Disney Dream: From Stem To Stern
By: Anne Kalosh, Cruise Week
Disney Dream is not just 45 percent bigger than what Disney is now calling
its "classic ships," but it's better in all areas. The line has had more than a
decade to hone what was already a great product in Disney Magic and Disney
Wonder, so count on the new ship to impress.
The AquaDuck coaster is one "Wow" factor, looping high above the pool
deck, through both funnels, and out over the sea, jaw-dropping just to look at.
Water gushes continuously through a clear acrylic tube, where the one- or two-
rider rafts are propelled by Master Blaster hydro jets. At night it will be lighted.
Unfortunately, AquaDuck wasn't available for media to try--look for the ride to
premiere Friday in a "Good Morning America" exclusive.
Even prior to its launch, much has been made of all the technology and
animation, from the digital "Finding Nemo" characters who joke with kids in real
time to the virtual portholes in the inside staterooms to the Enchanted Art that
springs to life in its frames.
Not everything was running yet, but an Animated Art piece off the atrium was
ingenious and fun, something to catch the eyes of adults along with the kids.
There's also much more variety, a more differentiated experience for adults,
more upscale dining, and more sophistication overall. The materials throughout
are lush and beautiful--inlaid marbles, Murano glass, handcrafted mosaics, hand-
Rotational Dining Returns
Disney invented the concept of rotating diners and their servers through
three different restaurants on different nights. On the Dream, they take it to
another level, with a transformation during one meal. Animator's Palate changes
from a classic animation studio into Nemo's undersea world, where Crush, the
talking turtle, works the room by moving from window to window, with real-time
conversation, greeting kids by name.
How does he do it? Disney won't tell. "Technology serves magic for us," says
Bruce Vaughn, chief creative engineer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "We go to
extremes to offer an extraordinary experience."
When the Animator's Palate dinner ends, a terrazzo walkway lights up with
fiber optic Dalmatian puppies "leading" diners to the exits.
Of the other main restaurants, Royal Palace is an opulent room inspired by
Disney princesses, with details like roses, tiaras, slippers, and apples throughout.
Enchanted Garden is meant to convey the gardens of Versailles and sports a
Disney ship's first indoor fountain. The look and amenities transform from
daytime to evening, with flowers that open, trellises changing to wrought-iron
gates, and the addition of a chocolatier making truffles at night.
The menus are different in each restaurant, too. It's fresh, seasonal, and
organic (organic chicken, sea bass) in Enchanted Garden, California/Pacific Rim
cuisine in Animator's Palate, and continental (beef Wellington, rack of lamb) in
Royal Palace--a far cry from the original mac & cheese and hamburgers of the
line's early days.
The Dream's casual buffet dining area was improved into a space called
Cabanas, with nine specialized food stations (sushi, pizza, salad bar, Italian,
desserts) and indoor-outdoor seating. Here is a fabulous mosaic tile wall with an
underwater scene designed by Pixar artists working with Italian mosaic tile
Remy is in Art Nouveau, the perfect style for a fancy French restaurant. And
this one is really fancy, with a menu by two-star Michelin Chef Arnaud Lallement
of l'Assiette Champenoise in Reims, France, and AAA Five Diamonds Chef Scott
Hunnel from Victoria & Albert's at Walt Disney World Resort.
At $75 a pop, it's priced the same as the Chef's Table on Allure of the Seas
and Oasis of the Seas but doesn't include wine. Even so, Disney predicts hot
demand; Remy sold out on the maiden voyage in 16 minutes.
Palo, Disney's signature Northern Italian specialty restaurant, was enlarged
to 170 seats, with outdoor seating for 26, and has Hungarian crystal and Murano
glass chandeliers. "We're kicking it up a notch," says Ozer Balli, vp hotel
operations. The menu has Colorado rack of lamb and handmade pastas. The
cover is $20.
All staterooms have a classic, yacht-like feel, very upscale. And the design
was tweaked in countless ways during the 1.5 years in mock-up testing,
according to Kevin Cummins, one of the ship's project managers.
For example, although the Dream's inside staterooms are 161 square feet,
as on the classic ships, they feel roomier. The 147 insides with Magical Portholes
are selling first, and the passengers who've been offered free upgrades from
these rooms are turning them down.
The oversized "portholes" get live video from five high-definition cameras
positioned outside the ship. The view corresponds to the stateroom location, port
or starboard, forward or aft. Every 15 minutes or so, a different animated Disney
character may swim or fly by.
