Zagat Ranks 22 Cruise Lines; Disney Tops in Family, Entertainment and Nightlife

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Earlier today, Zagat released the results of its first Cruise Line survey. The survey, conducted on ZAGAT.com, covers 22 major cruise lines as voted on by 2,379 regular cruise-goers who had taken 9.5 trips, each averaging nine days. All told the surveyors had taken a total of 22,700 separate cruises.

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First Look: Disney Cruise Line’s ‘Sailor Mickey’ Helium Balloon for Macy’s Parade

'Sailor Mickey' prepares for his debut in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeEarlier this week, we told you about the new ‘Sailor Mickey’ balloon that will be making its debut during the 83rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, representing Disney Cruise Line. Pictured to the left is the actual, inflated balloon as it gets its final preparations underway for smooth sailing come Thanksgiving morning.

Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

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‘Sailor Mickey’ Balloon to Debut at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Artist Rendering)

Macy's 83rd Annual Thanksgiving Day ParadeRepresenting Disney Cruise Line, Sailor Mickey will tower over the streets of New York on Thanksgiving morning as part of the Macy’s 83rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade procession. Sailor Mickey (pictured left, upper left corner), is 48.1 feet long, 33.6 feet wide and 60.9 feet tall and will be filled with 14,750 cubic feet of helium during his maiden voyage. The anchor on which he rides is approximately four times the size of an actual cruise ship anchor.

Other new balloons this year include the Pillsbury Doughboy, a new Ronald McDonald and an all-new Spider-man.

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Creativity and Innovation Take the Helm Aboard Disney Dream, Setting Sail 2011

CELEBRATION, Fla., Oct. 29  — A first-of-its kind water coaster that sends guests racing above the upper decks of the ship. An animated turtle that engages children in conversation about life in the ocean. A sophisticated lounge where the sun sets over the skyline of a different world-famous city each night. When the Disney Dream debuts in early 2011, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will bring to life these innovations and more.

The Disney Dream will take family cruising to all-new heights, embracing the spirit of innovation, magical family entertainment and immersive experiences that have made Disney Cruise Line the preeminent cruise of choice for families since 1998.

Disney Cruise Line revolutionized the cruise industry with purpose-built ships designed just for families. With the Disney Dream setting sail on Jan. 26, 2011, preparations are underway to expand the one-of-a-kind family experience, utilizing technology to enhance the world-class entertainment and legendary guest services onboard. From stem to stern, the Disney Dream will offer a cruise experience that caters to the preferences of the whole family.

“For more than a decade, passengers have filled their passports with memories sailing around the world with Disney Cruise Line,” said Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. “With the Disney Dream joining our fleet, we’ll be able to take families to even more places they never imagined they could visit – in true Disney style.”

The Disney Dream features a remarkable interior design which provides guests with a warm and welcoming feel throughout. The ship’s design offers guests a perfect blend of elegant Art Deco style and fun-filled Disney whimsy to create one of the most spectacular ships afloat. Distinctly Disney guest features aboard the Disney Dream include:

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Disney Cruise Line’s Dream Ship Introduces Virtual Portholes, Interactive Characters, Water Coaster & More

In tandem with the press conference Disney is holding in New York City surrounding the new Disney Dream and its innovations, USA Today has been releasing additional information, photos and (soon) videos of the individual experiences.

First up is the 765 foot long AquaDuck, billed as the world’s first water coaster. Using the same type of technology employed in the theme parks, guests will ride an inflatable raft through a clear acrylic tube that rises four stories above the top deck and even features a loop that takes guests off the ship, 150 feet above the water. At one point, the AquaDuck riders even pass through one of the children’s areas, but that may be all the kids can do as the ride is so intense, it will have a height requirement.

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Disney Cruise Line to Share Its Dream Come True on Thursday

Disney Cruise Line has announced it will make further announcements this Thursday at 4:15 PM EST regarding new details surrounding the Disney Dream coming in 2011.

The evolution will be webcasted. Tune your browsers to http://www.disneycruiselineevents.com/disneydream Thursday afternoon to be one of the first to know all the juicy details. Or tune to it right now if you fancy watching Tinker Bell do her impression of a flashlight UFO from a classic episode of The Brady Bunch.

UPDATE: For all our Disney Dream coverage, click here.

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Purchase A Select Adventures by Disney Departure in 2010, Get a Free 3 Night Cruise

BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 26 — Adventures by Disney announced an exciting new offer designed to help parents and children spend more quality time with each other through family vacations. Consumers purchasing select Adventures by Disney vacations between October 26, 2009 and January 15, 2010 will receive a free three-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas (www.AdventuresbyDisney.com/freecruise).

Realizing vacations are the perfect time to bond as a family, Adventures by Disney developed a unique offer allowing parents and children to embark on two great Disney vacations, providing another opportunity to spend quality time together. Guests traveling to some of Adventures by Disney’s most popular destinations, ranging from Europe, China, Australia, Costa Rica and the American Southwest will receive a second vacation – a three-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas – free*. Families have the opportunity to book the cruise through 2011.

Just as Disney Cruise Line revolutionized – and in some ways defined – the family cruise vacation, Adventures by Disney is recreating the way families think about vacationing together. Adventures by Disney invites travelers to experience the world with guided group vacations created especially for families. Guests meet local experts, receive VIP treatment, enjoy exclusive experiences and discover incredible adventures – including special thrills just for kids.

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First Look: Construction Photos of Disney Wonder’s Outlook Cafe Exterior

The Outlook Cafe, located above Signals on Deck 9, features floor-to-ceiling observation windowsThe Disney Wonder is currently in drydock getting some much needed TLC around the ship. In addition miscellaneous repairs, the Cadillac Lounge is getting a new stage and the Animator’s Palate received a new floor.

A completely new addition to the ship is theThe Outlook Cafe, located above Signals on Deck 9, features floor-to-ceiling observation windows Outlook Cafe which is being installed in anticipation of the Wonder’s Alaskan voyages in 2011. Located high atop deck 10, the 2,500-square-foot Outlook Cafe is a stylish retreat for guests to relax and enjoy a beverage or cocktail as they peer out through floor-to-ceiling, curved glass windows at breathtaking vistas. The design of Outlook Cafe is sophisticated with contemporary Art Deco inspiration. An elegant spiral staircase connects Outlook Cafe with the existing Cove Cafe one deck below. The 65-seat lounge has a granite-topped cocktail bar with comfortable seating throughout the space, all providing picture-perfect views of the surrounding landscapes.

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Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings Engages Couples-to-be with Brand New Website

If you’ve visited the Disney Weddings website before, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Although it still maintains an element of simplicity along with elegance, the Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings site has been re-launched and is better than ever.

The new site seamlessly integrates tons of information, planning tools and shopping for both weddings and honeymoons at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts as well as the Disney Cruise Line. There’s even a unique honeymoon registry system available. Instead of a Contact section, there’s  Connect which provides all sorts of options for keeping tabs with the DFTW team of experts, including a blog in the near future.

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First Look: Castaway Cay’s Expansion, Pelican Plunge

Pelican Plunge at Disney Cruise Line's Castaway CayAs part of the announced expansion for Castaway Cay in anticipation of the larger Disney Cruise Line ships bringing more guests each day to Disney’s private little getaway, we are pleased to bring you your first look at Pelican Plunge. At 2,400-square-feet in area, this floating platform boasts two water slides – an enclosed corkscrew slide and a 140-foot-long open slide – that take guests on a twisting ride, ending with a splash into the lagoon. A giant “bucket dump” will soak guests on the platform.

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