At a festive show-and-tell today at Guastavino's in New York City, Disney Cruise Line unveiled the first tidbits about its first new ship in over a decade -- the 128,000-ton, 4,000-passenger Disney Dream.
First things first -- y'all called it in last night's poll! When we asked what you'd like to see announced at today's event, 72 percent voted for a "Downtown Disney"-style neighborhood for adults. Sure enough, we learned today that Disney Dream will feature an area called The District on Deck 4, aft, a playground for grownups with bars and clubs. The 18-and-older neighborhood features several lounges, including Skyline, a bar with faux windows that will display changing cityscapes from Paris to Tokyo.
Beyond that, you can look forward to a few major innovations:
The industry's first "watercoaster"! The AquaDuck (yes, as in Donald) isn't your standard water slide. The coaster is a see-through acrylic tube -- the length of 2-1/2 football fields -- that winds around the top deck from funnel to funnel, up and down, at one point cantilevering off the port side 150 feet above the ocean! (Visit the slideshow for images and more information.)
Inside cabins with virtual portholes. This industry first is so simple -- and so fantastic -- we have to wonder why it wasn't thought of sooner. Inside cabins will now have a window to the outside world via virtual portholes. High-definition cameras placed outside the ship feed actual footage of the seascape to the flat-screen "portholes" inside. (Visit the slideshow for images and more information.)
Interactive experiences for the kids, Disney-style. Kids will be able to interact with Crush, the animated turtle from "Finding Nemo," via a cinema-size plasma screen, and experience what it is like to be "toy size" in Andy's Room, a larger-than-life replica of the "Toy Story" set. There will also be a play area called Monsters Academy, visited regularly by Mike, the lovable green guy from "Monsters Inc." (Visit the slideshow for images and more information.)
Disney was a pioneer in the area of family cruising, but with no new-builds since Disney Magic and Disney Wonder launched in 1998 and 1999, how will they now stand apart from the pack? Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz tells us that features like Andy's Room will make the guest experience unique.
"We've learned from the past 10 years," Holz says, "and have created an experience that sets a blueprint for family cruising ... creativity, innovation and storytelling -- it's what we are known for."
What else can you expect onboard? Check out our slideshow of photos from the event (and artists' renderings, too).
Then, stay tuned: We'll be launching a brand-new First Glimpse of the ship tomorrow with more details and facts about Disney Dream's staterooms, dining options and more!
--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor
Fan Cruise Critic on Facebook!
Follow Cruise Critic on Twitter!
Disney Cruise Line Unveils Dream Details at NYC Show-and-Tell
October 29, 2009