Disney

Ultimate Disney Wonder Review for Families taking their first Disney Cruise

A wonder-filled family vacation aboard the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship from Vancouver to San Diego
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Let me tell you, Disney Cruise Line has got us hooked – anchor, line and sinker!

Since we first took a cruise on the Disney Fantasy two years ago (which you can read about HERE), we just recently took a Disney Wonder cruise from Vancouver to San Diego this year, so I decided to write a Disney Wonder review article that includes comparisons between the two amazing ships.

You see, not every Disney cruise ship is the same. They feature differences in state rooms, dining options, youth clubs, adult lounges, live shows, and much more.

Truth be told, we were really looking forward to seeing these variations. And actually, there were few things we loved even more about the Disney Wonder!

So without further adieu, here is our Disney Wonder review…

(First off the top, I’d like to give a special shout-out to Vesko, our head waiter who really made our family cruise on Disney Wonder extra memorable.)

Waiter on Disney Cruise shares paper flower with child

HotMama Tip: There are lots of ways to book a Disney Cruise. You can book it directly through Disney Cruise Line, but you can also find some great deals at 3rd party sites like Cruise Direct, which you can check out and compare Right HERE. HotMamaTravel participates in the affiliate program with CruiseDirect (since DCL doesn’t have one), so if you book through them with one of the links in this article, it will help support the cost of running this blog and allow us to keep bringing you fresh content. The price is the same for you, so it is what they call a “win-win”!
Disney Cruise Line

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. FIND OUT MORE IN MY DISCLAIMER.

About The Disney Wonder

Built in 1999, the Disney Wonder is the second ship in Disney Cruise Line’s fleet and sister ship to the Disney Magic. However, it recently went through a major renovation in 2016 and the ship actually felt brand new.

Disney Wonder in Port

Smaller than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, the Disney Wonder is perfect for unique itineraries that require tight passage ways like the Alaskan Glaciers or Panama Canal.

Disney Wonder Staterooms

There are four main categories for Disney Wonder staterooms with a total of 10 different room types. Rates will vary depending on category and room type you want to book.

View of ocean from porthole in stateroom on Disney Wonder

HotMama Tip: There are wheelchair-accessible staterooms available for guests who require such accommodations.

1. Concierge Stateroom

This is the most expensive category, but it also includes top-notch accommodations with large verandahs as well as extra amenities and services. Within this category there are three types of room to choose from:

– Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah
– Concierge 2-Bedroom Suite with Verandah
– Concierge 1-Bedroom Suite with Verandah

2. Verandah Stateroom

Next level down from Concierge is the Verandah rooms which are spacious and obviously include a verandah. There are three room types within this category including a family size stateroom.

– Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
– Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah
– Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah

3. Oceanview Stateroom

This is our personal favorite Disney Wonder stateroom. Although very safe, I just don’t having a verandah with all my young children. We love looking at the ocean, but we don’t need to on a balcony to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, the portholes in Disney Wonder staterooms do not have window seats like the ones the in the Fantasy staterooms. However, even without the window seats the porthole windows are enough for our family. There is only one type of room offered in this category and that is the Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom. This was the room that we booked for our vacation. Check current deals and rates HERE

Inside Disney Wonder Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

4. Inside Stateroom

This is the most affordable stateroom aboard the Disney Wonder. But as you can expect with Disney, the rooms are anything but basic. They still have the exciting nautical décor and plush bedding just like the other categories. These are great options if you are looking to find a good deal or if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time in the room. There are two types of rooms to choose from, depending on your budget and availability.

– Deluxe Inside Stateroom
– Standard Inside Stateroom

HotMama Tip: Be sure to find yourself some great Disney-themed Magnets for your stateroom door before embarking on your Disney Cruise. You can find some great designs on Etsy, which is what we did here:

Door Magnets for Disney Cruise from Etsy

Disney Wonder Restaurants & Bars

Rotational Dining

Onboard the Disney Wonder there is three main dining rooms that you will rotate dining in throughout the duration of your cruise. When you book your cruise you will be assigned a dinner seating, a restaurant schedule and table number. There are two dinner seatings, the first one at 5:45 PM and the second one at 8:15 PM. All shows and main events onboard accommodate both seating times, so don’t worry about missing something.

It sounds late, but we actually prefer the 8:15 PM seating, because there is so much to do in a day, especially if you are visiting ports of call, that it is hard to make it to the early dinner on time.

