Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Disney ship to have 750-foot water coaster ride, virtual portholes for windowless rooms

The Associated Press

Disney's new cruise ship will include a 765-foot-long water coaster ride and virtual portholes with a live view of the ocean for windowless staterooms.

This computer rendering released by Disney Cruise Line shows the AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long water coaster ride on the Disney Dream, a cruise ship expected to launch in January 2011. (AP Photo/Disney Cruise Line)

The Disney Dream ship is scheduled to launch Jan. 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Fla., on a cruise to the Bahamas. It's the cruise line's third ship after Disney Wonder and Disney Magic, as well as its largest, with a capacity of 4,000 people.

The virtual portholes hang over beds in inside staterooms and stream live footage from video cameras mounted around the ship, with 24-hour views of the water and sky, punctuated occasionally by the appearance of a Disney character on the screen. Passengers have the option of turning the video off.

The ship's water coaster, called the AquaDuck, will send a two-person raft (with a picture of Donald Duck on it) on a flume ride around the perimeter of the ship's top deck, propelled up and down by water blasters. One loop of the ride juts 13 feet over the side of the ship, 150 feet above the ocean. The ride will take 90 seconds and will accommodate anyone 48 inches or taller.

The video portholes and AquaDuck are among a number of innovative features on the ship. Pictures in hallways will become animated as guests walk by; restaurant environments will change from day to night; kids can have conversations with animated Disney characters on a large plasma screen.

Asked to name his favorite part of the ship, Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said: "It's hard not to love that water coaster."

Paul Motter, editor of, said the AquaDuck will be the longest ride at sea. Motter said the just-launched Carnival Dream "is the longest now at 303 feet, but Disney's is a stronger concept using a raft and the water jets that push you upstream. Plus the extension over the side of the ship gives it a real 'wow' factor."

He said another ship, Norwegian Epic, due out in May 2010, will have an inner-tube ride called The Epic Plunge. "Obviously, water slides are becoming one of the big attractions on ships," he added.

Disney Cruise Line was passed over recently in awards given out by for best ships for families (Royal Caribbean won the category). But editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown was enthusiastic about the Disney Dream.

"Disney's ships were cutting edge a decade ago but have been surpassed, innovation-wise, since," she said. "So all this new stuff, this is fantastic! It's a great boon for the family market, though I do still believe, and Disney hasn't yet convinced me otherwise, that it's a better cruise for Disney fanatics and families with younger kids."

Bookings for the Dream's first cruise opens Nov. 9.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.