First Impressions of the Reimagined Disney Magic

We returned to PortMiami earlier this morning aboard the reimagined Disney Magic’s marking the end of her first sailing following her extended transformation that started in Cadiz , Spain and “finished” just days ago in Port Canaveral. Before we get any further along, I want to preface this by saying this will not be a full and in-depth review of the Disney Magic. It is impossible to soak it all in during a 2-night cruise to nowhere; instead this will be a quick overview of our experiences over the last few days as full-fare paying guests. The reimagined Disney Magic provided us with a mix of good, some bad, and some ugly.

The Good

The Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are top-notch, and our daughter had an excellent time. She especially loved the Slinky Dog slide in Andy’s Room and the new Oceaneer Bands AKA Disney Cruise Line embossed MagicBands, which are exceedingly better than the old-style DCL Mickey Bands. Not only are the Oceaneer Bands more comfortable, they are cheaper with a $12.99 price tag if you choose to keep it as a souvenir versus the $50 fee if you lose or forgot to return the Mickey Band.

The kids spaces were perfect! The Edge and Vibe have not been changed. I will note, that our daughter has been on all 4 ships and says that the kids clubs on the Disney Magic are her favorite.

The upper deck additions are great; the AquaDunk is a thrill, especially when your ride it at night. At night, it gives you the feeling of falling into a black hole until you reach the translucent loop that extends over the edge of the ship. It is thrilling, but not nearly as extreme as body slides like Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach. So far, the Twist N Spout slide is open for anyone over the minimum height of 38”. Our daughter is 6 1/2 and loves it – says it’s a major improvement over the Mickey Slide (yes, she uses good vocabulary). We also like the addition of the covered shady areas on deck 10.


The shops are organized very nicely; the overhaul makes the area more open and, well, ‘shoppable.’ The D Lounge also came out great – a nice upgrade from Studio Sea. The atrium is in excellent condition.

The all new Carioca’s menu was refreshing with many unique choices, including the beef empanada appetizer that instantly reminded me of the one served during Epoct’s International Food & Wine Festival. The reimagined Animator’s Palate show looks amazing and is still capped off with an appearance the mouse in charge, Sorcerer Mickey. Cabanas also came out great.

The Bad

In Miami, you enter thru Deck 4 instead of Deck 3. The first thing you notice is that the walls on Deck 4 need a coat of paint, and the rust is prevalent, and it seems dirty; that ‘wow’ factor is missing as you enter and see the elevators and stairwell. Entering via deck 4 is a result of the configuration of PortMiami, not a choice by Disney. The Promenade Lounge went untouched as well, as the faded booths actually have visible rips in them, among many other things that shows the age of it. I planned on spending some money on some new Disney Magic Reimagined merchandise, but there is none to be found. There are some new Disney Magic logo merchandise, but nothing specific or unique for the relaunch.


We inquired about the lack of relaunch merchandise and were told that it hasn’t made it in and would be 1-2 more weeks; interesting since the first cruise was supposed to be 10/20…. There have been a some issues where it appears the left hand is not communicating with the right hand, or even communicating at all. There have been issues with the Personal Navigators listing inaccurate information on where to go for dining changes, listing tastings that aren’t offered or erroneous spelling errors. It was paltry cloudy on embarkation day. I guess I never learned about that one in any of my college atmospheric science classes. Things like this go against that attention to detail that they tout as the “Disney Difference,” but are not major issues like what you are about to read about.

The Ugly

All over the ship, there are sings of sloppy or rushed craftsmanship. The attention to detail that we have come to expect from Disney is absent from the reimagined Disney Magic as we sit here today at PortMiami. Ugly does not begin to describe the condition of our stateroom. Unacceptable is a more appropriate word. For starters, there was a layer of construction dust covering every surface of the stateroom as well as the inside of our closet, which my suit jacket was kind enough to collect. When you sell a reimagined ship, one would expect a perfect stateroom. This was far from the case, instead of gutting the staterooms, instead, the carpet, beds, sleeper sofas, coffee tables, and vanity stools were replaced. The rest of the stateroom including bathrooms were untouched aside from some filing of any missing grout in the tile work. The walls are dirty. The beverage cooler (which sadly did not get changed to a fridge) was barely cool. The handles were missing from our new nightstand drawers. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We stepped onto our Navigators Verandah to discover rust, paint ships, & cigarette soot above the location of the old ash tray, as well as a missing railing in the open porthole. The wood work and bench had rotting wood that I stuck my finger through. Quite frankly, the verandah was untouched in Cadiz. The paint was never stripped down to bare steel.


