STAFF / Theme Parks

Life was but a DREAM on this Disney Cruise!

Story by staff writer Betsy Villanella. Photos Copyright © Betsy Villanella.

IN AUGUST, my husband Mike and I had a wonderful time cruising with friends on the Disney Dream, one of the two newest Disney ships that were launched in the last couple of years. The Dream being the first in 2011, and her sister ship The Fantasy launched in 2012.

This ship has 14 decks. It’s 1,115 feet long, 125 feet wide and weighs 130,000 tons. There are 1,250 staterooms. It can hold 4,000 passengers and over 1,400 crew members. The crew goes above and beyond to make your cruise the best possible.

The ship is aptly named—it truly is a “dream.” I felt like I was walking into a 5-star hotel with its beautiful chandeliers and works of art. There are also many photos and special, magical framed prints throughout the ship.


Opulent chandeliers

With the exception of a Donald Duck statue—the Disney Dream’s mascot standing at the bottom of the elegant staircase—it didn’t even feel like “Disney.” A closer inspection, however, revealed lots of special touches that decorated every nook and cranny of the ship, such as hidden Mickeys and other Disney characters. Of course, in the family areas the characters were not so hidden.

Admiral Donald Duck

Admiral Donald Duck & Mickey Mouse

As I entered Cabanas, the buffet area, seagulls from the Finding Nemo movie were lined up on a shelf. They seemed to be watching people eat; I could almost hear them: “Mine, mine, mine!”

I loved that the walls were covered with mosaic tiles depicting Nemo and friends. Even when getting off the elevator on Deck 11 before entering Cabanas, Nigel the pelican greeted us.


The pelican from Finding Nemo greeted us as we
got off the elevator on the floor with the buffet

This is an extremely large ship that has everything you could want for a great cruise experience.

There are spas for adults, and even a special spa for teens. The Walt Disney Theater is full-sized, with a balcony and opera boxes; we saw the premier of Timothy Green there. We also saw Broadway-class shows in this theater.


Relaxing, inviting spa

Vibe, an area for ages 14 to 17, is both inside and outside on Deck 5, with a dance floor and a huge video wall to watch movies and play games on.

There’s also an outdoor deck at the front of the ship for the teens’ exclusive use. Here, they can sunbath in lounge chairs or use the splash pools, pop jets, and misters.

Teens area.

Teens area

Edge on Deck 13, for kids aged 11-14, is a fun-filled, high-tech area, with a lit-up dance floor and laptops for games. But the coolest thing is a complete wall of flat screens.

The Oceaneer Lab is for children aged 3-12. Here the kids can immerse themselves in other lands, such as Andy’s Room from Toy Story and Pixie Hollow from Tinkerbell. There is even Disney’s Explorer Pod, where kids can join in story-telling and have special visits by the Disney characters, both in person and on screen. They can make their own “Flubber” in the lab too.

Ariel has a little chat with a couple of fans.

Ariel and Minnie Mouse visiting with their little fans

It’s a Small World Nursery, for children three months to three years, lets parents leave their little ones in a safe, caring environment.

With all these exclusive sections, a parent can know their children will have a ton of fun, and be safe too. They can go enjoy the ADULTS-only section worry-free—and boy is there plenty to enjoy for every taste.


Adult only swim-up bar

One adult-exclusive area is a pool with both a cool, deep end and a warm, shallow end, with a swim-up bar. A hot tub is perfectly placed on the edge of the deck with its outer see-through wall and floor, giving a clear view of the sea below.

Cove Cafe is a relaxing coffee shop where, on one side, you can just chill and read a book, and on the other side you can watch a game on the flat-screen TV.


See-through sides


The Cove Cafe

For evening adult-only entertainment, the Disney Dream provides a whole passel of nightclubs and lounges, with most centered on Deck 4 Aft. These include 687 (a sports bar), The District Lounge, Evolution and Pink (where you are made to feel like you’re sitting in a glass of champagne).

