Although the 130,000-ton Disney Dream cruise ship is over 50 percent larger than the two older Disney ships, the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, anyone who has sailed on those ships will find the Disney Dream very familiar. She has the same classical art deco atmosphere in the common areas and cabins, the same attention to details and all those whimsical Disney touches in her design, and the innovative rotational dining among three lovely restaurants. The Disney Dream has many features in common with her younger sister ship, the Disney Fantasy, including one of the best restaurants at sea, Remy.
The Disney Dream was launched in January 2011 at a gala inaugural christening celebration with past Disney singer and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as her godmother.
Let's tour the Disney Dream cruise ship.
The Disney Dream uses Port Canaveral, Florida as her homeport and sails from there roundtrip to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on three-, four- and five-night cruises. These cruises can be easily combined with a Disney World vacation since buses can transfer guests between the ship and Disney theme parks in less than two hours. All of these cruises stopover at one of the cruise industry's best private islands, Castaway Cay.
The Disney Dream's design is similar to that of the grand ocean liners of the 1920s and 1930s. She has 14 decks, two large funnels, and the ship is white, black, yellow, and red. It's not a coincidence that these are the colors of Mickey Mouse! The Disney Dream also has ornate gold scrollwork, much like you might see on one of the tall sailing ships.
The interior common areas of the Disney Dream cruise ship are very similar to those of the other three Disney cruise ships--classic, with mostly the art deco design of the 1920s and 1930s. Some areas are very contemporary, bright-colored, and fun, but it's primarily a peaceful atmosphere. One thing I've noticed on three Disney cruises is that the inside of the ship is usually very quiet, despite all the children and ongoing activities. Adults can always find a quiet lounge or place to sit and read, think, or just watch the world go by.
Disney uses amazing attention to detail throughout the Disney Dream. Adults and children will love finding all the Mickey Mouse logos woven into the decor and furnishings. One new feature that is already a big hit is the use of enchanted artwork that incorporates movement into seemingly ordinary pictures hanging on the wall.
The outdoor deck areas on the Disney Dream cruise ship focus on fun for everyone in the family. There are three swimming pools--Donald Duck's family pool, Mickey's pool for children, and the Quiet Cove pool just for adults. In addition, the Nemo's Reef water play area is perfect for the kiddies. These pool areas are surrounded by lounge chairs, a stage, casual eateries, and a huge video screen.
Above the pool deck is the AquaDuck, Disney's water coaster. Its enclosed tunnel full of 10,000 gallons of water twists, turns and zips up and down as is drops 4 decks and laps the pool deck. It's quite fun for all ages (as long as you are over 48 inches tall).
Although the Disney Dream is terrific for family groups, parents and grandparents will enjoy the adults-only lounges and bars on the cruise ship. Five bars are concentrated in The District, a nighttime entertainment area with a variety of places to have a drink, socialize with friends, or watch sports on a big screen.
In addition to The District bars, the Disney Dream has Meridian, a lovely quiet observation bar on deck 12 between the Remy and Palo restaurants. Meridian has a nautical theme, and although the dress code is the same as for these two elegant restaurants, you don't have to have a reservation at Palo or Remy to enjoy a drink there.
The Disney Dream has nine categories of cabins and suites, ranging in size (and price) from the 169 square foot standard inside cabin to the 1,781 square foot Royal Suite. All of the suites and Concierge Level cabins have upgraded amenities and access to an exclusive Concierge Clubroom and outdoor deck area.
The cabins have higher queen sized beds that allow even very large luggage to be easily stowed. Most of the cabins have a sofa bed and Pullman, giving the ship the capacity to carry 4,000 guests in only 1,250 staterooms. The most-discussed cabins are the 150 inside cabins with the innovative "magical" portholes, which provide a real-time virtual view of the outside of the Disney Dream. It's like having an outside porthole, and seeing Disney characters randomly appear on the video screen is what makes it "magical".
The Disney Dream has three main restaurants, each with its own atmosphere and decor. Guests dine at one of two fixed seatings and rotate with their servers to all three of the restaurants. The cruise ship also has a casual restaurant, Cabanas, which serves buffet breakfast and lunch and table service from a menu in the evening.
