I have been on three Disney cruises so far and have been very fortunate to have sailed in a Concierge level one-bedroom suite each time. In fact, after sailing Concierge the first time on the Disney Dream, I realized that there was no way I would want to be in a standard stateroom, especially with a rambunctious six-year-old in tow. It’s like flying first class: if you do it once, you never want to go back to coach!
So, why should anyone fork over such an exorbitant amount of money to sail Concierge on Disney Cruise Line?
Concierge perks begin even before you embark the ship. You can reserve your on-board activities (e.g., spa appointments, specialty restaurant reservations) and port adventures 120 days prior to your sail date. This booking window is the same as Platinum Castaway Club members; however, unlike Platinum members, you are able to leverage a dedicated shoreside Concierge team by informing them of your preferences 125 days prior to sailing. The shoreside Concierge team makes the bookings on your behalf when the 120-day booking window opens. They are literally the first ones in the system allowed to book anything – at 12:00am, when the booking window opens, all the Concierge requests are automatically fulfilled (they have priority over all other requests).
If you are reserving a port adventure through Disney Cruise Line and your reservation is linked with with another party that is not in a Concierge stateroom, the shoreside Concierge team can reserve a port adventure for them as well, assuming it is a “shared” activity. In one of the emails that I received from the shoreside Concierge team, it stated: “Please note that we are able to take requests and book activities for the concierge stateroom and up to (4) linked non-concierge staterooms for all ‘shared’ activities.” In addition to port adventures, I assume that an adult dining reservation or a character breakfast would be deemed a “shared” activity so long as at least one Concierge guest was attending. I was told by the Concierge team that as long as the non-concierge folks have fully paid for their cruise at the time that you make your reservations (ie., 125 days out), then they will reservations for them.
I have found the shoreside Concierge team to be extremely helpful in answering my questions about port adventures and also taking the burden off of me to book the excursions. Also, probably the absolute best thing about using this team is that, if you want to book a cabana at Castaway Cay, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get it. Since you have first pickings, you even can request your cabana number. Both times that I have requested a specific cabana, my requests have been honored.
Concierge guests can embark the ship at any time, once the ship is ready. Depending upon which port you embark your ship, you literally will have no wait to get on the ship. When we sailed both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy out of Port Canaveral, Florida, we walked right up to the dedicated Concierge/Platinum guest check-in desk (no line), were checked in within two minutes, and then were personally escorted onto the ship (bypassing many lines in the process). Once on the ship, we were immediately met by one of the Concierge hosts, who took us directly to the Concierge Lounge to give us drinks (champagne!), food, and a folder containing a personalized itinerary listing our activities for the duration of the cruise.
When we embarked in Miami for the Disney Magic, we also had a very quick check-in and did not have to wait in any lines to get on the ship. However, there was no personal escort, and we were on our own once on-board the ship (and had to ask a few people where the Concierge Lounge was located). Later in the cruise, I asked one of the Concierge hosts why we were not escorted in Miami. The host said it was because the terminal in Port Canaveral is solely dedicated to Disney, while the terminal in Miami is not. So, for security reasons, they cannot send folks off of the ship to assist in the Port of Miami.
Embarkation Day Luncheon
If you’re a Concierge guest, once you embark the ship, be sure to head straight to the Concierge Lounge. Your Concierge hosts will give you champagne and light snacks, and they will go over your itinerary for the trip (this is a great time to put in in any last minute requests for reservations – e.g., brunch in Palo). You also will learn where to go for a special Concierge guest luncheon.
The embarkation day luncheon for Concierge guests apparently was introduced in the spring of 2018, so we experienced this for the first time on the Disney Fantasy in August 2018. Our luncheon was in the Royal Court restaurant. We had our own table. The ambiance was peaceful, and the service was great. I had beef empanadas as an appetizer, potato and leek soup, a chicken caesar salad, and an oreo cheesecake. There were plenty of other options on the menu, such as sliced smoked salmon, poached lobster salad, and roasted beef tenderloin. Best of all, we were offered (more) free booze! It basically was open bar time.