Animator's Palate on Disney Wonder

1. Animator’s Palate

Animator’s Palate is a staple on all four Disney Cruise Line Ships. This is full sensory dining experience that the family will love! At dining room starts out in black and white with Disney sketches all over the walls. As the meal progresses the walls and lighting in the room begin to change and by the end it is an explosion of color, music and animation.

Triton's Restaurant on Disney Wonder

2. Triton’s (Disney Wonder exclusive)

Unique to the Disney Wonder, Triton’s is themed after the Little Mermaid. It is an elegant dining room that glistens in golds and metallic teals just like you would expect from an undersea palace. My inner mermaid was bursting with excitement. It isn’t the most lively restaurant on board the Disney Wonder, but it is beautiful, calming and a nice change of pace.

Although themed after wonders of the sea, the menu is more complex than just seafood with dishes having more of a French flare. A perfect way to combine the worlds and get a little fancy is with an order of escargot. Yes, sea snails and you know what? The kids actually liked them.

Tiana's Place on Disney Wonder

3. Tiana’s Place (Disney Wonder exclusive)

Experience the vivacity of New Orleans out at sea aboard the Disney Wonder. This lively restaurant was last on our rotational dining schedule, making for the perfect grand finale. Complete with live jazz, dance parties, Louisiana-style Creole and Cajun cuisine and of course TIANA herself, this was by far our FAVORITE restaurant!

Our family loves a good party and this was not just a dinner it was a full on Bayou bash! We had such a good time that we would sail on the Disney Wonder again just so we could dine at Tiana’s Place again.

Live Music at Tianas Place on Disney Wonder

HotMama Tip: If you enjoy wine with your dinner, like us, then get one of the wine packages on the first night. It saves you money and you are guaranteed to have a bottle of wine of your choice with each dinner. There is also a great beer package too. You get 24 beers for the price of 20, plus a nice Disney cooler. We got it on the first day, sharing one package among three adults and it lasted us the whole trip.

Family Lounges

Promenade Lounge

This open lounge, on both the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, is a great spot to take a little break and enjoy the ocean views with a cocktail and some live music. Kids are allowed in the Promenade Lounge and there is even a toddler play area, to keep the little ones entertained. There are also appetizers out and available throughout the evening.

Disney Wonder Promenade Lounge

Promenade Lounge is where we would enjoy sipping some bubbles, nibbling on chips and salsa while the kids danced to live band. This is great option for families who like to enjoy the lounges together.

D Lounge

This family lounge is located on all four Disney ships and hosts a number a family activities, like karaoke, trivia and dance parties. There are exciting cocktails available for adults as well as fun nonalcoholic mocktails and smoothies for the kids to help everyone feel like they are ready to party.

Casual/Poolside

  • Cabanas – Cabanas is on all four Disney ships and is where you go to load up on the goods. That’s right, this is where the buffets are throughout the day. Located on the pool deck, it is our favorite spot to grab breakfast and lunch, because we can speedy or leisurely as we want and the kids love to pick out their own food. Plus, we love the casual atmosphere, views of the ocean and the variety of food options.
  • Daisy’s De-Lites – This quick-service poolside deli is available on the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic. Serving up refreshing salads, sandwiches, wraps and fruit, Daisy’s De-Lites is great option for those looking for a lighter fare or a between meal snack. I personally really liked this option, because there were some days I just wanted something light and refreshing. It was also here that I got a really delicious rice bowl.
  • Pinocchio’s Pizzaeria – Who doesn’t love pizza? My kids sure do! Another poolside snack stop on the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic that serves up delicious pizza will have the kids squealing in glee. This is perfect for post swimming hunger or those random pizza cravings.
  • Pete’s Boiler Bites (Disney Wonder exclusive)  Sometimes you just want a burger and Pete’s Boiler Bites is where to get it. Also offered were hot dogs, bratwurst, chicken burgers, chicken tenders, fish burgers, veggie burgers, tacos, fries and more. Basically, it is a crowd-pleaser. The burgers were really good and I had like one a day. Don’t judge me.

Adults-Only Dining and Lounges

Palo

This upscale Italian restaurant is on all four of the Disney ships, but requires a separate reservation. Open for brunch and dinner, this meal is not included in your cruise price and there is a dress code. The atmosphere is romantic and the cuisine is supposedly exquisite. Sounds like it might be a fun little splurge for couples looking for a little kid-free dining. So far, I’ve looked forward to having dinner with my kids each night, so I haven’t had a chance to try Palo out yet.

