Monday, November 30, 2020

The Wonder Came Back To the US, But What About the Others?

If you've been following my blog and general DCL news this year, you probably know that starting in May, the Disney ships went to Europe.  I guess they all pretended to be the Magic and spent the summer there.  They sent to Europe for a few reasons.  For one, all of the ships went to France for dry dock renovations.  Also in France, all four ships met up for the first time, which was really cool.  Towards the end of the summer, the ships were likely picking up the crew that had been sent home earlier in the year.  I don't know about you, but I'd much rather cross the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship than on a plane.  

By now, you might have heard that the Disney Wonder left Europe and arrived back at Port Canaveral.  The Wonder probably brought some of DCL's European crew with it.  The Wonder is the first of Disney's ships to come back from Europe, and I assumed the rest were following it.  Let's check our good old friend  

We already know the Wonder made it back from Europe, so let's see what the Magic's doing.
At the time of me writing this, the Magic is headed to Dover, a port town in England.  It's been to Dover multiple times since it arrived in Europe, which makes me think it's where the European crew members are meeting with the ship to get back on.  Or maybe the crew that's  on the Magic really likes to see the White Cliffs of Dover.

The Dream is surprisingly close to the Magic, although it isn't going to Dover.  Instead, it's coming back to Port Canaveral!  Like the Wonder, it's likely bringing crew from Europe back to Port Canaveral.  Because of social distancing and health protocols, the crew is probably spread out among the guest staterooms.  I'm sure they're happy about this, since the guest rooms are larger and fancier than the crew rooms.

Finally, lets see what the Fantasy is doing.  Like the Dream, it's coming back to Port Canaveral.  It's closer to Florida than the Dream, so unless it starts going really slow, stops, or turns around, it'll arrive first.

At the time of me writing this, here's a summary of where the ships are going:
Magic-going to Dover
Wonder-at Castaway Cay (probably delivering supplies and crew)
Dream-going to Port Canaveral
Fantasy-going to Port Canaveral

After the Magic does whatever it needs to do in Dover, I think it will follow the other ships and go back to Port Canaveral.  Port Canaveral is a familiar place for most of the crew, and it's a good place to start practicing the implementation of the restrictions.  Even though I'm no longer going on a cruise in January, I hope the restrictions that are made won't ruin the cruise experience.

Cruises are currently planned to resume in the beginning of February, but I know they won't.  The Disney Cruise Line website doesn't let anyone book cruises in February anymore, and Disney should make an official announcement in the next few days.  Keep your eye out for that!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Update: All Disney Cruises Are Canceled Through January 31st, 2021

Earlier today, November 23rd, on their website, Disney announced that all cruises are canceled until January 31st, 2021.  On the Magic, Wonder, and Dream, cruises will resume on February 1st.  On the Fantasy, they'll resume on February 6th.

Like the last two suspensions, Disney says that this extension is to give them more time to work on their safety protocols and measures for when cruises resume.  I'm not sure if that's the entire reason, because the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on longer than almost everybody expected.

This announcement means that I'm not going on a cruise in January.  I was expecting this, and even if Disney didn't cancel the cruise, my family and I probably wouldn't have gone because of all of the restrictions.  I'm disappointed, because now the most exciting thing happening in January for me is that I might go back to school.  We'll see what happens with that.

Like always, all of the people affected by this new suspension will have the choice of receiving a full refund or a 125% cruise credit (as long as they've paid the cruise in full).  Of course, be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Doomed Disney Infinity Room

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Arr-Cade, the arcade that used to be on the Dream and Fantasy.  Both Arr-Cades have been replaced by specialty dessert shops, and writing that post got me thinking.  What area on the DCL ships will be replaced next?

In a major dry dock renovation, it's almost a guarantee that something on the ship will be altered or converted into something completely new.  For example, in the Fantasy's 2017 dry dock, the Arr-Cade was transformed into Sweet on You.  Sometimes, the areas that get changed are unexpected.  In the Magic's 2018 dry dock, Carioca's, one of the rotational restaurants, was replaced by Rapunzel's Royal Table.  It's weird that they did this, since Carioca's was added in 2013.  See?  Unexpected!

Across the fleet, there is one room that is begging to be changed:  The Disney Infinity room in the Dream's Oceaneer Club.  

Before I go into why it'll probably be taken out, here's some background information.  Disney Infinity is a video game that was released in 2013.  It features characters from everything owned by Disney.  It has characters from classic Disney movies, Star Wars, and Marvel.  The main money making aspect of this game is that all of the characters have figures, like this one:
Players put figures like these on the scanning base, and they could play as them in game.  In order to get more characters to play as, players had to buy more figures.  One of the most fun parts of the actual game is designing worlds in the Toy Box game mode, where there's an infinite amount of things to make and do.  It's called 'Disney Infinity' for a reason.

