Archive for Disney Cruise Line

Aug
26

Disney Fantasy: A Day by Day!

Posted by: | Comments (0)

 

Under normal circumstances, a week is a reasonably long period of time. On a Disney Cruise, time flies faster than Aladdin’s Magic Carpet! Nonetheless, the week is jam-packed with memories upon memories that will always last a lifetime.

Ever wondered what your week would look like on a seven-night Disney Cruise? Here’s what mine looked like.  Be forewarned: Spoilers ahead!

Day 1, Port Canaveral

From the moment our car pulled up to Disney’s cruise terminal at Port Canaveral, the attention to detail even in the smallest matters got us more and more excited for the week to come aboard the Disney Fantasy. The terminal itself is immaculate. Mickey and Minnie posing for pictures with people as they waiting to board the ship showed cruisers that Mickey himself was happy to welcome them aboard!

The boarding process was relatively simple, as the online check in at home is very, very thorough. All that remained was for us to get our Key to the World cards printed, which serve as your room key, charge card, and ship ID for the week. The line was relatively long, but we got through it very quickly, as Disney has many representatives waiting to assist you and your family.

We didn’t need to pull our luggage or cases of water around with us, as Disney allows those items to be checked in with the porters. All of these checked items magically appear at your room in just a few hours!

As we boarded the ship in our matching monorail t-shirts (we like to stand clear of the doors), we were welcomed aboard by the amazing cruise staff. They announced our arrival to the entire ship as we entered the beautiful atrium of the Disney Fantasy. No matter how many times I walk on to this stunning ship, I am always taken aback by the beauty of the atrium. The gold trim, warm colors, and subtle nods to Disney stories make my eyes water. Sure, other ships have beautiful atriums, but the Fantasy’s speaks to your soul in an emotional way that cannot be duplicated.

You’re surrounded by the typical subtle Disney ambiance music that musically begins your story aboard the ship.  You see the beautiful glass elevators, carpet, and handmade glass light fixture that channel the natural beauty of a peacock’s feathers. You’ll also see the statue of Minnie Mouse, the centerpiece of the atrium. On the walls, you’ll be delighted to see paintings and mosaics of castles, pumpkin carriages, and magical art that comes to life when you approach it.

This is truly the beginning of your story.

The first thing I did after taking in the grand entrance was make my way to the shore excursions desk on Deck 5. This is a quick, yet important task. I was able to get tickets for the Princess forum, which is a gathering of all the Disney Princesses on the ship. It is the perfect time for pictures with each of them! I also signed up for a meet and greet with the popular sisters from Frozen, Anna and Elsa. You also have the opportunity to sign up for the Disney Junior Character Breakfast, which takes place on Sea Days. While I was there, I also made sure to sign my whole family up for the Castaway Cay 5K!

While all these events cost nothing, Disney issues tickets in order to keep the lines down. Each cruiser is assigned a different arrival time, and they are all staggered.  Anna and Elsa don’t have a four-hour wait! I was assigned times for the following Thursday, which seemed far away at the time, but went by very quickly!

Next up, we headed to our room to drop off our carry-on luggage.  Our room was a rare category 9D. There are only 2 of them on the ship that were like ours, and my family had both! Situated on Deck 8 forward, rooms 8006 and 8504 are in the corners of the ship. While they are oddly situated, they are much larger than the average room. As with all 9D’s, they have an “obstructed” view, which is really not anything to complain about, as it overlooks the bow of the ship. I like to see where we are going!

As part of our new tradition, we made sure to decorate the door of our stateroom with magnets. Disney’s doors are magnetic, so many, many guests take to decorating them! Check out our Olaf!

It was time for lunch, and with Disney Cruise Line, the welcome aboard lunch is no joke. We were treated to lamb chops, swordfish, crab claws, mussels, sushi, carved turkey, and roast steamship. It was shameful how much we ate, but it was all so delicious… The stand-out star, as always, were the lamb chops. Grilled freshly in front of you, these perfectly seasoned little bundles of deliciousness are sure to satisfy anyone!

After the mandatory lifeboat drill, it was time to sail away! The sailing away party is a sight to behold. Cruisers from all over the world are finally at the vacation of a lifetime that they have been looking forward to like nothing else! Time to celebrate! The cruise staff, along with Captain Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and the gang all come out and dance to some catchy music that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks! This all culminates with the finale, the ship’s horn! It can play one of six different Disney songs! We were treated to the classic, “When You Wish Upon a Star!” Time to sail away!

We were finally out to sea! After some exploring, it was time for dinner. One of the many unique aspects of Disney Cruise Line is that they have rotational dining. That means every night of the cruise, you rotate between three different dining rooms! Each a different and unique experience!

The first night, we were delighted to having the same server as our last cruise! Lumi! We had requested her for this cruise, and were very happy to see she was on the ship! Our first dining room was the Enchanted Garden. Here, the ambiance and lighting changes to simulate daytime, dusk, and night all during your meal! The flower-shaped light fixtures even change as the day turns to night. All the while, you enjoy dining in what feels like the garden of a palace!

The Enchanted Garden menu was one of my favorite of the entire cruise, as it contains my favorite entrée that Disney Cruise Line offers — the sea bass. Seasoned and cooked perfectly, this sea bass flakes apart, even if you just think really hard! It is extremely delicious, and a must try! Even for those who do not enjoy fish, as it is not fishy AT ALL. The appetizers are also quite delicious. They have an Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower, sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt. It’s truly a beautiful plate!

After dinner, we headed directly for the Welcome Aboard Show in the Walt Disney Theater. Rule number one of Disney Cruises: Never ever miss the shows! They are incredible and are the perfect way to start your evening. In tonight’s show, we were introduced to our cruise director and the incredible cast of the Walt Disney Theater. They performed a short show complete with classic Disney songs and dances all themed around showing you around the ship! It’s a great teaser for what shows are to come….

After the show, I engaged in some family karaoke. Led by the cruise staff member, Jess (who became the stand-out member for our cruise), family karaoke was a fun, welcoming environment! So naturally I decided to sing “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen. However, that song is a duet, so I needed to recruit someone from the crowd! It was lots, and lots of fun!

After karaoke, I finished the night in the Tube, which is in Europa, the Adult Entertainment District. This area is for adults only, no kids allowed, and is complete with a Irish Pub, Champagne Bar, a bar shaped like a carousel, often accompanied by live music, a night club themed after the British Subway system, The Tube, and the Skyline Bar, a bar complete with magical windows that display a different city skyline every few minutes!

In the Tube, the adult entertainment cruise staff member, Tisa, was hosting a Match your Mate gameshow! Which is where couples go to answer some questions about each other and win some great prizes! She really does an amazing job, and she remembered me from my previous cruises! It’s always fun to forge friendships with crew members.

Day 2, at sea

With so much fun on the first day, how could one not look forward to day 2?! During this day, the ship was at sea, as we were making our way to Cozumel, Mexico. It was a beautiful day for laying by the pool and watching Disney Movies on the big screen after breakfast!

We took part in many activities in addition to laying by the pool that day… We played mini golf on the Goofy Sports Deck, we took part in the Midship Detective Agency starring the Muppets, and even did some Disney Song Trivia!

The Midship detective agency is a fun way to learn your way around the ship. The magical artwork I mentioned in the atrium is not only there, but around the entire ship! This art work not only interacts with you as you pass by it, but serves as the medium for the Midship Detective agency! All you need is your detective badge, which you can obtain on Deck 2, or Deck 5, midship. All in all, there are three crimes for you to solve, one involving missing paintings, one involving missing Dalmatian puppies, and one starring the Muppets, who seem to have had their props stolen.

