Our Honest Disney Wish Review: Is a Disney Wish Cruise Worth It?

Disney Wish Review - Cruise Ship Grand Hall

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Disney Cruise Line debuted the Disney Wish in July 2022, and it was the biggest and most modern ship to date. In fact, it was really a complete reimagining of what the Disney Cruise ships could look like. But, let’s start this Disney Wish review out with some honesty: reimagining doesn’t always mean it’s going to get better.

In this review I’m going to dive into all the nitty gritty of the design of the Disney Wish and the guest offerings on the ship. But let’s get right to the main point here: We didn’t love the Disney Wish cruise as much as our previous Disney Cruise experience. Sure, there are some amazing spaces and unique offerings. But overall, this cruise experience wasn’t our favorite. Here’s why.

Disney Wish Stats

Ok, let’s start with some stats. Which, okay, yes, *yawn* I get it. But I want to give you a few of these stats because they give you a picture of *why* we didn’t love this ship.

  • Ship class: Wish-class (this is the debut of a new class of Disney cruise ships, which explains why this one is so different!)
  • Passenger capacity: 4,000 (this felt like a lot, especially when paired with the poor layout of the ship)
  • Number of cabins: 1,254 (which, in what I think is hilarious, is just 4 more than the Dream and Fantasy)

Now, full transparency. We haven’t been on the Dream or Fantasy yet, which has a similar passenger capacity to the Wish. (We have a cruise booked on the Dream in early 2025!) But from what I’ve heard from other passengers, the capacity on the Dream and Fantasy doesn’t feel quite so bad because it has a better layout.

Disney Wish from Castaway Cay
Disney Wish from Castaway Cay

Disney Wish Design and Layout

So let’s get into the design and layout of the Disney Wish. It’s a little hard to explain here without a full map, but let’s see what we can do.

Where Are the Elevators?

Along with so many other people who have been on the Wish, the lack of mid-ship elevators was one of my biggest gripes. Traditionally Disney Cruise ships have had three sets of elevators: forward, mid-ship, and aft. But on the Disney Wish, there are only forward and aft elevators.

It doesn’t seem like it should be that big of a deal, because while there aren’t mid-ship elevators, there are actually *more* elevators in total on this ship than any other Disney cruise ship to date.

But not having the mid-ship elevators creates some problems:

  • Traffic jams, as people crowd in the hallways and stairwells trying to access the only two elevator banks on each level. That third bank would have made a big crowded difference!
  • Missing out on the Grand Hall (atrium), because unless you are going there for some specific purpose, you don’t find yourself there much. Which is kind of a bummer. Whereas, when we were on the Magic, we found ourselves in the Atrium all the time because the mid-ship elevators would be most convenient to wherever we were going, and then we could check out all that was going on in the Atrium (which was usually a lot!).

I also had issue with how the hallways to the elevators were designed. Many of the elevator banks were only accessible from one direction of the ship. Which means people lined up in the stair wells in front of the elevators (not wanting to go to deep into the bank and miss out on the first available elevator to someone else), which blocked both the hallways and the stairs.

The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall on the Disney Wish is BEAUTIFUL, but as I pointed out with the elevator issue, we just didn’t find ourselves there enough. It wasn’t really on the way to anything else, unless we were going to eat at 1923.

And while the presence of the stage is nice for events, I don’t think having the stage here is worth losing out on the elevators.

Hallways and Doors

Ok, let’s talk about the hallways on the Disney Wish and how confusing they are. In fact, even after getting off the ship I’m not sure I understand them enough to explain *why* they were confusing. They just were. Like, why is the Hero Zone in such a weird spot? And why do the hallways near the theater feel like a maze even though they look straightforward on a map?

I also had issues with the placement of doors going out to the promenades outside. Because they were hard to find! WHY are some of the main doors out to the outside of the ship not windowed? In fact, several of them look like “Cast Member Only” doors until you read the sign and realize it’s inviting you outside.

There were also several instances where double doors to the outside on the pool deck had only one side open, causing some major traffic jams as people were trying to go both ways through a single door during busy times. And it wasn’t even possible to open the other side! We saw someone try and break the door by accident!

And then there is the whole Deck 4 debacle. If you like to run laps around the promenade, there is no way to do so without going up and down stairs!

Cramped Quarters

Ok, I’ve already talked about hallways and elevator banks being cramped, but lets talk about other areas that were cramped.

First of all, Marceline Market, the buffet restaurant on the Wish, was poorly designed. Maybe it’s super spacious back in the kitchen or something, but there is just not enough room in Marceline Market for all the traffic of people getting food at the buffet and other people walking behind them.

I also thought the entrances into and out of the pool deck were particularly crowded. Part of the problem is that the doors lead right to the elevator banks, where people tended to crowd waiting for elevators. (Do you notice a theme that I don’t like the crowds on the ship? And that elevators were the crux of the problem here?)

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Disney Wish Staterooms

Ok, let’s get a more positive part of this Disney Wish review: the staterooms. The staterooms on the Wish are a big change from the staterooms on the other Disney Cruise ships. They are much more modern and bright, with lighter colors and custom theming.

Disney Wish Stateroom with Tiana Mural. Room 9572

Things I Loved About the Disney Wish Staterooms

  • Disney continued there double bathroom design, with one bathroom housing a toilet and sink and they other bathroom housing the shower and another sink.
  • Disney-themed murals above the beds. They are SO pretty!
  • The lighter, airier feel.
  • The TV moved to the front of the bed, which makes more sense for parents and children sharing a room (at least in my opinion!).

Things I Didn’t Love About the Disney Wish Staterooms

  • There is less drawer space than on the other ships. There’s a big closet with a lots of shelving. But I prefer having the drawers.

And that’s really the only complaint I have about the staterooms!

Dining and Restaurants on the Disney Wish

As always with Disney Cruise Line, your dinner is at an assigned restaurants while for breakfast and lunch you are free to eat at either a sit-down restaurant or at the buffet. There are also two adults-only dining experiences on the Wish that you can add on for an extra charge.

Generally, I thought the food on the Wish was great! But I also think it depends on the dishes you order. Pay attention to what the specialty is (usually what your server recommends) at each restaurant!

Here’s our full guide to dining on the Disney Wish!

Rotational Dining on the Wish

Disney assigns you a restaurant each night on a rotational basis (so you rotate to all the restaurants during your cruise). And the best part is that your servers rotate with you, so they really get to know you. Here are the three rotational restaurants on the Wish:

  • 1923 — Themed to Disney animation and 1920s glamour (1923 was the year the Disney company was founded).
  • Worlds of Marvel — An interactive restaurant themed after the Marvel universe.
  • Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure — Dinner and a shower with Anna and Elsa.

Overall, I thought the food at each restaurant was pretty solid. It does depend on what you order though. My steak at 1923 and the meatballs at Arendelle are some of the best dishes on their respective menus. And my mother-in-law ordered the gnocchi at Worlds of Marvel and it was incredible (even though I don’t think that’s necessarily the dish they are known for).

Buffet Dining on the Wish

There are two options for buffet dining on the Wish. Marceline Market is the main restaurant and is open for breakfast and lunch, while Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods on the pool deck is open for lunch and dinner.

  • Marceline Market — The food here was a pretty standard Disney cruise buffet. There were good things, there were mediocre things. Although I was disappointed that there were no Mickey churro waffles for breakfast and the ham and cheese croissants were only offered one morning.
  • Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods — This is where you can grab lunch on the pool deck. There is BBQ, burgers, pizza, ice cream, and more. The food was fine, but the lines (especially for ice cream) could get LONG.

Adults-Only Dining on the Wish

The Wish has two adults-only dining experiences that you can book for an additional cost. (The rotational dining and buffets are included in your cruise).

