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Disney Wish: 7 Things Parents Need To Know Before Going On Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship

Mickey and Minnie in front of the Disney Wish
(Image credit: Disney Cruise Lines)

Cruise ships are frequently seen as vacations geared toward adults. With their expense and frequent focus on adult activities, not all cruise ships are particularly welcoming of children. However, Disney Cruise Lines is, of course, something of an exception. Disney wants to engage the whole family, young and old, and the company’s newest cruise ship, the Disney Wish, is no different. It's basically a Disney theme park at sea, and those are fun for all ages.

There is plenty for kids to do on the Disney Wish, but it’s one thing to know that your kids are welcome. It’s yet another to take full advantage of what is available to both them and you. I was a recent guest on the Disney Wish Christening Cruise, along with my wife and our two kids, (ages 5 years and six months), so I have been through the experience of a three-night stay on board, and I learned a handful of lessons lessons that I'm now sharing with you.

Ant-Man and the Wasp in World of Marvel

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

 Book The Later Dinner If You Have Young Kids 

When you start planning your Disney Wish trip, one of the first decisions to make is when you have dinner. There are two different seatings for dinner: one at 5:30 pm and another at 8:30 pm. One might be inclined, especially with young children, to book the earlier time. I certainly was, but it turned out I chose wrong.

If you have kids that will be hungry before an 8:30 pm dinner, there is a pretty easy place to get some grub with the Mickey and Friends Festival of Food. It serves a wide variety of simple options (burgers, pizza, tacos, etc) and it’s included with the cruise, so it won’t cost you a penny more. But the later in the evening you go, the more of these places are closed. If you book the earlier dinner and your kid decides they don’t want to eat what’s on the menu, you’ll have fewer options after dinner is over than if you grab something before dinner starts.

Disney Wish family state room

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

Room Service Is (Mostly) Free And 24 Hours 

If food is still an issue, however, there is one final saving grace: room service. Unlike every hotel you’ve ever stayed in, room service on the Disney Wish is free, outside of a few specialty items. If your kids, or even you, need to eat something before breakfast or after dinner, it’s there.

The menu isn’t massive, so options will still be somewhat limited. Some of the items that do cost money, like a glass of orange juice, are somewhat surprising, but you certainly don’t want to overlook that it’s there in case of emergencies. 

Marvel mural on the Disney Wish outside Oceaneer's Club

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

Make Use Of The Kids’ Clubs And Nursery 

While the vast majority of activities on the Disney Wish can be engaged in by children of all ages, there are also activities, and entire spaces on the ship, dedicated to certain ages. There’s a nursery for the smallest kids, the Oceaneer’s Club for kids under 12, and two different teen spaces, one for young teens and one for older teens. There’s even the 1820 Club for guests 18-20-years-old, i.e. adults, but the ones who can’t hit the bar.

The only place that requires reservations is the nursery, so if you know you’re going to want to use it, make sure to book the space early. The rest of the areas can just be dropped into. There are scheduled activities, but kids also direct themselves and do what they want. 

1923 plate

(Image credit: CinemabBlend)

One Night Of Dining Has No Show

If there’s one night in particular you might want to consider taking full advantage of the kids' clubs or nursery, it’s the night you dine at 1923. There are three main dining rooms that you’ll visit on a three night cruise: Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, Worlds of Marvel, and 1923. The first two have entertainment built into the meal; Arendelle uses live actors to tell a Frozen story, while the Marvel show is basically an MCU movie come to life. So if you have kids who are easily distracted, this will do the trick.

At 1923, however, there is no show. It’s the most “fine dining” of the three, and the focus is supposed to be the food. If you have kids for whom a delicious meal on the Disney Wish is not entertaining enough, then this is the night to get them food elsewhere and let them go have fun while you enjoy dinner.

kids at pool on Disney Wish

(Image credit: Disney Cruise Lines)

The Smallest Kids Can’t Use Most Pools

There are so many pools on the Disney Wish that it’s easy to lose track of how many there are or just where to find them. However, they’re not for everybody. While life jackets are available for small kids to use who can’t actually swim, kids even smaller can’t use most pools at all.

Even if you have a swim diaper, children who are not toilet trained are not allowed in the pools, even the one that’s only six inches deep. There is an even shallower pool which, I was told, was acceptable for babies, but the rest are off limits even if you’re otherwise prepared. 

Hero Zone obstacle course

(Image credit: Disney Cruise Lines)

No matter what the internet likes to say about Disney Adults, Disney is meant to be fun for the whole family. Not only that, it's meant to be fun that families can enjoy together. While this is largely the case on the Disney Wish, depending on the number of kids you have, and their ages, it may be difficult for everybody to do everything together.

Because this was technically a "work trip" for me, I often had to run off to attend panels or conduct interviews, leaving my wife to watch our two kids, which ended up limiting what they could do. The Hero Zone area, which at one point in the trip housed a massive obstacle course which parents and kids are encouraged to do together, could not be done by my wife and five-year-old because nobody was available to watch the baby (the nursery was not open at that time). Likewise, my wife could not get in the pool with the older child because she had to be able to keep an eye on the younger. 

Lumiere outside Enchante restaurant

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

There Are Plenty Of Adults Only Areas 

The final thing parents need to know is that assuming you can get your kids to do their own thing elsewhere, there are places you can escape. There are a number of different places adults can relax depending on what it is you want to do. There is a spa that is only available to adults. There are two adults-only fine dining restaurants, and several bars, including the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, where not every cocktail is super expensive, though the price of them is not included in the cost of your cruise. There is also an adults-only area of the pool deck with an infinity pool and a bar. 

Whether getting some time to yourself is a real option will, of course, depend on many factors, including the age and temperament of your kids, but if it can be done, it should be done. The Disney Wish conducts its Maiden Voyage on July 14.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.