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Bring Them Back: The Sadly Missed Disney Cruise Features We’re Longing to Experience Again!

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Over the years, Disney Cruises has seen a variety of unique features come and go, leaving some of us nostalgic for the past. 

Let’s look back at some of the much-missed features of a Disney Cruise that we wish they would bring back again.

Palo Brunch Buffet

It isn’t so long ago, but it feels like it.

Those glorious Palo Brunch days when your server explained the process. Here is a menu, but let’s go and look at the Buffet first.

Then you had to choose just how many thousands of calories you were going to consume. But it didn’t matter because you are on vacation and that doesn’t count.

Although Palo Brunch is still fabulous it isn’t the same. And I so miss those crab legs. And the cheese. And the salmon pate. And those amazing individual deserts.

Palo Brunch is still a great experience and I do it every time. But it just isn’t the same.

Related: Is Palo Brunch Still Worth it?

Kid’s Sail Free

Yes, that was a thing!

Difficult to believe now, as the chances of this one coming back seem like slim to absolute zero.


I remember sailing on one of these cruises which was a 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise way back in 2012.

I looked back on the blog to see when I could find the first time I wrote about this and it was way back in 2011.

Yes, I really have been doing this for that long.

I believe the last time this offer was available was in 2013. That one was for cruises from Galveston.

They even had a cruise sail free for Alaska Cruises! Can you imagine how fast that would book now?

I so wish I had started publishing the prices of Disney cruises as far back as this as it would be very interesting to see what the rates were then. And probably rather upsetting!

Related: How Much Does a Disney Cruise for a Family of 4 Cost?

Disney Cruise Placeholder On Board Credit

Who remembers this?

The Placeholder is still a good offer. Many people miss it, but it is still worth booking a placeholder on your cruise as it gets you a 10% discount on a future cruise.

disney wish maiden voyage

It doesn’t work for all dates and cruises, and it doesn’t work for concierge bookings, but it is still a nice 10% off for the majority of sailings.

But who remembers the On Board Credit?

This valuable perk disappeared in September 2019.

Before that, if you booked with a Placeholder you got a $200 OBC if you booked 7 nights or more, and $100 OBC for 3 to 6 nights.

Related: How the Disney Cruise Placeholder Can Save You Money

Platinum Cruisers Have Priority Boarding

I remember when I first qualified for this perk, I thought it was just such a great way of recognizing guests who had already shown a lot of loyalty to Disney Cruise Line.

Disney Cruise Line Port Canaveral

To qualify you had to have sailed 15 cruises with Disney.

So let’s not think about how much you have probably spent with Disney Cruise Line at that point. Spoiler alert – it’s way more than you will want to think about.

I know that I am fine now because they gave this to Pearl Castaway Cay members. But what about all those Platinum guests? How big of a deal would it be to give them this perk back?

And talking of perks, who thinks the whole Castaway Club Benefits system needs a serious overhaul?

The Pirate Night Buffet

So this is going to seem a little as though I am obsessed with buffets but another thing that has disappeared is the Pirate Night Buffet.

The hugely popular Pirate Night is still one of the most fabulously well-done and unique features of a Disney Cruise.

But for years following the fireworks you had the option of eating even more food at 10.30 pm! The experts knew that unless you wanted to end up in a huge buffet line you made sure you quickly went to line up for the (almost) midnight feast.

One feature that many people loved was the Turkey Legs – not sure how advisable it was to consume almost a day’s worth of calories just before bedtime, but the line for those was always really long.

I always said I was just going to look at the amazing fruit sculptures and not actually eat anything. I probably didn’t ever stick to that resolution.

Really, I don’t think they should bring the Pirate Buffet back.

I am sure that it was an enormous amount of waste, and more importantly, I am pretty sure it meant that the very hard-working Servers had to do even more hours.

But the point is that it is another example of things that have gone away.

Related: Disney Cruise Pirate Night

Is there anything you miss from past Disney Cruises? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Cheryl j

Monday 1st of April 2024

How about stone crab! We miss that so much. I agree with bringing back the paper navigator. Loved the executive type presentations. Haven’t seen one in many a moon.


Tuesday 2nd of April 2024

I agree. I wish they would bring back the presentations. It really did set Disney apart and I really don't see why they shouldn't bring them back.

Joseph Villano

Friday 15th of March 2024

My wife and I have done 21 Disney Cruises on all 5 ships since 2000. We renewed our wedding Vows on the Wonder in 2002 so you see, we are vested in the Cruise Line. I agree with your list and would add back other activities that have been cut like Ice Carving on the pool deck, Presentations by Disney Senior Character Artist Don Ducky Williams, Art auctions, If I were not upon the sea performance, Tours of the Galley, Bridge and Theatre stage. I recently attended The Festival of the Arts at EPCOT to hang out with my good friend and Disney Artist Don Ducky Williams. We had the opportunity to meet a Disney Cruise Line "Big Shot" and expressed our concerns about the lack of onboard activities as compared to the "Old Days"! She was very open to our criticisms and assured us that Cruise Line Execs were aware of long time cruisers dissatisfaction and that they are actively planning changes to address these shortcomings! I hope she wasn't blowing smoke up our... NOSTRILS!!!!!! ONLY TIME WILL TELL!


Monday 18th of March 2024

Thank you for your input! I completely agree about the presentations. I have had the pleasure of being on a number of cruises where Ducky has sailed and his presentations just take the whole experience to another level. He is such an inspiration and I was so glad that my children could meet with him as well. I also sailed on one cruise with Leslie Iwerks. Such a great experience to hear her talk and speak with her. This is so much a part of the Disney magic I do hope that the execs are listening.

Joni Fitch

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Will they ever have Cabanas opened for dinner again? It hasn’t been for dinner since before Covid. Even though we like the rotation dining, younger kids don’t. They can only have so much chicken nuggets and spaghetti


Friday 8th of March 2024

I wonder if they every will.Really I can't see it happening. It was probably a big cost saver so it is unlikely to come back. It is something that I think most other cruise lines offer and they really should bring back the opti on for more informal dining.

Maria Urrutia

Thursday 7th of March 2024

Bring back the paper naviagators.

Joni Fitch

Friday 8th of March 2024

@Maria Urrutia, YES!


Friday 8th of March 2024

I agree! I know that it saves on paper and that is very important but I really used to enjoy looking at the paper navigators at night and planning what to do the next day. It really isn't the same with the app. Usually guests services will print one out for you, but it really isn't the same.