If you are considering taking a Disney cruise you may be wondering what is included in the cruise fare.
In this article, we explore everything that is included, and also everything that isn’t – so that you can better plan for your Disney cruise.
Do Disney Cruises Include Food?
All Disney cruises include food in the cruise fare.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all included and are served at a variety of venues onboard.
There are additional extras and Speciality Restaurants onboard which come at an additional charge.
It is completely possible to cruise with Disney and not spend any extra money on food.
There is a lot more included in the Disney cruise fare than just food.
Disney are a premium cruise line which includes some things that wouldn’t be included on other cruise lines.
Disney Dining Options – Main Dining Rooms
Main Dining Rooms – Rotational Dining:
On all Disney ships, you will find included main dining rooms where your main meals are eaten.
Disney does dining slightly differently from the majority of other cruise lines as they have “Rotational dining.” You eat at a different venue every night.
Disney was a pioneer in the cruise industry when it introduced Rotational Dining and to this day, they remain the only cruise line that does this
What is Rotational Dining on a Disney Cruise?
Put simply, each of Disney’s ships contains three “main dining” restaurants.
Each passenger is assigned a dining rotation for their cruise, along with an early or late seating assignment.
Passengers then move (or rotate) from restaurant to restaurant according to their assigned rotation, with their serving staff following them each night.
On shorter cruises, you might only experience each restaurant once, while on longer cruises you might experience each restaurant multiple times.
Disney Restaurant Themes
Disney’s restaurants are themed across their various ships including:
- A New Orleans themed “Tiana’s Place” aboard the Disney Wonder which serves Cajun food.
- A Mardi Gras inspired stage show and music with Disney characters from the Princess and the Frog.
The Disney Magic has a restaurant themed after Disney’s “Tangled.” Rapunzel’s Royal Table features Rapunzel and other characters, as well as an entertaining stage show.
All four of Disney’s ships include a restaurant called Animator’s Palette.
Each of the Animator’s Palette restaurants features a unique show including colour-changing walls, Turtle Talk with Crush, or an animation magic show.
When I went, the restaurant had a black and white theme as we entered, then as we ate, the walls slowly changed colours!
Animations that we had been asked to draw at the start of the meal then appeared, dancing around the walls of the restaurant! I have never seen anything quite like it!
Even some of the more “mundane” Disney restaurants feature Disney theming to make the meal fun for adults and children alike.
Menus at the restaurants change nightly, and you can always see what’s on the menu in Disney’s onboard “Daily Navigator” App.
You don’t have to pay for Wi-Fi to use the Disney App. Find out why here:
Tip: you can actually order food items off the nightly menus from any of the rotational dining restaurants, even if you’re not dining in that restaurant for the evening.
Repeat cruisers do criticise Disney a bit for not changing their menus often enough across their ships – but many people also say that their favourite menu items keep them coming back cruise after cruise…
All the food is included (you won’t find any upcharges for food on the menu), and you’re free to order as much or as little as you wish.
Food Allergies and Intolerances
Disney is also well known for accommodating regional food needs for families travelling from abroad and has one of the best track records for accommodating customers with food allergies.
It’s not uncommon for the Chef to come out personally to understand a food allergy and ensure that the guest’s needs are being fully met, or for kitchen staff to remake dishes to accommodate allergy needs.
Disney’s food is generally regarded as on par with, and in most cases better than, food on comparable lines.
Disney Dining Options – Other Dining Venues:
Like other cruise lines, Disney has a buffet that serves breakfast and lunch daily at its “Cabanas” Restaurant.
The buffet offerings, especially at lunch, change daily. Although some standards like “Mickey Waffles” at breakfast, and chicken fingers and fries at lunch are almost always available.
Disney sometimes offers a themed “Midnight” style buffet in conjunction with “Pirate Night” (more about this further down the article) although that is not always the case according to recent reports.
The buffet is not open for dinner, but most nights you can also order a sit-down meal at Cabanas at your own schedule if you can’t make your regular dinner seating.
