NEWS: Disney Cruise Line Announces New Ports and Update on Lighthouse Point
At D23 Expo on Sunday, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared news and updates from Disney theme parks and beyond, including new details for Disney Cruise Line guests. As part of the announcements, he unveiled first details on the fleet’s sixth ship, concept art for its new island destination, and an all-new vacation experience for Australia and New Zealand residents. Learn more below.
Vacations Aboard the Disney Wonder for Guests Down Under
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line is bringing the magic of a Disney vacation to families and fans in Australia and New Zealand during brand-new “Disney Magic at Sea” cruises beginning late October 2023. The ship is the destination on these limited-time voyages, which have been specially created to immerse local guests in their favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars stories through enchanting entertainment and enhanced experiences throughout each cruise.
The Disney Wonder will embark on these “Disney Magic at Sea” cruises through February 2024, ranging from two to six nights and departing from four home ports: Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand.
“We are so glad to bring something new to those who may have never experienced this type of Disney magic before,” D’Amaro said.
During the repositioning voyages between Honolulu and Sydney in October 2023 and February 2024, the Disney Wonder will offer the fleet’s first-ever South Pacific itineraries. These brand-new cruises will give guests from around the world the chance to experience exotic destinations like Fiji and Samoa. Bookings open to the public on October 6, 2022.
Disney’s Second Bahamas Destination – Lighthouse Point
D’Amaro shared that work has begun on Disney’s second island destination in the Bahamas, located on the island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point, unveiling new details and concept art for the D23 audience.
Disney is working closely with Bahamian artists and advisors to create a destination that represents the natural beauty and rich culture of the Bahamas, brought to life through Disney storytelling and the unparalleled service of local cast and crew.
New renderings show a vibrant beach retreat infused with the color and energy of Bahamian artistry. In addition to the pristine beaches, families will enjoy a recreation center, dining, shopping, a water playground, a cultural pavilion, and more.
Disney has committed to develop less than 20 percent of the property; supply 90 percent of the site’s power from solar energy; employ sustainable building practices; and donate more than 190 acres of privately owned land to the government. Environmental management programs have already been established and will continue throughout construction and into operation.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Disney Wish: An Overview & Review of Disney Cruise Line’s Newest Ship
by Chad and Cindy Nykamp
The Disney Wish, Disney Cruise Line’s fifth and newest ship, sails its maiden voyage on July 14, 2022, followed by a season of three- and four-night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, from Port Canaveral, Florida. We recently sailed on the Disney Wish during the Christening Cruise, where we had a chance to explore and enjoy some of the many offerings on the ship. Learn more about the ship, along with our thoughts on how this compares to the other Disney Cruise Line ships below.
1 – The Disney Wish Brings Disney Storytelling to Life
Aboard the Disney Wish, families discover a mesmerizing new world created especially for them. There is so much to discover on the ship as the magnificent new Disney Cruise Line ship celebrates Disney’s rich legacy of enchanting storytelling, bringing to life the fantastical worlds and beloved characters at the heart of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars adventures like never before.
Here are just some of the unique offerings guests can experience on the Disney Wish:
- Guests embark on an adventure with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse aboard the first Disney attraction at sea.
- Revel in a royal celebration during a theatrical dining experience with “Frozen” friends; team up with the Avengers on a Marvel cinematic dining adventure.
- Travel to a galaxy far, far away in a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience.
- Unlock hidden magic during an interactive, multidimensional adventure into Disney and Pixar worlds.
- Rediscover beloved stories, songs and characters during Broadway-style stage spectaculars.
- Enjoy much needed “me time” at dedicated kids’ clubs and unique adult escapes.
2 – Design Elements Enchant Guests
The Disney Wish features a brand-new, distinctly Disney design concept inspired by timeless tales of wishes come true. The motif of enchantment — a theme found at the heart of so many cherished Disney stories — manifests in wondrous ways throughout the ship, from the magical forest setting of the Walt Disney Theatre to storybook- inspired staterooms to the fairytale castle-inspired Grand Hall, where a dazzling wishing star descends from the shimmering chandelier above.
We spoke to Disney Cast Member, Alastair, who shared with us some design features of the Grand Hall and what makes this space such a special place for guests.
3 – Fun in the Sun on the Disney Wish Pool Decks
Disney Cruise Line takes fun in the sun to the next level on board the Disney Wish with a brand-new family water attraction and three themed districts offering dedicated space for families, children, and adults alike.
