It’s been a busy few weeks! I’m in Barbados at the moment, and before that, after heading down to Kent and spending some time at the lovely Goudhurst Inn, we were in Dover for a wander around the refurbished (re-imagineered in Disney speak) Disney Magic. The Disney Magic is the original (and best, in my opinion) Disney ship. It was Disney Cruise Line’s first ever vessel, and it’s regarded very fondly by Disney cast members and fans everywhere.
The Disney Magic is the same age as my Charlie, so currently the grand old age of 17, but being Disney, of course, it always looks immaculate. These youthful looks are down to constant maintenance, but after our trip on the Magic in 2013, it went straight into dry dock in Cadiz to have a bit of a facelift. All the Disney Cruise Line ships are designed to be modern classics, so it wasn’t a case of ‘modernising’, in so much as a freshen up. I haven’t seen it since, so I was really keen to get on board. Here’s what I discovered:
The Grand Atrium Lobby
When you first walk on to a Disney ship, you’re introduced and then greeted by the staff with a round applause (the bit that makes me cry). The beautiful new atrium lobby has been totally transformed. It’s inspired by the sea and features the most beautiful sea shell colours. The golden relief all around the balcony features Disney characters doing all of the jobs that people involved with the Disney Magic would do: craftsmen and women, cast members and more. The chandelier is stunning, and with one of the staircases now removed, it’s even more light and airy. The bronze ‘Helmsman Mickey’ is still welcoming guests on board, and has had a bit of a buff up too!
The pool areas and upper decks
Sadly, the lovely Mickey pool has now gone (boo), but now there’s a fantastic new pool with a Huey, Dewey and Louie theme (yay!). The new Aqua Lab water playground features lots of ‘water experiments’ with all sorts of jets and bubblers, plus there’s the huge ‘Aquadunk slide’. This three story whopper drops you through a trap door then whooshes you through all sorts of twists and turns including a transparent tube, and whizzes you 20ft out over the side of the ship too!
The Animator’s Palate is one of my favourite restaurants featuring black and white line drawings that change to colour. There are loads of surprises when dining at the Animator’s Palate, so I won’t spoil them, but let’s just say the place REALLY comes alive! There are flashy new high-definition flat screens, clever new animation technology, and the featured characters have been updated to include new Disney-Pixar favourites.
Sadly, I didn’t have time to pop into Carioca’s, the restaurant that has replaced Parrot Cay, but it looked AMAZING from the doorway – it has a fabulous South American theme and it’s like dining al fresco in Rio. The ceiling lanterns look spectacular!
Lots of the other bars and restaurants have been re-imagined too. The main buffet-service restaurant, Cabanas has been considerably expanded – with nearly double the space – and is light, airy and colourful. A lot of time and effort has been spent on the new adults only entertainment district called After Hours, which looks great. There’s Fathoms – a family space during the day, but an amazing nightclub by night featuring pulsating jellyfish on the ceiling – and a brand new Irish pub and sports bar called O’Gills, which features music every night and a nightly ‘midnight buffet’ from 10 – 12pm. Lastly but certainly not least, my favourite restaurant, Palo, boasts beautiful new stone floors and glass artwork very much in keeping with its Venetian theme.
The Kids’ Clubs
The kids clubs on board the re-imagineered Disney Magic are SPECTACULAR.
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is brand new on the Magic this autumn. Like the salons at Walt Disney World, children aged three to 12 can pop in for special makeovers and become everything from a Disney Princess (a popular choice) to a royal knight. And on pirate party night, the boutique becomes The Pirates League where guests can pop in for an extra coating of piratey eyeliner and some buccaneer garb. Ahoy matey!
It’s a Small World Nursery is specially designed for the youngest guests on board the Disney Magic (up to 3 years) – sessions must be booked in advance and are charged at $9 an hour:
Disney’s Oceaneer Club, the children’s activity area located on deck five, is open from 9pm until midnight every day for children from three to 12 years. Disney Cruise Line cleverly don’t split children into age groups but let them choose the area they think would suit them best. MARVEL’s Avengers Academy, where they can perform special missions…
… or maybe Andy’s Room, where everything is huge and you really feel like you might have been shrunk to toy size! All the Toy Story characters are here, and there’s a great Slinky Dog slide:
The other two spaces are the Mickey Mouse Club, a brightly coloured area where children can play games and do craft sessions, and Pixie Hollow, a magical Teapot House where they’ll find Tinker Bell, play dress-up and take part in storytelling sessions, amongst other things.
Disney’s Oceaneer Lab is a pirate themed activity area where children aged three to 12 can come and play and take part in activities like creating their own animation, arts and crafts, computer games and other supervised activities.
Edge ‘tween club’ has moved to deck nine where there’s a super cool dance floor as well as loads of high tech stuff including gaming stations. As before, it’s just for 11 – 14s with no adults allowed!
The Spa and Fitness Area
Senses Spa and Salon and The Fitness Area have both been expanded and redesigned. There’s also a new Chill Spa especially for teenagers aged 13 to 17.
All the staterooms have been re-imagineered, with lots more storage space under beds and all-new soft furnishings and bathrooms. This is the bedroom of the rather special Walter E Disney suite:
And this is a not-quite-as-spectacular-but-still-very-nice balcony stateroom (officially a ‘Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah’):
And this is a Standard Inside Stateroom (there are also Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms with a view of the sea via a large porthole window):
The Walt Disney Theatre has a brand new atrium area, and also a brand new show. Starting in November, guests will be able to see Tangled: The Musical (desperate to know if they’ll include my favourite scene, when all the lanterns float up into the night sky) as well as my favourite Disney Dreams, which has now been updated with characters from Frozen (rumour has it there’s a smattering of snow). The shows are just amazing – one of the best things about a Disney cruise.
Phew. And I think that’s about it. The ship is even more beautiful than before, if that’s possible. I just can’t wait to get back on board. Thanks for having me Captain Mickey!
After visiting the Norwegian fjords this summer, the Disney Magic will be setting sail on a transatlantic voyage from Spain to Miami on 19th September, then will be sailing four and five night voyages from Miami to the Bahamas and the Caribbean through the autumn.
Next year (on 5th June, the Disney Magic will sail from Dover on its very first British Isles sailing. Over 12 nights, it will visit Invergordon, Kirkwall and Greenock in Scotland, Newcastle and Liverpool, as well as Dublin, Le Havre and Guernsey.
During the summer of 2016, the Disney Magic will return to favorite destinations in northern Europe, the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean with a range of seven night + saiilings. Click here for more information.