A preview of the new Disney Dream cruise ship


I was able to go to an exclusive sneak peak at the development of Disney Cruise Line’s new Disney Dream, scheduled to launch in January of 2011. The Disney Dream will be 47% larger than Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, with a 4,000 passenger capacity. The ship will be operating 3- and 4-day Bahamas cruises and an occasional 5-day cruise around the holidays.

This ship will have some of the most intriguing design features, which are a perfect melding of creativity and technology, to make it live up the magic Disney is known for. Here are some of the highlights to look forward to:

Of course, a Disney cruise makes for a perfect family cruise vacation. The Kids program has designated age group areas, but mixed ages will be allowed so siblings can stay together. There is a nursery, and infants from 3 months on up are allowed onboard. In the kids area there will be theaters with video screens with interactive characters that actually respond to the kids. The pre-teens will have their own area in the non-working smoke stack, overlooking the pool. One of the features will be the ability make virtual postcards to send to friends and family. Younger children will have several different areas themed after some of the movies, including the Monster's Academy, named after Monster's Inc, and Woody's Roundup, from Toy Story. The supervised teen area will be private, with key card access only, and includes an outside pool and deck area.

But Disney Cruise Lines isn’t just for kids! An adult area features 5 different nightclubs, including Pink, made to look like the inside of a Champagne bottle, and Skyline, which will have faux window scenes of different city skylines that change appearance during the day.

Inside Staterooms will feature an interior porthole window with a video feed to suggest an exterior window. The video feed includes animated character interludes! Likewise, Enchanted Pictures are artwork on the walls that comes to life when someone walks by. To provide more magic, not all pictures will do this, and not every time someone passes by.

Bathtubs are included in all bathrooms, and will include a short stool so parents can help bathe their young children without having to kneel on the floor.

One of the more talked-about new features will be the AquaDuck, a very cool water slide with a roller coaster feel to it. Part of it hangs over the side of the ship, and goes through a funnel. Two people may go at a time, and sit on a raft. There is forced water pressure to push them up a hill before the drops.

The Disney Dream will have three main dining rooms like the other Disney ships, and passengers will move from one dining room to another on different nights, with their full Wait Staff coming with them, for continuity. This gives everyone the opportunity to experience the different types of dining options.

Reservations are now open for the Disney Wonder on the West Coast in 2011 and for the new Disney Dream itineraries in 2011.