I’ve mentioned before that my family loves the Disney Cruise. We have taken three Disney Cruises and have loved them all. I am often asked which ship I would recommend Disney Magic vs Disney Fantasy, how long to go, what age is too old to go, etc. Having just gotten off the ship a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a good time to give an up to date review.
I am going to review our last two trips – We cruised on the 7-night Disney Fantasy in February 2013 with my husband and three boys (ages 8,11 and 13 at the time) and my parents. We had such an amazing trip that we went again for my parents 50th anniversary on the 5-night Disney Magic in December 2013 with my husband and kids (this time ages 9,12 and 14), my parents, my sister and her husband and kids (ages 13 & 14) and my brother and his wife and kids (ages 18 months and 3).
We had incredible trips both times, but there are some significant differences with the ships. In terms of the cabins, there really isn’t much of a difference – we had deluxe family balcony cabins both times and there was great space. The major recommendation is that on the Fantasy we were in the aft of the ship and we felt an incredible amount of vibration from the ships engines. For this reason we booked mid-ship for the Magic and it was a world of difference. On the Magic we were on the 7th deck – this was great – we were two floors from the buffet and the pools and this was great that we could just walk up stairs and didn’t have to wait for the elevator. Great location!!
Crowds – The Fantasy is a huge ship and with that means a lot more people and we felt the crowds much more on the Fantasy than on the Magic. On the Fantasy, there were times when it was hard to find a deck chair and the pools and hot tubs were jam packed.
Service & dining – You can’t do better in terms of service than Disney – they’ve got it going on. What I adore is that even the crew members that you are not tipping will bend over backwards for you – it is the Disney way. However, our servers on the Magic, in the dining room were just very “meh” – underwhelming even. They seemed like more Royal Caribbean or Carnival servers than the excellent service that we received on the Fantasy (shout out to Alvin and Joe on the Fantasy – my kids still talk about you!!). Regarding the dining, the food was very good on both ships – no complaints – head and tails over other cruise lines! However, Tthe dining rooms on the Magic were not nearly as “cool” as the Fantasy – Even with the Magic just doing a major renovation – my expectations of Animators Palette, which is crazy cool on the Fantasy, was disappointing on the Magic.
Entertainment – Again – score 1 for the Fantasy, I thought the shows were worlds better on the Fantasy than the Magic. Having said that, both ships are worlds above most other lines in terms of the entertainment that they offer (with an exception for the Norwegian Epic – they rocked the entertainment department)
Activities – Both ships offer a ton to do – you can be busy all day long, if you choose! There are tons of things to do on both ships, but if your kids are older, the Fantasy has many more options. The sports deck is more significant, they have sport simulators, mini golf and a full sized basketball court. The kids clubs are also a bit more substantial – they are larger and have more to do, although my kids were pretty happy in both of the clubs. One great thing that the Fantasy had was Mickey’s Detective Agency – this is a “who-done-it” type of game that you play all around the ship. There are interactive paintings that “come to life” when you approach them and give you clues to solve a mystery. This was so cool and the whole family loved playing it when we had a few minutes here and there! Pirate Night is a huge deal on all of the Disney Cruises – however, we were pretty disappointed with the Magic’s Pirate Night – it was more of a Pirate Dance Party, where the Fantasy was more of a show. We basically sat there and watched the crew members dance for about 30 minutes – not too exciting. LOVED the Pirate Night show on the Fantasy.
5 vs 7 nights – I was a bit worried that 5 nights wouldn’t be long enough on the cruise – but honestly, on the smaller ship, it worked well. I think 7 nights may have been too long. Otherwise, I am always a fan of the 7 night cruise.
Bottom line – If you are considering a Disney Cruise – run don’t walk and book it! It is an amazing vacation – the BEST! In terms of what ship is right for you, I never thought my kids would be getting “to old” for the Disney Cruise, but I think for the Magic it is geared a little more to the younger crowd. If you are going with older kids – I would for sure steer you towards the Fantasy. If you are crowd shy, I would say to look closer at the magic. It just doesn’t feel as busy as the Fantasy does.
I am happy to answer any specific questions you have! As I have mentioned before, I am not a travel agent – I just have a passion for travel, planning travel and talking about travel!! As always – I welcome comments and advice from all of you! Tell me about your experiences!
We went on the Fantasy for the first time in 2012. Since then we’ve gone on a number of other vacations including cruises. We still talk about Rex and Daniel! Best servers EVER!
I am planning on taking a cruise with my mom and my two daughters next February. I am debating between a 4 night cruise on the Dream and a 5 night cruise on the Magic. It seems like you liked the Fantasy best which sounds like the Dream but since my daughters are young (one will be 2.5 and the other will celebrate her 5th birthday during the cruise), I’m wondering if the Magic would be better? I’d love an experienced Disney cruiser’s opinion! Thanks!
Personally, I prefer the Fantasy or Dream…but that is just me. I like the bigger ships. The Magic and Wonder are GREAT ships, just smaller and have a few less of the “cool” things – but, if you think you will be going again, you could start small and intimate, and do the Fantasy class when the kids are bigger and can take more advantage of the amenities.
Hi there! Thanks for the info. I’m booking my first Disney Cruise and I’m really torn between 5 Nights on the Magic or 4 Nights on the Dream. I will have a 10 year old boy and 6 year old girl. My son would love the Star Wars on the Dream and my daughter would be able to utilize both slides-But it’s one less night and I’m worried 4 won’t be enough…any Thoughts?
Personally, I prefer the Dream…but I hear ya on the one less night (go for the week)
We are planning a Disney cruise for the entire family…my Daughter, husband and 14 & 15 year olds….my Son, wife and 6, 8, 10 year old. The 10 year old has Down syndrome…and Grandma and Grandpa. We have booked the 5 day cruise on the Magic leaving from Miami. Now I am wondering about the Fantasy given the age ranges of the children. This is the first cruise for all the children.