Guests immerse themselves in “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts aboard the first Disney attraction at sea, AquaMouse. Complete with show scenes, lighting, special effects, and surprises, this wild water ride is sure to delight everyone in the family as they zig, zag and zoom through 760 feet of winding tubes suspended high above the upper decks.
Families have more pools, more deck space, and more dining than ever before in an expansive district themed to Mickey and friends. In addition to AquaMouse, the area features six pools — spaciously staggered among tiered decks and surrounded by lounge chairs — and a fresh take on quick and casual fare with a festive character twist. There are actually fourteen pools in all on the upper decks and we love how they are spread out instead of a few large pools where everyone crowds together. It really made for a really nice pool experience on the ship.
Little ones delight in an all-new Toy Story-themed district designed especially for families with toddlers and young children. This whimsical water wonderland includes a splash zone, wading pool, family waterslide and smoothie bar.
Adults indulge in sun-drenched serenity at Quiet Cove, a peaceful refuge dedicated to lounging, sipping and soaking. Set away from the bustle of family activities, this secluded adults-only district features a luxurious infinity pool, poolside bar and chic cafe.
4 – Family Dining on the Disney Wish
With the debut of three brand-new family dining concepts ranging from theatrical entertainment to cinematic adventure to sophisticated elegance, dinner on board the Disney Wish is so much more than a meal – it is a chance to interact with favorite Disney stories in exciting new ways only Disney Cruise Line can cook up.
Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure is Disney’s first “Frozen”-themed theatrical dining experience, bringing the world of Arendelle to life through immersive live entertainment — featuring favorite characters like Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Oaken — and world-class cuisine infused with Nordic influences. While not our favorite meal on the Wish, Frozen fans will love this dining experience.
Worlds of Marvel is the first Marvel cinematic dining adventure, where guests play an interactive role in an action-packed Avengers mission unfolding around them, complete with a worldly menu inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We loved this experience and thought it was a whole lot of fun. Marvel fans will especially love it!
1923, named for the year The Walt Disney Company was founded, is an elegant celebration of the company’s legacy, paying homage to the golden age of animation and offering a tasteful tribute to the company’s Californian heritage with dishes inspired by the state’s unique fusion of cultural flavors. This was a nice quiet meal with terrific food. While we love the entertainment at the other venues, it was nice to have a quiet dinner one evening.
In addition to elaborately themed, upscale restaurants, the Disney Wish offers a variety of dining options for families ranging from quick bites and casual dining to 24-hour room service and specialty treats.
5 – Family Entertainment on the Disney Wish
Disney Cruise Line combines innovative design and technology to create immersive entertainment environments, surrounding guests in storytelling in new and unexpected ways on board the Disney Wish.
The Walt Disney Theatre is an opulent show palace that comes alive with original stage productions developed exclusively for Disney Cruise Line. The Disney Wish debuts two brand-new shows and revisits a guest favorite:
- A Broadway-caliber adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” invites audiences to rediscover iconic scenes, acclaimed music and beloved characters in new and unexpected ways.
- An embarkation day celebration called “Disney Seas the Adventure” takes guests on a musical journey into favorite stories helmed by Captain Minnie, Goofy and an all-star cast of Disney and Pixar characters.
- “Disney’s Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular,” a fast-paced musical comedy based on the classic Disney Animation, delights guests with reimagined production design, new sets and advanced projections.
We got two sneak peeks during our cruise. We enjoyed a thirty-minute preview of “The Little Mermaid,” and also of “Disney Seas the Adventure.” We are always blown away with the talent of the cast on Disney Cruise Line and this ship is, as expected, no different. Everyone is fantastic and their talent and enthusiasm for their roles was evident. We especially loved the “Disney Seas the Adventure.” The show is simple, yet powerful, and moved many guests to tears. The show is a reminder of what Disney does best and we know guests will love it!
The Grand Hall
The Grand Hall evolves from a fairytale gathering space into an environmental theater through the magic of built- in special effects and the first atrium stage on a Disney ship. Dedicated shows and interactive entertainment come to life all around the hall, putting guests front and center as they play a special role in the magic.
We spoke to Disney Cast Member Denise, and she shared with us some of the entertainment you’ll be able to experience in the Grand Hall on the Disney Wish.