In another change, the closet doors now swing, instead of sliding, to alleviate
rattling. Pull-down beds are topped with a faintly-lighted sky scene. Linens are
Frette, 300 threat count, and every room has an iPod docking station and 22-inch
flat-screen television on a swivel arm. Also, this time around, the bedframes are
elevated to give more space under for suitcase storage.
Disney's signature bath and a half design is found in nearly all the 1,250
staterooms (not the 121 inside rooms). A whopping 1,000 staterooms are
There are 21 suites, with a living area and master bedroom, a solarium-style
glassed-in balcony with a window that opens, a walk-in closet, two bathrooms
including a whirlpool tub and separate shower stall in the master bath. These
sleep five, including a fold-down Murphy bed and a sofabed. A pair of royal suites
are on Deck 12 forward with a whirlpool tub on the veranda among the features.
Children, Tweens & Teens
Oceaneer Club is for three to 10 year olds. Disney has moved away from
specific age groupings to interest areas, and the choices on the Dream are vast.
For example, there's a "Finding Nemo" space with a submarine. Andy's Room is
stocked with larger-than-life "Toy Story" characters, while Pixie Hollow is Tinker
Bell's realm with a pixie tree, craft stools, and dress-up costumes.
Oceaneer Lab focuses on discovery and exploration, with workshops and an
Animator's Studio. In the Sound Studio, kids can create music by moving their
hands across laser beams.
Among the coolest elements are two Magic PlayFloors. They have light
sensors activated by movement, such as foot stomping. Games here include
pizza-making with funny ingredients or a contest of fly-catching with a frog's
There's a nursery, too, for infants and toddlers ages 3 months to 3 years.
Childcare is $6 an hour.
On the pool deck, the Donald Pool for families, and Mickey's Pool with its
slide, are adjacent on the Dream. Ages 8 and younger get Nemo's Reef, a water-
play area with pop jets, bubblers, and a mini slide.
Moving up in age, Tweens (11-13) get Edge, housed inside the forward
funnel. The AquaDuck even zips riders through this space.
Senses Spa contains a separate Chill Spa for ages 13-17 with two treatment
rooms. Vibe is the key-card teen area (ages 14-17), with a media room, dance
club, technology for creating and editing videos, and more. It opens to an outdoor
space in the ship's bow, with a big game board, two dipping pools, chaise
lounges, and banquette seating with loose cushions.
The company tapped a cutting-edge nightclub designer, Manhattan's ICrave,
to create The District, a nighttime playground for adults. There are five venues.
Pink, for instance, is themed on Champagne bubbles and pours a special pink
cuvee created for Disney by Taittinger, while the Skyline Lounge has themed
cocktails and virtual cityscapes that change every night.
"What we learned from our classic ships is that some of our spaces were too
big," says Jim Urry, vp of entertainment. "This has more intimate, cozy spaces."
It's hipper too, with an edgy nightclub called Evolution.
Senses Spa & Salon is one of most elegant shipboard spas. It spans two
decks in the forward section of the ship and has a rainforest theme in natural
greens, blues, and soft browns, with luscious materials. There are 17 treatment
rooms and two enormous Villas for couples, each with a balcony whirlpool tub
Adjacent to the spa on Deck 11 is the adult pool area and the Cove Cafe with
Internet terminals (the ship also has Wifi throughout). Two large whirlpool tubs for
adults have glass bottoms for views all the way down to the ocean. (Two more of
these are for families.)
The 1,340-seat Walt Disney Theatre is a huge, stunning space. It stages
three shows; the all-new "Disney's Believe" joins "Villains Tonight!" and an
updated "The Golden Mickeys" awards show. Boxes for concierge-level
passengers offer amenities packages.
The separate Buena Vista Theatre for movies has a 3-D screen with Dolby
sound. New are continuous movie showings and a real concession stand with
popcorn, candy, and drinks for sale.
Disney's pirate deck party, a once-per-cruise extravaganza that culminates
with fireworks, has been crafted into three parts. It will kick off in the early
evening with "Mickey's Pirates" for children, capped by "Buccaneer Blast," with
an enhanced pyrotechnic show, and, starting later, Club Pirate will be a more
Even the atrium, with its grand staircase and massive one-and-a-half-deck-
tall chandelier, will double as an entertainment space for special events with
elaborate concealed sound and lighting systems.
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