  • Enchanté — French food and subtly themed after Beauty and the Beast. We had brunch here and it was FANTASTIC and we actually though it was a pretty good value for what we got.
  • Palo — You’ll find this Italian-themed restaurant on the other Disney cruise ships as well, and it’s a perennial favorite.

More Dining on the Disney Wish

Here are more places where you can get food and drinks on the Disney Wish:

  • Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge — A SUPER fun Star Wars bar experience! You really have to experience it in person because the videos don’t do it justice.
  • The Bayou — A Tiana themed lounge with drinks. It’s beautiful, but the beignets (for an extra cost) were NOT good. And I don’t really love that it feels like it’s in the middle of a hallway.
  • The Rose — A hidden gem of a bar! It’s outside Enchanté and Palo and it has the BEST views!
  • Nightingale’s — The piano bar on the Disney Wish.
  • Keg and Compass — Very nautically themed, this is also where you can usually catch sports on TV.
  • Triton’s Lounge — Mostly used for games and family-friendly activities, but they do have a small menu.
  • Luna Lounge — Like Triton’s, Luna mostly used for entertainment, but Luna Lounge offers drinks.
  • Preludes — Where to stop for pre-show drinks and popcorn (for an additional cost).
  • Cove Cafe — In the adults-only section, and where you can get coffee.
  • Enchanted Sword and Wishing Star Cafe — Two small bars on the ship (they aren’t even separate rooms) where you can get drinks, including specialty coffees.
  • Inside Out: Joyful Sweets — A sweets and ice cream shop, but remember everything in here is an additional cost.
  • Pool Deck Bars — There are lots of bars and drink options out on the pool deck, both in the family and the adults-only section.
  • Room Service — Remember you can always get food delivered to your room! And most standard things are included in the price of your cruise! (Including Mickey Premium Bars!)
The Bayou on the Disney Wish
The Bayou

Pool Deck & Water Slides

So, I’ve seen some complaints about the pool deck on the Disney Wish. But for the most part, I LOVED the pool deck on this ship. This is something I think they managed to change and actually make better.

While most of the other Disney Cruise ships have one or two main pools to enjoy, the Disney Wish has six pools for families on the main deck, plus an adult-only pool and a quiet pool.

I LOVE how many pool options there were. Because if one pool is crowded, it’s pretty easy to find another pool that isn’t as crowded.

There are also several water slides on the Disney Wish. Overall, I give the waterslides a mediocre review though.

The AquaMouse was the exciting news for the Wish, since it is Disney’s first “attraction at sea.” To be honest though, while it’s fun and cute and has a storyline, most of the time is spent going up the ramp and watching the Mickey and Minnie videos. Which means your actual sliding time is relatively short, especially compared to the AquaDuck on the Dream and Fantasy.

The slightly tamer yellow slide on the Wish is called Slide-a-Saurus Rex, a callback to the Pixar short Party-Saurus Rex (a favorite in our house). It’s a pretty standard slide, though I did feel like it moved pretty slow.

There’s also a great Toy Story Splash Zone for the younger kids. And I love how it is enclosed behind a clear wall which means a) it’s harder for little ones to run off and b) it blocks some of the wind.

Toy Story Splash Zone Disney Wish
Toy Story Splash Zone

Activities & Entertainment

There is definitely no shortage of activities and entertainment on the Wish! And honestly, I thought all of it was fantastic! Even better than what we had seen on our previous cruise.

Broadway Style Shows

There are three Broadway style shows on the Disney Wish. And while I sometimes feel ambivalent about these shows, I thought all three were incredibly done.

  • Seas the Adventure — A short (just about 30 minutes) show, which is mostly a way to have a medley of Disney songs and characters appear on stage. It’s cute, especially for kids! But for just adults, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.
  • Aladdin — This show was fantastic! Normally I’m not a big fan of Disney-movie-retellings as shows. But I thoroughly enjoyed this one, especially the acrobatics of Magic Carpet and the updated humor of Genie.
  • The Little Mermaid — Again, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this show, but I LOVED it. It’s just different enough from the movie, has some fun effects (especially how the lights indicate whether you are underwater or not) and the actress who played Ariel on our cruise was phenomenal.

