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Six Fun Ways to Surprise Your Kids with a Disney Cruise

posted on October 20th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

The holidays will be here before you know it, so I’m sure the topic of gift-giving is already on many of your minds. One of the best parts about giving a gift is watching the recipient open it joyfully. When you surprise your kids with the gift of a Disney cruise, there are many things you can do to make it a memorable family moment. Whether it’s tomorrow or on Christmas morning, here are six fun ways to announce your upcoming Disney Cruise Line voyage…


What are some of the ways you’ve given the gift of a Disney cruise to your family?

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Tangled: The Musical’

posted on October 16th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Last week, we tested your “Tangled: The Musical” knowledge, and it looks like you’re just as excited as we are about the first-ever stage adaptation of “Tangled!” Before it debuts aboard the Disney Magic during her November 11 Bahamian cruise, we have a few more secrets to share with you about the musical’s production …

1. Legendary composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater have always wanted to write more songs for “Tangled.” Alan and Glenn wished they had written more music for the animated film, so they were thrilled with the opportunity to come back to “Tangled” and write a new opening number, a song for Flynn Rider and lyrics for the festival scene.

2. The mural in Rapunzel’s tower set piece was designed by Claire Keane, who created the original mural design for the “Tangled” film. Claire Keane, daughter of legendary Disney animator Glen Keane, re-imagined her animated mural design into a life-sized painting for the set of “Tangled: The Musical.”


3. Every set piece for “Tangled: The Musical” was sculpted and painted by hand. Rapunzel would approve, don’t you think?

4. Rapunzel’s royal dress that appears in the show’s final scene is made of custom fabric developed especially for this show. Our Tony Award-winning costume designer, Paloma Young, wanted this piece to make a statement like only a Disney princess dress could.


5. Speaking of costume designer Paloma Young … Her ancestors were real-life Bavarian royalty! Paloma is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Hoegerman of Bavarian nobility. Talk about inspiration!

For more inside looks at the creation of “Tangled: The Musical,” check out our behind-the-scenes series:

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A Grandparents’ Guide to Cruising with Disney in 2016

posted on October 13th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Grandparents often tell us that the best part of a Disney Cruise Line vacation is seeing their grandchildren’s joy throughout the voyage. I recently shared the top five ways to spoil your grandkids on a Disney cruise – things you can do to make any getaway with us extra special.

Today, I have suggestions for specific cruises to take with grandkids for the ultimate grand-travel vacation. All are jam-packed with memorable experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Grandparents, here’s your guide to cruising with us in 2016…


Dream a little bigger aboard the Disney Dream. New experiences are coming to the Disney Dream in late 2015, including super-cool play areas in the kids club, one themed to Star Wars and another to Disney Infinity. Your grandkids may not want to leave once they enter these new worlds of fun, but grandparents can join the play during Open House. Another brand-new space both you and your grandchildren will love is Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats, a shop serving handmade gelato and ice cream, novelty sundaes, and more candy than you can imagine. The made-to-share signature sundaes are a fun way to satisfy the sweet tooth of the young and young at heart.

Disney Fantasy at Sea

Experience the Force in the Western Caribbean. On eight special sailings from January through April, the Force will be strong! For the first time ever, we are offering Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy, perfect for a new out-of-this-galaxy experience with your grandchildren. The day-long celebration features a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise. There will also be exclusive at-sea screenings of the Star Wars films and the new Disney XD animated series, “Star Wars Rebels.” Have the time of your life with your grandkids, you will.


Explore the magic of Disney on land and sea. Three of our ships will be sailing from Florida in early 2016, giving you the chance to extend precious time with your grandkids through a combined Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line vacation. Our home ports in Port Canaveral and Miami are driving distance from Orlando where you can experience Disney’s world-class resorts and four incredible theme parks. Pre- and post-cruise add-on options give you flexibility to enjoy Walt Disney World Resort before or after your magical voyage. A trip to Walt Disney World and a Disney cruise? You’re getting the Best Grandparent of the Year award!


Discover the grandeur and culture of Europe and Alaska. In the summer of 2016, we’re returning to exotic locales around the world and, once again, offering Port Adventures designed to entertain and inspire both children and adults. On the Disney Magic, you’ll have the chance to visit destinations in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean. Cruises to Alaska on the Disney Wonder offer family-friendly adventures like whale watching, gold mining, dog sledding and more. There’s no better way to share your love of traveling the world with your grandkids than in true Disney fashion, with an extra dash of pixie dust for both grandchildren and grandparents.


