Friday, November 8, 2013

Re-Imagine the Magic - Review by Guest Author Amy Hodges

Disney Cruise Line began in 1998 with what else but The Magic! The Magic launched in the summer so this year, they decided to put her in dry dock for seven weeks for some sprucing up. Seven weeks doesn’t seem very long, does it? According to Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, every piece of carpet was replaced on the ship. There were cosmetic touch ups all around, but why would Disney stop with cosmetic work?

All pictures courtesy of Susan Pazera,
One of the most dramatic changes is the reimagined children’s spaces. In the Oceaneer’s Club, your kids will find the Avenger’s Academy, Pixie Hollow, the Mickey Mouse Club and one of the most talked about, Andy’s Room from the Toy Story movies.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear over and over about how cool or amazing something is, I begin to doubt the hype. Friends, do not doubt.

Andy’s Room is every bit as amazing as it sounds. You can climb up to Andy’s bed and slide down the Slinky Dog Slide!!! The new

Avenger’s Academy appeals to anyone interested in saving the world!.(There were quite a few heroic children on our cruise!) 

My 13 year old daughter and I were wondering how we could pull off hanging out in Pixie Hollow. As you can imagine there were a LOT of children on our cruise, but the Oceaneer Club still didn’t feel full. There was plenty of room, activities, and attendants.

One of my colleagues wondered aloud why adults would choose a Disney Cruise for an adults-only cruise over the many other lines who cater to adults. Disney has incredible spaces for kids of all ages, through teens, but they haven’t forgotten us grown-up kids either! The adult entertainment district was reimagined into “After Hours” including Fathoms nightclub, O’Gills Pub, and Keys piano lounge. Fathoms is a beautiful space offering comedians and singers. O’Gills is an Irish pub and sports bar, just in case you have someone who doesn’t want to miss a big game on the cruise! Keys might be my favorite. It’s a beautiful intimate piano lounge, with cozy places to sit and enjoy a signature cocktail. I was there at sunset and the view was simply lovely!

And I don’t think you can take a cruise without talking about the food. Our first night we ate in Animator’s Palette and enjoyed the new Drawn to Magic show. I know the previous show was much beloved (and will still be offered) but I was blown away by Drawn to Magic. The show begins with basic sketches being drawn of favorite characters. At our table of 8 we had a great time trying to guess the characters. But as your meal progresses, the scenes become more elaborate and after a visit from the Blue Fairy, they begin to come to life. Wonderful scenes from Disney movies are pieced together culminating with a visit from the one and only Sorcerer Mickey! It does become a little hard to focus on your food, but our dinner was great! Our second night we dined in the new restaurant, Carioca’s. The atmosphere was fun with lanterns all around and scenes from The Three Caballeros. The food has a South American flair. I started with a deep fried lobster croqueta that was unbelievable. I’m hoping to find recipes for the food!!!

Of course being on the water, the Disney Magic has plenty of water fun for everyone! There is an adults only pool, Quiet Cove, and Goofy’s Pool for the whole family. A fantastic addition for the younger set is the Aqua Lab, a large splash area with it’s own slide, the Twist and Spout.

Did I mention water slides? The big challenge is the Aqua Dunk. This slide DROPS YOU THROUGH A TRAP DOOR AND DOWN 37 FEET!!! That’s either the most awesome or most terrifying thought! The Aqua Dunk also goes 20 feet over the side of the ship. Yes. Over the Ocean. One young friend had done the Aqua Dunk 25 times before we had been on the ship 24 hours!!!

I cannot talk about Disney without talking about their commitment to customer service. Every cast member we encountered was helpful and excited about the reimagining. One of the most exciting things about the reimagining of the Magic? Both Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Karl Holz, President of Disney Cruise Line, said there is more reimagining to come to the Magic. The ship is so amazing now, I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to do next!

*Disclosure- Disney Cruise Line provided my daughter and I with a 2-night cruise, flights and transfers to attend the relaunch of the Magic. I was not required to share, and any opinions shared are my own.

Amy is a goofily married mom of 2 teenagers who have inherited her gift for sarcasm. She works in retail and in ministry and can always find a good reason to go to Walt Disney World. Amy has a neglected blog, A Million Boxes ( or you can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AmyMcHodges.  


  1. Looks amazing Amy! You and Kelly have got to take me on a cruise-sooner rather than later!

  2. Great review Amy. I can't wait for a chance to sail on her!! :)

  3. I think we will have to try the Magic too!

  4. what a fabulous roundup - love all the new kids' spaces!