A Disney Cruise Teen Experience
Day 2 to come…with the AquaDunk, the teen Chill Spa, and Disney’s Castaway Cay!
Thankfully we awoke to much warmer weather on the second day of the trip. We happily put our sweatshirts away and reached for the shorts and tank tops!
Our boat docked at Nassau early and after a quick breakfast, we walked around the island town. The ship docks right at the island, allowing Disney cruisers to simply walk off the ship directly onto the island. My daughters insisted on getting their updated passports stamped, so we made a fast stop into the Bahamas Port
Administration Building, which is located just past the chain link fence and guards. You’ll need to show your cruise credentials and then head to the building for the passport stamp. It took a few minutes to get the stamp and off we went!
Most visitors head right to Bay Street’s Straw Market, a bazaar filled with handmade mats, turtles made from coconut, and every other imaginable souvenir. If you are looking for a straw basket or a shell necklace, this is the place to go! There are row after row of vendors, all selling pretty much the same items. “Come have a look at the caps, pretty lady,” I heard as I walked by all of the knick-knacks. If you do buy, it is expected that you will bargain for the best price.
Women will get bombarded with offers to get their hair braided and there will be a line of locals trying to entice you to take a taxi ride. We strolled around the island for a while, (I was thrilled to find a Starbuck’s!) and then headed back to the ship. My daughters were eager to try the new AquaDunk and were not willing to wait a moment longer!
Situated on the top deck, the AquaDunk is one of the Magic’s new attractions. This three-story slide has been retrofitted into one of the ship’s non-functional iconic red smokestacks.
After a 63 step nervous climb, riders step inside an enclosed standing-room-only translucent tube. Riders are told to cross their legs, put arms across their chest, and lead their head back. Then they will hear Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews Huey, Duey and Louie call out “3! 2! 1! Action!” just before the near-vertical launch that takes place when the floor’s bottom drops out of a transparent trap door hatch beneath them, similar to Disney’s famed Tower of Terror. It is a stomach-in-the-mouth moment for sure!
You’ll plummet down and practically free fall until the slide catches you and propels you on a swift 212-foot-long thrill ride through a curved transparent tube that extends 20 feet over the side of the ship and over looks the ocean before a finale in the splash pool.
Compared to the AquaDuck water raft ride on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, the AquaDunk is much faster and more exhilarating. Guests taller than 48 inches can enjoy the AquaDunk. (If you go, don’t wear jewelry.
There are small cubbies to store your items so you may want to leave any valuables like your camera in your stateroom.) The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool. It was nice to be able to relax while the kids watched Ratatouille on the large screens.
Another area that has been redesigned for plenty of splashtacular water fun is the AquaLab, an interactive water playground open to kids age 3 and older. In the AquaLab, families can frolic among pop jets, geysers and bubblers in this fun and fanciful 1,800-square-foot space, while the Twist’ n’ Spout water slide gets them delightfully drenched with more than 250 feet of sliding fun of loops and turns.
Smaller ducklings up to age 3 can play in the new Nephews’ Splash Zone, a splash-a-second area dedicated to interactive fun and starring Donald Duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The area features water play with pop jets, squirting figures of Donald Duck’s nephews and plenty of high seas hi-jinks.
While my husband took a nap on the deck, I decided to check out a bit more of the nearly 1,000 ft. long ship. I made my way up to Senses Spa & Salon. This relaxing oasis at sea offers therapeutic and beautifying services for women and men including massages, skin treatments, aromatherapy, pedicures, manicures, hairstyling and other luxuries—is an adults-only venue. There is also a new space for ‘tweens and teens to get pampered in the all new Chill Spa, a luxurious spa designed exclusively for teens 13 through 17 years of age, with treatments created just for them including as an ice cream pedicure, hot-chocolate body wrap with antioxidents, and an “acne attack” facial which includes oxygen and a deep cleansing to help battle blemishes for a better complexion. Reservations are required and appointments fill up fast so it is best to call or visit the spa immediately after boarding. That night we had dinner at Carioca’s. Formerly Parrot Cay, Carioca’s serves contemporary classic fare for breakfast and lunch and offers South
American specialties for dinner. Carioca’s is inspired by and named after Donald Duck’s pal, José Carioca!You may know José from two Disney films from the early 1940s: Saludos Amigos and The Three Cabelleros.
The second night of the trip was Pirate’s Night and our servers did not hesitate to affix a bandanna to our heads to get us in the pirate party mode! Try to keep the kids up late because they won’t want to miss the Pirates IN the Caribbean deck party, complete with fireworks at sea and Disney Characters bedecked in pirate garb. Parents take note – some families really get into the pirate thing and bring elaborate costumes for the whole family. There is line dancing to pirate-themed tunes and of course a giant buffet in case you are hungry. Just as the fun is in full swing, black lighting, raucous music and skull-and-crossbones projections signal the arrival of Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and a gang of pirates who are ready to take over the party. But they’re no match for Mickey and his crew. In a breathtaking finale—complete with awe-inspiring fireworks that can’t be missed—Mickey and friends save day! They protect the ship from
Captain Hook and his scurvy scalawags to ensure that it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the trip! We stopped to take a few photos* with the Disney characters in the main lobby and then headed off to bed to dream about pirate treasure! *Note — For those parents who are all about the photo opps, Disney characters are available at specific times each day – just check the Personal Navigator and be aware, the lines start early. However, the characters also roam freely around the ship, so have your camera ready at all times! My daughters enjoyed just “bumping into” characters on the deck or in the lobby. Professional photos are taken and are available for purchase but Disney photographers are very good about taking a shot with your camera too (which is nice because the pictures can get pricey!)
The next morning we awoke at Castaway Cay, Disney’s own 1,000-acre private island located in the Bahamas. Formerly known as Gorda Cay, Castaway Cay is reserved exclusively for Disney cruise Guests. The ship docks right at Castaway Cay, eliminating the need to tender so the ship is easily accessible throughout the day. Beach towels are provided as you step on the island. You can either walk to the beach or take a short tide on the tram. You will be welcomed by a pristine beach lined with colorful umbrellas. There are adjustable lounge chairs and a few hammocks scattered about for your use as well.
Castaway Cay was created for complete family fun. The Snorkeling Lagoon, the Swimming Lagoon, sports and more are all at the all-ages Castaway Family Beach. Teens will love swimming, kayaking, sports and more at the private Teen Beach, and parents will enjoy indulging in an open-air massage with an ocean view, a yoga class, or a drink at the bar at the secluded, adults-only beach, Serenity Bay. Free childcare at Scuttle’s Cove, an expansive child’s area supervised by Disney counselors is available on the island so parents can take a break. If you plan to snorkel on Castaway Cay, rent the gear in advance at Guest Services on the ship. This will save you a lot of time waiting in line on the island.
Additional activities include biking, stingray interactions, glass-bottom boat tours, parasailing, jet ski tours and offshore snorkeling. Organized walks and
runs along the nature trails are available and kayaks and paddleboats can
be found in the Boat Harbor. For those really ambitious travelers, enter the
Disney Castaway Cay 5K run!
Just a short swim from shore, head out to the floating Pelican Plunge for tons
of wet fun. Two slides (one open and one enclosed) take guests on a twisting
ride, ending with a splash into the lagoon. A giant “bucket dump” delivers
hundreds of gallons of water, soaking those below.
My family and I decided to explore the 1,000-acre island and rented
bicycles. We loved checking out the various areas and seeing the lush
tropical plants and flowers while peddling on the paved bike paths,
especially on the long stretch of airplane runway! It was a great way to relax
and spend some nice family time.
I headed back to the ship early to check out The Art of Theme Show tour.
If artistic design and detail interest you, I highly suggest this! This tour
takes you through various venues on the ship, explaining the choices behind
names, color palette, materials, art and much more. The tour guide also
reveals some very interesting facts you may never learn otherwise. (For
example, did you know that the name of the adult-only restaurant, Palo, is a
tribute to Venice, the birth city to the Magic? The word itself means “pole”
and is used in the streets of Venice to tie up the boats.)
All too soon it was time for our Magical cruise to end. For an easy debarking
experience, you will need to pack your bags and put them outside of your
stateroom door the night before. (This is where that day bag will come in
handy again for your pajamas and toiletries needed in the morning.)
Breakfast was early and we were sad to say goodbye to our servers. Getting
our luggage and car was as smooth as it was when we arrived. A porter
retrieved our bags, walked us through customs and brought everything out
to the parking lot for us, all in less than 15 minutes. We got in our car and
waved goodbye to the Magic.
As we drove away, I couldn’t help but think how my daughters have been
sailing on Disney ships since they were just 4-years-old. They have literally
grown up on Disney cruises. And as they have grown, there has always been
something new for them to experience. The cruises have grown with them,
and the memories we have made on Disney cruises are ones that will stay
with us forever.
From a new grand atrium lobby and a children’s area of “super hero”
proportions, to a three-story water thrill slide, there are plenty of new and
magical surprises in store for cruise guests. The re-imagined Disney Magic
features fun new spaces and experiences and successfully manages to be
both classic and current, blending Old World design elements with cutting-
edge technology and Disney’s massive arsenal of entertainment assets.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line, visit disneycruise.com.
Fun Facts about the Magic:
• The Disney Magic was built in two halves… one hundred miles apart! Part
of the ship was constructed in Ancona, Italy then towed 100 miles to meet
the stern in Marghera (just outside Venice) to be perfectly joined and welded
• Disney Cruise Line ships use the iconic first seven notes of the “When You
Wish Upon a Star” song melody as their horn signals.
• Disney ships are the only cruise ships to have four captains – the ship’s
captain, Captain Mickey, Captain Hook and Captain Jack Sparrow.
• Measuring 964 feet in length, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are
each longer than Main Street U.S.A at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney
World. At 1,115 feet, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream are longer than
the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and longer than the height of New
York City’s famous Chrysler Building.
• The anchor on the Disney Magic weighs 28,200 pounds – about the same
as three full-grown elephants.
• Disney Cruise Line was the first cruise line to have yellow lifeboats,
instead of the traditional regulation orange. Disney was granted special
permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to paint the lifeboats yellow, to keep
with the special color theming of the ship.