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rom A Galaxy Far, Far Away To The Disney Dream

by Georgina Cruz

Disney DreamWe sailed on the Disney Dream in late October, and found that everything from “fairy-godmothers-in-training” to the Force was with us. Traditionally, when cruise ships go into dry dock as the Disney Dream did Oct. 4-24, a transformation occurs with interiors enhanced and refreshed. But when it comes to Disney Cruise Line ships, they also invariably get, well, you might say a generous dose of magic.

Enhancements—and magical features—added to the ship during her dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, include a “Force-”filled Star Wars interactive play area as well as Disney Infinity interactive adventures in youth spaces. Also, a whimsical sweet shop serving handmade gelato, candy and other goodies; the popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique staffed by “fairy-godmothers-in-training,” and an expanded adults-only retreat have been put on the Disney Dream, which is Disney Cruise Line’s third ship, launched in 2010 (she is a sister ship to the Disney Fantasy, launched two years later).

Arguably the most popular addition with young sailors, which has them exclaiming “wow!” and “awesome!” as they see it, is the Star Wars area, a newly themed out-of-this-world space in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, located on Deck 5 and open to children 3 to 12. Kids are transported to a faraway galaxy at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, a “Force”-filled play area that is inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga—oh, to be young again: many an adult will be wondering if he or she can still pass for 12! But, no worries, adults can visit the space during Open Houses held on each cruise.

Upon entering the “spaceship,” youngsters join the Rebel Alliance in the epic battle of good versus evil by assisting with the navigation of this “powerful space vehicle.” Sitting in the cockpit, children can pilot this super-cool spaceship through hyperspace and trigger light-speed jumps to different locations around the galaxy.

In this new Star Wars area, as of now exclusive to the Disney Dream, children can also express their creativity through themed crafts, games and activities. They can also watch episodes from the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” on a large screen or virtually join the rebellion at gaming stations featuring the series’ action-packed adventures. And that is not all: the excitement continues during a shipboard version of the popular Jedi Training Academy experience available in Disney parks. This activity invites young Jedi hopefuls—known as “Padawans”—to learn lightsaber moves from a Jedi Master. They can use the “Force” to magically move with gestures a barrel and crates as well as face the evil Darth Vader himself.

Another novelty located in the Oceaneer Club is a high­tech interactive space based on the Disney Infinity video game. In this area, children can experience a variety of virtual experiences and activities. Customized, on­screen adventures bring to life characters and stories from across The Walt Disney Company. The complete set of Disney Infinity character figures is on display for creative inspiration and available for game play. Kids visiting this room—found only on the Disney Dream—are able to unlock exclusive Disney Cruise Line content that they can continue to enjoy when playing Disney Infinity at home. Special activities bring the virtual game play experience to life in the real world and include a life-sized Disney Infinity Base that sets a stage where children take the place of character figures like Donald Duck and Maleficent for gaming experiences. The interactive floor lights up in response to game play on a large screen.

The new Star Wars and Disney Infinity areas replace the Monster’s Academy and Disney’s Explorer Pod. The Oceaneer Club still retains its popular Andy’s Room and Pixie Hollow spaces themed to the “Toy Story” movies and fairies respectively.

Another new Disney Dream feature, and one that is tempting to young, old and to everyone in between, is Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats, a specialty sweet shop on Deck 11. It aims to satisfy the taste buds of cruisers of all ages, with handmade gelato (yum!) and ice cream, an assortment of candy, and novelty treats for purchase (a scoop of gelato is $2.95; of ice cream is $2.50; there is still free ice cream dispensers at Eye Scream on Deck 11, and I imagine many families, particularly large ones will be heading to Eye Scream, as gelato for six at Vanellope’s will set them back $17.70 each time).

Vanellope’s lures with the smell of freshly baked waffle cones and candy. It has two entrances, one inside Cabana’s (the ship’s casual buffet-style restaurant) and another one outside by the pool deck. It replaces the ship’s game arcade—probably not as relevant now that everyone has gaming in their phones and other devices. Vanellope’s is inspired in the whimsical candy land of the Sugar Rush racecar game in the animated movie hit “Wreck-It Ralph.” Its decor features nods to the film, including a racetrack and checkerboard patterned floor, gas-pump-style gumball dispensers, Vanellope’s race car and King Candy’s throne.

Other fun features added to the Disney Dream during her fall dry dock include the Funnel Puddle family wading pool and the Muppets-themed Midship Detective Agency game, “The Case of the Stolen Show.” The latter is an interactive ship-wide game during which participants uncover clues and solve a mystery using a “detective badge” that activates a gallery of surprises in “Enchanted Art” (artwork that becomes animated when someone stands in front of it) all around the ship.

Yet another magical addition to the ship is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, located on Deck 5 midship. This special salon was first introduced on sister ship Disney Fantasy when that ship debuted in 2012 and has proven to be very popular with would-be princesses, knights and pirates. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (named after the magic words of the famous spell cast by Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the classic animated film, “Cinderella”) can bring to life the storybook fantasies of young sailors with pixie-dusted and piratical makeovers (a variety of packages that can include hair, makeup, outfit, and accessories is available for purchase). Staffed by “fairy-godmothers-in-training,” it offers aspiring princesses and knights ages 3 to 12 the chance to transform into royalty. On pirate party night (featured once in every Disney Dream sailing) this boutique becomes The Pirates League where swashbuckling pirates of all ages have the opportunity to unleash their inner buccaneer. One of our grandsons opted for a pirate costume and face paint including a scar and beard when he was 8 years old while sailing on the Disney Fantasy—it was a hit with him, the rest of the family, and friends he’d made on the ship!

In the Disney Dream makeover, adults have not been forgotten. Now there is an enhanced adults-only retreat on Deck 13 forward. This area now includes a new water feature, Satellite Falls (also introduced with the Disney Fantasy). Satellite Falls is a circular splash pool with benches and a gently falling rain curtain that provides cool comfort. Around this upper deck, guests 18 and over can soak up the sun in loungers or relax in the shade under a canopy. It is downright magical particularly in the tropical sun, if you ask me. Also new is the Senses Juice Bar in the Senses Spa on Deck 11. It offers juices, protein shakes, energy shakes, and made-to-order smoothies for purchase.

Nightlife enthusiasts will find décor enhancements including new carpets and high-tech upgrades at the ship’s nightclubs and lounges: 687 Pub, Pink, the District Lounge and Skyline.

These new spaces and enhancements to the Disney Dream debuted on the Oct. 26, 2015 four-night voyage from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The ship will continue to sail 3­ and 4-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas throughout 2015 and into 2016. From Port Canaveral, rates start at
$480 per person for 3-night cruises and $640 per person for 4-night cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy. Pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom. Government taxes and fees, gratuities and Port Adventures are not included in the fares.

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