Disney Magic cruise ship upgrades announced with AquaDunk drop slide, Marvel kids area, revamped dining

in Disney, Entertainment, Food

After weeks of rumors, Disney Cruise Line today confirmed and announced their oldest ship, the Disney Magic, will be receiving a major makeover when it enters dry dock in September.  Emerging October 10, 2013, the ship will have received enhancements inspired by the newer Dream and Fantasy ships but with unique new twists.

Beginning with changes in the  grand atrium lobby (soon to have one staircase, not two) and continuing through new children’s areas and up to a three-story water thrill slide, the Disney Magic will feel like a whole new ship.

“We have always been committed to reinvesting in our fleet and continuously making shipboard enhancements that elevate the guest experience,” said Karl L. Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line. “What we’re doing with the Disney Magic is yet another step forward in our commitment to delivering the absolute best family vacations at sea.”

Heading up the changes is Imagineer Joe Lanzisero, who first worked on the Magic years ago when it was a new ship.  He revealed and elaborated on all the upcoming enhancements at today’s “Monstrous Summer” press event at Walt Disney World.

Imagineer Joe Lanzisero reveals Disney Magic makeover

I also spoke with Imagineer to learn more about the upcoming enhancements on the Disney Magic.

Interview: Imagineer Lisa Migliorati on the Disney Magic makeover

Below are a few of the most exciting highlights and details of the Disney Magic upgrades.

AquaDunk and more splash-tacular thrills

The upper ship decks of the Disney Magic are adding tremendous amounts of fun that continue the story of the AquaDuck water slide on the Dream and Fantasy.

Without enough room to built a full AquaDuck on the Magic, Imagineers have crafted the AquaDunk – that’s right DUNK, not DUCK – instead.  This thrilling three-story water slide will drop riders downward when the floor disappears from underneath.  According to its story, Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie created the AquaDunk as a prototype to the AquaDuck.  The result is a swift and splashy ride in a translucent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship.  (Guests must be 48 inches to enjoy the AquaDunk.)

Check it out in the preview animation revealed today, starring none other than Donald Duck:

Beyond the AquaDunk, guests can also soak up the sun in the AquaLab, a name borrowed from the Disney Fantasy but used in a different way on the Magic. It’ll be an interactive water playground open to kids ages 3 and up featuring pop jets, geysers and bubblers in an 1,800-square-foot space, accompanied by the new Twist n’ Spout water slide for guests between 38 and 64 inches tall.

For smaller guests up to to age 3, the new Nephews’ Splash Zone will also feature pop jets, and squirting figures of Donald Duck’s nephews.

“From small children to teens to adults, everyone will have a space to have fun in the sun and water.  We added more water play areas, dynamic slides, interactive elements for the kids, and more shade,” says Lanzisero.

Marvel at sea

Particularly noteworthy among the Disney Magic changes is the addition of Marvel characters on kids’ adventure at sea. It’s the first permanent installation of a Marvel-based experience for Disney, set inside Disney’s Oceaneer Club, which is open to 3- to 12-year-old children.

Within the completely re-imagined area Marvel’s Avengers Academy will allow young crime-fighters to be transported to a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training. Throughout the base, displays feature some of the equipment that helps to make The Avengers the Earth’s mightiest heroes – Iron Man’s suit of armor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer. Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience where children interact with Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes.

But don’t worry adult Marvel fans. Every voyage does have a brief “open house” period in which this kids-only area can be explored by guests of all ages. However, the multi-day experience is available only to children.

In addition, Andy’s Room, Pixie Hollow, and the Mickey Mouse Club will complete the Oceaneer Club themed areas.

Disney’s Oceaneer Lab will allow 3-to-12-year-old children to explore an interactive pirate-themed area with an animator’s studio, a pirate workshop and lab and Navigator Simulators.

And the popular It’s a Small World Nursery from the Dream and Fantasy is now coming to the Magic as well.

Dining Enhancements

New restaurants and new technology are on the menu for the restaurants aboard Disney Magic.

Animator’s Palate is being updated updated with larger high-definition flat-screens that will be used in the brand-new “Drawn to Magic” experience, a fresh take on Disney Cruise Line’s classic dinner celebration, as the restaurant’s black and white “blank canvas” explodes into full color.

The “Animation Magic” dinner show is also coming over from the Fantasy, letting artwork come to life over dinner.

Parrot Cay is becoming Carioca’s with a Brazilian flair inspired by Donald Duck’s parrot pal in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca, getting even more upscale at night.

Cabanas and Palo are receiving updated themes as well.

For Adults Only

After Hours is the new name for the nighttime adult entertainment district on the Disney Magic, featuring a new lineup of clubs, replacing Beat Street.

“It’s our goal to create a sleek and sophisticated adult experience in After Hours” says Lanzisero.  “Each of the three clubs has a different feel that complements the others.”

Fathoms night club is a celebration of the sea that utilizes special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres from early evening to night.

Keys piano bar and lounge will offer a more low key environment as a place to wind down over a cocktail.

O’Gills is a hit on the Disney Fantasy, now headed to the Magic. It’s an Irish pub and sports bar designed with traditional decor featuring live televised athletic events.

Even More Updates

The ship’s atrium, Senses spa, and D Lounge are also receiving upgrades, as are the staterooms with more usable space.

All of these changes will take place during the Disney Magic’s six weeks in dry dock, beginning September 7 and finishing October 10, 2013. From there, the Magic will sail out of Miami on October 20 on a special five-night voyage with two stops at Castaway Cay. After that first cruise, the Magic will enter a schedule of two-, three-, four-,a nd five-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas and Western Caribbean.

Looking ahead, Disney was only talking about the Magic today, but did hint that the Wonder will receive similar upgrades in the future, likely during its dry dock next year. But those are details for another time.

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