Sunday, 27 October 2013

More Disney Magic – Part One

A short preview cruise to look at the “newly re-imagined” Disney Magic…

First impressions of the completely refurbished Disney Magic – the biggest makeover since she was launched 15 years ago – are strong and extremely positive.

This is still the same essential vessel that wowed the cruise industry in 1998, but the improvements and enhancements that we outlined in our preview blog are startling.

At first glance they are definitely impressive; at second glance, they are a triumph of the latest technology and state-of-the art design.

We arrived at mid-day and were conducted straight on to the ship at Miami’s Terminal F. This allowed the chance to grab lunch at the new-look Cabanas buffet restaurant, which is now MUCH bigger and more user-friendly in its passenger flow.

Lunch was followed by a full tour of the Magic, with a chance to appreciate fully all the new

spaces and additions which, while not changing the essence of the ship, distinctly raise the bar for the company’s ability to appeal to both the family and the adult-only audience.

We will provide more details of the new components in the next two instalments, but suffice it so say, after Cabanas, there is a LOT more to see and enjoy.

Past passengers will be amazed at how ‘their’ ship has been refreshed and improved; new passengers will simply be bowled over by the Disney style and imagination.

Just to start with, the 3-storey Atrium (right) – the central repository of the ship’s Art Deco style – has a new look from taking away one of the staircases and moving the Captain Mickey statue to one side. It gives a much greater sense of space and ‘arrival’.

Chihuly fans may not be thrilled that the main glass chandelier has been replaced by a new lighting arrangement (with the main display now provided by a huge three-piece Swarovski

crystal chandelier series spreading out like the rays of the sun), with the Chihuly piece being returned to the main museum in California.

But that is a relatively minor quibble in the overall scheme of things, as the general smartening up of the Atrium, and the addition of new carpeting and a spruce up for the Mickey statue all provide for much more eye drama.

When it comes to big, of course, the most obvious additions are up on the top decks, where the 40ft drop of the spectacular AquaDunk flume ride is truly startling. With a capsule entrance on the side of the forward funnel that then drops riders onto the slide below, it is a true thrill-ride as it zips out over the side of the ship and then into a dramatic splash-down
on Deck 10 amidships.

Continuing aft brings you to the kids' pool area, where the old Mickey Pool has been completely rebuilt and enhanced as the AquaLab for children 3 and older. 

As well as a fabulous array of pop-jets, bubblers and geysers in a totally fun setting with those scamps Huey, Dewey and Louie, there is also a new water slide, Twist 'n Spout (right), that takes riders down through three large loops over more than 250ft of vivid yellow flume. There is also more shaded cover for the little 'uns and a look in keeping with the company's two newest ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy (launched in 2011 and '12).

More tomorrow....

More info: Look up Disney Cruise line at or, in the UK, see Virgin Holidays Cruises on 0844 417 4723 or

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