Disney Cruise Line is ready to bring some magic to the Australian cruise scene.
Arriving in Sydney on Friday, Disney Wonder is the first Disney Cruise Line ship to reach Aussie shores, bringing with it ‘Disney Magic at Sea’ – the term coined by Disney to describe Disney holidays and experiences at sea.
Disney Wonder has started its Australia and New Zealand sailings. (Image: Todd Anderson)
Having visited Disneyland in California earlier this year, I was excited to jump onboard and experience a taste of Disney on home soil. I wasn’t disappointed.
I’m not a die-hard Disney fan, but there is an undeniable energy when you’re immersed in the world of Disney. The cruise ship was no different. As soon as I stepped into the atrium, I was instantly transported to the odd perfection that encompassed the ship – every detail so intricate and well thought out.
The Disney Wonder allows families to set sail on one-of-a-kind itineraries in Australia and New Zealand. (Image: Steven Diaz)
What can kids do onboard?
For families, Disney Wonder is a dream holiday. From ages three to 12 (although I’d probably only suggest up to 11) kids can immerse themselves in the Oceaneer Club, a kids club that includes Andy’s Room from Toy Story where children will experience being ‘toy-sized’ as they play with the larger-than-life characters from the animated film.
In the vibrantly coloured Andy’s Room, the world of the Disney and Pixar “Toy Story” films comes to life. (Image: Amy Smith)
If your kids are under three, the It’s a Small World Nursery will welcome them into its patchwork of pastel colours. If they’re aged 11 to 14, they can enjoy the Edge club with both free-form and structured activities, from video games and dancing on the dance floor to themed nights.
If you’re bringing teens aged 13 to 17 onboard, the Vibe club will be their ultimate spot to hang out. With an open-plan loft-inspired lounge, there will be plenty of room for activities. From music, gaming and virtual reality sessions to smoothie workshops and spa treatments at the ‘Chill Spa’, a designated spot in the Senses Spa and Salon, they’ll be more than happy to do their own thing.
In the AquaLab, guests can soak in the sun and get soaked at this interactive water playground open to kids aged three and older.
The entertainment onboard Disney Wonder is world-class. There are three Broadway-style stage shows that will entertain all ages. We watched Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic, and it was so cute – I loved it. The other shows available are Frozen, A Musical Spectacular and The Golden Mickeys.
There are also movies shown in the Walt Disney Theatre, as well as on deck by the family pool and in the Buena Vista Theatre, a cinema that screens Disney films as they are released on land.
“The Golden Mickeys” celebrates the musical heritage of Disney animated films, immersing guests in all the glamour and excitement of a Hollywood awards gala. (Image: Steven Diaz)
What can adults do onboard?
Now, whether your kids are busy in their age-appropriate clubs, or you’re onboard child-free, the fun is only just beginning. There are a number of adults-only locations that will let you fully relax in peace.
The Quiet Cove Pool allows guests over 18 to enjoy a peaceful swim, to relax in the deck chairs or indulge in a cocktail at the connected Cove Cafe.
Cove Cafe is the perfect place to sip a coffee in the day and a wine or a cocktail in the evening. (Image: Kent Phillips)
At the luxurious Senses Spa and Salon, adults can indulge in spa treatments, massages, manicures, pedicures, and a rainforest-themed aromatherapy steam room and sauna.
There is also a fitness centre with state-of-the-art equipment, personal training sessions, yoga, Pilates, aerobics and more.
If you want to immerse in the nightlife, Disney Wonder has the charming English-style Crown and Fin Pub to watch some sports and have a pint. If you’re observant, you might be able to pick up on subtle nods to classic Disney films set in London through artwork and props.
There is also the Cadillac Lounge, an intimate piano bar that pays homage to the Rat Pack at their peak in Hollywood in the late 1950s, and Azure, a trendy nightclub designed to look like the ocean.
Crown and Fin invites guests to take a jaunt to an authentic English tavern. (Image: Amy Smith)
Dining on Disney Wonder
There are three themed dining experiences on Disney Wonder and guests rotate between the three while onboard, with the same serving team each night offering personalised service.
We dined at Animator’s Palate, where guests become a part of the ‘Drawn to Magic’ animation show that happens throughout the meal. It was so fun and the food was tasty.
At Animator’s Palate, the room comes to life as guests are immersed in Disney animation. (Image: Matt Stroshane)
The other restaurants are Tiana’s Place, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant that offers southern-style food and live jazz entertainment, and Tritons, a more sophisticated restaurant with The Little Mermaid touches throughout the venue.
Just before you enter Tiana’s Place, you’ll be met with the French Quarter Lounge, a New Orleans-inspired watering hole exclusive to the Disney Wonder. (Image: Ken Phillips)