We Just Returned from a Disney Dream Cruise, and Here’s What It Was Like

We just returned from a Disney cruise and share what it was like in our honest Disney Dream cruise ship review.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Debuting in 2011, the Disney Dream is the first of two ships in the Dream Class, with the Disney Fantasy as its sister ship. This 4,000-passenger capacity cruise ship offers something for all ages, making it a vacation suitable for generational families or even adult-only getaways. After just returning from a 4-night sailing on the Disney Dream to the Bahamas, we are ready to give you our honest review of what we loved, hated, and everything in between from our vacation. Read on for our Disney Dream cruise ship review.

Our Honest Disney Dream Cruise Ship Review

Dining on Disney Dream

Disney Dream offers a variety of dining options. From the main dining rooms, to other casual options like the buffet or pool deck eats, to adult-only dining, you certainly won’t go hungry during your cruise.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Rotational Dining

Disney Cruise Line approaches its main dining room experience differently than any other cruise line, which I happily embrace. Disney implements a rotational dining experience, with guests rotating between three themed dining rooms throughout the sailing.

Not only do the guests rotate between dining rooms each night, but so do the wait staff. The servers get to know you and your preferences, building relationships with cruisers by the end of the cruise and adding a heightened attention to detail.

There are three main dining rooms on the Disney Dream: Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Palace. Each restaurant offers different menus, with appetizers, soups and salads, main courses, and desserts. Options range from French specialties like escargot and duck breast to lighter fare options such as ahi tuna and avocado towers and pan-seared sea bass.

We enjoyed all our meals in the three main dining rooms. Everything was fresh, warm, and nicely presented while packing great flavors.

While I know that most cruise lines do not provide entertainment during dinner, Disney is, well, Disney. Having been on other DCL ships, I know this does occur, such as the Frozen show in the Arendelle dining room on the Disney Wish or the Rapunzel dinner show on the Disney Magic. So, we were bummed to find out that these dining rooms did not offer entertainment during dinner.

Dinners in these restaurants are long, and while some cruisers may enjoy the “normal” dining experience, the lack of entertainment left for an impatient toddler by the time we were ready for dessert.

Other Complimentary Dining Options

Besides the three rotational main dining rooms, Disney Dream does offer a few other options that are included in the cruise fare.

Unfortunately though, for cruisers who do not wish to attend the long main dining room dinner, Cabana’s, the buffet venue located on Deck 11, is not open for dinner. The only other dinner options available on the ship will be room service (complimentary) or Tow Mater’s Grill. This section of the pool deck food offerings within Flo’s Cafe offers chicken tenders, burgers, and hot dogs. 

Cabana’s is an excellent option for breakfast and lunch. Any seafood lover should not miss the daily all-you-can-eat crab claws and peel-and-eat shrimp on the lunch buffet. Fresh, made-to-order omelets are available during breakfast hours, and the cruise staff will even bring them to your table when they’re ready.

However, Cabanas’ layout can be frustrating, as it is one long buffet line on either side of the venue instead of specific stations. This led to long lines, sometimes out to the pool deck during peak hours. We didn’t have a problem finding a table during our cruise, but I could see this being a problem during popular dining hours.

For cruisers who want to stay in their bathing suits all day, Flo’s Cafe will be your lunch spot. Offering pizzas, chicken, burgers, salads, sandwiches, and fruit, everyone is bound to find something here. Nothing at Flo’s Cafe blew us away. While there was nothing wrong with the food here, we were left missing Mickey’s Festival of Foods, which debuted on the Disney Wish.

Soft drinks such as coke products, ginger ale, and vitamin water are included in your cruise fare on Disney Cruise Line. And you can find 24/7 stations, including tea, coffee, and water on either side of the pool deck, as well as in Cabanas during open hours.

Eye Scream offers poolside soft serve ice cream, with chocolate and vanilla served daily in addition to rotational flavors. We grabbed an ice cream cone every time we walked by because who doesn’t love ice cream?

Specialty Dining

Palo and Remy are the two specialty dining options onboard the Disney Dream, both adult-exclusive. Both are located on Deck 12, Aft, and the views from these venues are unbeatable, as is the service. If you think Disney Cruise Line service, in general, is a step above the rest, prepare to be blown away at Palo and Remy.

