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Dining Room/Ship Dilemma

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by BippityBoppity, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. BippityBoppity

    BippityBoppity Mouseketeer

    May 17, 2009
    I know this will probably seem like a stupid issue for most but it's important to me. We will probably be going on a 4-day cruise and destination is not an issue at all. I mainly just want the Disney experience since we have never sailed with Disney. We love DW but have yet to sail with Disney. I have read so many of the forums and I still can't decide on whether to try Magic or one of the newer larger ships. Since we have sailed on various sizes of ships in the past we actually prefer the larger ships. But in Disney's case, I understand that larger is not necessarily better. We would like to sail out of Galveston since that would be closer for us to drive. But as I have been reading here I have discovered that really a lot of people prefer the smaller ships but I also am discovering that many people prefer the MDR experiences on the larger ships. Again, we're in it for the overall Disney experience so with this in mind, would you stay with the Magic or go to the larger ships? We don't care about the Aqua Duck so that's not an issue. Just looking at the MDR. Hopefully I don't sound like a nutcase but I love the way Disney totally goes all out with their decor to create the perfect experience. I know some will say that since I haven't sailed Disney before that I wont be missing anything and that's true except for all the pictures that people post and they really have helped to put me in this dilemma. Please help me decide which way to go. I love totally immersion.

    Thank You
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  3. ilovedisney1982

    ilovedisney1982 Loving Disney Every Day!

    Dec 29, 2012
    I sailed on the Fantasy this summer and it was an AMAZING experience. I say, go with a newer ship. It's worth it.

    Have a magical time!! :)
  4. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ <font color=green>It could end up curdled<br><font

    Feb 11, 2011
    If you prefer larger ships, go on the Dream.
  5. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

    Oct 27, 2011
    If you'd prefer sailing out of Galveston, that's going to be on a smaller ship. The classic ships also have very nice MDRs - each is themed somewhat differently. Animator's Palate is on both the classic ships and the newer ships, but is a different "show" if you will - on the classics the room (and servers!) change from black-and-white to full color throughout the course of the meal. On the newer ships there are large TV screens with characters from Finding Nemo that come out occasionally, but the room remains unchanged. Some people have preferred the transformation on the classic ships vs the animated interaction, and unless you are at a table right next to the TV screen you will not be interacting anyway. The other MDRs are also slightly differently themed, but again fine each in it's own right regardless of which ship.

    Personally, I wouldn't plan based on the MDRs. I'd plan based on the home port (for travel convenience to get there), length of cruise and itinerary - in that order. Others may have differing opinions.

    Enjoy your cruise, whichever you decide on!
  6. PrincessShmoo

    PrincessShmoo DIS Veteran

    Feb 12, 2009
    OK, here's my take on this.

    I have only been on the classic ships thus far, so I don't have first hand knowledge of the new ships.

    Since you want cruise out of Galveston, that would mean the Magic or Wonder would be your only choices. As you said you don't particularly care about the AquaDuck, that works out.

    I like the size of the classic ships. And, while we are planning on doing the Dream class ships in the near future, I'm nervous about having more people to deal with onboard.

    As to the MDRs. I think the themeing in the MDRs on the new ships seems a bit too much the same. I mean on the classic ships each MDR is definately a different experience (AP - cartoony; PC - tropical; Trion's/Lumiere's - fine dining). On the new ships it seems that, other than AP, the other MDRs will have the same feel to them, more in the fine dining experience line.

    Now the adult lounge area, I feel is going to be a better experience on the new ships. Except for the fact that there's no piano bar (a place DH & I tend to go on the classic ships nightly), there are more experiences available on the new ships.

    I'm also worried about the size of the MDRs on the new ships. I understand that the rooms are larger, and the tables closer together. I feel that the tables on the classic ships are pretty close together to start with.

    The staterooms on the new ships (while still larger than comparable rooms on other lines) are smaller than on the classic ships.

    The adult pool area on the new ships has a less than ideal setup compared to the classic ships, and an elevator coming up in the middle of the buffet (new ships) seems a bit awkward to me.

    All that said, the classic ships are older and don't have all the bells and whistles that the new ones do, no virtual porthole in the inside rooms. Fewer verandahs. No on demand movies (they do show movies in the rooms, but it's on a schedule). Buena Vista Theatre seats are uncomfortably close to each other (no knee room).
  7. allears

    allears "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!

