By Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel
10:34 AM EDT, October 21, 2013
The Disney Magic has gone under the knife and is on its way to Miami. The re-imagined cruise ship spent four weeks at the Navantia Shipyards in Cadiz, Spain and is set to show off its new gams so to speak at its winter home of PortMiami before repositioning to Port Canaveral in January 2014.
The ship had been slated to arrive on Sunday, Oct. 20, but poor weather forced the Magic to finish work in Port Canaveral before beginning sailing 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to the Bahamas and the Caribbean starting Oct. 25.
Most notable will be the new waterslides on the upper deck including the unique AquaDunk, a fast, three-story drop slide in which the rider is sent out of bomb-bay doors.
The enhancements to the Magic, which debuted for the line in 1998, come on the heels of the introduction of the line's newest and larger ships the Disney Dream and Fantasy in 2011 and 2012.
"What's kind of fun is that we launched two great new ships, the Dream and the Fantasy," said Joe Lanzisero, senior vice president for creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering. "We took learnings from the Magic over to those ships and we learned new things ... and now we're taking some of the great things we learned from the Dream and the Fantasy and bringing them back to the Magic."
Those things include the addition of the Animation Magic feature at the Animator's Palate restaurant, in which diners' drawings are brought to life alongside classic Disney animation while they're eating. Also coming to the Magic is a revamp of the nightlife area, being redubbed After Hours, a revamp of the kids-oriented Oceaneer Club and a change to two of the ships' dining areas.
"Guests will step aboard this beloved ship to find familiar elements refashioned with new touches of magic designed to delight all ages," said Disney Cruise Line president Karl Holz.
New to the ship and not appearing on any other of the fleet's vessels include:
-- Carioca's, named for Donald's parrot pal in the film "The Three Caballeros," will be a Brazilian-themed restaurant
-- After Hours, with two unique options: Fathoms nightclub, which will transform its look and feel with lighting and special effects as the evening moves into night and also Keys piano bar. A third venue, O'Gills Irish pub is featured on the Disney Fantasy
-- Marvel's Avengers Academy, a multi-day experience in which children ages 3-12 can interact with characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor while taking on crime-fighting duties of their own
-- The AquaDunk, a thrill-seeker's waterslide that will drop riders out of a bomb-bay door into a translucscent tube that begins 35 above the pool deck and twists around 20 feet over the side of ship before coming in for a landing
-- Twist n' Spout is a 250-foot-long slide that goes through four twists as it wends its way down from roughly three decks up from the pool deck
-- Nephews' Splash Zone for children 0-3
-- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, in the Oceaneer Club
-- A redesign of the cabins that allows for storage under the beds
New features coming to the Magic that have appeared on the lines other vessels include:
-- AquaLab, first introduced aboard the Disney Fantasy is themed around Donald's nephews -- Huey, Dewey and Louie -- and features dumping water buckets, sprayers and other interactive water features
-- Animator's Magic, the interactive feature at Animator's Palate that brings diners' drawings to life
-- Andy's Room from "Toy Story" in the Oceaneer Club
-- Pixie Hollow in the Oceaneer Club
-- Cabanas, the Finding Nemo-themed casual dining experience
-- O'Gills Irish pub
Gone from the ship are the following:
-- Beat Street entertainment complex with its three venues: Diversions, Rockin' Bar D and Sessions
-- The second stairwell in the atrium
-- The Mickey Mouse-shaped pool
-- Nemo's Reef for children 0-3
-- Parrot Cay restaurant
-- Topsider Buffet
The Magic sails out of PortMiami until January 2014 when it will move up the coast to Port Canaveral for 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises.
The second oldest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Wonder, which debuted in 1999, is also slated for a refurbishment in 2014 and expected to receive many of the same enhancements the Disney Magic received.
"You should already know that we've always had a robust reinvestment program for all of our ships," Holz said. "It's part of our heritage."
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