Now, this may be piling on with regard to the staterooms as it is not a personal experience, but after many discussions with our fellow cruises, we had it pretty good considering some guests did not have working toilets, showers, hot water, air conditioning, electricity or any combination of those. We heard someone who was missing a ceiling panel and wiring was exposed in their stateroom. I met a family who was about to walk away from today’s 5-night sailing because they had been relocated into 3 different staterooms during the 2-night sailing. For now, if your stateroom has running water, hot water in the shower, and working toilets, you are doing good.

I challenge any officer, or executive to assign a stateroom in any of the above conditions listed above to one of their family members. There is no way you are can tell me with you are proud of this product. It is glaringly obvious that the ship is not “show ready” and should have been offline for at least another month to get things done to the Disney standard we as consumers have come to expect. Keep in mind Disney had invited media and travel agents on this sailing. I cannot wait to see some of those reviews. I challenge those to write an honest review to the reimagined Disney Magic.

While I said there was some good, some bad, and some ugly, there is one thing that cannot go unmentioned. The crew has been amazing and extremely happy to be back to work doing what they love; brining the ship to life with the Disney difference. They truly do make the ship. If it were not for the crew, all the aforementioned issues would have made this experience even less than what we have come to expect from Disney Cruise Line.

It pains me to write this, as all of you know that myself, my wife & daughter love and adore Disney Cruise Line. We are not nitpicky, nor do we try to get something for free. With every single con we desperately tried to think of pros. We decided that the main issue was actually the way the ship was advertised. It was advertised as ‘new,’ and it was anything but. We were wooed with “re-imagined” staterooms, and that was not the case. Instead, they should’ve just said the ship was going to dry dock to get some much-needed upgrades to public spaces, because that was the end result. It certainly would’ve helped manage expectations.

We are not done exploring the reimagined Disney Magic, as we are embarking on today’s 5-night Western Caribbean cruise with stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Castaway Cay. We are not writing this to sour anyone away from booking a Disney Cruise or trying to get them to switch, as we have quite a few booked as well in the future with no plans on canceling any, including the ones on the Disney Magic. This is just an honest review of our recent experience.

Please take the time to read our follow up article following the 5-night sailing.

81 Replies to “First Impressions of the Reimagined Disney Magic”

  1. Laura

    Thank you for review! We were supposed to sail on 10/20, but we will now be leaving on 11/10. Do you think that any of these issues will be resolved by then? We also love Disney and won’t be changing our trip plans, but I am a firm believer in knowing what to expect…thanks!

  2. Lynda

    Thanks for your honest review. I am truly saddened to hear of the dissappointments of others that sailed along with you as well. Too many times in the industry things are rushed. It is better to prepare for more time than you expect for things to be done since upexpected curcumstances are always a possibility. Lets hope they learn from this experience and we don’t have a repeat for the Wonder after her dry dock. Hopefully these issues will be fixed over the next few weeks since I’m sure they will have another full ship come time for the Holidays.

  3. Heath

    Wow! I’m amazed by those photographs, and mostly because of all the hype that’s gone into the reimagining. A stateroom of that quality should not be expected on the Magic or Wonder prior to dry dock, no matter the age of those ships. But after an extensive overhaul, that is completely unacceptable. There were clearly issues in getting the Magic ready in time (hence the cancelled first cruise), but if the ship was not to Disney standards, it still should not be sailing. Of course, for every cruise that the ship is not sailing, money is being lost, but there’s a cost in negative PR when rushing a ship back into service. This makes me want to cancel my April cruise on the Magic.

  4. Judy Frieler

    I’m finding this news saddening as I’m beginning to wonder if Disney is in fact loosing its Magic in favor of making money and hiring outside managers who are not in tune with the longstanding Disney philosophy. We recently were on the Disney Dream and it was great but also fairly new. The Magic is the only ship we have not been on. Our expectations are always high now because of past experiences as they are also in the parks. We also spent a week in Sept. at Port Orleans and all the parks. We noticed a definite difference in the smooth working of many things as well as some things that didn’t work at all. No refrigerators in the rooms, drink stations did not work. Also generally, the cast members did not seem as happy as before (over a 7 year span of yearly trips.) They seemed stressed and even the performers in parades seemed to have “artificial smiles” instead of the sincere joy we’ve seen in the past. If Disney is going to go the way of the rest of corporate America, sadly, they will loose their Magic before long and we will no longer be spending our money to lower our expectations.

  5. Amber

    Yes we are booked on too for Europe…makes me want to rethink our plans, thank you for a well wrote account, look forward to reading the weeks review.

  6. DJRA

    WOW!! I can’t believe the condition of your stateroom!!! I am a little disheartened for our Nov 6th trip. I am glad you let us know. It will lessen my disappointment if things are not in the best condition. Enjoy your trip!!

    1. chris

      Cruise lines need to stop thinking
      “If we hurry up and just finish it well then we can get money and have the ship sail.”

      This is what cruise lines need to think and ponder upon:
      “if we put in time and long efforts and make sure everything is met high standards from public to private areas then guests will sail more on here and spend more money on here, not run in horror of staterooms and lack of necessities!”

      I have always cruise with Royal Caribbean and I am starting to see why my parents avoid pre-dry dock cruises..

  7. JB

    Please keep us updated as things go along. We are scheduled for New Years with great anticipation because we wanted to be on the boat shortly after the dry dock. I would hope that the “clean up” is at the very least a work in progress that will improve with each cruise as the crew gets a chance to get things back in shape. That said, things in your picture/description appear to be more than just cleaning issues and I wonder how they plan to address those. Sure would be interesting to hear what DCL has to say about all this. Silence would not be a good idea.

  8. JB

    Moderator: I didn’t realize that my name would appear as it did/does. If you could please change it to JB I would appreciate it. Thanks!

    1. Sara

      no its is just because they are not ready yet I think once they have a cruise or 2 to get things cleaner they will more the likely get better and the state rooms will improve and get much cleaner

  9. Lori

    This reminds me of our stay at the Beach Club this past August. Our rooms were in disarray like this but at least they weren’t advertised as refurbished or new for the $550 a night we paid. I have no issue paying for what Disney advertises as deluxe properties or cruise accommodations. I do take issue when what I end up with isn’t as advertised. I continue to go to Disney because, like you, we have come to love the consistency in atmosphere, cast and crew, etc. I’m starting to find that even Disney has missteps and they are more frequent these days. I haven’t experienced any indication the mgmt teams care much either. When I spoke to someone at WDW about the condition of our rooms this summer, they seemed uninterested-we had zero follow up to that. We were on the canceled 10/20 sailing. I guess I’m glad we had the opportunity to rebook. Hoping things pick up for your current sailing. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Todd

    Thanks for your honest review! I will say that there were a number of gramatical errors in your review just like you talked about the errors in the nav.! Just goes to show mistakes do happen! 😉

    1. Emily

      The Navigators only had one spelling error – the others were things like listing a tasting that wasn’t offered, or listing conflicting information.

      You try to write a post on the fly from an iPhone and see how it goes.

      Scott took time out of his vacation that was paid for and not comped like other media/TAs to write that post. It was more important to get the info out there before losing internet & he was as he was posting as we sailed away. Your snarky-ness is not appreciated.

  11. Erica

    Sailing November 6th and crushed to read this review. Disney should cancel future sailings until the ship is ready. Now my family is debating cancelling our trip. If they are letting passengers see hack jobs and exposed wiring, what aren’t they seeing? This sounds like a safety issue that I don’t know I want to subject my family to. I think Disney is getting a little too complacent with their good reputation and track record.

  12. Jacquie Skurla

    Thank you, Scott, for a very honest review. We, too, were on the two day “media” cruise. (we are not media).We love DCL. We were excited to see the “re-imagined” Magic and report back to our DCL friends with whom we travel. There are so many amazing updates on this ship, especially After Hours and the kids’ clubs. Love deck nine. Did NOT love the rust on the bottom of the pool at Quiet Cove (really, how hard could that not be?) or the rust on our veranda. However, with three staterooms in our party with wet carpeting and burst pipes, overflowing toilets, water mysteriously seeping,etc, we decided against trying to extend our two day into the next five days cruise with our friends and wait for the shake-out on this ship before traveling again (and this was our third trip on the Magic this year!). this ship is, sadly, not ready for prime time. Sad 🙁

  13. Tammy

    Great review. We did just also get off the 2 day sailing. I think they did a fabulous job on the new spaces, but I do agree that much of the minor details were overlooked. Maybe they had put all of the focus on the new spaces and neglected to take care of the small detailed things. We too are also big DCL fans! I honestly think they tried to do too much in too little of a time frame. We had no issues with our stateroom nor did anyone else we knew who were on that sailing have the issues you experienced. I did hear that some rooms were definitely not ready (such as your case as well as the others you spoke with). The new spaces did have the wow factors. New kids pool area was great! I was surprised to see that the stateroom bathrooms were untouched (including not removing those hair dryers!). I also felt like they only completed part of the spa. I was surprised to see they left the outdated pink and coral tiles on the walls and floors of the changing room and treatment rooms. I felt like this out of all of our DCL sailings was most definitely very unorganized when it came to being ready. Maybe it is because they no guests the last 6 weeks. I think they will get those things cleaned up over the next few months and get back on track. Although the 1st impressions were a bit lower than what I had expected, i still love the mouse and DCL.

    1. FellowCollector

      Someone told us those worthless white hairdryer boxes were to be replaced, though ours wasn’t either. If true, my guess is that this is something that can easily be addressed over the next few cruises.

      1. Emily

        They are still in the staterooms, but so is the new hairdryer. You plug the hair dryer in at the desk like the Dream/Fantasy. I was thrilled.

  14. Kris

    We also were on the two nighter that ended today, and were happy that our shower and toilet were working! We also had a missing vent cover in our shower and a missing toilet paper spindle- so there was no way to properly place the roll of toilet paper! When we talked with our stateroom host, he told us that out of the 15 staterooms that he was in charge of- 11 of them had no toilet paper spindle!! Hopefully someone ran to Wal-Mart or Target after docking this morning to buy them….

  15. Chris

    My wife and I disembarked the Magic this morning in Miami as well; we booked the two night trip because we live local and wanted to see all that changed. (We recently sailed the Magic’s repositioning cruise from Galveston to Barcelona, 14 nights. Our family of four had one of the best times of our lives on that trip.) This weekend’s trip was without the kids…

    We typically like to sail on Deck 7, room with a verandah, but chose to scale back this time to an “Ocean View” on deck two with the big port hole. Contrary to Scott’s experience, we entered a room that was in great shape. It was clean (no dust), knobs in place on the drawers and all in all, VERY well kept. Our stateroom attendant was in the hallway ALL the time, in and out of rooms, and his attention to detail showed. The bathrooms…yes…not touched, old toilet seat and all. But they were clean and still in complete working order for us. We were told by a crew member that all the safes were not working on Deck Two, ours included. But for two nights, I was OK with that.

    Regarding the Deck 9 and 10 changes…the Aqua Dunk is super fun! And the changes to the Twist and Spout area look great. And hey…they moved the ice cream machines, adding a third! Drink machines were a bit messy…much more than on our trans-Atlantic, but that’s a simple thing to fix. Cabanas also looks great!

    I too noticed some sloppy workmanship on painting, staining, etc., but I figured it was from the rush to complete as much as possible before the first sailing. Acceptable to Disney standards? No. Will it stay that way…? I doubt it. There is a lot of work still left to do, and the fact that there were, what seemed like, hundreds of contractors still on board working non-stop leads me to believe Disney knows that full well too.

    The thing to keep in mind is that cruising on Disney is more than just a spectacular ship, but it’s the amazing crew that we have never been disappointed with. They are spectacular at what they do! The stewards, the servers and especially the entertainment staff on the Magic are the best. We have future itineraries already scheduled and simply cannot wait to board the Magic again.
    While the ship was not perfect for this sailing, we were glad that the sailing was not canceled, and we still got to experience the new features. Disney does have work to do, but I don’t doubt they’ll get it done.

    PS…Scott…if you do find they release T-Shirts regarding the re-sailing…can you pick one up for us :)? We too were hoping for that merch.

  16. su_A_ve

    Wow – Not ready obviously… Hopefully they’ll continue to work on the small details and catch up. Hopefully the next one will be better.

  17. Ashley

    Interesting, was there any pirate night or entertainment? We are going on our first cruise aboard the Disney Wonder for a two night weekend getaway mid next year and are hoping they will be doing it. We saw the post of how the two night from NYC did, we do not know what to expect but are looking forward to our very first cruise. Will you post the navigator? Sorry for your experience but hope the five night cruise is better.

  18. Pam

    All of these comments about the condition of the “reimagined” Disney Magic are very disheartening. Clearly this is not what we have all come to expect from Disney Cruise Line. Did any of you who just sailed on the Magic bring your concerns and disappointments to Ship’s officers? I was just wondering what their response was. Thank you all for sharing your experiences with us.

  19. Rick Tuggle

    Appreciate the thorough review. Hopefully they’ll have everything caught by the time we take our cruise next year. The cruise staff of the Disney Magic was so much better than our experience on the Disney Dream.

