Disney Cruise Line Plans to Build Miami Terminal for Year-Round Cruises

According to Travel Weekly, Disney Cruise Line has agreed to sail a ship of at least 3,500 passengers out of Miami on a year-round basis starting in 2023.

The agreement which was approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission on September 6, will give Disney the first rights to build a new terminal on the south side of the port to the east of the existing Terminal J, which currently caters to small cruise ships.

Disney Cruise Line is expected to begin year-round four-day and five-day cruises from Miami in 2023.  Disney is expected to followed this with the addition of a second, seasonal ship in January 2024 that would sail three-day and four-day cruises.

As reported earlier Disney is currently building three ships scheduled for delivery in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

With this announcement Disney Cruise Line would join Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International a year-round operator out of Miami.

The agreement will guarantee the PortMiami at least 360,000 Disney passenger movements per year starting in 2023. The agreement would yield the county-run port $7.2 million a year.

Disney has cruised seasonally from Miami in the past and plans to bring the 2,700 passenger Disney Magic to PortMiami starting December 4th.

According to reports the construction of a new terminal on the port’s south side depends on widening the ship channel and turning basin on that side of the port along with the acquisition of cargo land currently under lease to Seaboard Marine.

If construction is deemed non-viable or unsuitable, Disney and the port will reportedly explore options on port’s the north side, where all of the larger cruise ships currently dock.

Many cruise line experts have wondered for a while if Disney Cruise Line was exploring other ports for year-round cruises once the new ships were announced in 2017.  There have also been rumors that Disney is looking for another private island to stop at because Castaway Cay has been talked about as being at or nearing capacity with the current line of ships.

Even though the new ships are a ways off…for fans of the Disney Cruise Line and their cruises, at least for me, this brings the new ships even closer to reality.

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Walt Disney Company Plans to Eliminate Plastic Straws by Mid-2019

The Walt Disney Company announced today that they are planning on eliminating single-use straws in all of its owned and operated locations by mid-2019.  This will include all of Disney’s theme parks with the exception of Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea.

Disney claims that this elimination amounts to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.

Disney appears to be joining the trend that was recently spearheaded by the announcement from Starbucks earlier this month that they would phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

In addition to the Walt Disney Company and Starbucks, McDonald’s announced in June that it would scrap plastic straws from restaurant locations in the U.K. and Ireland and replace them with paper straws, starting in September. Vail Resorts, owner of Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe and sister resorts in Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Vermont and the Midwest, has also banned plastic straws.

“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”

For guests staying at Disney hotels or traveling on Disney cruise ships, there are additional changes coming.

Over the next several years there will be a transition to refillable in-room amenities, a move that is expected to reduce plastic by 80 percent, the company estimates.  This has been rumored to be going property-wide for a while now after Walt Disney World had previously begun implementing this at some of its resorts earlier.

Disney also said they plan on reducing the number of single-use plastic shopping bags in owned and operated parks and on cruise ships, offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags.

It will be interesting how guests respond to the new straw policy.  I personally don’t care whether I have a straw with my drinks.  I only use the plastic ones Disney provides at sit-down restaurants because they toss it at my glass.  I refuse to use the paper ones because I find that they don’t last a meal and that they disintegrate in my beverage.  While I do use the plastic straws at quick-service restaurants, I’ll adapt and just not use anything.  There are people that I know that cannot drink anything with ice in it without a straw or use a straw with any drink either out of preference or necessity.  How these guests respond is anyone’s guess.  Many people have already mentioned that they’ll bring their own straws, some reusable, some not.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if at some time in the near future Disney starts selling Disney themed/branded re-usable straws in its parks.

Equally interesting will be the implementation of the “decreased number of single-use plastic shopping bags” in the parks.  I suspect that what’s probably going to happen is purchased items won’t automatically be placed in a bag and that guests will be asked if they want a bag.  At that point they will be offered the “opportunity” to purchase a re-usable bag.  I imagine Disney will still have to use bags for guests that want purchased items transported to the front of the parks to be picked up later or if guests want their items sent back to their resort.

Okay….now it is time for my cynical take on this.

I’m sure some part of the Disney Company is doing this for the sole concern of the environment.  I have no doubt that this is contributing to the decision.  I suspect that the biggest reason for this decision is financial and if there is a PR win that comes with it…so be it.

Look at it this way…

Disney spends a lot of money having someone make straws for all of their restaurants and beverage carts.  They know that with this change people will use fewer straws provided by Disney, even the paper straws.  People will just use less of them.  This means Disney spends less money.

The same in regards to the bags.  Some guests will decide not to use bags or will purchase the re-usable bags.  Again, less money spent on plastic bags.

If in fact Disney decides to offer Disney-themed or branded re-usable straws this is a new found revenue stream.  Also, Disney mentioned that instead of plastic bags they will “offer” re-usable bags.  We all know that this means “sell” don’t we?  Again…a new revenue stream.

So, Disney spends less money, finds new revenue streams and they come off as environmentally friendly.  It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

Disney Cruise Line Reveals All New Star Wars Day at Sea Experiences

Brand new experiences featuring the Dark Side, the Resistance, the droids and more are coming to the Disney Fantasy when Star Wars Day at Sea returns on 15 special sailings this January through April. Check out some of the new out-of-this-galaxy experiences that are setting sail:

The Dark Side

  • To kick off Star Wars Day at Sea celebrations, in a one-time experience the night before the event, Darth Vader and Stormtroopers will march into the ship’s atrium for an Imperial takeover.
  • Kylo Ren will appear in “Jedi Training Academy,” where young Jedi-in-training summon their courage and the Force to face off against Darth Vader and Kylo Ren.

The Resistance

  • Rey will take the stage in the “Summon the Force” nighttime deck show that celebrates great moments from across the Star Wars galaxy including iconic characters and new favorites, complete with an epic fireworks finale accompanied by John Williams’ iconic music.
  • In “Porgs Onboard! Scavenger Hunt,” Chewbacca needs your help to track the Porgs that have been wreaking havoc throughout the ship. You’ll find and decode secret messages to solve a ship-wide quest and be greeted by everyone’s favorite Wookiee at the end of your adventure.
  • In the days leading up to the epic celebration, check out all of the Star Wars feature films in the Buena Vista Theatre, culminating in a showing of the newest film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Fun for the whole family

  • New in 2018, you are guaranteed a time to meet and take photographs with C-3PO and R2-D2, Chewbacca and Darth Vader. Before you even step onboard, you have the chance to reserve these character encounters online under the My Disney Cruise section of disneycruise.com.
  • Guests can step into the saga and pose with a life-size replica of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite, as well as other cool Star Wars-themed backdrops.
  • In Star Wars Drawing Academy, guests can learn to draw some of their favorite Star Warscharacters and a new character from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Is it a Porg? You’ll just have to wait and see!
  • Star Wars-themed interactive games, trivia and activities for the whole family will be hosted by your Disney cruise staff on the pool deck and in the D Lounge.

These are the droids you’re looking for

  • C-3PO will make an appearance in Star Wars: Command Post in Disney’s Oceaneer Club. During a special activity, children train to be members of the Resistance and fend off the First Order. C-3PO pays a visit to check on their training and further human-cyborg relations.
  • Droid Racing is a fast-paced activity that the whole family will enjoy where guests can race BB-Unit droids around a course in the ship’s atrium.
  • In a hands-on activity for families, everyone tests their skills to become master droid builders and create an intergalactic droid.

All of these cool new experiences are included in a Star Wars Day at Sea cruise, and just some of the ways you can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars galaxy.

From The Disney Parks Blog

Disney Cruise Line Gives First Look at Marvel Day at Sea on the Disney Magic

The time has arrived when the mightiest Marvel Super Heroes and menacing foes assemble on the Disney Magic to make the action-packed Marvel Day at Sea a reality! Now, enjoy your first official look at some of the exciting day-long entertainment and adventures that will transport you to a new realm of heroic possibilities…

“Marvel Heroes Unite”

For the first time ever, Marvel Super Heroes and Villains face off in an incredible battle at sea! The super-charged nighttime show fills the upper decks with special effects, stunts and pyrotechnics and music. The epic finale culminates in the largest collection of Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains ever assembled on a cruise ship.

“Doctor Strange: Journey into the Mystic Arts”

In a brand-new interactive show, sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange invites guests to join him on a journey of discovery into the world of the Mystic Arts.

Black Panther’s Debut

Making his very first appearance as part of a Disney vacation experience, Black Panther shares his secrets of super reflexes and extraordinary intellect during up-close encounters.

Heroic Encounters

Around the ship, you may happen upon your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, who is always quick with a word of encouragement and helping guests hone their Spider-senses. Other Marvel Super Heroes you may encounter onboard include Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, to name just a few.

“Mickey and Friends Super Hero Celebration”
Even Disney characters are getting in on the action! Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale dress up to honor their favorite Marvel Super Heroes.

Marvel Day at Sea is on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

From Disney Parks Blog

Disney Cruise Line Announces Itineraries for Early 2019

Today Disney Cruise Line revealed where their ships are sailing in early 2019 … to tropical ports of call from coast to coast! We’re returning to favorite destinations on a variety of itineraries, including cruises from California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Highlights include an expanded two-month season from San Diego to the sun-drenched Baja and Mexican Riviera, a host of options to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida ports, and cruises to the Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico. All cruises departing Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay, our private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests.

Here are the details …

San Diego to Baja and Mexican Riviera

The Disney Wonder returns to San Diego for an extended season from March to May 2019, with a variety of cruises to Mexico where you can enjoy vibrant culture, stunning beaches, exciting water activities, cliff diving and ziplining through the jungle.

Most sailings to Mexico’s Baja peninsula call on the charming coastal city of Ensenada, known as the “Cinderella of the Pacific” with its turquoise blue water and rugged mountainous terrain. Two-night cruises to Ensenada boast Friday departures from San Diego, giving you the ultimate weekend getaway to experience world-class entertainment aboard the Disney Wonder.

Four- and five-night Baja options include a visit to Cabo San Lucas, a destination favored for arid climate and sunny weather, dotted with dramatic rock formations and bordered by white-sand beaches.

Seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera call on Cabo San Lucas and feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán. These week-long cruises offer you the chance to make magical memories as a family while soaking up the history and Old World charm of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and taking in the beauty of stunning beaches and the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Southern Caribbean

In January, three special Disney Wonder cruises from San Juan sail to the Southern Caribbean, visiting tropical destinations renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches and warm azure waters. On the six- and seven-night sailings, you can dive into charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces.

The Disney Wonder arrives to San Juan after a five-night journey departing Jan. 9 from Galveston, Texas, with a stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Feb. 3, a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes you from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Florida, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort—the perfect stop for a fairytale land and sea adventure.

Port Canaveral to Bahamas and Eastern and Western Caribbean

With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a getaway in early 2019 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida. Every sailing from Port Canaveral includes a day at Castaway Cay.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Caribbean voyages, with Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises calling on Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Falmouth.

The Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay, and the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries throughout February.

Miami to Bahamas and Western Caribbean

To kick off 2019, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

The magical shores of Castaway Cay await guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other ports of call on the Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, Florida, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017. Check out the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com for more details, and happy sailing!

 

Disney Launches Vacation Gifting Site

Disney has launched GiveDisneyVacations.com. The site is a new way to gift someone something as little as a $25 gift card and other gifting options all the way up to to an Adventures by Disney vacation or even a membership with Disney Vacation Club.

Guests can choose from Disney Gift Cards, Theme park tickets, and entire vacations with Adventures by Disney, Aulani, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club and Walt Disney World Resort.

As a special introductory offer, available now through November 15th, guests can purchase a special Walt Disney World Resort package for any time during the 2018 calendar year. The package will consist of a 6-Night/7-Day room and ticket package at one of Disney’s All-Star Resorts for $96 per person, per night. The resort package will be delivered in a special holiday gift box, and delivery is guaranteed before December 15th.

Sail Away to a Magical Winter Holiday with Disney Cruise Line

This holiday season, give a gift that’s both nautical and nice: a cruise on the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, all decked out with holiday cheer. Starting early November, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship during Very Merrytime Cruises, with traditional “turkey day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries” and New Year’s Eve galas. But the best part might just be relaxing on deck instead of shoveling snow.

During these voyages through the new year, special stem-to-stern holiday events include:

  • “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic” in the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, where Disney characters lead holiday carols and the lighting of the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.
  • “Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball” in the atrium lobby, where Disney cruisers welcome the guests of honor, Santa and Mrs. Claus, with a grand celebration featuring Broadway-style entertainment, favorite Disney characters and classic holiday tunes. This evening of enchantment is made complete when a special pair of royal sisters joins the party and causes a flurry of “frozen” fun as a magical snowfall overtakes the atrium.
  • Dickens-inspired carolers carrying the spirit of the holidays throughout the ship while singing holiday classics, sometimes with the help of favorite Disney friends. At the end of the cruise, children will have the opportunity to join the carolers onstage for a special farewell show.
  • Family holiday activities including building gingerbread houses and meeting Santa Claus.
  • Youth holiday crafts such as decorating stockings and gingerbread men cookies, making holiday cards and creating holiday animation cells.
  • “Deck the Deck Holiday Party,” a tropical celebration with Disney friends leading games such as hula hooping and limbo under oversized candy canes, along with dances for the whole family like the “Yuletide Slide” and a conga line around the pool.
  • A special holiday edition of the cheerful farewell celebration on the final night of the cruise, with beloved Disney characters and the ship’s crew in an engaging musical finale led by Mickey Mouse.