Palo offers brunch and dinner. I would argue that Palo Brunch will be the best $50 you spend during your vacation. Brunch offers an all-you-care-to-enjoy menu with options ranging from egg varieties, pancakes and waffles, soups, pizzas, and main entrees such as lasagna or sirloin steak.

Brunch is only offered on select days of your sailing, typically your sea day. I highly recommend snagging a reservation if possible; you will not regret it! Most importantly, be sure to come with an empty stomach. You’ll be stuffed by the end! The ahi tuna, eggs benedict, and the parmesan-crusted chicken breast were the highlights of our meal.

Palo Dinner offers a $50 prix-fixe 4-course meal or a la carte ordering. Palo specializes in Italian fare. We did not dine at Palo for dinner this sailing, but we have on previous sailings. If brunch isn’t your thing, I can assure you that dinner will be just as good! The most popular Palo dish is the chocolate souffle, which you must order early to give time for preparation.

Remy, the second specialty dining venue on Disney Dream, offers two set menus designed by two highly accredited chefs of Michelin Star caliber. Both menus cost $135 per person, with optional wine pairings available. For cruisers looking for that exquisite fine-dining experience, look no further than Remy.

Additionally, Cove Cafe on Deck 11 and Vista Cafe on Deck 4 offer specialty coffees for purchase and complimentary pastries. Coffee drinkers should plan to find themselves in these cafes, as the complimentary coffee falls flat. After one cup of the provided coffee, I went to Vista Cafe every morning for a latte. Be sure to get the coffee punch card and get it stamped; your 6th coffee will be free!

Finally, Pub 687, an adults-only venue within The District on Deck 4, also offers snacks and small bites for purchase at an affordable price. Typical bar food such as buffalo wings and pretzels are available. I recommend the buffalo wings, which are $4 for 5 wings and very tasty! 

Overall, we enjoyed the food on the Disney Dream, with standouts being Palo Brunch and Royal Palace. Next time, I’d skip the burgers from Flo’s Cafe, and you’ll never see me drinking the complimentary coffee again.

Pool Deck

Disney’s focus on entertainment shines with theater shows and onboard activities, but the pool deck leaves something to be desired. You won’t find poolside entertainment such as belly flop contests, high-energy music, and dance parties onboard the Disney Dream.

Instead, you’ll find Funnel Vision, a giant screen on DCL’s iconic funnel playing an array of Disney movies from sunrise to well into the night. There’s also quiet areas with loungers to relax and read a book.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

The Mickey and Donald’s Pools on Deck 11 midship are the two main pools onboard. These aren’t very big or deep and end up just being a splash zone full of children. This isn’t the spot for a relaxing day in the pool. There are loungers around both pools, but cruisers looking for a specific spot should plan to arrive at the pool deck early, especially on sea days. Deck 12 does have additional chairs and loungers as well.

Further, both pools have retractable covers, converting them into part of the pool deck for all deck party entertainment. This is a great way to create space during deck parties, but it also leaves the pools with weird operating hours. A hot tub is situated against the floor-to-ceiling glass windows of the pool deck, but again, it will be full of children.

Nemo’s Reef Splash Pad is the perfect spot for families with little cruisers, even allowing children to wear swim diapers. While more and more cruise ships are incorporating an area for non-potty-trained babies and toddlers, this is a huge selling point for Disney Cruise Line.

The entire splash pad is also covered, keeping the kids out of the sun—a huge bonus! We spent 80% of our pool deck time in the splash pad with our two-year-old, and he is still talking about it daily.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

The Quiet Cove Pool is located in the adults-only area of the pool deck, Deck 11 forward. This area features two hot tubs, a pool, and a sitting area with swim-up access to one half of the Cove Bar. We love this adults-only pool area, as we felt it was plenty big and never crowded. However, we did sail during a popular spring break week, with many passengers being families with young children.

Adults looking for a quiet space should choose to relax in this area, as the loungers are soft and cushioned when compared to the average patio chair on the main pool deck. Plus, there won’t be any children here.

Other Pool Deck Attractions

Mickey’s Slide is also located on Deck 11, adjacent to the main pools. This body slide is available to children ages 4-14 with a minimum height of 38” and a maximum height of 64”.

The AquaDuck, the main pool deck attraction, is on Deck 12 and has a height requirement of 42”, or 54” for single riders. Board the raft on this water coaster designed by Huey, Duey, and Louie for a thrill and a 360-degree view of the ocean.

The AquaDuck is fun, but the wait times on sea day sometimes were over an hour long. It took three attempts for us to ride the AquaDuck with a short wait time. This was when we got back onboard from Castaway Cay early to a nearly empty ship.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Similar to the pool, the AquaDuck had odd hours. There were days it didn’t open until noon. For those with late dining, I suggest trying to ride the AquaDuck around 5 PM, when early dinner guests are getting ready for dinner. For early dinner guests, be the first in line when the queue opens, or try to ride the water coaster during a port day. If this attraction is a priority for you, be sure to check the times on your daily navigator.

Goofy’s Sports Deck on Deck 13 Aft is an open-air sports court featuring basketball hoops and a space for organized pickleball games. A nine-hole mini golf course designed by Goofy and his son Max wraps around the aft of the ship and is fun for the whole family! Two sports simulators offer football, golf, hockey, and baseball simulations for 30 or 60-minute sessions. These is an additional cost for these simulators, and guests must reserve in advance.

Overall, the various pool areas on Disney Dream have something for everyone.

Onboard Activities

The Disney Cruise Line app holds your daily navigator, providing times and locations for all onboard activities. Standard cruise activities fill in these time slots, but of course with a little Disney flare to them. A stand-out for Disney Cruise Line is there are no casinos onboard any DCL ships.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Character meet-and-greets are located around the ship at practically any point throughout the day. Characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy are available daily, while other characters like Ariel, Belle, Princess Tiana, and Captain Hook are only available on select days.

Guests can either book the Royal Gathering (a free pass for line entry to meet all the princesses at once), pay for the Royal Tea Party to meet the princesses, or simply wait in line at the character’s scheduled time.

If you are used to Disney theme park lines like we are, these lines may not seem so bad. But lines can and will get long, especially for popular characters. Plan to spend 20 to 30 minutes waiting in line to meet each character, and be sure to arrive before the scheduled time. The cruise staff will cut off line entry at a certain point.

Shopping onboard combines luxury items with popular Disney souvenirs. Disney cruisers take their merchandise seriously, and there is no restocking while out at sea. If you see something you like, be sure to buy it as it may be gone when you go back. Mickey’s Mainsail was crowded on embarkation night, but crowd levels eased up as the days went on.

Several trivia sessions take place throughout the day as well. While most are Disney-themed, there are some general trivia options such as sports, decades, or music. Craft sessions are also available daily, creating souvenirs such as postcards, memory pages, ornaments, and drink koozies. Both crafts and trivia offer sessions for families and adults only. We decorated drink koozies during an adults-only craft and finally received a medallion for winning Star Wars trivia!

Disney Dream cruise ship review

The Midship Detective Agency is a family-friendly adventure putting you in the middle of the action. Hubs are centrally located on Deck 5 and Deck 2, where guests will grab a pamphlet and a pencil and follow the instructions to solve clues around the ship. My son was finally old enough to help with this, and we had a great time!

On Deck 4, The Buena Vista Theater shows the most recent Disney movies that are in theaters at home. Movies like Ms. Marvel, The Little Mermaid, and Elemental were playing during our sailing.

Beverage tasting seminars and mixology classes are available throughout the cruise at various locations for an additional fee as well. Whiskey, beer, wine, and tequila tastings are just some of the offerings.

We Tested Out the Disney Dream Rainforest Room - Was It Worth It?

Senses Spa on Deck 12 offers a complimentary gym, as well as additional charged services such as manicures, pedicures, haircuts, facials, massages, and the highly sought after Rainforest Room experience. In our Rainforest Room review, we go into detail about everything there is to offer. Spoiler alert: we loved it!

Family and adult game shows, bingo, dance parties, cooking demonstrations, and towel-folding classes round out the daily activities. I’d bet to say that no one in your party will be bored on this ship!

