Experience the Dream

When any designer is forced to wait 12 years for a follow-up project to his original they are going to have plenty of ideas, but surprisingly, Disney Dream is hardly a departure from the original Disney Cruise Line concepts. If anything, it is a new and larger version, but one wouldn't necessarily say "improved" because very little needed improving. During a press conference, the Disney Cruise Line designers were asked what they had learned after 12 years in service, and the only thing president Karl Holz could conjure was "Well, we made the beds taller so suitcases fit more easily."

Disney Dream is a ship that has something for everyone; family members can have individual experiences as well as shared ones, children can discover their own identities as well as the larger world, and parents can have unique adult experiences while their children are being well tended. So, let's get to the pictures.

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Taking pictures with Micky in the Main Atrium   The atrium with Chandelier   This trio played every night - excellent Jazz

What's New on Disney Dream?

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AquaDuck raft coming   Below AquaDuck - Goofy wants to eat Whoopie Goldberg   AquaDuck overhead

One of the biggest new features for the new ship is the longest water-ride at sea. Not just a slide, the AquaDuck propels a two-person raft through a 765-foot long clear acrylic tube with a water jet propulsion system. AquaDuck begins inside one of the (vanity-only) smokestacks and then jettisons riders out over and above the side of the ship so they are looking down over 12 decks to nothing but open sea below the enclosing acrylic tube.

I did have a chance to try the AquaDuck, and it is fun, but I think you have to try it more than once because I was too busy hanging on to remember to look down over the side of the ship. I think they need to do that later in the ride when it has slowed down a bit.

A series of nightclubs known as "The District" is where grownups can enjoy adult beverages in a number of settings designed to appeal to different moods. First there is "Pinks," with a bubbly champagne theme. Tall, crystalline bar stools emulate champagne glasses while blown-glass "bubbles" with iridescent pink LED lighting glow in the wall behind the bar.

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Inside the District   Bottles of Pink Taittingers Champagne   Pinks Champagne Bar
The Skyline Bar   The Sports Bar   The District Lounge

Next is a nightspot called "Skyline" where large video screens emulate a "top-of-the-world" urban night club that just happens to be located in a different world-class city every night of the cruise. One night the revelers may be watching the sun set and the night lights breathe life into New York City, while the next night the same thing could be happening in Paris or possibly Tokyo.

Next is the sports bar, with large-screen televisions featuring different sports events every night broadcast live from the ESPN network (also owned by Disney). All ages are invited into this club until 9:00 when it becomes a real full-blown adults only sports bar.

But that time - many of the adults should be ready to rock on the depths of the District, the nightclub called Evolution. Where giant butterfly wings envelope the entire bar and urge each denizens to chrysalis into a newly metamorphosed self ready to spread your won wings and fly away over the ocean.

Dining Venues Abound

Disney Dream has the same "rotational dining" concept as the earlier ships, but let's start with the two premier dining spots especially meant to appeal to adults.

The first is Palo's, a similar restaurant as to what is presented aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. There will also be a Palo's on Disney Dream, but it will be much larger to accommodate more patrons at once. The price will remain at $20 per person to serve up special steaks and seafood.

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The three chefs of Remy   Langoustine in Remy   Smoked Bison with Fennel and Blood Orange
Private room in Remy   Champagne Cocktail   Picture of Ratatouille Kitchen
Wine List for Remy   Remy Table   Remy Wine Cellar

But brand new to Disney Dream - and a dining attraction many of the Disney designers are especially looking forward to is "Remy" based on the name of the culinary rodent from the recent Disney motion picture film hit, "Ratatouille." This very small, French themed bistro will feature exclusive French dishes designed by two chefs, one American and one French, the latter with two Michelin stars. The room is tiny and will only hold about 80 total diners every night. The cover charge to dine there is a dear $75 per person, wine pairings are available for an additional $99 per person.

Those are two of the finest dining establishments onboard. Regular dining rooms, included in the cruise fare, are equally enticing although the focus may be just bit more on the fun rather than the food.

The first is "The Enchanted Garden." In this room diners will feel as if the meal is starting as something like an outdoor picnic is one of the more exquisite portions of the gardens of Versailles, the royal palace once home to Marie Antoinette near Paris. But as the meal progresses this seemingly outdoor garden house magically transforms into nighttime as the twinkling stars come out all around, lamps suddenly open up, blossoming like flowers, and fireflies and tiny Tinkerbelle-like fairies start to dart through the night-time skies.

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Cabanas Food Court   Enchanted Garden Fountain   Animator's Pallet

Next is an updated version of Animator's Pallet. This restaurant is also on the first two Disney ships, but it has a significant twist on the Disney Dream. On the first two ships this room first appears to be a typical cartoonist's studio where he might engage in sketching out a quick animation on a flip pad, or perhaps just sketch and color in a concept for a brand new character. As the meal progresses each of these basic sketches would come to life and soon the diners would be fully surrounded in a thriving animation studio with cartoon characters acting everywhere, in full color, doing and saying funny thing.

On Disney Dream this goes several dimensions further. Animator's Pallet begins with a simple sketching studio, as we described, but this time there is an underwater theme to all the sketches. As dinner progresses these water creatures not only start to move, the come to life in a real sense, where they are looking at you, watching you and soon asking you questions about what you may be having for dinner.

Crush, the cool surfer-turtle dude from the movie "Finding Nemo" becomes the star of the show as he finds a way to swim up to every table in the room (each has a window nearby) so he can find someone to interact with. Surprisingly, he already knows someone at each table by name, so he is ready to have a full conversation when he arrives. How an animated movie character could every get to be on first-name basis with anyone on the ship remains a mystery for the rest of the cruise.

Disney Dream will be followed up with Disney Fantasy in April of 2012. These two new ships are each substantially larger than the current ships in the Disney fleet, although neither one is as big as even the Freedom-sized ships from Royal Caribbean, and they don't come even close to the Oasis-class.

But the movie theaters and production show theaters onboard these new Disney ships will be second to none, and we are looking forward to seeing some first-class Disney style original entertainment there. Furthermore, the kid's facilities will be state-of-the-art in terms of video-gaming technology and lots of other technologies such as Karaoke, video-taping (for creating custom music videos) and video-gaming to make the Disney experience kids can enjoy to the fullest.

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Nursery   Magic Floor Oceaneers Lab   Kids learn to dock a cruise ship!
Mickys Waterslide   The Edge for Tweens   Princess costumes for kids to try on


Entertainment on the Disney Dream is spectacular. We saw a new stage show called "Believe" where a young girl wants her father to learn how to believe in magic. Somehow, he conjures Aladdin's Genie and his third wish, to believe in magic" is finally granted after much tribulation.

What makes Disney shows so special is that they are real theater - the kind that enchanted you as a child. They use real actors in speaking roles and there are story lines. These are not typical musical revues as you see on most cruise ships, they are actual stories that children will especially love. The Walt Disney Theater is the main showroom for live entertainment, and every show is a Disney production (they do not fly in comedians, for example).

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A scene from "Believe"   Believe   The Buena Vista Theater

The Buena Vista Theater is the real movie cinema theater onboard. It is a full-fledge movie theater with state-of-the-art seating and even 3-D projection. All movies are 3-D and glasses are radily available inside. All movies are made by Disney, of course, and they even show first run movies onboard the same day they come out in movie theaters.

Soon we have our videos edited so you can see even more Disney - but Disney Dream is a very special ship, and there is more than enough to keep everyone occupied onboard.

Yo ho ho�. Discuss the New Disney ships here: Disney Dream is Coming.

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