I got to sail on the Disney Wonder!

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!

The view of the Disney Wonder from the car park
It was exciting seeing the Disney Wonder in all its glory, even from the car park!

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!

Close up of the front of the Disney Wonder
If you aren’t looking closely, you won’t notice Mickey at the very front of the Wonder
Mickey Mouse is also prominent on the Wonder's two funnels
You can also spot the Mickey Mouse symbol on the two funnels

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.

At the end of the French Quarter are booths inside a street car
Rabbit taking the same street car Tiana did

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!

Tiana's place plates have the frong along the outside in a subtle fashion
The fine yet subtle detail on the plates is amazing to see

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!

Rabbit decorating our stateroom door
The Disney banner and magnets made our room feel more ‘ours’

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!

Donald Duck under the waterslide
The kids play area is well thought out for the small space

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.

Sulley's Sips Menu - Smoothies, coffe and tea
Sulley’s Sips Menu – Smoothies, coffee and tea
And the Ice Cream Sign
Being Monsters Inc themed, of course it’s an Eye Scream Station

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.

The movie screen on Deck 9
The screen shows Disney Movies almost all day

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!

Close up of the side of the rear funnel
Here close up you can finally spot the hidden Mickey on the funnel
Cargo ship loading across the water
The Disney Wonder looks considerably nicer than other ships near us at the docks

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.

The Walt Disney Theatre
The Walt Disney Theatre was an amazing experience

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.

The Little Mermaid Mural from Port Adventures
It’s a different mural, but still shows King Triton and others. The detail is amazing in both murals!

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.

Gas pump out the front of the Cadillac Bar
This pump survived a retheming of this area. The Cadillac Bar was a Cars-themed venue, so as it fit the theme, the pump stayed on.

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.

Character Meet and Greet
It’s Captain Hook and Smee! I might need to keep an eye on these treacherous Pirates!

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.

Storyboard art from a Disney Cartoon
Seeing these proofs, drafts and concepts throughout the ship had me incredibly excited

Chilling with coffee back at the French Quarter, we got to appreciate some of the finer details of our surroundings.

Theatre Masks above the stage in the French QUarter
The detail on a prop above the French Quarter Stage shows the attention to detail paid to every aspect of the cruise experience

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!

The D Lounge Bar and Stage
If it wasn’t for the name, you would think the D Lounge was like any other lounge
Bright Mickey Logo on the roof of the D Lounge
Until you look up, and see the Mickey Logo looking over you

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.

Waiting to see Frozen in the Walt Disney Theatre
Even though it was the same theatre, the pre-show setup had you thinking it was a different theatre

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.

The images in the Animator's Palate come to life
Seeing the concept art on the walls and the same art come to life on the frames 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.

Fireworks at sea!
The timing of the fireworks was matched to the action on stage

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.

Donald Duck approaching the Meet and Greet
Donald Duck! I am not sure about the different uniform though.

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.

Learn to Draw Hei Hei
I had to make sure to highlight my drawing of Hei Hei, as it matched the instructions perfectly.

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!

Paper Yoda and R2-D2
It’s just glued cardboard, but making Yoda and R2-D2 was a lot of fun

Day Three – Show and Dinner

The final show surprised me – it wasn’t a normal show, it was an awards ceremony – The Golden Mickeys!

The Golden Mickeys Award Show
The entrance to the Walt Disney Theatre was decked out like the Academy Awards

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!

The Walt Disney Theatre ready for the awards
Once again, the Walt Disney Theatre looked like a different venue on arrival

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.

The Cadillac Lounge
The lighting is based on headlights/tail lights, and wheel tables – the lounge is amazing and comfortable

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.

Sea Scouts Story Board
Sea Scouts holds a special place in my heart

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,