In what was likely an attempt to boost the sales of the game, Disney added a Disney Infinity themed room to the Dream's Oceaneer Club in 2015.  Here, kids can play the video game and participate in activities themed after the game.  A cool feature of this room was that people could take their Oceaneer wristband home and scan it on the Disney Infinity base to unlock Disney Cruise Line-themed content, like a rideable mini DCL ship and a recreation of parts of the Dream, Nassau, and Castaway Cay.  I'm pretty sure this is the most expensive content in the game.  

Sadly, Disney Infinity didn't do as well as Disney hoped, and the game and its figures were discontinued in 2016.  It was a shame, the game was a lot of fun.  However, this actually had a few good effects, the figures received a big price drop since the game they were made for was dead.  However, in the long run, Disney Infinity's cancellation was pretty unfortunate, especially for the room on the Dream.  They now had a room promoting a discontinued video game.

"Hey kids, if you liked playing in this room, you should buy the video game!  Oh wait...You can't anymore."

The Fantasy never had a Disney Infinity room.  Instead, it got a Marvel Super Hero Academy room added during its first dry dock in 2017, after Disney Infinity ended.  When the Dream's Disney Infinity room inevitably gets removed, a Marvel themed room will probably fill the space to keep parity with the Fantasy.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the Dream went into dry dock in France.  Nothing has been revealed about any changes that were made, so I doubt anything major was changed.  This dry dock was probably just for minor, routine repairs and maintenance.  The Disney Infinity room might have been replaced with a Marvel room, but you would think Disney would've announced something like that.  So, the Disney Infinity room might still be around to see some more guests.  If it is, it'll be removed in the Dream's next major dry dock.  Disney Infinity was a great game, and I (and probably DCL) wish it hadn't ended so soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Sixth and Seventh Ships Have Been Delayed

In October, Disney announced that the Disney Wish, which was originally scheduled to start cruises in January of 2022, had been delayed until summer of 2022 because of COVID-19.  When I saw that it had been delayed, I assumed that the other two ships would be unaffected, since they were planned to start cruises later than the Wish.

Sadly, that is now not the case.  On November 12th during Disney's financial earnings report, Bob Chapek, Disney's CEO, announced that the unnamed sixth and seventh DCL ships are now delayed according to Cruise Industry News.  The sixth ship, previously scheduled to launch in 2022, will now launch in 2024.  The seventh ship, previously scheduled to launch in 2024, will now launch in 2025.  These delays are not due to closures at the Meyer Werft shipyard, like the Wish's delay.  Instead, it was likely Disney's choice.  When cruises resume in January at the earliest, there will probably be less demand overall for a while.  Since there won't be as much demand, Disney doesn't need three more ships right away.  Also, Disney hasn't made nearly as much money in 2020 as they have in normal years, so paying millions of dollars for two cruise ships might not be the best thing they can do at the moment.  

I'm really disappointed by this announcement, two extra years is a long time.  2024 and 2025 seem so far in the future.  In 2025, the Magic will be 27, the Wonder will be 26, the Dream will be 14, the Fantasy will be 13, the Wish will be 3, and the sixth ship will be 1.  At that point, what will happen with the aging Magic and Wonder?  Will they still be in Disney's fleet or will they be sold to another cruise line?  I think they'll still be used by Disney.  They're much smaller than the other ships, and that allows them to visit more ports.  Plus, Disney is constantly improving them and maintaining their best condition.  When I was on the Wonder in 2019, it didn't feel like it was almost twenty years old thanks to the constant improvements being done.

Anyway, I'm just glad this delay doesn't affect the Wish.  If the three future ships are anything like the four existing ships, they will all be very similar with minor differences like restaurant theming.  This means that when the Wish is completed in 2022, we'll have a pretty good idea of what the sixth and seventh ships will be like.  And hey, it's almost 2021, a rare year when we can say, "There's a new Disney ship coming next year!"

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Buried Treasure

If you went on a cruise on the Dream or Fantasy between 2011 and early 2017, you may have noticed a pirate-themed arcade outside of Cabanas.  This arcade, called the Arr-Cade, is no longer on the Dream or Fantasy, and has been replaced with specialty dessert shops on both.  