Disney Song Trivia was a lot harder than you would think! I arrived at trivia as a solo team. I was delighted to see that Jess was hosting it along with the ship’s pianist. There were 15 questions that were each divided into three parts for a total of 45 possible points. The ship’s pianist would play a few notes from the song (just a few), and you would have to name the song, movie it was from, and a special bonus question pertaining to the song or movie. I scored 42 points and won! All by myself! Let’s just say people were jealous of my new Mickey medal!

As part of my usual cruise routine, I felt it was necessary to use the gym every day to justify the massive amounts of food I was consuming. The gym itself on the Disney Fantasy is VERY nice. Complete with many treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, weight machines, and more, it was perfect to get my usual work out in with the added bonus of a view of the ocean! Perfect relaxation!

As this was the second night of the cruise, it was formal night. On Disney’s seven-night sailings, they often have one formal night and a semiformal night. These are optional, but almost everyone dresses up, so you might as well. We certainly did!

Dinner that night was in the Royal Court. The most formal of the three dining rooms, and in my opinion, the most beautiful. Complete with mosaics of Disney Princes and Princesses, beautiful chandeliers, lights and bread baskets shaped like Cinderella’s carriage, and plates and cups adorned with crowns, carriages, and roses. The servers are also dressed for the part by wearing royal costumes making them look like servers in a palace!

The food was incredible as always, but the stars of this menu are Gaston’s Escargot, the Rack of Lamb, and the crème brulee. As an escargot fan, I had no doubt that Disney would get it right, and I was correct. Aside from being named after the greatest man alive himself, Gaston, the escargot was beautifully prepared and delicious. The rack of lamb fell off the bone, and was seasoned to absolute perfection… Perhaps my favorite dessert of the cruise, the crème brulee is perfect amounts crème and perfect amounts brulee, and is not overly sweet or heavy, but a lovely way to end the meal.

After dinner, we were treated to one of the very best shows at sea, Disney’s Aladdin. All I can say is … wow. It is truly an incredible show that keeps you wanting more and more, even if you are familiar with the movie and songs. The performers immerse themselves in the crowd, making the audience really feel as if they are part of the story… During the magic carpet, a whole new world scene, it actually looked like the carpet was flying through the clouds! The puppeteer for Iago was incredible. And the performer who portrayed the magic carpet was unreal! She did flips, splits, hand springs, and all sorts of other maneuvers that I couldn’t even make up names for. The star of this show however, was the Genie. It was truly an amazing performance. I’ve never seen this show not receive a standing ovation from the audience. Refer back to rule number one: DON’T MISS THE SHOWS!

Going on around the ship that night, they had a scavenger hunt for the adults only in the Tube called The Quest. The audience was divided into teams. They had to find different objects and bring them to the stage to gain points. For example, they had to find a set of keys, run up with two belts, and find a man wearing women’s shoes(?!).  That was hysterical to watch. Overall, a very fun show run by Tisa.

Day 3, Mexico

Day 3 was probably the most magical for me… and for reasons I did not expect. Disney Cruise Line is full of surprises, even for those who have sailed nine times.

Today we were in Cozumel, Mexico. A beautiful Mexican port famous for its beaches, silver, and access to Mayan ruins. As a family, we opted to just walk off the ship and shop, as the shopping in Mexico is more like a sporting event… Especially when my father does it.

As with most Caribbean ports, you can find lots of brand knockoffs, such as fake Oakley sunglasses. Originally, the salesman had a steep price of $80, which is almost the price of real ones! I’ll admit he did keep a straight face for a while…. My father, the sportsman that he is, found great pleasure in walking away with those sunglasses for $15. It was a fine spectacle to behold.

When we got back to the ship after some more shopping, we were happy to see most people were still out and about. It was nice to be able to roam around the ship, eat lunch, and go to the gym without any crowds.

Dinner that night was at the Animator’s Palate… but what happened before that changed my life. Now, there’s something that you should know about me. I have two favorite things in the whole world, and those are Disney and Star Wars. On my way to dinner, I had to pass the gift shop, which I had been in MANY times during this cruise, and purchased a few small things. On the Disney Fantasy, the gift shop is divided into many store fronts. One of these store fronts had been revamped during the day to be a Star Wars Disney Cruise Line Store………

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

There were several Star Wars Disney Cruise Line shirts featuring the ship, X-Wings, Jedi Knights, Sith Lords, the Death Star and more! I bought one of everything… literally… everything! It was shameful, yet glorious. My favorite new shirt features Han Solo, and says “Captain of the Ship” along with the Disney Cruise Line logo. AMAZING! The funny part was, apparently I was the first person to wander in since they opened! Of course I had to take a picture with the gift shop manager, Elizabeth, to commemorate!

With all the excitement, I was late for dinner! The Animator’s palate is by far the most immersive of the three dining rooms. It is themed after classic and modern Disney Animation. One the first visit of the week, guests are treated to Turtle Talk with Crush! Where Crush, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, visits each section of the restaurant and talks to people! It is loads of fun. The stand out menu item of this evening was the Truffle Pasta! VERY, very good! Order two! For dessert, the Cheesecake Brownie was heavenly.

That night after dinner, I was able to snag some pictures with some Disney Princesses! I met Ariel, she called me handsome, Cinderella, and Tiana. The show of this evening was Disney’s Wishes! A beautiful show about growing up and facing your fears starring three best friends. They go on a journey through Disneyland and meet many different Disney Characters such as Hercules, Sebastian, and Timon and Pumbaa. Again, the cast of the show performs these scenes and Disney songs beautifully! The final scene of the show includes the three main characters graduation from high school, sure to bring tears to the eyes of any parent.

That night, we opted to visit the Buena Vista Theater, which is where Disney Cruise Line plays first-run Disney movies. On this list for this cruise was the new live action Cinderella, Tomorrowland, Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Monkey Kingdom! We chose to watch Ant-Man. Wonderful movie! And the best part? It’s included in the price of the cruise!

Day 4, Cayman Islands

Next stop, Grand Cayman! Home to some of the clearest blue seas I have ever seen! Since Grand Cayman is surrounded by several coral reefs, the ship can’t actually dock there, so it has to anchor in the bay. Passengers tender from the ship to reach the island. Disney Cruise Line does a really great job organizing the tenders, so that everyone can get off without a scrum of people fighting to get one. They allow guests participating in Disney Port Adventures to disembark first, then make announcements when other guests can go, all the while queuing guests in the Walt Disney Theater.

While some of my family opted to stay on the ship, I decided to get off and explore. We did some brief shopping, used some free wifi, and took a few nice pictures. Overall though, the action was back on the ship for us. As we rode the AquaDuck, which is Disney Cruise Line’s amazing watercoaster that brings you over the side of the ship! We did it several times with no line, watched Mulan on deck, and even had time to make it to the gym!

After the gym, I made sure to go take a picture with Captain Mickey, who was taking pictures in front of the Walt Disney Theater. On my way back to the room, I ran into Ariel, who was making some rounds of the ship while it was quiet. I was actually able to talk to her for around 10 minutes before other fans of hers approached! She’s really a nice girl! Shame about her grades though… She was below “sea” level. Bad jokes folks.

She was too busy taking shelfies and putting them on instaclam. Sorry. I’ll stop now.

Dinner that night was back in the Enchanted Garden for the Princess Menu! From here on out, every dining room has the same menu, even though the experiences differ. The stand-out star of tonight was the Trio of Veal. Veal tenderloin, pulled veal, and a veal ravioli all on one plate. How could this not be amazing? Perfectly tender and delicious.

That night, my cousin Alyssa was able to get a picture with Belle! The only princess I hadn’t seen yet. Alyssa has a very, very special place in her heart for Belle.  More on that later…

In Europa that night, guests were treated to a live variety show from a balloon comedian. Balloon comedian? I know… I said the same thing, but he was hilarious!

