Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Update: All Disney Cruises Are Canceled Until April 30th, and Some Magic and Wonder Cruises in May Are Also Canceled
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Exactly ten years ago today, January 26th, the Disney Dream's maiden voyage started. The Dream is the third ship in the DCL fleet, and is the first of its class, the second being the Fantasy. Since it was the first in the Dream class, it introduced many new features that set it apart from the existing ships. Since then, some of the features first seen on the Dream have been adopted on the Magic and Wonder, but the Dream still has features you can't find on any other ship. Let's celebrate this special day and look back at what the Dream brought to the DCL fleet.
First, let's take a look at the features that the Dream introduced that were completely new. Nothing like these features were on the Magic or Wonder when the Dream started cruising in 2011.
One of the Dream's most noticeable features is the AquaDuck, the 765-foot long water coaster. The AquaDuck was the first ever water coaster on a cruise ship. Ever since my first cruise in 2012, the AquaDuck has been one of my favorite DCL features. Even though it's not very long, it's so much fun to ride, especially right before and during the 5:45 dinner seating. During that window of time, there's usually almost no line, so it's the best time to ride the AquaDuck. There's also an AquaDuck on the Fantasy, and the AquaDunk (not Duck) was added to the Magic in 2013. The AquaDunk is a drop slide, where single riders stand on a platform that folds in. They are propelled through the tube and reach the end of the slide in a few seconds. It's much shorter than the AquaDuck, but it's a good use of the limited amount of space on the Magic.
The AquaDuck goes through the forward funnel, and the Dream was the first ship to have Outlook. Outlook isn't well advertised (there isn't even a page on the DCL website for it), and when I was on the Fantasy in January 2020, its doors were closed whenever I went up to it. I probably should've checked if the doors were unlocked, because I might've been able to go inside!
The Dream also introduced Goofy Golf, a 9-hole mini golf course on Deck 13. It's not as crazy as some of the mini golf courses on land, but it is goofier. The Imagineers made great use of the limited space. Did you know that a running track was planned for Goofy's Sports Deck? It must've gotten pretty far into the Dream's planning. In Welcome Aboard!: The Creation of the Disney Dream, there's concept art that shows a running track between Goofy Golf and the wall. It even says, "The sports deck offers table tennis and foosball tables, and is encircled by a walking track." This makes me think that it must've been removed late in the Dream's design process, since this official Disney book was published with that false information. Anyway, take a look:
I'm glad this plan didn't happen, since it would've made Goofy's Sports Deck too crowded. Where would they have put the foosball tables?
Goofy's Sports Deck on the Dream also added sports simulators, available at an extra charge. I've never done one, but they're probably fun.
Enough about sports. Another noticeable feature the Dream introduced was Enchanted Art. Scattered around guest areas, these paintings look normal at first, until they start to move and play sound. These paintings are actually screens with speakers in the frame. Some of them change throughout the day, which would seem incredibly weird if you didn't know they weren't normal paintings.
Some of the Enchanted Art paintings around the ship have a magnifying glass icon on the floor in front of them. These paintings are part of something else the Dream added to the DCL world, the Midship Detective Agency! This is a game where players go around the the ship to these special paintings and use a badge card to interact with them. Players do various tasks in order to solve a mystery. It's a lot of fun, and I think the Wish will have an updated, improved version of it.
Another fun feature the Dream added was the Vibe sundeck. This is in the very front of the ship, and it has a few small pools and water sprayers. Playing Uno in the Vibe sundeck pools is hard, I don't recommend it. The sundeck is one of the main features of Vibe on the Dream and Fantasy, and it was never added to the Magic and Wonder because it can't be. Vibe on the older ships is on Deck 11 in the Forward funnel, so there can't be a private Vibe pool area there.
The Dream was the first ship to have Remy and Meridian. Remy is a French restaurant named after Remy the rat from Ratatouille. It's only open to adults who pay an additional fee for a reservation. Meridian is a bar between Palo and Remy. It's also an adults-only area. I don't know much about either of them since I've never been able to go, but I do know that the bathrooms near Palo, Remy, and Meridian are really nice.
Speaking of restrooms, the Dream was the first Disney ship where every public restroom is wheelchair-accessible. It's not something Disney would advertise, could you imagine an advertisement for the Dream with this as a selling point?
Nothing makes me want to go on a Disney cruise more than knowing that every public restroom is wheelchair accessible.
The Dream's atrium made a major change to what had been in the older DCL ships. On the Dream, there's only one fancy grand staircase. The Magic and Wonder originally had two grand staircases, but that has changed to one in their Reimaginings. Would that be considered an upgrade or a downgrade?
Right next to the atrium is Bon Voyage, another bar. It's only on the Dream and Fantasy, and I really like the mural behind it. The Fantasy has a different mural, but the one at the Dream's Bon Voyage shows the Dream in the era that the DCL ships imitate. It also goes really nicely with the gold and white color scheme of the Dream's atrium.
A less-noteworthy but still cool feature that debuted on the Dream were the Magical Portholes in inside staterooms. These portholes are screens that receive live videos from outside of the ships. There are two different video feeds, one for port and one for starboard. The live video received by a Magical Porthole depends on the side of the ship it is on, which is a really nice touch. Since it's a screen, Disney characters sometimes appear in the porthole. On the Fantasy, during Star Wars Day at Sea, Star Wars ships like the Millennium Falcon can fly by. Unlike normal portholes, these can be turned off!
The Dream's Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab introduced the Magic PlayFloor, a large grid of screens that respond to movement and pressure when stepped on. Kids can play games by stomping on the floor, which is an interesting way to play. It's a good thing there aren't any staterooms on Deck 4, because the stomping is probably pretty loud at times. Sorry, D Lounge!
The Dream was the first Disney ship to let guests talk to Crush, the turtle from Finding Nemo, in Animator's Palate. It's amazing how he can talk to guests as if he really exists. If Crush was my teacher, he'd make online school so much more entertaining. He's talked to my family twice, which is totally righteous, dude!
Finally, Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace were first seen on the Dream. Enchanted Garden is really pretty when the lights change throughout the dinner to simulate a sunset. It's also on the Fantasy, and they're practically identical. Royal Palace is only on the Dream, and it looks like a fancy royal palace. It's the least exciting of the Dream's rotational restaurants. It's not bad, but I prefer the other two. Royal Palace's counterpart on the Fantasy is Royal Court, which is very similar to Royal Palace, except for the name.
Next, let's look at what the Dream added but something similar already been seen on the Magic and Wonder. The similar features on the older ships have been converted to be more like what's on the Dream and Fantasy for continuity across the fleet.
The Dream introduced Cabanas, the tropical buffet restaurant. It wasn't the first buffet restaurant on the Disney ships, that was Topsider Buffet on the Magic. Cabanas is Finding Nemo-themed, with a massive, colorful mosaic of characters from the movie. There are also seagulls from Finding Nemo scattered around the restaurant. Cabanas was originally exclusively on the Dream, until the Fantasy started cruising in 2012. It was added to the Magic in 2013 and to the Wonder in 2016.
Eye Scream and Frozone Treats were also first seen on the Dream. Since then, they've been added to the other ships, except on the Wonder, Frozone Treats is Sulley's Sips. I think Sulley's Sips goes better with Eye Scream, since both of them are Monsters, Inc. themed.
The Dream introduced a new layout of the poolside quick-service restaurants with Flo's Café. On the Magic and Wonder, the three restaurants, Pinocchio's Pizza, Duck-in Diner/Pete's Boiler Bites, and Daisy's De-Lites, are spread across the pool deck. However, on the Dream and Fantasy, all three of the restaurants, Luigi's Pizza, Tow Mater Grill, and Fillmore's Favorites, are grouped together. Having them all in one place is convenient, but they can get crowded. Which version is better?
The adults-only pool deck area was enlarged on the Dream. On the Magic and Wonder, the only pool deck area reserved for adults is the Quiet Cove. On the Dream, adults get most of Deck 13 Forward, except for the Concierge Sun Deck.
Also, Waves and Currents, two of the pool deck bars, originated on the Dream. The Magic and Wonder had the Signals bar, but the Dream increased the pool deck adult-beverage options.
The Dream is the only ship to have Pub 687, Pink, and Evolution. Skyline first appeared on the Dream, but is also on the Fantasy. Pub 687 is really cool since it's named after the Dream's hull number, assigned to it by Meyer Werft, the shipyard where it and the Fantasy were built. It has photos and various items from the Dream's construction. I wish the Fantasy had done something like this, it has O'Gills Pub instead, which isn't quite as cool.
Senses Spa & Salon debuted on the Dream. It's larger than the Vista Spa that was on the Magic and Wonder, and it added new features, like the Chill Spa. I remember going to Senses with my parents on the first day of a cruise once for a raffle, and I was so bored. Even with the Chill Spa for teenagers, it's still mainly for adults. Senses has replaced the Vista Spa on the Magic and Wonder.
The Arr-Cade was first seen on the Dream, but it was the equivalent to Quarter Masters Arcade on the Magic and Wonder. The Arr-Cade has been removed from both the Dream and the Fantasy, replaced with specialty dessert shops Vanellope's (on the Dream) and Sweet on You (on the Fantasy).
The original it's a small world nursery (there aren't any capital letters in the title, but it's okay, most kids under age three can't read or know capitalization rules) is on the Dream. Flounder's Reef was the nursery on the older ships, and it has been replaced by the it's a small world nursery.
The Dream was the first DCL ship to have the "modern" shops, Mickey's Mainsail, Sea Treasures, and White Caps. On the Magic and Wonder, the shops were Treasure Ketch, Mickey's Mates, and Radar Trap. I'm not sure on this, but having the word 'trap' in the name of a store probably isn't the best way to get customers. These shops have been renamed with the newer names in the years since the Dream has been around.
The D Lounge has become a feature on all of the DCL ships, and it originated on the Dream, like many other features, as we've seen. On the Magic and Wonder, the D Lounge was previously Studio Sea, which was similar to the D Lounge.
