After getting over the initial surprise that Disney Cruise Line has acquired an already 75% built cruise ship, I decided I wanted to do more research and start the process of really thinking about what the new ship might offer.
Everything here is pure speculation, of course, but that it part of the fun.
I have researched the original design and will discuss how Disney may perhaps put its own very individual Disney stamp on what is already a ship design that has many things already decided.
This article uses original concept art from the Global Dream. It will be exciting to see how much things change when the Disney concept art starts to be released, probably sometime in 2024.
Whilst we can get some idea of the space, the design will most likely be very very different. We really don’t know to what extent the build is complete or which design decisions can be changed.
All we know is that the ship was three-quarters of the way to being finished.
Disney Cruise Line reportedly paid the spectacularly low price of 40 Million Euros for the ship. The original cost investment is said to have been around the $1 billion mark.
Whilst DCL appears to have secured a bargain, the investment doesn’t end there. The costs of finishing the ship and making it part of the Disney fleet will be considerable.
Remember that everything here is unofficial and speculation, but it is so much fun to try and work out what this exciting new ship will be like.
The Disney Imagineers are going to have a wonderful time putting their own individual design into the ship.
And I really can’t wait to see it.
What Will The Ship Exterior Look Like?
This one is probably one of the easiest to answer – as to the overall look of the exterior, this is the only concept art that Disney has released so far.
This is what the original ship was to look like:
As you can see, the original design looked, well, it looked like a very large cruise ship with no other particular branding features.
Then along comes Disney.
And suddenly the ship becomes beautiful!
Obviously, it still looks enormous, because it really is, but now it has the distinctive Disney Cruise Ship exterior features.
The most noticeable difference here is the three-funnel design as opposed to the usual two.
Just How Big Will The New Ship Really Be?
One of the most surprising things about the new ship is just how incredibly large it will be.
In the past, DCL has not been known as a big ship cruise line. But now, they will own one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
You can see from the chart below, the sizes of each of the current Disney fleet.
This includes the yet-to-be-launched Disney Treasure.
|Ship name||Launch||Gross Tonnage||Length (feet)||Beam||Decks||Capacity|
As you can see from the comparison chart, the new ship is a whole lot larger than the other Disney ships.
The only ships that will be larger, once she sails sometime in 2025, are the Royal Caribbean Oasis Class ships.
RCCL Oasis Class ships will still hold the title of largest passenger ships, even when the new Disney ship is launched.
Wonder of the Seas is 235,600 gross tonnes, 1,118 feet wide, and has the capacity for 5,734 passengers at double occupancy and 7,084 at maximum capacity.
So the new Disney ship will not win the prize for being the largest ship at sea – but it will certainly be pretty close.
A Theme Park at Sea?
The Disney Dream introduced the first water coaster at sea. The AquaDuck was also incorporated into the Disney Fantasy design.
The Disney Wish aimed to do something different and improve on this with the AquaMouse.
However, it is still really essentially the same design, and some would say not as good as the AquaDuck.
The new Disney ship is likely to be very different indeed.
A roller coaster at sea.
Such a thing is not unique. The Carnival Mardi Gras has the world’s first.
Dream cruises were working with the same designer as the Mardi Gras coaster to develop the attraction for the ship. It seems likely that Disney will continue the same company.
It was reported that the track is 984 feet long and has a top speed of 37 miles per hour. Not an incredibly fast roller coaster, but this is over the ocean so the thrill level may come from the scenery too!
The ride vehicles can accommodate two people and riders will be able to control the speed of the ride with an integrated throttle.
The acceleration system was set to allow 1G over most of the track.
The concept also included an “activity park”.
The original design was supposed to incorporate a trampoline, a bungee trampoline, a board surf simulator and a mini go-kart track for the younger ones.
It is likely that Disney can put more of its personal spin on the design of this area.
It’s difficult to change a roller coaster design on the top of the ship, but you can certainly move or indeed cancel the order for a trampoline.
Right now, to me, the design of this area looks very like a Royal Caribbean ship.
However, I imagine the finished concept will look very different from this – there are so many Disney design elements that can be incorporated here.
The view below seems to be from a very large private deck – perhaps the Walt Disney Suite?
You can see an area here that looks like a huge auditorium will staged seating. Perhaps the new concept for Funnel Vision?
There is another area that shows a large lawned area. Reminds me of the Celebrity Solstice Class ships.
It also shows the roller coaster track – might be a great place to people-watch!
You can see also how the funnel is split into two halves. This means the ship will have a total of six halves.
The original design only had one funnel (split into two halves). So it would seem that Disney has two funnels with four halves, to use as something other than an actual functioning mechanical part of the ship.
The pool deck will also have multiple water slides. This almost looks like it could be an adult-only area, but then it seems that the water slide exits to here so that isn’t going to work as a no kids allowed space.
Maybe the jacuzzis could be converted into a small pool for the kids?
Or maybe we can leave them just the way they are as you can never have too many jacuzzis on a ship – particularly one with 6,000 guests?
A Very Unusual Design Feature
Anyone who has sailed on Disney Wish knows the importance of getting the elevators right.
But what if you had something very very different for a cruise ship?
The original design of the ship had eight sets of escalators on the ship.
This is probably something that a 75% finished ship has to keep.
No doubt there will have to be many elevators as well, but it will certainly be interesting to see if there will be escalators on a Disney ship!
What Will the Staterooms Be Like?
We can see from the concept art that aside from the obvious missing Disney design touches, the layout is similar to the existing Disney ships.
This design shown below looks as though it will be very easy just to add the Disney design touches and it will be a beautiful stateroom.
It will be interesting to see if the new interior design has the differently themed staterooms as Disney Wish does. This does seem to have been a popular feature so perhaps we will see this on the new ship as well.
Interestingly the ship design already incorporated a stateroom design feature which is already an important part of Disney’s stateroom design.
The split bathroom.
This is a very important feature of Disney Cruise Line stateroom design, and fortunately, it was already in the new ship design.
It’s a rare feature on cruise ships, but it is a great one, so it’s good that this will be on the new ship as well.
It also has the thick curtain design to separate the living and sleeping space – another idea that seems to have been inspired by Disney design as surprisingly not many staterooms have this on other cruise lines.
A design feature that may be incorporated is the convertible sofa bed.
Unlike other Disney ships, the original design was for a double convertible sofa, rather than the usual single with a bunk above.
It looks like a good idea, but may not fit in with the design concept for Disney, although it would be great for older kids and even other adults staying in the stateroom.
One feature which hopefully will be retained from the original design is the control panel technology. This allows you to set different mood lighting.
There is even a light in the ceiling that can be used as a wake-up call alarm. It progressively increases light so that you wake up naturally.
Restaurants on the New Disney Ship
Not much is known about this so everything really is guesswork at this stage.
Here is the original art which I would guess shows the area for a buffet. One thing is certain. There will be a buffet!
It is likely that the new ship will follow the usual system of having three rotational dining restaurants. Obviously, they are going to have to be a lot larger to serve the increased number of guests.
However, I would be surprised if this part of the tried and tested Disney Cruise Line dining formula was changed at all.
Themes for the restaurants?
Likely a stylish nostalgia restaurant, a Princess movie-themed restaurant, and perhaps even a second movie franchise-themed restaurant.
Possibly a repeat of the theme of the Marvel restaurant which is on the Wish – let’s just hope if that happens the concept is refined and improved.
A Star Wars restaurant?
I am going to bet on a no on that one. I am sure many will disagree with me, but Star Wars probably just isn’t popular enough for a ship that is going to be sailing in Asia.
What is a very sure bet is that there will be at least two additional charge high-end restaurants. Probably more.
All the Disney ships have Palo, so maybe one will follow the tradition for continuity.
I think it is likely that there will be more than two extra charge restaurants, and that the capacity will be proportionately higher than on the other ships. I would expect to see more of a variety of specialty restaurants.
Bars on the Ship
Perhaps there will be a Star Wars Bar. Maybe it will even sell that $5,000 drink …
Below is the original design for one of the bars. Might want to rethink the slogan!
The space below could very easily be changed into a Disney theme of some kind.
The concept art below reminds me of the Ooh La La on Disney Fantasy.
WIth more of an Animal Kingdom vibe!
Will the Ship Have a Casino?
None of the other Disney ships have a casino and my first reaction is a very definite no it won’t.
But my second reaction is a maybe?
It would certainly be a money maker – and the original ship was designed to have a casino as a significant part with a large space dedicated to it.
However, it just isn’t Disney.
Perhaps now that Disney is now back in the safer hands of Bob Iger I am right to go with my first reaction. The core values will hopefully be adhered to and the casino space will be dedicated to something much more family-focused.
What Shows Will She Have?
We already know that there is a large theater and a movie theater on board.
Obviously, a huge part of the Disney Cruise experience is the amazing entertainment and stage shows.
It will be interesting to see if they have all new shows on the ship.
Perhaps they will have at least one show which is exclusive to that ship, but I would guess that there will be an existing show as well.
Production and development costs are high for Disney, so they will likely stick with what they know and use a show they already have.
Will they have Pirate Night? That is something that is a core part of the Disney Cruise experience, but will it be on the new ship?
Kids Clubs on Board
As with all the Disney ships, there will be some amazing kids’ clubs.
There is a very successful formula for getting the kid’s spaces right – and it is likely that the new ship will follow the pattern of splitting them into the usual age categories.
This area below was in the original ship design. Will this be a place for younger kids to play with adult supervision?
Adult Spaces – What Will They Be Like?
Disney Cruise Line always dedicates a lot of space for adults only.