Seek thrills and chills during Halloween on the High Seas. Who says Halloween can only be celebrated on October 31? Weeks before the big day, you’ll enjoy Halloween-themed parties, lively entertainment and elaborate décor onboard all four ships. One of the best celebrations for grandparents and grandkids to enjoy together is Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, a costume party with Disney friends, games, dancing and lots of candy. Make sure you get into the fun by bringing a costume of your own! For this one, you’ll receive the Coolest Grandparent of the Year award!


Join Santa and his elves on Very Merrytime Cruises. Starting in November, our ships transform with a 24-foot Christmas tree, a life-sized gingerbread house, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more. Each voyage has festive events like a spectacular tree lighting ceremony, Santa Claus meet-and-greets and a tropical holiday deck party. Especially for grandparents who can’t be with their grandkids on Christmas morning, our holiday cruises are the perfect way to enjoy together the traditions of this special time of year.

Which of our special cruises in 2016 will your grandkids enjoy most?

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QUIZ: How Well Do You Know ‘Tangled: The Musical’?

posted on October 9th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Since April, we shared behind-the-scenes looks at the development of “Tangled: The Musical,” the first-ever stage adaptation of the beloved animated film “Tangled.” Before it premieres aboard the Disney Magic next month, we want to test your knowledge about the show. Only the most dedicated fans will have what it takes to ace this one …


How Well Do You Know ‘Tangled: The Musical’?

Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater wrote three brand-new songs for “Tangled: The Musical.” Which of these is NOT a description of one of the new songs?
According to set designer Brad Kaye, which of the following was a fun challenge in bringing the world of “Tangled” to the stage?
When designing a rustic new look for Rapunzel, Tony Award-winning costume designer Paloma Young was inspired by _____.
True or False: Michael Curry, the puppet designer for “Tangled: The Musical,” also designed the iconic puppetry for Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.
Choreographer Connor Gallagher was most influenced by the _____ when developing the choreography of “Tangled: The Musical.”

Need help? Check out our behind-the-scenes video series for answers:

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Behind the Scenes: Decorating Disney Ships for Halloween on the High Seas

posted on October 8th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


In true Disney fashion, we go all out to celebrate Halloween on the High Seas. Every ship gets a holiday overlay with special décor, tasty treats, themed parties and loads of spooky activities for the whole family. I love walking onto the ships for the first time each fall to see the festive details from bow to stern.

Behind the Scenes: Decorating Disney Ships for Halloween on the High Seas Behind the Scenes: Decorating Disney Ships for Halloween on the High Seas

Disney’s Holiday Services plays a special role in decorating the ships, from months of planning and prepping to setting it all up onboard in a matter of hours. When the team decorated the Disney Fantasy last month, my pal John was there at Port Canaveral. This video gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to transform a Disney ship into a ghoulish wonderland. Check it out:

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Disney Cruise Line Unveils Ports and Itineraries for Early 2017

posted on October 6th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Today we revealed that in early 2017 we will return to popular destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Most cruises will feature a stop at Castaway Cay, our private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.

For the first part of the year, we’ll continue sailing from Port Canaveral and Miami, in addition to cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Galveston, Texas. Bookings open to the public on October 8, 2015. Keep reading for more details, and check out the Itineraries and Ports for 2017 page of

Port Canaveral

With three Disney ships in port and cruises spanning three, four and seven nights, you have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral in early 2017. The best part? Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay!

The Disney Fantasy will continue to sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, while the Disney Dream continues on three- and four-night cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay. Beginning January 29, the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries.


To kick off 2017, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with three-, four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus select five-night Western Caribbean cruises, through March 31.

Again, Castaway Cay awaits guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings! Other Bahamian ports of call include Nassau and Key West, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

San Juan and Galveston

From San Juan, the Disney Magic sets sail on four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean. Departing April 9, 16, 23 and 30, this limited-time engagement includes calls on Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Kitts.

The Disney Wonder completes a season in Galveston with two seven-night Bahamian voyages to Key West, Castaway Cay and Nassau on January 6 and 13. From there, the ship embarks on a six-night journey to San Juan on January 20 with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.

On January 26, a three-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort – the perfect stop for a fairytale land-and-sea adventure.

As always, we’ll keep you posted on the Disney Parks Blog when new itineraries and destinations are unveiled. Stay tuned for more on where we’re headed in 2017!

