Said I was going to do this so I needed to get around to it. Still working on photos and such from our Dream cruise so they're not ready. But I wanted to get some impressions of the Disney Dream down for you.
First of all, it's big. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors:
If you've been on the Wonder or the Magic, this thing is gonna make them feel like a toy. It's that big."The Dream," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to a walk back to the District, listen..."
Here's some specifics:
- This is a rather odd one. For our class of stateroom (5C), the stateroom on the Dream is actually a little smaller than it was on the Magic (268 sq ft on the Magic and 246 sq ft on the Dream), it actually feels larger. I think the reason for this is that they've done some new things on the Dream that seem to increase the usable space. For instance, on the Dream, they've raised the beds in the staterooms off the floor so that you can store your luggage under the bed. Huge improvement over the Magic. I only hope they do the same thing to the Magic (and the Wonder) at some point in the future.
- The bathrooms seem to be about the same size but once again, they've done some things on the Dream that make them seem larger. Specifically, the bath tub/shower. On the Magic (and I assume the Wonder), the shower curtain pull straight along the length of the tub. The standing joke in the clubs was that in order to take a shower, you had to soap the walls and then just spin in place. On the Dream, they've taken that straight curtain rail and put a big curve in it. The net result is that the shower curtain bulges out into the bathroom space while you're in the shower. This provides enough room to move with relative ease without rubbing against the various bits.
There's still 3 main restaurants on the Dream. They are; Royal Palace, Enchanted Garden, and of course, Animators Palette. They are naturally larger. There's also two adults only restaurants. Palo, like on the Magic and Wonder, and Remy, which is completely unique to the Dream and will also be on the Fantasy I imagine.
- Royal Palace (Dream) versus Lumiere's (Magic) or Triton's (Wonder).
The Royal Palace theming revolves around all the Disney Princesses. It's no longer specific to a certain character. There are references to all of them throughout the restaurant. The most obvious reference is the Glass Slippers that are a part of the central chandelier in the restaurant. For some odd reason though, we weren't as impressed with the Royal Palace as we were with Lumiere's on the Magic. Chalk it up to personal preference but it just didn't seem "right". Don't misunderstand, it's still very nice. Just didn't impress us as much as the main restaurant on the Magic.
- Enchanted Garden (Dream) versus Parrot Cay (Magic and Wonder).
Ask almost anyone who's been on the Magic or the Wonder what their least favorite restaurant is and you'll almost always get a response of "Parrot Cay". Well, that's all changed on the Dream with the Enchanted Garden. We found the theming and ambience of this restaurant just delightful. The only downside of this one for us was that they only served a breakfast buffet here. That meant I couldn't have my standard Eggs Benedict for breakfast here. No matter. This was still our very favorite restaurant and we would have happily taken all our meals in here if we could.
- Animators Palette (Dream) versus Animators Palette (Magic and Wonder).
On the Dream, they've updated Animator's Palette with lots of video type displays. There was one over our table. Right behind my head as it turned out. This proved to be significant in that the volume from it was so loud, that it almost hurt. Volume you say? Yes, volume. Seems that the characters here, interact with the guests. In our case (as in most of what we saw), it was Crush from "Finding Nemo". And when I say interact, that's exactly what I mean. Crush started querying members of our party and carrying on a conversation with them. Quite impressive.
However, there's some caveats here. While the wall display's change from black and white to color, these seem to be mostly the video type displays. While that's impressive, it just didn't have the impact for me that the change in the artwork on the Magic (or the Wonder) does. Also, on the Magic (and I assume the Wonder), as the evening goes on, the wait staff change their vests from black and white to color. Not so on the Dream. Finally, on the Magic and Wonder, the wait staff, at the end of the meal, used to do a very nice flag ceremony where they paraded through the dining room with the flags of various countries representing the crew. Once again, that's gone on the Dream. Or at least it was on our cruise.
- Adult Dining - Palo and Remy on the Dream
We only did brunch at Palo on the Dream. This was roughly on a par with Palo on the Magic. At least for brunch. But, there were some noticeable differences. One thing that was different was the lack of the traditional pizzas there were available in Palo on the Magic. For my DW and I, these pizzas were a part of brunch that we really enjoyed. And they were delicious. Sadly, on the Dream, they weren't available. Also, on the Magic (and I assume the Wonder), Palo is laid out in almost a semi circular manner around the stern of the ship. On the Dream, Palo is laid out on only one side. The other side is reserved for Remy. This layout made Palo feel long and thin. At least to me. I found the layout on the Magic to be much more to my liking.
We didn't even consider Remy. If I were on my honeymoon or an anniversary, it might be nice. But like Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian, Remy is relatively expensive. Especially for a cruise where all the food is included. At $75 per person, we gave it a pass.
There are still two main show venues on the Dream. Well, three really if you count Funnelvision, the movie screen located on the back of the forward funnel and visible from the Mickey and Donald pools.
- Buena Vista Theater
This is pretty much the same concept as it is on the Magic and the Wonder. Larger perhaps but still a stadium style movie theater. There are entrances on decks 3 and 4 which is, I believe different from the Magic and the Wonder. We saw both POTC and Cars 2 here and it was quite nice. Also, our designated lifeboat station was in here. That didn't thrill my DW too much as she wanted to know that if the ship was sinking, she'd prefer to take her chances with a outdoors lifeboat station. Oddly enough, I understand her reasoning.
- The Walt Disney Theater
Again, same concept as on the Magic and Wonder but larger. Not so much in depth it didn't appear but now, on the Dream, the theater has a balcony. With real box seats on the front sides. My DW and I tried the box seats one night but didn't really care for them. Too easy to see all the doings on stage (elevators, etc.). For subsequent shows, we opted for the normal downstairs theater seating.
- If you're used to shopping on the Magic or the Wonder where you've got both Mickey's Mates and Treasure Ketch with only a single hallway separating them, you're going to be in awe of the shopping area on the Dream. It's more like being in a shopping mall. In reality, I suppose it's not all that big but it feels like it. It's laid out with circular and angled hallways that give the impression of a rather large space. Oddly enough, you still only have two main shops, Mickey's Mainsail and Sea Treasure, but now, you've also got the duty free shop in here also. That's called Whitecaps and on the Magic and Wonder the duty free shop is part of the the entertainment district rather than being in with the other shops.
- Personal Observations:
Make no mistake, the Dream is nice. Very nice. However, there are some things that my DW and I like more about the Magic. Here's a quick rundown of the differences and my opinion.
- The feeling of useable space in the Dream staterooms is better than it is on the Magic even though the actual square footage is less. However, I think Disney can (and probably will) rectify this just by elevating the beds on the Magic and Wonder and changing the shower curtain layout.
- Restaurant wise, we really liked the Enchanted Garden on the Dream but still prefer Lumiere's and Animator's Palette on the Magic. If they'd just refit the Magic with the Enchanted Garden motif in place of Parrot Cay, it would make the Magic perfect.
- General feel. This is where it gets a bit odd. For the most part, my DW and I felt that the Dream had a crowded sensation that we didn't get while on the Magic. Nothing specific really. Just an impression. The waits for elevators seemed to be longer and they also seemed to be more crowded.
- Layout wise, we found that once again, we prefer the Magic over the Dream. For instance, on the Magic, we were used to seeing the early show, then popping into Sessions for a quick drink before dinner. These two locations on the Magic are in close proximity to one another. Only one deck apart.
On the Dream, once the show is over (which is in the bow area), you've got to traipse all the way to the stern to the area know as the district to have your favorite adult beverage. And make no mistake. The Dream is a looonnnnggg ship. That hallway going back to the district just looks to disappear in the distance. My DW has a rather difficult time walking long distances anymore and this was rather unpleasant for her. But once again, it's just our observations. Your mileage may differ.
These are just my observations and feelings that we got from our Dream cruise. All in all, given a choice, we prefer the Magic to the Dream. Prefer being the operative word. The Magic just seems to be more "intimate" than the Dream does. It's still Disney through and through. There was certainly nothing on the Dream that would dissuade us from taking another cruise on the Dream, but given our choice, we'd still prefer the Magic (or probably the Wonder).
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I do have to mention one thing. There was an accident while we were on the Dream. No one was hurt but the potential certainly was there. The lifeboats hang above the walkway on deck 4. Deck 4 is the deck with deck chairs, shuffleboard areas are. The cables holding the lifeboat bow to the davit for lifeboat number 9 let go and the bow of the lifeboat crashed to the deck. As I said, no one was hurt. I don't have the specifics as Disney was quite tight lipped about it but I've heard it mentioned that it was during a lifeboat testing session for the lifeboat crew. My DW and I were in the Enchanted Garden having lunch when this occurred and heard a rather large boom but didn't know what happened. Of course, this couldn't be fixed while we were at sea but when we returned to Port Canaveral, there were two cranes waiting to lift the lifeboat off the deck so the damage could be repaired. It took out the railing on deck 4 directly under the lifeboat. I've since learned that they patched the railing and the Dream sailed minus this one lifeboat. What happened or why, I don't know specifically. But it wouldn't concern me in the slightest. I'd still lounge in the deck 4 chairs on any Disney cruise. I consider this a fluke and wouldn't let it bother me at all. I just didn't want you to hear about it from other sources and wonder why it wasn't mentioned.
I'll get a proper trip report up at some point in the future. After I get my pictures cataloged and edited.
In the meantime, if you've got questions, ask. I'll do my best to answer them.
Tom (... self appointed Assistant Cruise Director )