The Disney Dream has two adults-only restaurants, both found on Deck 12. Those who have sailed on the other Disney cruise ships will recognize Palo, which features Northern Italian cuisine and seating indoors or al fresco. A premier restaurant on the Disney Dream is Remy, which has French-inspired gourmet cuisine designed by two award-winning chefs. Remy is open for dinner and also has an amazing dining tasting experience, Petites Assiettes de Remy.
In addition to these fascinating dining venues, the cruise ship has several casual, quick service eateries, many of them poolside.
Most of the kid's areas are on deck 5. The fun for kids starts with the "It's a Small World Nursery" for babies 3 months to 3 years old. There's room to play and nap, and parents can even check on the little ones via a one-way mirror.
Ages 3 to 10 will love the Disney Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, with so many activities planned that kids may never want to leave to see the rest of their family. Whether it is starring in their own theatrical performance, interacting with Disney characters or creating their own, watching movies, or learning about the world, kids will love this space.
The tweens (ages 11 to 13) have their own lounge called Edge on deck 13, just inside the forward funnel. The area is like a loft, and the tweens have a great view of the pool decks below. They will love being able to peer down on the deck without anyone being able to see into Edge.
Edge has all sorts of high tech entertainment to keep the tweens occupied, such as notebook computers, video screens, lighted dance floor, and video karaoke.
The AquaDuck, the Disney Dream's water coaster, winds through the forward funnel, and tweens in Edge have silhouetted views of the riders through three portholes.
The Disney Dream Vibe Teen Club is one of the most contemporary and trendy areas of the ship. This space is so exclusive that the 9,000-square-foot space forward on deck 5 is accessible via a "teen-only" swipe card for those ages 14 to 17. Vibe is filled with bright colors, eclectic furnishings, and its own private outdoor deck area, perfect for fun in the sun.
Inside Vibe is a fountain bar, dance club, and all sorts of high-tech gadgets such as equipment used to create and edit videos, and computers. The ship has its own social media application, which is available for tweens and teens.
Teens will love the media room and its 103-inch LCD screen with surround sound. The media room also has small nooks for reclining or watching personal video screens.
Teens ages 13 to 17 can chill out at the Chill Spa on deck 11, which is a part of the Senses Spa & Salon dedicated to the teen guests. They have two treatment areas and their own showers and separate seating area.
As discussed above, the Disney Dream has several lounges and bars located throughout the ship.
However, adults have other areas on the ship where they can escape, indulge, or relax. The Senses Spa & Salon is spread over 16,000 square feet on decks 11 and 12 forward. The spa has 17 private treatment rooms, a rainforest, couple's spa villas, and a full salon. The fitness center is in the spa area and has great ocean views, the latest equipment, and complimentary classes such as Pilates, yoga, and aerobics.
The Cove area on deck 11 is for adults only and includes the Quiet Cove pool, swim-up bar, whirlpool, and quiet lounge areas. It also includes the Cove Cafe, which serves gourmet coffee.
Adults even have their own distinctive dining venues--Palo and Remy, both on deck 12. These two restaurants provide memorable culinary adventures for guests over 18.
The Disney Dream cruise ship is a great addition to the Disney fleet, and family groups will love the ship, especially since it really has something for everyone with its special touches in the cabins and ship's indoor and outdoor areas.
Who won't love the Disney Dream? Those who expect a cruise casino will be disappointed since the ship doesn't have any gambling except for bingo. Those who think they might easily get burned out on "too much Disney" will get a little tired of the continual Disney music, TV stations, movies, logos, characters, and all other Disney-esque touches.
Who will love the Disney Dream? Kids, families, adults who remember what it was like to love a Disney Princess or Peter Pan, and anyone who enjoys comfortable spaces with much attention to detail, good food, good entertainment, and fun indoor and outdoor activities. Throw in a little pixie dust, and you're off on a memorable cruise vacation!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, TripSavvy believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.