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16 Disney Cruise Facts You Might Not Know Yet

Disney tends to bring that little extra pizzazz that makes a vacation feel magical and memorable. However, some of what goes on with the Disney Cruise Line is a mystery to aspiring cruisers. These facts about Disney ships and sailings may surprise even the most devoted Disney fans.

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The Disney Wonder crew guests disney cruise lineMatt Stroshane/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

The Disney difference

Disney Cruise Line has enjoyed an ever-growing fan base since its first ships set sail in 1995. From the fact that most guest cabins have a verandah or at least an ocean view to the one-of-a-kind character sightings on the ships, DCL offers sailings that are created to wow every guest. Whether you book its concierge staterooms or the smallest inside cabin, Disney treats each guest like they are a member of its family. It’s more than customer service that sets them apart, though. Consider these facts about the beloved cruise line that you may not know. Find out what it’s really like to work for DCL.

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disney cruise line stateroom virtual porthole star warsMatt Stroshane/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Even inside staterooms have a view

DCL was the first cruise company to have inside staterooms that have “windows.” How can that be? Inside staterooms on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have “Magical Portholes,” essentially screens set up that show views from a high-definition camera that’s mounted outside the ship. It’s not just a looped video; guests see what is going on outside the ship at that moment and may even have a surprise visit from Mr. Potatohead or other beloved Disney characters or spot the Millennium Falcon. Find out the things that are worth the extra money on a Disney cruise.

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star wars day at sea disney cruise shipMatt Stroshane/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has its own Star Wars sailings

Can’t get enough of BB-8 and crew? Disney Cruise Line’s special Star Wars cruises are themed around the iconic movie series. With everything from character contests to special appearances from characters in the movie to exclusive merchandise, fans can see and do it all on the Star Wars cruise. The fireworks show even adheres to the theme—watch out for a Darth Vader takeover. It’s easy to see why the Disney Cruise Line provides one of the best vacations for Star Wars fans.

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Disney Fantasy cruise ship fleetCourtesy Disney Cruise Line

The ratio of cast members to guests rivals a luxe hotel

Disney has plenty of cast members on hand for every part of the guest experience. In fact, when the ship is completely booked, DCL reports that there is approximately one crew member for every three guests on board. The ratio only gets better if the cruise isn’t at full capacity. This is just one of the 18 secrets Disney Cruise Line employees won’t tell you.

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Tangled musical on board disney cruise shipRyan Wendler/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Every ship has its own themed show

Have you ever dreamed of seeing a Broadway-style show of your favorite Disney musical? Every Disney Cruise Line ship has its own original music production based on a Disney classic. Currently, Disney Dream showcases Beauty and the Beast, while Frozen has its home on the Disney Wonder. See Tangled: The Musical on Disney Magic (shown) and Aladdin on the Disney Fantasy. Find out what to pack—and leave at home—on your next cruise.

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Adventures by Disney River CruiseCourtesy Disney

Disney offers river cruise expeditions

Your cruising options aren’t limited to the beautiful, grand Disney Cruise Line ships that sail the ocean. Via Adventures by Disney, you can experience cruise vacations on four different European rivers. The all-inclusive river cruise trips are led by Disney Adventure Guides who are experts in both the areas where they lead trips and all things Disney. Consider these other VIP Disney vacations you should take at least once.

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mulan movie 2020 postervia

You can see hit Disney movies the same day they’re in theaters

DCL ships show first-run feature films on the exact day that they’re released to movie theaters in the United States. That means, if you’re headed on a cruise this spring, keep an eye out for the release of the live-action version of Mulan and Black Widow. Make a much-anticipated movie extra special by seeing it in one of Disney’s onboard theaters—bonus: admission to the movies is included in your cruise fare.

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disney cruise linescourtesy disney cruise lines

Listen carefully to catch Disney music around the ship in creative ways

If you think cruise ship horn signals are jarring, you might be singing a different tune after sailing on Disney Dream. Its horn signals are comprised of the start of six different Disney melodies, among the ones you’ll hear are the opening notes to “When You Wish Upon a Star” that was first heard in the classic animated film Pinocchio. Sweet surprises like this are woven into all parts of the Disney universe, like these hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World.

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spotify disney cruise playlistvia

There’s an official soundtrack to your Disney cruise

You don’t have to wait for the horn signals to hear a familiar tune. There’s an official DCL playlist on Spotify, including classic songs like “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” to more recent hits such as “A Whole New World,” to seafaring favorites like “Under the Sea.” Enjoy it as a prelude to your cruise and when you’re onboard. These are the 15 best Disney songs, ranked.

