As we all know, Disneyland kicked off its 50th anniversary
celebrations in May. As part of the festivities, the Disney Magic
came to the West Coast for the first time, where she sailed 12
one-week Mexican Riviera cruises, with calls in Puerto Vallarta,
Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Having loved cruising on the Magic in
2001, we jumped at the chance to take one of the unique West Coast
sailings. Our 9-year-old daughter was ecstatic to sail with Mickey
Mouse again. This time around, we had a new member of the family,
our 4-month-old daughter. It was her first cruise.
Since the Magic often sails with up to 1,200 children, we were
able to reserve a pack-and-play crib, diaper genie, stroller and
babysitting services at the Flounders Reef Nursery. We did all of
this online before boarding, which worked perfectly. The
pack-and-play crib was set up before we entered our stateroom.
The Flounders Reef Nursery was great for our infant daughter.
Counselors go through a special training program that includes CPR
and first aid and parents are given a pager to keep for the
duration of the cruise. Guests are paged and text messaged
immediately if there is a problem. With little to worry about as
far as childcare, we set about discovering what is new and
different about the Magic since our last cruise.
The ship is now better than ever. For one thing, she has not
aged in seven years.
“We are constantly upgrading the ship to look new,” said Capt.
Tom Forberg during a bridge tour. “With over 40 percent repeat
passengers, we continually add new programs and shows.”
To celebrate the Magic’s first West Coast voyage, the ship
staged a big balloon drop. Disney crew members encouraged guests to
dance in the atrium 30 minutes before the countdown when hundreds
of gold balloons floated down onto the guests, and kids were
popping them, batting at them and sitting on them. It was chaotic,
Passengers were also treated to the new Broadway-style show
“Twice Charmed.” It is a clever, “updated” twist on the original
Cinderella story that asks, “What if Cinderella had to rely on
brains instead of beauty?” Our 9-year-old enjoyed the pyrotechnics,
lavish costumes, catchy score and spectacular special effects;
however it was too much for our baby.
Another recently added entertainment feature on the Magic,
“Pirates IN the Caribbean,” is a dinner and a party. Passengers
arrive at their designated restaurant, keeping to Disney Cruise
Line’s famous “rotating restaurant schedule.” Place settings held
red pirate bandannas, and a unique treasure map menu with such
delectables as chilled-to-the-bone honeydew melon and mango soup,
Blackbeard’s jumbo crab cakes and Captain Hook’s coconut-crusted
oven-baked snapper. After dinner, passengers were invited up to
decks 9 and 10 for a dance party. The evening grew ominous as
Captain Hook and his band of pirates repelled down from the ship’s
stacks to take over the cruise. Heroic Captain Mickey reclaimed the
ship, and a colorful firework show capped the evening.
Our 9-year-old loved the pirate party and also enjoyed the
special children’s programming. Those programs consist of Disney’s
Oceaneer Club, for 3- to 7-year-olds, and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab,
for 8- to 12-year-olds. The Oceaneer Lab features new, large,
flat-screen monitors with the latest games and educational
In partnership with Nestle, children participate in the Junior
Chef Experience. They don Nestle hats and aprons and pour, stir and
bake homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Eating them is the
of the day, of course.) Each child also receives a Nestle Junior
The “Kim Possible” scavenger hunt, named for the popular Disney
Channel TV series, has young sailors search for missing objects in
order to help save the Magic’s navigation system.
Children participating in the Oceaneer programs attend a
farewell celebration at the Walt Disney Theater the last day at
sea. Each child receives a Disney alumni shirt and graduation cap
with mouse ears. My little girl still has hers proudly displayed in
Other changes on the Magic include the transformation of the old
ESPN sports bar into a room called The Stack. It’s a super-cool,
teen-only lounge with video games, music videos, magazines, board
games and Internet access. Trained counselors organize treasure
hunts, mystery parties, night swims and dances for 13- to
Another new feature that seemed popular with every age group was
Project Fizzy. Guests can now drink free Coca-Cola beverages on
deck 9 at the beverage station.
In late August, the Magic will sail a repositioning cruise
through the Panama Canal back to Port Canaveral. She’ll be in dry
dock for two weeks in October. The Vista Spa will be remodeled and
expanded over the bridge. The Oceaneer’s Lab will be redesigned and
additional computers added in order to accommodate the rising
demand from younger cruisers.
From May 27 to Dec. 9, 2006, the Magic’s standard seven-night
Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary will have a slight twist.
One cruise per month will sail an alternate Western Caribbean
itinerary. The ship will stop in Costa Maya (a new port for
Disney), as well as in Cozumel. And, most exciting of all, she’ll
make two stops at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the
Bahamas. A new stingray encounter is in the works there, offering
passengers the chance to touch, feed and swim with stingrays.
When the baby gets a little bigger, we’ll book another cruise on
the Magic. Who knows what the Disney imagination will have come up
with by then.
|FOR ADULTS ONLY|
“Kids still rule on the Magic, but remember that adults have
plenty of options as well. In fact, some of the adult-only areas of
the ship were nicer and more relaxing than comparable space on
mainstream cruise lines. For example, at the sports bar located on
deck 3 at Diversions in the Beat Street area, passengers can view
various sports programs, play checkers or backgammon while sampling
a variety of beers and other drinks.
Disney’s Art of Entertainment, part of its Adult Enrichment
Series, offers daily cooking and cocktail-making demonstrations
while at sea.
“From Stem to Stern” wine-tasting program ($15 fee) offers
hour-long, informative chances to sample wines from different
Common Grounds has been redecorated and is now the Cove Cafe
offering gourmet coffee, martini-tasting classes ($12 fee) and the
Cognac and Cigar Club. It’s a great place for adults to get away
from it all, read a magazine or surf the Web.
The Vista Spa provides a variety of imaginative spa treatments,
such as the Tropical Rain Forest pass ($15/day), providing access
to various saunas, steam rooms and aromatherapy showers. The
fitness center offers 180-degree panoramic views of the sea,
state-of-the-art exercise equipment, group Pilates and kickboxing