First Look - Disney Cruise Line's 'Magic' to Undergo Renovation


Travel Agent got to attend a sneak peek of the upcoming enhancements to the Disney Magic following the ship’s drydock in Cadiz, Spain from September to October. Joe Lanzisero, Senior Vice President Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering, is directing the design development for the Magic, and talked to us about what guests can expect when the renovations wrap. 

The Magic was Disney’s first ship, and Lanzisero said that the team decided to build on what they knew already worked well with all different kinds of families. “The approach to the design was to brighten and open the spaces up,” he said. To that end, the three-deck Atrium is losing a staircase and getting some new decor, including a blue and aquamarine seashell-inspired designs. The grand piano and giant portholes recall the days of early 20th century ocean liners.

Another reimagined area, D Lounge, offers a variety of family-friendly games, shows, dances and activities for all ages. Families can enjoy entertainment, game shows and activities together in D Lounge which replaces the current Studio Sea. 

And the guestrooms are also getting some attention, too: Bed frames will be elevated to provide storage space underneath, and bathrooms will be converted into the split-bath style that lets several family members use different facilities at the same time without intruding on privacy.

For the Kids

Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to 3- to 12-year-old children, will get several new additions. With Marvel now under the Disney umbrella, several comic book superheroes will make their debut on a DCL ship. The Club will have Marvel’s Avengers Academy, “a high-tech command post used by The Avengers for special missions and operations training.” Throughout the base, displays include Iron Man’s suit of armor, Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer, and “recruits” in the Academy can go on special missions. Avengers Academy is a multi-day, immersive entertainment experience where children interact with Marvel characters and unleash their inner super heroes. (It’s a pity the Club has an upper age limit. We know plenty of grown-ups who could happily spend a day at the Academy.) 

Adjacent to Marvel’s Avengers Academy is Andy’s Room, where kids can explore the Disney-Pixar “Toy Story” trilogy in a multi-level space. Stocked with life-sized toys, the room has a huge Mr. Potato Head (complete with interchangeable pieces), a giant version of the piggy bank, Hamm, and a Slinky Dog slide. And yes, all of the toys are under an enormous bed that kids can walk on...and Lanzisero said it actually feels like a mattress. (Again, why do only kids get to play with this?)

Next door is Pixie Hollow, where Tinker Bell’s teapot house serves as a costume closet and children can make crafts while sitting on stools shaped like mushrooms and acorns. There’s also the Mickey Mouse Club, another new children’s area where kids can create crafts and play games on ear-shaped tables. The club also features Goofy Gears, an oversized activity where kids play with magnetic spinning gears.

And for younger kids, Disney’s Oceaneer Lab (for three- to 12-year-olds) has an animator’s studio, a “pirate workshop” and a lab that lets kids get hands-on to create experiments and art projects. Cool touch: Navigator Simulators let kids steer a ship through the waters of The Caribbean. For the youngest cruisers — ages three months to three years — is the new It’s a Small World Nursery with trained counselors.

For Grown-Ups

After Hours is the ship’s nighttime adult entertainment district that will replace the current Beat Street. An all-new lineup of clubs includes venues for dancing, comedy, music and variety shows. “It’s our goal to create a sleek and sophisticated adult experience in After Hours,” Lanzisero said. “Each of the three clubs has a different feel that complements the others.”

Fathoms nightclub utilizes special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres from early evening to night. And for guests seeking a lower-key nighttime experience (pun intended), there is Keys piano bar and lounge (replacing Sessions) where they can unwind with a cocktail and listen to musicians play the ivories. An Irish pub, O’Gills, replaces Diversions on Deck 3. 

The enhanced Senses Spa & Salon has been redesigned and expanded by 725 square feet, to a total size of nearly 11,500 square feet. A new Smile Spa offers teeth whitening services, a new barbershop offers services for the gentlemen and the new Chill Spa provides treatments especially for teens 13 to 17 years of age.

Water Activities

The upper ship decks of the Disney Magic have been redesigned with a three-story water slide for older kids (and adults) and a Huey, Dewey and Louie-themed toddler splash zone for smaller children.

The AquaDunk is a three-story body slide that begins with a surprise launch: Riders step inside a translucent tube...and then the floor beneath them opens like a trap door, sending them on a fast ride in a clear tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship. (NB: Guests taller than 48 inches can ride the AquaDunk.)

AquaLab is an interactive water playground open to kids ages three and up, with pop jets, geysers and bubblers. The Twist n’ Spout water slide has more than 250 feet of loops and turns for guests between 38 and 64 inches tall. And kids up to age three can play in the new Nephews’ Splash Zone (named for Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie). The area has plenty of water play with pop jets and squirting figures of the ducklings.


Magic will continue its tradition of “rotational dining” in which passengers go from restaurant to restaurant (always with the same servers, maintaining that all-important relationship). Cariocas, the ship’s casual dining restaurant that replaces Parrot Cay, was a good pick for daytime meals, but lacked the right ambiance for evening. The restaurant is getting a new color scheme that will pick up on lights to better set any desired mood. 

Animator’s Palate is getting new technology that will let guest-drawn artwork appear on digital walls throughout the restaurant, and the “Drawn to Magic” experience will let animated characters come to life on screens by tables. Coolest of all, the guest drawings can interact with Mickey and Donald and the rest of the gang, creating a unique experience for budding artists.

Topsider Buffet is getting a complete gut renovation as well as a new name: Cabanas. When complete, in place of the buffet line, guests can go to different food stations to get exactly what they want. The wall will be further expanded onto what was the patio, keeping more guests inside the air conditioning. 



Suggested Articles

Grand Bahama has paradisiacal beaches, technicolored flora and fauna and astonishing snorkeling opportunities. Read more here.

The ship will join Genting Cruise Lines, which is part of Crystal parent company Genting Hong Kong, on a new venture, the details of which will be announced at…

A number of hotels and travel management companies, as well as a major cruise line, made new executive appointments this week. Here's what you need to…