  20. Bill B.

    It sounds like Disney did everybody a favor by cancelling their first cruise and giving them a full refund. Wow, that’s really all I can say is Wow. I would have never expected this out of a newly refurbished anything from Disney. Altough it wouldn’t be fair to the guest on board it sounds like Disney should go through deck by deck and straighten this mess out even if they do it while at sea. Also if I’m Disney I am going after the contractor that provided the work. I’m sure they paid a HUGE sum of money for this so called renovation.

    1. Kris

      The earlier boarders didn’t, but they brought us in on Deck 4 instead of Deck 3- which made it a bit awkward. Howerer, later boarders were announced. And as quite a few of the guests were media people traveling on business, they weren’t announced either.

  21. Mike

    We booked a cruise for next year on Magic while still on Dream a few weeks ago. This would be our 3rd Disney Cruise and we have high expectations for the quality and cleanliness we expect from the brand. I will be watching closely for a response from Disney and hopefully improvements. There is no excuse for cleanliness or disrepair in cabins, and faded, torn fabric in public areas certainly do not follow the “project Main Street” philosophy. Disappointed to read this.

  22. Coleen Deems

    We are on the Nov. 1 sailing and I am very apprehensive after reading these remarks. I don’t know how they can correct these major issues while on the 10/27 sailing 🙁

  23. Marion

    Wow. That is definitely not ‘show ready.’ Did they at least put in the new pedestal beds like they have on the Dream?

    1. Kris

      The earlier boarders didn’t, but they brought us in on Deck 4 instead of Deck 3- which made it a bit awkward. Howerer, later boarders were announced. And as quite a few of the guests were media people traveling on business, they weren’t announced either.

    2. Kris

      The pedestal beds were in most of the rooms, I’m sure. We had a standard inside stateroom, and it had been updated (except for the bathroom).

      1. Erica

        Kris. How was the inside room we had one in 2012 and was fine with it except the bedding. We have 6521 booked in May( sideways layout)

        1. Kris

          The bedding is identical to the Dream (and probably the Fantasy- we do it next month). The bed is elevated for storage. Oh I forgot- the third issue in our stateroom was the sliding door left side on the closet. The center of gravity was at knee level, so if you tried to slide the door shut it would try to ‘jump the track’ or tilt on an angle. We had to lift it a bit to get it set where we wanted it to be. But the bed was really comfy!

          1. Mandy

            We also just got off the 2-day, except it took us another day to get home. We were in an inside (6139) and had friends next door to us in 6141. Neither one of us had a top-sheet the first night, which was a little odd. Bed was great, except for that.

            We had a single bathroom and it was a mess. But, the worst thing happened the first night, the only of the little oddities that I couldn’t really ignore. Our sink fell out! Literally, and it took many, many trips to Guest Services to get it fixed, which wasn’t until after 24 hours after it initially fell. They did end up giving me $75 in OBC after 11pm the last night, which was a nice gesture, even though all the shops were closed, I had pre-paid gratutites, and I don’t order drinks. But, then my statement in the morning had a $48 charge for “service maintenance”. They fixed that too, but not until after the umpteenth trip to GS on disembarkation morning, which is always a fun time, lol. The sink was leaking when we first went to the room to take showers, then we went to explore the ship and go to the arcade, when we got back it had fallen. Not sure if it was the bumpiness of the gulf stream or if our room steward tried to clean it and it fell, but either way, we were without a sink for more than half our cruise.

            Pic of the sink:

            I would still not hesitate to go back , things can only get better from here!

  24. Dennis

    Apparently there were similar issues when the Carnival Sunshine launched after she was completely gutted from bow to stern (there wasn’t a trace of the original ships interior left intact from the Destiny). Sunshine wasn’t quite ready yet and the complaints were numerous when she launched. Once things settled into place all was good. I guess as a rule of thumb it’s probably best not t book immediately after a major refurbishment.

    That said, the hotel director on board should have ensured that every stateroom had been inspected prior to boarding. As for the ship itself, it also should have been inspected venue by venue, wall by wall. Worn furniture and chipped paint is never a pleasant way to be greeted when boarding a ship or hotel, especially after such an extensive refurbishment.

    I suspect that Magic, as it always has, is the testing ground for what does and does not work. Once they work out the kinks it will live up to the hype and when the Wonder goes in for her makeover it’s unlikely that what was encountered here will be encountered on the Wonder (and they may opt to have the work by a different contractor).

    I still have faith.

