After selling the Magic for many months and knowing the ship so well from her deck plan and her photos, seeing her for the first time was like seeing a dear friend. The Magic is truly a beautiful ship. Not a detail was left to chance. Her finish work is beyond what I expected even from Disney.
The Atrium Entry to the Magic is through a security area with an -ray scanner for all carry-ons. A single credit card style boarding pass also serves as an onboard charge card, room key, mini bar key and safe key.
Upon entry, the atrium exudes warmth. A bronze Mickey at the helm serves as a focal point. High above a huge bouquet of glass flowers adds a touch of whimsy. Frequently throughout the cruise, a white-gloved pianist plays at the baby grand. Glass enclosed elevators overlook the three-story atrium. Tucked discretely into alcoves off the atrium are the quest services areas. In the evenings, the photographer will be taking photographs in the atrium.
An Art Deco Style
Upon exploring the ship a beautiful art deco, style is noticed throughout the vessel. Most of the artwork is Disney memorabilia. The art is generally small in scale, tastefully framed and sometimes grouped for display. Immediately, the feeling is that this ship will look just as beautiful in 50 years. She will age gracefully through the years and will never look tired.
The cabins are constructed with top quality materials and carefully planned storage. They have a nautical theme and an abundance of light inlaid woods. Storage was ample for 3 or a 9-day cruise. All cabins feature safes, TV, minibar, sofa, desk/makeup area, full-length mirror and excellent lighting.
Cabins are very similar. Inside cabins have a large round mirror. Cabins are generous in size compared to other main stream ships. They are handsome outside cabins on Deck 1 and have small portholes. Outside cabins on Deck 2 have one large porthole. Outside balcony cabins have floor to ceiling windows and a private balcony with two comfortable chairs and a small table. I always recommend balcony cabins and on this ship. There are additional advantages of having your own private space since the covered promenades lack comfortable seating.
All baths are attractively tiled and feature wonderful fixtures and a tub/shower unit. Amenities include blow dryer, soap, shampoo and big fluffy towels.
The mid-level cabins have very convenient split baths. Although each section is small, it is very convenient for a family sharing a cabin.
Convenient to the cabins are self-service laundries on Decks 2,6 and 7. Dry cleaning and valet laundry is also available. Smoking is not allowed in any of the cabins. There are specific locations were smoking is allowed. Outdoors on Deck 4, starboard side from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. only. The starboard side open-air Decks 9 and 10 (excluding the Mickey Pool area).
Exploring the ship reveals one charming area after another. The Walt Disney Theater is elegant with warm woods and crimson walls trimmed with gold. The curtain is beautiful red velvet and the dark blue ceiling is decorated with a huge art deco style light fixture. All site lines are unobstructed and the theater style seats are very comfortable. The first show presented in the theater was “Disney Dreams”. Certainly Broadway quality with even more dramatic sets than would be expected in New York. The costuming was excellent, as was the acting. This Disney themed extravaganza features the well known movies of the younger set that they have grown up with and grown to love.
Children’s programs are truly the hallmark of this ship. For our sailing, I brought my own tester, few creatures are harder to work with than 12 year old males. The kids program on this ship kept him happily entertained. One thing that should be noted is that the age designations are strictly enforced by the Disney staff. Children are placed in the program exclusively by birthdate and the staff is not flexible in moving the children. The children on this ship are well attended to by an army of youth counselors, all well trained and personable. Three areas of the ship are reserved just for kids depending on age. Programs go from early in the morning until late at night. All ages from 3-17 have specialized activities. Both of the areas for the kids from 3-12 are located midship on Deck 5. Since you will be checking your child in and out of programs, try to get a cabin convenient to this area. Parents wear beepers so they can be reached anytime their child needs them.
A Fun Area
The Oceaneer Club is for the 3-8 year old kids. It’s a fun area with several stations just their size. One of the most popular features is a playground style area that looks like a pirate ship. Complete with a ship’s wheel and a slide. The dress up area and stage both offer hours of entertainment and the counselors have numerous activities scheduled throughout the cruise.
The Oceaneer Lab
The 9-12 year old kids are in their own room: The Oceaneer Lab. A huge Nintendo 64/Playstation unit is one of the first things noticed. It sits behind a large computer area that saw a great deal of use. Construx, arts and crafts, science projects and a quiet area are some of the activities for this age group. All kids in the program can eat lunch and dinner with the youth counselors. Teens have their own area and activities centered at Common Grounds on Deck 9. Enthusiastic counselors head up the 13-17 year old group.
Not only do the under 18 kids have their own areas inside the ship, they also have their own pool areas. One pool is just for kids and features a fantastic water slide. One pool is just for families and features two hot tubs. There is a separate adults only pool with two hot tubs as well, to keep them out of the kid’s area.
Adults are allowed into Quartermasters and they could be seen enjoying the huge assortment of action arcade games available. Adults are also allowed at the Sports Deck to enjoy an assortment of outdoor games. Adults only are allowed into the fitness center and spa. Although the fitness center is not as large as some of the other newer ships, the equipment is varied and of high quality.
Adjacent to the fitness center is the Spa. This area is breathtaking and will rival a land based Spa. My favorite area was the tropical rainforest with the sauna and herbal showers. This area is soothing to both the eye and spirit. A word to the wise: schedule your Spa visits as soon as you get on the Magic as it sold out quickly.
Buena Vista Theater
Movies in the Buena Vista Theater are enjoyed by all ages. During our sailing, we had a sneak preview of a new movie that my son had been anxiously awaiting. Seeing it early was one of the highlights of his trip.
Don’t forget to save a few moments to do a little shopping in the charming Disney shops. Merchandise is attractively displayed in open roomy shops. Prices are similar to park prices.
If you need to plan a meeting while on board, you will find conference rooms and the card room on Deck 2. The conference room has lovely wood paneled walls that are made of sliding partitions that can be moved to accommodate three small groups or one large group. There is no passenger library on board.
Much has already been written about the restaurants on the Disney Magic. Lumiere’s is truly elegant. This French restaurant continues the art deco feel of the atrium. Parrot Cay is a Jimmy Buffet paradise and features his tunes. The bright colors and tropical style is fun and carefree. Palo’s is breathtaking in style and view. Reservations for this adult only restaurant should be made as soon as possible after boarding as it will fill up quickly. Animator’s Palate will delight the kids and intrigue adults. The concept is pure Disney Magic. The Topsider Buffet is a good place to enjoy indoor or outdoor casual dining. Pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream are also available poolside.
They are strategically placed throughout the ship. Service is attentive and prices compare to other cruise lines. The sports bar, ESPN, is a favorite with the sports fans and was a fun place to be during a sporting event.
A Magical Crossing
The Disney Magic is a ship that was worth the wait. Her beauty is timeless and her appeal will be universal. She slices through the water and holds the water beautifully. There was no noticeable engine noise or vibration from any area of the ship. Disney has three other beautiful ships, Wonder, Dream and the new Fantasy that debuted in 2012.