Disney Plans Major Makeover for Original Ship

by Fran Golden
Disney Plans Major Makeover for Original Ship

Disney Cruise Line has announced plans for a major redo of the Disney Magic, the line's original ship, launched in 1998. Among the added attractions will be a brand new thrill water slide, called AquaDunk, and a super hero program for kids themed on Marvel comics.

The multimillion-dollar renovation, which will take place during a several-week dry dock in Spain, is to be debuted on Caribbean cruises from Miami, beginning Oct. 21.

“The old girl looks pretty good for her age,” said Joe Lanzisero, senior creative vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering, previewing the changes planned for the ship. “But we do need to do some freshening up.”

New water features
The three-story AquaDunk will be attached to the ship's red funnel, designed to be both aesthetically pleasing to those on deck and to offer thrills to those willing to climb a staircase, get into a cube and drop feet first.

As part of the redo of the open decks, the Magic also gets a family-oriented AquaLab waterpark – as on the newer Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy – this one with a new twisting slide called Twist 'n Spout.

“We know our families love to be together playing in the water," Lanzisero said. "We really wanted to amp up the water play.”

The Marvel’s Avengers Academy is part of the redo of the Magic's Oceaneer Club, for ages 3 to 12, and will feature a new multi-day super hero “training” program in a space decorated with Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer and one of Iron Man's suits.

Other enhancements
Elsewhere, the ship is set to get a generally lighter, more airy ambience. Cabins are to have a nautical look similar to the newer ships; a new South American-themed restaurant, Carioca's, debuts in what is now Parrot Cay; indoor space is added (by taking away outdoor space) at the Lido buffet; the spa gets expanded, including a new section for teens; and adult nighttime venues get updated.

The Magic will add some popular features from the newer ships – including passenger-created animation at Animator's Palate. But Lanzisero said Disney is totally comfortable having different offerings on different venues.

They are also being careful not to mess with a good thing. “A lot of Disney is the emotional connection with our products,” Lanzisero said.

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