Monday, 28 October 2013

More Disney Magic, Pt 2 - It's Child's Play!

Continuing our exclusive look at "the newly re-imagined" Disney Magic of Disney Cruise Line on a recent short cruise from Miami...

There is a lot to admire about the new-look Disney Magic fresh from the biggest refit since she was launched in 1998, and much of it is geared around the children.

Disney has obviously long had the market cornered for family-friendly holiday options, and their cruise line is no exception. What they have achieved with the ship's upgrade, though, is quite remarkable.

The clear headline additions are the eye-catching AquaDunk water-slide (getting ready to drop - above) and the extensive water-play facilities on Deck 9 (see Part One of the blog for more on that), which consist of the AquaLab - an interactive water playground and pool (below) - and the Nephews Splash Zone, an under-cover area of more small-scale fun for younger

These are the real attention-grabbing enhancements, and it's hard to imagine children not having an absolute ball with all of these (although they may find fairly long queues for the AquaDunk on sea-days).

Passengers without children (or those just not paying attention) will miss out on some of the other amazing improvements in the kids' facilities, though, as they are all confined to Deck 6 (along with the unique Lake Buena Vista Theater, which is the ship's purpose-designed cinema).

First off, the old Flounder's Reef nursery (which was makeshift at best as it wasn't part of the original design but a hastily-added extra after the first 8 months) is now the fully-themed It's A Small World nursery, with all manner of toys, playthings and (most importantly) cots
for the youngest cruisers. It is wonderfully provisioned and is guaranteed to give mum and dad a welcome few hours off from baby-minding duties.

Next up, the Oceaneer Club has been transformed into something closer to the expansive model achieved with the new Disney Dream and Fantasy. Now divided into four main sections (and fully open to the 3-12-year age group), it is designed like a library, where each of the 'books' becomes a new section and a new play area.

While each area will appeal to children of the right age and interest, the Marvel Avengers Academy is probably the most timely, with the provision of Iron Man and Captain America sections as a high-tech command post for "special missions and operations training." Here, kids will get the chance to see Iron Man's suit, Captain America's shield and become Avengers 'recruits' with a fully immersive entertainment experience guaranteed to unleash
their inner super-hero!

Andy's Room is a two-level adventure playroom of toys, climbs and slides, with all the characters of the Pixar Toy Story films being on parade. Pixie Hollow caters to fans of Tinker Bell and her fairy friends, with a costume closet and other playthings in keeping with the impish pixie dust creator, while the Mickey Mouse Club (below) rounds out the offerings, an arts-and-crafts space with tables, play-stations and more energetic, interactive fun and games.

The Oceaneer Lab (formerly open to the 3-8-year age group but now linked via a secure passageway to the Oceaneer Club) is a pirate-themed journey of discovery in different sections, with all-new theming, decor, games, video walls and digital stations. An animator's studio will appeal to budding artists while the Navigator Simulators allow young buccaneers to take the wheel of their own ship.

Sadly, the only ones left out here are the parents, who may well feel that all this amazing creativity and activity is WAY too good to be the exclusive preserve of their kids!

Just to make sure older children are not forgotten, the hideaway teen lounge of The Vibe has been spruced up with new furniture and fittings to make it a true get-away-from-it-all venue just for their age group and the Senses Spa & Salon has even been enhanced to provide a Chill Spa with treatments especially for the 13-17 age group.

More tomorrow...!

More info: Look up Disney Cruise line at or, in the UK, see Virgin Holidays Cruises on, or 0844 573 4398.
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