Disney's highly-anticipated cruise ship Disney Wish is finally here, and there are going to be some magical offerings for families.
We're talking a 'watercoaster' onboard, restaurants and lounges themed around Frozen, Marvel and Star Wars, and plenty of enchanting surprises for kids including a secret entrance to the onboard children's club!
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Combined with a stay at Disney World in Orlando, a Disney cruise can be a Wish come true. Disney Cruise Line's newest addition sets off on her maiden voyage on July 14.
With two more sister ships on the order book – and Disney Dream offering some sailings from Southampton next year – the magic at sea is bound to continue.
Dave Monk headed on board to get a preview of what awaits families – check out his review below…
The AquaMouse 'watercoaster'
Riding the tube takes on a whole different meaning on Disney’s exciting new cruise ship.
A thrilling ‘watercoaster’ propels you along a 760ft-long loop way above the top deck and even through the front funnel.
The AquaMouse ride starts gently enough when you climb on to an inflatable raft and are carried up the first incline on a slowly moving conveyor belt, passing screens showing clips of classic Walt Disney cartoons.
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But suddenly, in darkness, comes the first drop then powerful water cannons propel you into a clear section jutting out over the ocean before you come splashing down to the start again.
This wet and wild attraction isn’t the only great thing about the 4,000-passenger Disney Wish. That empty funnel also houses a plush two-storey apartment that can sleep up to eight people.
The bars and restaurants
Elsewhere, adults get to hang out in a Hyperspace Lounge based on Star Wars while kids have their own version of the cargo bay on the deck below.
There’s a Marvel-themed restaurant for families plus a Toy Story children’s waterpark. And fireworks light up the sky at sea on pirates’ night. Being Disney, the pyrotechnics are fish (and mermaid) friendly so Nemo and Ariel won’t be harmed.
On my first night on board the christening voyage, my dinner was absolutely Frozen – but I let it go because the whole room was caught up in the engagement of Anna and Kristoff in Arendelle. As the happy couple, and the bride’s sister Elsa, visited our table, we found ourselves waving them off like old friends.
Disney operates ‘rotational’ dining so that you move between three main restaurants but keep the same waiting staff. Our second dinner was at the elegant new venue 1923 – named after the year Walt started the company – with the last evening spent in the World of Marvel restaurant.
The Disney magic
The fun starts as soon as you step on board into the Grand Hall, based on Cinderella’s Castle, with a giant chandelier. As your name is announced, crew – or cast members, as Disney calls them – burst into applause and Cinderella and her Prince Charming might even give you a wave from their balcony.
And who’s that at the helm? Captain Minnie Mouse, accompanied by her long-term pal Mickey who’s been a skipper since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in 1928.
Even now, not that many cruise ships have a woman in charge, let alone a mouse.
Minnie also stars in one of the ship’s new shows, featuring many favourite characters from Peter Pan to Moana. Chaos reigns when Goofy briefly takes charge of the vessel but it all works out well with a feelgood message about following your dreams.
As Disney Cruise Line’s fifth – and biggest – ship, Disney Wish carries on the tradition of a sleek, ocean liner look from the pointed bow to Rapunzel at the stern. Its interior design harks back to an age that never was, a cosy classic era of fairy tales and childhood, with lots of subtle references to legendary characters.
But even if you don’t know your Ursula from your Elsa, or don’t give a Donald Duck about the Avengers, you’re bound to have fun.
This side of the pond we tend to be much more reserved than our American cousins but, however cynical you try to be, you’re soon caught up in the Disney magic, humming catchy tunes as you wander back to your cabin after an evening out. ‘Be Our Guest’ was very welcoming just after boarding, though I did wonder about ‘Under The Sea’ as we set sail…
It’s not only the familiar characters that seem so enchanting but the crew in general go that extra smile.
Children’s clubs mean parents get a holiday too and can have some time alone as a couple – perhaps drinking in the Keg & Compass pub or The Rose bar before trying out the upmarket speciality restaurants of Palo or Enchanté. There’s even a secret bourbon bar in the evening at the barber shop, if you prefer the half-cut look.
We spent one day at Disney’s private island of Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, swimming in clear turquoise waters and lazing in hammocks under the palm trees.
Book the holiday
A three-night cruise on Disney Wish leaving Port Canaveral, Florida, on October 14 costs from £1,886 per person including flights from Gatwick. Find out more at disneyholidays.co.uk.
Get more info: head to visitflorida.com and bahamas.com.
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