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The Disney Magic Vs. The Disney Dream | Pros & Cons

Updated on March 17, 2015

Why is it important?

Choosing a Disney Cruise Line itinerary can be overwhelming. There are times of year, weather, ports of call, and departure ports to consider, as well as pricing and availability. One point of consideration that might not seem as important is which ship to sail on. Getting to know the ship you'll be sailing on is an integral part of planning your Disney Cruise Line vacation. The ships are where you'll spend the majority of your time, even if you will be getting off the boat at multiple ports of call. Will you have any sea days? Are you concerned with having adult-only quiet time? Do you prefer staying on the ship over getting off at some destinations? Have you sailed on another Disney ship?

The Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are "sister ships" and are very similar (but keep in mind that the Magic recently underwent a refresh and the Wonder has not.) Similarly, the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream are sister ships.For the sake of discussion, we can assume that the Wonder and Fantasy will have similar details to the Magic and Dream. I sailed on each of these ships only a few months apart and noticed some differences in the two ships that might influence a vacation.

Disney Magic Cons

  • The Disney Magic is the oldest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Despite the recent refresh, the age of the ship is still obvious. The bathrooms are older, which is apparent with the strange water pressure and older fixtures. Other than the bathroom, the rooms are quite nice and fresh with the recent updates. However, throughout the ship I noticed a few carpet issues that appeared to stem from plumbing problems. [To be completely transparent, I sailed on the Magic in 2012 and noticed nothing. I think my recent Dream sailing caused me to notice the Magic's older qualities more so than I did when I sailed with fresh eyes.]
  • The lobby isn't as grandiose as the larger ships'. While it's still beautiful- it doesn't have as much of a wow factor.
  • The elevators are small and generally take a very long time. Even when they stop for you, they are often times full. I ended up using the stairs most of the time (anything to work off the extra food!) but if you have any mobility issues, or if you're carting around your luggage, it's an issue.
  • The ship is smaller. If you've sailed on one of the larger ships, the scale of the Magic might be disappointing. I noticed fewer art pieces on the Magic which is one of my favorite parts of walking around the ship on the Dream.

Photos of the Disney Magic

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Disney Magic Pros

  • The adult only pool is excellent. There is usually a chair or lounger available. The pool is large enough to actually have a swim, even with other guests in it. There is an abundance of space for lounging or sunning. Most of all, it is very quiet. They are very good about keeping children out.
  • The ship is smaller. This is also listed in the Con section, because it can be either a pro or a con depending on your preferences. If you don't enjoy walking across an enormous ship, the Magic will be a better option. Finding things on the Magic is a little easier, and you sometimes run into characters! You're also more likely to talk with the same cast members or guests that you chatted with the day before, giving you a chance to get to know people.
  • In my experience, the Disney Magic was much quieter. This will always vary, depending on your room location, of course, but with fewer crowds, it was always very easy to find a quiet area and I never had any issues in my stateroom with noise.

Vlog from the Disney Magic

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Disney Dream Photos

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Disney Dream Cons

  • The biggest con for me on the Disney Dream was the adult pool area. It was smaller than the adult area on the Magic. Since the Dream has almost double the capacity of the Magic, you can imagine how full and crowded this area got. The pool is small and oddly shaped, so you can't have a proper swim, especially with the crowds. Most people sat on the edges with their feet in. Due to the location, it was also an area that kids regularly walked through to get to the family pools. There was almost always a few kids around, with no attempt to escort them out by staff that I could see. While the area was visually beautiful, the functionality just did not do it for me.
  • Another point of note is that the capacity on the Disney Dream is much larger, leading to much larger crowds. Everything was just a bit more crowded and hectic on the Dream. (Similarly, if your itinerary includes Castaway Cay, the island will be much busier as well.)
  • The Dream is quite large and is sometimes a bit confusing to navigate. I got lost more times than I'd like to admit.

Disney Dream Pros

  • The Disney Dream is a stunningly beautiful ship. The lobby is absolutely breathtaking. There is beautiful artwork everywhere. The Dream is just on a grander scale than the Magic.
  • The restaurants on the Disney Dream exceed the Disney Magic in terms of theming. While Animators Palete is of equal ratings on both ships, the other two main dining restaurants are better on the Dream. The Dream also has the adult only option of Remy, which the smaller ships do not have.
  • Palo is better on the Dream. The restaurant has better views, and it's setup is a bit nicer. There is also a deck and lounge area shared between Palo and Remy on the Dream that is beautiful and has great views of the fireworks.
  • The AquaDuck is a spectacular water slide on the Disney Dream and Fantasy that goes out over the ocean. The smaller ship's slides are fantastic, but they don't compare to the Aqua Duck.

Vlog from the Disney Dream

Depending on what you want out of your vacation, the ships and amenities of each might make a difference when planning your next Disney Cruise Line vacation. I had an amazing time on both of the ships and would absolutely sail either one again. Do you have any additional experiences or tips on either ship? Please share in the comments!

All photos by the author. More photos can be found on her blog.

© 2015 Magen Morris

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