacos, burritos, and bowls, Sweet Minnie’s soft serve ice cream (do not miss the banana flavor!!), Goofy’s Grill’s hot dogs and hamburgers……and Daisy’s Pizza Pies!! The pizza alone is worth many, many a midnight snack stroll. (It’s the last to close, at midnight each night – and they crank out fresh pies to order until that time.) The traditional three cheese and Margherita are delicious, but if you’re feeling a little extra, the prosciutto one is to die for!
This slide off the Grand Hall on the 3rd deck takes the kids to the Oceaneer Club on the deck below.
3. Study the layout. Even if you’ve been on other Disney Cruise Line ships before – or, perhaps, ESPECIALLY if you’ve been on other Disney Cruise Line ships before and think you know what to expect – study this ship’s layout. It is very different from the layout of any other Disney ship. Try to get a sense of what amenities are on each floor, including the many restaurants and other food options, theaters, bars and lounges, spa, pools, kids’ clubs (and how you enter them – kids enter the Oceaneer Club via a slide on the floor above!!), and other spaces. There are a lot of them and it’s easy to wander the ship for several days and completely miss potential favorites. Also note your stair and elevator options, as they’re set up very differently from the other ships’.
4. When to plan for alternative dining. There are three main dining rooms that you will rotate through during your time on the Wish – 1923, Worlds of Marvel, and Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure. The food at 1923 is the best of the three and Arendelle is a fairly close second with far and away the best of the mealtime entertainment. The Food at Worlds of Marvel, at least as of right now, is…not great. We were there for Pirate Night too, and that was a bit better, but it was still consistently the lowest performer of the main dining options. If you plan to skip any regular seating dinner on the cruises, whether to try Palo Steakhouse or Enchanté or just to grab some pizza on deck, I’d do it during your assigned Worlds of Marvel night – perhaps unless your kids are die hard Marvel fans. In all honesty, even as huge Marvel fans ourselves, I don’t think Worlds of Marvel holds a candle to the experience at Animator’s Palate on the other ships. There are some minor interactive elements but nothing like at Animator’s, and the character appearances are relatively quick – especially if you’re sitting near the door of the restaurant where they first walk by. Speaking of which…
5. Table Placement Matters. For what it’s worth, just be aware that your dining experience will be impacted by your table placement – perhaps more so than on other ships. The layout of 1923 is a bit piecemeal (in fact the whole space is divided into two halves, named for Walt and Roy), and, as I mentioned before, your ability to see most of the character action in Worlds of Marvel will be impacted by whether you’re near the middle or the entry. We were near the entry and so they more or less walked past us and we could only hear the rest. But in Arendelle, the main stage is in the center of the room with the table lengths extending away from it. We were near the front of the restaurant looking all the way down three long tables (and two columns) from the stage performers – and when we looked in that direction what little we could see was mostly outshined by some very bright lighting – so the kids just sort of listened to the music. It’s a shame because the performers are wonderful, and the overall experience inside is still a special one – but our views were far more obstructed than they’ve ever been in any other DCL restaurant.
You can hang a shoe organizer from the bathroom wall with magnetic hooks to organize your toiletries. Just cut the bottom rows off if it’s too long.
6. Plan around limited storage in the room. The cabins on the Wish are absolutely beautiful, but there is almost no drawer space at all other than a few extremely shallow/narrow drawers in what is usually the dresser space. They’ve oddly traded that limited drawer space for a pull out fridge, and the closet area is just made up of two full length hanging areas separated by a column of wide shelves. It’s definitely a good idea to get some packing cubes for the trip that you can use to keep your things mostly organized in the shelf space. I also asked my cabin steward for extra hangers and basically put all of our shirts and long pants, and my dresses, on those. I also used magnetic door hooks and a shoe organizer that I’d cut in half to organize my toiletries in the bathroom. (Don’t try to bring door hooks – I brought the ones that had come with my organizer, planning to use them on the towel rack since use on cabin doors isn’t allowed, but they actually searched my bags and removed them, along with my fabric steamer!! Live and learn. I didn’t even know home steamers were prohibited – and if you need one they’ll apparently bring one to your cabin. Happily, I was able to collect my contraband again at the port after disembarking.)
7. When they decorate for Christmas. This one actually isn’t Wish specific – but it’s worth noting in general that, while the Wish’s holiday decorations went up when Very Merrytime cruises started in early November, our sailing on December 5th was the first that saw Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, decorated for the holidays. I got a number of messages from people that had been on the sailing just before ours lamenting that they hadn’t gotten to see the Christmas tree or other decorations on the island. While we never know if dates will be consistent from one year to the next (and they often aren’t), it’s worth noting that you might not get a decorated island on the Very Merritime cruises until closer to Christmas.
It’s so fun to see Castaway Cay decorated for the holidays!
There are plenty of other tips I’d carry along with me from other Disney cruises. Play some bingo!! Be a joiner at trivia!! Join a fish extender group!! Slow down and enjoy the details – and get extras of the pillow chocolates! (They. Are. Delicious.) But as someone who’s relatively familiar with some of the other DCL ships, I thought it was more interesting, at least at first, to focus on what was unique here.
And that’s a wrap for me!! Have you been on the Wish yet? What would your tips be for someone who’s never sailed on her before?