One of the most highly anticipated features aboard the newly “re-imagined” Disney Magic cruise ship is the AquaDunk water slide, a follow-up to the AquaDuck – a ride that’s been so popular aboard the Dream and Fantasy. But the AquaDunk is not the same, replacing the AquaDuck’s long, largely slow-moving ride with a fast-paced, high-thrill experience.
Situated on the Disney Magic’s top deck, the AquaDunk has been retrofitted into one of the ship’s iconic red smokestacks, with its winding slide peeking out over the edge. This new attraction sends guests plummeting down a drop tube as the floor beneath them disappears, then careening through a few enclosed twists and turns before splashing down in a pool of happiness.
Drop in on the AquaDunk in the videos below, first a point-of-view (POV) shot showing exactly what it’s like to take the plunge followed by an extended look at every element of the new attraction, including appearances by Huey, Dewey, Louie, Donald Duck, Imagineer Joe Lanzisero – and myself!
Video: AquaDunk on the Disney Magic cruise ship
Video: Extended closer look at the AquaDunk on the Disney Magic
The AquaDunk is indeed pure fun, beginning with a nervous climb to the top. Ascending the staircase tells the story of the AquaDunk, another of Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s creations, a few prototypes of which were rejected by their uncle Scrooge McDuck, as seen on the blueprints leading up to the attraction.
On board, Lanzisero told me that the continued story of Huey, Dewey, and Louie designing the AquaDuck, then later the AquaLab, and now the AquaDunk was definitely not planned from the beginning, but has evolved over time as the attractions and ships have as well. But he said they are perfect characters for the role, particularly relatable to kids with their ever-present sense of adventure while also using their smarts.
Climbing those 63 steps is definitely a workout, the only hurdle preventing me from riding the AquaDunk more than 3 or 4 times in a row. It gets tiring.
At the top, guests await their wet fate, ultimately stepping inside the enclosed standing-room-only tube. Instructions call for placing the right foot in first, then stepping inside, immediately getting showered by a stream of water running down the back. Riders must cross their legs, put arms across their chest, and lead their head back before giving the go-ahead. From there, a few fleeting moments are all that separate standing on what seems like a firm floor to suddenly dropping down – but not until the three quack-arific nephews exclaim, “3! 2! 1! Anchors away!”
The view up there is spectacular from all angles, while waiting in line as well as during those brief moments before the drop.
It’s definitely a big thrill to have the floor instantly disappear. The sensation is not all that unlike Disney’s famed Tower of Terror – but a whole lot faster and wetter. It’s definitely a stomach-in-the-mouth moment. And unlike being belted into a seat, the AquaDunk presents a feeling of freedom just before it takes control and fires guests down the chute like a canon fueled by gravity’s force.
The splash down at the end comes to a screeching halt amidst a wave of water, leaving behind nothing but smiles and laughs – along with the shocked faces of AquaDunk first-timers. The first drop is definitely the most exhilarating, lessening a bit with each repeated time through. But the fun never stops.
Riders are frequently met at the bottom by a line of excited photographers, eager to capture the amusing expressions.
Ultimately, the AquaDunk leaves guests with a sense of accomplishment, many of whom have praised it more highly than the AquaDuck aboard the Dream and Fantasy.
The AquaDunk’s wait time sign has the ability to read up to 80 minutes long, which is the equivalent of the line wrapping around the smoke stack. If the line reaches the bottom of the stairs, it’s a roughly 30-40 minute wait. Each drop on the AquaDunk only lasts around 7 seconds, but it takes more time to load each person and give instructions.
The only negative that has emerged with the AquaDuck’s debut is that a large section of the slide is only barely translucent, not completely transparent like the original concept art and animation showed. Imagineer Lysa Migliorati explained to me that the color scheme was carefully chosen after much consideration to match the aesthetic of the ship, with the red portion blending in with the smoke stack and the blue playing off the sky and blue accents on board. (It’s also possible Disney realized that they didn’t necessarily want guests’ backsides to be exposed to the world while sliding through a clear tube overhead – but that’s just my own speculation.)
But when the sun is just right in the sky, it shines beautifully through the semi-translucent tubes casting its rays around and creating speeding human silhouettes.
So far the AquaDunk seems to appeal to all ages, with many young kids who just barely reach the height limit repeatedly running up the stairs to ride again. One eager young boy had clocked in 20 passes within a couple hours of setting sail. There’s no doubt that the AquaDunk delivers on adding new excitement to the Disney Magic.
More photos of the AquaDunk on the Disney Magic: