Trip Report: Marvel Day at Sea on the Disney Dream
My family and I recently sailed onboard the Disney Dream for one of Disney Cruise Line’s themed Marvel Day at Sea cruises, where we celebrated all things Marvel.
This year, the Dream is hosting nine sailings, with both Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from January through early March.
In addition to all of the favorite standard Disney Cruise Line (DCL) offerings, this cruise offered meet and greets with Marvel characters, favorite Disney characters dressed as Marvel heroes, and special Marvel shows. The official “Marvel day” was the first day at sea, but like the Pixar Day at Sea cruise, some of these Marvel activities carried into the second sea day as well.
Marvel Character Meet and Greets
Guests could make reservations for several special meet and greets via the app 30 days before sailing. These three Heroic Encounters are very similar to the Royal Gathering, and included Heroic Encounters: HQ (inside the D lounge), Heroic Encounters: Asgard, and Heroic Encounters: Guardians (both inside Animator’s Palate).
Even with mandatory advanced reservations, the lines for these experiences were really long. For example, we waited for about 45 minutes to meet Loki, and the line stretched from the restaurant almost to the lobby.
The characters meeting guests at these experiences change throughout the day. During the Asgard experience, some guests met Thor and Jane Foster, while others met Loki; at the Guardians’ experience, Groot seemed to always be meeting guests, but Gamora and Star-Lord were alternating; and during the HQ experience, Spider-Man seemed to be meeting for most of the day.
If these meets are a priority on your sailing, be sure to allow several hours to do all of them (and that’s if you manage to get a reservation). We overheard many upset guests who weren’t able to secure a reservation for their desired time (or at any time at all), as these spots all booked up quickly. In addition, the way Heroic Encounters reservations were set up, it was almost impossible to complete all three experiences, mostly because lines were so long it caused guests to miss their next reservation time.
Even if you don’t snag a reservation for Heroic Encounters, many characters were meeting across the ship throughout the day (times were all displayed in the Navigator app). We saw Ms. Marvel, Shuri, T’Challa, Shang-Chi, Captain America, Sam Wilson, and Captain Marvel. In addition to these scheduled characters, many others were roaming the ship, primarily in the lobby area. We easily spotted The Tracksuit Mafia, The Wasp, and Doctor Strange without going out of our way to find them.
Marvel Day at Sea Shows
Guests were also treated to several special shows that are unique to the Marvel Day at Sea voyage like Warriors of Wakanda, which took place several times throughout the day in the lobby. During this show, recruits train with Okoye and learn about the Dora Milaje. This is a shorter show, and we had no trouble finding a place to watch as it began.
During the day, there were several showings of Strange Academy, a 30-minute stage show in the Walt Disney Theatre featuring Dr. Strange, Agatha Harkness, and Sorcerer Supreme Wong as they celebrate several graduating students from Strange Academy in an entertaining broadway-style show. This show is the only place Agatha Harkness and Wong can be seen throughout the cruise.
The Mickey and Minnie’s Super Hero Celebration took place ondeck during the evening. It featured classic Disney characters in their Marvel costumes. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale all demonstrated their special outfits and the unique character traits they have in common with super heroes. This show is great for fans of any age, and an awesome opportunity to see all the characters in their unique Marvel outfits.
The Star-Spangled USO show took place in Evolution twice throughout the evening, and is a fun tribute to Captain America. Inspired by the show Cap performs in the film, it features big-band songs, chorus girls, and even a special appearance from Captain America himself.
The main show of the day, Heroes Unite, takes place on deck at the end of the night. The basic premise is that you’re attending an expo put on by Tony Stark, and as so commonly happens in the Marvel universe, things do not go according to plan.
This show is the finale to Marvel Day at Sea, and was absolutely amazing, with almost every hero and villain you could hope to see plus special effects that will astound you, but the deck fills up quickly, and having a spot where you can view the stage is necessary to follow along with your favorite characters and more importantly, the plot. I’d recommend arriving early (at least 30 minutes prior to showtime) to grab a spot along the railing on Deck 12 for optimal viewing.
There were plenty of unique Marvel treats to be found across the ship for this cruise. We noticed some began appearing the night before our day at sea; however many more were added on the official day at sea.
At Vaneloppe’s, we spotted Incredible Hulk Gelato (a combination of pistachio and chocolate gelato swirled together), as well as Captain America Brownies, Spider-Man, and Ironman Cupcakes, and Baby Groot marshmallow sticks.
Cove Cafe offered most of their regular treats, labeled with festive comic style index cards, including a Rice Krispie stick with the Marvel logo printed on top, a special Captain Marvel Mocha, and offering Captain America latte art on any hot drink.
Similar to Pirate Night, the dining rooms all served a Marvel Day at Sea menu during dinner, with dishes such as Wakandan Piri Piri, Mjölnir Meatballs and Pasta, and Dr. Banner’s Greens and Lobster Salad. While the food was not especially memorable, the menu was fun and Disney fans are never mad at a theme.
Marvel Day at Sea Activities
Many of the activities throughout the day had a Marvel spin on them. For example, trivia games were all Marvel based (mostly questions about the movies). Episodes of “Wanda Vision,” “Ms. Marvel,” and “Ultimate Spider-Man Animated Series” played throughout the day on Funnel Vision, and the Buena Vista Theatre exclusively played Marvel movies, including “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Black Widow.”
Younger sailors also had the opportunity to participate in the Avengers Training Initiative, where Avengers demonstrated key Super Hero skills such as how to shoot a bow and throw a shield. At Marvel Comic Academy, guests of all ages could learn how to draw some of their favorite Marvel characters, like Captain America, Spider-Man, and more.
The Comic Vault allowed people to rent digital tablets loaded with hundreds of issues of Marvel camics. One unique addition was the Marvel Super Fan Face Off, a trivia contest that pitted guests against each other to prove who truly knew the most about the Marvel franchise.
Throughout the day, announcements featured different heroes, and of course, there was a costume celebration where people who dressed up had the opportunity to show off their outfits.
Marvel Day At Sea Overall Thoughts
While Marvel Day at Sea is an excellent addition to DCL, and a wonderful fit for fans of the franchise, I do think Disney needs to work on the organization of meet and greets for future sailings.
The lines to meet characters were longer than I’ve ever seen on a cruise, rivaling the most popular characters inside the parks, especially for characters who did not meet more than one time per day. For example, the line to meet Chip and Dale in their (very adorable) Thor + Loki sweaters hit capacity even before the official meeting time began, and guests were turned away due to time constraints (likely so the characters could make it to the deck show on time).
Disney Cruise Line Marvel Day at Sea itineraries have already been announced for select 5-night cruises from Miami to The Bahamas and the Western Caribbean in 2024. Click here for more information.