Kids’ Clubs

The kids’ clubs onboard Disney Cruise Line are undoubtedly the best at sea. Best of all, they’re free for children 3 and up! These are excellent ways for the kids to have fun so the adults can have some fun of their own (I’m referring to you, Palo Brunch!). The kids’ clubs are typically open until midnight, later, with select planned activities.

Children ages 3-10 will go to the Oceaneers Club, where they can play in Andy’s Room from Toy Story, fly the Millennium Falcon, do crafts in Pixie Hollow, or play Disney’s Infinity. Three- and four-year-olds have set counselors with organized activities, while the older kids have access to whatever they want! All children must be potty trained to attend the Oceaneers Club.

Ages 11-14 will attend Edge, a space within the famous Disney Cruise Line funnel, allowing tweens to hang out, play board games and video games, or participate in group activities such as scavenger hunts.

Teens ages 14-17 hang out in Vibe, a half-club, half-pool deck area they will never want to leave. Two hot tubs and outdoor loungers are accessible on the exterior, while the interior offers video games, TV, a dance floor, and organized activities.

All venues do have open house hours, meaning that adults and kids can utilize the spaces. I highly recommend attending the open houses on embarkation day to familiarize your children with the clubs. This will make them less hesitant to attend the clubs when you plan adult-only activities! We attended open houses for all the venues, and the youth activities staff could not have been better!

Lastly, there is the It’s a Small World Nursery. Children aged 6 months to 3 years can attend the nursery, but there is a charge. For $9 an hour, this was our best money spent onboard. Nursery staff will play, feed, change diapers, and put even the littlest cruisers to sleep, so parents don’t have to worry.

Our nursery staff was fantastic, sending us messages through the app for all updates, such as when my son fell asleep, woke up, ate, or had a diaper change.

Nightly Entertainment

The nightly entertainment onboard the Disney Dream should not be missed. Broadway-style shows occur in the Walt Disney Theater on Deck 3, and there’s live music nightly in the atrium. Throughout our sailing there were vocalists, pianists, and violinists, all fantastic!

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Disney Cruise Line’s original productions, The Golden Mickeys and Believe, pay tribute to classic Disney movie favorites while telling heartwarming stories along the way. Further, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast adaptation is the best show I have seen at sea. Do not miss this show!

Be sure to get there early for these shows. The Walt Disney Theater is a large theater, but fills up quickly. The doors opened approximately 30 minutes before showtime. We arrived 25 minutes before each show and always found good seats. There will be a queue waiting outside the theater for the doors to open; use this time to have someone stand in line while you grab popcorn from Preludes!

The pirate night deck party takes place outside on Deck 11. Mickey and the gang take on Captain Hook and Mr. Smee in this fun, quirky deck show. While visible from Deck 12 as well, a good viewing spot will be hard to come by if you don’t get there early. A large section in the front of the stage is roped off just for the kids to sit, which is guarded by youth activities staff.

If you’ve sailed other cruise lines, Disney Dream’s nightlife may seem lackluster, apart from the shows. You won’t find raunchy comedians or late-night club scenes on this ship.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Though, there are adults-only game shows, late-night happy hours at the bars and lounges, and activities like adults-only trivia and silent disco parties happening nightly. However, they aren’t always the most attended activities. Many of these events occur between 9 PM and midnight, also prime time for families to put their kids to bed.

I understand why Disney doesn’t put ample effort into late-night adults-only entertainment, but it may be a turn-off for kid-less cruisers.

Bars and Lounges on Disney Dream

The District on Deck 4, Aft, is home to most of the bars and lounges onboard the Disney Dream.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

As avid sports fans and primarily beer drinkers, we found ourselves navigating to Pub 687 frequently. The 687 Pale Ale is brewed exclusively for the cruise line, and we enjoyed it! Pub 687 offers over 10 beers on tap, while all other bars around the ship will only have 2 or 3 taps to choose from.

For any beer drinkers, the souvenir beer mug is worth the investment. The mug is available to purchase for $16.50. Then throughout the cruise, you can purchase 21 oz. beers in it for the price of a 16 oz. beer. This also works during happy hours for double the savings!

