Disney Magic during her first call at the Norwegian town of Geiranger, at the 10th of june 2015. She is shown together with Holland America's Rotterdam and, in the far distance, Saga Cruises' Saga Pearl II.
The first ship for a company that has changed the leisure industry, as we can maybe even say, was built at the Fincantieri Yards at Marghera, Italy as yardnumber 5989. The Walt Disney Company had already offered cruises aboard the ships of the Premier Cruise Line between 1983 and 1993 so people could extend their holiday after they visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. When the deal ended in 1993 and Premier Cruise Line was declared bankrupt in 1997, Disney had set up their own cruiseline, Magical Cruise Company Limited in 1995 to finetune their cruise-experience and offer a totally new form of holidaymaking with the company. The leisureindustry was of course not new, neither was cruising, but Disney created a whole new world around their venture and that was something we don't see often. Next to their own departureterminal in Port Canaveral, based in design on the art-deco oceanterminal at Southampton, England, the company also bought their own island, Castaway Quay, instead of leasing it like most other lines. But most importantly, there had to be ships and Disney did not start lightly, as they placed an order for two liners of 83.000 tons at the famous Italian yards.
The first to float out was Disney Magic, at the 17th of april of 1997 to be precise. The ship measured a total of 83.338 tons, has a lenght of 294,06 meters and is 32,25 meters wide. She is driven by five 16-cylinder diesel engines powering two propellers that can reach a speed of 21,5 knots normally, maximum given is 25,36 knots. This makes the ship quite fast. A maximum passengercapacity is 2500, but based on a two-per-cabin number this is 1750. Those are cared for by 954 crewmembers at her 11 passengerdecks.
The ship seen from high up docked at Alesund, Norway at the 9th of june 2015.
Disney is not a company that does something half. The ships are designed to be a family-friendly total package, of couse especially suitable for children of all ages. The ship is decorated in art-deco throughout, a little hint to oceanliner history. Outside, this is also visible, as she is the modern equivalent to Cunard Line's first Queen Elizabeth, built in the late 1930's. Even the colours are the same, but this is mostly because the mouse is also co-incidently in Cunard colours. There is a true nautical style aboard with of course, The Famous Mouse at the helm.
As the ship is catering especially for families, she is one of few large cruiseliners that does not have a casino aboard. There is of course a great theater where most of all Disney characters are present and all is presented in large-scale Broadway style. Where she also cannot do without is two large movietheaters, the Walt Disney Theater and the Buana Vista theater. The first one mostly shown movies made by Disney and the second is dedicated to classical films. Next up, there are several lounges, nightclubs and bars, as always, and a few pools. The main ones are the Cove Pool, that is especially for adults to have a quiet time when children are busy, Goofy's Pool, which is the main pool, and the AquaDunk and the AquaLab pool and waterslide, that is a very exciting waterworld aboard for every age. The last one was created in a ships update in october 2013. Next to Goofy's Pool is also the giant screen named Funnel Vision due to its location at the back of the first funnel. A large sportsdecks and spa-area is also included, but especially cool are the ships restaurants. The most fascinating is the Animator's Palate, where during diner a comic is evolving at the walls, changing from grey when diner starts to colourfull drawings when diner ends. Then there is Lumiere's, art-deco style French cuisine and the Brazilian style Carioca's Restaurant. Palo is serving northern Italian dishes for 18-years or older so it gives a little more quiet space. Of course there are also several informal places to dine all day, like the lido restaurant Cabana's, a pizzeria and a hamburgerrestaurant and several outdoor places next to the pools. In the main restaurants, there are two seatings, the last one dedicated for more quiet dining as the first one is mostly filled with children under 18.
Below, a peek-through at Geiranger Fjord, Norway at the 10th of june 2015.
Children of all ages are taken care of, from the youngest ones in the Its A Small World nursery, the Oceaneer Club and Lab for three to ten year olds, The Edge for 11 to 14-year olds and the Vibe Club for teens. For all ages, appropriate actvities are organised, but Disney is clearly not forgetting the older children, like us, who also have their own spaces and so as the child-filled ship sails, you can still find several spots to have a quiet holiday. Disney just offers so much for children that you yourself can have a relaxed holiday aboard too.
No, the Norwegian fireboat does not spray for the Mickeyboat, she provided a watery curtain for the Rotterdam at Alesund.
At the 21st of june, 1998, the ship was delivered to her owners and her first cruise departed from Port Canaveral in Florida at the 30th of june that year. The same day, she had been named by Patricia Disney, the former wife of Walt Disney's nephew Roy E. Disney. When the ship sounded her horn, the first seven notes of 'When You Wish Upon A Star' could be recognized and this is the tune she mostly plays with her horn, although she also has a normal horn of course. Disney Magic mostly sailed seven-night cruises from Port Canaveral, but from 2005 onwards she also sails the American westcoast. In 2007, she first sailed the Mediterranean from Barcelona and she now is seen more often in Europe as the larger ships Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy entered service in the Caribbean.
At the morning of the 8th of january of 2015, Disney Magic was sailing the Caribbean close to the coast of Mexico, when they picked up a 22-year old male passenger who was fallen overboard the Oasis Of The Seas, sailing just in front of the ship. The man was washed off the Royal Caribbean ship during a morning stroll on deck and strangely, nobody aboard the huge vessel had detected the incident. He was lucky that the Disney ship was so close by and spotted the man drifting in the water. Luckily, he wasn't injured, but he was brought over to Cozumel's Punta Langosta for a medical checkup before flying home to the USA.
In june 2015, I was lucky enough to meet up close for a few days, as she sailed three ports together with Holland America's Rottedam where I happened to be onboard.