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Disney Proves Dreams Do Come True!
     
  by Chris Dikmen    
     

The 'imagineers' at Disney have done it again. Disney Dream is the newest and largest addition to the Disney Cruise Line fleet with a max guest capacity nearing 4,000! Not satisfied with simply making Dream a bigger version of Disney's successful Magic and Wonder, imagineers went back to the drawing board to pack this new ship with even more entertainment options and high-tech features.

One thing that has remained on Disney Dream is the classic ocean liner design. The art deco/art nouveau style remains giving the Dream a distinct connection to the golden days of grand ocean liners. Disney Magic and Wonder alumni will also recognize the unique split bathrooms used in the stateroom, great for families. Animator's Palette restaurant is also still intact, but has been updated with some very cool high-definition technology that you have to experience to appreciate.

First and foremost, Disney is in the entertainment business and has a cruise line "on the side", so to speak. Other cruise lines are basically in the cruise business and entertainment is something they typically contract out to an entertainment company. Disney also has a huge engineering (or "imagineering") staff that do nothing but design theme park rides and attractions. So, when it comes to designing a cruise ship to entertain its guests, Disney has a lot of in-house resources to throw at the project. And throw they did. The Dream is a marvel of technology and innovation.

Aesthetically, Disney Dream is simply striking, both inside and out. No detail has been overlooked to make this a true piece of art sailing the world's oceans. Hands down, this is the most beautiful ship afloat. When you step inside Disney Dream, the combination of colors, lighting, and music makes for a magical vacation experience that literally stirs the soul. Whoopi Goldberg said it best when she first stepped on board Disney Dream during our two-night preview sailing…"Wow!"

If you are looking for high-tech, look no further than the interactive animated art throughout the ship. What might first appear as framed paintings are actually high-definition screens that are programmed to interact with guests. When you walk by a "painting" of Mickey Mouse, don't be surprised to see his eyes blink. For fun, watch people come out of the bars late at night and do double-takes when they "think" they are seeing things! There are even small cameras in the artwork that employ facial recognition software, so you may not experience the same animated sequence twice during a cruise. Like I said, attention to detail.

When dining in Animator's Palette restaurant you may find yourself interacting with a cartoon character. That's right, Crush, the "cool dude" turtle from Finding Nemo might swim right up to your table and start talking to you. It it nothing short of amazing.

Disney Dream may also make you re-think booking that inside stateroom. Without question, the most innovative feature of Disney Dream is the virtual porthole. Guests with inside staterooms are no longer prisoners of the dark. The virtual porthole is an ingenious high-definition screen mounted to the back wall of the inside stateroom and displays live images from outside the ship. High-def cameras are mounted in various positions on Dream's exterior and feed live images to the virtual portholes 24 hours a day. So, in the morning, you could have the "porthole" wake you up with the natural sunrise. Of course, you can turn the porthole off at anytime. But, a virtual porthole with an image from outside the ship was not enough for Disney imagineers. Periodically, throughout the day, you might see a Disney cartoon character make a brief appearance on your porthole screen. Imagine the hippos from Fantasia dancing on the water outside your stateroom. Only Disney can make that happen! Prediction? The demand for inside staterooms just went through the roof.

The most impressive and fun technological feat on Disney Dream is the AquaDuck. This water coaster is basically an acrylic tube that surrounds the top deck of the ship. Ten thousand gallons of water is continually pumped through the AquaDuck in an effort to send guests on the ride of their life. Kids of all ages will stand in line to ride the AquaDuck, just as we did. Even though we are not big on rides and silly attractions, the AquaDuck had Rickee and me squealing with excitement. We can't wait to go back on Disney Dream and ride the AquaDuck again and again!



Focus on the family has not escaped Disney Dream's designers either. Each stateroom has two wireless "Wave" phones in addition to the standard stateroom phone. Mom and Dad can keep one Wave phone with them at all times and let the kiddos take the second phone with them. Now you can communicate wirelessly with your kids from anywhere on the ship! What a great idea.

When it comes time to eat, (and isn't it always time to eat on a cruise?), Disney Dream continues the tradition of rotating guests through a series of dining rooms while remaining with the same wait staff. However, in addition to the "traditional" dining rooms, Disney also offers some adult dining options. Palo, the Italian-themed restaurant which has been so popular on Magic and Wonder, has also been incorporated on Dream. A new, upscale Remy's will no doubt be at the top of the culinary scale at $75 per person. This new reservations-only restaurant uses elements from the Disney movie Ratatouille. Cabanas is the ship's Lido buffet and is laid out as a series of individual serving stations with a wide variety of tastes from around the world.

The District is the adults-only evening entertainment section of Disney Dream and features a variety of interesting bars and lounges where Mom and Dad (or those traveling without kids) can enjoy an adult beverage. There are several themed-lounges, some with live entertainment and others with a more subdued and quiet atmosphere.

Of course, there is simply too much to accurately review Disney Dream from our brief two-night preview. We look forward to the opportunity to spend a full week on board this fabulous ship so we can bring our readers an in-depth look at Disney Dream. That said, two days was certainly enough to know that this ship is going to be a big winner.
     
     
     
 
One Comment
 
TRIUMPHTRAVEL@COMCAST.NET
 
Can't wait to sail on this incredible ship! I sailed on the Wonder in 2000 and loved it and guess what: they were 3 of us;' all adults; no children!
 
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:55 PM  
 
 
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