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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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Five Things to Know Before Your First Disney Cruise

posted on September 22nd, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

How do you know if a Disney cruise is the best vacation option for your family? There are many things to consider when choosing how to make memories with your loved ones. As you explore whether your next family adventure will be with Disney Cruise Line, or if you’ve already decided “yes” and aren’t sure what to expect, here are five things to know before your first Disney cruise:

Disney Dreams… An Enchanted Classic

1. Meals and entertainment are included. And we make sure everyone can enjoy them! Our innovative rotational dining concept ensures you won’t miss out on a meal at any of our three family dining restaurants. We reserve your table and serving team, so all you have to worry about is showing up hungry. Plus, we offer a different show every night in the Walt Disney Theatre. Since the nightly entertainment, including live musicals, is shown twice each evening, you can go ahead and promise your kids they’ll get to see their Disney friends on stage before or after dinner. All of this is in addition to our famous Pirate Night where cruisers of all ages party like swashbuckling pirates!


2. Kids of all ages have activities just for them. Traveling with a baby, preschooler, teenager or all of the above? We’ve got you covered! Our youth clubs are supervised by specially trained counselors and cater to specific ages, meaning the care and fun is tailored to their needs and interests. Up on deck, we have different water-play areas so you can have splashtacular fun even with your smaller swimmers and littlest ones in swim diapers. On the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, teenagers have a pool to themselves, supervised by youth counselors, at the ultra-cool Vibe teen club. No matter the ages of your kids, you can cruise in confidence that they are having the time of their life!

After Hours - Keys

3. Adults have plenty of things to do, too. You aren’t assuming a Disney cruise is only the vacation-of-a-lifetime for the kids, right? One of the best parts about having super fun kids clubs on the ship and at Castaway Cay is that parents can look forward to time for themselves. Some of the onboard areas just for adults include a relaxing pool, tranquil spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and specialty coffee shop. After the sun goes down, adults have the nighttime entertainment district to themselves to enjoy live music and shows by comedians and other performers. Also just for adults, our fine dining Italian restaurant, Palo, is on all ships, and our exquisite French restaurant, Remy, is on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.


4. Castaway Cay is your own private island paradise. Only Disney cruisers can visit Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, making it a truly special experience with touches that are sure to “wow” you. The island has areas for every age group, including a beach for families and one exclusively for adults. There’s everything you need for a perfect beach day, such as chairs and umbrellas, towels, an all-you-care-to-eat lunch buffet, places to get cold beverages, and even cabanas you can rent for privacy and royal treatment. Your time here is worry-free, and you don’t even need to bring a watch since the ship’s horn sounds when it’s time for you to come back aboard. Speaking of, getting on and off the ship throughout the day is easy, as we’re the only cruise line with a dock at our private island.


5. The Disney Difference is what you’ll remember most. The destinations you visit with us will no doubt be memorable, but it’s the magic in the details that are sure to be unforgettable. We offer family-sized staterooms that include a sitting area, plenty of storage and a split bathroom with two separate sinks. The all-you-care-to-eat dining is hosted by a personalized serving team that travels with you to each of our elaborately themed restaurants. Plus, with Wave Phones that let you call and text fellow cruisers while onboard or at Castaway Cay and entertainment like only Disney can do – you can count on your experience with us to be different from any other vacation at sea.

Stay tuned for my top 10 tips for first-time Disney cruisers. In the meantime, tell me, what surprise did you enjoy most on your first Disney cruise?

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How to Talk Like a Pirate on A Disney Cruise

posted on September 19th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Ahoy, land lubbers! Does “Talk Like A Pirate Day” have you thinking about setting sail on the high seas? With our Pirates In the Caribbean deck party and swashbuckling fireworks spectacular, there’s no better place to party like a pirate than on a Disney cruise!


Watch this video to brush up on ye pirate speak, and then test it out on your next Disney cruise.

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A Day-by-Day Guide to Dining on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 17th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

With so many options for dining on a Disney cruise, from family-friendly and specialty adult-only restaurants, to buffet-style and quick service stations, it’s easy to add variety to where you eat throughout your voyage. Some dining locations are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, giving you a new experience each time you visit.


Of course you won’t want to miss dinner at any of our elaborately themed family restaurants, and our unique rotational dining ensures that will not happen. A concept that remains exclusive to our fleet, rotational dining gives you the opportunity to eat at a different restaurant for dinner each night, accompanied by the same servers.

Using your assigned dinner rotation as a starting point, I suggest mapping out a day-by-day dining plan at the beginning of your cruise. As a guide, I put one together for a four-night Disney Dream cruise. Next time you’re on vacation with us, try out your own version of this plan for a taste of all the deliciousness we serve.


Lunch: Cabanas – This free-flow casual dining restaurant is the perfect place for your first meal on a Disney cruise. Made-to-order and à la carte dining options offer a unique culinary experience. Food stations serve everything from sushi and pasta to make-your-own salads and decadent desserts.

Dinner: Royal Palace – Inspired by Disney classics like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast,” this elegant dining room looks like it’s out of a grand palace. And the feast isn’t just for the eyes. You’ll enjoy French cuisine fit for a monarch, including lobster, escargot, rack of lamb and beef tenderloin.



Breakfast: Enchanted Garden – At breakfast, this whimsical restaurant inspired by the gardens of Versailles is bright with the light of a blue-sky day. The cuisine matches the crisp and airy feel with a seasonal menu featuring market-fresh ingredients, served buffet-style during breakfast.

Lunch: Royal Palace – With mid-day light flowing in from port holes in this restaurant, you’re sure to pay closer attention to the ornate details of this beautiful space. The elaborate décor complements the royal treatment you’ll receive during open table service for lunch.

Dinner: Animator’s Palate – This signature restaurant, open only for dinner, brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room. Spectacular entertainment like only Disney can do is a part of mealtime, so you won’t want to miss your opportunity to dine here.



Breakfast: Cabanas – Just like at lunch, Cabanas serves a variety of fresh food favorites during breakfast. With indoor and outdoor dining, ocean views all around and countless options for every taste bud, you’ll be energized to get your day started right.

Lunch: Enchanted Garden – During your buffet-style lunch, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the rolling hills of France with the restaurant’s garden inspired décor. Lunch is served here on select days, so be sure to check the Navigator to determine which afternoon you’ll dine like French royalty.

Dinner: Palo or Remy – At least one night of your cruise should be reserved for an adult-exclusive meal. In addition to impeccable service and top-notch cuisine, these two restaurants offer incredible ocean views, rich décor and intimate dining rooms for a sophisticated dinner experience.



Breakfast: Room Service – Chances are you’ll feel like sleeping in on the last full day of your cruise. Enjoy a continental breakfast of toast, cereal, muffins and doughnuts from the comfort of your stateroom. Sitting on your verandah with a hot cup of coffee in the morning is a great way to start the day!

Lunch: Flo’s Café – The day you’re at sea is the perfect time to grab a bite on the pool deck. The quick-service stations themed to the Disney•Pixar film “Cars” – Luigi’s Pizza, Tow Mater’s Grill and Fillmore’s Favorites – serve burgers, chicken tenders, pizza, fresh fruit, salads and sandwich wraps.

Dinner: Enchanted Garden – In the evening, Enchanted Garden’s illuminated ceiling transitions into a nighttime constellation of twinkling stars. Dinner here is a full-service, plated affair with specialties such as slow-roasted prime rib, pan-seared sea bass, oven-baked salmon and roasted wild boar tenderloin.



On the final morning of your cruise, you’re sure to be feeling sadness that your vacation is over. But there’s no reason for you to feel hungry, too! Your serving team would love the opportunity for one last meal with you in the restaurant you dined in the night before.

Stay tuned for my post next week when I’ll give you tips on how to add even more variety to mealtime on a Disney cruise.

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Planning Next Summer’s Disney Cruise Vacation

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

Now that your family is back into the school and work routine, do you find yourself already daydreaming about next summer’s vacation? It’s never too early to start planning your next Disney cruise! Once again, we’re heading to incredible destinations around the globe in the summer of 2016. Here’s a look at just some of your options for exploring the world with Disney Cruise Line…


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Top Five Ways to Spoil Your Grandkids on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 14th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

A big shout out to all of you grandparents who add so much happiness to your family’s lives! Yesterday we celebrated a very special holiday – National Grandparents Day – and to keep the fun going, today’s post is dedicated to you.


Most grandparents will tell you that part of the joy of having grandkids is loving on them with special treats and experiences. We see that all the time with grandparents who bring their families on vacation with us. If you’re the grandparent (or great-grandparent) of little cruisers, here are five ways to spoil them on your next Disney cruise

Disney's Oceaneer Club - Andy's Room on the Disney Dream

1. Join them for playtime: Quality time is the number one gift you can give your loved ones, and if you’re already on vacation with them, chances are you know that! Look for ways you can spend time together doing things your grandkids will enjoy, like playing in our elaborately themed youth clubs. Open House is the perfect opportunity for you to join their world, whether they’re into superheroes, fanciful fairies, intergalactic spaceships or seafaring treasure hunts.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

2. Give them a magical makeover. Both little girls and boys love to play dress up, especially when it transforms them into royalty or a swashbuckling pirate. At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, you can give your grandkids the full fairytale treatment with pixie-dusted new looks. Even you can get into the fun at this very special salon on Pirate Night when it becomes The Pirates League. What a great bonding opportunity… A young and young-at-heart pirate duo ready to “argh” the evening away!


3. Treat them like a prince or princess. Living in a fairytale world is easy on a Disney cruise, especially with special experiences that celebrate the “royal” in everyone. Give your grandkids the royal treatment by escorting them to the princess gathering in the atrium lobby or taking their photo while they pose with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna during our exclusive Frozen meet-and-greet. On the Disney Fantasy, hosting them at the Royal Court Royal Tea is an unforgettable way to show your first-class affection.


4. Teach them how to explore the world. Port Adventures make it easy for families to have fun together in the destinations we visit. You’re already setting a good example by showing them the importance of exploring the world; now let us show you the best ways to experience other lands and cultures through immersive Port Adventures. Give your grandkids a voice in choosing which excursions the family will do together in port to spark their interest in learning about the places you’re visiting.


5. Leave them with a memento. It’s fun for cruisers of any age to look back at a keepsake and remember all the fun had on vacation. Browse the merchandise stores onboard and at Castaway Cay for that perfect gift you can give your grandkids after the cruise. Better yet, let them pick out a favorite item that will remind them of the things you did together. And be sure to get something for yourself, as it will no doubt be a vacation you’ll never want to forget!

Grandparents, I want to hear from you! What are the things you like to do with your grandkids on a Disney cruise? Or what are you looking forward to most on your first voyage with them?

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Six Tips for Dining With Kids on a Disney Cruise

posted on September 10th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Since dining is one of my favorite parts of a Disney cruise, I have a quite a few tips I like to share with family and friends to make their experience the best it can be. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing those dining tips with you, starting today with suggestions specifically for those of you traveling with children.

Mealtime on a Disney cruise vacation is a great opportunity for families to connect, and there are things you can do onboard to enhance that quality time together. Here are my top six tips for dining with kids on a Disney cruise …

Royal Court

1. Let your servers serve you. All you need to do is sit back and relax. Do the kids need their food cut up? Your servers are happy to do that! Do you need a wine-pairing recommendation? Your dining team is at your service! The beauty of having them stay with you as you visit different restaurants and enjoy new menus each night is that they can provide personalized service and hospitality tailored to your every desire and need.


2. Say “yes” to your kids playing at dinnertime. Mealtimes are meant to be memorable entertainment experiences on a Disney cruise, which is why we include a full course of fun with dinner shows at Animator’s Palate. When else can you talk to a sea turtle with your mouth full or draw your imaginary friend to dance on screen beside Disney characters? Even your servers get in on the fun with magic tricks that are sure to stump the whole family.

Animator’s Palate – Drawn to Magic

3. Use your electronics at the dinner table. Gadgets and gizmos might typically be a “no-no” during family dinner, but some rules should be broken on vacation. Dinner is an opportune time, while you have your family’s attention, to plan out your schedule for the next day using the mobile Navigator app. Plus, with surprise appearances from Disney pals like Mickey and Crush at Animator’s Palate, bringing your camera to dinner is a must.

Champagne Brunch at Remy

4. Reserve an adult-only brunch or dinner at Palo. Our signature restaurant at sea is known for its exquisite modern Italian specialties during brunch and dinner. Set aside time to experience one (or both!) while the kids eat in the youth club. Chances are you’ll have more energy for your family after you’ve been able to recharge with your significant other over outstanding cuisine, first-class wine and sweeping ocean views.


5. Dress for the occasion. Themed dining provides a one-of-a-kind experience every night. The Pirates IN the Caribbean menu celebrates “a pirate’s life for me” with Caribbean cuisine, and wearing a bandana and eye patch during your meal is highly encouraged! On 7-night or longer cruises, the Captain’s Gala menu gives you a great excuse to dress to the nines for a family photo opp before savoring world-class cuisine such as baked lobster tail and oysters Rockefeller.


6. Take lessons from your kids. Dinner is often an opportunity for parents to teach children manners at the table. But on a Disney cruise, it’s your chance to learn from the kids. Notice how they’re carefree and energetic and can’t stop smiling? See how they never say no to dessert? That right there is the “proper way” to behave when you vacation with us!

Next week, I’ll share with you a day-by-day dining guide for four nights on the Disney Dream. Until then, let me know if you have tips to add for dining with kids on a Disney cruise.

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‘Descendants’ Star Sofia Carson on the Disney Fantasy

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

Actress Sofia Carson, star of Disney’s “Descendants,” had the chance to meet Captain Mickey when she was on the Disney Fantasy. Starting this week, Disney cruisers can watch Descendants on Funnel Vision (the jumbo screen by the family pool) aboard all four ships to see Sofia in her role as Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen.


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