Sneak Peek: Disney Cruise Line Unveils New Original Shows on Fantasy

December 13, 2011

(1:30 p.m. EST) -- Building upon the rich -- and sometimes socially conscious -- entertainment experience launched on Disney Dream, Disney Cruise Line is introducing some new shows and bringing back old favorites when sister ship Disney Fantasy launches this spring. The cruise line previously revealed the role the Muppets will play in onboard activities and at a recent event in Toronto, Disney has unveiled the concepts behind its newest production shows.

"Wishes," Disney's new original show, will target teen passengers (and those who love them). The production's concept centers around three Disney-loving teenagers who are facing tough decisions about relationships, dreams and adulthood as they near high school graduation. Set in the Magic Kingdom, the 50-minute musical, written by award-winning lyricist Kirsten Childs, follows the kids as they learn life lessons from characters associated with Disney, including Mulan, Pinocchio, Rapunzel and Hercules.

"Wishes" is only one of the linchpins in the Fantasy's entertainment line-up, which features a different show every night on the new ship's seven-night Caribbean cruises. "We think of it as a journey," said Michael Jung, vice president of theatrical development at Walt Disney Imagineering. "We get a chance to shape all seven days."

The other new-to-cruise entertainment offerings that the company is cooking up for Fantasy passengers are more on the light side. These include:

Fantasy will bring the popular "Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular" from Disneyland to the sea. The stage production includes a new original song by composer Alan Menken, who created the movie soundtrack, called "To Be Free."

"The Fantasy Come True" will be the ship's welcome show that preps passengers for the Disney cruise experience "through the eyes of one family," said David Duffy, head of entertainment.

In "An Unforgettable Journey," Walt Disney becomes the star of the farewell show, which incorporates video and audio clips of the founder with shots from the passengers' experiences.

And some favorites from the Dream, which launched in January 2011, will return to the Fantasy, including:

"Disney's Believe", a thought-provoking original stage show also written by Childs, features a workaholic single dad reconnecting with his daughter on her 13th birthday. Disney favorites including Cinderella, Peter Pan and Mary Poppins help dad sort out his priorities.

"Buccaneer Blast" -- Disney's stand-alone pyrotechnics show -- will now be set entirely to music from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Disney remains the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea. That same night, the ship will have other pirate-themed activities on deck, including the kid-friendly "Mickey's Pirates IN the Caribbean" interactive show. Later, Jack Sparrow appears in a pirate showdown called "Hunt Fer Jack." "Club Pirate," a special-effects-laden dance party for adults, caps off the night.

Like its sister, Disney Fantasy boasts the Walt Disney Theatre, a 1,340-seat space that spans three decks and offers orchestra and balcony seating. Besides the shows, Fantasy will also have a 3D movie theater onboard that will screen first-run movies and will feature special guest cabaret performers. (Susan Egan, who originated Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway, is tentatively scheduled to be the first.)

Fantasy, which will sail seven-night cruises in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, is currently being built at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Its maiden voyage will leave Port Canaveral, Florida, on March 31, 2012.

For more on Disney Fantasy's entertainment options, check out our behind-the-scenes slideshow.

--by Chris Gray Faust, Cruise Critic Contributor