Disney Cruise Line unveiled a lot of the magic that guests can expect when the Disney Wish sets sail on its maiden voyage to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay on June 9, 2022. Following the live-streamed presentation for the public, a panel of Disney Cruise Line creative team members revealed even more details about Disney’s newest ship.
The discussion for members of the media was moderated by Disney Cruise Line cruise director Ashley Long and included Senior Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering Danny Handke, Director of Entertainment Creative for Disney Cruise Line Denise Case, and Director of Hotel Operations and Lodging for Disney Cruise Line Shelley Gold-Witiak, who answered questions about some of the new magical experiences onboard the Disney Wish.
One of the hot topics was the 760-foot long 2+-minute AquaMouse, Disney’s first-ever attraction at sea.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” Handke says. “You board a ride vehicle and go through this wild water adventure with Mickey and Minnie. There are water effects; there are lighting effects; there’s an awesome music track and show scenes. It’s going to be such a memorable experience for the whole family — and you’re going to get soaking wet.”
The AquaMouse (which Handke notes will have a 42-inch height requirement) will be located mid-ship in one of the two family-friendly themed “districts” on the upper decks: the Mickey and Friends district (that includes the AquaMouse) and the Toy Story-themed district at the bow.
“The family area themed to Toy Story is where we have our Toy Story Splash Zone play area for younger kids,” Handke says. “We also have a water slide themed to Toy Story called ‘Slideasaurus Rex’ and a really cool smoothie bar called ‘Wheezy’s Freezys,’ so the Toy Story district is going to be so much fun.”
A third upper deck district — the popular adults-only Quiet Cove — will be located at the back of the ship but, Case reports, “for the first time in forever” the area will have an infinity pool.
Dining on the Disney Wish
When discussing cruising in general — and Disney cruising in particular — dining is always extremely important, and the panel confirmed that there will be several new and innovative dining options onboard the Disney Wish. Though have no fear, Disney cruisers, there absolutely will be rotating dining at the ship’s three main restaurants: Arendelle, a Frozen dining adventure; Worlds of Marvel, a cinematic dining experience; and 1923, with a California-inspired menu and a dining room that celebrates the golden age of Disney animation.
Case explained that the experience in the Frozen-themed restaurant takes place where ‘Frozen 2” left off and celebrates the engagement of Anna and Kristoff.
“This wonderful experience will happen in the round, meaning the stage will be in the center of the restaurant,” Case says. “Anna, Kristoff, Elsa, and Olaf will be there. It’s going to be musical; it’s going to be magical, and there will be frozen fractals all around, I promise.”
As for Worlds of Marvel, it’s another first for Disney Cruise Line. Partnering with Marvel Studios, this innovative and immersive dining experience will allow guests to become heroes in the interactive story. Plus, Handke hints, since Marvel superheroes are from around the world, guests “might” see dishes from Wakanda and Sokovia on the menu.
“What I love about the three rotational restaurants on the Disney Wish is that each one has such a different flavor, so every night of your cruise, you’re going to get such a different experience,” he says. “Arendelle is a live entertainment experience, Worlds of Marvel is a technology-level experience, and then 1923 is an elevated, elegant experience, so there’s going to be something for everybody. It is a really cool trio of restaurants.”
The Disney Wish will also offer the premier dining guests love in three venues; all themed to the “Beauty and the Beast.” The Wish offers a new spin on the popular Palo restaurant at Palo Steakhouse, which has décor inspired by Cogsworth and a menu Gold-Witiak describes as “authentic Italian cuisine with a modern steakhouse flair.” Three Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement will curate the menu at Enchanté (inspired by Lumiere), and The Rose, named for the story’s all-important flower, is the perfect setting for a pre-or post-dinner cocktail.
Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge
One of the most anticipated new experiences on the Disney Wish is undoubtedly the Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge, a sophisticated spin on an immersive Star Wars experience for adults that takes its inspiration from some of the galaxy’s high-end locales like the casino city of Canto Bight in “The Last Jedi.” Handke notes that Hyperspace Lounge will be open to families during the day, but it’s just for adults at night.
“We wanted to try something a little bit different than what we have at our theme parks,” Handke says. “We were really inspired by Dryden Vos’ yacht in ‘Solo,’ and we thought a ‘party cruise’ around the galaxy where you’re jumping to different locations would be such a cool design for our first really immersive adult space.”
Handke also revealed that Imagineers created a brand new media experience with Industrial Light & Magic, so as the Hyperspace Lounge “yacht” is jumping to different locations — like Tatooine, Mustafar, and Batuu — guests will see the planets (and passing space traffic) from massive porthole windows that look out to the galaxy.
“There’s just so much really cool immersion in this space, and I hope guests come dressed up,” Handke says. “I want to walk in there and get that ‘whoosh’ sound when the sliding door opens and see people celebrating being Star Wars fans.”
As for the Hyperspace Lounge menu? No doubt it will be out of this world.
“Everything we’re doing in Hyperspace Lounge is in-story, so all the drinks are based on the different planets you visit,” Handke says. “The food and beverage team are creating an amazing menu with lots of firsts and exclusivity to Disney Cruise Line.”
Walt Disney Imagineering Lab
One of the coolest new experiences for kids onboard the Disney Wish is the Walt Disney Imagineering Lab, where kids can learn what it’s like to be an Imagineer in what Handke describes as a hands-on “maker space” or “STEM lab.”
“One of the experiences I’m very excited about is what we call the ride studio where kids get to create their own coaster and ride it in this large screen setting,” Handke says. “They can create their own track layout — like their own Big Thunder Mountain — and ride. And, get this, during open house time for parents, they can experience those different coasters that their kids have created.”
Luna and Hero Zone
Walt Disney Imagineering Lab isn’t the only new interactive space on the Disney Wish; the ship will also mark the debut of Luna and the Hero Zone.
“Luna and the Hero Zone really take our programming and our show experiences for guests to a whole new level,” Case says. “The immersive programming at Luna will transition from day to night, and the Hero Zone will be active play, which is such a great way for families to engage and make amazing memories together. Those two spaces are new for us, and we’re very excited about them.”
It’s clear Disney took the golden opportunity of building an entirely new ship to develop unique new experiences for guests of all ages without sacrificing any guest favorites.
“There are lots of firsts,” Handke says. “The first Disney attraction at sea — the AquaMouse — the first Marvel cinematic dining adventure at Worlds of Marvel, the first live entertainment dining experience with Anna and Elsa in Arendelle, the first Star Wars experience just for adults with Hyperspace Lounge. We have so many firsts on this ship, but we also know what our fans love, so we’re continuing those exciting features and adding the firsts to this new ship.”
Click here for more information about the Disney Wish.