From Land to Sea: 5 Elements from the Disney Parks that You'll Find on a Disney Cruise Ship

By JeniLynn Knopp

You have been to the Disney Parks, and you love them. You keep going back for that pixie-dust rush. You can’t imagine a vacation apart from Disney Parks, yet somehow the “old and familiar” is getting a bit old and familiar.

This is where the Disney Cruise Line enters. It’s a Disney vacation of a different variety. The dissimilarities are a bit obvious. You’re on a ship in the ocean, visiting foreign places. This is nothing like being landlocked in a park, surrounded by coasters and kiosks. So what can you expect from the Disney Parks to carry over to your cruise?


Disney Parks are among the most popular theme parks, and the Disney fleet among the most popular cruise lines. Popular tends to imply crowds. In general, the ship holds them well. There are enough activities and venues scattered throughout the decks that the quantity of people is usually masked, but there are other times when it is painfully felt. You will find yourself feeling like a sardine in the elevators, in the main pools, and during events held in the lobby. You will wait in significant lines for professional photos, for dinner, and sometimes for guest relations. Just like a degree of tolerance is required to happily survive a day in Disney Parks, don’t forget to pack your patience before you embark on a Disney cruise.


Let’s be honest. As much as adults are able to enjoy Disney as adults, the brand is geared towards families. Specifically, it is geared towards families with children. For that reason, you will find children on your Disney cruise. In fact, you will find a lot of them. Remember when we talked about the elevators, the main pools, and the events in the lobby being crowded? Expect a significant percentage of that crowd to be under 18. The good news is that the design of a cruise allows for happier children in general. That hot, hungry, tired, cranky child in the park will usually be fed and whisked away to a cool, easily accessible stateroom on a cruise. There they can recover and return to the public in a more suitable condition.


Disney really isn’t Disney without it’s celebrity line-up, so you can meet any number of Disney characters at specified times each day on your cruise. The Fab 5 and the Disney princesses are trotted out rather regularly, but you can expect a few “less commercialized” ones to appear once or twice. Peter Pan and Captain Hook would be among them. And in the style of Disney Parks, these characters throw themed parties throughout the voyage. Sail away parties, meet the captain parties, and the popular pirate parties are all events that feature Disney’s best in terms of celebrations on the sea.


Bet you didn’t see that coming, but it makes sense. No one does fireworks like Disney…no one. Being the single largest purchaser of fireworks in the United States, they could hardly exempt their cruise line from pyrotechnic treats. Every pirate party climaxes with a brief firework show on the ship. Don’t expect the grandeur of Wishes. You won’t get it, but you will get a pretty great set of explosives set off to synchronized music while you are out somewhere in the middle of the ocean. That is not something at which to snub your nose.


Disney is famous for it. They even train other businesses to provide it, and they definitely bring it on board. In fact, you actually may find more of it here. From the moment you step on the ship until the moment you step off, the crew of the Disney Cruise Line seems to go above and beyond to make your trip the best you’ve ever taken. The crew member of the ship has a bit of an advantage over the Cast Member of the park, and that is time. You deal with the same stateroom host, server, assistant server, child caretakers, and entertainers day after day. They get to know you, your preferences, and your special occasions. All of this works in their favor for personalizing your vacation and bringing about that Disney magic in a very powerful form.

For Disney fans, these elements provide a fresh and exciting experience that still has a sense of familiarity and sentimentality. So if your Disney Park vacation needs a new twist, a Disney cruise could be the ticket. You may be sacrificing Space Mountain for a shore excursion, but the truth is that in terms of the Disney touch, this is still a great way to get away.

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