More Disney stories and characters than ever before. That’s what the 4,000-passenger, 1,254-stateroom Disney Wish, the fleet’s fifth ship, is set to deliver, according to Laura Sanden Cabo, portfolio creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering. “For the Disney Wish, we are creating a signature design language that exudes this emotional magic like only Disney can, by infusing every inch of this enchanted ship with more Disney stories and characters than ever before. The Disney Wish will be a place where families really do get to wish upon a star.”
She points out, the “team has been working on the Disney Wish for a number of years now and the theme of enchantment has been center in all of our minds. It was really the very foundation in creating this ship…to really create a personality. Everything that we do is about bringing the magic of enchantment alive for all of our guests so that when they step onto this ship to begin their journey around the world, that we’re immersing them in our whole spectrum of stories in a way that will be magical and enchanting for them.”
During today’s Once Upon a Disney Wish virtual event, we got a sneak peek of what’s in store for passengers when they board the ship in June of 2022. Take note: Bookings open on May 27, 2021.
There are so many new things coming to Disney Wish that it would take a tome to write about all of them, so we’ll highlight what grabbed our fancy, and also what some of the Disney Cruise Line team members are most looking forward to.
The centerpiece of the ship will be the 3-story Grand Hall, which, says Sanden Cabo, is “Disney Cruise Line’s castle on the seas, with soaring columns that rise three stories in the air, and have so many nods to our princess fairy tales [there’s even a bronze statue of Cinderella]. It’s really a space that will set the tone of the entire journey…discovery, excitement, enchantment.” One surprise element is the secret door that leads to a slide that will take the little ones, ages 3-12, straight to Disney’s Oceaneer Club. “It takes you down one level from deck 3 [club is located on deck 2], down an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-inspired entrance—’going down the rabbit hole’—to the kids’ area.”
Part of Disney’s Oceaneer Club is the Marvel Superhero Academy, featuring Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp; Fairytale Hall, home to Rapunzel’s Art Studio, Belle’s Library, and Anna and Elsa’s Sommerhus; and the “very cool,” according to the DCL members we heard from today during the media panel, Walt Disney Imagineering Lab. “That’s where kids,” says Sanden Cabo, “can find out some of the secrets behind what it takes to be an Imagineer—experiment with science and art, and even virtually create their own rollercoaster.”
Another exciting—jumping out of our seats when we heard about it moment—is the AquaMouse, the first-ever Disney attraction at sea. “It only exists on the Disney Wish,” says Sanden Cabo. “We elevated our water ride to hit all of the senses. Mickey and Minnie are going to take you on this perilous journey to ports of call…there’s going to be lots of water, spectacular views that take you above the ship and looking out across the vast ocean.” It’s 760 ft. of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks. Guests will get on a 2-seater vehicle and ascend into a tunnel that will teleport them into the cartoon world of “Scuba Scramble,” a new animated short that plays out through oversized virtual portholes. Along the way, they’ll encounter sea creatures, Disney characters and more than 60 water effects; there are dark tunnels, funnels, lighting effects, speed blasters and a loop over the edge of the ship.
And Star Wars fans will want to know about Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, which, says Daniel Cowan, sr. manager, dining standards & service excellence, Disney Cruise Line, is a “very elegant, adults-only space. One of kind, with ‘out-of-this-world’ drinks.” The space is designed as a luxurious yacht-class spaceship and will be offering interactive tasting experiences and signature beverages inspired by the films. As guests sip their “galactic concoctions,” this space-faring voyage will transport them to iconic locations from the eras of the Republic, Empire and First Order. Ranging from serene vistas to action-packed encounters, the spectacles seen through this virtual “window” into the galaxy will feature famous space ships from the films and fan-favorite locales like Batuu, Tatooine, Mustafar and Coruscant.