Casual Dining and Snacks
In addition, Disney has several casual dining options on the pool deck serving burgers, fries, sandwiches, fruit, salads, and pizza.
Casual dining generally closes in the evening, with some options, like pizza, staying open for a late-night snack.
If you’re looking for a snack, Disney also generally puts out some late-night bites in its adult area.
Soft-serve ice cream is available for the majority of the day on the pool deck.
Some of the adult bars also serve a small snack, like nuts (or something similar), with drinks.
In the morning you can head to the Cove Café for free breakfast pastries, and at night you can also grab charcuterie offerings.
Are Drinks Included on a Disney Cruise?
Soft drinks, water, tea, and coffee are available for free at drink stations in Cabanas and on the pool deck all day.
Alcoholic drinks are not included in the cruise fare on a Disney Cruise
Is Room Service Included on a Disney Cruise?
Room service is included, in your cruise fare – with some exceptions.
Want a Mickey ice cream bar? It’s included. Milk and cookies included (I preferred Coke and cookies myself! )
Many entrees, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers are also included.
One trick Disney cruisers love is ordering a hot pot of coffee in the evening. It will generally stay warm until the next morning when you wake up.
Warm milk and cookies at night before bed is also a big fan favourite. (I am happy to take the cookies, but wouldn’t drink warm milk.)
Some items are at an “up-charge” but most of the room service menu is included, any time of day. Soda is not free on room service, I ran up to the pool deck and got it free of charge…
Disney Cruise Line – Included Entertainment
Broadway Caliber Shows
Disney is known for having high-quality Broadway-style shows.
Generally, the best of these shows are adaptations of Disney favourites – like Aladdin, Frozen, or The Lion King.
The quality of these stage productions, their casts, and the special effects good, compared to singing an dancing shows sometimes found on other lines.
Disney Cruise Line fans love the shows onboard and repeat cruisers never seem to tire of some of the productions.
In addition to these stage shows, Disney also generally has other performers onboard.
In addition to music acts available throughout the ship at various times, especially in adult areas or the main atrium, you can expect to see hypnotists, magicians, jugglers, comedians, and other similar kinds of acts sprinkled throughout a week-long cruise.
Most of the time these acts will perform a family-friendly show, as well as an “adults” show later in the evening in the adult area of the ship.
Family-friendly shows run twice nightly before in coordination with dinner seatings.
On longer or unique sailings, generally longer than seven nights, Disney will bring aboard special entertainment offerings.
Those have generally been Broadway stars or Disney celebrities who do special stage shows during the cruise. These are some truly unique and high-caliber performers.
Let’s face it, you’re only going to find Mickey, Minnie, and friends on a Disney cruise.
Disney puts serious effort into bringing a lot of great characters on board with each sailing, including a full complement of Disney Princesses.
Unlike trying to meet characters at the Disney parks, queues/lines aboard a Disney ship for character meetings tend to be much shorter and more manageable.
This provides some great photo opportunities with characters at all hours of the day.
In addition, characters are known for wandering the ships, providing even more opportunities for impromptu photos, interactions, and fun.
Seeing Mickey in his running clothes taking a walk around the track is only possible on a Disney cruise!
On longer cruises, Disney also generally offers character breakfasts (usually with Disney Jr. characters), and even a tea experience with the Princesses.
Deck Parties, Pirate Night, Fireworks, and Special Days at Sea
Disney also offers several onboard parties featuring Disney characters and fun. Beyond the sail away party and Mickey’s “See Ya Real Soon” party on the last night, Disney also typically offers a Pirate Night.
Pirate Night is a festive event where the ship is “taken over” by Captain Hook and his crew, while Mickey and friends battle him for control of the boat in a stage show hosted on the pool deck.
Offering an opportunity for everyone to get in the spirit and dress up in pirate costumes, Pirate Night is capped off with Disney’s famous fireworks at sea.
If you haven’t seen fireworks off a cruise ship, it’s truly an amazing experience.
(Disney ships are often shadowed by ships from other lines so their passengers can see the fireworks too!)
