Disney Magic, the oldest ship in the Disney Cruise Line’s fleet, turns 20 this year, but a sprinkling of pixie dust during a recent dry dock gave the vessel several cool new enhancements that kids, teens, and adults will enjoy in different ways. Since its early March makeover, the 2,713-passenger ship is even more of a floating family entertainment venue than it was, with super heroes, fairy tale characters, princesses, and pirates interacting with passengers from early morning until midnight. Here’s what has been added to Disney Magic since the last time you may have been aboard.
Marvel Day at Sea
A confession: I know almost nothing about comic books and the movies they’ve inspired—I had no clue who Captain America was and while I’d heard the buzz about the movie Black Panther I didn’t have a strong desire to see it. But after experiencing the non-stop action of Disney Magic’s new Marvel Day at Sea, I now know that Steve Rogers is the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan and Black Panther is worth seeing a second time. Oh, and Spider-Man poses in several super cool ways, so don’t miss taking a photo with him.
Marvel Day at Sea starts at 8 a.m. with a ticketed Super Hero photo session with Spider Man, Iron Man, and Black Panther—even before, actually, as theme songs from the top Marvel action movies play throughout the ship and announcements are made with tongue-in-cheek action hero style dialogue. It culminates with the Marvel Heroes Unite stunt spectacular deck show featuring good guys and a few villains (look out for Loki!) from the comic book and movie franchises as well as special effects and pyrotechnics that create the best deck party of the cruise. In between, young and old can watch Marvel movies (some in 3D), learn to draw their favorite characters, test their Marvel trivia skills, borrow an iPad loaded with 273 Marvel comics, and strut around in super hero get-ups during the Marvel Costume Celebration.
In 2019, Disney Magic will feature 10 Marvel Day at Sea sailings to the Western Caribbean and the Bahamas in January, February, and March.
Rapunzel’s Royal Table
Disney knows that its guests love the 2010 film Tangled—a stage show, “Tangled: The Musical,” is a featured production on every Disney Magic sailing—so for fans who can’t get enough of long-haired Rapunzel, the smoldering bandit-turned-suitor Flynn Rider (aka Eugene Fitzherbert), and the gang of misfit Snuggly Duckling Thugs, this dinner-theater-style eatery keeps the glow going (yes, there are wish lanterns aplenty).
Designed to mimic a castle banquet hall in the Kingdom of Corona, Rapunzel’s Royal Table is a rowdy, foot-stomping, conga-line parade of an experience that kids seem to really enjoy—and adults were split on. The reasons? It’s loud (as in there’s too much noise in this large, acoustically challenging room) and the menu (which is heavy on charcuterie, meat, and potatoes in a medieval way, while the salad and sea bass offerings were somewhat bland) just wasn’t up to the level of the ship’s other two complimentary dinner restaurants (Lumiere’s and Animator’s Palate). That said, the pretzel bread was yummy. So if making kids love Rapunzel and Flynn Rider even more was the goal, this rollicking venue can be considered a success—although my wish during the lantern parade was for better food.
Vibe Teen Hangout
Cruise with a 14- to 17-year-old aboard Disney Magic and you may never see him or her—except, perhaps, during Marvel Day at Sea—thanks to this redesigned hangout space designed like an urban loft and tucked away up a set of stairs in the ship’s faux second smokestack. Yes, it’s cool, so cool that there’s a barista to serve free espresso drinks and smoothies (I was jealous) and a roster of music, parties (with snacks like chips and guacamole), and games to keep teens social and happy.
Located within the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool area, Cove Café underwent a renovation during dry dock that gave it a sophisticated tropical ambience. The space was quite popular throughout the cruise, serving as a cool, quiet spot to read while sipping a specialty coffee or tea (at added cost, generally $4 to $5). If beer, wine, or mixed tropical drinks are more your style, you could head next door to the also-spruced-up Signal Bar.
Also redesigned, this relaxing adults-only thermal room in the Senses Spa features two steam rooms, a trio of rainforest experience showers (one hot, one warm, and one with an invigorating cold fog), and a half-dozen heated tile recliners that are the antidote to the on-deck cacophony of the AquaDunk and AquaLab pools. You’ll need to pay for a pass (there are daily or entire cruise options) to enjoy the Rainforest Room and the dry saunas and hydrotherapy tubs are in the men’s and women’s changing rooms.
Club Disney Junior
This colorfully redesigned play space in the ship’s Oceaneer Club (for kids aged 3-12) has tables and screens for games, storytelling, activities, and videos—many tied into the day’s theme, be it pirates or super heroes.