In summer of 1999, the second of the Disney Cruise Line ships, the Wonder, took her maiden voyage, but this past November she came out of a two-month dry dock being reimagined from steam to stern.Currently docking out of its homeport in Port Canaveral, Fl, which the terminal alone is a Disney dream come to life, the Wonder does three and four-night sailings to the Bahamas until it repositions to West Coast at the end of April till the fall. But enough about the port, it is time to take a look at the beautiful Disney Wonder.Some of the new and enhanced areas include:
- After Hours – adult district featuring Crown & Fin Pub, Azure night club and a shiny new model of the popular Cadillac Lounge
- A reimagined and relaxing Senses Spa & Salon and a new Chill Teen Spa
- Bibbidi Bobbed Boutique providing magical makeovers for children and the entire family for Pirate Night!
- Edge club for tweens Cabanas casual dining location
- Palo specialty restaurant makeover with Venetian-inspired décorFor the younger ones, 3 to 12, there is the newly redesigned play space in the Disney’s Oceaneer Club that is also home to many of the characters aboard the ship.The new area includes:
- Andy’s Room where kids feel toy-sized in the multi-level play space-themed to the Disney-Pixar Toy Story trilogy with a great Slinky Dog slide… ummm… from what I was told…yeah that would be the only way I would know, you don’t think I would go down it 😉
- A Club Disney Junior area with hands-on fun for the kids that can’t get enough of those shows.
- Frozen Adventures is where fun takes the form of imaginative play and hands-on activities. On the digital screen, Olaf leads summery games with a wintery twist and a sing-a-long of “In Summer.” In another festive activity, young guests prepare for a coronation and receive a truly royal and in-person visit by Anna and Elsa.
- Marvel Super Hero Academy, my favorite area, has lots of fun hands on areas along that include meet and greets with some of your favorite Marvel Super Heroes like Black Widow, and the area has some great Easter Eggs (see if you can spot a connection to the newest Hong Kong Disneyland attraction #itsallconnected) Moving to the upper deck, the water areas have all been redesigned for everyone from the littlest guppy all the way to the big fishes. The new Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide, AquaLab family interactive water play area, and Dory’s Reef for the little ones join the adult pool to make sure there is plenty of fun in the sun for any age.Of course, the two main reasons we were brought aboard the Disney Wonder were the new Tiana’s Place Restaurant and “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular.” First we start with by far one of my favorite Disney dining experiences I have had in a long time, Tiana’s Place. This being my first time on any Disney Cruise ship, I didn’t know what to expect from the dining, I had heard how amazing Palo is and how much fun the Animator’s Palate is but that was about it, well I fell in love with Tiana’s Place.From the great tributes to the film Princess and the Frog that inspired this return to the fun table settings. Before a piece of food touched my lips or Tiana and The Crawfish Crooners took to the stage, I was in awe of this location. But what really did sell my love of Tiana’s Place was The Crawfish Crooners. This live jazz band plays while guests are enjoying the meal which to me makes it very special!
Of course, the food was amazing, her daddy taught her well, but I was waiting for the “man catching” buttermilk beignets, and they did not disappoint. While I would take a cruise any day of the week now, I have to say Tiana’s Place Restaurant really is what sold me on the most.The star of the day was, of course, the new “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” stage show in the Walt Disney Theatre.
Now, I have seen the Frozen Sing-a-long in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Shanghai Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure along with ‘Frozen – Live at the Hyperion’ and the movie more times than I wish to admit but I have to say this production was done very magically.
As I said, I’ve seen as many different versions of “Frozen” as one person really should but this one really took me back to seeing a production in the Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland, not that it was that simple but it was just that pure. Using state of the art technology to make the magic happen to simple puppets to capture the sisters in the younger time and to bring Olaf and Sven to the stage this show had it all.
I am sure many of you watched the live stream from the Disney Parks Blog, but just with any live production, you have to see it in person to believe it. From the opening sound “Frozen Heart” with the ice men projected on either side of the theatre, through “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People” to the show-stealing “In Summer” all the popular music and lyrics by the creators of the “Frozen” film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are there.
One of the first questions I got after the show was “how does it compare to the one in DCA?” I had a hard time answering that question because, while they are both basically the same show, there was something that made this one stand out more than the one in DCA. After thinking for a while, it boiled down to this one felt more intimate. It is hard to believe that a 977-seat theatre could ever be described as “intimate” but in comparison to the almost 2,000 in the Hyperion Theater it can be. The stage of the Walt Disney Theatre was built for a Broadway style show which normally is small but has many facets and that tradition is not lost at all, between “trap door” style set movements and large scrims to enhance Elsa’s icy powers during “Let It Go” it’s built to rival anything you may find in New York.
But don’t take my word for how amazing this show…umm dinning….um SHIP is, to learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 or contact a travel agent.
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.