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What\'s the Difference? Comparing Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder

A few months ago, I wrote about the differences between the Classic Ships and the Dream Class Ships. Now, I\’m going to compare the two Classic Ships!

Currently Disney Cruise Line has four ships with two more scheduled for 2021 and 2023. The Classic Ships are the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. The Dream Class ships are the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.

So, let\’s start with some basic facts. The Magic and Wonder are sister ships built in the late 1990s. The Magic began sailing in 1998 and underwent a major refurbishment in 2013. The Wonder began sailing in 1999; it is scheduled for a major refurbishment in fall 2016. These ships will hold 2700 passengers in 875 staterooms on 11 decks! Each ship also has about 950 Cast Members.

For dining, both ships have three main dining rooms, an adult-only restaurant, a buffet, several quick service options, bars and ice cream station!

Each ship has two family pools as well as adults-only pool. For entertainment, both have three live-stage productions, adult nightclub area, deck parties, character meets and kids clubs (Oceaneers\’ Club, Oceaneers\’ Lounge, Edge, Vibe, and nursery for the littlest cruisers).

So, what\’s different? Let\’s start with dining. While each has three main dining rooms, there are some differences. Both ships have a lovely restaurant just off the main lobby; on the Magic, Lumiere\’s makes you feel like dining with Beauty and the Beast! On the Wonder, Tritons gives you a feel of under the sea with Ariel!

Tritons with the beautiful mosaic at the rear of the dining room on the Disney Wonder

Where the Disney Wonder has Parrot Cay, a lively Caribbean themed restaurant, the Disney Magic now has Cariocas with American and South American flavors. The third restaurant is Animator\’s Palate. Both ships have Drawn to the Magic where the paintings on the wall change from simple pencil sketches to full color paintings as you progress through the dining courses; Sorcerer Mickey dances through the dining room at the end! On the Magic, however, they also have the Animation Magic on a different night. Here, the Imagineers take your drawings and animate them around the dining room screens marching and dancing with Disney characters! (Hopefully the Wonder will get this, too!)

Parrot Cay on the Disney Wonder

Cariocas on the Disney Magic. (Photo Credit: Disney Cruise Line) 

Animator\’s Palate on the Wonder

Art changing from black and white sketches to color

Also with dining, the Magic has Cabana\’s buffet while the Wonder has Beach Blanket Buffet. They serve similar foods, but the set up with Cabana\’s is a little smoother. On the pool deck, both ships have Pinocchio\’s Pizzeria. Both ships have a burger quick service (Pete\’s Boiler Bites or Pluto\’s Doghouse) and a sandwich, salad and fruit option (Daisy\’s Delites or Goofy\’s Galley.) Additionally, both have Palo, the adults-only dining venue!

Nephew\’s Splash Zone on Magic

What about poolside? Both have a Quiet Cove Pool (adults only) and a main pool, Goofy\’s Pool, as well as a shallow pool for little ones. The Magic has the fabulously fast AquaDunk, however, that drops you from high up one of the funnels and shoots you down 3 stories! The Magic also has the new Nephew\’s Splash Zone, a covered water play area for the littlest cruisers. The Wonder has a very small splash area. Both ships have a slide near the shallow pool.

Mickey\’s Pool on the Disney Magic

AquaDunk on the Disney Magic!

Twist \’n Spout Slide on the Disney Magic

Mickey\’s Pool on the Disney Wonder

Around the ship, there are some noticeable differences between the two ships. The Magic has recently added a Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique where young girls can become princesses! There are also mermaid, pirate and knight packages for both boys and girls!

Other differences: Wonder still has an internet cafe. The Magic has a single staircase in the atrium whereas the Wonder has two. This affects traffic in the atrium as well as the placement of the character statue!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Magic!

The kids clubs have noticeable differences. The Oceaneers Club and Oceaneers\’ Lab do not connect on the Wonder. The Wonder has a Peter Pan theme in the Club and feels quite dark although it\’s done well. Climb up to Captain Hook\’s ship and explore! The Lab is brighter with lots of computers and a cooking/experiment area. On the Magic, however, there have been tremendous changes! The Club and Lab connect via an internal hallway; the Club has gotten a full overhaul with sections for Marvel Avengers Academy, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pixie Hollow and a larger than life Andy\’s Room.

Andy\’s Room on the Magic

Avengers Academy on the Magic

Oceaneer\’s Lab on the Wonder

Oceaneer\’s Club on the Wonder

Oceaneer\’s Club on the Wonder

Top of the pirate ship in the Oceaneer\’s Club on the Wonder.

For the Edge (the tween club), the Wonder\’s is located on deck 2. It has a very \”basement romper room\” feel with comfy couches, tables for games or projects, and video games. It\’s a laid back, hang out kind of spot. The Magic moved the Edge to the pool deck (deck 9) and has added some state of the art touches like video screen portholes! The location is nice for tweens to do more activities around the ship and grab food, but I think the coziness is gone and the space seems smaller.

Edge on the Magic; giant Connect Four anyone?

View from the back corner of the Edge, Disney Magic

Front corner of the Edge, Disney Magic. This is where they play video games!

Edge on the Wonder

Edge on the Wonder

For staterooms, both ships have been fully refurbished with new furniture, carpets and soft goods (linens, towels, etc). However, on the Magic, there are more connecting staterooms available.

Our cabin (6126) category 5C on the Disney Wonder.

Cabin 6546 (category 5C) on the Disney Magic

Disney Wonder

Historically, Disney Wonder sails to Alaska each summer. That means the Wonder is also the only Disney ship currently going through the Panama Canal. The Wonder is also doing the popular cruises departing from Galveston, TX! Sometimes the Wonder does California coast and/or Baja cruises and Hawaii cruises. The Magic tends to go to Europe each summer making it the only ship to cross the Atlantic! The Magic also does east coast cruises (sometimes sailing from New York to Bahamas or up the Canadian coast) or Caribbean or Bahamas from Florida ports.

Other differences–the Disney Magic has recently added a concierge lounge and a concierge outdoor space which is a nice touch! The Wonder currently does not have a concierge lounge at all.

Inside entrance to the concierge lounge (Magic)

Outdoor deck area on the Magic for concierge guests.

In place of the outdoor deck concierge area, the Wonder has a huge enclosed area of Cove Cafe. This is the perfect spot to view the scenery while cruising Alaska!

The final thing I notice different between the two ships is the theme of the adult nightclub area. The Wonder has the theme of Route 66 with the Cadillac Lounge and other western retro touches! The Magic is a much cooler chic theme of After Hours. They\’re both fun–just differently themed. Both have an English pub option, a piano bar, and a flex area that can be used for Bingo, games or karaoke!

Cadillac Lounge on the Wonder–see the front of the car? That\’s the bar with headlights on either side!

Keys is the piano bar on the Magic.

Entrance to the Cadillac Lounge on the Wonder.

Fathoms on the Disney Magic.

I spent 14 nights on the Disney Wonder going through the Panama Canal and loved every minute of it! Over three years, I\’ve spent 17 nights on the Disney Magic, and it\’s a lovely ship, too. The latest round of improvements have made it even better. The Disney Wonder is scheduled to go through a huge refurbishment in fall 2016, and we\’ll see some of the same or similar features on the Magic added to the Wonder. The Oceaneer\’s Club will get a Marvel Super Hero Academy. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, Twist \’n Spout water slide, Dory\’s Reef and an Aqua Lab will be added. The Wonder will see updates to the nursery, the nightclub area, the Edge as well as Palo and Cabanas.

I hope this helps you understand a little of the differences in these two ships!

Susan Burks is a Disney travel planner at WishdrawalsTravel, a military wife, and a homeschooling mom to a 

robot-programming, chess-playing, history-studying 11 year old!  

She and her family love visiting Disney World and taking Disney cruises. Having completed seven Disney cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama Canal and now Norway, she is now preparing to embark on a eighth Disney Cruise–this time the Trans-Atlantic–and planning her next Disney World visit, too!

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