Like many modern arcades, the arcade machines in the Arr-Cade were operated using cards.  Not Key to the World Cards, though that would've been nice.  Instead, the Arr-Cade used cards specifically designated for arcade use.  When guests entered the dark, noisy, wooden plank-design carpeted Arr-Cade, they paid however much they wanted to spend on arcade games at a machine and got a card that looked like this:

I think this card was from the Fantasy's Arr-Cade in January of 2017, when the Arr-Cade's days were numbered.  This card was hidden deep under a lot of random papers in a drawer, so it was buried.  It's also a treasure to me, even though it has no cash value.  You can't get one of these anymore!  It's a relic from DCL's past.  I wonder if it still has a few cents left...

The Arr-Cade's older sibling, Quarter Masters Arcade, was on the Magic and Wonder.  It was taken off the ships before I had the chance to see it, and was replaced by Edge, which was moved to Deck 9 from Deck 2.  I think the card design was the same between the two arcade types, since the card just says, "Arcade Card", not "Quarter Masters Arcade Card" or "Arr-Cade Card".  

Since the arcades were removed from all four Disney ships, there's no way there will be an arcade on the Wish.  Disney is definitely making more money from Vanellope's Sweets and Treats and Sweet on You, the specialty dessert shops, than they ever did from the Arr-Cade.  It's pretty safe to say that there will be a specialty dessert shop on the Wish.  Even if people don't buy anything from it, they'll still go for the delicious smells.

I think it's really cool looking back at Disney Cruise Line's history and seeing what's changed.  While all of the ships have had changes, the Magic and Wonder have had the most.  In the future, I might write about some of the areas and features on those ships that have changed in their 22 and 21 year histories.  But until then, rest in peace, Arr-Cade and Quarter Masters Arcade.  You won't be missed by Disney, because they're making more money without you!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

(I thought) The Wish is Huge!

Yesterday, Ems -Dollart Media uploaded an amazing video about the Disney Wish's construction in Germany.  The video shows the journey of the ship's engine to the site where the rest of the ship will be built.  Pushed and pulled by tugboats, the engine floated down the Ems River to the shipyard where another part of the Wish was waiting!

Hi, DCLKid from the future here.  There actually wasn't another part of the Wish waiting there.  That large ship section was the AIDAcosma.  Please don't listen to the November 5th DCLKid, he's wrong for the next three paragraphs.  I wrote more about this here.

Yep, that big, unfinished tall thing is part of the Wish!  You can get the best view of the large section (not the engine) during the last few seconds of the video.  If you look back at the artist's rendering of the Wish from 2018, you'll notice the rounded parts of the ship's sides.  In the video, the actual Wish has one rounded part visible.  I'm predicting that this round section is the Midship elevator lobby, and one of the funnels will eventually be on top of this section.  I think the engine unit that was brought to the construction site will go behind the Midship elevator lobby and include the long section of the ship from Midship to Aft.  

Before this video, we've only seen the Wish's engine unit.  I thought that was all that had been built so far, but no, they were busy elsewhere.  This part of the ship is really tall so far, and the funnel will make it even taller.  In the lower half of the ship, there are lifeboat mounts.  Those are on Deck 5 on the Dream-class ships, so let's call that Deck 5.  If that's Deck 5, then the highest deck so far is Deck 15.  This doesn't seem right, since the Dream-class ships have 14 Decks, which includes the funnel.  The Wish doesn't have the funnel yet but already has more decks.  The Wish is only going to be slightly larger than the Dream-class ships, and I wouldn't call having three more decks (including two in the funnel) slightly larger.  It's possible that the lifeboat mounts aren't on Deck 5, but that seems unlikely since they are on Deck 5 on all of the other ships.  If it works, why change it?

Enough about counting.  If the round section is the Midship elevator lobby, I think the round section below the lifeboats is the Atrium.   I may be wrong, but thanks to the round section, there will be many more windows in the Atrium than what we've seen on the other ships.  Instead of fake backgrounds, Disney's photographers could take pictures of families with an ocean backdrop.  That would be really fun to watch, especially on sea days.

Future DCLKid here again, the rest of the post is correct.  Sorry about that!

The last thing I can squeeze from this video isn't actually on the Wish.  Look at the massive building behind the Wish and the engine unit.  This says "JOS.L.MEYER.PAPENBURG"  When I saw this, I thought looked familiar.
It was familiar because it was where the Fantasy was in this picture!  In the video, the Wish was close to where its older sister was in over eight years ago.  I found this picture frame on the Fantasy in January, and now I'm really glad I did.

If I do any more speculating today, I'll probably explode with excitement.  The Wish isn't going to start cruises until the summer of 2022, so they've got plenty of time to build the rest of the ship.  I'm hoping these video updates will keep coming so DCL fans like me can learn more about how large cruise ships are built and what new and exciting features will be included on the Wish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Update: All Disney Cruises Are Canceled Until 2021

Earlier today, November 3rd, on their website, Disney announced that all remaining cruises in 2020 are now canceled.  On the Magic, cruises will resume on January 4th, 2021.  On the Wonder, they'll resume on January 5th.  On the Dream, they'll resume on January 4th.  Finally, on the Fantasy, cruises will resume on January 2nd.

Like the last suspension, Disney says that this extension is to give them more time to work on their safety protocols and measures for when cruises resume.  Until the protocols have been completed, I'm not expecting to hear anything about them.

Also, with this announcement, the small possibility of my family and I going on the Fantasy in January just got even smaller.  If Disney makes another announcement of cancelations, it'll likely include most of the month, including our cruise.

This suspension means that there won't be any Very Merrytime cruises in 2020.  This also likely means that they won't build their huge gingerbread houses, since no guests will be around to see and smell them.  Maybe they will build them and the Disney Parks YouTube channel will post a video about them.  This seems unlikely, because each house takes many hours of planning, baking, building and decorating.  All of the bakers' hard work would go mostly unnoticed, which isn't fair to them.

Like always, all of the people affected by this new suspension will have the choice of receiving a full refund or a 125% cruise credit (as long as they've paid the cruise in full).  Of course, be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line website for more information and the latest updates.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Why is the Forward Section of the Disney Dream Gray?

 In my post about all of the Disney ships together in France, I noticed that there was a section of the Dream that was gray.  I thought it was a temporary cover to protect the paint while the Dream was being worked on, but now I'm not so sure.

This is a video from inselvideo on YouTube, the same user who posted various videos about the Wish's construction.  Like the other video, this shows what the four ships looked like together from various camera angles, but I think I like this video better, since it shows more footage of the ships before the Wonder arrived.

Another reason why I like this video more is because it gives more clues as to what that gray part of the Dream is.  In the video above, go one minute and two seconds in, then pause it.  Look to the left of Vibe's sundeck on the Dream.  It's Mickey Mouse, and it's all white.  It appears that the Mickey Mouse silhouette is a little higher than the rest of the white area.  This part of the video was taken before the Wonder arrived, so the gray must have been added sometime between this section and when the Wonder arrived.  I've never seen what the Vibe sundeck looks like from Deck 13, since that area is reserved for adults.  Do any adults reading this know if the Mickey Mouse silhouette was there on the Dream before this dry dock?

Now, move ahead to 1:57 and pause the video.  The area surrounding the Mickey Mouse silhouette is gray now!  However, the same area on the Fantasy is still white.  Maybe the white paint on the Dream was removed and the gray is just what it looks like without any paint.  If this is the case, then they've probably repainted it white at this point.  As I mentioned in my other post, the gray could be a cover, though I doubt this now.  I couldn't see the white Mickey on the Dream in the other video, but now that I know it's there, I'm pretty sure it's not a cover.  Also, if it is a cover, why would they bother putting Mickey on it?  No guests were on the ship, so it wouldn't have been noticed.  My only other guess is that the gray section is permanent.  It may have a function.  Here's why:  At Vibe, the sundeck is only open during the day, and even then, it's not open all day.  This is because when it gets dark, the captain and crew in the bridge need it to be dark to be able to see what's in front of the ship.  If there were lights on and people outside, the crew wouldn't be able to see, which could be dangerous.  The darker gray color may have been added to make it easier for the crew on the bridge to see in the dark.  It's a bit of a stretch, but it's possible.  

Also at 1:57, all of the Magic's lifeboats were taken off!  Seeing the the Magic without any of its lifeboats looks pretty different, and you don't get to see that very often.  Cool!

Finally, at 2:46, look at the gray section on the Dream again.  It looks like someone, or something, is on Mickey's head!  If it's a person, they might have been working on it.  I wish I could ask them what the gray section was for.

Sadly, neither of the videos get close enough to the Vibe sundeck on the Fantasy to tell if there's a Mickey silhouette there like on the Dream.  I'm assuming that there is, since the Dream and the Fantasy are almost structurally identical.  If there is, why wasn't it gray on the Fantasy?  

After analyzing both videos, my best guess is that the gray area is only temporary, while the Dream gets repainted.  I don't think it's permanent because it's not on the Fantasy, the Dream's sister ship. Plus, the gray looks out of place because it's surrounded by white.  It doesn't look good, and Disney designed their ships to look good.  

While thinking way too hard about the strange gray area on the Dream, I realized that the white Mickey Mouse silhouette is a Hidden Mickey!  Or, at least, it was a Hidden Mickey, before they made it super obvious with the gray.  Could this be the world's largest (formerly) Hidden Mickey?