Disney Cruise Line has shared a breathtaking first look at the fleet’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, scheduled to set sail in summer 2022. Featuring restaurants, immersive spaces and experiences themed to Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar characters and adventures, plus the first-ever Disney attraction at sea, there’s a tidal wave of reasons to be intrigued by the new ship.
An Enchanted Design
The Disney Wish joins Disney Cruise Line’s four other ships, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, becoming the first new ship to sail for the cruise line since the Disney Fantasy launched in 2012.
“The Disney Wish is our fifth jewel,” said Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Producer Pam Rawlins during a press conference following the ship’s reveal April 29. “Each of our ships has a special personality and inspired us is a motif — enchantment. It is entwined in every story that we’ve told through Disney — whether it’s Marvel Disney/Pixar, Star Wars — that enchantment is a part of our life, and we’ve taken that and infused it in every space on the ship.”
Walt Disney Imagineers built on the enchantment motif using design lenses rooted in fairytale castles, forests and animals, and spirits of the sea. The ship’s Grand Hall is an opulent, castle-esque atrium crowned with a sparkling chandelier and a wishing star. A bronze statue of Cinderella stands at the base of the grand staircase as a reminder of role of wishes in one of Disney’s most iconic fairytales.
Another princess who features heavily throughout the ship is Rapunzel. The “Tangled” heroine adorns the ship’s stern, where she can be seen suspended by her hair, paintbrush in hand. She also serves as the inspiration for the concierge staterooms (more on those next) and will make appearances in the kids club. Another beloved Disney heroine also lends her visage to the ship’s exterior. Captain Minnie Mouse will appear in elegant filigree art on the ship’s bow.
Gold-leafed headboards, pixie-dusted furnishings, and artwork inspired by stories like Cinderella give the ship’s 1,254 staterooms a magical fairytale vibe. Ninety percent of staterooms have an ocean view and seventy percent have a verandah. 900 rooms have the option to adjoin to accommodate larger families.
Seventy-six concierge staterooms and suites, most designed with inspiration from “Tangled,” include a variety of plussed offerings, from walk-in closets and master bathrooms with rain showers to sweeping living areas and floor-to-ceiling oceanview windows.
Four “Sleeping Beauty”-themed royal suites, including two two-story options, take opulence to the next level.
All concierge guests get the royal treatment on the dedicated private sun deck, wading pool, two whirlpools, a bar, and deck host. The Concierge Lounge has a full bar, light snacks, kids’ area, and outdoor terrace.
A Mickey Mouse Water Ride at Sea
AquaMouse will be Disney’s first-ever attraction at sea, a water ride elevated above the ship’s upper decks and themed to “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” animated shorts.
The water ride (think Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway meets the AquaDuck waterslide on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) plunges guests into the cartoon world of Mickey Mouse shorts as they travel in two-seater ride vehicles through a tunnel into the animated world of “Scuba Scramble,” past virtual portholes featuring sea creatures and Disney characters, all to the tune of an original musical score by Emmy-nominated composer Christopher Willis.
“We’ve taken what we do in the parks and created show scenes with media, special effects and lighting,” Rawlins said. “We’re gonna twist and turn and zig and zag around 760 feet of tube and it’s going to be a splashtacular ending.”
More Pools and Water Play Areas
Also on the upper decks, a Mickey and friends-themed area includes six pools, dining options, and deck space offering great views of the Funnel Vision LED screen showcasing Disney movies, shows and sports. For the littles, a “Toy Story”-themed water play area is packed with Pixar pals and waterslides, jets, bubbles, and water sprayers.
Grown-Upper Deck Fun
Disney Cruise Line does adults-only spaces every bit as well as immersive kid zones. The 18-and-over Quiet Cove is a secluded, adults-only district featuring a whirlpool spa, infinity pool, and panoramic ocean views. Cove Bar serves poolside cocktails and Cove Café, the go-to spot for gourmet coffee on all of Disney Cruise Line’s ships, gets a “Moana”-inspired look on the Wish.
This is the Cocktail Bar You Were Looking For
Star Wars fans, this is the watering hole for you. Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge will serve intergalactic cocktails with a side of galaxy-wide panoramic view of Tatooine, Batuu, Mustufar, and more in this out-of-this-world lounge that welcomes younglings during the day but turns adult-only in the evenings. More details are sure to come about the space and the menu, which will include everything from from beer to blue milk.
“I can only imagine a little bit of robotic magic will interject into the experience,” James Willoughby, director of hotel operations for Disney Cruise Line, teased during the press conference.
Dinner With Character
The Disney Wish will use DCL’s signature rotational dining concept, cycling guests through three dining experiences.
Elsa and Olaf will host Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure, with live entertainment featuring Frozen characters and a Nordic-inspired meal served in a theater-in-the-round setting with panoramic windows that Elsa magically transforms during dinner.
Worlds of Marvel, a “cinematic dining adventure,” sends guests on an Avengers mission while they dine on dishes inspired by MCU locales like Wakanda, Sokovia, and New York City.
California cuisine is on the menu at 1923 (the year the Walt Disney Company was founded). The restaurant showcases the evolution of Disney animation, with props on display honoring the legacy of the company and its founders, Walt and Roy Disney.
The restaurant “celebrates the rich era of moviemaking from the 1920s,” Willoughby said. “You’ll feel like a celebrity as you enter the restaurant.
Elegant Dining — Just for Adults
Three new adult-exclusive drinking and dining experiences will be offered on the Disney Wish, all themed to Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
“There are so many charming elements you’ll discover from the animated feature at a very sophisticated level,” Rawlins said.
Start the evening with cocktails at The Rose, an upscale lounge inspired by the film’s iconic rose, before dining at one of two gourmet restaurants.
Palo Steakhouse builds on the tradition of the popular Palo restaurant on DCL’s other ships, with theming inspired by Cogsworth, the film’s enchanted clock.
Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallerment is the Wish’s answer to DCL’s other marquee dining experience, Remy, on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. The restaurant will serve the ship’s most elevated fare, taking inspiration from “Beauty and the Beast” candelabra Lumiere.
Next-Level Kids Clubs
DCL’s kids clubs are the stuff of legend among young cruisers (and their parents who love all that me time). As if DCL kids clubs weren’t enough fun already, parents on the Disney Wish will be able to check in kids ages 3 through 12 in the Grand Hall before sending them into the Oceaneer Club down a twisting slide (an absolutely genius move by Disney that will no doubt help nip separation anxiety in the bud).
Once safely inside the Oceaneer Club, run by experienced counselors, aspiring Avengers become young recruits at Marvel Super Hero Academy, where they can choose their suits and face off against villains in “Avengers: Mission Training.” Real-life superheroes including Spider-Man and Black Panther may even make an appearance.
Disney Princess dreams come true in Fairytale Hall, where kids can get creative in Rapunzel’s Art Studio, curl up with a good book in Belle’s Library, and play “Frozen”-inspired games with Olaf.
Budding Imagineers can flex their creative muscles in the Walt Disney Imagineering Lab. At the Ride Studio, kids can design their own virtual version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain or Matterhorn Bobsleds, then get the chance to “ride” their design.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our children to step into the creative minds of Imagineering,” Rawlins said. “We’re going to do this by creating experiments and programs that they’re just going to be totally immersed in that world.”
Tweens and teens age up to Edge and Vibe, trendy spaces with secret entryways themed to New York City and Paris lofts.
The tiniest travelers get their own “club” too. It’s a Small World Nursery is a sweet, safe space for littles ages 6 months to 3 years where parents can leave their babies and toddlers with a trusted babysitter while they get some time away in the ship’s many adults-only zones.
The ship’s Grand Hall features an atrium stage, a first for DCL, and a “Juliet balcony,” where, said Disney Cruise Line entertainment manager Kristen Baribeau, “a plethora of favorite friends” will appear.
A new entertainment hub concept, Luna, with celestial theming inspired by the Pixar short, “La Luna,” will be a space for families to interact by day and at night will transition to “that adult-exclusive, elegant space where we really make you feel like you’re on vacation,” Baribeau said.
Hero Zone brings another new concept to the Disney Wish, a family play space where families can engage in “free-play sports,” “physical challenges,” and “game show-style competitions” themed to Disney heroes.
The Walt Disney Theatre, with an enchanted forest and atmosphere inspired by Disney’s “Fantasia,” will stage the Broadway-caliber production Disney Cruise Line is known for, including “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” and two yet-to-be-announced original productions. Classic and first-run films will be shown in two intimate screening rooms, the Wonderland and Never Land Cinemas.
A tranquil respite already represented on DCL’s four ships, Senses Spa will offer relaxing spa and salon treatments and Senses Fitness will offer exercise and wellness facilities, perfect for offsetting all that good food.
This Disney Wish will sail its maiden voyage on June 9, 2022 on a special five-night itinerary that includes two days at sea and stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private Island in the Bahamas. Disney Vacation Club will then host a three-night members-only cruise to Castaway Cay, sailing on June 14, 2022. Following these sailings, the Disney Wish will begin a a season of three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay, from Port Canaveral, Florida.
“Three- and four-day cruises are the most successful and most enjoyable for our guests,” Willoughby said, with Baribeau adding that the length is optimal for tacking on a visit to Walt Disney World as well.
Bookings on the Disney Wish open to the general public on May 27, 2021.
Brooke Geiger McDonald is the editor in chief of Make It Better Media Group. A Chicago native, she has worked for publications like O, The Oprah Magazine and SHAPE Magazine and her work has appeared in Parents, TravelPulse, Attractions Magazine, MSN, Disney Food Blog, and more. At home, she is outnumbered by her husband and two sons, and the four of them are certifiable Disney and Star Wars fanatics, always counting down the days to their next Disney vacation. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago and organizations focused on environmental conservation and combatting climate change, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Shedd Aquarium. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.