Luna is a brand-new entertainment hub that transitions from a daytime setting for family fun into an elegant evening venue for adult-exclusive entertainment, offering a variety of live shows and interactive programming.
Hero Zone is a futuristic sports arena where physical activity blends with imagination during action-packed challenges and game show-style competitions for families to take on together.
The Wonderland and Never Land Cinemas are intimate screening rooms providing guests more options than ever to watch classic and first-run films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and more.
Disney Uncharted Adventure
Disney Uncharted Adventure is a first-of-its-kind interactive experience that leads guests on a multidimensional journey around the ship and into the worlds of Moana, Tiana, Peter Pan and Nemo. Innovative technology, like augmented reality and physical effects, allows guests to unlock a hidden layer of magic aboard the ship.
6 – Cool Clubs for Kids of All Ages
Aboard Disney Cruise Line, kids become the heroes of their own Disney stories. With dedicated clubs for every age group and imaginative programming facilitated with the care and expertise of Disney-trained counselors, children can immerse themselves in Disney storytelling on board the Disney Wish.
Children ages 3 to 12 enter the captivating worlds of favorite Disney stories in the reimagined Disney’s Oceaneer Club, a real-life wonderland featuring more spaces and stories than ever before. Expertly developed programming combines deeply engaging, enriching activities with special playtime with Disney friends — and when characters stop by, they stay to play, offering uniquely interactive, memorable experiences exclusive to Disney Cruise Line.
Something that is so much fun, is parents can check their children into the kids club in the Grand Hall on deck 3 and then send them “down the rabbit hole” on a twisting slide to land directly and securely into the central hub of Disney’s Oceaneer Club on deck 2.
Once inside the club, children can experience these unique offerings on the Disney Wish:
- Marvel Super Hero Academy is a high-tech Avengers headquarters where young “recruits” train to be the next generation of Super Heroes with Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
- Star Wars: Cargo Bay is a first-of-its-kind immersive experience where children take on the important role of creature handlers as they manage a mischievous menagerie of exotic beings from across the galaxy.
- Fairytale Hall is a royal trio of activity rooms where kids let their creativity shine at Rapunzel’s Art Studio; read and act out stories at Belle’s Library; and test newfound icy powers at Anna and Elsa’s Sommerhus.
- Walt Disney Imagineering Lab is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for kids to discover the secrets of world- renowned Disney Imagineers with hands-on activities and inventive experiments.
- Mickey and Minnie Captain’s Deck is a nautical playground inspired by the colors, icons and magic of Disney Cruise Line.
For the littlest cruisers ages 6 months to 3 years, It’s a Small World Nursery offers babysitting services in a whimsical environment inspired by the iconic Disney attraction of the same name.
Edge (ages 11 to 14) and Vibe (ages 14 to 17) are trendy hangouts where tweens and teens can chill and play in their own way, with dedicated programming designed to engage the unique interests of these age groups.
We’ll have in-depth articles covering these spaces. As you might imagine, these spaces make us want to be a kid again. They are perfectly themed, and we know kids will love them. Just like on the other Disney Cruise Line ships these areas are where kids want to be!
7 – Plenty of Spaces Exclusively for Adults
A Disney Cruise isn’t just for kids! Adults aboard the Disney Wish can escape, relax, dine, and play in more ways than ever with exclusive venues and entertainment tailored just for them, featuring elevated interpretations of Disney stories through sophisticated theming that ranges from subtle inspiration to full-scale immersion.
For the first time on a Disney ship, guests embark on a space-jumping tour of the Star Wars galaxy at Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge, a high-end bar styled as a luxurious yacht-class spaceship. This richly themed, immersive experience is reserved exclusively for adults every evening. As guests slide up to the bar and enjoy specialty cocktails and craft brews, they look out a viewport at ever-changing vistas from a galaxy far, far away.
Relaxed and refined bars and lounges include Nightingale’s, a Cinderella-inspired piano bar; Keg & Compass, a pub that celebrates stories of the sea; and The Bayou, a social lounge themed to “The Princess and the Frog.”
Adults savor gourmet meals and exceptional beverages at an upscale suite of epicurean excellence exclusively for adults, inspired by the elegant icons of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Beauty and the Beast.”