Day 5, Jamaica

On Day 5, we woke up in the beautiful Falmouth, Jamaica! Today we had an actual excursion planned, just me and my cousins, Alyssa and James. We opted to take part in river tubing. This took place in Ocho Rios, which was about an hour drive from Falmouth. We booked this excursion, not through Disney, but through Shore Excursions Group, an affiliate we work with here at iCruise.com. The tour guide was amazing! He not only got us to and from our destination safely and on time, but he provided lots of information and local knowledge about the island.

We loved everything about river tubing.  The river was slightly cold, but refreshing, and it was crystal clear. Floating down the river, we saw all sorts of plants and wildlife. We even got to stop half way and jump off a platform into the river! They also had a rope swing, and a rope to climb at this rest stop.

Back onboard, it was Pirate night! This is one of the most enjoyable experiences one can possibly have on a Disney ship. There is a themed dinner menu, a fireworks show, and everyone dresses up! Cast, crew, characters, and guests!!

After the gym, I went to prepare for dinner by putting on my most pirate-like clothes that I had brought with me. I also went and purchased a pair of pirate Mickey ears to wear! It was so much fun! Some guests went crazy, and wore some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen. Don’t forget your pirate costumes! You’ll feel left out!

At dinner, the pirate menu was Caribbean themed. Don’t miss the macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, or the coconut covered bananas. They are incredible! Also, try Captain Jack’s braised rib… it fell off the bone!

After dinner was the show to end all variety shows. We were lucky enough to have Ricky Kalmon, a famed hypnotist, onboard the ship.  Now, I don’t typically buy into this sort of thing — until my cousin was chosen as a volunteer.

Alyssa almost immediately fell into a trance. Before she knew it, she was convinced napkins were hundred dollar bills and was singing Taylor Swift on stage.  But best of all — as I mentioned before, Alyssa has a very special (dark) place in her heart for Belle, very special. So much so that we make fun of her for disliking a Disney Princess. Ricky Kalmon hypnotized all the people on stage to believe they were any character… and who did subconscious Alyssa introduce herself as? BELLE! LIFE MADE.

At 10:30 PM, the main event began.  Starting with a show on deck starring the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow, guests were treating to an amazing fireworks show timed to music from the Pirates of the Caribbean Saga. This falls into rule number 1: Don’t miss the shows!

After the fireworks, the buffet opens up again for a pirate buffet! Complete with a Disney Parks favorite, the Turkey Leg! The crepe station is also pretty amazing. Don’t miss them! They are in the back area!

In Europa, Tisa was hosting an adult-only karaoke, which obviously I had to take part in singing my favorite song, again. Cause I mean it’s crazy! We finish each other’s… Sandwiches! Again, I picked up a partner. We almost won the contest, but we were destroyed by someone’s rendition of piano man. Curse you Billy Joel and your catchy songs…

Day 6, at sea

It was the final day at sea! We were on our way to Castaway Cay, the jewel of the Bahamas. There was so much to do! Starting with the fact that it was Thursday! Which means time for my Princess forum and Anna and Elsa meet and greet!

The Princesses immediately recognized me from our other encounters, Ariel called me handsome again. It was fun to get pictures with them one after the other. I really enjoy seeing how much the kids enjoy this experience. They take the time to dress up in their favorite Princess dress, style their hair, and make this a serious affair!

Same goes for Anna and Elsa! The kids loved seeing their favorite pair of sisters. I did too! I even wore my Frozen shirt! Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, they say Sven is doing great back home.

I showed up to another trivia after the gym that day, but was immediately recognized from my other victory. They tried to push me out of trivia, but I persisted. It wasn’t about the prize anymore, it was about the principle. So I won again! J. After that though, I retired from the Disney Trivia business for this cruise. It was only fair!

That night at dinner in the Royal Court, it was the night we were all looking forward to — lobster night, known in my family as the Lobster Apocalypse. On no other cruise line do you find lobster tails as huge, meaty, and delicious. We ate so many, it hurts thinking about it. It was glorious.

Showtime! Tonight’s show was a personal favorite! Disney’s Believe is about a father who realizes the importance of the magic in his daughter’s heart, and brings back the Genie from Aladdin! Also has one of the catchiest original songs of the entire cruise! What makes the garden grow?

That night in the Tube, Tisa hosted an adult-only Majority rules trivia show. In this game, the questions were not based on fact, rather, by the majority. One question was, “what was the best movie ever made?” I of course said Star Wars, and so did most of the other people, so that was one correct! Unfortunately, that was about all I got! It was fun though, and very adult!

Day 7, Castaway Cay

When I picture paradise, I picture Castaway Cay. And let it be known, I’m not a fan of the beach, at all, but I love the beach on Castaway Cay. It is perfectly pristine. The waters are clear, the sun is warm, and the island is up to par with Disney’s standards.

We started the day with the Castaway Cay 5K! A fun 3.1 mile race through the island. The race is always fun, and is a great way to see the island before anyone else! After all, you are running!

After the race, we treated ourselves to some smoothies from Olaf’s Summertime Freeze Bar! A Frozen themed smoothie bar operated by Olaf himself. Find Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Olaf’s favorite flavors! I loved the coconut water, ginger smoothie, it was perfect for after the race.

Afterwards we went back to the ship and changed, had some breakfast, then got ready to go to the beach! Unfortunately, the rain wanted to go to the beach as well. It started pouring, and we were holed up in the gift shop, where we did some shopping. After a few hours and a BBQ lunch, the rain stopped, and the ocean was cleared by the lifeguards to be safe. It was now time to go in! The best part? Most people had gone back to the ship, and the beach was almost empty! It was perfect. The skies became beautifully blue, and the day at Castaway Cay could not have been better.

That night at dinner, we were back in the Animator’s Palate for the Animation Magic show. In this show, guests are invited to become animator’s themselves and draw their own character. I of course drew Boba Fett. After we were done drawing, Lumi came over and took our drawings, they were then magically brought to life and feature on screen with Mickey and other Disney Characters! The best part? Our names were all featured in the credits!

After dinner, I got to go say goodbye to my favorite Princesses at the farewell show in the atrium. It was sad, but it was good to get some last-minute pictures with Mickey and the Princesses, and with almost no lines!

Afterwards, we headed to the D lounge to take part in Mirror Mirror, a Snow White themed game show that involves trivia and physical challenges for the whole family. It’s fun, goofy, and very memorable. I would certainly do it again.

That night in Europa, Tisa hosted another variety act, a juggler. Not as good as the balloon guy, but still cool. We then had a dance party to the wee hours of the morning, and it was then that I had to make the hard decision to go to bed. Thus ending the cruise….

The next morning was tough as always. Debarkation is easy enough, although it is always very sad. After a delicious breakfast, it was time to get off. We got through Customs quickly, and made it to our car with no issues. We were off before 9am.

It was an amazing cruise that will forever go down in the record books. We made some great memories we will always cherish as a family. I made some great new friends that I will keep in contact with. Now… when are we going again?!?

Wanna go? Call me at 1-800-439-1909 ext 7856 and get the best Disney Cruise Advice around! (and a great price!)

Nico

Like me on facebook!

Nico was born in South Florida and took his first cruise when he was 5 years old. Since then, he’s been on over 20 cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mediterranean. He is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and spent a semester as a Cast Member in the Disney College Internship program at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, where he became known as Boardwalk Nico. He’ll still tell you a bad joke or two if you ask. Nico specializes in family vacations and fun, having cruised extensively with both Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. Outside the office, he enjoys running and Martial arts. He completed the Disney Marathon five times and is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. If you don’t find him at his desk, he’s probably out having some adventures. Nico looks forward to helping you plan a magical vacation regardless of the cruise line.

