*The Disney Dream is the third ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Being invited to the inaugural celebration and being one of the first to cruise this magnificent ship was nothing short of spectacular! It was so exciting to be a part of that fortunate group of people (a.k.a ‘the media’) who were given the incredible opportunity to experience this majestic ship before anybody else. Disney definitely did not fall short in rolling out the red carpet, literally.
The first day for the christening events began upon arrival in Orlando when we stopped at the Disney Welcome Center in the airport and were greeted with friendly smiles from Disney staffers who then processed us in and directed us towards one of many Disney Magical Express buses where guests/media personnel were shuttled to their designated Disney resort hotel for check-in and credentialing.
Afterward, festivities for the evening started with being shuttled to the Magic Kingdom (which by the way was only open to media/special invited guests for the night, talk about feeling special) for a media briefing which entailed future projects in the works for Disney as well as the conceptualization and complexities involved in bringing the evening’s special castle projection show to fruition, aptly named “The Magic, Memories, and You!”
I must say, the castle projection show was extraordinary. Invitees watched as the Magic Kingdom castle continuously transformed right before our eyes into a dynamic artistic display of graphics and designs. A spectacular fireworks show which left guests amazed capped off the evening.
Day 2-Embarkation Day!!
The Christening Celebration at Port Canaveral began mid-morning and I can use no other term to describe this ceremony but the very befitting term of “magical.” After remarks by Robert Iger (President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company), and Thomas Staggs (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts), guests’ were entertained by the lovely Jennifer Hudson, who as always, wowed the audience with her vocals.
Notably, Hudson was also the official Godmother of Disney Dream and bestowed her own personal blessing upon the ship at the moment of christening amidst all the pomp and circumstance that only a Disney ship christening could provide: a colorguard intro, every Disney character imaginable, singing, dancing, Navy band salute, a helicopter toting a giant champagne bottle and an incredible fireworks display! As an enduring tradition for centuries past, I can’t foresee any future christening ceremony surpassing this one!
(Scroll down to watch video of the christening ceremony.)
Immediately following the christening celebration, passengers were escorted back inside the terminal for hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast prior to embarkation.
Once aboard, the experience was absolutely amazing. From the elegant chandelier in the atrium to the virtual artwork on the walls to the one-of-a kind restaurants to the hi-tech gaming innovation in the youth lounges to spacious staterooms that have a murphy bed which extends from the ceiling, to the exciting AquaDuck water coaster to the exclusiveness of being the only cruise line with a fireworks display, Disney has spared no expense in its creation of the Dream. Externally, the Disney Dream has a time-honored maritime vintage look of ships from ages ago, but internally, passengers have all the modern luxuries and technology imaginable. There truly is something for everyone on this ship from the tween and teen lounges/clubs to the adults-only areas and nightclubs … and of course the relaxing spa. This sprawling marvel, the Disney Dream, embodies the impeccable service and high expectation that is associated with the Disney brand.
Embarkation was at 5:00 pm with the loud, celebratory fanfare, more champagne toasting, and the waving ‘goodbye’ with colorful pompoms to anyone and everyone who was standing ashore watching this massive ship’s inaugural embarkation. After exploring areas of the ship and marveling at its creativity, we proceeded to our scheduled dinner area where we dined at the beautiful Enchanted Garden. A beautifully decorated restaurant with ‘blossoming’ pastel colored chandeliers, with the entire ambiance and decor being inspired by the gardens of Versailles in Paris, France. As customary with the adage of dinner and a show, the after-dinner presentation that evening was an original Disney musical performed in the grand Walt Disney Theatre, an exquisitely adorned, regal looking 1300+ seat venue which makes one think, “I can’t possibly be on a ship!” To top things off … aboard, mingling amongst the passengers, were invited celebrity guests such as Whoopi Goldberg, Kyle Massey (That’s So Raven/Dancing With The Stars), Sam Champion (Weathercaster from Good Morning America), John Stamos (General Hospital/Full House), Cheryl Burke (Dancing With The Stars), and Samantha Brown (Travel Channel).
Day 3-Castaway Cay!!
We have arrived at Castaway Cay, Disney’s own private island located in the Bahamas. After debarking and a short walk with stops along the way for photo opps with several Disney characters, and you have reached a stunning beach where passengers can engage in several water sports, snorkeling, swimming with rays, or just enjoy lounging on the white sands. The place is a true fantasy island for passengers of Disney ships with its many activities and restaurants to explore. White sand and amazingly clear waters can make for an incredibly lazy day on the beach, which I took full advantage of.
Day 4-Too short a trip!!
We have arrived back at Port Canaveral and it’s a sad day … sad because we have to end this incredible journey that, again, we were fortunate to experience. Debarkation commences, customs checks are organized and swift. And once again, the Disney Magical Express buses are all lined up to take passengers either to the airport or back to the Disney resort area. What an incredible experience, it was simply ‘magical’ and I can not wait to take my next Disney cruise aboard the splendid Disney Dream!! Bon Voyage!!!!
IF YOU GO
DISNEY DREAM: Disney’s newest cruise ship offers three-and four-night sailings from Port Canaveral, Fla., to Castaway Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas. Five-night itineraries begin May 29, alternating with four-night cruises through August. Prices for a three-night cruise start at $333 a person for an interior cabin, $399 for an ocean view and $439 for a verandah. For more info: www.disneycruise.disney.go.com.
Madge Evans ([email protected]) covers travel as well as entertainment and social events in the Atlanta area for EURweb.