My favorite was Skyline, where the “skyline” (seven big LCD screens) changes every fifteen minutes. It seems as if you’re gazing out a window in places like Paris and Hong Kong: not only does it change cities, but from day to night, as the day progresses. I only saw it at night, but it was fascinating watching the headlights of cars driving by the Arc de Triomphe, and seeing the Eiffel tower with Paris lit up around it!

Champagne display in "Pink" one of the adult bars.

Champagne display in “Pink,” one of the adult bars

More windows in Paris at the Skyline bar.

More windows in Paris at the Skyline bar

On Deck 13 and Deck 12 Aft, you don’t have to walk far to find a tropical drink complete with umbrella.

The mid section of the ship on Deck 11 is for all ages and families. Here you’ll find a giant screen for movies and parties, and the Mickey pool, as well as Nemo’s Reef, a soak and play area for the little ones who are too small for the pool.


Nemo’s Reef

The entrance for the AquaDuck is on Deck 12. It’s an awesome water coaster. while I was riding a raft in the clear tube of rushing water for 765 feet, zipping above the deck, and even going over the side, I could look down to a view of the sea below. It’s great fun and I enjoyed it three times!

The Aqua Duck in action!

The Aqua Duck in action

Our stateroom was very comfortable—larger than other cruise ships I have been on—with a veranda for watching the sea go by, or to watch Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island) become bigger on the horizon as the ship approaches to dock for the day.


Our very cozy room. Really quite large for a cruise ship.

Ahh, Castaway Cay. How do I tell you about this little piece of paradise? My favorite part of this cruise! The flowers, the sea breeze, the dancing palms: a place you’ll want to return to again and again. We enjoyed the family area for a few hours and it was so much fun watching the children play on Pelican’s Plunge.


Beautiful flowers of Castaway Cay

Disney-Dream-Cruise-Castaway-Cay-Dancing Palms

Dancing palm trees

Castaway Cay also has an adults-only area, where you can bask in the sun and take gentle dips in the beautiful crystal blue Caribbean sea, while enjoying the quiet tranquility of the island—not a sand toy in sight.

The relaxing, and wonderful adult beach on Castaway Cay.

The relaxing and wonderful adult beach on Castaway Cay.

This cruise was the stuff dreams are made of, and when I cruise again it will certainly be with Disney; in my opinion they are head and shoulders above their competitors.


Betsy Villanella

Our Disney specialist Elizabeth Villanella has lived in the Montrose, Pennsylvania area most of her life. Betsy married her high school boyfriend in 1973. As an Air Force wife, she has lived in Texas, Italy, and Virginia. Between the two of them, her sons have given her fourteen grandchildren and counting. Betsy and her husband currently live with Albert K. Ninestein, a mini Schnauzer who’s as smart as his namesake. She loves to travel and wants to experience (and share) as many places in this world as she can! Betsy tweets as @betsy_v.



  1. Le Sigh! What a FUN trip….I felt like I was back on board again! What a great trip and a WONDERFUL trip back with your article! I’m ready to go again!

    • Betsyv says:

      Let’s go! Thanks for the nice comment. I had the best time! It was a fun article to write.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Betsy! Great to relive the memories. Miss you all and wish we were back on the ‘Dream’!

  3. Betsy, this is all so beautiful, your photos are amazing and draw me in that much more!
    And, while I’d love to go on a Disney cruise, I’m especially intrigued by “Skyline” 🙂

    • Estrella,
      Thank you! You wouldn’t believe how beautiful this ship is. Not at all what you would picture of a “Disney” cruise.

      The Skyline was so cool. I could have sat and watched the changes all day. Although we didn’t stay long at all. There always seemed to be something we were busy going to whenever we went by it. All the lounges had fun themes, and were fun to check out.

  4. Betsy, I really enjoyed your article 🙂

    I’ve never been on a cruise, but this one makes me want to try one 🙂

    • Thank you Teresa,
      You should! Its really a worry free vacation, as everything is taken care of for you. All you have to do is arrive and the fun begins. There are a ton of things to join in on, or just relax and do nothing. Your drinks will even be delivered to you where ever you decide to be.
      I’m sure you’d love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *