Last week, I was thrilled to join a few bloggers and a whole lot of media for the inaugural sailing of the Disney Dream Cruise line from Orlando to the Bahamas. Why yes, I do love my job. Funny you should ask.
While my son and I enjoyed outdoor games, swimming, beach snorkeling, and those infamous live shows, geeks that we are, we also had a blast uncovering five of the top tech features that Disney has to offer at sea.
Because let me tell you, they have really outdone themselves with this ship.
1. The Disney Oceaneer Kids Club Magic Floor
The The Oceaneer Kids Club offers 3-10 year olds crazy playtime while you grab an ever-so-pleasurable vacation nap. It includes wonderful arts and crafts, science activities, animated character play areas, dress up, and a realistic ship driving simulator, along with an interactive and immersive gaming experience called the Magic floor. Think of it like a big iPad that you can dance on–similar to what families may have experienced at other state-of-the-art kids clubs like the one at Atlantis.
Disney Imagineer Peter Ricci explained that counselors lead the kids in 10 different games on this floor made up of 28 video monitors with 16 touchpads around the perimeter. Bigger kids will get into the Tron game where a foot movement propels a disc, and younger ones can join in on simpler games that allow you to races cars around the track like Lightening McQueen in Cars.
Will your kids want to leave? Uh, no.
2. Animators Palate Restaurant:
Walk into the Animator’s Palate restaurant and you’ll find a combo of sophisticated architecture with Disney animations on the wall. The animations come to life with an undersea world displayed on more then 125-130 video monitors throughout the restaurant. Crush, Finding Nemo’s sea turtle, will swim up to your table area to actually converse with you or introduce you to other diners. It’s pretty ingenious and the kids get a huge kick out of it–but you probably aren’t going to want to eat here every meal. What can be entertaining at first can also get to be a little distracting too.
3. Magic Portholes:
The inside staterooms include “magic portholes” that give guests a real-time view outside the ship. Perhaps to stave off seasickness? The same magic works at the Skyline Lounge for Adults, where I saw images of 5 different cities displayed in
custom animation loops that look as if I was watching it live.
4. Enchanted Art:
Two dozen examples of “enchanted artwork” on the Disney Cruise ship are designed as peekaboo moments to surprise guests. You may stumble upon them by accident, as a static picture of Bambi and Thumper suddenly comes to life. A few of the pieces are also a part of a detective agency game that enable you to follow clues to different pieces to solve mysteries. (Heaven forbid there is a single moment when you are not entertained on the ship!)
5. Tween and Teen Clubs:
No matter what fantasies parents have of spending every moment together with their tweens or teens on a vacation, the reality is that they need time with kids their age.The 9,000 square foot Teen Club Vibe has a fountain bar, lots of comfortable seating and technology that enables everything from Karaoke and dance competitions, to group video games, and mixing music. Teens can also chill at their own private outdoor deck or spa.
Kids 11-13 will go nuts for the retro Tween Club Edge which includes a video gaming wall, lighted dance floor, and a room with a green screen to create your own music videos. Just ask my own 12 year-old son–when I came to pick him up, he pretended he didn’t know me.
I suppose that’s one point for Disney.
And while these are all great options if you hit a little bit of bad weather or need a break from the sun, your kids should definitely take advantage of all the non-techy fun too, from the truly amazing Aqua Duck water slide on board, to time just spent getting sunshine and fresh air by the pools. It is a cruise after all, around sunny, warm Florida and the beautiful Bahamian islands. -Beth
The Disney Dream starts sailing today. Click over for rates, reservations and more info. Thanks so much to Disney for covering cruise costs for media guests.