Disney Cruise Line launched the Disney Wonder cruise ship in 1999, and the cruise ship had an extreme 53-day makeover in the fall of 2016. Almost everything on the Disney Wonder was renovated or completely re-done, and the classic ship looks brand new. The ship is the same size as her older sister ship the Disney Magic, which was significantly refurbished in 2013.
Some things haven't changed. The cabins still have popular split bathrooms, familiar Disney characters are seen everywhere, and the Disney Wonder has excellent entertainment, activities, and dining venues for adults, kids, and family groups.
Frozen: A Musical Spectacular
Many travelers might not consider the onboard entertainment and activities as one of the key reasons for selecting a specific cruise ship. However, since the Disney Wonder is the only ship (Disney or otherwise) featuring the new production, Frozen: A Musical Spectacular, it certainly should move up on the list of ships for a cruise vacation.
Frozen: A Musical Spectacular debuted on the Disney Wonder in November 2016, and the musical is currently being shown in the 977-seat Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder. The 55-minute musical is shorter than the one hour and forty-nine-minute movie "Frozen", but the writer has kept all the music and iconic lines from the movie. It's a marvelous production and hearing the gasps and applause at certain key places in the musical will give you goosebumps. Many adult women nod their heads in agreement when the cast starts singing he's a "Fixer Upper".
The second major change to the Disney Wonder is the modifications made to the kid's clubs.
Marvel Super Hero Academy
The Disney Wonder Oceaneer Club for kids 3 to 12 years old has added two new fun areas. In addition, It's a Small World Nursery has been expanded and enhanced for the very young in mind.
The first new area in the Oceaneer Club is the Marvel Super Hero Academy, which is exclusive to the Disney Wonder. Superheroes like Captain America, Spiderman, and the Black Widow teach teamwork, strategy, and problem solving using a series of different "missions". The missions are very active and stress the importance of being a superhero on the inside, not the outside.
Captain America in the Marvel Super Hero Academy
At the Marvel Superhero Academy on the Disney Wonder cruise ship, kids get to interact with superhero favorites like Captain America.
Marvel Super Hero Black Widow
Although the Marvel Superhero Academy missions are not gendered specific, young girls (and boys) love the chance to undertake a mission with the Black Widow.
Frozen Adventures in the Oceaneer Club
Frozen Adventures is the second new addition to the Disney Wonder Oceaneer Club. This adventure is set in Wandering Oaken's Trading Post, with lots of props and details that kids will recognize from the film. Olaf leads digital games and the two princesses (Elsa and Anna) make an appearance, always thrilling the youngsters.
Tiana's Place Restaurant
Tiana's Place is a new dining venue for Disney Cruises and is exclusive to the Disney Wonder. This restaurant was inspired by Princess Tiana in the Disney animated feature, The Princess and the Frog. Diners at Tiana's Place feel like they are in New Orleans as they sample appetizers like sausage fritters or Gulf shrimp and grits and main dishes such as Cajun-spiced sea bass or roasted pork tenderloin on an Andouille sausage stew. As each course changes, see if you can tell the difference in each plate--you might see a frog change into a prince!
The Disney Wonder continues to use Disney's popular rotational dining for dinner, and Tiana's Place, Animator's Palate, and Triton's are the three restaurants scheduled. Tiana's Place is unique to the Disney Wonder and occupies the space where Parrot Cay was located.
In addition to the three rotational restaurants, the casual buffet has been remodeled and is now called Cabana's. The decor is fresh, and the outdoor dining area has been expanded.
Entertainment at Tiana's Restaurant
Diners love the entertainment at Tiana's Place, which feels like a New Orleans French Quarter supper club. A live jazz and blues musical combo and a limbo parade with staff and guests around the dining room add to the excitement.
Animator's Palate Restaurant
Animator's Palate is found on all the Disney ships, and it's a fun dining experience. During the Disney Wonder refurbishment, two new dinner shows were added called Drawn to Magic and Animation Magic. Guests get the opportunity to show off their animation skills, and it's fun for kids and adults.
Palo is the adults-only specialty restaurant on all the Disney ships, and it was remodeled during the Disney Wonder refurbishment. The room has a fresh look and the chocolate souffle is as good as ever.
One of the many things that Disney fans love on the Disney Wonder is the whimsical touches that remind guests they are on a Disney ship. Touches like hidden Mickeys in the decor, Mickey ice cream bars, and Mickey waffles are guaranteed to bring a smile.
Chandelier in the Atrium
The atrium on the Disney Wonder has been remodeled. One of the biggest changes is the new chandelier. Since a statue of Ariel, the Little Mermaid, graces the Disney Wonder atrium, it's appropriate that this chandelier looks like the red flowers in her tiara.
Disney Cruises decorates and celebrates the holidays starting in early November and continuing through the last week in December. Its holiday program is appropriately called, Very Merrytime Cruises. All the cruise ships are decorated for the holidays, Christmas music is played throughout the ships, and turkey is served for dinner in one of the restaurants. Guests get to see the characters and staff dressed in holiday attire. Plus, even Santa needs a cruise, so he's along for the ride.
Those who have sailed on the Disney Wonder before will notice that the stairs were moved. Doesn't the ship look amazing with the holiday decor?
Cabana's buffet restaurant has an expanded area for outdoor dining. The views of the wake at the aft of the ship are mesmerizing.
Water Slide and Pool Deck
The Twist 'n' Spout water slide on the Disney Wonder isn't as scary as the AquaDunk on the Disney Magic or as scenic as the AquaDuck on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, but kids still love it. Disney also modified Dory's Reef, a water area for toddlers, and AquaLab, a fun area for older kids (and adults) on the Disney Wonder.
Outdoor Video Screen and Swimming Pool
A huge new outdoor video screen (Funnel vision) has been added to the outdoor decks. Movies fun throughout the day and into the evening, and the schedule is printed in the daily Personal Navigator.
Quiet Cove Pool
Adults appreciate that the Disney Wonder has two swimming pools--one for kids and families and the other, called the Quiet Cove pool, for those over 18.
Although the Disney Wonder often seems to be humming with activities, it's not difficult to get a photo of one of the quiet hallways. The large portholes are very popular with kids and adults for lounging and watching the sea.
After Hours Entrance
The adult district on the Disney Wonder is one of the areas that has been renovated. It features three new lounges: the Crown & Fin Pub, Azure night club, and the Cadillac piano lounge. Adults traveling with kids will appreciate that this area is separated from the kids' and families' area in the evening.
Azure has musical entertainment, comedians, game shows, DJs, and dancing for adults in the evening. Its decor is done in white and is very elegant and contemporary. Be on the lookout for the nautical touches like shells and octopus tentacles.
The Cadillac Lounge is not new, but adults love the seats from old Cadillacs, the piano music, wine tastings, and mixology classes.
Crown & Fin Pub
The Crown & Fin Pub is the Disney Wonder's sports bar and is exclusive on the Disney Wonder. With its dark woods and leather furniture, it looks like a British pub. Add a few specialty brews, and adults will be convinced they are in merry ole' England. Those visiting the pub should be on the lookout for items used in Disney movies with British settings. You may have to ask the bartender, but try and find Mary Poppins' umbrella!
All the Disney Wonder cabins have been renovated, but the ship still has 877 cabins and carries 1750 guests with double occupancy. Since the ship has many family cabins with Pullman or sofa beds, the cruise ship can carry 2,713 guests when full.
Other changes to the cabins include new platform beds with room for luggage storage underneath and more drawer space.
Galveston - Embarkation and Debarkation Port
The Disney Wonder sails from several different homeports throughout the year.
USA travelers who live in the Midwest and Southwest can fly into Houston and will appreciate the Galveston sailings. This island is a great place to spend a few days before or after a cruise.
Castaway Cay - Port of Call in the Bahamas
In addition to Galveston, the Disney Wonder sails from the following home ports:
- Vancouver, British Columbia: Alaska cruises
- Port Canaveral, Florida: Bahamas, Castaway Cay, and the Caribbean (Port Canaveral is perfect for a Disney combination land and cruise. Spend a few days at Disney World before or after a cruise)
- San Juan, Puerto Rico: Southern and Eastern Caribbean
- San Diego, California: Mexican Riviera
No matter where you sail from on the Disney Wonder, you'll have a great family or adult cruise vacation. Be sure to go see Frozen: A Musical Spectacular. You'll love the play and the audience reaction (especially the kids).
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