We recently got back from a wonderful 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream. Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing a series of articles on everything from dining to kids’ clubs.
But I’ll start off looking at the main differences between the Dream and the Classic Ships (Magic & Wonder).
The first thing that strikes you is the size of the ship. The Disney Dream is 1,115 feet long, compared to the Magic and Wonder which are 964 feet long. The Dream has 1,458 crew for its maximum of 4,000 passengers, while the Classics have just 945 crew for up to 2,400 passengers. There are 1,250 staterooms on the Disney Dream, and 875 on the Classic ships. You really notice the difference in size when walking about onboard the ship!
On embarkation day is the one compulsory thing that most people aren’t keen on – the lifeboat drill. When we’ve sailed on the Magic and Wonder in the past, we’ve had to don our life jackets and line up on deck 4 while stateroom numbers were called out. On the Dream it was a more pleasant experience. Life jackets were no longer required. And everyone just assembled at their given location (shown as a letter on your room card, and on the back of your stateroom door). Ours was in the Evolution nightclub. Once there a Crew Member swiped our room card to register our presence. After a short talk we were all dismissed.
Once you’ve got the lifeboat drill over and done with, you’ll be treated to one of the ship’s six horns at the “Sailing Away” party. Along with the first two lines of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” it can also perform “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” “It’s a Small World,” “Be Our Guest,” “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me)” and – most appropriately – “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
The inside staterooms on the Disney Dream feature an industry-first. Magical Portholes provide a real-time look “outside” of the ship, and guests in these staterooms can also look forward to virtual visits from Disney characters via the portholes.
It felt like there was a lot more storage space in the staterooms, and they’ve made more space under the bed so you can store suitcases there.
Whilst the Classic ships have some lovely artwork onboard, the Dream takes it a step further with Enchanted Art. These are framed pictures that come to life when guests pause to admire the artwork. The art may look like travel posters, animation cells, photographs or oil paintings, but when a guest stops to look, an animation sequence is triggered. Some of the Enchanted Art pieces feature different animations each day.
The Enchanted Art is used as part of the Midship Detective Agency game, a detective themed adventure that all guests can play onboard the ship. Using a special card, guests can reveal clues behind the artwork, which can help them solve a fun mystery.
The Aquaduck is not just a first for Disney Cruise Line, but also the first water coaster at sea. Starting up high on “deck” 16, guests ride on two-person inflatable rafts, along the twisting, turning 765-foot-long journey, right down to deck 12.
When I first walked into our first dinner onboard the Dream, one of the things that struck me were the smaller table sizes. On the Magic and Wonder larger tables featured, meaning most guests were forced to dine with strangers each night, something that wasn’t popular with many. There are lots of smaller tables, including tables for four, in each of the Dream dining rooms, meaning sharing with strangers is unlikely.
Something I miss from the older ships are the mini “shows” put on by Crew Members at dinner, such as the Pirate night flag waving parade around the dining room, and the change of waistcoat at Animator’s Palate. The elaborate Crush show at the Dream Animator’s Palate makes up for it in a lot of ways, but it would be nice to have a little something happen at Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden.
Speaking of Pirate Night, there are two shows onboard the Dream, with the fireworks sandwiched between. The earlier show is aimed at kids and families, while the later show is more adult-oriented. The buffet is not served on deck like on the Classic ships, but inside Cabanas. And rather than being a mainly dessert buffet, there are many more savory dishes on offer.
Cabanas is the casual service restaurant onboard the Disney Dream, and replaces Beach Blanket and Topsider Buffets which are on the Wonder and Magic. It’s much bigger than the buffet restaurants, and rather than just being one long buffet, has a number of separate food stations serving up a much wider choice of menu items.
Remy is a new addition to Disney Cruise Line. The premier dining restaurant is located on the Dream’s Deck 12, and with a capacity of just 96 guests is even more difficult to get into than Palo.
The Kids’ clubs onboard the Dream take a giant step up from the Magic and Wonder. With elaborate settings, more space and great use of technology, kids just don’t want to leave the Oceaneer Club and Lab. Some parents, including myself, will be disappointed that kids don’t get to “graduate” anymore from the Club and Lab on the last night. Gone are the Mickey ear mortar boards.
As well as making an appearance at the Animator’s Palate dinner, Crush from Finding Nemo can also be found visiting the Oceaneer Club and Lab, and interacting with young guests from a giant 103-inch plasma screen, as can Stitch.
Non-potty trained little ones on the Magic and Wonder are a bit restricted when it comes to water fun as they’re not permitted in any of the pools. This problem was solved on the Disney Dream with the addition of Nemo’s Reef, a pop-jet water play area on Deck 11.
Another recreation addion on the Dream is Goofy’s Golf, a nine-hole miniature golf course up on Deck 13.
More passengers have to mean more theater space. The Dream’s Walt Disney Theatre features 1,340 seats, approximately 300 of which are in the balcony section, something that the Magic and Wonder don’t have.
Performed in that very theatre is “Disney’s Believe,” a show exclusive to the Disney Dream. Telling a heartfelt story of a workaholic father who, through the power of Disney magic, reconnects with his daughter and learns a valuable lesson about what is important in life. The show features a variety of Broadway-style musical numbers from well-known Disney movies, and is truly worth watching.
If you’ve ever sailed on the Magic or Wonder you’ll know that the system in place at Shutters, the photo shop, wasn’t ideal. Well, it’s totally different on the Dream, and much more efficient. Everytime you have a photo taken by one of the ship’s photographers, they will scan your room card. You’ll then find all of your photos in a unique folder in the Shutters area on Deck 4, and they’ll all be kept there together for the entire cruise.
You’ll find more shopping opportunities onboard the Dream. A larger retail area on Deck 3 features Mickey’s Mainsail, Sea Treasure’s and Whitecaps, while Whozits & Whatzits and Quacks can be found on Deck 11.
Leave your kids at the Oceaneer Club or Lab on the Magic or Wonder and you’ll be given a pager in case they need to contact you. The Dream has a much better service – “Wave phones”. Two of these digital cordless phones are provided in each stateroom and can be used throughout the ship. They’re not only for the Kid’s club to contact you should they need to, but also for guests to use to keep in contact with each other when they’re separated.
Overall, the Disney Dream truly is a dream, and an big improvement on the Classic ships.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be looking in much more detail at everything listed above, so stay tuned!