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Eight Dining Indulgences Just for Adults on a Disney Cruise

posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing tips about dining on a Disney cruise. Today I’m turning the focus to adults, giving you a look at not-to-miss dining indulgences just for you. With two adult-exclusive restaurants on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Remy and Palo, there are at least eight ways aboard these ships to send your taste buds into overload …


1. Petites Assiettes de Remy: This culinary journey is offered on embarkation day at Remy to sample small plates of gourmet cuisine and fine wine. It is hosted by the Executive Chef who provides insight into the culinary creations and the Sommelier who presents specially selected wine to pair with each dish.


2. Brunch at Palo: During sea days and select port days, a spectacular Champagne brunch at Palo offers you a sumptuous buffet of international cheeses, fresh pastries, made-to-order entrées, desserts and champagne. It’s the perfect set-up for second (and third!) helpings of incredible cuisine.


3. Brunch at Remy: You can also enjoy an elegant Champagne brunch on sea days and select port days at Remy. The brunch features a decadent six-course French-inspired meal and a selection of Champagnes to perfectly pair with each dish.


4. Snacks at Cove Cafe: Cove Cafe is an exclusive area for adults to enjoy gourmet coffees, specialty drinks and lighter fare cuisine. Muffins, pastries and desserts are offered throughout the day, and a selection of antipasto is served before dinner.


5. Pompidou’s Dessert Experience at Remy: Offered on sea days at Remy, this six-course dessert tasting is hosted by Remy’s Executive Chef. As each course is served, the chef shares fun facts about the dessert, allowing for an intimate and in-depth culinary dialogue.


6. Dinner at Palo: Palo provides an unforgettable dinner experience at sea with a menu of delectable modern Italian cuisine, classic reserve wines and superior service. Palo’s nightly culinary journey starts with both cold and hot antipasti selections, followed by a main course of pasta, seafood or meat, and a sweet indulgence for dessert.


7. Dinner at Remy: With gourmet cuisine by two award-winning chefs, Remy melds classic and contemporary styles for a fine French dining experience. Dinner is a lavish and leisurely affair, starting with a signature cocktail made tableside, followed by eight to nine small courses complemented by a stellar wine list.


8. Late-night buffet: Even in the midnight hour, you can satisfy your hunger with snacks in the adult nighttime entertainment district. Those who work up an appetite dancing in the night club or want something savory to accompany their beer in the sports pub don’t have to go far.

Who’s hungry now? For all of your questions about dining on a Disney cruise, take a look back at the series, and then let me know if there’s anything else I can answer with regards to dining in my future posts:

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Behind the Scenes: Bringing Maximus to Life for ‘Tangled: The Musical’ for Disney Cruise Line

posted on October 1st, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Over the past few months, we’ve taken you behind-the-scenes during the development of “Tangled: The Musical,” premiering aboard the Disney Magic in November. Eagle-eyed viewers may have caught a few glimpses of their favorite palace horse in this series, but today’s video is an in-depth look at how our creative team is bringing Maximus to life for the stage.

Master puppet designer Michael Curry, whose extraordinary creations are featured in Disney’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Lion King” on Broadway, has taken puppetry to a brand-new level with his incredibly lifelike interpretation of the rambunctious Maximus. In the video below, Jeff Conover from Walt Disney Imagineering joins Michael to tell us all about the role puppetry plays in this production.

What do you think—will Maximus be the “mane” attraction of every scene he’s in during “Tangled: The Musical”?

Check out the rest of this video series for more sneak peeks of the show:

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10 Tips for First-Time Disney Cruisers

posted on September 29th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

What do you wish you knew before your first Disney cruise? Last week I shared five things that are helpful to know ahead of time, especially as you’re deciding if it’s the right vacation option for your family. Today, I’m following that up with additional insights to make your inaugural voyage with us the best it can be. Here are my top 10 tips for first-time Disney cruisers …

“Sailing Away” Deck Party

  1. Start the countdown to fun with a phone call from a Disney friend. To surprise your little ones before you leave for your cruise, arrange for a character to call your family. Once your cruise is booked, all you have to do is login to our online Planning Center, select a character and schedule a date and time. Be sure to have your video camera ready to capture the excitement!
  2. Download the Navigator mobile app before you set sail. The Navigator is an all-you-need-to-know information guide for what’s happening when and where on your cruise, and it’s now available as an app on your mobile phone. Download it before you leave home or while you still have cellular service, and the app will connect to the ship’s complimentary WiFi once onboard.
  3. Pack more than a swimsuit. When you’re packing for a tropical vacation, it’s easy to think only about attire for fun in the sun. But the fun onboard doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Bring a sweater or light jacket for the dining rooms, theater and cooler evening temperatures at sea. Also, don’t forget the six must-have items I shared with you previously.
  4. Show your Disney Side. Let your personality shine as you soak up the whimsy of a Disney vacation. Dress to impress during themed celebrations, like the Pirate IN the Caribbean deck party, and decorate your stateroom door with magnets that reveal your family’s fun side. If you leave your pirate accessories and door decorations at home, stock up at the shops onboard.
  5. Plan your character meet and greets on the first day. There are so many Disney pals onboard that it’s helpful to determine up front who you want to meet. Check out the Navigator on embarkation day for a list of character appearances, and be sure to reserve time with your favorite friends through Guest Services.
  6. Party like a pirate. Where better to have a swashbuckling adventure than on the high seas? The highlight of Pirate Night is the Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, but you also won’t want to miss the other themed fun throughout the evening, including family games, special menu items, an incredible fireworks show and a delicious late-night buffet.
  7. Get to the shows early. It’s always a full house at our Broadway-caliber musicals! While there’s enough seating for everyone, plan to arrive to the theater when the doors open so you can pick your seat for the song-and-dance spectacular. Saving seats is discouraged, so use it as time for your family to talk about your favorite parts of the day while you wait for the curtain to rise.
  8. Take advantage of all that’s included. Need extra energy after a full day of fun? Order more than one appetizer or main course at dinner. Want a late-night snack? Room service is available 24 hours a day. Dying to see a new-release film? Head on over to the movie theater. Meals and entertainment are included in the cost of your cruise, so enjoy them to the fullest.
  9. Carve out time for yourself. When you think about all the ways your Disney cruise will make your family happy, think about yourself, too. On the first day, spend time with your kids in the youth club during Open House so you can have peace of mind knowing how much fun they’ll have there while you are enjoying dinner at Palo or a treatment in the spa.
  10. Don’t over plan. Part of the fun of a Disney cruise are the spontaneous activities, like jogging with Goofy on deck four or hearing the live band play your favorite song by the pool. The crew is always looking for ways to surprise and delight our guests, and it’s in those moments that you’ll feel most grateful for this magical vacation with your family.

Seasoned Disney cruisers, what would you add to this list?

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Tips to Add Variety to Mealtime on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 23rd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Last week I gave you a look at the many, many dining choices on a Disney cruise. And believe it or not, there are still additional options to satisfy your taste buds! Here are some of my tips to add even more variety to mealtime …


  1. Opt for dinner at Cabanas or Beach Blanket Buffet.

  2. You know that Cabanas (Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic) and Beach Blanket Buffet (Disney Wonder) offer buffet-style dining for breakfast and lunch. But what you may not know is that in the evenings, the restaurant transforms into a table-service casual dining experience, where dinner entrees are cooked to order. No reservations are required, making it a convenient option when you aren’t able to make your assigned dinner time in the main dining room.


  1. Order room service whenever your stomach desires.

  2. Breakfast in bed, afternoon nosh or midnight snack – cravings can be satisfied any time of day with 24-hour complimentary room service. You can feast on fresh, made-to-order food in the comfort of your stateroom around the clock. This convenient service comes in quite handy when your little one is taking a nap during lunchtime or when you can’t pull yourself away from that gorgeous view on your personal verandah.


  1. Eat a delicious barbeque lunch on Castaway Cay.

  2. The chefs you love onboard also grill up specialties like Cajun mahi-mahi, ribeye steaks and chicken on our private island, Castaway Cay. The “all-you-care-to-eat” island barbecue is offered in three spots under the shade of covered pavilions and umbrellas. Two family-friendly locations are steps from the Family Beach, while adults have a dining area all to themselves at the far end of the island next to Serenity Bay.


  1. Try the local cuisine out in port.

  2. Exploring a destination is always a great opportunity to try new cuisine and taste the local fare. I know you’ll miss what the Disney chefs are serving, but don’t miss your chance to eat in port. Do some research before your cruise to determine the best spots, or ask around to get suggestions from other Disney cruisers who have been there before. Even better, choose a Port Adventure that includes a lunch of authentic dishes prepared by locals.


  1. Join the party at a themed buffet for families.

  2. A great party isn’t complete without tasty grub! After our Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, head over to the pirate buffet for a late-night snack on fiesta favorites like fajitas, tacos, rice and beans. There’s also a huge selection of desserts and a made-to-order crepe station with ice cream. In Alaska, our midday barbecue feast of wild Alaskan salmon and other special seafood dishes celebrates the momentous occasion of sailing through the breathtaking Tracy Arm Fjord.

Any tips to add? In my final post of this series next week, I’ll tell you about dining indulgences onboard just for adults you won’t want to miss!

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