Disney Cruise Line

13 Things to Know About Your Disney Cruise Line Stateroom Experience

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There are many things that a Walt Disney World hotel room and a Disney Cruise Line stateroom have in common – they’re both places great places to stay and be part of the Disney action. But there are also a number of differences between hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins.

Before we get going, you should be aware that if you’re staying at Walt Disney World hotel, you won’t know the exact location of your room until the day you arrive on property. You can (and maybe should) make a room request, but you won’t have any real information about your room until you’re on site. Conversely, with Disney Cruise Line, most guests will choose their exact stateroom at the time of booking. (The exception to this is guests who opt to let Disney choose their stateroom by making a less expensive GTY booking.)

While having the ability to select your exact room means that you have leeway to customize your experience and know in advance exactly what your room will be like, some guests find that level of information and decision-making to be overwhelming, becoming paralyzed with “what if” questions. Rest assured, that whatever stateroom you select, you’ll have safe, clean accommodations on a wonderful vacation vessel.

1. The Size of Your Room.

In general, ocean cruise staterooms are smaller than land-based hotel rooms. The smallest WDW rooms (at the value resorts Pop Century, All Stars, and Art of Animation Little Mermaid area) are about 260 square feet. The smallest Disney Cruise staterooms are the category 11 cabins at 169 square feet – 35% smaller than the land-based rooms. Both the WDW value rooms and the DCL category 11 rooms are advertised as sleeping four people. While you might technically be able to get four people into a DCL stateroom, it’s going to feel significantly different than staying in a regular hotel room.

There are larger DCL staterooms, but even the much higher category 5 staterooms are about 240-270 square feet (depending on which ship you’re sailing), similar in size to those WDW value rooms. Our friend Scott Sanders over at Disney Cruise Line Blog has all the stateroom-by-stateroom details on his site.

If you’re planning your first cruise, you should be aware that staterooms are small on virtually all ocean liners. That’s just one of the constraints of traveling in a contained vessel. Most Disney staterooms are 15-25% larger than those of the competition.

2. The Number and Size of Beds.

Every non-suite Disney Cruise Line stateroom has one queen-sized bed. While some cruise lines have primary beds that can be split into two (for example a king-sized bed that can be pulled apart into two twin beds), Disney does not have this feature. There is only one configuration for the main bed.

In addition to the queen bed, most rooms have between 1-3 additional twin-size sleep surfaces. These additional beds might fold out from the couch, pop down from the ceiling, or fold down from the wall like a Murphy bed. These non-queen beds can only be “assembled” by your stateroom host with a special key. You can’t just pop down the ceiling bed by yourself.

These twin-sized beds are comfortable for children and most average-size women. If you’re a larger adult, you may find them too small for your liking. Also note that the pop-down ceiling beds have a posted weight limit of between 250-300 pounds depending on the ship. My research indicates that if you’re more than about 200 pounds or taller than about 5′ 8″, you may not be happy on the top bunk.

The number of beds will be noted in the stateroom’s online description at DisneyCruise.com, but not always in the most helpful fashion. For example, I recently sailed with two of my adult daughters on the Dream in a stateroom category that was advertised as sleeping 3 to 4 guests. My assumption was that this meant that our room would have the queen bed and two twin beds, and that we’d each have our own sleep surface. It turned out that our room had only the queen bed and the twin pull-out couch. The CATEGORY of the stateroom I selected could accommodate 3-4 people, but the specific ROOM I selected only held three. Our booking for three was perfectly acceptable from Disney’s perspective, but somewhat less than ideal from our perspective.

We made it work with my daughters sharing the queen bed, but my suggestion is that if your room is listed with a range of acceptable guests (3-4 guests, for example), your party is smaller than the maximum, and you want a high number of sleep surfaces, call DCL (or have your travel agent do this), to assess the real number of beds in the room.

3. The Quality of the Bedding.

These beds are known for their comfort, with guests routinely asking how they can acquire them for their own homes. If you’re wondering, the tag on the mattresses on the Wish indicates that they’re the 13″ Cayman model produced by Biscayne Bedding International. The linens onboard are by the luxury brand Frette and equivalent sheets can be purchased on their website.

There will be a throw blanket positioned at the end of the queen-sized bed in your stateroom. This is another item routinely praised by guests for its softness and Goldilocks weight. Unfortunately, these are not sold onboard or online. You can sometimes find them on eBay, where you can expect to pay more than $200 for a genuine item.

Also note that if you’re traveling with young children, you can ask your stateroom host if they have any character sheets on hand. While this is not guaranteed, they may be able to make up your child’s twin bed with character-printed sheets.

4. Most Stateroom Categories Have Split Bathrooms.

In all but the smallest staterooms (category 11), Disney Cruise Line has split bathrooms. This means that one bathroom compartment includes a sink and the toilet, with a separate compartment holding the shower/tub and another sink. These bifurcated bathrooms are small, but they can be a great help if multiple people are trying to get ready at the same time.

