Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Oh No, the Wish Is Going Under the Sea

Back in April's Once Upon a Disney Wish presentation, it was announced that Aladdin:  A Musical Spectacular will be one of the Wish's at launch.  In addition to this, the presentation mentioned "two original shows that are currently being developed for the Disney Wish."  We hadn't heard anything about those "two original shows," but that changed yesterday.

Released yesterday, a Disney Parks Blog post revealed those two other original shows.  They are Seas the Adventure and The Little Mermaid.  Seas the Adventure, the show on the first night of every Wish cruise, looks like fun.  Goofy is the main character, and the show takes him "on a journey to discover his own inner captain."  Well, he won't have his own sports deck on the Wish, but at least he's the protagonist of a live show.  At the end of the show, the characters will lead the guests out into the Grand Hall, which is a cool way of allowing guests to interact with the characters while simultaneously getting them out of the Walt Disney Theatre.

The Wish's version of The Little Mermaid is likely going to be very popular.  At first glance, it sounds like a great idea.  It's a retelling of the movie of the same name, told by a group of storytellers who find a special treasure chest.  Since this is a musical on a cruise ship, this opens up so many possible jokes about the story taking place "under the sea."  This is great, but my biggest question is, "Why?"  Why is this on the Wish?  If only there was another DCL ship with many more references to The Little Mermaid than the Wish that would be a much better fit for this show.

Hey look, it's the Wonder!  The second DCL ship has a lot of The Little Mermaid theming, like the Ariel atrium statue and Triton's, one of the rotational restaurants.  Aside from these, the artwork behind Guest Services, the mural visible from the Midship elevators, and even some of the lights are themed after The Little Mermaid.  Wouldn't The Little Mermaid musical fit perfectly on the Wonder?

If it did come to the Wonder, The Little Mermaid would likely take the place of another live show.  I know the perfect one to get rid of:  Frozen:  A Musical Spectacular!  Time to let it go, Disney.  

Let it go to the WishFrozen would work much better on the Wish.  One of the Wish's rotational restaurants is Arendelle:  A Frozen Dining Adventure.  This restaurant is actually a "theatrical dining experience" that takes place after the events of Frozen II.  The restaurant's story will be completely different from Frozen:  A Musical Spectacular, so it's not like the Wish's guests will be overloaded with retellings of the first Frozen movie.

Disney's not going to abandon all plans of releasing The Little Mermaid on the Wish and instead release it on the Wonder, but could they bring it to the Wonder eventually?  Yes, but if that does happen, it wouldn't happen for a while.  Disney can't have a 22 year-old ship stealing a brand new ship's thunder!  

I'm interested in watching both of these live shows and seeing how well the Wish's new Walt Disney Theatre works for shows.  This may sound cold, but the theatre would be so much better with Frozen!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Indoor Hero Zone

I'm not a huge fan of sports, but I am a pretty big fan of DCL's sports decks.  The Wide World of Sports Deck on the Magic and Wonder and Goofy's Sports Deck on the Dream and Fantasy are among my favorite DCL features.  I love to play foosball and Goofy Golf in the warm breeze at the sports decks, and looking out and taking pictures of the ocean or whatever port the ship is stopped at is a lot of fun.  Recently, DCL announced more information about the Wish's sports deck, the Hero Zone.

The Hero Zone is a new area on the Wish that's in place of the traditional sports decks we've seen on Disney's other ships.  It'll have many of the same features as the existing sports decks, like a basketball court and foosball tables.  The biggest change is that the Hero Zone is an indoor area, not outdoor like the other sports decks.  

I was surprised to learn this.  The Hero Zone will be a 2-deck tall area on Deck 12 and Deck 13, and since those are some of the highest decks on the Wish, I assumed that it would be an outdoor area like the existing sports decks.  I was wrong, though, and I'm a little disappointed about this.  This sports deck is getting rid of one of my favorite parts of the other sports deck.  No warm breeze, no amazing views, and the Disney Parks Blog post doesn't say anything about mini golf!  Also, it doesn't look like the Hero Zone will have any sports simulators (these are at Goofy's Sports Deck on the Dream and Fantasy, but they cost extra to use, and I've never tried them out).  Since the Hero Zone won't have one of my favorite sports deck features, I don't see myself spending as much time there as I have at the other sports decks.