I know that Disney is always seen as a cruise line for families, and it certainly is that, but it is also very good at getting things right in the provision of space and things to do for the grown-ups.
The ship will have a space dedicated to those over 18.
It will probably follow the tried and tested format of being in one dedicated part of the ship and include a pool (hopefully more than one), jacuzzis, a large pool deck space, possibly with pay-to-use cabanas, and a spa.
There will be many bars on the ship. It will be interesting to see if they are kept in a dedicated space, like on most of the ships, or spread out more, as on the Disney Wish.
Likely they will be all over the ship as this is probably how it was originally designed. Themed bars are a fair bet, but it’s not a slam dunk that there will be a Star Wars-themed one.
Expect that a large area of the ship will be devoted to shopping malls.
What Will the Spa be Like?
It islikely that a very large space will be devoted to the spa on the new ship.
I would guess that a large part of the space will be dedicated to The Rainforest.
This is a relaxation room on all of the Disney ships which has a separate charge.
It is very succesful on the other ships as spaces usually fill up, so no doubt the concept will be expanded upon in this ship.
Technology on the New Disney Ship
Hopefully, this is going to be a step forward.
The original design incorporated new technology which seems a safe bet that Disney will have on the ship.
This includes being able to open your door with an app on your phone.
Perhaps they will have a Magic Band type system which means you will be able to charge everything with this as well and use it for virtual lines.
This kind of technology is already on Princess Cruise Line ships with the Medalion. That is very convenient to unlock your door automatically when you approach, as well as charging everything by tapping the medallion on the console.
Within the Princess app, there is a food and beverage ordering system which is great, most of the time ( sometimes it really doesn’t work).
There is so much scope for how this could make life on board just a little bit better.
It would be good if this technology can extend to virtual lines for popular attractions and activities. It would be nice not to have to stand in line for the roller coaster for 2 hours with your fellow guests out on the sun deck!
More than anything, more than any fancy thing that opens my door or gives lighting effects in my stateroom, what I really really hope for is that the internet connection is going to be amazing. And reasonably priced.
What Will Concierge be Like on the New Disney Ship?
Magical. And large.
Over the years Disney Cruise Line has shown an increased commitment to dedicating more space on the ships which is exclusive to Concierge passengers.
The whole Disney Concierge concept really started pretty low-key with Disney Magic and Wonder.
The Classic Disney ships always had concierge staterooms but they were few, and there was no dedicated space for passengers.
A Concierge Lounge was subsequently added to the Magic and Wonder with the number of staterooms currently at 34.
When the Dream and Fantasy were built the design incorporated more Concierge staterooms with 40 in total. The concept was also taken a step further with a completely dedicated closed-off space for the staterooms, a lounge, and an outdoor deck area.
The Disney Wish took the Concierge concept up a notch or two. Disney dedicated 79 staterooms to Concierge passengers on the Wish, including the Royal Suites and the very unique Tower Suite which is located in the funnel.
It is highly likely that the new Disney ship will have even more space dedicated to Concierge.
It seems likely that Concierge will be more like the “ship within a ship” concept seen on many Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
The original concept art for the Global Dream shows an area called “The Palace” which is dedicated to Concierge passengers only.
You can see from this concept art that the design was meant to be a large exclusive inside and outside space.
The Concierge Suites were said to be an average of 40 square meters which is equivalent to 430 square feet.
It was intended that at least some of these staterooms would be suites with two bedrooms.
It isn’t clear how many staterooms, or the different types of staterooms within this section, the original design incorporated.
The outside Concierge space is likely to be much larger than on any other Disney Cruise Ship.
Below you can see the original concept.
It will be interesting to see how Disney adds their individual styling to it, but I would imagine a lot of this will remain the same.
The space shown below also seemed to be shown as part of the Concierge area on the ship.
I have to admit I really don’t see the concept of those chairs!
Where Will the New Disney Cruise Ship Sail?
We already know that this Disney Cruise Ship is heading for the Asian cruise market.
The original concept of the ship was that it would have Shanghai, China as a home port. But Singapore is another viable option for a ship of this size. And so is Tokyo, Japan.
The Asian cruise market is one of the most rapidly expanding market sectors. So it makes a lot of sense that Disney wants to expand into this area.
Of course, we already know how incredibly popular Disney Australia and New Zealand cruises are. They were mostly sold out almost as soon as they were released.
Will the new Disney ship spend part of the time in Shanghai and the rest in Australia?
Unfortunately due to the size of the ship, there are just some places it won’t be able to go. And right now it seems that Sydney is one of them. The port isn’t equipped to be able to take such a large ship.
We are of course almost 3 years away from launch – so some time for ports to be upgraded? Obviously, this is at a huge cost, but it may happen.
One thing does seem to be certain. A cruise ship of this size is not designed for tender boats. So this cuts down the number of possibilities for ports to visit.
What do you think the new Disney Cruise Ship will be like?