5. There Will Be Basic Toiletries in Your Room.

Your bathroom will be equipped with body lotion, bars of hand soap, liquid body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. The body wash, shampoo, and conditioner will be in multi-use containers on a shelf or mounted to the wall inside the shower compartment.

The concierge staterooms are stocked with Elemis brand products. All other rooms currently have products labeled as “DCL” or “Disney Cruise Line.”

6. There Will Be a Hairdryer in Your Room.

Every Disney Cruise Line stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer, but don’t look for it in the bathroom. Hairdryers are stored in a black fabric bag in your stateroom desk.

You’re welcome to bring your own hairstyling equipment on board, but be aware that, due to electrical safety measures, there are limits on the allowable power ratings of hair equipment. The DCL list of prohibited items states, “Hairdryers must be 230V and 450 watts or less.” This means that some deluxe hair tools such as the Dyson Airwrap will not work and may be confiscated at boarding.

The hairdryer will be located in a fabric bag in a drawer in your stateroom
7. Your Stateroom Will Have a Refrigerator. Sort of.

Every DCL stateroom includes a “beverage chiller.” On the Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy these look like small dorm refrigerators, on the Wish and Treasure these are drawer-style coolers. There is no in-room freezer available.

I’ve found the chillers to be great for keeping a carton of milk or an extra slice of key lime pie cold overnight. If, however, you will need something more robust than the room fridge (for something like medication or breast milk), contact DCL via the Special Services form.

Drawer-style beverage chiller on the Wish
8. There is Storage Space for Clothing and Luggage.

The space under the queen bed in your stateroom is open, making it the perfect place to store your suitcases when not in use. Additionally, you’ll find closet space with hangers and shelves for stowing loose items. On the Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, you will also find drawers for folded clothing. The Wish (and presumably the Treasure) have open shelves inside the closet. On these ships, it can be helpful to bring packing cubes to help corral your items and segregate them from those of your traveling companions.

Your closet will also include a laundry bag and a price list for laundry or dry cleaning. It’s not listed, but pressing is half the price of cleaning. Disney does not allow irons or steamers in the staterooms so this is a great time saver if you don’t want to go to the public laundry rooms to iron. Just put your clothes inside the bag, mark what you want done, and hang them outside your room. You’ll also find your life jackets stored in your closet. It’s a good idea to check to make sure you have the correct number inside.

9. Every Stateroom Includes a Safe.

Your stateroom safe is located inside one of the closets. This is a great place to keep your passport, extra cash or credit cards, and any other valuables.

The stateroom safe is located inside the closet
10. Every Stateroom Has a Desk/Vanity.

The desk/vanity in your stateroom has enough space to open up a laptop, though backless seating might not be great for long-term work sessions. The mirror above the desk is well-lit and serves as an adequate makeup mirror.

The central (long, flat) desk drawer will include basic stationery items such as a pen, writing paper, and a few postcards, as well as hang-tag style breakfast room service menus.

Disney Wish desk/vanity
11. Your Stateroom Will Have Power Outlets, but Maybe Not Enough.

Each generation of Disney ships has increased the number of accessible outlets per stateroom. Two to three adults will almost certainly be fine in a Wish or Treasure stateroom. They’ll probably be OK in a Dream or Fantasy stateroom. And they might have trouble finding enough outlets on the Magic or Wonder.

Be careful if you want to increase the number of outlets in your room. Standard power strips are not allowed and will likely be confiscated at your embarkation port. USB splitters generally are OK.

12. Your Stateroom Will Have a Television. 

Every DCL stateroom includes a television set. These are not large, but they do the job. The standard channel line-up is modest, with just news channels and some Disney, ABC, and ESPN programming.

While Disney+ is not available on board, the stateroom TVs do have a large library of movies on demand. If there is a Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, or Marvel movie that you’ve been meaning to see, you’ll likely be able to find it showing on your room TV.

Disney Dream stateroom. The TV can pivot to either side of the room
13. Most Staterooms Include a Privacy Curtain.

Most staterooms include a curtain that can be extended to bisect your room, separating the queen bed from the other sleep surfaces. This gives the parents and kids some visual privacy, though you can still everything on the other side of the room.

The privacy curtain and the television are somewhat related. On the Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, the television is on a pivoting arm that can extend to either side of the curtain when it is extended.

On the Wish (and presumably the Treasure), the TV is hard-mounted to the wall in front of the queen bed. Following guest complaints about this situation, DCL created a workaround allowing you to stream the onboard TV content to a personal device such as a phone, tablet, or laptop.

Privacy curtain pulled back during the day

Do you have questions about what to expect in your DCL stateroom? Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

2 thoughts on “13 Things to Know About Your Disney Cruise Line Stateroom Experience

    • Robes are available in standard guest rooms on the Wish (and probably will be on the Treasure, but we’re not sure yet). Robes are available to use in the spa and in concierge level rooms on the other ships.

      Which ship are you asking about?


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