For those of you who are uninitiated out there let me inform you that Disney is not just a theme park and the Disney Wonder is not just a cruise ship. The Disney Wonder was built in 1999 and holds about 1700 passengers. It is 83,000 tons of family oriented fun. There is also a dining venue, swimming pool and nightclub for adults only. The only down side to a Disney cruise is that there is no casino on board as gambling does not fit into the Disney image. Other than that as usual Disney does its best.
The major difference in Disney Cruise dining compared to all the other lines is rotational dining. This means that each evening you will eat in a different restaurant but your table mates rotate with you and the same staff will serve you for the length of your cruise. Just to clarify because I found the idea a little confusing at first, here is how it works. The first night you may eat at Triton a restaurant decorated in the theme of the little mermaid. Say your table mates are Bob and Carol and your servers are Ted and Alice. On evening number two you will eat at Animator's Palate along with Bob and Carol and your servers will once again be Ted and Alice. On the third night you will dine at Parrot Cay and your dining companions will once again accompany you along with your servers.
Animator's Palate will leave you wondering what happened here. Upon entering the restaurant the walls are filled with black and white sketches and the wait staff are wearing black and white uniforms. At some point when you are engrossed in the Disney magic of it all the sketches fill in with color and the waiters change into colored vests. Triton is the most formal of the dining venues and Parrot Cay serves up Caribbean fare with a Disney flare. For those who prefer to dine in their shorts and T-shirts there is the Beach Blanket Buffet. For grill food like hamburgers and French fries you may visit Pluto's Dog House. Pizza is served up at Pinocchio's Pizzeria. The adults only restaurant is an Italian eatery named Palo's and the atmosphere is elegant.
Disney folk have a way of thinking of things you need before you do. The bathrooms on the Disney Wonder are an example of this. The bathroom is split with the tub/shower and a sink in one room and another sink with vanity and the toilet in another. The only cabins that do not sport this neat design are the standard inside cabins. There is a cabin size and configuration to fit your situation. Even the smallest cabins accommodate three people easily with a queen size bed and sofa bed. If you have struck it rich or are traveling with a group the Royal Suite will sleep up to 8 people and are over 1000 square feet.
All Disney cruises call at Disney's private island of Castaway Cay. Disney constructed their own pier so there is no tendering in therefore it is unlikely to be a missed port of your itinerary. On the island there is a family beach area called Scuttle's Cove that is reached by a shuttle that runs every five minutes. There are snorkeling areas in the sea with planted shipwrecks for you to explore. serenity Bay is the adults only beach area where alcohol and massages are available.
It just would not be Disney without a musical show. Disney Dreams is a sweet concoction showcasing most of the famous Disney characters. Children and adults alike love this production. Other pursuits are available to keep the younger set busy. There is a nursery where you can leave the babe for an extra charge if you need some adult time. There is also a teen only club called Aloft where teens are served from the soda bar and arcade games can be played.
In short a Disney cruise will please all but the most dedicated gamblers in the family. There is something for everyone. The decor of the ship is more like an early twentieth century ocean liner than Disney World. While sailing the Disney Wonder there is no question in your mind that you are experiencing a Disney production but you will never wish you were somewhere else. In fact you may wish you could back again soon. Especially when the fog horn blows to the tune of When you wish upon a star.
Ann Childs is a freelance writer and travel consultant. Her specialty is Caribbean travel including beach vacations and cruises. She is the editor and featured writer at Cruise and Travel Review Post your own reviews at Cruise and Travel Review Forums