    1. Emily

      Problem is, the Carnival ship got stripped and nothing original stayed – this is NOT the case with the Magic. They did that to the gift shop area, but not the staterooms. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but they marketed it as they did do that. They made it seem like staterooms were getting gutted to studs. Um, no. Not even close. Dirty walls, same non-cooling ‘cooling box,’ etc. The areas that were not updated are showing their age, such as adult pool & surrounding area, as well as the Promenade Lounge.

      I hope Disney fixes this stuff but I just don’t see them taking the Magic off line anymore. Revenue lost isn’t something Disney embraces (understandably so).

  25. Ted Amick

    There was endless reports about the great renovations. I always wondered how they could to that in six weeks plus five in Florida. It not the Disney style to offer a product that is not ready. Disney Cruise Line should pull the ship and finish the job. This is a black mark for DCL..

  26. Johnny

    I am a travel agent that traveled on this cruise. There were only 2 things wrong with my stateroom – no toilet paper spindle and one of the sinks had not yet been sealed, and we were told that upon arriving in our room. We were told the issue had been reported, but it was not fixed during our trip. Otherwise the room was perfect. This was our 5th Disney Cruise. I heard the issue with the announcements had to do with a bad microphone, one person said it had been dropped and they were looking for a replacement. I know they did eventually find one.

    Our kids club and dining experiences were excellent.

    We booked our next Disney cruise while on board for November 2014.

    1. Kris

      You’re welcome- and it didn’t keep us from rebooking onboard. This was our fourth cruise on the Magic, so although there were some issues- I know that she’ll be made right.

      1. Marion

        Same here, Kris. Been sailing them for 14 years, won’t stop now. Even Disney’s worse is ten times better than other cruise line’s best.

        1. Kris

          We’ve only been cruising since 2009- it took awhile for me to convince my Navy guy that civilian cruising wasn’t the same as military cruising… LOL

          1. Marion

            that is hilarious. Although now once they hit the boat, I’ll bet they appreciate the experience that much more than the average passengers.

            OK, I’m totally derailing Scott’s review, back to the regularly scheduled input.

  27. John Marco

    Wow, I just read this post and I’m in shock. My family and I sailed on the Magic when she was in New York. We loved the ship but did notice it needed some TLC. Three weeks ago we were on the Fantasy, and that was spectacular. I was so excited to see the Magic back and “redone,” and to read the review here. Shame on DCL for letting this happen. I’m actually feeling crestfallen.

  28. Ann

    Thank you for your review…..I have never been on a cruise and unfortunately booked the November 6th cruise on the Magic…..wish we could cancel…..

  29. Jeff

    We also were very disappointed in this ship. Had this been my first Disney cruise line cruise we would not be going again. I know Disney is better. I feel I paid the same amount I could have paid Carnival for a 4 day cruise for an equivalent 2 day. There wasn’t any pop. There were some good things, the shows were great (except when the side of my seat fell off since it wasn’t bolted together the first night). The food was adequate at best. Palos brunch was good but not as good as Palos on the Dream. We did book another Magic for the re-position from P.R. next October. Our main purpose to go on this cruise was to gauge how much room we would have on our 7 day Alaska Wonder trip next summer.

    The crew was friendly but there was a lot of confusion among some of them. Our server for dinner was horrible. She got nothing right for me. Not only did she serve my wife the wrong plate but after she cut into the meat, she took the plate and gave it to the correct guest. That would not be acceptable in ANY restaurant (McDonalds included) She was very slow to bring our meals the second night and other guests seated in other sections after us were finishing dessert before we even were served our main course and our whole table was seated.

    Our bathrooms needed work. The hot water was connected to the cold faucet, the vent in the shower was hanging loose, there was an electrical cable and connector sticking from a hole in the overhead, the floors were gritty.

    I was immediately put off by the delay in boarding, the failure to announce us, the ‘back door’ entry. There wasn’t any Disney magic in Miami and I definitely will NEVER sail from there again. That last part isn’t Disney’s fault, it’s just Miami.

    I, like you, am not looking for any ‘freebies’ or comps but there just wasn’t enough room on the comment card to give an honest review of the cruise / ship and Disney needs to know they botched this one.

  30. Nana

    Wow very alarming to read the review and all these comments ..We’ll be on the Nov 6th sailing our first DCL cruise
    I really hope all is straightened out by then

  31. Ted Amick

    The news about the unfinished rehab of the Disney Magic needs to be answered by Disney Cruise Line. Its past time for DCL to apologize for putting this ship back on the market in this condition. We need DCL to put the matter on the table and tell us how and when this ship is going to finish its Rehab… We never heard anything about rehab to the engines and all of this important items to make the ship run safely. Its time that DCL explains this situation and their plans to finish the job. Frankly, DCL, I want to the Magic to be perfect and a lasting great ship. You have disappointed me and its time to give us an official DCL statement.