    Jul 20, 2002
    For a four night cruise, I would pick the departure port that is the least expensive to get to! I have sailed the Magic 9 times and love it each and every time. She is the original and set the standard. Don't think you'd be disappointed in any way shape or form. It's also a good way to get the feel of the DCL experience. And keep in mind, the classic ships aren't tiny and are quite lovely!
  8. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    The new ships are exquisitely beautiful, but we prefer the feel of the classic ships. The high tech in the new Animator's is incredible...but overall the dining rooms are huge and somewhat disorganized. Again, our experience may have been clouded by the guest behavior on our cruise, but it was a bit on the crazy, loud side.

    My guess is that the ultimate best bet will be the Magic after the dry dock in September 2013.
  9. over50visits

    over50visits DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2004
    What a wonderful dilemma! We have sailed all 4 current ships, and all are wonderful. Plenty of great things to recommend both the classic and the new larger ones.

    A large part of your experience is based on what you expect. If you think you're going to have a great time, Disney will not disappoint at all. MDRs in both ships are a treat, each with their own character, and each memorable.

    We have our strong favorites, but really it doesn't matter. You'll have a wonderful experience to remember for a long, long time.
  10. BippityBoppity

    BippityBoppity Mouseketeer

    May 17, 2009
    You guys are AWESOME!!!! :worship::yay::cheer2:Love this board!:thumbsup2
    I always know where to go for honest answers. I know everyone has their own likes/dislikes but opinions still matter and tend to help make decisions easier
  11. BrennaM

    BrennaM Mouseketeer

    Dec 11, 2007
    I've been on the new and the classic ships and honestly you can't go wrong with either of them. They each have their own pluses and minuses but the most important thing is that you will have amazing service on them all!

    I have yet to go on a Disney Cruise (I've been on the Dream, Magic and Wonder) and have a bad experience with any of the Cast Members. If we ever encountered any problems they would bend over backwards to fix them!
  12. su_A_ve

    su_A_ve DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2008
    Keep in mind what type of room you are going for. Inside staterooms on the newer ships have the magical porthole - Basically a round LCD TV that displays HD live footage of cameras looking at the sea. And you get surprised visits once in a while popping up.
  13. taylor3297

    taylor3297 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2009
    Like someone stated, Magic is going into dry dock. First cruise is a 5 night out of Miami. So it will be interesting to see what they do to the Magic while in dry dock.
  14. clten

    clten DIS Veteran

    Apr 5, 2005
    I've sailed on all 4 disney ships and I'll tell you up front, I prefer the smaller ships (we've done bigger ships on other lines and they have been fine but for DCL, the classics are our choice). If I were thinking about the MDR alone, I would put that in the win column for the classic ships. Let me tell you why. All the dining rooms on all 4 ships are nicely themed (there are some that don't like Parrot Cay, but we don't mind it. It is a nice Caribbean theme - not everything has to be Disney-fied, the service is still DCL standards!).

    But for appreciating the dining rooms, we find the smaller ships are better. Tables are not right on top of one another like we have found with Enchanted Garden (which is one of our least favorites because of that; and we've even been seated in the circle booths right as you walk in -- talk about feeling like you are on display at the zoo!).

    And you can't really appreciate the theming of the whole room because you usually see just a small piece of it on the new ships. In Royal Court/Palace there is a wall that circles the central area. If you are in the center of the room, you can see more of the room; but if you are outside of that area, you are blocked off from seeing quite alot (I've heard on really crowded sailings there are even little rooms that separate you from everything). In the AP on the new ships, it's all twists and turns and when we were close enough to the edges -- one of our tablemates talked to Crush--you couldn't always see a screen with "the action". And if you are near the center where you can see a lot of screens, chances are you won't even be able to hear Crush's conversation.

    We have also found service to be better on the classic ships -- not that the servers are worse on the new ships. It's just that with the dining rooms so large and still using a single kitchen, the servers/assistant servers spend a lot more time walking to/from the kitchen and standing on line for meals than out on the floor interacting with the guests. On our last cruise, our head server insisted on moving us because we had an incident with our servers and getting the wrong plate (allergy issues) and he said he gave us his "best server". I'm sure she was great and was very personable and friendly when we saw her, but we interacted with her all of about 3 minutes each night -- that was about all the time she had to visit each table before having to head back in to gather the next course.

    Now if you are weighing other things into your equation, IMO the new ships win for theming in the nightclub areas. I think the theaters are more comfortable on the new ships. Contrary to most people on the boards, I give the buffet to the classic ships (my favorite part of cruising is fresh pineapple, but I have to pick my own, too many issues trying to get a cast member to serve ripe pineapple by pointing and explaining). I don't have kids so can't rate the kids clubs, but the Onboard Detective Agencies (new ships) was a lot of fun even for adults.

    All the ships have the Disney magic, it just depends on what part is important to you. I think the classic ship win on overall service (which is why they win for us) and the new ships win for variety of entertainment options. Good luck with your decision.
  15. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    We have cruised on the Magic, Wonder & Fantasy. I am hoping that we get the chance to cruise on the Magic again soon. ITA with KC's assessment of the MDRs on the Fantasy. It was much louder for us and more crowded. No way to easily navigate through the MDR like it is on the classic ships -- therefore none of the celebrations or character breakfasts.
  16. neg58

    neg58 DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2012
    I thought the MDR's food and experience was similar on the Dream and Wonder. I thought the OTHER food on the Dream was heads and tails above the Wonder. Cabanas had much more to offer than BBB. The deck quick dining spots on the Dream were nicer, closer together, and just better.

    I did like the Dream dining rooms better than the Wonder, because I didn't really care for Parrot's Cay. Food I thought was similar on both ships and we just happened to like our wait staff better on the Wonder.

    However, the restaurants wouldn't even break the top 10 reasons for me to pick one ship over the others. Ports, departure ports, excursions all more important, and of course the most important of all, cost! (I need the Florida rates).

  17. scrapbookmomma74

    scrapbookmomma74 We love DCL!!!

    Jan 23, 2011
    Our first Disney cruise was on the Magic and we LOVED it! Since then, we have done the Magic twice more, the Dream 3 times, and the Fantasy once. While we do enjoy the new ships as well, the Magic feels more "homey" to us.
    Be sure to go out onto "secret" deck 7 aft...its awesome!
    Also, I hate Animators on the newer ships...I find Crush completely annoying while I'm trying to have dinner. I don't really find that the place for him to be. I LOVE Animators on the Magic...the walls change during dinner from black and white to color. Its really cool.
    The food on the classic ships and the new ships are both fine. They have definitely changed the menus for the new ships, but they are just different, not better.
    We love Teesa, the activities director on the Magic. Be sure to go to some of the nighttime game shows, she is a riot! :)
    All in all, you can't go wrong on a Disney ship, in my opinion.
  18. boogabuzz

    boogabuzz DIS Veteran

    Aug 31, 2011
    We sailed the Wonder on our first DCL cruise. It was great, no complaints. I did think Parrot Cay was kinda tacky. Not my idea of nice decor, but to each their own.

    Have been on Dream 3x and Fantasy once. Love that class of ship!! They are just absolutely stunning!! When booking my cruise that leaves this weekend :banana: I was torn between Wonder out of Miami and Dream out of PC. I really want to sail out of Miami but decided to do Dream again because I feel like I'm cheating myself by going back on the classic ship. When the Magic comes to Miami after its dry dock makeover....I will be booking out of Miami. I expect it will be made over with the new bed linens(getting rid of the crappy bedspreads they currently have) and getting some of the fantastic things that make the Dream class so special. I expect they will modernize the MDR's, add the screens in animators, and definitely give Parrot Cay a makeover. They will probably add virtual portholes in inside staterooms. Once they update and modernize those ships, I think they will be better than Dream and Fantasy. They will still have all the glitz and glamour, but with a lot less people :)
  19. kiford

    kiford DIS Veteran

    Nov 9, 2012
    There's things I liked about the classic versus the newer and vice versa.

    I liked the MDR's in all of the ships - no problem there. For me, a good portion of the experience in the MDRs is your companion diners, the servers, and the food. All of them are nice in my opinion. All different.

    I like the adult pool in the Dream better (and while there are children walking through I didn't find it a problem).

    The animated artwork I liked on the Dream.

    I like the smaller size on the Magic and Wonder but I can't say that it was a real problem on the Dream except for customs and debarking. More people but more space to spread out. I didn't find the layout in the MDRs much different from the Magic and Wonder in terms of how close the other tables are. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't - I was having too much fun to notice.

    I liked the pirate party and sail away party better on the Magic.

    Aquaduck is a hoot. But I could live without it.

    Cove Cafe - great on either Magic or Dream. Many hours spent there.

    Staterooms are definitely bigger on the Magic and I noticed it (not that it was terribly limiting but I noticed it and verified after we got home). However, there's still lots of storage space.

    Bottom line - pick a departing port, destination(s) and/or timing that meets your needs or desires. Whatever is most important to you at the time. You'll be happy either way. Sometimes we choose the ports, sometimes the date, sometimes the ship. Loved every one and can't wait for Jun 2013!
  20. darkwing818

    darkwing818 DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2011
    Any time we could drive :drive: to the port; that ship would get our vote :thumbsup2, but that's just us. We have sailed on all 4 Disney Ships, and have great memories on each. In your case we'd do the Classic Ships out of Galveston, & honestly I don't think you will be disappointed with the MDRs. If we didn't like our first cruises on the Magic & Wonder, we never would have booked another 12 Disney cruises.

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