After Hours

Located on the Deck 3, are the adult only lounges. This is one of my favorite sections of the ship. I love the themes of each lounge and they make for fun little hangouts while the kids are having their own fun at the youth clubs. Plus, they have pretty bomb appetizers in these lounges too!

HotMama Tip: Although it is the “adults only” area, kids are allowed until 9:00Pm. However, you rarely see kids in the lounges. We never took our two older kids into the lounges, but I did wheel in the baby in the stroller.

Cadillac Lounge

Now this lounge is ascetically awesome! It was quieter Themed with 1950’s Cadillacs, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and you suddenly got really cool. The Cadillac Lounge features shiny teak wood, fiber optics, luscious leather seating that resembles the interior of a Cadillac and the show-stopper headlight light fixture behind the bar. You’ll definitely want to sip something on the rocks while you listen to the live piano music.

However we didn’t spend too much time in the Cadillac Lounge. It may be more wild late at night, but when we were there had more of a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, which wasn’t what we were in the mood for most nights.

Crown & Fin Pub

This was by far our favorite place to be on the Disney Wonder. If you have seen any of our other blogs, you will know that pubs are kind of our thing. The Crown & Fin Pub was always lively, which we love.

Crown and Fin Pub on Disney Wonder

This is where we would grab a pint and some yummy wings and play a little trivia before dinner. I really like the setup of the pub, especially the comfy oversized leather chairs conversationally situated next to jumbo portholes.

Azure

This is considered the nightclub on board the Disney Wonder. By night it is a happening night spot for adults, but day it home to a host of family-friendly activities. For instance, BINGO, which we played for the major jackpot! We didn’t win of course. Sad face.

Things to do on board Disney Wonder

Deck parties

Adventures Away

Although called the Sail Away party on the Fantasy, it is same celebration kicking off the excitement of your adventure. After lunch and the safety drill, guests are invited to party on deck with all their favorite Disney characters with a wild dance party The Wonder pulls away from port and out the open sea.

Adventures away deck party on Disney Wonder

The most exciting part is when the ship’s blow horn blasts with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” It is a powerful moment.

Pirate Night

Standard on all for ships, no matter if you are sailing a themed cruise during Christmas, Halloween or Marvel days, every cruise has a pirate night. Although the Disney Fantasy’s pirate night was bit more outrageous with Jack Sparrow dropping down on deck, Disney Wonder’s pirate night was just as fun.

Pirate night party on Disney Wonder

There are a bunch of pirate themed activities throughout the evening in the youth clubs. At dinner the servers are dressed up and dance at the end of the meal. Then it all culminates at the end of the evening with a dance party and fireworks on deck. It is just a really fun night and it is always fun see everyone’s creativity expressing their inner pirate.

Frozen Deck Party

Celebrated on the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, the Frozen Deck Party is only held during select 7-night cruises. So, we didn’t get to experience this party, but it runs just like pirate night. There are themed activities throughout the day and a themed dinner before the big deck party in the evening.

Live Shows at the Walt Disney Theater

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular (Disney Wonder Exclusive)

What a wonderful show! Recounting the tale of Anna and Elsa, this musical is full of great music and theatrical techniques. During Elsa’s faces ballad, “Let it Go,” the theatrical is engulfed in flurries making you really feel like winter is coming! Don’t miss this one!

The Golden Mickeys

This is a super fun award-style show reminiscent of the Oscars with nominees performing musical numbers representing the category in which they are being nominated.

Golden Mickeys Red Carpet with kids

It even starts with a pre-show red carpet event where kids can get interviewed by the ship’s celebrity reporter. The interview is then aired onto the big screens inside the Walt Disney Theater. Of course our kids loved this and milked their time on the red carpet.

Disney Dreams-An Enchanted Classic

This show is an inspirational tale following young girl who has lost the since of magic in her heart. Thanks to a host of various Disney Characters, she finds the strength to believe and will to a positive thinker. The show is full of great music, dancing and costumes, so miss it.

Character Meet & Greets

It is nearly impossible to miss a character meet & greet, because they are all day long throughout the cruise. If there is a specific character you don’t want to miss, check you daily itinerary for times and locations for meet & greets. All meet & greets are free and most the time you can just get in line and get your picture, but there are a couple meet & greets that require a pre-reservation. The Princess and the Frozen meet & greets are the two that you have to reserve your spot ahead of time when booking your cruise.