More About Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line for Adults

Why a Disney Cruise is Worth the Money

Castaway Cay

Disney Dream Review

Jun
11

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Posted by: | Comments (0)

There are mere months until Disney releases the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It is such an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, but what is one to do while waiting for the new movie? Go to Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World!

Set your course for the Force and visit Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during select weekends in May and June, and you’ll be treated to several Star Wars attractions that will leave you salivating for the new movie.

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a Sunday experiencing the might of the Empire and joining the Rebellion. Throughout the day, there are several shows starring the weekend’s current celebrity guests. In attendance this past weekend were James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi), Ray Park (Darth Maul), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano).

The first show I attended was a sneak peak at season two of the new show “Star Wars: Rebels.”  It was a great show featuring the talents of Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor. They brought with them some exciting previews showcasing great trailers and clips of the new season. The highlights were some clips featuring the return of Darth Vader… being voiced by the legendary James Earl Jones!

The next show was called “Stars of the Saga,” which featured the Star Wars Weekends host, James Arnold Taylor, interviewing both Jeremy Bulloch and Ray Park in a humorous and enlightening way. The highlight of this year was actually the preshow! It was starring Star Wars Weekend favorites, the Main Gate Stormtroopers! These bumbling, incompetent excuses for the Emperor’s army argued over the pronunciation of Han Solo’s name (Han, Hans, or Haan). They even made reference to “Beauty and the Beast,” since the shows were being held in the theater normally occupied by the stage show.

Third in line was a show starring Ray Park (Darth Maul). Since he does all his own stunts and fights scenes, (he’s a master martial artist) he came on stage and did full-on demonstrations of his prowess. He even selected some younglings from the audience and trained them in the ways of the Dark Side! It was truly a spectacle to see!

The final show was starring James Arnold Taylor. Aside from voicing Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” he literally does thousands of other characters that we are all familiar with such as Fred Flintstone, Tidus from Final Fantasy X, and more. It was a hugely entertaining show and was the best of all four.

Aside from the special shows, there also were some Star Wars-themed tasty treats that you can only find during Star Wars Weekends, including the Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt, and Yoda Cupcakes. Each was unique. Vader was chocolate peanut butter, Yoda was Chocolate-Nutella, and Jabba was Sea Salt Caramel! Yum!

I was also fortunate enough to snag two hard-to-get reservations at special Star Wars dining events. The Star Wars breakfast at the Sci-Fi Drive In was AWESOME! While eating my delicious Beef Tenderloin and eggs with a glass of blue milk, I was able to watch clips from Star Wars on the big screen and enjoy visits with Stormtroopers, Jawas, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, and the one and only Greedo! It was loads of fun, and well worth the high price. Memorable moments included being arrested by a Stormtrooper for being a Rebel, trading trinkets with Jawas, and getting Force Choked by Lord Vader.

For dinner, I was able to eat at the Rebel Hanger, which is located in a small section of the normally cafeteria-style Backlot Express. It was totally redecorated with Star Wars-themed goodies, including TIE Fighter wings, X-Wing s-foils, Mandalorian Helmets, and Rebel Supplies. The backstory was great! It was supposed to be an abandoned Imperial warehouse on a remote planet that became frequented by smugglers and Rebels —  which explained Chewbacca making an appearance, and the random patrols of Stormtroopers coming through. The food selections were also Star Wars themed! A hummus dip inspired by Darth Maul stole the show!

To cap off the night, visitors to Star Wars Weekends are treating with the firework show, Symphony in the Stars! These fireworks are some of the very best Walt Disney World has to offer, set aloft to the music of the Star Wars Saga and preceded by a preshow starring your favorite Star Wars characters. This fireworks show alone is worth the trip to Star Wars Weekends. DO NOT MISS IT!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Star Wars Weekends this year, and would love to sneak up again next Sunday to feel the Force some more! This experience really gets me excited for Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea! Stay tuned!

Wanna go? Call me at 1-800-439-1909 ext 7856 and get the best Disney Advice around! (and a great price!)

Nico

Like me on facebook!

Nico was born in South Florida and took his first cruise when he was 5 years old. Since then, he’s been on over 20 cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mediterranean. He is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and spent a semester as a Cast Member in the Disney College Internship program at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, where he became known as Boardwalk Nico. He’ll still tell you a bad joke or two if you ask. Nico specializes in family vacations and fun, having cruised extensively with both Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. Outside the office, he enjoys running and Martial arts. He completed the Disney Marathon five times and is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. If you don’t find him at his desk, he’s probably out having some adventures. Nico looks forward to helping you plan a magical vacation regardless of the cruise line.

More Disney Articles

Disney Cruise Line for Adults

Why a Disney Cruise is Worth the Money

Disney Fantasy: A Day by Day!

Disney Dream Review

Categories : Disney Cruise Line
Comments (0)

The Disney Magic, Disney Cruise Line’s first ship, recently debuted after a major refurbishment. I had the chance to experience the ‘new’ Disney Magic on a recent 2-night cruise.

This past April when I first learned of the extensive dry dock renovation, or “re-imagineering”, the Disney Magic was scheduled to undergo, I immediately began following the transformation process.

As the news of each innovative new feature of the Disney Magic was announced – from the AquaDunk, to the re-imagined Oceaneer’s Club to the fresh, new restaurant, Carioca’s – I knew I had to get onboard. Luckily for me, I was able to set sail on the exciting 2-night inaugural of the newly re-imagineered Disney Magic! Unfortunately, it was a short 2-night voyage, but it was nonetheless packed full with all of the extra doses of magic and excitement Disney is known for.

First Re-Imagined Impressions

First impression? The Disney Magic looked just as beautiful – maybe even more so – than Disney’s newest ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. I recently sailed on the innovative Disney Fantasy this past December (you can read my Disney Fantasy review here). So, with that Disney cruise fresh in my mind I was able to immediately recognize the similarities in design to the newest ships in Disney’s fleet, as well as the distinguishing characteristics that make the Disney Magic unique.

Grand Atrium Lobby

The extent of the ship’s massive renovation was evident immediately – as soon as I stepped onboard. The spectacular three-story Grand Atrium Lobby was completely transformed with new chandeliers, carpet and color schemes. The lobby’s centerpiece and famed statue, “Helmsman Mickey,” which has stood in the atrium since the ship was launched, received a special makeover bringing new luster to its golden hue.

Helmsman Mickey – Disney Magic

It was also clear that all of the ship’s textiles, carpeting and furniture had been replaced – it was spotless. On the second day, I even noticed some fuzz making its way to the top of the carpet (new carpeting is prone to shedding fuzzy puffs of material). So much had been updated and replaced, the crew even remarked how it felt as though they were working on a brand-new ship. The ship even had a brand-new-car smell, seriously! Features that were not replaced included hardy fixtures. One in particular I noticed were the sinks, they showed some age but in a way that added character to the ship.

Let me reiterate, the Disney Magic’s design and architecture is absolutely beautiful.

Top Pooltacular Decks

Next, it was time to explore the ship’s decks. I have sailed on the Disney Magic many times before, so I thought I knew my way around. However, that was not entirely the case! Some staircases were moved, and with other upgrades and replacements, it was almost like exploring a brand new ship! The crew was still in the process of putting finishing touches on the deck like banners and signs, but the deck itself looked wonderful.