Pirate Night

Pirate Night is a Disney Cruise staple. And while it was fun on the Wish, I didn’t find it was as fun as our previous cruise. They didn’t give us pirate bandanas at dinner, and the serving staff wasn’t dressed in pirate outfits, which I felt was a bit of a disappointment.

And while both of the stage shows on the pool deck were fun, I do wish fireworks had been included in the earlier kid-friendly show so that there was more than one opportunity to see them.

Day Time Entertainment

As usual, there are tons of entertainment options going on throughout the day around the ship. Cast members facilitate all kinds of events, from trivia, to animation classes, to whiskey tastings and more. My only complaints is that our favorite trivia (Disney Tunes Trivia) was only offered once on our sailing.

Also, don’t miss the Diaper Dash in the Hero Zone! It’s basically just a race of crawling babies, which didn’t sound that exciting to me, but it was so hilarious and an absolute blast!

Live Music

You can also find live music around the ship during the evenings. We didn’t get to catch a lot of it, but what we did see was great! You’ll find musicians on the stage in the Grand Hall (atrium), and throughout the bars and lounges. Just check the Disney Navigator app for times.

Kid’s Club & Activities on the Disney Wish

The Oceaneers Club on the Wish is really unlike the kid’s clubs on any other ships. First of all, there is a SLIDE to get down to it from the Grand Hall. I mean, what kid doesn’t love that?

There are also tons of great areas in the kid’s club, including a Star Wars room, a Marvel room, a Princess Fairytale Hall, and a play area for toddlers. (Which, toddlers can’t go to the Oceaneers Club on their own, but there are lots of open house events where the whole family can enjoy the spaces!)

Everything was absolutely pristine in each section. And of course, I’m sure the Cast Members have great activities going on for the kids all the time.

The Edge and Vibe for tweens and teens are also new on this ships and look fantastic. We didn’t get to spend as much time in these spaces, but they’ve done a great job with them.

Artwork Outside the Oceaneer's Club
Artwork Outside the Oceaneer’s Club

Service on the Disney Wish

Service on Disney cruises is always top-notch. However, I did feel like like our service on this ship wasn’t *quite* as good as on our cruise on the Magic.

Don’t get me wrong. It was great! But there were little details I noticed when we were on the Magic (like the fact that they cleaned our stateroom’s balcony handrail every day) that weren’t present on the Wish.

There were also some kinks in our service (like our stateroom getting skipped one evening during turndown, which I think was a dinner schedule snafu) that I’m thinking are things they will get worked out eventually. But they are also things that seem like they should have been worked out by now, over a year past the ship’s debut.

Disney Wish Itineraries

For the foreseeable future, the Wish only has two itineraries to choose from. A 3-night sailing from Friday to Monday, and a 4-night sailing from Monday to Friday.

Both of these itineraries go to Nassau and Disney’s Castaway Cay.

One of the drawbacks to the Wish is these limited sailings. To me, a 4 night cruise felt a little short. And I definitely wouldn’t choose a 3 night cruise if I had another option. I do wish they offered longer cruises and itineraries with more variety. I especially feel like slightly longer cruises would give the guests more time to get used the ship’s unusual layout.

Would I Sail on the Wish Again?

So, what’s our overall Disney Wish review? Honestly, the Wish wouldn’t be my first choice for another cruise.

The confusing ship combined with the higher price and the shorter itineraries just doesn’t feel worth it to me at this point. For our next cruise, in 2025, we’ve booked the Dream and I’m looking forward to being on a ship that is more classic Disney Cruise Line.

The Disney Treasure is going to debut in 2024 and I also won’t be rushing to book this. It’s going to have the same layout as the Wish, and while I’m sure the spaces will be awesome, the inflated price (because of the newness of the ship) isn’t worth it to me.

So, for now, you’ll find me on the older Disney Cruise ships more often than the newer ones!

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