From the Orlando Sentinel....
PORT CANAVERAL — The new 4,000-passenger Disney Dream cruise ship pulled into Port Canaveral for the first time early Tuesday morning.
The ship, the third and largest in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, completed a two-week trek from a German shipbuilding yard to its new home base. The Dream will have its official maiden voyage Jan. 26, after trial runs with members of the travel industry and Disney employees.
There was no public viewing of the new ship Tuesday, but select areas of the $900-million vessel were toured by media members.
Passengers will board the Dream through an art-deco atrium with a palatial chandelier and a statue of Admiral Donald. Disney characters are engrained into the cruising experience from the get-go, with a cavalcade of creatures — including Donald Duck in an inner tube — blended into golden paneling along the balconies.
Just off the atrium is the Royal Palace restaurant, which features 700 seats and a pumpkin-inspired chandelier that incorporates glass slippers and crowns. Cinderella's gourd-turned-carriage appears in little ways throughout the room, from chairs to banisters, from mirrors to bread baskets and etchings in the china.
Ozer Balli, the cruise line's vice president of hotel operations, said the design touches are subtle.
"We didn't want it to take away from the decor," he said.
Portraits of Disney princesses reflect their rags-to-riches stories at the restaurant, but it isn't all girly. Beast — as in "Beauty and the Beast" — appears in wall sconces.
The tone is more grown-up in the Senses Spa and Salon, which features earth tones, grassy mosaics, sky-blue ceilings and river rock built into the flooring.
"The spa space has the best views," Balli said.
Its manicure-pedicure area has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the water, as does the nearby sauna. Senses also includes showers — with names such as "tropical thunder," "water fun" and "rain forest" — that use lighting effects, varying pressure levels and herb-infused water.
New to the Disney Cruise Line is the Chill Spa, where passengers between the ages of 13 and 17 can sample services such as a "hot chocolate wrap" and an "acne attack facial."
The Oceaneers Club is designed for children ages 3 to 10, and its low ceilings reflect that. Video games built into the floor are themed to Disney movies such as "TRON" and "Bolt." Playrooms have designs based on Tinker Bell's Pixie Hollow, "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story," with an oversized, kid-friendly Rex the dinosaur and other items from Andy's room in the films.
"You really do feel like you walked into the movie," said Bob Zalk, a Walt Disney Imagineering senior show producer.
Designed for the Dream, but not ready for an upclose look-see, are the AquaDuck water coaster that extends over the side of the ship, and the cruise line's first miniature-golf course, which features Goofy and his son Max.
The ship's size provided more room for themed areas.
"Whether it be AquaDuck or it be golf ... I think that was an opportunity for us to expand just because of the space," Zalk said.
Disney has big expectations for the ship, which is about 50 percent larger than its Magic and Wonder vessels.
"We're pleased with the reaction to the Dream. There's a lot of buzz" about the ship, said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. "I expect them [the Dream and the Disney Fantasy, which will debut in spring 2012] to perform well."
The maiden voyage is sold out, Disney officials said Tuesday, but there are openings on the second cruise, which begins Jan. 30, according to the cruise line web site. The Dream travels to the Bahamas on three-, four- and five-day excursions.
Port Canaveral CEO Stan Payne said the Brevard County seaport also has high expectations.
"We have continued to get calls, 'When's the ship coming? When's the ship coming?' Well, now it's here," Payne said. "I think there's going to be a huge demand for it."