Disney Cruise Character meet and greets

We had reserved spots for both, but ended up canceling our Frozen meet & greet to watch Christopher Robin in the WaltDisney Theater.

Pixar Pals Party (Disney Wonder Exclusive)

This party is not only just on the Disney Wonder, but is it exclusive to the Alaska cruises. Again, we did not get to participate in this party, but you are booking an Alaskan cruise don’t miss all your favorite Pixar characters at this fun dance party in the grand atrium.

Movies at Buena Vista Theatre

Reminiscent of old Hollywood, this is the main theater for viewing movies at sea. Various films are shown throughout the day and evening, so check you daily itinerary for show times.

Youth Clubs

All of the following youth clubs are on all four Disney ships, however each ship has slight variations in designs.

Oceaneer Club & Oceaneer Lab (Ages 3-12)

This is a safe and secure multi-room play area that requires a magic Disney band to check in and an approved adult with secret password to check out. The bands are placed on kids before boarding and they must wear throughout the cruise as it also acts as a GPS on your kid in case they wonder off. The password and approved adults for pick up is arranged when you book the cruise and pre-register your child.

Disney Wonder Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab

This is my kids favorite part of a Disney cruise. They were obsessed with the Oceaner Club and Lab on the Disney Fantasy and were so excited to see how the rooms were different on the Disney Wonder.

Oceaneer Club

  • Andy’s Room – This is such a cute room, but what is different on the Disney Wonder is that there is a giant Slinky Dog slide! That was the first thing my kids went for when they first check out the Oceaner Club and the room my husband always found them in when checking them out.
  • Marvel Super Hero Academy – Yes, this looks like a super hero headquarters and it is awesome. This room was not on the Disney Fantasy and my son spent a lot of time in this room. There are tons of fun activities and video games happening in this room and even super heroes have been known to pop in and out from time to time. My son said he learned moves from Spiderman himself!
  • Disney Junior – This is just a really pretty and enchanted looking room where kids can make crafts and play games.
  • Frozen Adventure – If you like warm hugs, then you will love this cute Frozen themed room. looks like the supply shop in the Frozen movie, complete with an animated visit from. This room was not on the Fantasy, so the kids were really excited to explore this new space.

Playing Marvel Avengers

Oceaneer Lab

  • Animator’s Studio – This is where kids can learn how to create masterpieces as well as how to sketch Disney characters.
  • Captain’s Workshop – This pirate themed space is perfect for watching movies, playing video games and tons of other themed activities.
  • Craft Studio – This is one of my daughter’s favorite rooms, because she loves to craft. This where kids can create very own special souvenirs like pillow cases, jewelry and more.
  • The Wheelhouse – Kids have an opportunity to feel like a captain in the Wheelhouse with giant LCD screen navigation simulators. Yes, kids can feel as if they are steering the Disney Wonder out to sea.

Edge (ages 11-14)

This is the tween club aboard the Disney Wonder is a basement inspired space, loaded with exciting high-tech gadgets, like big screen TVs, computers, interactive play stations and video games to keep this age group sufficiently entertained. Plus, there are always exciting activities and events happening at Edge, like dance parties, challenges and theme nights. Not to mention, this is the spot for them to meet and mingle with kids their same age, making friends with kids from all over the world. Edge is open daily from 10:00am to 1:00am! They might out party you!

Teen Vibe (ages 14-17)

This ultra cool lounge is for the teens to chill out and relax…or party hard. Open until 2:00am, this space decked out with everything your teen needs to have a great cruise. There is even a coffee bar and mocktail bar for teens to grab a fun nonalcoholic beverage or smoothie! On the Disney Wonder, Vibe is designed to look like an urban loft filled with comfy conversations areas, flat screens, tablets, games, dance floor and more.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

There is nothing like a bit of pampering to get into vacation mode. With a variety of packages to choose from, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is not just for girls. We booked both our kids for a day at this magical salon.

Disney Cruise Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

We booked the Crown package for Keeley which included hair, makeup, nails, tiara, princess sash and a take home goodie bag of care products. For Kevin we booked the Knight package where he was given an awesome hair do, shield and sword.
They have special options available for pirate night where the whole family can get the works.

Pools

Goofy’s Pool

This is the big family pool. It faces Funnel Vision, the open air movie screen, so everyone can enjoy various Disney films while taking a relaxing swim or a relaxing soak in one of the two hot tubs. During deck parties the Goofy’s pool is covered, making room of a massive open air dance floor.

AquaLab

This is the fun Huey, Dewey and Louie splash zone complete with pouring paint can, leaky pipes and the show stopper, Donald’s Boiler. When you push the buttons the tension builds until Donald blows off steam and sprays the crowd.

Aqua Lab on Disney Wonder

Twist n’ Spout Slide

Rising high above the AquaLab is this double-looping waterslide. What I loved about this slide was that there was a video camera at the top so parents could see when their child was about to go the slide. My son, Kevin, was scared to go down the little slide on the Disney Fantasy, so I was super surprised when he braved the Twist n’ Spout Slide on the Disney Wonder. The funny thing is that I could see him contemplating his decision from the camera.

Twist and Spout Slide Disney Wonder

Dory’s Reef

Just off the toddler pool, next to the AquaLab is the cute Dory’s Reef splash park. Perfect for babies and toddlers, Dort’s Reef has tons of water fun, like pop jets, a water curtain and fountains. It is a playful, colorful and safe space for little ones to get wet.

Dory's Reef on Disney Wonder Cruise

Quiet Cove Pool

Maybe you are into giggling kids while trying to lounge poolside. Or maybe your kids are hanging out in the Oceaneer Lab and you would like little solace with your Bloody Mary. Well good news, not every pool day has to be wild. At Quiet Cove adult-only pool, adults can seek some respite under gazebos and indulge in a cocktail at the Cove Café.

Wide World of Sports

Do you like to stay active on vacation? Great, because now you can have playing your favorite sports with an ocean view. On the Disney Wonder guests can play basketball, ping-pong and soccer at one of the many open-air courts. There is also shuffleboard and a running track in addition to deck activities to join.

Playing Basketball on Disney Wonder Deck

My kids are really into basketball right now and loved playing a few rounds on deck. I enjoyed sipping a Bloody Mary, gazing at the sparkling sea while they played.

Senses Spa & Salon (Adults only)

If you like to get pampered, then check out the Senses Spa & Salon. They offer a number of treatments and services in a luxurious environment to make you feel rejuvenated.

Chill Spa (ages 13-17)

You aren’t the only one who likes to get pampered! The teens will love indulging at the Chill Spa. They have a bunch of fun treatments like the Mother/Daughter Paradise Massage and the Father/Son Chill Out Massage as well as delicious treatments like Hot Chocolate Wrap, the Fabulously Fruity Facial and the Ice Cream Pedicure.

There are also cool fitness boot camps, hair treatments and skin bronzing. Heck this sounds amazing! I want to go the Chill Spa too! I know my kids having been begging to go to a spa, so this might be a fun gift for their 13th birthdays.

That’s A Wrap!

Although this ship is smaller than the Disney Fantasy, size isn’t everything. Truthfully, the Disney Wonder is so grand that you can hardly tell a difference in size and if anything the smaller size makes it quainter and easier to maneuver.

Family Photo Embarking Disney Wonder

There were also a few things we preferred on the Disney Wonder verses the Disney Fantasy. For instance, we really enjoyed the Crown & Fin pub on the Disney Wonder a little more than the pub on the Disney Fantasy. The Frozen Musical was spectacular. Furthermore, we can safely say that Tiana’s Place has been our favorite restaurant on any Disney Cruise!

The takeaway: don’t just cruise one Disney ship, if possible you should try them all.

Every ship is a little different and that makes it exciting. All in all our experience on the Disney Wonder was wonderful and I think you will love it too. This is your last chance to check out current deals and book your Disney Cruise today!

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Family Review of Disney Wonder

Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

6 Comments

  1. I was always on the fence about a Disney cruise. I was worried about the kids getting bored.This looks like so much fun! Everyone looks like they are having so much fun. There is a lot to keep everyone busy.

    • Absolutely! Yeah, fun for all age groups and Disney seems to think of everything. Honestly, cheap cruises are fun and a better deal, but with young kids I think if we can afford it we will keep doing Disney cruises until they get a little older.

  2. Hi, Very Good Article. I really appreciate it. Well researched article. Now you got one regular visitor to your website for new topics. Keep up the Good Work Thanks for always sharing. Nicole Graham

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