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There was recently little known about Disney Cruise Line’s (DCL) next three ships, other than that they will be slightly larger than the line’s previous vessels and powered by environmentally friendly LNG (liquified natural gas).
That is, until D23 Expo 2019.
Disney’s recent fan convention, which takes places biannually just outside Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., shed more light on the future of DCL’s fleet. The line also offered a preview of its next private destination. Here’s what we learned.
The line’s fifth ship — joining Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy — will be named Disney Wish. Its launch date was initially anticipated in 2021, and while it will be delivered that year, Wish won’t set sail with passengers until January 2022.
Bob Chapek, chairman for Disney parks, experiences and products, made the reveal onstage, and he also shared the ship’s hull art and a first look at its atrium design. DCL features an iconic character tableau on each of its vessel’s sterns, and Rapunzel and her chameleon pal Pascal from the 2010 animated film “Tangled” will be highlighted on Wish.
As for Wish’s atrium, DCL says the inspiration comes from “the beauty of an enchanted fairytale.” Beyond its overall look, the three-deck space will also differ structurally from its predecessors. On previous ships, the featured staircase stretches to the second floor; onboard Wish, it will continue to the third floor for greater central convenience. Not yet known is the name of what appears to be one of the rotational dining rooms behind the atrium, nor the bronze statue that will surely grace the space — an empty podium can be seen at the foot of the stairs, but which character will regally stand tall is yet to be revealed.
(Those interested in further speculations on what might make it onboard Wish, such as deck attractions, can check out this video.)
As their imaginations run rampant, clients can start thinking about booking staterooms and suites on the approximately 144,000-gross ton, 1,250-guest Wish. Its yet-to-be-named sisterships are expected to follow in 2022 and 2023.
Even before its next ships come online, DCL will likely begin construction on its second private destination, which will help absorb the line’s increased capacity.
Following its acclaimed Castaway Cay, DCL’s next Bahamian development will be Lighthouse Point, located on Eleuthera island. Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde — who is best-known for his work on the ultra-immersive Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida — will oversee the project. He promises to bring the same attention to detail to the new port as he has to the other destinations.
To support the environment, DCL says it will build up less than 20% of the property, utilize sustainable construction and erect an open-trestle pier without any required dredging. Similarly, walkways appear to be elevated above the ground to preserve as much of the natural surroundings as possible. Other structures will celebrate local art and culture and will undoubtedly house activities as well as dining and shopping experiences. Plus, there are sure to be private cabanas.
The Lighthouse Point rendering presented at D23 also illustrates a central waterpark of sorts, which would expand on the few present at Castaway Cay. But what will perhaps be the most thrilling attraction can be seen farther in the distance: There appears to be a sizable zipline. Pending the review and acceptance of an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan, work on the island may begin in 2020, for a late 2022 or 2023 opening.
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