Disney Dream Inaugural
Editor Paul Motter (me) will be on scene at the Disney Dream inaugural this morning and throughout today and tomorrow.
I have already done a LOT about this ship, but stay tuned for pictures and tweets from the ceremony.
Disney Dream's Inaugural Ceremony will commence January 19 at 10:00 a.m.eastern Time live on the Web. CruiseMates will be at the event reporting live
Read more: Countdown to Disney Dream
I'm honestly not a fan of the mouse... BUT... they do know how to put on a show when christening a ship!!!!!
The inaugural was AMAZING, or maybe I should say AMOUSING. The ship is very nice, but due to a snafu with out luggage NONE of the media had cameras etc until just before we set sail. It was a fiasco.
More later on that -its almost time for dinner in the "Animator's Palate."
Disney Dream Inaugural
Disney Dream Inaugural
I have already written a number of articles about what is onboard Disney Dream, in terms of concepts. I have written about the extensive children’s programs, from 6 months to 17 years old. I have noted the wonderful Art Deco décor, especially in the movie theater where they show first run Disney movies night and daily. I expounded on the extensive adults-only area called “The District” where people can get away and feel special at the end of long day.
Today I got to see the ship in action, and tomorrow I will see even more of it. Disney Dream is a BIG ship – chock full of attractions. There is something for everyone here, and for the first time since I started writing about cruise ships, I mean that almost literally. There is something SOMETHING different here that will appeal to every age group imaginable.
I keep thinking about the “It’s a Small World” Nursery – where you see rows of cribs and toddlers swings, and you can just imagine that room alive with fresh humanity – like the maternity ward at a hospital – fresh faces smiling, gurgling and laughing out loud, boys & girls.
I envision the “Oceaneers Club” where the “magic floor” has kids seven to 12 playing games together. It looks like so much fun I want to do it. You know how they open up the adult discos to teens on some nights on some ships, I want the reverse on this ship, I want them to open up the kids facilities to adults at least one night per week.
I see the teen’s club Vibe – they have the coolest sport on the whole ship – deep within the bow, with great pools with misters and pop fountains, a live DJ booth and nooks and crannies for slipping away with someone special.
Then I see the adult’s clubs – the sports bar, the “Cove” for coffee, the Skyline Bar, and I see this is a ship where grownups can have fun, too.
But without a doubt the busiest places of all are the all ages outside decks with the pizza and hotdog stands and the amazing waterslide ride, the AquaDuck.
Inaugural on Steroids
It all started today with the Inaugural show. It had a little bit of everything, too, and at one point there must have been 500 characters (some of them people) on stage. It started with Tinkerbelle blowing her magic pixie dust over the stage to get the magic started. There were speeches by Disney dignitaries, but the real fun started when the Magnanimouse magnum of champagne appeared on a float out on the sea with Micky Mouse onboard, and with a flash he disappeared from there and appeared right in front of us. How did he do that?
Soon he was joined by Goofy, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Minnie, Donald… you name it and they were there. There characters from every Disney movie ever; Aladdin, Cinderella, 101 Dalmatians, Finding Nemo, Toy Story…
Next game the introduction of the famous godmother for the ship, the beautiful, and truly talented Jennifer Hudson who got started with her career singing on the older Disney Wonder, and who eventually went on to win the show American idol.
The climax came when a helicopter came from overhead and actually picked up the bottle of champagne (which was 15 feet tall at least) and carried it over to the bow of the ship. Upon Jennifer’s command after the traditional ship’s blessing, the helicopter knocked it against the bow- and the champagne bottle exploded with a spray of stars, and fireworks went off instantaneously all over the ship. The horn blew “When you wish upon a star.”
Finally we were able to enter the ship, and everything I had seen in the shipyard was now polished to perfection. The kids areas were instant hits, I have never seen so many excited faces; the teen areas were almost instantly populated, and the adult clubs had grownups looking starry-eyed at the possibilities of spending a few nights nestled in these rooms.
The Grand Ballroom is luxurious, with a huge chandelier and an statue in homage of Donald Duck. The restaurants; Animator’s Palace; The Enchanted Garden and the Royal Palace all looked as magnificent as they do in the story books or movies.
Everything about this ship – to the last detail is just perfect, and there are areas where you just behold the beautiful styling of the ship and enjoy it. Similar to a Celebrity Solstice ship, the décor is fine and perfectly executed; but with a far more youthful appeal.