Three Brand-New Entertainment Venues
“We’re glad to bring some of the great traditions from the Disney fleet, including world-class theater shows, fireworks at sea, character experiences, to the Disney Wish,” says Carlos Jimenez, managing producer, entertainment, Disney Cruise Line, but he also points to the “three brand-new entertainment venues. First is Luna, inspired by the Disney Pixar film, ‘La Luna.’ It’s a great entertainment hub—families will be able to be entertained during the day and then at night it transforms into an adult-exclusive elegant space for adults to unwind.” The venue will be outfitted with a 2-story LED screen wall, stage, full-service bar and spacious seating.
“At the Grand Hall stage,” continues Jimenez, “we’ll be able to have fairy tale stories come to life with special effects.” It’s the first-ever atrium stage on board a Disney ship.
“And then the third venue is the Hero Zone. This is where we get to combine physical activity and some amazing challenges within the families.” The latter is described as a futuristic sports arena, alternating between an elaborate family obstacle course and a free-play sports hub.
Several new dining venues are premiering aboard the Disney Wish, including a couple for adults only that are inspired by the icons of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Beauty and the Beast.” The adults-only Palo Steakhouse is an evolution of the Palo restaurant that now combines authentic Italian dining with a modern steakhouse in a setting inspired by Cogsworth, the tale’s majordomo-turned-enchanted-clock.
The adults-only Enchante by Chef Arnaud Lallement, meanwhile, led by a 3-michelin star chef, is “our luxurious dining experience,” says Cowan. It’s themed around the film’s candelabra maitre d’, Lumiere, so “it’s romantic, intimate and just a beautiful space for adults,” adds Cowan.
Leading into these two dining venues is The Rose, a chic lounge inspired by the fateful flower at the heart of the story. Guests will enter The Rose through a corridor of artwork commissioned exclusively for the Disney Wish. This grand entrance culminates in a gilded, golden rotunda, unfolding into a plush lounge with rich velvet seating.
And for families, a couple of the new dining venues are the Worlds of Marvel, the first-ever Marvel cinematic dining adventure, where guests will play an interactive role in an action-packed Avengers mission; and Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, Disney’s first “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience, bringing the kingdom of Arendelle to life through immersive live entertainment—featuring favorite characters like Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf—and cuisine infused with Nordic influences.
“We have more connecting rooms than ever,” says Cowan, “as we know that’s really what our families love. About 90 percent of rooms have an ocean view and about 70 percent have a verandah [that’s 877 rooms]. We’ve also increased, nearly doubled, the number of Concierge rooms, we even have Concierge rooms above the bridge, which is a first, and we have four Royal Suites, two of which are two-floor suites.”
There will be 451 connecting doors that adjoin rooms to accommodate larger families. Some connecting staterooms will have a partition between verandahs that may be opened to create a bigger, shared balcony. Most staterooms will feature Disney Cruise Line’s signature split-bathroom concept, with a sink and shower in one room and a sink and toilet in a separate room. All will include a bathtub. Enhanced storage options, roomy closets and elevated bed frames with generous under-bed space will provide plenty of places to store suitcases and other bulky items. Other amenities and highlights will include a 43-inch TV, USB and USB-C ports, large vanity, mini drawer refrigerator, full-length mirror, mini safe, hair dryer, privacy divider, queen and pull-out sofa beds, deluxe toiletries, plush robes, and lavish bed linens and duvets.
There will be 76 Concierge staterooms and suites—more than double the number available on other Disney ships—and four Royal Suites that celebrate Disney Animation’s “Sleeping Beauty,” with two Princess Aurora Royal Suites and two Briar Rose Royal Suites. Each pair includes a single-floor option and a 2-story configuration, the first of their kind for the Disney fleet.
The Disney Wish will sail its maiden voyage—a 5-night cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay—on June 9, 2022, followed by an inaugural season of 3- and 4-night cruises to the same destinations from Port Canaveral.
To sum it up, as Sanden Cabo says, “Every space on the Disney Wish is designed to be engaging and interactive to our guest and I think that is really the Disney difference. It’s not just a space, it’s a space that comes alive and tells a story.”
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