Pink Wine and Champagne Bar offers elegant cocktails, most tasting classes, and live music. It’s a must-stop for any wine drinker! Evolution, the nightclub venue, offers a full bar and a few specialty cocktails. I ordered a strawberry margarita while in Evolution for bingo, and it was refreshing but nothing special. Skyline Bar and District Lounge are also located within the District.

Disney Dream cruise ship review

Waves Bar and Currents are the pool deck bars, but you must walk away from the pool to find them. You won’t find any swim-up bars or poolside drinks here. But, there are crew members walking around constantly taking drink orders from anyone in a pool lounger.

D Lounge is the main activity lounge on Deck 4, midship. Trivia, crafts, game shows, and even a cooking demonstration were just some of the activities that occurred in the D Lounge.


For this Disney Dream cruise ship review, we stayed in stateroom 9079. This deluxe inside cabin was located just aft of the midship elevators.

Our stateroom was large when compared to many mega-ships’ inside rooms, but it did lack storage space. Two closets to hang clothes and three small drawers were the only options for putting items out of sight. For our four-night sailing, this was fine, but it could pose a problem for longer sailings.

Immediately entering the stateroom, the doors to the split bathroom are on the right. One bathroom consists of a shower and sink, while the second bathroom has a toilet and sink. This is my favorite part about Disney Cruise Line staterooms. They certainly focused on families when designing these bathrooms. This setup was extremely helpful to have when my toddler needed to use the bathroom while someone was in the shower.

Beyond the bathroom are the desk and sofa, which converts into a twin bed at night. One step further was the queen size bed up against the far wall. The desk was spacious enough to sit our belongings on top while also leaving space for me to get ready. It also has two 110V outlets and two 220V outlets.

Above the bed was the magical porthole. This porthole brought outside views to this interior stateroom via a webcam outside the ship. Disney characters even made surprise appearances throughout the day. The bed was comfortable; we slept great! The sofa bed was perfect for my toddler but certainly too small for my 6-foot husband.

Disney Cruise Line beds do not separate into two twin-sized beds like many other major cruise lines, so keep that in mind when booking. Either side of the bed had two very small shelves. This was large enough for an iPad to sit atop it, but not much else. Additionally, a 110V and 220V outlet was below each shelf.

Disney Dream Stateroom Review

We were comfortable in our room during our sailing. The room was immaculate and spacious enough for our family. Its nautical decor really immerses you in the being at sea feeling. Our stateroom attendant was fantastic as well. He even lined up my son’s stuffed animals on his bed every night, folded his clothes, and left him goodies.

Overall Disney Dream Cruise Ship Review

Between the onboard activities, nightly entertainment, shopping, and various restaurants, there is plenty to do at any time of day onboard the Disney Dream. We enjoyed the food, but the highlight of our trip was the nightly entertainment. These Broadway-caliber singers and dancers are extremely talented, being something you do not want to miss!

I thought there was a good variety of family activities versus adult-only activities, but specifically, the adult nightlife scene was lacking. Anthony, our cruise director, was present at many events, including all shows. Between him and the activities staff, the energy levels onboard the Dream screamed fun.

The Disney Dream is a great ship for families or adults looking for a relaxing vacation with white glove service and a touch of Disney. Though, this may not be the ship for adults looking to let loose on a weekend getaway. There are no casinos, drink packages, or late-night clubs.

For us, Disney Dream offers the vacation of a lifetime. It’s the perfect mix of Disney and relaxation without the hustle and bustle of the parks.

Currently, the Disney Dream sails out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, offering a mix of 3-, 4-, and 5-night sailings to the Bahamas and Disney’s Castaway Cay. In the summer, the Disney Dream heads across the Atlantic to sail European itineraries.


Do you agree with our Disney Dream cruise ship review? Do you have an upcoming Disney cruise? Drop us an anchor below to share your DCL experiences.

Growing up an hour from Disney World, Cyndal has been visiting the parks for as long as she can remember. Her favorite parks are Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Currently, she is an HR/Marketing Manager by day, but visits the parks almost every weekend and enjoys making new Disney memories with her husband and son, Luke, named after Luke Skywalker of course.
Cyndal Benullo, Contributor
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We Just Returned from a Disney Dream Cruise, and Here’s What It Was Like

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