- Palo Steakhouse is an evolution of the Palo restaurant Disney cruisers know and love, now combining the relaxed sophistication of authentic Italian dining with the classic refinement of a modern steakhouse in a genteel setting inspired by Cogsworth, the tale’s majordomo-turned-enchanted-clock.
- Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement offers the most luxurious dining experience on board, featuring a gourmet menu crafted by a three Michelin-starred chef. This romantic and intimate venue evokes the dazzling spirit of the film’s candelabra maitre d’, Lumiere.
- The Rose is a chic lounge at the entrance of Palo Steakhouse and Enchanté. Inspired by the fateful flower at the heart of the story, this is an idyllic setting for a pre-dinner aperitif or after-dinner cocktail.
Senses Spa is a tranquil oasis offering indulgent spa and beauty treatments, featuring the fleet’s first outdoor spa oasis along with private rooms, lavish spa villas, and steam and aromatherapy experiences. The reimagined Senses Fitness offers state-of-the-art exercise and wellness facilities and complimentary, instructor-led programs.
At Untangled Salon and Hook’s Barbery, the fleet’s first standalone venues for hairstyling and beauty services, adults can treat themselves in inviting, social environments that have been uniquely designed with inspiration from classic Walt Disney Animation Studios films.
8 – Well Designed and Themed Accommodations
With an all-new look and feel steeped in enchantment and inspired by dreamy Disney stories, every stateroom on board the Disney Wish is a luxurious, peaceful retreat designed with ample room for families, plenty of storage and upscale amenities. Most feature Disney Cruise Line’s signature split-bathroom concept for utmost comfort and function.
Most of the ship’s 1,254 staterooms offer an ocean view — including 877 (70%) with a spacious verandah — and 451 connecting doors to accommodate larger families with adjoining rooms.
The Disney Wish elevates the concierge experience with more than double the number of premium concierge staterooms and suites. An exclusive lounge with a private sun deck is the perfect place for concierge guests to relax, sip a cocktail and enjoy a premium level of dedicated service throughout the voyage.
- Disney’s first staterooms located above the bridge boast floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal breathtaking ocean views overlooking the bow of the ship.
- Four royal suites, which accommodate up to six guests and feature extravagant details and first-class amenities, include the fleet’s first two-story staterooms.
- The Wish Tower Suite is a first-of-its-kind accommodation set high in the forward funnel of the ship. This 1,966-square-foot penthouse in the sky accommodates eight guests and features an elegant design inspired by Disney Animation’s “Moana,” incomparable ocean views, and premium Disney service.
9 – Our Thoughts and Review of The Disney Wish
We thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Disney Wish. There is so much to explore, see, and do. As we spoke with many of the Disney Cast Members who worked hard to bring the ship and experiences to life, one thing that came through was their dedication to offer one of the best cruise experiences to guests. We feel they achieved that. We’ve sailed on the other Disney Cruise Line ships and the Disney Wish tops our list without question. Not just because it’s new, but because the ship has been designed for guests in numerous thoughtful ways such as tons of plugs in the staterooms (something most cruise ships don’t offer enough of) and charging ports near the beds or in the teen areas. The ship offers subtle yet distinct Disney theming, so that guests can be immersed in Disney’s magic on the sea. The kid’s spaces will make any adult jealous, and the adult spaces have been designed with guests interests in mind, rather than as an afterthought. Along with the top-notch dining and entertainment, there is no doubt in our mind that guests will love this ship!
We’ve only just scratched the surface with this overview of the Disney Wish. We have so much more coverage including in-depth articles that will go over the areas and offerings we mention above. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing. If you haven’t sailed on a Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Wish is the perfect place to start!
Check out our Instagram Stories from our cruise on the Disney Wish for photos and video of just some of what the Disney Wish offers. We’ll be sharing so much more soon, so be sure to follow us!
Day 1 – @disneylists_com Instagram Story on the Disney Wish
Day 2 – @disneylists_com Instagram Story on the Disney Wish
Day 3 – @disneylists_com Instagram Story on the Disney Wish
Click here to learn about and watch the Christening Ceremony!
10 – Expanding the Disney Cruise Line Fleet
The Disney Wish is the first of three new Disney Cruise Line ships to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany through 2025. All three ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons, will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
Editor’s Note: Disney Cruise Line provided us with a complimentary Disney Christening Cruise with special media-specific events and tours during the cruise. However, as always, the thoughts and opinions contained in this article are entirely our own.
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