Goofy’s Sport Deck

Up on the pool deck, lots of splashtacular fun was added. The classic Mickey Pool, that was shaped like Mickey Mouse, has been totally replaced by the 1,800-square foot AquaLab (ages 3 and up) and new Nephews’ Splash Zone (up to age 3) that stars Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. This was a little bittersweet for me, as I was fortunate enough to grow up swimming in the Mickey Pool on family cruise vacations, but the AquaLab and Splash Zone is actually a really nice change. The deck feels much less crowded, more open, and the actual swimming and splash zone is larger.

Twist n’ Spout Waterslide at Night

The Mickey slide was replaced with the Twist n’ Spout water slide featuring 250 feet of sliding fun, loops and turns. Located adjacent to the Aqualab, it is a kid-friendly waterslide, a little less daunting than the monstrously exhilarating AquaDunk (I will get to that added fun in a second). The Twist n’ Spout is loads of fun for everyone, and the ride down is actually pretty long!

Frozone Ice Cream – Raspberry Swirl

Before I forget, I want to make a quick notable mention to a very welcome addition on the Disney Magic – Eye Scream and Frozone Treats, 2 new quick-service venues. Originally debuting on the Disney Dream, Eye Scream offers up soft-serve ice cream (complimentary) and Frozone Treats mixes up refreshing, frozen fruit smoothies (nominal charge).  But, seriously. All-you-can-eat ice cream? Now that is vacation (especially when raspberry flavor is around)!

Okay, back to the AquaDunk. Imagineered by the crafty Huey, Duey and Louie, the AquaDunk is a crazy, wet-and-wild thrill slide, and a tribute to the wildly popular AquaDuck aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Without enough room to build a full AquaDuck water coaster, Donald’s nephews still managed to create an exciting, brand-new three-story body slide. Guests are propelled from a near-vertical launch (the floor drops from beneath like a trap door!) on a fast ride in a translucent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship. As evident from the long waiting line for the slide, they did an excellent job designing the AquaDuck’s worthy successor.

Let me tell you…it was worthy alright. This was one of the new features I was most excited to try, so I anxiously awaited my turn in line. My nerves really didn’t get the best of me until I reached the top of the line, which is in the iconic, non-functional smokestack of the ship.

When I saw the person in front of me enter the slide’s chamber, the nervous butterflies came. You are actually enclosed, and stand on a transparent floor. Then Huey, Duey, and Louie count down from three. Next the floor drops out from under you as you practically free fall until the slide catches you and jettisons you on a 212-foot-long  thrill ride, including  20 feet over the side of the ship, before a splashy finale.

Once I got to the end of the slide, I knew I needed to go again. The incredible rush of adrenaline and adventure makes it a must-do experience for any and all passengers. Don’t let your nerves take over, I highly recommend you stick it out – a great experience and feat of engineering!

New Magical Dining

We had lunch in the casual buffet; previously Topsider Buffet this dining venue is now re-imagined as Cabanas, similar to the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. The Australian setting of the Disney-Pixar animated classic “Finding Nemo” inspires the décor with hints of the film’s fishy and feathered friends throughout the restaurant.

The options of food and beverage stations were plentiful and decadent. Lamb chops, chilled mussels and crab, swordfish, ribeye, salmon, and so much more. It was almost too much to choose from.  Key word: ALMOST. I, of course, had to try everything and was not disappointed. The lamb chops were a standout and hit among the members of my family and fellow cruisers. We are still talking about them!

That evening, we had dinner in the main dining room, Lumiere’s. The restaurant is elegantly themed after the hit Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. Our overall experience was just as amazing as ever.  All tables, tablecloths and chairs were replaced, and the wait staff was still dedicated and friendly, having already committed our names and any dietary restrictions or allergies to memory.

The delicious French-inspired fare means a lot of options on the menu; so, of course, I had to try it all (or close enough to it). I particularly enjoyed the “Mrs. Potts” French Onion Soup and the Fried Brie, along with the Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Slowly Braised Lamb Shank. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. Lamb chops twice in one day? Yes, I cannot be yet lamb-chopped-out! Dessert was a Grand Marnier Soufflé with Vanilla Sauce, which was just as superb as it sounds.

Slowly Braised Lamb Shank – Lumiere’s

The other main dining room has been changed to Carioca’s, named after Donald Duck’s parrot friend in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca. During the day in this Rio de Janeiro-inspired restaurant, there is a festival theme but at night the atmosphere transforms into an after-hours scene of Rio de Janiero. Carioca’s replaces Parrot Cay that was previously on the Disney Magic.

The second evening of our cruise, we dined in the updated Animator’s Palate which received new animation-adorned walls and a larger screen to provide the best views of the animation magic that takes place all around. The restaurant’s black and white “blank canvas” explodes into full color as favorite Disney and Disney-Pixar characters, such as Rapunzel from “Tangled” and Remy from “Ratatouille,” come to life right before guests’ eyes as the meal progresses.

Scenes from a variety of movies are displayed as you are taken on an emotional journey through all of the iconic Disney movies. I may, or may not, have almost cried when they showed the obligatory “heartbreak scene” of each movie all at once!  As dessert begins to loom, color is continually added to the moving characters until the lights dim and they come to life! For the grand finale, Mickey comes out to the musical score of Fantasmic! accompanied by your wait staff, now adorned with colorful ties.

New Entertainment Roundup

Each evening at 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. there is a high-caliber show featured in the Walt Disney Theatre. The first night, we were treated to Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story, which is somewhat of a sequel to Cinderella starring Lady Tremaine (the Wicked Stepmother) and the Two Ugly Stepsisters. The show was an imaginative, enjoyable spin on the story, much better than the actual sequel to Cinderella. The actors and singers were spot-on, engaging and talented.

Twice Charmed – Disney Magic

The second night of our cruise, we went to a performance of Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic, Disney Cruise Line’s award winning show celebrating the value of dreams and starring Peter Pan along with many of your favorite Disney characters. I was almost surprised by how much I still enjoyed this show. I have seen Disney Dreams before, but I realized it is a show you can see time and time again. The cast, laser and pyrotechnic effects are unsurprisingly professional and entertaining.

The first night, we were also treated to the Pirates in the Caribbean Deck Party! I must say, I enjoyed the this Deck Party more on my Disney Fantasy cruise, but the show was still done well on the Disney Magic. This on-deck party is full of music and dancing, featuring pirate-themed festivities and starring Mickey and Pals along with Captain Hook and his motley crew. The highlight is when Mickey swings down from funnel to funnel to save the day, and then shoots off spectacular fireworks! The show was not set to the music of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, or any other Disney movie in fact, so that was a bit strange but in true Disney fashion, it was still very impressive and very much enjoyable.

Exciting New Characters and Children’s Programs

The Disney Characters onboard the Disney Magic were super. Princess Aurora even remembered me from my cruise on the Disney Fantasy; she called out me, “Oh, Prince Nico!” I was able to take pictures with Belle, Aurora, Snow White, and Cinderella, all of whom I did not have to wait long to see.

Something your little superheroes will be very happy about – with Marvel now a part of the Walt Disney Company family, the super hero icons were introduced on the Disney Magic! The newest, and one of the most highly anticipated, character aboard Disney Cruise Line is Captain America straight from The Avengers! We did have to wait to see him, but it was worth it. We were able to take a number of pictures, and he even remembered my name, acknowledging me in passing later that day!

Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to 3- to 12-year-old children featured fun new character experiences. Young crime-fighters are transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training. The Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience in which children interact with the Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes. It comes complete with inspiration from Iron Man’s armor, Captain America’s Shield, and Thor’s Hammer!

In addition to the new Marvel experience, other new magical realms include Toy Story characters in Andy’s Room, Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow, and Mickey in the Mickey Mouse Club. Disney’s Oceaneer Lab was also added, a pirate-themed area allowing children the chance to discover and explore new adventures. This area is similar in design and activities to the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, including an area where you can ‘drive the ship’. And, okay, I may have spent more time in the Lab than I care to admit. Other games are available, such as Fix-it Felix Jr. from Wreck-it Ralph!