On Thanksgiving Day, guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast and visits from Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire. Also during the special Thanksgiving voyages, NFL football games will be broadcast live on the ships’ outdoor, jumbo LED screens – Funnel Vision – located near the family pool.

Christmas morning at the atrium lobby tree Santa Claus and his helpers will have a surprise for all the kids, and guests will delight in a special musical performance from the children. A traditional Christmas Dinner will be served that night in the dining rooms.

Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Hanukkah services will be held each day, Dec. 12 to Dec. 20.

Special holiday décor adorns each ship from bow to stern, anchored by a three-deck-tall tree in the atrium lobby. The 20’ tall tree is uniquely decorated to complement the existing colors and overall theme of the lobby, including a custom star that is as unique as the ship. All together, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Dream have 402 garlands totaling 3,768’, 126 wreaths ranging from 24” to 60” and 130 trees ranging from 24” to 8’.

When the ships stop at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, during the holidays, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” a decked-out Christmas tree, Disney character meet-and-greets and holiday island music.

For an extra sprinkle of holiday joy, special amenities are available for stateroom delivery. Purchased in advance of sailing, these include holiday-themed gift packages and treat baskets and even mini Christmas trees decorated with ornaments, red berries, mini carnations and a bow topper. Plus, during the holiday cruises, the Disney Cruise Line holiday merchandise collection and ever-popular Disney Cruise Line ornaments will be available in the gift shops.

To ring in 2018, voyages during the holiday include a special New Year’s Eve party, complete with music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown.

To celebrate the holidays, the Disney Magic sails four-, five-, seven- and eight-night Bahamian cruises, five- night Eastern Caribbean cruises, and a five-night Western Caribbean cruise departing Nov. 11 to Dec. 24; the Disney Wonder sails seven-night Western Caribbean cruises, and seven-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 10 to Dec. 22; the Disney Dream sails three- and four-night Bahamian cruises departing from Nov. 10 to Dec. 22; and the Disney Fantasy sails seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises departing from Nov. 11 to Dec. 23.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

Disney Cruise Line Announces Powerful New Doctor Strange Show for Marvel Day at Sea

Disney Cruise Line has revealed more details about the epic events of Marvel Day at Sea! The day’s entertainment will include a brand-new interactive show with Doctor Strange that invites families to join sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange on a journey of discovery into the world of the Mystic Arts.

Through the power of special effects and projections, you’ll be transported from the Walt Disney Theatre to the New York Sanctum Santorum, the residence of Doctor Strange. As apprentices, you’ll learn how to master the Mystic Arts, create portals to other worlds and cast spells.

Children play a special role in the experience, as Doctor Strange calls upon the young apprentices to learn the fundamentals of the Mystic Arts, and his Master Students lead the kids in training exercises. Each new student of Doctor Strange is awarded a certificate after completion of their mystic arts training.

But this powerful experience isn’t over yet! The students will need to put their new skills to the test when suddenly an epic battle against the Dark Dimension ensues. Doctor Strange calls upon his young apprentices to join forces and summon their practiced powers…

Will they prevail? Keep your mind open. The possibilities out there are endless.

Marvel Day at Sea premieres on select 7- and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from New York this fall, and returns on select 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in early 2018.

Disney Cruise Line Advisory and Adjustments due to Hurricane Irma

Based on the projected path of Hurricane Irma, Disney Cruise Line is making the following adjustments to itineraries:

Disney Fantasy

The September 9 sailing of the Disney Fantasy is cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for the cruise booking. Guests are invited to book a future cruise at a 25 percent discount by calling us at 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

Disney Dream

The September 11 sailing of the Disney Dream is cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for the cruise booking.  Guests are invited to book a future cruise at a 25 percent discount by calling us at 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

Future Bahamian and Eastern Caribbean Sailings

At this time, there are no changes to other sailings on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. However, we continue to closely monitor Hurricane Irma and assess its impact on the ports of call we visit in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Updates regarding any necessary itinerary changes will be posted beginning September 12.

Disney Cruise Line Changes Final Payment Window for 5-Night Cruises

Disney Cruise Line has changed the final payment schedule has been changed for five-night sailings.

Previously, the final payment cutoff for five-night cruises was 75 days prior to sailing.  The new payment cutoff is now 90 days. This means that cancellation fees now take effect at 74 days prior to sailing for five-night cruises. Five-night holiday sailings now require payment in full 105 days prior to sailing, rather than 90. Cancellation fees will take effect for five-night holiday sailings beginning 104 nights out. This new policy puts five-night cruises in line with the final payment schedule for six- to nine-night sailings. The new policy takes effect for any Disney Cruise Line sailing booked on or after August 15.