Sorry, it’s been a while. There has been a lot going on. The good news is that a lot of this is almost done with, so I can start coming back semi-regularly with updates! One thing we have been looking forward to all year was sailing on the Disney Wonder.
It was a short cruise – only 3 nights as the Wonder did some laps off the Queensland Coast. But it was an amazing time, a great break, and one I wanted to share with everyone.
Most people think Disney cruises would be very ‘in your face’ – that isn’t true. The Disney branding is incredibly subtle.
As such, I have done my best to point out the highlights in each image to help you feel truly there.
Day One – Arriving at the dock
Like any trip, the first thing you need to do is get there. It was here we first saw the Disney Wonder in person!
Getting closer to the ship, it was exciting to see some of the finer details on the outside of the ship. If you aren’t looking closely, you can barely tell the Disney Wonder was a floating Disney attraction!
We then went through all the ‘normal’ boarding routines, similar to getting on an airplane.
Day One – Boarding the Disney Wonder and Lunch
Boarding the Disney Wonder was also similar to getting on a plane. Walking along a loading bridge/gangway, we stepped onto the ship and got a very pleasant surprise.
As you board the ship, the crew announces your arrival upon the Wonder. You enter via the Atrium (pics later), and Goofy was present to welcome us aboard.
Sorry I didn’t get any pics of this, it was an amazing experience and I didn’t think to take pics.
On day one, we were scheduled to have lunch at Tiana’s place – a themed restaurant based on ‘The Princess and the Frog‘.
On the way, we got to pass through the French Quarter, and Rabbit took the chance while quiet to enjoy the booths fashioned after a streetcar.
Every restaurant has a theme, with Tiana’s being Creole based. We took the time to enjoy the quieter lunch experience while people were still boarding.
The decorations and atmosphere don’t stop at the food though – the entire room (and every room on the Disney Wonder) is amazingly themed, down to even the plates and cutlery!
Day One – Settling in and exploring the Disney Wonder
Not too much to show here – we had a stateroom with a verandah which was nice to stay in, but we only went here to sleep.
Rabbit was prepared though and bought magnets and various items to decorate the room of our stateroom. I think you would agree they did an amazing job!
After settling in, we then started exploring the Disney Wonder. First, we went up and explored the pool section, which on the kids side (non 18+ only side) has a waterslide and a play area.
In this play area is a Donald Duck, who if you aren’t careful will blow his stack! How this works is there are some areas where if you run around, water gets poured to play in. After a certain amount of turns, Donald ‘blows his stack’ in a stream of water coming from the centre!
By the pool are some eating areas, including soft drink refills and ice cream! Some like the smoothies from Sulley’s sips you line up for to be freshly made, but other like the Eye Scream ice cream station let you serve yourself almost all day.
Also on this deck is a massive screen on the rear funnel. This screen shows movies during the day and shows a closer view of special events.
Walking around the deck, we got our last look at Brisbane for a few days as well as a close-up of some more hidden Mickeys!
Day One – A Show, Dinner and then Calling it a night
Being on the late dinner, we got to see a show every night followed by dinner at one of the three main restaurants.
The first show we saw was Disney’s Dreams. This was an amazing experience I wish I could share with you, but photography is not allowed during the performance.
Disney’s Dreams was the adventures of a young girl visited by the Blue Fairy, who ‘had to find her magic’ by 6am. This was the setup to see many classic Disney numbers performed, and has to be seen to be believed.
After the show, we had dinner at Triton’s, a French food restaraunt themed after The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately it was too dark to get any really good photos, but luckily Port Adventures shared a similar mural that I can show in more detail here.
Finally, we had a look at a couple of bars. I was very tempted by the Cadillac bar (coming back here later) and was impressed once again with the location theming.
Day Two – Exploring
Okay, the rest of the days aren’t as full on as I was busy ‘doing’ rather than filming.
Exploring during the day, we got to see some character Meet and Greets (one of the big attractions of the Disney Wonder). While we didn’t line up to see any of the characters, it was amazing watching the interactions, especially with the young children.
Throughout the Disney Wonder, there are so many wonderful photos, paintings and my favourite sketches and storyboards from various cartoons.