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Castaway CayMatt Stroshane/Courtesy Adventures by Disney

You’ll visit Disney’s private island

Hop on a Caribbean Disney cruise and you’ll enjoy a day at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in The Bahamas. The isle has both family beaches and an adults-only beach, appropriately called Serenity Bay. You can participate in the 5K held every morning (worth it to score a coveted medal), teens can enjoy their own hideout and all will enjoy lunch at Cookie’s BBQ buffet. Find out everything else you want to know about Disney’s private island.

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disney princess dining room dinner disney cruise lineCourtesy Disney Cruise Line

Keep an eye open for characters

Have your camera ready at all times because you never know when you’re going to spot a Disney character—and they may be dressed in a unique outfit. Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Goofy dress up as pirates for the cruises pirate night; some, including Minnie as of 2019, will be dressed as the captain; and even more characters—think Stormtroopers and BB-8) pop into Disney’s Oceaneer’s Club (its kids’ club.). For an extra fee, guests can reserve spots at the VIP character breakfast or to visit with the princesses at the Royal Court Tea (shown). Not all characters make the cruise, however, including these 9 Disney characters you won’t see in the parks anymore.

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Lighthouse Point disney cruise Courtesy Disney

A second private island is in the works

If you love Castaway Cay, here’s news that will float your boat: DCL is hard at work developing Lighthouse Point, its second exclusive port of call in the Caribbean. Situated on the shores of Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, it will feature local Bahamian culture and music. Construction of the port is expected to begin later this year after DCL’s Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are approved by the Bahamian government. If all goes as planned, Lighthouse Point will be open to visitors in late 2022 or 2023, according to the Disney Parks blog. Until then, you can check out these other cruise lines with their own private islands.

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disney cruise bath bathroom tubCourtesy Disney Cruise Line

You can thank DCL the next time you take a bath on a cruise

As it caters to so many families, it makes sense that DCL would want to offer bathtubs in all its cabins. DCL is also credited with being the first cruise line to off Disney Cruise Line ships were the first two offer a “bath-and-a-half” for guests. This consists of two separate bathroom areas: the bath/shower and sink are in their own separate room, while a toilet with a sink is in another. That way, families don’t have to wait uncomfortably to use the toilet while someone is taking a bath. Even if you don’t have kids, Disney cruises are wonderful for adults, too.

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Soft serve vanilla ice cream vegan sundaekrblokhin/Getty Images

Disney Cruise Line is very vegan-friendly

At a time when plant-based everything is on the rise, DCL chefs are enthusiastic about offering vegan options and meals. From elaborate multiple-course vegan meals to vegan sundaes and cakes for dessert to readily-available almond milk for your coffee, Disney Cruise Line does more than accommodate special dietary needs. They celebrate them by making dishes that are creative and fun. Find out the best cruise for every type of traveler.

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vibe teen club disney cruise linePreston Mack/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Teens have their own exclusive space

Teenagers have long been an afterthought in the cruise industry, but Disney treats them like, well, princesses and princes. Teens have exclusive access to some of the most fun parts of the ship; Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream both are home to Vibe, a teen club that features a secret splash pool, private sundeck, and indoor hangout areas. Find out the best cruise for every month of the year.

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marvel characters disney cruise lineChloe Rice/Courtesy Disney Cruise Line

Aspiring superheroes fly high on the Marvel Day at Sea

Sailing out of Miami, Marvel Day at Sea cruises merge Disney magic with superhero excitement. The Marvel villains and heroes take over the ship for fun that’s as action-packed as a blockbuster movie. In addition to character sitings from the Marvel universe, including Black Panther, Thor, and Captian Marvel, expect Marvel movie marathons, costume contests, and the highlight of it all, Marvel Heroes Unite Deck Show. These are more of the themed cruises you’ll want to book ASAP.

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mississippi river new orleans louisiana port cruise disney french quarterAlex Potemkin/Getty Images

DCL heads to The Big Easy

Beginning in February, Disney Wonder will be setting sail from a new home port in New Orleans. The six-, seven-, and 14-night cruises will highlight all the best NOLA has to offer, including a version of Tiana’s Place restaurant, from The Princess and the Frog, and the French Quarter Lounge, a space that will have guests feeling like they’re visiting the iconic French Quarter. Next, read on to learn about 15 under-the-radar cruise ports you’ll want to visit ASAP.

Robin Raven
Robin Raven is a travel, lifestyle, vegan food, and entertainment writer. She is also a consumer products expert covering product reviews and gift guides. Additionally, she has expertise in spas, luxury travel, and all things Disney. She has an MFA from California State University, Northridge. As an author, her latest books are Santa's First Vegan Christmas and The Kindness Workbook: An Interactive Guide for Creating Compassion in Yourself and the World.