In this post, I'm going to share with you what we learned about our stay on the Disney Cruise Line (Dream) connecting verandah staterooms and what we learned with our family of six (2 adults and 4 kids).
When our four kids were between the ages of 18 months and 8 years old, we took them on a Disney Cruise. Because we had six people, we had to book a connecting stateroom. My husband was adamant about getting a verandah (e.g. balcony) for the view, so we ended up getting TWO connecting staterooms.
Because this was our first cruise vacation as a family, I had no idea what to expect. To cut to the chase, it was nothing short of amazing. Let me tell you all about what you need to know about connecting staterooms and verandahs, specifically on our Disney Dream Cruise.
Disney Cruise Line Terminology
If this is your first time cruising, I wanted to share with you a few terms before we get into the good stuff so you have a baseline.
What is a Disney Cruise stateroom?
Your room on a Disney Cruise Ship is called a stateroom. It is also known as a cabin. You can think of it like a hotel room.
What is a verandah view?
A verandah view means that your stateroom will have a patio/balcony with a view of the scenery as the ship passes by.
What is a porthole?
A porthole is a large window that your stateroom will have that will allow you to see the scenery as the ship passes by.
What is an inside room?
An inside room will not have a verandah or a porthole at all. Often, Disney will add a "digital porthole" that has scenes of the ocean view or animated characters on the wall as a provision to not having the other features.
What is a connecting stateroom?
A connecting stateroom is a room on the Disney Cruise ship that has two doors that are back to back to each other inside the cabin. There's a door in each room to the connecting room, each with a lock on either side.
What is an adjoining stateroom?
An adjoining stateroom means that there are two rooms next door to each other without a connecting inside door OR it can be across the hallway from each other.
What is a verandah room on a Disney Cruise?
A verandah room is a room with an open-air balcony. The standard verandah room has an acrylic wall, which allows you to have a clear view while also having a protective railing. The verandah staterooms also include deck furniture which includes two chairs and a small table.
What is a Category 5A on a Disney Cruise?
The Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are sister ships that have the same amenities. Category 5A rooms on both of these ships is a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with a verandah, and they allow families with 3 to 4 people to stay in a space that has a queen bed, pull out sofa couch, and drop down murphy bunk bed.
Difference Between a Adjoining Stateroom versus a Connecting Stateroom
Adjoining staterooms are rooms that are right next to each other while a connecting staterooms have an inner double door that allows for easy flow between the rooms, allowing large families to create a bigger space.
All About Disney Cruise Ship Connecting Rooms
How many connecting staterooms are there on a Disney Cruise ship?
For the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, recent room renovations were done to add interconnecting doors that allow for around 30 staterooms to be connecting staterooms. This means that because of the limited number of staterooms available on this ship (and it being a smaller ship), they are very popular and book fairly quickly. It's recommended to book your stateroom as early as possible.
Related Post: Deck Plans for Disney Wonder Enhancements
For the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships, they are the largest ships of the fleet and are designed to accommodate large families with over 500 connecting doors that allow for bigger options and choices for staterooms.
How can you get the walls on the verandah unlocked?
You just need to contact your stateroom host and let them know you'd like them to unlock the wall to connect the verandahs.
What is the difference between the Disney stateroom categories?
Each stateroom can be categories into 4 high level categories. Each of those high level categories then have their own sub-level categories of stateroom types that you can choose from.
Generally, each stateroom category will tell you whether it will be less expensive or more expensive and is based on view, space, number of beds, proximity to elevators, and a lot more.
At a high level, here are the high level categories:
- Oceanview with Verandah
- Ocean View (with in-room porthole)
You can find a link and compare the various rooms available for each high level category stateroom here.
You can also find the best staterooms in each of the high level and sub-level categories on a Disney Cruise here.
What is the height of the Disney verandah walls?
The height of the verandah walls are 48 inches.
Below is a picture of my 6 foot husband and my 7 and 8 year old daughters (who are short for their age) so you can see it with an adult and kids next to it.
Below is my four year old sitting and eating his breakfast on the verandah.
Can you book Disney connecting staterooms that have different categories (one with a verandah and one with just an ocean view)?
There are a few cases where there is a balcony connecting with a non-balcony, but they are for connected handicapped accessible staterooms. Here's a video of one of those rooms - it has two windows and extra large handicap accessible space. It doesn't have a privacy curtain like some of the other rooms in this category.
Outside of this exception, the Disney Cruise Line ships do not have rooms that connect between different room high level categories. What you can do is book rooms that are adjacent/adjoining to each other where they are close in proximity. Just make sure that your travel agent has booked rooms next to each other, linked the rooms, and added a notation not to upgrade you.
I know having an adjoining room might not be a great option for families with littles. I do think the main reason why this question has been asked so often by cruisers is for parents that have a desire to have one room with a non-verandah view for their kids (concerns around them wandering into the balcony unsupervised) and the other for the parents to be able to keep an eye on as well as use for their own enjoyment.
What's the price difference between each of the categories on a Disney Cruise?
Generally, pricing from lowest to highest is as follows: Inside, Ocean View with Porthole, Oceanview with Verandah, and Concierge.