Disney also offers several themed sailings, like Star Wars, Marvel, and Frozen days at sea.
For one day on each sailing, the ship is decorated to match the theme for the day, and loveable Disney characters are replaced with droids, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, Iron Man, Captain America, Dr. Strange and others.
Holiday sailings also include extra themes and decorations that transform Disney ships for Halloween and Christmas with over-the-top Disney magic, special characters, and costume fun.
Family and Adult Activities
Disney offers several family-friendly and even adult-only entertainment and activities throughout the day.
The “D Lounge” for families, hosts everything from trivia to cooking demonstrations during the day.
You don’t have to lounge by the pool all day if you don’t want to. You can quickly fill a day with activities for all ages.
At night, the adult area of the ship on Deck 4 comes alive. You can enjoy some cocktails and chat – while playing games, like Match Your Mate, or dance the night away or chat with new friends you’ve made on board.
One favourite onboard activity for people of all ages is the “Midship Detective Agency” a themed mystery that leverages “themed paintings” and other Disney magic all over the ship to solve one of three themed mysteries involving Mickey and his friends, or the Muppets.
It’s a great way to stay active, and explore parts of the ship you might not otherwise see!
Of course, there are pools. But on many Disney ships, there are more than one.
All ships have a main pool for kids and families, along with multiple hot tubs, a shallow wading pool for younger kids, and a splash pad area for kids of varying ages.
Disney Cruise Line fans do note, unsurprisingly, that swimming pools can get crowded – especially on sea days – sometimes describing them as “kid soup!”
You’ll also find an adult area with a quiet pool and hot tub area on all ships.
On the Dream class ships, you’ll be able to take advantage of “Satellite Falls” an adults-only pool area at the front of the pool deck near the communications and satellite array.
What’s most impressive about these adult areas is that as soon as you enter them, the din and noise of kids and families dies away.
It feels almost like a cruise within a cruise – which can make Disney a truly fun experience for adults who also want the Disney’s experience and service.
While Disney does not have Go-Kart tracks or Laser Tag, it does have water slides.
On the Dream and Fantasy, that is the Aqua Duck, an easy-going raft-based water slide themed after Donald Duck and his nephews that circles the pool deck for a fun and wet view of the ocean and the ship.
On the Disney Wonder you can experience the slightly more thrilling Twist N’Spout, or on the Magic the AquaDunk, which is probably most easily compared to the Green Thunder slide on Carnival.
Find out which other cruise line have ships with Go Kart Tracks onboard here:
A Disney cruise wouldn’t be complete without Disney movies.
Starting in your stateroom, many of the ships are equipped with an on-demand TV system that allows you to access all of your favourite animated and live-action Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films.
When I sailed on Disney Magic there were many films available on the cabin TV – but unfortunately the TV was old, and finding and selecting your chosen film was almost unmanageable!
You can also watch Disney movies throughout the day and into the evening on “Funnel Vision” a mega-screen that sits behind the ship’s funnel overlooking the main family pool.
The Buena Vista Theater on Decks 4 and 5 also plays recent and new first-run Disney movies throughout Disney cruises.
On some cruises, you’ll even be able to experience the opening night of new Disney films at sea, as DCL will play them at the same time they are opening in theatres.
iMessaging and Disney App
Families can use text messaging built into the onboard Disney Cruise Line app.
Just connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi and you can text with friends and family for free (including fun Disney emojis), get alerts, or browse the ship’s Daily Navigator for fun activities or nightly menus.
Disney includes free wireless iMessaging for iPhones on it’s sailings.
Gym and Running Track
If you want to stay healthy on your cruise, Disney has a full gym facility onboard with cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines, as well as a running track around the outside of the ship on Deck 4.
The spa’s shower facilities are also available to anyone without a fee.
To learn more about cruise ship gyms, including why you may have to sign a waiver, check out this post:
One of the biggest amenities on a Disney Cruise are the included kids’ clubs. There are clubs for young kids (the Oceaneer’s Club and Lab), tweens (the Edge), and teenagers (the Vibe).
