ABOARD THE DISNEY WONDER -It was another makeover for the record books.
As can be seen in the photo tour above, the six-week overhaul this fall of the 1,754-passenger Disney Wonder, one of Disney Cruise Line’s two original ships, brought major changes to wide swaths of the vessel including eateries, lounges and cabins. The grand Lobby Atrium, a signature feature, was completely reworked. The Mickey-shaped kiddie pool, an icon of the ship since its debut in 1999, was replaced by a new watery fun zone.
USA TODAY got a peek at the revamped vessel in recent days as it resumed sailings out of Galveston, Texas, and here we highlight five things we love about it.
1. Frozen, a Musical Spectacular.Yep, the highest-grossing animated movie of all time is now a cruise ship musical — and one that’s every bit as dazzling as its cinematic inspiration. New as of this month in Wonder’s 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre, the 55-minute production features remarkable special effects, elaborate costumes and sets, and even some inspired puppetry to tell the story of royal sisters Anna and Elsa. Frozen’s emblematic ballad, Let it Go, is reinvented for the show into a visual tour de force as Elsa’s icy blasts transform the theater and bring a flurry of real snow. Other hit Frozen songs such as For the First Time in Forever, Love is an Open Door and Fixer Upper also make an appearance.
2. Tiana’s Place Restaurant. Disney showmanship is on full display at this New Orleans-inspired eatery, which takes the place of the 17-year-old Parrot Cay. Inspired by Princess Tiana from the Disney animated movie The Princess and the Frog, it offers a French Quarter supper club vibe with a live band playing jazz, swing and blues at the front of the room and an everybody-joins-in, street party-like parade down its central walkway to end the night. Louisiana bayou-inspired dishes range from Cajun Spiced Sea Bass to Roasted Creole Roast Chicken.
5. Marvel Super Hero Academy Wonder’s expansive kiddie areas have gotten a major makeover, including the addition of this tech-infused, Marvel-themed play zone. Part of the kids-only Oceaneer Club, it features a digital display where children can interact with Marvel super heroes and other high-tech pizzazz as well as props from Marvel movies such as Iron Man. In addition, in-the-flesh characters such as Spider-Man and Black Widow will make appearances. Not a Marvel fan? The overhaul of the Oceaneer Club also brought a new play area that re-creates Frozen’s Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post — complete with digital appearances of Oaken through a steamy window.