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Looking at Disney’s new 4,000-passenger Fantasy on its inauguration in New York City, this is the Dream grown deeper. The onboard experiences on Fantasy have to be deeper because passengers will be onboard the 4,000-passenger ship for seven-day cruises, much longer than most Disney cruise or park stays.
Although Fantasy has Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse on the stern and Mademoiselle Mouse in the atrium, the new ship looks like the Dream and feels like the Dream, but there are many differences under the surface — both for adults and children, and in entertainment that the differences are really obvious.
The Fantasy has more show choices — five, compared to three on the Dream. “Believe” carries over from Dream, and there are beginning and closing shows, “Aladdin” and the brand new “Wishes,” in which three teenagers on the verge of their high school graduation celebrate the magic of life and childlike wonder.
Bob Zalk, senior show producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, said the team really enjoyed creating more layers for guests staying so much longer and experiencing the ship over and over. Helping with the variations that make experiences worth repeating are the Muppets.
Notable appearances include a new interactive game, using the Enchanted Art that comes to life as you look at it. The Case of the Stolen Show takes guests all over the ship in their search for truth, and Disney’s attention to detail is delightful, as when Pepe the King Prawn takes over as a detective with questionable skills. Pepe has his own stateroom — 5148 ½ — with its own small door, bearing clues and confusion. He also has a shipboard phone number where guests can leave messages. The various interactive games can be repeated and enjoyed by groups as well as individuals.
Another example of the ship’s richer onboard offerings is in the dining venue, Animator's Palate, where diners each get a placemat with a figure outline and a pen to make their own creations. The drawings are not only animated and placed in groups, but they are brought together to perform on giant screens with classic Disney characters, a phenomenal software achievement.
The Fantasy’s inaugural ceremonies in New York City were appropriately star studded, with Neal Patrick Harris, of “How I Met Your Mother” fame, poking gentle fun at Disney with a brilliant routine, and appearances including godmother Mariah Carey, as well as Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Gunn, Alan Cummings, and Ty Pennington, along with Disney CEO Robert Iger and a troop of Disney characters in attendance.
Fresh from inauguration, the Fantasy left New York to sail alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral from March 31. http://disneycruise.disney.go.com