The Dream added a lot to the DCL ships, and I hope the Wish adds just as many new features or more than the Dream did. For our first cruise in 2012, my family and I went on the Dream, and we had so much fun that we went on eight cruises after that. Even though it's just been doing 3, 4, and 5-night cruises for the past decade minus most of 2020, it's introduced many to the world of DCL. The Dream is lucky, it gets the day off! It's spending the day off the coast of Port Canaveral with the Wonder and the Fantasy. The Dream really is living the Dream today!
Congratulations on a decade of being in service, Disney Dream!
Monday, January 18, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Sunday, January 10, 2021
The Midship Detective Agency is one of my favorite features of the Dream-class ships. Although it's pretty easy if you've played it many times, it's still a lot of fun, especially for first-time cruisers. It's really popular, and when I've been on the Dream and Fantasy, I've seen a lot of kids and families hurrying around the ship to find their next painting. Since it's enjoyed by so many people on the Dream and Fantasy, the Wish will probably have its own Midship Detective Agency, or something similar to it.
Although it's really fun, the original Midship Detective Agency is limited, thanks to its decade-old technology. The designers could only do so much with the technology of the existing Midship Detective Agencies, which may be why there are only three cases. If the Wish has a version of the game with new technology, the developers will have much more freedom when designing the game and new, more creative cases are almost guaranteed.
Speaking of new technology, how will the Wish's game differ from the Dream-class version? I'm not sure. Recently, Disney announced that the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game at Disney World is closing later in January. This game appears to be similar to the Midship Detective Agency, since players go around the park and hold up cards that probably have patterns on one side that the game's cameras can read. Disney is shutting this game down because of changes in how Disney World guests use mobile devices and because of decreased demand for the game. After removing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Disney may replace it with something similar, but with upgraded technology that allows players to use a mobile device to play.
Could Disney do this with the Wish's Midship Detective Agency? They could, which would be interesting. Many DCL guests keep their mobile devices with them as they go around the ship to look at the DCL Navigator app and to take photos. So, using a mobile app to play would be convenient, especially if the Midship Detective Agency was part of the regular DCL Navigator app. In addition to not requiring a badge to play, using a phone would eliminate the need for the case booklet, since that would just be part of the app. Also, modern smartphones have many features that could enhance the game. For example, the game could incorporate augmented reality to make what's happening in-game appear in the real world.
The possibilities associated with using a smartphone to be a Midship Detective are exciting and would make the game distinct from its original Dream-class version. However, many of the people I've seen playing the Midship Detective Agency on the Dream and Fantasy were kids, many of whom do not have their own phone or mobile device. So, by using an app to play, people without a phone or other device to use wouldn't be able to play. Another issue with using an app on the Wish would be connection. If you've been on a Disney cruise, you probably know that the DCL Navigator app isn't very reliable because of poor Wi-Fi connection. I'm hoping the Wish fixes this problem, but you never know, it still may leave something to be desired. A poor connection would make a fun game significantly less fun. Additionally, using a phone would take most of the action off of the Enchanted Art and onto a small phone screen, which isn't nearly as special. Finally, after guests finish the game, the badge, the case booklet, and the mini pencil are fun, included souvenirs. The main attraction of the Midship Detective Agency is being able to interact with paintings, and using a phone would take some of the magic out of it.
While the Wish's new version could let players use smartphones to play the game, having players use a badge and a case booklet is the better way to go. Upgrading the technology used in the Enchanted Art and the badges is a must, as this would open up new gameplay possibilities. Maybe when starting a new game, players will be able to choose between using a phone or a badge. If this is the case, there should not be any difference in gameplay between the two control schemes so nobody feels like they're missing out. If phones are a control option, I really hope they sell a Midship Detective Agency badge themed phone case in the shops. It wouldn't be necessary to play the game, of course, but it would look cool.
This is unrelated to control options, but I hope the Wish adds a harder case. The existing three are great, but they are over pretty quickly. The current hardest case is The Case of the Stolen Show, and it's my favorite partially because it's a little more challenging and takes longer. To make it longer, the game could make players visit every Enchanted Art location and backtrack to some they've already been to. To make it harder, the map could be removed from the booklet so players wouldn't know where each painting is. Or, if Mickey's feeling extremely harsh, there wouldn't even be a booklet for the difficult case. Players would have to remember everything they've done and all of the suspects they've crossed off. Another way to make it harder would be to not allow any mistakes. If a player chooses the wrong suspect or does a task wrong, they'd lose. These changes would add more variety to the game and make it more worth doing for experienced Midship Detectives. The difficult case would encourage first-time detectives to play the game multiple times throughout their cruise to work their way up through the difficulty levels. I'd probably start with the hardest one since it sounds like the most fun.
I really hope the Wish has an upgraded Midship Detective Agency. The new technology would increase the gameplay possibilities and allow the developers to go all out when creating the new game. It may also allow for new control options. Hopefully they'll add that hard case and that phone case!