I have sailed on all five Disney ships 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 130 days prior to your sail date (which is before any other cruise guests, regardless of your Castaway Club status) by leveraging a dedicated shoreside Concierge tram. The team makes the bookings on your behalf when the 130-day booking window opens.
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 addition to Port Adventures, an adult dining reservation or a character breakfast is deemed a “shared” activity so long as at least one Concierge guest is attending. One caveat: the non-concierge folks must have fully paid for their cruise at the time that you make your reservations (ie., 130 days out) to take advantage of this perk.
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 (at least if you are not sailing on the Disney Wish). Since you have first pickings, you even can request your cabana number. Most every time 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 the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, and the Disney Wish out of Port Canaveral, Florida, we walked right up to the dedicated Concierge 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). For most sailings, once on the ship, we were immediately met by one of the Concierge managers, 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 and in San Diego for the Disney Wonder, we also had a very quick check-in and did not have to wait in any lines to get on each ship. However, there was no personal escort, and we were on our own once on-board the ship. Later during our cruise on the Disney Magic, I asked one of the Concierge managers why we were not escorted in Miami. The manager 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 managers 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 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. 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 Cabanas (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 average 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 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).
Location of Staterooms
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. Similarly, most of the Concierge staterooms on the Disney Wish are grouped together on the forward portions of decks 12 and 13 (again, 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).
Stateroom Dining and Extra Amenities
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 manager the day before (they have menus on-hand in the Concierge Lounge so that you can preview what is being offered).
On disembarkation day depending upon which ship you sail, Concierge guests may be 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 manager the night before.
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.
If you are in a port where tendering is required, Concierge guests are provided with priority tendering in ports of call.
Concierge guests also have priority access to the theater for the nightly Broadway-style shows and can receive free hot popocorn when they show their Key to the World card at Preludes.
Private Character Meet and Greet
Before the COVID pandemic, all Concierge guests were invited to an exclusive meet and greet with one character. The meet and greet was set up as a reception for Concierge guests and was usually on a day at sea, typically during the morning. These receptions always had a nice spread of yummy food, as well as champagne and mimosas.
The identity of the character was a surprise and was a great opportunity to get up close and personal without having to stand in line. The meet and greets were always very casual and relaxed. During each meet and greet we attended, we sat and ate while we waited for the character to come to us.
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, and while on the Disney Wonder, we met with Princess Belle.
The character meet and greets should be returning soon to all ships.
Concierge Lounge and Private Sundeck
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 all of our cruises, I always stopped by several times a day to refresh our Evian stock in the stateroom fridge. The food quality is always pretty good.
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 and sundecks of all five ships, the Disney Wish is by far the best, as it is has the largest amount of space, the best views, and spans two decks. The Wish’s sundeck also has two hot tubs and a small, shallow pool with a waterfall. I rank the Disney Wonder in second place, as it also has a very large (one-story) lounge space with lots of windows and a sundeck with direct ocean views. In third palce, the Disney Magic also has a nice lounge with lots of windows, but it is smaller than the Wonder. The Magic’s subdeck similarly has nice ocean views. The Disney Dream’s and Disney Fantasy’s respective lounges have no windows but rather each has a giant domed skylight. The sundecks on the Dream and Fantasy each have hot tubs but are enclosed by privacy barriers with no direct views over towards the ocean. For these reasons, the lounges and sundecks on the Dream and the Fantasy are my least favorite, but I still would cruise Concierge on those ships.
On-Board Concierge Managers
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 managers. Superior service is their hallmark. I fondly remember one member of the Concierge managers 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 managers 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 managers 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, some of the Concierge managers will join you ashore and respond to your requests. You literally just press a call button in your cabana, and (usually) within minutes, one of them arrives to assist you. The managers also walk around just to see how you’re doing and make sure everything is OK. Each time we were on Castaway Cay at the cabanas, it was reassuring to see these familiar and friendly faces.
The Concierge managers 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 managers really strive to help ease your transition off of the ship. If you go to the Concierge lounge by 8:15am on disembarkation day, a Concierge manager 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!
Are you ready to sail Concierge level on your next Disney cruise? Let me serve as your Disney Cruise Line Concierge expert! Contact me today to get started with planning your next luxury vacation.