    1. Emily

      We would’ve loved to ask these things at the Castaway Club reception – Scott was interested in what was done ‘under the hood’ and also about safety. The problem was, the two (or three) officers that showed never cruised the room like normal – we were all avoided like we had bug repellant on……

  32. Brad (papamouse1)

    Hey Scott, I just had a quick question. Were you invited onto this cruise as a member of the media? There are some out here saying that media members and TA’s were provided “free trips” and that Disney made sure they got nice cabins, while paying customers got stuck with the unfinished ones. I personally don’t like “conspiracy theories” so I figure if you went as media, their theory won’t hold water. 🙂

      1. Brad (papamouse1)

        Thanks for your speedy reply. I have to say I was in shock when I saw your photos. I am looking forward to hearing how the next 5-day cruise went and to hear what Disney’s response to you was concerning the issues.

        1. AllieW

          Your question was for Scott, but I do want to make a comment about this. We got a last-minute booking for a Castaway Cay cabana on the family beach during the 10/25 sailing. I have only previously booked cabana 1, so I didn’t know what to expect when they offered us cabana 16. I should have photographed it….”No Swimming” signs on the beach, no beach chairs or umbrellas, and a lovely view of the cabanas still under construction further down. Meanwhile, cabana 10 (in a prime location near the end of the useable cabana beach area) was designated as the “Media Open House” cabana. For $500 per cabana, paying customers should get the prime spots. I also heard that regular passengers could not get Palo reservations because all openings normally held back for people to book onboard had been set aside for “Invited Guests” of DCL. Rude.

          1. Dennis

            Sailings for the media and invited guests such as travel professionals never really give an accurate reflection of the experience on board a ship when it is initially launched or re-launched (other websites indicate that the Magic delivers as promised) and there may be a number of inconveniences entirely unrelated to the condition of the ship. Everything is staged and catered to ensure their needs and on such sailings they are the primary focus. The NCL Breakaway, which manages to cram 4600 paying passengers on board, received glowing reviews when it was rolled out and sailed into New York with NCL pulling out all the stops — but the ship was only half full On her first official sailing out of New York reports started coming in that the ship was far too crowded, balconies too small, lines too long, too few pools, far too expensive and so on (and if you don’t smoke it will be a long 8 days out of New York). A close friend of mine sails NCL and will sail with them out of New York again but not on the Breakaway.

            So, that first cruise to nowhere was meant to introduce the industry to the Magic. For those who actually sailed for the fun of it they got to encounter the kinks that hadn’t been worked out and it’s very likely that most on board didn’t take notice of many of the shortcomings that would no doubt jump out at those of us who have sailed with Disney in the past (or have sailed in general).

            Disney, as we all know, places a great deal of emphasis on rectifying shortcomings and mistakes and I suspect that a sailing in future months will be a far different experience as this revamped ship gets her sea legs. This doesn’t excuse a ship that wasn’t quite ready for launch or accepting bookings for a sailing that clearly wasn’t catered toward the general public but they’ll learn from this. Disney has indicated that the Wonder will undergo her makeover within the next several years and I’m sure that undertaking will be handled far differently than the Magic’s.

        1. Dennis

          Too funny. We used a mix of iPhone and Nikon D3100 for our cruise over the summer. Great combination to capture memories!


  33. Jason Oswalt

    Hi Scott, thank you for your honest and candid review. My wife and I just completed the January 6th, 4 night itinerary and our experience was sadly the same as yours.

    First, I love the Disney Cruise Line. This was our third sailing in just as many years and we love the service and quality that the Disney Brand demands and most of the time offers.

    To the crew of the Magic, you are fantastic, and wonderful and everything we have come to expect as avid Disney Cruiser’s, and we loved the service and politeness at which you carried out your jobs. To the officers of the Magic whose responsibility it is to do the ship wide inspections for items like the light, you need to up your game and demand better, shame on you for meeting every morning in front of Guest Relations and not getting such a simple cosmetic issue fixed.

    I commented to my wife several times that I was shocked that a ship that just came out of dry dock had so many dents and scratches, right down to a recessed lighting can that was hanging half out of its socket next to a grease smears along the ceiling … where was this? Right above the Guest Relations Counter. That summed up my feelings about the rest of the ship. Metal and Saltwater are a loosing battle, I get that, but I noticed an abnormal amount of missing laquer on the wood surfaces and rust on the painted areas, paint drips all over the wood deck and to make matters worse on the walking deck, (3 I believe) I noticed a large amount of oil/grease on the deck where a couple hoist cover’s had been removed and never replaced.

    The re-imagined areas were beautiful, even to a couple without children ( … yet, we are expecting our first in July) the Aqua Dunk, Pool Area, Avengers Academy, well done and beautiful. We even loved the DVC staff members (as we are DVC owners) who met us and talked with us daily, Scott and Keith … you guys were fantastic, thank you for your genuine hospitality.

    We had stateroom 6126. From first entering our stateroom I noticed a large amount of white paint overspray on our veranda glass … then a rust filled and clogged drain on the veranda itself. Upon opening the bathroom door we were greeted with the smell of a summer chemical toilet, and a similar smell was also present coming from the drains in the shower and sink .. and to a woman who is 11 weeks pregnant it might as well have been a open septic tank. We informed our Stateroom Host who did his best to combat the stench, however at the time we discovered the issue the ship was still being filled so we were told to try back later to see if we could do anything about it (IE move rooms), and the sign present on the Guest Relations Counter saying the ship was full.

    To compound the problem the toilet had a mind of its own, some days it would work perfectly, other days it would delay the flush and for extended periods or not flush at all untill maintenance “fixed” it, a couple times. The other issue was the water, at certain positions on the faucets the water had a spitting strobe effect and all the loud pipe noises that accompany it, which I am sure was great to the couple in the room next to our’s at 3am.

    I gave up on the toilet and ever getting a new stateroom, even though on the last night it was offered (but by then who would want to go thru the hassle of moving for the last 10 hours of your vacation? .. it was a short cruise and we just kept the bathroom doors closed, I ended up using the toilet on Deck 5 outside the Buena Vista Theater as home base) and just asked Guest Relations to note my account and have a representative from the Cruise Line contact me after the sailing … if that ever happens I will post here with my results.

    I will stick to the newer ships in the future like the Dream or Fantasy … Unless the Wonder goes down for an extended refurb, I don’t see myself sailing on the older class ships.

    1. Jason Oswalt

      I just wanted to post a follow up that I reached out to Disney Cruise Lines Guest Services and as a result of our stateroom issue we were given a substantial discount for out upcoming sailing on the Dream in February of 2015. The Cruise Line is the gem of the company and they still truly understand Customer Service and do what they can to make things right.

  34. Bill Powell

    My family and I went on our first cruise with Disney last week. We sailed with the Disney Magic for a 3 night cruise. Honestly, as my first cruise, I have almost no complaints. EVERYTHING was clean and spectacular and the service was impeccable. My room was clean from top to bottom, and didnt have the issues as the pictures above, and I had a deluxe oceanview stateroom with a navigators verandah. My tables were clean, hardware in place, and verandah was perfect. I did see SOME paint chips in some of the rafters beyond the ship (but who the heck looks for that stuff anyway?)

    My only negative comments about my entire trip:

    • •Oceaneers club needs an “ENTER” and “EXIT” line. It was absolute chaos going into that place to drop my son off for 1-2 hours. I didnt know which line to stand in, it was insane
    • •The last night of dinner service was rushed (I was at animators palate). It may have been rushed because they have to keep up with the “show” so to speak, im not sure. But, they messed up my wifes order pretty bad, my son missed out on his fruit cup, and everything was backward. We dealt with it, no big deal
    • •We were a family of 3, and they put us with another similarly aged family of 3(great people!), however they were always late for dinner (20-30 mins) and the wait staff always managed to back up our order to keep pace with them. It was aggrivating when you have a starving 4 year old that wants to eat (5:45pm seating), and we have to wait for them. Should be first come first serve, but whatever
    • •Could have done a better job advertising what was on the ship and where. I didnt know there was a coffee shop on the ship until the day we left, and didnt have it in the directory or the navigator.

    Overall, i give the magic as my first cruise a 9.5/10. It was an amazing experience, and i cant wait to go again.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Bill, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I would have been shocked if you said you had an issue with your stateroom after being back in service for almost 3 months. Glad to hear it was ship shape. At busier times on the Dream class ships there have been cast members stationed in the hallway to direct guests into a enter/exit line. Animator’s Palate can at time feel rushed to keep up with the show, especially when the service is delayed due to late arriving table mates.


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