A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to set sail on the Disney Wonder on a two night inspection cruise out of San Diego, with one stop in Ensenada. The Wonder had been in Alaska throughout the summer, and then it sailed down the West Coast to port in San Diego for most of September and October. The weather on this cruise was sunny and warm, and the views of the skyline of San Diego from the ship were amazing!
The Wonder is the second oldest ship (behind her sister ship Magic) in the fleet. She underwent a dry dock in the Fall of 2016, and the transformations are all wonderful. There have been all sorts of reimagining on the Wonder, including: changes to the kids’ spaces, a restaurant converted into a new theme, a new Concierge Lounge area, and a retheming of the adult entertainment district. Other more mundane things, like replacing carpet and furniture, were done during drydock too.
A big change to the reimagined Wonder is right when you board the ship and enter the Atrium Lobby. There are no longer two grand stairways - just one, and the statue of Ariel has been moved to the right instead of being in the center of the entrance to Triton’s restaurant. This was a smart move by Disney Cruise Line, as it has now opened up the area for big events and also for the placement of oversize decorations (like the large Pumpkin Tree). Also in the Atrium Lobby, as you crook your neck and look up three stories, the Dale Chihuly chandelier has been replaced by a dark red glasswork fixture that resembles the red flower in Ariel’s hair. While I loved the Chihuly chandelier, the new glasswork is exotic and different.
While the ship was still being boarded on embarkation day, I took the opportunity to wander around the ship to visit the open houses that were happening in the kids’ spaces. Two notable things popped out at me. First, The Oceaneer Club was been completely revamped and now includes the Marvel Super Hero Academy, Andy’s Room, and Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. Second, up on the pool deck the arcade was taken out and replaced by the Edge (this is where the tweens have their own space) and it looked to be a cool hang out space for them.
A noticeable change to the Wonder is the Concerige Lounge, which is entered from the Wonder’s forward stack. There is also a sun deck exclusively for Concierge guests (this is above the Concierge Lounge and the Outlook Cafe.) It is a fairly large area, which explains why, unlike the Magic that has the AquaDunk, the Wonder does not have a water ride. What the Wonder does have in the children’s pool area of the ship is a space called Dory’s Reef splash zone, an AquaLab, and a Twist ‘n’ Spout water slide.
As I wandered around the ship, another significant change is in the adult area, which was renamed from “Route 66” to “After Hours”. The new theming is much more elegant than before, which I felt was a positive change. There are three new venues in the adult entertainment spaces: Crown & Fin (styled after a British pub); Azure (night club for stage shows, dancing, and other fun activities); and the Cadillac Lounge (a quieter bar with a car theme).
Another space that I visited (and dined in) during my cruise was Tiana’s Place (formerly known as Parrot Cay). This venue is based on the movie “The Princess and the Frog.” I loved this venue. Unlike any other restaurant in the fleet, Tiana’s Place has live entertainment happening throughout the meal. It really is like you are sitting in a supper club, listening to Tiana sing and a jazz band perform. At the end of our meal, we actually got up out of our seats and walked through the aisles in a parade with our servers. It was so much fun -- so much so that Tiana’s is now my favorite restaurant in the Disney Cruise Line fleet.
During the cruise I was on, the Wonder celebrated Halloween on the High Seas. The Pumpkin Tree in the Atrium Lobby magically transformed thoughout the cruise, there were wonderful decorations throughout the ship, Halloween-themed parties and ghost story readings, a costume contest, and even trick or treating (lots of candy was being given out to the kids!) What was also fun about this cruise is that Disney Cruise Line still managed to squeeze in Pirate’s Night (the first night of our cruise) and we got to enjoy a pirate fireworks show at sea as well.
The Disney Wonder looks all refreshed and wonderful! I had an amazing time on this short cruise. For those of you who have sailed the Wonder before she went into drydock, I highly recommend sailing on her again to experience her reimagination! And for those of you who haven’t yet cruised on this beautiful Disney Cruise Line ship, what are you waiting for? Give Tink’s a shout out as we’d be happy to assist with your vacation planning.
Tinks Tip: Holiday sailings are wonderful opportunities to enjoy Disney Cruise Line in a unique way - it is also makes for a great family holiday present! Disney Cruise Line decorates the ships for Halloween and for Christmas and often has fun activities during those Halloween on the High Seas and Very Merrytime Sailings. There are also special Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea on select sailings. Contact your Tink's Vacation Planner for more details!