Photo by Jason Leppert
After an extensive month and a half of dry-dock work in Cadiz, Spain, Disney Cruise Line’s classic Disney Wonder has relaunched into service refreshed with loads of new features for all ages, and we’re onboard for its first time back to the Caribbean from Galveston, Texas to check it all out.
So far, the revitalized ship indeed impresses, and we haven’t even seen all that is new yet. Strong out of the gate is Tiana’s Place, one of three rotational main dining rooms that was remodeled from Parrot Cay. Now, the dining room, exclusive to the Wonder, is themed to the animated film “The Princess and the Frog,” and every little detail is in service of the story in true Disney fashion. From the amphibious flatware and fixtures to the presence of Tiana herself as well as live jazz band accompaniment, the dining experience is a lively affair. Particularly perfect is “A Spoonful of Sugar” as a subtle musical lead-in to dessert.
Overall, the improvements are not unlike those that emerged aboard the Disney Magic sister-ship in 2013.
The central atrium on the Wonder has also seen one of its symmetrical staircases removed and the grand Chihuly chandelier replaced with one tighter to the ceiling to better open up the space. This time around the new fixture is more reminiscent of the original glass one at least with a red flower motif meant to resemble the one in Ariel’s hair in “The Little Mermaid.”
Elsewhere, the Disney’s Oceaneer Club kids facility has been largely revamped like on the Magic but with its own set of new rooms. Marvel and Pixar properties are more apparent with the addition of the Super Hero Academy and Andy’s Room from “Toy Story” respectively, and, of course, “Frozen” makes a splash with the exclusive addition of Wandering Oaken’s.
Interactivity levels are highest at the latter and the superhero base where characters enter digitally and in person, such as Black Widow (pictured above). Surprise special effects are also triggered from time to time, so definitely keep an eye and ear out.
The newly relocated Edge tween space also works well in the old arcade location on the pool deck with a rustic “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” theme and plenty of digital displays for video game play and interactivity in the vein of “Turtle Talk with Crush.” Even the spa has been updated with a section just for teens to get treatments, and the Bibbidi Bobbed Boutique prince and princess retail makeover experience makes its way onboard in a larger, albeit smaller than on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, space than expected.
For adults only, the old Route 66 district has been converted into the more refined After Hours, but thankfully the Cadillac Lounge has been retained for a touch of nostalgia. The modern Azure nightclub and traditional Crown & Fin Pub are all new though.
We are next most looking forward to seeing the new production show of “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” in a couple of days to see how that and a number of other additions round out the excellent enhancements.