They include onboard counsellors, lots of fun activities, and various kinds of entertainment like gross science, cooking classes, video games, crafting, or scavenger hunts for older kids.
While many family-friendly cruise lines have kids’ clubs, the quality of Disney’s counsellors are apparently amazing, as is their ability to handle a wide range of kids and interests.
The kids’ clubs are also highly themed to Disney with some having spaces like Woody’s Toy Box, a Millennium Falcon simulator, or Avengers-themed spaces.
Disney Cruise Line Stateroom Guide:
DCL has several categories of staterooms including inside cabins, ocean-view cabins, balcony cabins, and some suites (including Walt and Roy Disney Suites for true Disney fans).
Balcony and ocean-view rooms can come in standard and deluxe/family variants that include more space.
Similarly, you can sail Concierge class on Disney and have access to well-appointed staterooms as well as one-bedroom suites (two-bedroom suites can also be found on the Magic class ships).
The cost of Concierge is sometimes twice as much as a comparable stateroom on DCL – but also includes several additional amenities.
Disney has some of the most spacious staterooms at sea – even in the inside cabins.
The added square footage plays to Disney’s core demographic, families; allowing in some cases families of five to fit comfortably in a single stateroom.
As well from square footage, most Disney staterooms have split bathrooms – with one bathroom containing a bath/shower and sink, and the other containing a second sink and toilet.
Having two sinks can make getting ready for dinner as a family or a couple much easier.
Disney cabins are also known for having lots of space for storage, which again comes in handy for families.
Staterooms are usually cleaned twice per day, with a morning clean-up and a night turn-down complete with chocolates and towel animals.
It is worth remembering that on Disney, a double or queen bed can not be split into two singles. When I cruised with my Mum, she had the bed and I slept on a sofa bed.
Find out all about my Disney Magic cabin here:
What is Not Included on a Disney Cruise?
While a lot is included on a Disney Cruise, not everything is. Here’s a quick look at things that are not included as a part of your cruise fare:
Disney cruises do not include as standard:
- speciality adult-only dining
- Some special desserts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Bar food
- Tips or gratuities
- Movie snacks
- Speciality coffees
- Personal training
- Spa treatments
Speciality Adult-Only Dining
Speciality Adult Only Dining is available on all Disney cruises at an extra charge.
Paolo, an Italian-themed restaurant is available on all ships for brunch (on sea days) or dinner for an added fee. At the time of writing, this is $50 per person (before drinks and gratuities.)
(Platinum level Castaway Club members get a free meal at Paolo once per sailing for themselves and a guest.)
Paolo Brunch is a fan favourite and consists of a mix of a very high-end buffet (featuring caviar, seafood items, Italian meats, cheeses, and desserts and pastries – do not miss the sticky buns.)
With an A la Carte menu, featuring breakfast and Italian fare (pro tip: skip the breakfast items and head straight for the lasagna, chicken parmesan, and flatbread pizzas.)
Remy French Restaurant
Remy is a French restaurant inspired by the movie Ratatouille.
It is a fine-dining experience equivalent to a three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Remy Restaurant is available (for a significant additional fee) for champagne brunch, or dinner only aboard the newer Dream class ships.
Remy offers a dining experience where diners choose between a French or American menu. They are then treated to a multi-course meal where the service and presentation are rivalled only by the amazing quality of the food itself – Disney Cruise Line.
Although a Remy dinner starts at $125 per person, with wine pairings ($105 per person) and potential up-charges for things like Caviar or Waygu Beef entrees, dinner at Remy can easily run into the $200-$250 per person (or more).
Remy also offers a dessert experience separate from dinner for $60 per person, with an added wine pairing costing $25 per person.
Lastly, Remy has started offering a wine tasting with some small plate accompaniments called “Petites Assiettes de Remy,” costing $50 per person, inclusive of wine.
All adult dining can be reserved in advance, and popular dining options like Paelo Brunch – a true fan favourite for its price-to-value and food quality – will book up quickly.
If you are not able to book in advance be sure to check for openings once onboard.
Special Desserts like gelato, ice cream, and other treats are available for a fee in an ice cream parlour aboard all the ships that sit near Cabanas, the onboard buffet.
On the Fantasy it’s called “Sweet on You,” while on the Dream it’s called “Vanellope’s” – after the Disney Princess from the “Wreck-It-Ralph” franchise.
There are similar offerings aboard the Magic and Wonder. You can also order ice cream treats from these spots to be delivered to your table for a post-dinner treat.
Do Disney Cruises Serve Alcohol?
Disney Cruise Line cruises do have alcohol on board.
Alcoholic Beverages are not included in the cruise fare and are only available at a cost.
Disney does not offer drink packages like most other cruise lines.
Dinner wine packages are available for purchase on board, as is a special beer mug that gets you a bit of a discount on draft beer purchases (you pay the same fee for a larger drink.)
There is also generally a drink special (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) each day of the cruise called the “Drink of the Day.”
There is generally a non-alcoholic kid’s “drink” each night at dinner that is also available for an extra fee.
Ask your stateroom attendant for glasses and corkscrews as necessary.
Is Bar Food Included on a Disney Cruise?
Bar Food is also not included.
Some of the onboard bars have food menus with snacks to order, like a Bavarian Pretzel or Buffalo wings, but for an additional charge.
Are Room Service Tips Included on a Disney Cruise?
Room Service Tips are not included.
While most room service food is included, tips for the staff bringing the food are not included.
Are Movies and Show Snacks Included on a Disney Cruise?
Movie and Show Snacks like candy and popcorn can be purchased outside the Walt Disney and Buena Vista theatres for a fee.
Are Specialty Coffees Included on a Disney Cruise?
Specialty Coffees are not included.
If you want your morning Latte or Exspresso, those drinks are available, for a fee, at the Cove Café in the adult area of the pool deck.
Are Fresh Juices and Smoothies Included on a Disney Cruise?
Fresh Juices and Smoothies can be made to order at a juice bar near the Gym and Spa, but at an additional fee.
Is Personal Training Included on a Disney Cruise?
Personal Training and fitness classes are also available in the Gym for a fee.
There are some group fitness classes offered without a fee on a first-come, first-serve sign-up basis.
Are The Sports Simulators Included on a Disney Cruise?
Sports Simulator offerings, like golf, are also not included, and must generally be reserved for a fee.
Is Internet/WiFi Included on a Disney Cruise?
Internet is not included on Disney cruises, but packages are available for purchase.
(The following information was taken from the Disney website December 2023.)
The internet package options are as follows:
- “Stay Connected” offers access to select social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Pricing starts at $16 a day when purchased for the entire voyage length. Prices are subject to change at any time.
- “Basic Surf” includes the “Stay Connected” offerings plus access to the web, email, and voice calling. Pricing starts at $24 a day when purchased for the length of your cruise. Prices are subject to change at any time.
- “Premium Surf” includes all that is offered in the “Basic Surf” plus video on Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, video calling, and music streaming. Video streaming is not available with this package. Pricing starts at $34 a day when purchased for the entirety of your voyage. Prices are subject to change at any time.
Are Spa Treatments Included on a Disney Cruise?
Spa Treatments and the “Rainforest Room” are not included in the cruise fare. Spa treatments are available for additional fees and can be booked in advance or onboard.
They range from traditional spa services to special couples’ experiences and medical offerings like cool sculpting.
You can also buy day passes, or cruise-length passes to the Rainforest Room, a spa area that offers themed showers, steam rooms (think Turkish baths), heated loungers, and hot tubs.
Are Excursions Included on a Disney Cruise?
Port Excursions can be booked in advance or while onboard for an additional fee.
Disney offers a wide variety of excursions.
You can also book your own excursions with local companies – but be aware that if you are delayed returning to the ship, It may sail away without you!
Find out what actually happens if you miss your cruise ship in the article below:
Are Cabanas on Castaway Cay Included on a Disney Cruise?
Cabanas are highly sought after and can be hard to come by, generally sell out at online check-in to those sailing in Concierge or who are Platinum status in Disney’s cruise loyalty program.
Cabanas at Castaway Cay offer a luxurious experience for adults or families, but only for an added fee ranging from about $399 up to $1249 for a “Grand Family Beach Cabana.”
If you are unable to pre-book a Cabana online, you can ask to have your name added to a waiting list once onboard – but chances are slim of getting one at that point.
Are Port Transfers Included on a Disney Cruise?
Port Transfers to and from the cruise from the Disney resorts or Orlando airport are available via Disney bus transportation for an additional fee, currently around $40 per person each way.
Fees vary for other ports.
If you are part of a large party, private transfers may be much more cost-effective than Disney Transfers. Do your research!
Gifts and Merchandise Aren’t Included in Your Disney Cruise
Onboard Merchandise, it goes without saying, is not included in your cruise fare.
Disney sells a selection of jewellery at the only Tiffany’s outlets you’ll find at sea.
Are Photo Packages Included in a Disney Cruise?
Photo packages and other merchandise can be pre-purchased in advance of the cruise or while onboard.
There is a slight discount for purchasing in advance.
Do Disney Cruises Have Casinos?
Disney Cruise Line has no casinos on board any of their ships. They also don’t have any arcades.
Most other cruise lines encourage gambling in casinos, as it is very lucrative for them.
You will normally find smaller casinos on British cruise ships, as we gamble far less than American or Australian cruisers.
Find out more about cruise ship casinos here:
Are Gratuities Included in a Disney Cruise?
Gratuities are not included in the Disney cruise fare – unless added on and paid in advance.
When I cruised with Disney, as well as charging daily gratuities, they put tip envelopes in our cabin to try and encourage us to individually tip our waiters too!
As a British person (we don’t have the same tipping culture as in the USA) I found the situation very awkward and embarrassing! Find out more here:
Are Disney Cruises Worth it?
Disney charges a significant premium for its cruises – sometimes thousands more than a comparable cruise on another line. Whether the premium will be worth it for you or your family will depend on many factors.
If you love all things Disney, you will doubtless love the whole experience.
If you have a “take it or leave it” approach to Disney like me, it probably isn’t worth the extra premium.
Find out what I thought of my Disney Cruise here:
Castaway Cay – Disney’s Private Island
On Caribbean sailings, you’ll also get a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay – Pronounced Castaway Key/Quay – provided it’s not too windy.
The island includes beautiful beaches, fun activities, water slides, a fantastic island-themed barbecue lunch, and, of course, plenty of Disney themes and characters.
Castaway Cay is oft-cited as one of the best experiences on a Disney cruise. So much so, that Disney cruise enthusiasts often look for coveted “double-dip” cruise opportunities that stop at the island twice.
Other Cruise Lines Do Have Private Islands
If Castaway Cay is your only reason for wanting to try a Disney cruise, why not look at the private island resorts offered by other mainstream cruise lines?
- Half Moon Cay – Holland America Line Purchased Half Moon Cay in 1997.
- It is a tiny private island in the Bahamas previously known Little San Salvador Island.
- Perfect Day at CocoCay – Leased by Royal Caribbean International in 1990
- This Bahamian island located between the cruise ports of Freeport and Nassau, was formerly Little Stirrup Cay
- Great Stirrup Cay – Norwegian Cruise Line was bought in 1997
- It is located in the Bahamas’ Berry Island chain, 130 nautical miles due east of Fort Lauderdale. It is a 250-acre island.
- Harvest Caye – Norwegian Cruise Line – Opened in 2016
- This is a partnership between NCL and the government of Belize, which owns the island. It serves as a private island for Norwegian, Oceania and Regent passengers.
- Labadee – Royal Caribbean – leased since 1986
- A Private beach resort in Haiti. It is used by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara.
- Princess Cays – Princess Cruises – Opened in 1992
- It is on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas – located 70 miles east of Nassau
Before You Go
To find out more about what Disney cruises don’t have – some of which may be show-stoppers for you, check out this post next:
Look at the best way to cut the cost of your Disney cruise, by reading the article below: