Family Adventure Aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Newest Vessel

The new Disney Wish offers multi-generational travel at its easiest — and most enchanting. 

AquaMouse, the first-ever Disney attraction at sea / Photograph by Amy Smith

There’s been a Dream, a Wonder, a Fantasy, and now, finally, a Wish. In June, Disney Cruise Line unveiled its first new vessel in a decade, with a sea of captivating restaurants, entertainment and attractions. And while it would be fair to assume a Disney cruise is really for the kids, Wish offers plenty of new and nostalgic magic to engage everyone else in the family, too. 

My own family of five recently set sail to the Bahamas on the inaugural voyage, where we found an array of pools, a Toy Story-themed splash pad, and AquaMouse, the company’s first floating attraction. The 760-foot-long storytelling water slide propelled both my oldest daughter and my husband on countless rollicking whirls around the top deck.

The ship is also home to a bounty of new restaurants and bars, including some adults-only venues like Enchanté, helmed by celebrated French chef Arnaud Lallement, and Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, which conjures a classy space bar, with a behind-the-bar screen that gives the illusion you’re zipping past planets while sipping on stellar cocktails like the Chancellor, finished with a theatrical cinnamon-scented smoke bubble. (Sadly, no one ordered the $5,000 Kaiburr Crystal during our visit, which comes with a ticket to George Lucas’s private Skywalker Ranch.)

While we were fully immersed in a galaxy far, far away, our girls were one deck below, gleefully caring for Porg and other cosmic creatures. The Star Wars Cargo Bay is part of the Oceaneer’s Club — totally­ charming childcare for kids three to 12 years. They could also make crafts in Rapunzel’s Art Studio and design a virtual roller coaster and then “ride it” in the Walt Disney Imagineering Lab. But perhaps the most fun they had was entering the club, through a tube slide from one deck above, and washing their hands with a robotic self-spraying sink (and then rewashing them again, and again).

For me, though, the highlight came at dinnertime, when we gathered in Arendelle, one of the ship’s three main restaurants, for the new “Frozen Dining Adventure.”­ There in the Scandinavian banquet hall, celebrating Anna and Kristoff’s engagement with Elsa and Olaf and music and Swedish meatballs, we collectively reveled in the transportive magic that Disney does best.

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Published as “The Family Adventure” in the September 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.