Hello everyone and welcome back! It’s been a minute as I’ve been getting back on the rails after an almost two-week vacation. But I’m excited to finally be answering some questions for you, giving some insight, etc. ICYMI we recently sailed on board the Disney Wish – the newest ship on the Disney Cruise Line fleet. I know many people are curious about the ship as a whole since it isn’t even a year old yet. And I am excited to share my thoughts with you all!
I have a lot to say, so we’re going to have to break this up into different parts. Over the next few weeks, you can expect the following blog posts – I’ll come back and link them here as they are published as well:
- Disney Wish Dining Review – Sit Downs, Quick Service Options, and Bars
- Disney Wish Pool Decks – For Family & Adults
- Disney Wish Show Reviews
- The Disney Wish – Is it the best Disney ship for adults?
- Disney Wish Senses Spa Rainforest Room: Is it worth it?
- Free Childcare on the Disney Wish: the Oceaneer Club
But for today, I’m going to give my overall review and thoughts about the ship. Now if you’ve been here a while, you’ll hopefully know what to expect from me: honesty. That being said, if you are here for butterflies, rainbows, and someone to automatically LOVE everything – this may not be for you.
Let’s get into it!
For some background, the Disney Wish is the 5th ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet – and the last time Disney introduced a new ship was over a decade ago in January 2012 with the Disney Fantasy. For me personally, this was my 12th Disney Cruise and the 4th ship I’ve sailed on; the others being the Magic, Wonder, and Dream. My first cruise was in 2001 when I was 3 years old and my most recent – before this sailing – was in November 2021. That being said, I’ve sailed with Disney during all stages of life and have enjoyed it each and every time!
The Wish is the largest ship in the current fleet and you can tell that Disney definitely tried something different with this ship – whether that is for better or for worse is up to you. Here are the main differences between this ship and Disney’s others and my thoughts.
The aesthetic change is honestly insane when you compare the Wish to any other ship in the fleet. The Wish is definitely of the times – many parts of it are bright, white, and airy. Disney’s other ships definitely play more into a nautical theme, which I personally love. I love the look of the Wish as well, however, I truly don’t know how it’ll age over time. And while Disney’s original ships – the Magic & Wonder – are 20+ years old, they hold up with their classic nautical theme (while still having had upgrades of course). While some can argue the lobby area in the Wish (the Grand Hall) is more aesthetically pleasing than previous ships (formerly known as the Atrium) – I think the woodwork, glasswork, and ironwork on the previous ships will hold up better over time and are more impressive. However, both are stunning in their own ways!
The biggest change with this ship, in my opinion, is the layout. Some things hit the nail on the head and are dramatically improved from the past, and other things are honestly a nightmare! We did a TON of research before boarding and watched many videos about the Wish, including ship tours, and this combined with our room placement, are the only reasons we got around so easily. I’ve seen some behind-the-scenes videos about the Wish from Disney and one of the lead designers of the ship stated she had never been on a cruise ship before designing the Wish… We can tell – and it isn’t good! There are a lot of dead ends, the layout of things doesn’t make sense, there are tons of bottlenecks, etc.
But I won’t say it is all bad. I think the family pool deck is a much better setup and doesn’t feel as crowded, the Walt Disney theater has a balcony that divides traffic, the Grand Hall has lots of extra seating across three floors, etc. I’ll get into these issues more specifically in the other posts; if I got into it here I’d have a 10,000-word essay – haha. But some specific things I was NOT a fan of in terms of the layout were – elevators were only available at two parts of the ship rather than three, all of the bars/lounges are just thrown in wherever (with some having no privacy), stores aren’t all near one another, sit-down dining locations are more claustrophobic, there was no outdoor deck where you could walk the full way around the ship, and the spa/fitness center was on a lower deck.
While the heart of dining on the Wish compared to other Disney Cruise Ships is no different (scheduled rotational dining in the evening, other options available for breakfast/lunch/etc), there were definitely some *new* concepts explored on this ship. While I will do a whole deep dive into the dining on the Wish, I just wanted to give you a taste of things (no pun intended).
Some of the “new” options on this ship are having a walk-up barbecue spot, Mickey’s Smokestack Barbecue, and a Tex Mex option of sorts, Donald’s Cantina. Both options are in the “Festival of Foods” area on the pool deck and both were amazing! On previous ships, there is typically a “healthier” option with fresh fruit, salad bar, wraps, etc – but I enjoyed these options more. However, I’d like them to add a fresh fruit option on the pool deck! A new sit-down dining concept was Worlds of Marvel, which is one of two “interactive” dining experiences on the Wish (the other being a Frozen “dinner theater” of sorts, appropriately named Arendelle).
Worlds of Marvel is an interactive show basically filled with screens, with some live appearances at the end of your meal. I’ll get further into my thoughts in an upcoming post, but in short, I think it is too overstimulating and just not necessary. Honestly, I doubt they’ll scrap the dining model for the next ship premiering next year, the Disney Treasure, and I could see them translating it to Star Wars at some point. But I kinda wish they would make this a one-and-done.
So, would we sail on the Disney Wish again?
Yes, but it would have to be the perfect scenario. It likely will be the next Disney Cruise we take since we’re planning to go with family in early 2024. But if it were just Grant and I, probably not anytime soon – we’d like to go on the Fantasy first and explore the Treasure when it sets sail. I think the Wish is a great ship if you’ve never cruised before so you have no expectations, but it can be hard to learn a ship that is so incredibly different than the previous ones. It feels more like a hotel than a cruise ship in our opinion. Additionally, while previous Disney ships prioritized both adults and kids, this one seems to be a lot more kid/family-focused in many ways. In short, I think if you’re going with just adults, other ships in Disney’s fleet would serve you much better, but I’ll get more into that in a future post!
At the end of the day, Disney cruises are much more expensive than traditional cruises (and less party-hardy) so I personally want to make sure I’m getting the best value for myself and my group. But when we do go on the Wish again I will try to get a stateroom close to the one we had this time – we were in 7032. It was close to the elevators and you could easily walk up or down a few stories to be in the center of the action on the ship. Some rooms on the ships feel like a hike and can be inconvenient – and even more so on this ship considering the elevator issues.
Well, I hope that gave you a little taste of our thoughts on the Disney Wish! Stay tuned for more in-depth posts soon. And if you have any specific questions about the Wish feel free to leave them below or DM me on Instagram.