I've actually talked to a Disney IT Director and he said that there are a bunch of data scientists on the team that use data from historical prices, weather, booking data to help determine the optimal pricing for each of the different categories.
Why Book a Disney Connecting Staterooms and Verandah
If you have a large family or are a family with more than three kids, connecting staterooms are great because you can keep the connecting door open or closed to allow family to move around the cabin.
In addition, if you have a connecting stateroom with a verandah view on Disney Cruise ships, you'll be able to make your single verandah into a double verandah - allowing you to have more space on the balcony in addition to a double set of seating.
Connecting staterooms provide convenience and more privacy than a bigger concierge space because you get double bathrooms and double sleeping areas.
Also, if you are travelling with four littles like we did, it was great having a bathroom in our stateroom where we could shower while the kids slept peacefully in the other room.
How Early to Book for a Connecting Stateroom with a Verandah View
You should definitely plan well in advance in order to secure two staterooms with a verandah view. Rooms with connecting spaces often get reserved quickly, so you'll increase your chance of reserving one if you are able to plan well ahead.
Other types of connecting rooms include interior rooms and rooms with portholes. Often, though, connecting staterooms with a verandah view are the ones that get reserved the quickest.
You can ask your Disney travel agent to put a courtesy hold on adjoining staterooms if you have a quote that meets your budget.
Tip: If you are trying to book the Disney Dream, try booking 7192/7194 because it has a HUGE deck. It's a category 5E on the back of the ship and has an extended verandah.
If we're one family, do we need to book port activities and everything else twice?
Each room will have its own reservation numbers, and you'll need to complete two online check-ins and answer the same questions twice. You should ask your agent to link your reservations, and it will allow you to book port activities with the members of your linked reservations. This way, you'll be able to see everyone when doing excursions.
Deciding Whether to Book a Connecting Stateroom
Connecting Stateroom versus Larger Stateroom
On Disney Cruise ships, the maximum number of guests for a single room is 5 people. You can check out all the categories and the maximum number of guests here.
Often though, the larger room may be quite a big difference in price than booking two smaller category rooms close to each other.
Connecting Stateroom with Verandah versus Connecting Stateroom with Porthole
If you really don't care about the view or getting fresh air into your stateroom, then a porthole and even an interior stateroom might be a cost-effective choice.
The other thing to consider is that if you are planning on taking kids and you are and your spouse plan on staying in one stateroom and the kids in the other, if you have a verandah view - there is the concern of the kids opening up the balcony. While there is a lot of security around the locks on the verandahs, if you are a parent that is concerned about this type of stuff, this is something you might want to think about.
With our four kids, they all slept in the other room (they were ages 18 months, 3 years, 7 years, and 8 years), and it was fine (we had a long conversation about it).
Noise from a Connecting Stateroom
For those of you who have booked a connecting room without realizing it or are travelling with in-laws, you may be wondering if noise will be a concern with a Disney ship connecting room.
Is there more noise in a connecting cabin than a non-connecting cabin?
Connecting rooms are not noiser. If your neighbors shout or make noise, you'll hear them whether you have a connecting door or a solid wall.
Here's a big tip: If you are on a Disney Cruise, there is bound to be children everywhere. If a family has booked a stateroom, you may hear children opening the connecting door out of curiosity and hear them asking their parents about the door. What you could do preemptively is knock on their door and ask the family to allow you to open the door so they can see what your room looks like to settle their curiosity.
Frequently Asked Questions About Connecting Verandah and Staterooms
Can the partition on the verandahs be removed between two staterooms?
Yes! When we arrived in our stateroom, the verandahs were still connected. We asked our stateroom attendant in the first hour of being on the ship and he was able to unlock it just a few hours later. Note: The stateroom attendants are pretty busy (and sometimes flustered) in the first few hours of the new guests on the ship, so just be aware. Maybe ask them around the 3-4 hour mark.
The partition just flips back and is then locked in place, making for a bigger balcony. In addition, you would then have two sets of verandah furniture to move around as you please.
Our Experience for Connecting Staterooms with a Verandah View
When did we book our connecting stateroom?
We booked our vacation in March and didn't go until February the following year.
We went the second week of February on a 3-Night Bahamian Cruise. In hindsight, I would have booked the vacation at the end of February to allow the ocean at Castaway Cay to be a bit warmer.
What did we pay in 2018 for connecting staterooms on the Disney Dream?
Our total bill for the staterooms that are connecting (not including gratuity or any other services) was $4,864.36 for 2 adults and 4 kids (1, 3, 7, and 8) for a 3-Night Cruise.
What room did we reserve? What did we like about the room?
We booked on the Disney Dream rooms 9566 and 9568.
It was a Category 5A - Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah. We absolutely loved the room because it was right smack in the middle of where we needed to be between Oceaneer's Club and the main deck.
What did we like most about it?
We loved the location and having two bathrooms to get ready.
In addition, we loved the murphy bunk beds in the rooms (the kids especially loved it). As much as I would love to say that we used the verandah, we really didn't. At most, there were 2 of us out on the verandah for the view.
We had low expectations going into the Disney Cruise, and it was our favorite part of our double Disney adventure.
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