Halloween on the High Seas returns to Disney Cruise Line with more sailings than ever before and new one-of-a-kind experiences in September and October 2023. This post shares all of the news, plus quick thoughts from Sarah’s experience during last year’s DCL spook season event.
According to Disney Cruise Line, the 2023 Halloween on the High Seas will bring back more guest-favorite entertainment and activities, including trick-or-treating, spooky parties, elaborate décor and themed food and beverage items. During these limited-time voyages, each ship in the DCL fleet transforms into a ghoulish wonderland.
Halloween on the High Seas voyages will be offered aboard select Disney Cruise Line sailings aboard the Magic, Dream, Fantasy, and Wish ships. Departure dates occur from mid-September through October 2023, with a total of 39 different voyages. The sailings depart from ports in Miami and Port Canaveral, Florida plus San Diego, California and New York City, New York.
Each cruise will take families to fascinating destinations including the Bahamas, Caribbean, California, Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico. All sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami will include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise outfitted for family fun and relaxation and brimming with special Disney touches, including the following DCL fan favorites.
First up is Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party. Guests of all ages won’t want to miss this spooktacular event. The atrium in each Disney Cruise Line ship will come alive with ghoulish games, trick-or-treating, and dancing, plus the famous Disney characters in their Halloween costumes.
Next, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream. It’s “Season’s Screamings” during this interactive movie experience—with Jack Skellington and Sally greeting guests plus a special interactive Sing and Scream experience featuring the classic film, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Up on deck, check out the campfire-style Haunted Stories of the Sea, featuring a spooky ghost story or two. Additionally, Halloween-themed movies will be shown on Funnel Vision by the family pool and in staterooms.
Other fun family activities during Halloween on the High Seas include pumpkin-carving, a ghostly takeover of Disney Cruise Line ship announcements, and much more. Guests will also enjoy special Halloween-themed food and beverage items during rotational dining and elsewhere in DCL restaurants.
Finally, proving that Halloween isn’t just for kids, adults will have their fun and (not-so) frightful festivities. Adult-exclusive venues across the fleet will become a ghoulish setting for costume contests and a Villainous Takeover on the dance floor.
Disney Cruise Line hasn’t shared anything new for Halloween on the High Seas 2023, but hopefully it’s as good as the new addition last year: the Sanderson Sisters meet & greet. For those who missed it, this features Minnie is dressed as Winifred Sanderson, Daisy as Sarah Sanderson, and Clarabelle as Mary Sanderson.
Each Disney fur character embodies their respective counterpart from Hocus Pocus, melding their own personalities with the Sanderson Sisters. This meet & greet was fantastic, well worth the often-long wait to meet the Sanderson Sisters!
The Disney Wish, the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, will once again bring its unique twist on a Halloween on the High Seas hallmark. The centerpiece of every ship during Halloween sailings is the signature magical Pumpkin Tree towering over the atrium lobby, each with sprouting Jack-O-Lanterns and flickering lights.
Aboard the Disney Wish, guests will find the Pumpkin Tree in the “Cinderella”-inspired Grand Hall. Featuring lighter bark, graceful branches and a mystical face, this enchanted tree that grew perfect gourds with the help of a Wishing Star at night produced the perfect pumpkin that became the coach that carried Cinderella to the Prince’s Ball.
In terms of commentary, we actually have experience with Halloween on the High Seas. Well, half of us do, at least. Last year, Sarah took a cruise aboard the Disney Wonder with her girlfriends during Halloween on the High Seas.
Sarah absolutely loved Halloween on the High Seas. She thought that the character costumes were adorable and unique, with the Sanderson Sisters being one of many highlights. The overall atmosphere of the ship was spooky thanks to quirky decorations, plenty of pumpkins, and the Halloween tree. Lots of little touches, like unique food and coffee enhanced the atmosphere even further, and gave a Halloween-infused atmosphere to the cruise.
(I’ve been trying to convince Sarah to do a full write-up about Halloween on the High Seas. If this is something you’d like to see, please let us know in the comments!)
We’ve previously done one of the Christmas sailings aboard Disney Cruise Line, and it was a bit underwhelming. (See our Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise Review.) Honestly, in reviewing all of Sarah’s photos and hearing what she had to say about Halloween on the High Seas, it sounds to me like Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise is the more ‘robust’ of the two events.
Perhaps it was simply a matter of unrealistic expectations when we did the Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise. We probably don’t have that to as great of a degree when it comes to Halloween. (And honestly, my memories of the Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise have grown fonder over time. Rereading my review today sounds quite harsh as compared to what I remember!)
Ultimately, Halloween on the High Seas sounds like a lot of fun, and we’re glad to see Disney Cruise Line bringing it back for 2023. Several of the itineraries out of San Diego are actually on our “list” of cruises to do/places to visit, but whether we actually follow through on that this year remains to be seen, and is likely a matter of discount availability (or lack thereof).
What do you think of these Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas? Any of the special offerings appeal to you? Impressed by the Sanderson Sisters costumes for Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Clarabelle Cow? Any other tips to add or recommendations for Halloween on the High Seas? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!