The inauguration of the Disney Dream // © 2010 Kenneth Shapiro
My daughter Sally and I had the good fortune to join Captain Mickey and the rest of the crew for the Jan. 19 christening of the Disney Dream. Disney Cruise Line christened their highly anticipated new ship in a lavish ceremony at the ship’s home in Port Canaveral, Fla. The Dream is the first addition to the line’s fleet in over a decade, and it marks a major upgrade in amenities, technology and onboard entertainment. The Dream is also much bigger than previous Disney ships with a capacity of 4,000 passengers (compared to 2,700 for the Disney Magic and Wonder). The Dream will be joined by its sister ship, the Disney Fantasy, in 2012, doubling the size of the current Disney Cruise Line fleet.
Under sunny blue skies, the christening ceremony took full advantage of Disney’s popular and iconic brands. At times throughout the event the stage was packed full of pirates, princesses, characters from recent and classic animated Disney films, marching bands, dancers straight out of the “High School Musical” film franchise and much more. It felt as if Disney emptied every magical closet and cupboard to mark this major addition to the company’s offerings.
In between production numbers, Disney executives addressed the crowd of more than 3,000 spectators and world media. Robert Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, talked about the long process of creating the ship and especially thanked the shipbuilders in Germany and the crew of the ship.
Thomas Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, had the honor of introducing the ship’s godmother, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson. Staggs pointed out that Hudson was a fitting godmother for the Dream because her own dreams of international stardom — which would eventually include a Grammy Award and an Academy Award for Hudson — began when she was a performer on the Disney Wonder, a stepping stone to her break-out success on the television show “American Idol.” After her introduction, Hudson sang for the crowd.
Finally, after the traditional ship’s blessing, it was time for the customary breaking of the champagne bottle on the ship’s bow. Leave it to Disney to put their own spin on this tradition as well, using a helicopter to pick up a gigantic champagne bottle “filled with dreams” and bringing it over to the ship’s bow. After a countdown, the bottom of the bottle opened and fireworks shot out, as the crowd cheered from the grandstand and the Dream’s crew joined in from the ship’s balconies.
The Disney Dream will sail alternating three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. During the summer, the ship will sail four- and five-night itineraries with two stops at Castaway Cay.