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Disney Cruise Line’s Dream versus Fantasy

Friday, July 06, 2012

I just returned from a 7-night sailing aboard the Disney Fantasy.  Before boarding the ship I was already thinking of what some of the differences might be between 2 of Disney Cruise Line’s newest ships; the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.  Last summer our family took a 5-night sailing aboard the Disney Dream.  Now that we’ve been on both ships I’m able to make some comparisons between them. 

As you may already know there are several more similarities between the two ship’s deck plans than there are differences.  As far as size and shape these vessels are virtually identical.  Without getting too specific I’ll try and tackle some of the basic differences between the two ships. 


If I had to use a word to describe each ship I’d call the Disney Fantasy elegant and the Disney Dream fun.  Much of the artwork, flooring, and venue décor on the Fantasy are more typical of an elegant environment.  Aboard the Dream the patterns, displays, colors, and even artwork provide guests with a fun, exciting atmosphere.  The first hint of these decor differences can be found as you walk onboard the ships main atrium where you are greeted with stunning colors, décor, and the ships main chandelier.  You’ll be able to see and even feel the differences right away between the elegance aboard the Fantasy and the amusing environment aboard the Dream. 

Both ships carry a classic, turn-of-the-century feel.  The difference really lies with the finishing touches like flooring, artwork, lighting, and the rest of the ships decor essentials.  What you see and feel is really what is translated to you, so your opinion about the ships may differ from my opinion. 

The Aquaduck

At first glance the Aquaduck on both ships look identical, but there appears to be a somewhat noticeable difference between the two.  It took me a while to see it, but it appears there is a bigger slope along the first side of the ride along the Fantasy.  When seeing this increased slope my assumption was the ride would be faster.  After my first ride it appeared my assumption was right.  It seemed the Aquaduck on the Fantasy was faster.  I don’t have specific proof of this (I left my speedometer at home), but you can feel it as you move along the ride, especially the first part of the ride.  My feeling is that this was done to help move guests through the attraction faster, decrease wait times, and to provide a little more of a thrill along the way.   If you have the chance to sail on both ships make sure to ride both Aquaducks and see if you notice the difference for yourself. 

The Deck Plan

Again, there’s not a huge difference to note with the deck plans; however, there are some subtle changes.  On deck 5 midship aboard the Disney Fantasy you’ll find the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  This does not exist on the Disney Dream, but as one high-ranking cast member aboard the Fantasy told me that may change in the future depending on logistics.  Only time will tell for sure.

Another difference in the deck plan is on deck 12 and 13 in the adults-only area of the ship.  More space has been given to the adults aboard the Disney Fantasy along with another pool and water feature on deck 13.  Satellite Falls allows the adults to relax and cool off while either enjoying the sunshine or shade.  There are also very comfortable and relaxing lounge chairs to enjoy in these new spaces. 

Also new to the Disney Fantasy is the Aqualab water play area on deck 12.  This new space was included to give older children the opportunity to get wet in a fun environment.  It’s filled with different water features sure to get anyone cooled off and soaked. 

The Technology

There appears to be some upgrades in regards to technology onboard the Disney Fantasy versus the Dream.  For one, it seems the sound all through the ship is clearer and improved.  Additionally, the funnel vision on deck 11 seems sharper and crisper.  I’m not exactly sure how I could tell, but from what I remember of our time aboard the Dream both audio and video seemed a little better on the Fantasy.   

Onboard both ships you’ll find artwork that comes to life in the form of mysteries.  Guests can visit different pieces of artwork throughout the ship and try and solve different mysteries.  However, on the Fantasy these mysteries seem to have more possible endings or culprits.  The game system onboard the Fantasy appears to keep track of the games you’ve played and gives you different capers and culprits automatically based on your stateroom number. 


With the Disney Fantasy providing 7-night sailings and the Disney Dream providing 3, 4, or 5 night sailings there are certainly some noticeable differences between the 2 ships.  There’s more to do aboard the Fantasy simply because the sailings are longer.  Disney realized there needed to be more to do on the ship with longer sailings. 

Putting the daily activities aside I personally feel the Disney Fantasy has a slight edge over the Dream based on the elements I mentioned previously.  I’m basing my opinions on cruises that were about 11 months apart, but I walked away from our 7-night cruise aboard the Fantasy feeling this ship was a little better.  It may have to do with this ship’s construction taking place a year after the Dream and Disney had the opportunity to introduce newer technology and correct some mistakes they made with the Dream.  Either way, both ships are fantastic and you will hardly notice much of a difference experiencing both vessels. 

If you are a theme park fan and you haven’t given Disney Cruise Line a chance, or you think you are just not a cruise person definitely give it a shot.  A cruise vacation combines exceptional Disney service in a Disney environment.  It’s simply the best of both worlds. 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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