While I'd prefer it to be outside, being indoors enables the Hero Zone to have features that wouldn't work outside.  For example, it'll have air hockey tables and ping-pong tables (the outdoor sports decks used to have ping-pong tables, but they've been removed.  I think they were removed because it's really hard to play ping-pong in the wind and because the wind likely blew many of the small plastic balls into the water, which DCL doesn't want).  The Hero Zone will also have shuffleboard, but it looks like it'll be tabletop shuffleboard.  On the current DCL ships, the promenades have shuffleboard courts on the floor, so the Wish may have both versions.  However, as we've already learned, the Wish's promenade will be significantly different from what we've seen on the other DCL ships, so tabletop shuffleboard might be the only option.  Interestingly, the Hero Zone will have a giant screen, similar to Funnel Vision by the pools.  Instead of viewing the ocean, we'll be able to view movies.  Maybe the screen will also play live sports games.  

Another very important benefit of moving the sports deck inside is that bad weather won't impact games at the Hero Zone.  Wind and rain are no longer a problem, and "The sun was in my eyes" is no longer a valid excuse for losing a game.

While these additions and benefits are nice, the Hero Zone's biggest addition is the Incredi-Games, a competitive, excercise-based game show.  This event will feature six challenges, each based on a different super hero from The Incredibles.  All six challenges take place inside an inflatable obstacle course.  Live camera footage of the players will be broadcasted onto the Hero Zone's screen during the competition, which will increase the pressure and fun.  The obstacle course looks pretty condensed, so many families or groups should get to participate within the event window.  The Incredi-Games are geared toward families, so the obstacle course will probably be easy enough for young kids but still fun for teenagers and adults.  Maybe Edge, Vibe, and the Hideaway will hold their own Incredi-Games in the Hero Zone at night.  

The Incredi-Games obstacle course won't be running all the time that the Hero Zone is open, but I'm sure it'll draw a sizeable crowd.  It'll probably happen multiple times during each cruise so everyone who wants to participate can play.

Since it's inflatable, the Incredi-Games obstacle course can be changed.  Maybe it'll be expanded with the Wish's first dry dock renovation.  Or, maybe Disney will create a completely different obstacle course to replace it with in the distant future.  

In addition to being an indoor sports deck and the location of the new Incredi-Games, the Hero Zone is where Jack-Jack’s Incredible Diaper Dash will take place on the Wish.  On the other ships, this cute baby race has taken place in the atrium, but it'll fit in incredibly well with the Hero Zone.  

I have mixed feelings about the Hero Zone.  I'm disappointed that it's indoors, but I suppose what it adds makes up for it.  At least the other ships' sports decks aren't going anywhere.  I'm interested to check out the Hero Zone and to learn more about it.  We may get a bit more information about it before the Wish launches, and I'm hoping that DCL answers the question that Frozone fans have been asking since 2004.  "Where's my super suit?"

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Magic is Back!

I'll take lots of pictures of the Magic on my next cruise so I won't have to use this one as much.

On October 28th, the Disney Magic started its first cruise from the United States since Disney suspended its cruise operations in March 2020!  Currently, the Magic is doing cruises out of Miami.  It was previously scheduled to be on a 5-night Bermuda cruise from New York City to San Juan, Puerto Rico right now (and my family was planning to go on that cruise), but DCL canceled that cruise and changed it to a less interesting Bahamian cruise from Miami.  Well, at least uninteresting itineraries are better than no cruises at all.  

While it's the last DCL ship to resume cruises from the US, the Magic was actually the first of the DCL ships to resume cruises.  Over the summer, the Magic went on many Magic at Sea cruises from the United Kingdom.  These cruises were unusual, as they didn't stop anywhere and only residents of the UK could sail on them.  They were ideal for people who don't like getting off at ports of call.  The Magic at Sea cruises stopped in early October, when the Magic sailed across the Atlantic Ocean (without guests) to Miami to prepare for its first non-Magic at Sea cruises since the shutdown.

With the Magic back, it looks like DCL's phased plan for resuming cruises worked!  Thankfully, none of Disney's ships had to shut down again after they resumed cruises.  The cruises happening now are different from how they were before the pandemic, but I'm hoping that as time goes on, the safety precautions and restrictions will gradually get removed.  Maybe they'll do it in phases like how they resumed cruises.  It would be great if cruises were back to pre-pandemic normal by the time the Wish launches in June 2022, but I don't know if that's going to happen.  It would be a step towards aft if the DCL ships have to suspend their operations again, so let's hope they keep moving forward!