Bookings open this month for the Disney Dream but already agents report that the rare
combination of an unusually loyal client base and an unusually long period between new-builds is causing a surge in sales.
One agent says Disney doesn't face the same pressure as other lines to continually raise the bar with eye-catching amenities: "There is a core clientele of Disney fans who want to experience every ship and every itinerary just because of their loyalty to the brand and the wonderful job that Disney does onboard."
With two new ships on the way, however, Disney will be looking to attract a broader audience than its loyal devotees. Thus when Disney unveiled the Dream to press and travel agents in New York, it made sense there was a mix of Disneyesque elements that the core client loves as well as two blockbuster additions, which is what people have come to expect when it comes to big, new
"I call them the two 'Wows,'" says Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. He's referring, of course, to the virtual portholes placed in inside staterooms and the giant Aqua Duck water coaster slide.
Holz explains why AquaDuck, which is 2.5 football fields long and constructed of clear acrylic, will be unique to cruising: "You’re going down this water coaster, and you’re propelled, so it will be a thrill a minute. When you loop out over the ocean, you’re looking down at the water 150 feet below you." In Disney’s first two ships, there was little from the theme parks, but AquaDuck is similar to Crush ‘N Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon in Disneyworld.
Disney doesn't expect long lines for the ride, thanks to a wide variety of other activities onboard, including significantly expanded facilities for kids and teens.
The second 'wow' is also unique in today’s marketplace, as it addresses something marginalized by many lines: interior staterooms. There are 131 of them out of 1,250 cabins on Disney Dream, and each will feature a 'virtual porthole.' Cameras placed on the exterior of the ship will provide live video of the ocean to what is actually a TV embedded in the wall over the bed. It can be turned off when not wanted.
"We want to do good things for everybody," says Holz. "Why do you think we give soft drinks to every member of the family for free? We want the inside staterooms to be a solid experience today, because in my mind, every room is special on this ship."