Oceaneer Club – Disney Magic

Another major addition to the children’s program on the re-imagined Disney Magic is the It’s a Small World Nursery. Available at an additional charge, the youngest cruisers, ages 3 months to 3 years, have a place to play safely with professionally trained Disney counselors.

Though our Disney Magic cruise was only two short nights, it was not short in fun or family memories. The re-imagined Disney Magic is just as magical as I was hoping it to be.  I wonder how they will re-invent the Disney Wonder, next!

SEE ALSO: Cruise Through Imagination, Disney Fantasy Ship Review

Wanna go? Call me at 1-800-439-1909 ext 7856 and get the best Disney Cruise Advice around! (and a great price!)

Nico

Like me on facebook!

Nico was born in South Florida and took his first cruise when he was 5 years old. Since then, he’s been on over 20 cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mediterranean. He is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and spent a semester as a Cast Member in the Disney College Internship program at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, where he became known as Boardwalk Nico. He’ll still tell you a bad joke or two if you ask. Nico specializes in family vacations and fun, having cruised extensively with both Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. Outside the office, he enjoys running and Martial arts. He completed the Disney Marathon five times and is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. If you don’t find him at his desk, he’s probably out having some adventures. Nico looks forward to helping you plan a magical vacation regardless of the cruise line.

Only Disney can provide the necessary magic to create a vacation experience unlike any other. Indulge in extravagant entertainment, legendary service, gourmet dining, adult only escapes and energetic kids club full of Disney storytelling.

Sailing with Disney Cruise Line won’t be the cheapest cruise you’ve ever taken, but if you’re considering the overall value for your dollar and experience than a Disney Cruise is extremely valuable.

I can assure you, it is worth every. single. penny. Every one.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sail with Disney Cruise Line 7 times, and I wanted to share with you a few tips that will enable you to make the most of your Disney cruise!

  1. Keep your Personal Navigator on you at all times. This is your daily newsletter that will be delivered to your stateroom (you can ask your cabin steward for multiple copies!). The number of activities available onboard is amazing, you will want a copy hand in order to keep up with it everything you’d like to do!
  2. Please, don’t miss the shows! Disney is world renown for their entertainment and it is no different on their ships –they offer the highest quality shows at sea. Disney’s Aladdin, Disney Dreams, and Villains Tonight are some of my favorites! There will usually be 2 showings each evening, sometimes 3 (check your Personal Navigator). Try to get a seat early!
  3. Ride the AquaDuck water coaster during dinner hours! The lines are the shortest, and sometimes even non-existent!
  4. Get to know your dining room Head Waiter; you never know what sort of information they can provide! Discover tips on the best places to visit in port or even their top suggestions for the evening’s entertainment if you just can’t decide what you’d like to do and see.
  5. Arrive early to take pictures with your favorite characters. Many passengers don’t take the time to plan and just try to take a picture with them on a whim – which usually doesn’t work. The times and locations of each Disney character will be listed in your Personal Navigator. But many times you will see more characters out and about than listed – they enjoy taking time to mingle and talk with guests.
  6. See a first run movie! Enjoy the latest Disney movies like Iron Man 3 and The Lone Ranger. The best part? They’re included in your cruise fare.
  7. If you find something you like in the gift shop the first day, pick up as quickly as you can. Popular items do sell out. However, if your itinerary includes Disney Cruise Line’s private island, Castaway Cay, there is a chance you will find it in its gift shop onshore.
  8. Head to the best party at sea early, the Pirates in the Caribbean! The day of this exciting deck party, complete with fireworks, depends on each individual sailing, but guests are encouraged to dress up as Pirates! Even the crew gets in on the fun! Ask a Crew Member on which side of the ship they are going to shoot off the fireworks, and stand on the opposite.
  9. Take the kids to the complimentary children’s program and spoil yourself with adults only time in the spa, by quiet Cove Pool or in the amazing adults only restaurants, Palo and Remy! The Nursery, Kid’s and Teen programs are so magical they’ll have just as much fun as you, if not more.
  10. Listen to the onboard announcements! You’ll never know when something quirky or special will happen. For example, the Captain may decide to play all of the ship’s fun horns!

Bonus! If you’re a Disney Vacation Club Member, stop by the DVC desk every day to get some interesting goodies such as vintage pictures of Walt Disney, Disney Planners, and even some Pins!

Two things I make sure to do on each of my Disney cruises is get the soft serve ice cream on Castaway Cay and plunge myself down the Mickey Slide. The magic of Disney has a knack for making you feel like a kid again!

Wanna go? Call me at 1-800-439-1909 ext 7856 and get the best Disney Cruise Advice around! (and a great price!)

Nico

Like me on facebook!

Nico was born in South Florida and took his first cruise when he was 5 years old. Since then, he’s been on over 20 cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mediterranean. He is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and spent a semester as a Cast Member in the Disney College Internship program at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, where he became known as Boardwalk Nico. He’ll still tell you a bad joke or two if you ask. Nico specializes in family vacations and fun, having cruised extensively with both Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines. Outside the office, he enjoys running and Martial arts. He completed the Disney Marathon five times and is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. If you don’t find him at his desk, he’s probably out having some adventures. Nico looks forward to helping you plan a magical vacation regardless of the cruise line.

You might enjoy:

Photos Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Magic, Disney Cruise Line’s first ship, is scheduled to undergo a “reimagineering” transformation during dry dock September 7th – October 10th, 2013 in Cadiz, Spain.

The Disney Magic always provided guests a magical experience, but extra doses will be coming with new spaces, reimagined areas and exciting additions for the whole family. A new grand atrium, two new restaurants, superhero debuts, nursery, splashtactular water fun and more are set to await you on the redesigned Disney Magic.

“Storytelling is at the heart of everything we do,” says Joe Lanzisero, senior creative vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering.  “Walt Disney was a master storyteller and knew how to engage people’s emotions into stories.  Our job is to take what we learned from Walt and apply it to the experiences on board our ships.”

“We have always been committed to reinvesting in our fleet and continuously making shipboard enhancements that elevate the guest experience,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “What we’re doing with the Disney Magic is yet another step forward in our commitment to delivering the absolute best family vacations at sea.”

New ‘magic’ in store for the Disney Magic this fall:

Grand Atrium Lobby

The spacious and spectacular three-deck lobby features hand-tufted, custom-made carpet that dazzles in a palette of vibrant coral, blue and aquamarine seashell-inspired designs.  The art deco atrium chandelier is inspired by rays of the sun and the glisten of the surface of the ocean. Opulent furnishings, a grand piano and giant portholes recall the days of early 20th century ocean liners.

The lobby’s centerpiece is a cold-cast bronze statue of “Helmsman Mickey,” ever-smiling and keeping watch as guests stroll past.  The famed statue, which has stood in the atrium since the ship was launched, will receive a special makeover bringing new luster to its golden hue.

Exciting New Characters and Children’s Programs

Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to 3- to 12-year-old children will feature fun new character experiences. Something your little superheroes will be very happy about – with Marvel now a part of the Walt Disney Company family, the super hero icons will be introduced on the Disney Magic!

Marvel’s The Avengers will make their presence known in an epic way aboard the Disney Magic, with Marvel’s Avengers Academy calling Disney’s Oceaneer Club its new seaward home. Young crime-fighters will be transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training.

Throughout the base, displays featuring some of the equipment that helps to make The Avengers the earth’s mightiest heroes – Iron Man’s suit of armor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer — inspire super hero “recruits” through their academy missions. Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience where children interact with Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes. Can I go?

Other characters have new magical realms including the stars of the “Toy Story” trilogy in Andy’s Room, Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow and Mickey in the Mickey Mouse Club. Disney’s Oceaneer Lab will also be added, a pirate-themed area allowing children the chance to discover and explore new adventures. Each space will transport children to brave super heroes, adventuresome toys, whimsical fairies and goofy, creative fun!

Another major addition to the children’s program on the reimagined Disney Magic is the It’s a Small World Nursery. Now the youngest cruisers, ages 3 months to 3 years, have a place to play with trained counselors.

Splashtacular Fun and Water Adventures

“From small children to teens to adults, everyone will have a space to have fun in the sun and water.  We added more water play areas, dynamic slides, interactive elements for the kids, and more shade,” says Lanzisero.

The brand new three-story body slide, the AquaDunk, will thrill guests  from the near-vertical launch (the floor drops from beneath like a trap door!) to the fast ride in a translucent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship.

In the AquaLab, children ages 3 and up can chase each other through pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this large, 1,800-square-foot play area. The Twist n’ Spout water slide features 250 feet of sliding fun, loops and turns.

For the youngest cruisers up to age 3, they can now play in the new Nephews’ Splash Zone that stars Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie.

New Magical Dining

The popular Animator’s Palate will receive an update with new animation-adorned walls and larger screen to provide the best views of the animation magic that takes place all around.

A “Drawn to Magic” experience will debut at Animator’s Palate. The restaurant’s black and white “blank canvas” explodes into full color as favorite Disney and Disney-Pixar characters, such as Rapunzel from “Tangled” and Remy from “Ratatouille,” come to life right before guests’ eyes.

On every Disney Magic cruise, guests will have an opportunity to experience the tremendously popular “Animation Magic” dinner show that celebrates the magic of Disney animation and allows families to create and participate in an innovative way. First unveiled on the Disney Fantasy, “Animation Magic” invites guests to create their own characters that magically spring to life, become fully animated and join the show onscreen.

Two new restaurants will be added to the Disney Magic, Carioca’s and Cabanas.

Carioca’s is named after Donald Duck’s parrot friend in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca. During the day in this Rio de Janeiro-inspired restaurant, there is a festival theme but at night the atmosphere transforms into an after-hours scene of Rio de Janiero. Carioca’s replaces Parrot Cay current on the Disney Magic.

Cabanas, which will replace the Topsider Buffet, is a new casual dining venue with food and beverage stations during daytime hours and table-service at dinner. The Australian setting of the Disney-Pixar animated classic “Finding Nemo” inspires the décor with hints of the film’s fishy and feathered friends throughout the restaurant. More inside space is being added, a huge expansion of nearly 3,400 square feet.

Palo, the popular adults only restaurant will also receive a makeover with stylish fixtures, glass artwork and new stone floors. Red and white striped poles reminiscent of those found throughout the canals in Venice are a design feature.

New Entertainment Roundup

After Hours, a nighttime adult entertainment district, will replace Beat Street currently on the Disney Magic. An all-new lineup of clubs includes venues for dancing, comedy, music and variety shows.

Fathoms night club is a celebration of the sea that utilizes special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres from early evening to night.

In Keys piano bar and lounge guests can relax with a cocktail and the soft sounds of a piano or “wind down” after an evening of dancing and revelry.

Pub days of olde are recalled in O’Gills, an Irish pub and sports bar designed with traditional decor. Live televised athletic events are on tap for sports-lovers.

Another reimagined area, D Lounge, offers a variety of family-friendly games, shows, dances and activities designed for all ages.  Colorful and contemporary, this space encourages creative and kinetic fun.  Families can enjoy entertainment, game shows and activities together in D Lounge which replaces Studio Sea, currently on the Disney Magic.

Enhanced Senses Spa and Salon

The pampering spa will be expanded by 725 square feet for a new total, amazing size of 11,500 square feet. Redesigned with a sleek and contemporary style, this haven of personal harmony provides an unmatched ocean-view environment.

Chill Spa will have treatments especially for teens 13-17years of age, Smile Spa will give you new pearly whites with their teeth whitening services and a new barbershop offers services for the gentlemen onboard.

Stateroom Surprises

The reimagined Disney Magic staterooms will be redesigned to provide more space for families. Bed frames will be lifted for storage underneath, freeing up space in the cabin. The bathrooms include the split-bath feature that Disney introduced to the cruise industry.

Enjoy all of the new enhancements beginning October 2013. Disney Magic itineraries include fall sailings from Miami to the Caribbean, winter sailings from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and summer 2014 Mediterranean departures from Barcelona and Venice.

If you have any questions or would like to make a reservation on the reimagined Disney Magic, please call an iCruise.com Cruise Specialist by dialing 800-i-CRUISE [800-427-8473]. Or send us an email!

A common, and important, frequently asked question of ours at iCruise.com is “How old do you have to be to take a cruise?”

For the safe and security of every passenger, each cruise line has a minimum age requirement in place for many areas of the ship, from actual embarkation to fitness centers.

We’ve put together a guide of each area onboard that implements an age restriction. Please note that this was the most accurate information at the time of this article, policies are subject to change. Please discuss any concerns with your travel agent.

Cunard Line Age Requirements

Guests under the age of 18 are not permitted onboard unless:

  • Traveling in the same stateroom with an individual 21 years of age or older
  • Traveling with a parent or guardian in a stateroom directly next door or directly across the hall

Do note:  A guest’s age is established upon the first date of the sailing. Any guest eighteen (18) years of age or older on embarkation day may travel unaccompanied on Cunard Line.

Guests under the age of 18 are not permitted to gamble or enter the casino.

Guests who are under 18 years of age are not permitted to purchase or consume alcohol on board. However, while in U.S. waters, Cunard Line enforces and abides by the U.S. legal drinking age of 21 years.

 

Infants at least six months of age are welcome on most Cunard voyages; on Transatlantic Crossings, Transpacific voyages (including voyages to Hawaii) and World Voyages (including Segment Voyages), the minimum age is one year.

  • This requirement is due to the limitations of medical care onboard, especially prenatal and early infant care facilities. Treatment may be required that is not obtainable during the cruise or in ports of call.
  • Guests must bring their infant’s birth certificate on embarkation day. The child may not turn six months during the cruise; it must be by the first day. Example: if cruise departs March 5, the child must be at least six months on or before March 5.
  • Denial of boarding for infants who do not satisfy these minimum age requirements may also result in the denial of boarding for one or more guests sailing with that infant.

Cunard Line offers a full children’s program, aged two to 17 years throughout the day, and also offer free group supervision in the evening.

Children between the ages of 1-2 years, traveling as a third or fourth guest in a stateroom, sail for free with Cunard. A nominal fee will be charged if land, hotel or air is purchased for the child.

 

Disney Cruise Line Age Requirements

Guests under the age of 18 are not permitted onboard unless:

  • Traveling in the same stateroom with an individual 21 years of age or older
  • Traveling with a parent or guardian in the same stateroom

The parent or guardian of any minor not traveling with a parent or guardian must appoint an adult to have custody and control over the minor and to contract on their behalf in connection with the Disney Cruise Line vacation. A minor authorization form must be signed by a parent or legal guardian prior to embarkation.

After 9:00 p.m. adult entertainment districts are restricted to Guests 18 years and older.

Guests who visit the beautiful Vista Spa & Salon onboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder must be 18 years of age or older.

The Senses Spa & Salon onboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy is reserved for Guests 18 years of age and older. Chill Spa is a separate spa for teens located inside Senses Spa & Salon. Offering a wide variety of spa services and treatments, including facials, massages, and manicures, it’s the perfect place for teens to relax and rejuvenate while onboard.

The drinking age aboard the ship is 21. Valid photo I.D. is required. Disney Cruise Line reserves the right to refuse sale and/or service to anyone.

 

Infants must be at least 12 weeks of age at time of boarding.

  • This requirement is due to the limitations of medical care onboard, especially prenatal and early infant care facilities. Treatment may be required that is not obtainable during the cruise or in ports of call.
  • Guests must bring their infant’s birth certificate on embarkation day. The child may not turn twelve weeks during the cruise; it must be by the first day. Example: if cruise departs March 5, the child must be at least twelve weeks on or before March 5.
  • Denial of boarding for infants who do not satisfy these minimum age requirements may also result in the denial of boarding for one or more guests sailing with that infant.

The United States Public Health Service requires that only children who are toilet trained are permitted to enter swimming pools and spas aboard cruise ships. Children who are not toilet trained are welcome to enjoy Nemo’s Reef and Mickey’s Splash Zone, where they must wear swim diapers. Please note, swim diapers are not permitted in the pools, the hot tubs or spas, the AquaDuck and the AquaLab.

You might enjoy:

Building on the classic style of her sister ship the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy is the regal fourth cruise liner in the expanding Disney Cruise Line fleet. This 130,000-ton vessel offers:

  • 14 towering decks
  • 1,250 staterooms
  • The capacity to comfortably accommodate 4,000 passengers—along with the over 1,450 Cast and Crew Members who tend to the needs of every cruise Guest each day
  • Total ship length of 1,115 feet and a maximum width of 125 feet

I had the chance to experience the wonder of Disney at sea on an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the brand-new Disney Fantasy.

Enchanting Memories

So here I am walking around the Fantasy’s 3-deck atrium, reminiscent of grand ocean liners of the Golden Age, when I happen to overhear Snow White talking to a young girl about the importance of hearts and love.

When the girl happily walked away, Snow White turned to me and said, “Why hello there Prince Nico.” I was completely shocked she had remembered my name as I’d only met her once before. So I was puzzled as to how she happened know my name seeing as she takes pictures with hundreds of people daily.  And even more amazing, not only did she remember my name, but she recalled where I was from…who I was there with…!

And it wasn’t just Snow White that remembered my name, but other characters did as well: Ariel, Belle, Aladdin, and Aurora. They could even call back to previous conversations from days before. Aurora noticed me and actually called up from the bottom of the atrium, when I was way up at the top.

      

This was the Disney difference at work here. Not only did the princesses impress me with little details, the entire staff on board went out of their way to make sure every individual passenger experience was of the highest quality. And this kindness was a genuine friendliness that went above and beyond what I could have asked for on a cruise.

Cruise Activity Staff

The Cruise Staff, the employees in charge of all guest activities, took the time to get to know you, to converse, to make sure you were having fun. As a cruiser traveling just with my family, I wasn’t too keen on going to the singles meet and greets. Cruise staff members personally introduced me to similar travelers with whom I became good friends and we were able to enjoy the cruise together. The Cruise Staff themselves eventually became some of my favorite people to spend time with on the ship, some of which I will continue to stay in touch with.

 

Dining Prepared with a Dash of Disney Magic

Read More→

The cruise industry is continually innovating and creating amazing experiences at sea – things we never thought possible are becoming at reality at sea. You can rock-climb, ice skate, surf, have a picnic on a real lawn…it really is extraordinary what memories the cruise lines are able to inspire for their passengers.

A recent focus for a few major lines has been their ship’s pool decks, adding essentially an entire water park full of H20 adventure.

A water park, in the middle of the ocean. It happened. We can now add that into the value of a cruise vacation!

Carnival splashed onto the scene with their Carnival WaterWorks.

Three stories high, these two waterslides are the centerpiece of fun on a Carnival cruise ship. Slide down the Twister Waterslide, hundreds of feet of spiraling, yes twisty, steep, super fast water awesomeness. Now that you’re a speed racer, challenge a dear family member or friend to a duel in the side-by-side racing slides; a little friendly competition.

Then there is the DrainPipe, PowerDrencher and splash zone if you needed any more soaking.  Shrieks of excitement will be heard not only from the kiddos onboard, adults have just as much fun!

Water park configuration varies by ship, available on : Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, Carnival Ecstasy, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Magic.

Not to be outdone, Norwegian Cruise Line added a waterslide to four ships:

Norwegian Jewel, Jade, Pearl and Gem.

But they really went wet and wild with the debut of the Norwegian Epic.

The Epic Aqua Park features a tube slide, twisting and turning down three stories.  The largest bowl slide at sea, the Epic Plunge is a family raft ride that sends you spinning around the inside of a huge bowl only to then quickly drop you 200-feet into a splashdown lane. There is a third waterslide for the smaller cruisers, they slide straight through the rock-climbing wall!

On their newest ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, the waterslide ante has offically been upped.

The Breakaway’s Aqua Park is scheduled to offer five waterslides, five. Two of the waterslides will be side-by-side and have a starting area, you will stand above a trap door (eeek! <—scared but excited eeek) that then opens from underneath, propelling you into a steep drop and then loop around.

Another set of side-by-side waterslides fly you down a multi-story spiral. The waterslide for smaller cruisers, or those that need a break from the steep, fast, insane-in-a-good-way slides, will also be a part of the Breakaway’s Aqua Park along with two pools, four hot tubs, and other special water features.

Another innovate aquatic leap was made by Disney Cruise Line on the Disney Dream.

The Dream’s AquaDuck is a water-coaster, the first of its kind – which the Disney Imagineers that developed it are good at. The AquaDuck travels 765 feet through a clear, acrylic tube, sending you on a journey around the ship – even off the side– followed by a massive drop into a nice and lazy river. Try and keep those eyes open because the views on this journey are pretty amazing, the ocean and ship at a birds-eye view.

You might enjoy:

 

“What ever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” — Walt Disney

Disney Cruise Line combines their reknowned children’s program and youth experience with an adult’s dream of a luxurious, pampering, the-world-is-yours vacation. Disney has shown they certainly know how to make dreams come true, time and time again.

Their ships are elegant, modeled after ocean liner’s of the past, but innovative and modern to cater to the family, couple, and solo cruiser alike.

With the introduction of the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line is now able to offer even more departure ports and itineraries to choose from. Their flagship, the Disney Magic, just relocated to Galveston, TX for the first time this past September where she will depart for 4-8 night Bahamas and Caribbean cruises.

And even better than closer-to-home-to-save-on-airfare departure ports?

Disney Cruise Line and iCruise.com just revealed a Galveston Kids Sail Free offer.

What does this mean?

Well, wonderfully, amazingly, magically it means children under 17 sail FREE*. Yes, the cruise fare is free, plus you don’t have to pay a deposit or any cancellation fees!

The number of staterooms for this offer is limited on select Disney Magic sailings from Galveston January – February 2013:

6 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Galveston starting from $750pp

8 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Galveston starting from $1000pp

*The offer applies to cruise fare only, taxes and fees must be payed at the time of final payment. Valid on new bookings only.

At iCruise.com, we are happy and honored to help you find your way to a magical vacation of a lifetime. In addition to our position on the Travel Agent Advisory Board for Disney Cruise Line, we are aso recognized leaders in planning vacations to both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. We also have agents who have graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge.

For more information on the Disney Cruise Line Kids Sail Free from Galveston deal, visit us at iCruise.com or call us with any questions you can think of at 1-800-i-CRUISE [ 800-427-8473 ].

Sep
11

Watch Disney Cruise Line Announcement Live

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Watch the special webcast of the Disney Cruise Line Announcement live at

http://www.disneycruiselineevents.com/2011/

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (0)