Considered the gold standard of family cruise ships, Disney’s worked its magic to create a cruise that has something for all ages, from toddlers to seniors. An incredible new musical production, “Frozen: A Musical Spectacular”, updated staterooms, new restaurant, kids’ areas, even the spa has been given a face lift. But you need to know the secret to be sure your kids get to meet their princesses onboard the reimagine Disney Wonder!
Onboard the Disney Wonder
You can hear a hush come over the crowd as the blue chiffon-clad celebrity finally makes an entrance. Have they gathered for a star-studded evening with Beyonce or Lady Gaga? If you’re a pre-tween girl, it’s better than that. Has Taylor Swift arrived? Close— it’s Elsa, “Frozen’s” ice princess, as close to rock star status as it gets for the 3 to 10-year-old crowd.
Arriving in full regalia, she’s here for a princess character Meet & Greet aboard the Disney Wonder and these Elsa look-alikes are pumped! For the first time in forever, as the song goes, history’s most popular animated movie is coming to life on a stage, but only aboard the Disney cruise ship Wonder.
Frozen: A Musical Spectacular
This is Disney, so you won’t be surprised to hear there are breathtaking special effects. Light projections around the beautiful art nouveau theater allow audience to feel immersed in the experience. It feels real (especially when snowflake-like bubbles being to fall). Yet creators never lost sight of the most important element… the story.
“We keep raising the bar and using new technology, but never let technology take over the story, or you lose the heart,” says Jim Urry, Vice President of Entertainment and Port Adventures for Disney Cruise Line.”The show is loved and revered by so many people. We thought it was perfect for a cruise ship because we carry such a wide range of people.”
To bring this story to life, Disney brought several Tony-Award nominated Broadway veterans aboard. Michael Curry, who designed puppets for Broadway’s Lion King, created Frozen’s innovative puppets. Our favorites were loyal reindeer Sven and lovable snowman, Olaf. The Broadway actor who plays Olaf and manipulates the puppet stole the show!
Along with the world-class acting are familiar songs like “Let It Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “For the First Time in Forever”.
Reimagined Kids Areas On Board Disney Wonder
Frozen fun continues in the Oceaneers Club, the gold standard when it comes to cruise kids clubs. Frozen Adventures looks like a cozy Norwegian cabin, filled with Frozen-themed games.
Another brand new Oceaneers area is the Marvel Super Hero Academy. Kids check in to the high-tech command post (a table of computers with the latest games) and create superhero names. You might be surprised by the names they come up with. My 8-year-old chose Skunk Girl. Hey, it’s her vacation, right?! A massive TV screen with latest superhero games keeps lots of kids entertained.
My daughter enjoys the video games, but there are cool crafts and wacky science experiments too. There are always games going on, led by fun Oceaneers Club counselors. I’m amazed at the number of adults working in the kids club. Every few feet I’ll find an adult in their 20’s playing with the kids. They’re running crafts, playing video games and romping through the play area in the adorable “Toy Story”-themed Andy’s Room. That was my daughter’s favorite space in the Oceaneer’s Club.
Disney’s doing a great job making sure staff have fun with the kids. It’s a big reason why the kids are all so excited to go to the Oceaneers Club.
The Edge Club for tweens was also completely redone. It now has the newest games, both digital and “old school” and decorated like the coolest basement hangout you’ve ever seen.
Secret to Meeting the Princesses
Lots of passengers have no idea that there are ticketed events aboard ship. Some of them are complimentary, but so popular that Disney issues tickets for crowd control. As a result, popular events like the Princess Character Meet & Greet and the Frozen Meet & Greet require tickets.
To avoid disappointment, and by that I mean a raging toddler tantrum, head straight to Guest Services the second you walk on the boat. I’m not kidding. Do this before you go to lunch. Ask Guest Services to tell you exactly which events you will need tickets to on the cruise. If you wait until the second day (like I unfortunately did), you may not get those tickets.
My daughter wants to meet Elsa and Anna, but we’re not able to score tickets to the Princess Meet & Greet. Can’t believe I made that rookie mistake! Luckily, Elsa and Anna show up at the Oceaneers Club for a pretend coronation, so she got to see them there. I wasn’t able to get a picture of her with them, though.
Using Your Personal Navigator
Every day a schedule of activities, called the Personal Navigator, arrives in your room. It lists everything from what first-run movies are playing, to live music and character appearances. It also lists special events happening throughout the day in the Oceaneers Kids Club. Because of that, we saw there’d be a coronation in the Frozen “Cabin” after dinner. I was hoping Elsa & Anna would show up. Luckily they did!
One disappointment is that lines are long (often 30-45 minutes) throughout the cruise to meet characters. Thankfully, on the last night of our cruise, every character from Mickey to Donald to the princesses shows up for a “good-bye & thanks for sailing” event. That’s when we get most of our character shots. A perfect ending to our cruise! Here’s another secret tip on how to meet the hottest Disney characters without losing your cool. Lines are always shorter on port days.
The Disney Wonder departs from a variety of ports including Galveston, Vancouver and San Diego, on 2-14 night sailings.