It was a fantastic way to experience a relaxed lunch, in an oasis far away from the chaos of Cabana’s (where the rest of the cruise ship passengers tend to eat on embarkation day).
If you book a suite, then you automatically will be at the Concierge level. The one-bedroom suites averages around 614 square feet, which is the size of a normal hotel room (and MUCH larger than standard cruise ship cabins). Take a peek at all the space of the one-bedroom suite with verandah (Category T) that we stayed in when we sailed the Disney Magic in December 2017.
Note that you still can sail Concierge level if for some reason you do not need all that space. Non-suite Concierge level ocean view verandah staterooms are available (around 304 square feet).
On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, the Concierge staterooms are grouped together on the forward portions of decks 11 and 12 and are located very close to the Concierge Lounge. The Concierge staterooms on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are interspersed between non-concierge staterooms, all on deck 8. Depending upon your location on deck 8, you could be somewhat far away from the Concierge Lounge on deck 10 (which is on the forward portion of the ship).
Once you arrive in your Concierge stateroom, you will notice a fresh fruit basket as well as a fully-stocked refrigerator, which includes soft drinks and Evian bottled water. For non-concierge guests, bottled water is never free, and sodas are only complimentary in the restaurants or at the self-serve drink station by the pool.
Also, in addition to the standard room service menu, you can order any of the food being offered in the main dining rooms (whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner) directly to your stateroom. Just coordinate your order with your Concierge host the day before (they have menus on-hand in the Concierge Lounge so that you can preview what is being offered).
On disembarkation day, only Concierge guests are allowed to order room service for breakfast. All other guests must dine in Cabanas or in one of the main dining rooms. Again, just provide your order to a Concierge host the night before.
Another fantastic amenity offered to Concierge guests is free 100MB to use on Disney Cruise Line’s Connect@Sea WiFi network. This 100MB is in addition to the free 50MB that any guest can get by logging in to Connect@Sea on the first day of the cruise. Side note: 150MB was plenty for my husband and I to share during our five-night cruise on the Disney Magic. We made sure to have our phones in airplane mode throughout the day and to only check emails and log into social media accounts once in the evening. We did not send or upload any large attachments (e.g., photos or videos) because that quickly would have used up our free allotment.
All Concierge guests are provided with plush robes and slippers in their staterooms. In addition, all Concierge staterooms have upgraded bath products, courtesy of Elemis, the same brand of product used in the Senses Spa.
So far, I’ve never been in a port on a Disney cruise ship where tendering is required, but, per Disney Cruise Line’s website, Concierge guests are provided with priority tendering in ports of call. I’m sure that could save you a lot of time waiting in line!
All Concierge guests are invited to an exclusive meet and greet with one character. The meet and greet is set up as a reception for Concierge guests and is usually on a day at sea, typically during the morning. They have a nice spread of yummy food, as well as champagne and mimosas.
The identity of the character is a surprise – you won’t know until you go. But, it’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with a character without having to stand in line. The meet and greet is very casual and relaxed. You can sit and eat while you wait for the character to come to you.
On the Disney Magic, my son was able to have a private meeting with Goofy, while on the Disney Dream, we met with Minnie Mouse. On the Disney Fantasy, we met with Pluto. Based on what I’ve heard from cast members and fellow passengers, the character is usually one of the Big Five (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, or Pluto).
One of the best perks for Concierge guests is the exclusive and private sundeck and lounge, only accessible via your Key to the World card. Here are some photos of the lounge and sundeck on the Disney Magic:
The lounge has ample seating and really only gets crowded on embarkation and disembarkation days. I’ve never otherwise seen the lounge more than one-quarter occupied. It is open from 7:00am to 10:00pm daily, with snacks and drinks available throughout the day. During both of our cruises, I stopped by several times a day to refresh our Evian stock in the stateroom fridge. The “snack” quality is pretty good, and I’ve seen the same foods offered on the Disney Dream, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Fantasy.
In addition to the Evian, the two best drink offerings in the lounge are the coffee and the booze! For the coffee, they have an amazing machine that can make any type of espresso-based coffee drink that you want, using real milk (not that powdered stuff). Every morning, I made my own latte, which was far superior to anything else offered on the ship (better than Starbucks quality). Then, they have a happy hour every evening starting at 5:00pm – always my first stop on the way to dinner! The happy hour is a true open bar: any kind of wine, beer, or cocktail you could imagine. The bartender concocts whatever you want!
Comparing the lounges of the Magic to the Dream and Fantasy, I prefer the Magic, mainly because it has windows looking out over the Quiet Cove Adult Pool. The Dream’s and Fantasy’s respective lounges have no windows but rather each has a giant domed skylight. As for the ships’ private sundecks, I still prefer the Magic. Again, it overlooks the Quiet Cove Adult Pool. The sundecks on the Dream and Fantasy actually have a hot tub (which I never care to use), but are more enclosed by privacy barriers with no direct views over the water or any pool. It just seems like the Concierge Lounge and sundeck of the Magic are both more open, bright, and airy.
While in the quiet comfort of the lounge, be sure to take advantage of some exclusive amenities: a DVD collection, Nintendo DS and iPads, assorted board games, a variety of magazines, and popcorn! The popcorn comes in a big bag that you can bring with you to the movie theater – no need to buy it at the theater.
Disney Cruise Line is renowned for their “cast members” and their ability to create “magical” moments. That goes double (if not triple) for the on-board Concierge hosts. Superior service is their hallmark. I fondly remember one member of the Concierge hosts on the Disney Dream always saying “my pleasure” in response to all of our requests. I’ve seen a similar level of service at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, so it does not surprise me that Disney Cruise Line strives to offer this kind of five-star service to all of its Concierge guests.
I’ve had many questions and requests of the Concierge hosts on my sailings. Every question was easily answered, and every request was fulfilled timely and with no issue whatsoever (as they say, “my pleasure”!). The on-board Concierge hosts offer the same services as the shoreside Concierge staff. For example, they can make new or change existing reservations you may have – no need to ever stand in line at the Guest Services or Port Adventures desks. They take care of everything for you. They’re basically your own personal assistants for the duration of the cruise!
Should you book a cabana on Castaway Cay, the Concierge hosts will join you ashore and then serve you throughout the day. You literally just press a call button in your cabana, and (usually) within minutes, one of them arrives to assist you. The hosts also walk around just to see how you’re doing and make sure everything is OK. Both times we were on Castaway Cay at the cabanas, it was reassuring to see these familiar and friendly faces.
The Concierge hosts love to surprise their guests with special gifts. When we cruised on the Disney Magic, we were elated to find this cute two-sided Mickey emoji stuffed toy waiting for us on our bed:
At the end of every cruise, all Concierge guests receive a beautiful parting gift: a limited-edition lithograph by Disney artist Don “Ducky” Williams. Here is the very frameable print that we received at the end our Disney Magic cruise:
Speaking of the end of your Disney cruise, the Concierge hosts really strive to help ease your transition off of the ship. If you bought a photo package through Shutters, let both the Shutters staff and a Concierge host know the last night of your cruise that you would like the Concierge staff to pick up your package. Rather than waiting in line at Shutters during the crazy disembarkation morning, just go to the Concierge lounge and your photo package will be waiting for you – magic!
Also, for the best magic of all, on that aforementioned disembarkation day, Concierge guests are allowed to disembark at any time they prefer. If you go to the Concierge Lounge, a Concierge host will personally escort you off the ship. They will block off the elevator (using a special key), which will send you straight to the correct deck for disembarkation, and they will help you bypass the line to literally just walk off the ship.
All of these perks have made me a Disney Cruise Line Concierge ADDICT! I cannot wait to sail Concierge level again on my next Disney cruise!!!