I will be able to take and upload a lot more pictures tomorrow you all let me know what you want to see.
Paul, I'd be very interested in seeing pix and getting your opinion of the adults-only pool area. We've got two cruises on Dream this year, and we usually spend lots of time between the pool and the hot tubs.
Hope you're enjoying your cruise!
JUST READ YOUR VIEWS ON THE CHRISTNING AND IT WAS SO WONDERFUL TO READ. YOU KNOW, DISNEY JUST MAKES A PERSON SMILE ALL OVER AND HOW CAN ONE FIND FAULT IN THE EFFORTS TO PROVIDE PURE JOY? CAN'T !
I VIEWED IT ON COMPUTER AND WAS JUST IN AWE. I DID NOT REALIZE A COMPLETE MAGICAL SHOW WAS TO HAPPEN AND THAT HELICOPTER AND BOTTLE???????? OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS ! THE FROSTING ON THE CAKE. HAVE TO GIVE DISNEY CREDIT.......THEY DO IT RIGHT !
WE ARE BOOKED FOR APRIL 17-21 AND TAKING OUR SON, AWESOME DAUGHTER IN LAW AND GRANDAUGHTER AGE 6. GOT TWO AFT CABINS, JOINING AS WELL AS VERANDAS ON DECK 7.................CAN'T WAIT. THEY WILL DRIVE DOWN FROM HILTON HEAD iSALND AND US UP FROM P.S.L. AND MEET IN THE TERMINAL.
EVEN AT AGES 74 AND 68 (TOMORROW) THE INNER CHILD IN US IS BROUGHT ALIVE AND IT LIVENS UP OUR CALM SENIOR LIVES AND SHOULD GRANDPA HAVE A GOOD DAY..............HE WANTS TO DO THE AQUADUCK WITH ME !!!!!!! EXCUSE US KIDS.......COMIN THROUGH! HA HA
THANKS FOR THE GOOD READ MR. M.
GRANDMA CAROLE G.
PORT ST. LUCIE
Paul you really gave us all at home, great visuals..thanks, I am jealous!!
If you could give a description of the outside, balcony and Family Balcony cabins it would be great.
My grandkids keep asking me "When are we going on the Disney Ship?" My response is usually "When Grandma wins the lottery." The cost for a balcony cabin for four is pretty hard to swallow. Especially during the summer.
BTW: Jennifer Hudson didn't win American Idol. She finished seventh but went on to greater fame and achievement than the winner Fantasia Barrino. ;)
PS: I WILL TRY TO DO PICS ASAP - THSI CONNECTION IS VERY SLOW - MAY HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SATURDAY.
Dinner, Ist Night
We had dinner in Animator’s Palace last night. I find the only time I have to write is before dinner, ands it is now just before dinner on day #2.
Animators Pallet is not like anything I picture the namesake restaurant on Wonder/Magic to be. On those ships the restaurant starts in black & white, with representational sketches by artists that throughout dinner “magically” fill in with color. I have not seen this, but it sounds like a somewhat unobtrusive process. The NEW Animator’s Pallet was just the opposite.
When dinner started there was already a din to the room (background noise) that was noticeable but not annoying. The waiters were unusually outgoing, which should have indicated to me this was not going to be the subtle experience I envisioned. Sure enough, very shortly after we were seated we started hearing cartoon voices coming in over the loudspeakers, the starfish from Finding Nemo. The voice was loud. I looked around and could not see anything moving on any of the “windows” however. But soon I spotted her, a tiny starfish on a big screen, but with a voice that boomed far too much for her size.
Soon the star appeared, “Crush,” the hipster turtle from Finding Nemo. His voice filled the room, but once again the problem was we could not see him. We saw a table somewhat near us all staring at a wall we could not see, so I figured he was there. Then the voice continued in the same tone, but that table had resumed eating, so I figured he must have moved.
If you haven’t figured it out yet here is the situation; we know Crush visits from table to table and speaks to someone different from each table, but the problem is that his voice is always coming over the room PA system, not from the screen where he appears. This not only takes way from the “surprise, I am here” aspect of seeing Crush appear at your table, it pretty much just annoys everyone else. The voice never changes its source.
I think this was the least impressive bit of “magic" on the whole ship, and surprisingly it had been touted as one of the more impressive. The fix is simple, Disney, install a directional surround-sound system so you can coordinate Crush’s voice with his physical location in the room; That way people will have a quiet dinner until he shows up at THEIR table, and then he can dominate ONE conversation – much better atmosphere for non-involved dinners, and a much more personalized approach for the table Crush is visiting. To be clear – the sound system was LOUD, so much so that we had to shout over it during most of our meal, and we really didn’t care what was happening at other tables.
That was dinner – afterwards I decided to take in a bit of 3-D movie magic. “Tron” was playing in the Buena Vista Theater, the truly beautiful Art Deco cinema onboard specifically for showing 3-D movies.
I took a seat when the theater appeared quiet, but within 20 minutes there were over 100 people in there. I found myself nodding off and got up to go to bed.
I awoke at 9:00 and discovered I could not find the number for room service anywhere in my room. I am told it was left on my bed but I have now cleaned my entire room and cannot find it.
So I called guest services. I was on hold for 20 minutes, so put it on speaker-phone. When they finally picked up… “Can I help you” I said “What is the number for room service?”
“Can I help you?” they asked again, I replied again. They couldn’t hear me (one-way speaker-phone?) – so they hung up. 20 minutes without coffee, 20 minutes on hold, and they hang up… ERRRRRR….
I put on my shorts and went and bought coffee, $3.45, at a coffee bar on deck 12 and walked it back to my room. Not a good start to the day.
First thing in the morning – an interview with the President and many of the designers. I had heard it all at the shipyard, but many hadn’t. This is a very impressive ship.
They discussed how popular the virtual portholes are for the inside cabins. They discussed how much the kids like the magic floor.
Then it hit me – this is a ship with something for everyone, but also the ship with not so much for everybody. I have an outside cabin, but I want to see the virtual porthole. I am an adult, but I want to play on the magic floor.
I wasn’t picked to ask a question (ever been someplace where you feel invisible?) but later I cornered the head of Disney Imagineering and I asked him, “Have you thought of making these things (virtual portholes and the magic floors) more accessible so everyone gets a chance to try them?"
It is like letting the teens in the adult disco - but in reverse.
I got the usual, “no comment.” He said, “well, we have these things that have made our inside cabins almost more popular than out outsides, So, I don’t know if we will change that.”
By the way, if you don’t know a “virtual porthole” is one where you get a “window” in an inside cabin that is really a video-screen. But it shows the live feed from a point of view camera – and every once in awhile an animated sea creature; the Nemo starfish, Crush, the shark from Nemo and even dancing hippos, also pop up on the screen.
So, I said to Bruce, “here is an idea, of course you could easily put them on the TVs in all cabins, but instead, since they are point of view, why don’t you create a lounge with several of them, each showing the various POV shots from around the ship, and you get let people go there and see them all – make it a lounge, the "Point of View" for example. One of the other engineers listening in said “Good idea!”
After the meeting I ate lunch. I ran into some friends and convinced them they had to try the AquaDuck. After all, it is one of those things we all know we want to try, but we usually let our self-image talk us out of it. So, putting aside our bloated pride we made a pact to all show up at the AquaDuck at 1:00. We all made it.
So, I went on the Aquaduck. It turns out, so you know, they prefer to take couples first, so if there is a line and you are alone you have to stand aside and let five couples go ahead of you. I one of colleagues got in the front (a lovely lady over 6-feet, which means about 5 inches taller than me), and I got in the back.
Off we went – she was screaming. I was just enjoying the ride. I can tell you, it moves too fast for you to realize you are out over the ship, because that happens in the first few seconds. They should have put that jaunt later in the ride when it is far more leisurely. Basically, the ride gets slower as it moves along, but it does start out rollicking fast and fun. I certainly did not find it scary, though – fine for all ages.
After drying off I went to a tasting in Remy’s, the first Michelin-starred restaurant on a cruise ship. Now, Michelin stars belong to the chefs, not the restaurants, and Remy’s has a menu designed by two different Michelin-starred chefs, so it arguably has two Michelin stars.
Our two tasting tidbits were sensational – I almost hate to describe them for fear of not doing them justice, but first was “langoustine” with a Caesar foam topped with tiny slices of vegetables and bit of crisp something. The other was a piece of buffalo with 15 different toppings – each of them tiny (the entire tidbit was two bites).
They came with a class of Tattinger’s Champagne with a raspberry, apricot and mint leaf – along with a splash of vodka; Delicious and heady.
Next we ran off to see a preview of a Disney musical called “Believe.” This was my first Disney show and it was every bit as good as I expected. They use actual actors and a story line. There is excellent comedy, great dancing, wonderful special effects from highly technical to good old fashioned stage “practicals” which is what you call a prop that moves by itself (with a hidden trigger, for example). The show was about two regular people, but along the way we were joined by the Genie from Aladdin, the Fairy Godmother, all of the famous Disney Princesses, Tinkerbelle and at the end Micky Mouse.
I kid you not – this is the essence of Disney. When Mickey appeared on the stage an audible swoon swept through the audience. Now you may be thinking, “how corny, I don’t want to so a show with a bunch of automatons who get hypnotized by anything Disney.”
You know what, just allow yourself to enjoy their excitement empathetically, and you soon get in the spirit. It’s all good. The show is excellent; first class relevent, funny and touching with and a positive message.
Sure, I love Blue Man Group and any show with Fosse choreography, but this is feelgood entertainment, nothing wrong with that.
After the show I finished photographing the ship. There is SO much going on. This is a big ship, comparable to Celebrity Solstice or Voyager of the Seas. There is a lot to do. The décor is beautiful everywhere, one of the more beautiful ships I have seen. Not high-tech (not low tech, either). Very tasteful and detail oriented. My pictures will tell the story when I have time to get them online over the weekend – all for now.
After dinner I came straight back to the room to pack. I did something I had never thought of before, and I hav3e to give my tablemate credit. I mentioned that often there is no room service on the last day of a cruise – especially these preview cruises. He suggested that I order a pot of coffee before I go to bed – because I told him I have a clothes steamer which is like a jailhouse water heater – bare electricity used to heat water.
They brought the coffee, and as it turned out the coffee actually stay3ed hot overnight anyway. I had NO waiting at all, and I didn’t have to pre-set a wake-up time. I may be doing this far more often.
I packed my gear, checked in for my flight online (although I couldn’t print the boarding passes it still helps, and now I am sitting in Orlando airport, with free wifi, for about seven hours total. But at least I have a direct flight home.
I have a LOT of work to do in the next week, a lot to digest about Disney Dream, ny first ride on Disney. Overall, it promised exactly what I expected, a Disney experience of the first quality. The stage shows are excellent, the fun is more fun, the daytime food (buffet, coffee bars, etc) is excellent. Wonderful free ice cream all day. The stage shows are among the best at sea, pure entertainment; funny, lively meaningful.
I’ll will be fleshing out our official cruise review before long, but for now – just know that this is a quality cruise experience, but it is what it is – a DISNEY cruise, not Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruise. This is about Disney foremost, having fun – and about “cruising” secondarily.
Parents should be ready for the fact that kids may not want to spend time with them, they will be so caught up in having fun with their own age groups. But that is OK, it keeps your kids young and happy, it gives them MEMORABLE childhood experiences, and who doesn’t crave those as you get older, right?
I will be working with her in Australia in May and can't wait to be sitting in the darkened Concert Hall, listening to her sing. Disney couldn't have picked a more appropriate Godmother. Her story IS a Dream and a perfect fit for this amazing ship.
Paul..you needed to take my 7 year old grandson with you to give a review from a child's perspective, plus he's quicker on the computer then we grown ups :D
I'm planning on taking him for his 8th birthday in December on this ship so thanks for the review
excited to see your pictures mr. M................................... Being very patient !!!!!!!!!!!! Ok done being patient..........can't wait..........please post pics.
i was so glad to get the impression that you, the seasoned cruiser got quite a kick out of disney dream. Remember way back i posted that it just draws out our inner child who is tucked away? Disney cruise line really is for everyone!
carole in port st. Lucie, fl.
So nice to read all about the Dream. It is OUR dream to someday take our granddaughter on a Disney cruise (like Mike says, when we win the lottery!)
But meanwhile, we can DREAM, can't we?
I finally got pictures up from my trip:
Cruise Ship Pictures - CruiseMates Cruise Photos Gallery
Cruise Ship Pictures - CruiseMates Cruise Photos Gallery
Whoppie talk about it today on The View!
You've piqued my interest. I felt excited reading every word!
I'm not a Disney fan, but if I were going to cruise Disney, I would certainly pick the Dream!! It appears to be an amazing ship.
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