Combine a family holiday to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida with a fun-filled cruise aboard a Disney ship, writes REBECCA MASON
Disney Wish cruise ship
Whether you enjoy the Disney classics or are a fan of the modern Marvel and Frozen characters, there is something for everyone onboard the Disney Wish cruise ship. With Rapunzel chosen as the ship’s character and the theming based around enchantment, there is magic from the moment you step onboard this ship, which has been described as ‘the Castle on the Seas’. Guests embark straight into Cinderella’s Grand Hall, where Cinderella and Prince Charming wave from the balcony and the crew announce a personal greeting for everyone. As you’d expect with Disney, the excitement is infectious and there is always a sense of wonder.
The Disney Wish cruise offers themed accommodation
Every deck is themed — from the carpet to the furnishings and the door details. We stayed in a Little Mermaid themed room, which featured a Little Mermaid-inspired print and shell decoration on the door. Other decks were inspired by Cinderella and the Princess and the Frog. We realised there were hidden Mickeys in the carpet to look out for as well. The staterooms are modern and functional and accommodate families well, with a sofa bed that turns into bunks at night and a split bathroom with a separate toilet. Interconnecting rooms allow families of up to eight guests to stay side-by-side. Most of the staterooms are balcony rooms. For the high-end traveller, there are Royal Suites or the special Funnel Suite, with extra space and unbelievable views. The towel animals which appeared on our bed each night were some of our favourite characters.
The Disney Wish cruise delivers next-level entertainment
Shows in the Walt Disney Theatre include extravaganzas with a sea theme including ‘Seas the Adventure’ and The Little Mermaid, as well as the Aladdin musical. There are two movie theatres – Wonderland Cinema and Never Land Cinema – playing all the latest Disney and Pixar movies. The deck parties are a real highlight, offering everything from the chance to interact with the Fairy Godmother, Captain Minnie, Captain Mickey, Daisy, Donald, Goofy and Pluto at the sail away party to the high energy pirate party complete with singing, dancing and fireworks. Then there’s The Aquamouse — the first ever Disney ride at sea. The Aquamouse is so much fun as you slide past classic Disney animations all the way around an enormous slide before getting splashed at the end.
Family-friendly restaurants on board Disney Wish
While the Disney factor is everywhere, the food experiences are where Disney really shines. They include an Arendelle Frozen Dining Adventure, in which you are the special guest of Queen Anna and Kristoff as they celebrate their engagement. Hosted by Oaken, the evening includes musical performances from Elsa, Olaf and the crew, and the cuisine has a Norwegian flavour. The Avengers: Quantum Encounter is a cinematic dining experience with Antman where guests use an interactive Quantum Core to shrink and grow objects at the push of a button. 1923 is decorated with storyboards, sketches and props that illustrate the early animation process and the dining is designed to evoke the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood.
These three restaurants are included in the price. Dining is rotational at a set time every evening and wait staff in full costume are all part of the experience. The service is impeccable. Casual bites are available anytime at Mickey and Friends Festival, so you can ‘shout’ everyone an ice-cream whilst lazing on the deck watching Cinderella. There are also some exclusive dining experiences available at Enchante, inspired by Beauty and the Beast’s Lumiere, and the Disney Wish Palo Steakhouse featuring décor inspired by Cogsworth for an extra cost.
Star Wars fans will want to head to the Hyperspace Lounge where out-of-this-world drinks are available for purchase while looking out the window to see the panoramic views of the Galaxy. Some have out-of-this-world costs, as high as $5000. The elegant Disney Wish Rose Bar is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and offers a unique cocktail served in a mist inspired by The Rose in the movie.
Children will love the huge Disney Wish kids’ club
The kids’ club is a dream for adults and children, with all spaces themed appropriately for the various age groups. The best part is the VIP arrival via a slide! Even washing hands is ‘fun’ thanks to an automated hand washing system where kids pop their hands in a hole, where they are automatically washed like magic. Bo Peep helps the young ones (aged from six months) count their sheep in It’s a Small World Nursery. In the Fairytale Hall, Rapunzel, Belle, Olaf, Anna and Elsa help the children write stories and create art. The Marvel Super Hero Academy is where Spiderman, Black Panther, Ant-Man and The Wasp train recruits wanting to be the next generation of superheroes. Star Wars: Cargo Bay is an incredible interactive experience where kids become creature handlers. Walt Disney Imagineering Lab allows kids to discover the secrets of Disney’s renowned imagineers through hands-on activities and check out some original prototypes. Mickey and Minnie’s Captain’s deck is a nautical playground where children can test their imagination during fun challenges
Edge is a New York City-inspired loft and colourful hangout for 11- to 14-year-olds, while older teens get together in the Parisian-style Vibe area. The Hero Zone for all ages features the Incredi-Games, an Incredibles themed inflatable obstacle course which transforms into a family friendly physical challenge. There’s also an Incredi-course, basketball course, soccer and loads more indoor games for active kids.
Disney’s Magical Island Castaway Cay
Castaway Cay, Disney’s own private island in the Bahamas, is an idyllic port of call where you can soak up some sunshine in a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand – the Olaf sippers were everywhere as part of the Olaf loves Summer theme. There are also ample opportunities to get active on stand-up paddleboards, in a basketball shooting competition, a water playground and a bike circuit which doubles as a running track where you can earn your exclusive 5-kilometre Castaway Cay Run medal. Even snorkelling takes on a magical dimension in the search for underwater treasure.
Disney Wish - essential info
The Disney Wish sails year-round from Port Canaveral in Florida offering a series of three- and four-night Bahamas cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. A shuttle operates between the port and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, so it makes a great combination with a Disney theme park holiday.
The writer was a guest of Disney Cruises
Rebecca Mason is owner of top-selling Disney travel agency Mr Chocolate’s Travel, and author of Holiday Dreaming: The Expert’s Guide to Large Family Travel.
To book a Disney cruise or holiday visit mrchocolate.com.au