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I Sailed On Disney Wish’s Christening Cruise. There Are 5 Reasons Disneyland Fans Need To Try It Out

Disney Wish
(Image credit: Disney Cruise Lines)

When the Walt Disney Company got into the cruise ship game, it brought a company with decades of experience with serving guests on vacation in a brand new realm. For the most part, all previous cruise ships in the Disney fleet still provided what I would call the “traditional cruise ship experience,” with a few Disney elements like costumed characters and themed dining thrown in to give it all that Disney feel.

The newest ship in the Disney Cruise Lines fleet, the Disney Wish, feels like it’s something different, offering a bit more for Disney fans. The “Disney” of it all has been turned up significantly, making the Wish feel more like you’re at a Disney theme park that happens to be floating on water. Specifically, the Disney Wish feels like the Disneyland Resort. You can't move around the ship and experience what it has to offer without thinking of Disneyland. So, I guess what I'm saying is, fans of the California park should check it out.

Matterhorn mountain

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 The Aquamouse Will Remind You Of The Matterhorn 

Water slides are not new things on cruise ships, but with the Aquamouse Disney says it has created the first "attraction" at sea. To be sure, the Aquamouse does more than simply dump you down a slide. It’s got a lift hill like a traditional roller coaster and it tells a story on that hill through an original Mickey Mouse cartoon. There are, in fact, two different cartoons available, giving you reason to ride the Aquamouse more than once, just like many Disney Parks attractions.

There’s one specific actual Disneyland attraction the Aquamouse will invoke, Disneyland’s first roller coaster, the Matterhorn. When I rode the Aquamouse during my recent visit on the Disney Wish Christening Cruise, I got to watch the Swiss Meltdown animated short, which includes an appearance by the attraction’s classic Yeti. What’s more, the music you’ll hear while standing in line for the Aquamouse during the Swiss Meltdown phase includes some of the same music you would hear if you were in line for the Matterhorn.

Carthay Circle resataurant at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 1923 Is Basically Carthay Circle

One of the things about Disney Cruise Lines that makes them stand out is way they serve dinner. Rather than having a single massive dining room that you return to every night, they have multiple (slightly) smaller locations that guests rotate through, giving everybody a variety of theme, menus, and potentially, entertainment. The “fine dining” location of the three is called 1923.

Named for the year The Disney Bros. Studio was founded, which would eventually become The Walt Disney Company, its general theme is one of the golden age of Hollywood. The walls are covered with concept art from Walt Disney Studios animation projects, old and new while piano music of classic Disney tunes plays on speakers. If all this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve been to Carthay Circle at Disney California Adventure. While that restaurant is set circa 1937, around the world premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which took place at the theater of the same name, it still fits within the golden age of Hollywood era. The background music track at 1923 is also literally identical to what you’ll hear at Carthay Circle

Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

 Worlds of Marvel Belongs In Avengers Campus 

Another of the new dining experiences on board the Disney Wish, and possibly the best of the lot, is called Worlds of Marvel. It’s a bit of a dinner and a show, with the courses of your meal broken up by a story on screens throughout the dining room. It’s a fun and exciting way to energize dinner, but it also feels strangely familiar. 

The core of the story for Quantum Encounter is that Ant-Man and the Wasp are on hand as part of Pym Technologies showcase, showing off a new development, the Quantum Core. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and some Marvel heroes, with help from the guests, have to save the day. This is basically also the plot of WEB-SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Avengers Campus. Just swap out Ant-Man for Spider-Man. In fact, the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB) is one of the sponsors of the Pym showcase.

Live Disney Shows Would Be At Home At The Hyperion Or Fantasyland Theater

One element that has been part of Disney Cruise Lines from the beginning and continues to be is live stage performances. That, of course, is also something you’ll see a lot of in any Disney theme park. The Disney Wish has three shows, a medley show called Seas the Adventure, which stars Minnie and Goofy and would be a worthy successor to Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland's Fantasyland Theater. There's also a new version of The Little Mermaid and an updated version of the Aladdin show that has already been seen on other Disney ships.

While I didn’t get to see the updated version of Aladdin, and I’ve never seen it on a cruise ship, I have seen Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at Disney California Adventure, which is a version of the same show that was born on Disney Cruise Lines. I did see a preview of the new Little Mermaid show and I have to say it looked incredible, so it would not shock me to see a version of it make its way to theme parks eventually. Irregardless, these should be a must for fans of those experiences in Anaheim.

Captain Jack Sparrow and Redd at the Pirates Rockin' Parlay Party on the Disney Wish

(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

Pirates Rockin’ Parlay Party Is Inspired By Pirates Of The Caribbean (The Ride, Not The Movie)

It wouldn’t be a Disney experience at sea if there weren’t pirates involved, but of course the Disney Wish has that covered. The Pirates Rockin’ Parlay Party has appeared on Disney Cruise ships before, but the version on the Disney Wish is brand new, and specifically inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, not the movie franchise it was based on. Of course, since Captain Jack Sparrow is part of the attraction these days, he still gets to appear. 

The band the scallywags appears to perform a rocking version of “ A Pirate’s Life for Me.” Eventually, they are joined on stage by Redd, a lead singer inspired by the red-haired pirate now found in most versions of the famous boat ride. She is then joined in turn by Jack Sparrow, before the performance comes to end in the same way every great night at Disneyland ends, with fireworks.

There’s a lot about the Disney Wish that still feels like a more traditional cruise vacation. If you want to sit by the pool and drink mojitos all day long, don’t worry, that is still very much an option. If you want to spend your time on the Disney Wish eating delicious food and drinking expensive wine with a great view of the ocean, nobody will stop you. If, however, you want to have something that more closely resembles a Disneyland vacation, while also going on a cruise, the Disney Wish is the way to have exactly that experience.

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.