Disney Wonder's Dry Dock Surprises

September 21, 2006
There's no doubt that Disney Cruise Line has long been an innovator on all things family- and cruise-related. But one new introduction to Disney Wonder, which undergoes a two-week dry dock session in October for a general sprucing up, takes the, er, diaper pail.

Toddlers, often the forgotten generation on cruise lines when it comes to programs and facilities, will have their own pool -- and yes, kids who are not yet toilet trained and wearing swim diapers will indeed be able to splash about. The new pool, an extension to the Mickey Pool, features water play, star- and moon-shaped interactive fountains, and splash zones.

Otherwise, most of the the changes will be similar to those introduced on Disney Magic after its refurbishment last year. These include:

There will be a new computer simulator at Oceaneer Lab (for kids between the ages of 8 and 12) that will let them steer Disney Wonder in and out of port. Designed to resemble a ship's bridge, it will have giant video screens with panoramic port "views."

Passengers of all ages can partake of the ship's jumbo movie screen. Affixed to the forward funnel and overlooking the Goofy Pool (the ship's family swimmery), the 24 x 14 ft. screen will offer animated and live action Disney movies as well as various television programs.

Also quite innovative in an industry sense -- though following in Disney Magic's footsteps -- is a fabulous spa expansion that offers "spa villas." These are treatment rooms with a big twist: They offer a private verandah (with personal hot tub and open-air shower).

Oceaneer Club (for kids between the ages of 3 and 7) will get a revamped Captain's Closet dress-up area. Also, there will be an addition of PlayStations and computers.

Disney Magic lost its meeting and conference facilities during its rehab (who knew that companies even held meetings on Disney ships?); however, Disney Wonder will keep its existing spots -- and they will be renovated.

The Vista Spa will be expanded -- doubled in size, to be precise -- and notable additions include space for spinning classes, private salons for Pilates instruction, and individual beauty and fitness consultations.

More for the older folk: The Quiet Cove, the ship's adults-only pool, will undergo a makeover that will add a waterfall that cascades from two hot tubs, a teak deck, and lounge chairs with plush cushions.

And in an update of an earlier fleet-wide announcement on upgraded in-cabin amenities, Disney Magic has already received the full complement. This ranges from swishy H20 Plus products and more luxurious bath towels in bathrooms to Sealy Posturepedic Premium Plush Euro-top mattresses, new pillows and Frette 300-thread-count, 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens in staterooms. Concierge level accommodations have been outfitted with a pillow menu and duvets.

Passengers on Disney Wonder will experience the new comforts when the ship returns from dry dock.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor