Disney Cruise Line Adds New Youth Activities; Eliminates Age Barriers (Video)

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Disney Cruise Line, the leader in family cruising, is once again reinventing onboard children’s experiences. Through an entirely new approach to youth activities, kids can let their imaginations set sail by customizing their cruise vacation. More youth activities than ever before are available and children choose experiences based on interest, not age.

Exciting new youth activities and dedicated children’s spaces are available now on the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder and are coming to the Disney Dream beginning with the ship’s maiden voyage in January 2011.

“The changes within Disney Cruise Line youth activities will allow children freedom to create a customized experience onboard our ships,” said Disney Cruise Line Vice President of Entertainment Jim Urry. “Children can select their own adventures and immersive experiences for a truly personalized, memorable cruise vacation.”

Customized Experiences
On Disney Cruise Line, children can personalize their cruise vacation by selecting activities and events, regardless of age. Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are open to children age 3 to 12 on the Disney Wonder and age 3 to 10 on the Disney Magic.

While Disney Cruise Line will continue to recommend activities that appeal to specific maturity levels and ages, the entire menu of offerings is open to every child. With this evolutionary approach to shipboard youth activities, children and parents select programs based on the specific interests of each child to create a customized and very personalized experience. Best of all, children of different ages — siblings, extended family and friends — can participate in youth activities together throughout their cruise.

The majority of children’s events and free-time activities occur within dedicated youth spaces on the ship and on Castaway Cay. As always, Disney Cruise Line youth activities are supervised by specially trained, experienced counselors.

Specific program information is available to guests on the day of check-in at the Youth Activities registration desk located in the Disney cruise ship terminal building prior to boarding, or onboard in the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.

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Win A Dream Vacation Aboard the Disney Wonder from Hanes Comfort

Hanes, the official apparel of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts, is offering 3 winners chosen at random the opportunity to win a 5 night cruise for four aboard the Disney Cruise Line Wonder. Included is roundtrip airfare to OIA and ground transportation to Port Canavaral. All taxes and fees and meals are included.

In addition, Hanes is giving away free socks to the first 100 entrants each week (week begins Friday night at 12 am).

For the full official rules and to enter, visit Hanes Cruise Giveaway.

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Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line® Come Together to Create the Ultimate Mediterranean Vacation for Summer 2010

Adventures by Disney, named the World’s Best Luxury Tour Operator by the 2009 World Travel Awards, and Disney Cruise Line announced today a special add-on option for a series of Mediterranean cruises in 2010 that will combine the best of both Disney vacations to create a one-of-a-kind family vacation experience at sea and on shore. Featuring Adventures by Disney’s expertise in guided travel across the world and the magic of a Disney Cruise Line voyage, guests participating in this new vacation offering can enjoy onboard activities and unique shore experiences that immerse each member of the family in the cultures and sights of this European region.

This limited-time product offering may be booked now for 10- and 11-night Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean vacations on the following departure dates: May 5, 15, 26; August 7, 18, 28 and September 8.

“This new product brings the best of both Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line to families interested in the ultimate Mediterranean experience,” said Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line & New Vacation Operations. “Visiting some of Europe’s most captivating destinations, the trip is designed to ensure that the guest’s only agenda is to soak up the culture, relax and have fun in the Mediterranean.”

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First Look: Disney Cruise Line’s ‘Villains Tonight!’ Stage Show (Video)

Back in July, we revealed some details about a new show called Villains Tonight coming to the Disney Magic. On its YouTube page, Disney Cruise Line has now shared the following details which takes a look into the show’s production:

Concept art for 'Villains Tonight' Courtesy of DisneyThe malevolent world of the Disney villains takes a comical spin in “Villains Tonight!,” a musical spectacular that Disney Cruise Line is premiering in spring 2010. The revue-style show will debut during the March 27 voyage aboard the Disney Magic and will delight guests aboard the new Disney Dream cruise ship in early 2011.

“Villains Tonight!” is the first full-scale musical production dedicated to the Disney villains. The show is a family-friendly, fun-filled musical extravaganza that places these famous evil-doers in some irreverent funny moments.

“We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional entertainment and magnificent stage spectaculars aboard our ships,” said Jim Urry, Vice President of Entertainment for Disney Cruise Line. “With ‘Villains Tonight!’ we are bringing the lovable and loathsome Disney villains to life in a way never seen before – as the stars of the first musical comedy devoted to the anti-heroes of our films.”

Disney Cruise Line assembled an all-star creative team headlined by the Tony-nominated Broadway writing team of Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen (“[title of show]”). They are joined by director Allison Narver, choreographer Karma Camp and musical director Ben Cohn.

“Villains Tonight!” begins as Hades and his faithful sidekicks, Pain and Panic (“Hercules”), welcome new souls (the audience) to the Underworld. But instead of a frightening realm, guests will discover that Hades has turned the Underworld into an upbeat and happier place. The lively fun comes to a halt when The Fates arrive and predict that Hades will lose his position as Lord of the Underworld if he doesn’t ramp up the evil factor.

Worried by the news, Hades checks his Evil-O-Meter and discovers it is running dangerously low. So he comes up with a plan: He’ll conjure up the very best of the worst – the most powerful Disney villains – to help him replenish the world of evil. What ensues is a comical journey as Hades, Pain and Panic embark on a quest filled with wacky antics and amusing musical numbers featuring everyone’s favorite Disney villains and their sidekicks.

“Villains Tonight!” features a “Who’s Who” of the Disney villains, including Disney’s newest crook, Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” The show also features classic divas and scoundrels like Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”), the Evil Queen (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), Captain Hook (“Peter Pan”) and Scar (“The Lion King”).

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Disney Cruise Line Excursion Group Robbed at Gunpoint; Excursion Canceled as Result

This past weekend, the Tribune reported that on Friday, November 20 two groups (one of which was from of the Disney Wonder) were tied up and robbed of all personal affects at gunpoint while on an excursion through Earth Village in the Bahamas. According to the report, one non-life-threatening injury occurred during the ordeal.

As a result, Disney has actively canceled all upcoming bookings for the excursion called ‘Segway Off Road Back to Nature’ and has removed all mentions of the excursion from the Disney Cruise Line site. Google still currently maintains a cached version of the excursion’s page here.

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

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.

“The survey reveals what the cruise line industry is doing plenty right, but that there’s still room for improvement,” said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. “Hopefully, these new results will help consumers during a time when making informed decisions is more important than ever.”

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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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