There are so many different pieces of animation history on display it’s a little overwhelming.
Chilling with coffee back at the French Quarter, we got to appreciate some of the finer details of our surroundings.
We got to do ‘normal’ cruise activities such as trivia and Karaoke. The difference was a Disney slant on the activities, but you were by no means limited to Disney properties.
That said, the D Lounge was amazing, with the most subtle hidden Mickey of all on the roof!
Day Two – Show and Dinner
Again, there isn’t much I can show you from the second night’s performance. We saw Frozen on stage, and it was an amazing show.
Not my favourite, but only because it was Frozen the stage show – it was the live version of the film – nothing more, nothing less. I cannot fault the performance, and for any Frozen fan, it would have ranked higher I think.
For dinner, we went to the Animator’s Palate. This was my favourite experience of the entire cruise. I won’t say everything that happens as I don’t want to spoil the magic.
I will say as you eat there are many scenes from classic Disney films shown from concept to the final product, and it was amazing.
I didn’t get a good image, but again it was the small touches of the Animator’s Palate that made it. Everything looked ‘sketched’, including the non-uniform tiles on the floor.
Day Two – Marvel’s Heroes Unite
After dinner, there was another show to look forward to – Marvel’s Heroes Unite. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any shots of the actual show. This is probably for the best, as if you get to experience it you don’t want it spoiled.
During the show though was a fireworks show – a Disney Cruise special! The fireworks were timed with the performance and capped off the first full day at sea.
Day Three – Exploring
Another fun day of exploring the Disney Wonder. The first thing we saw was one of my favourite Disney characters coming down the hall – Donald Duck! This was the one Meet and Greet I was tempted to line up for, but that meant missing other things while I was in line.
We then arrived at the French Quarter again for a drawing class. Each ‘learn to draw’ was a different character, and we did Hei Hei from Moana.
After this, we did Star Wars Trivia. We didn’t win, but except for mixing up two characters, I was happy with my score. After this, we did Star Wars Crafts and made a Yoda and R2-D2!
Day Three – Show and Dinner
The final show surprised me – it wasn’t a normal show, it was an awards ceremony – The Golden Mickeys!
As a show, sure it was a thin plot to perform various musical numbers from various Disney properties. This didn’t stop me from enjoying the show, another amazing performance!
Following the Golden Mickeys, we had a drink and listened to live piano at the Cadillac Lounge. The piano was great, with a selection of hits from Sir Elton John and Billy Joel.
The cocktails were great as well, and everything in the lounge was again impeccably themed. From the bucket seat couches, tail fin brake light lighting and tyre tables – it was a very relaxing break before dinner.
Our last dinner was where we started – Tiana’s place. The biggest difference was a band playing all evening and a Mardi Gras parade that everyone at dinner got to participate in!
I didn’t get any pictures as I was up in the parade, but the performance from Louis the trumpet-playing alligator was amazing!
Day Four – Last Day / Leaving the Disney Wonder
The final day was a sad one. Early up, breakfast at Tiana’s at 8 and off the Disney Wonder by 9.
The cruise was exactly what I needed – a couple of days without internet, fun activities and wonderful company.
Honestly, I can’t say the cruise is great value for money, but that is mainly due to Disney’s premium pricing and partly US/AUD conversion rates. You can go on other cruises for longer at the price, but won’t have that Disney experience alongside the extra time, so it’s all down to what you want out of the trip.
Would I do the cruise again? In a heartbeat! If we can swing it, I would like to do a longer cruise next time. This would for example give me a day for some character Meet and Greets without missing out on anything else, and more time for anything else we missed.
It was an amazing trip, and I enjoyed every second of it.
The Disney Wonder’s last surprise for me
One final image to leave with – on the last day I found a storyboard from Sea Scouts showing Admiral Donald Duck.
This is one of the first cartoons I remember watching at the cinema and holds a special place in my heart because of it.
I do apologise that this picture isn’t as good as the others – it’s a bit grainy as the lighting wasn’t great. I still had to share to show the last surprise the Disney Wonder had for me though.
If you would like to see some of the pictures that didn’t make it into this blog, keep an eye on my Instagram account over the next few days!
Until next time,JohnHQLD