Disney Cruise Line’s embrace of Marvel has expanded to its biggest level yet on the new Disney Wish cruise ship handing over the dinner menu to a nontraditional Disney theme for the first time at sea.
Taking over the role Animator’s Palate plays on the other ships, the new Worlds of Marvel restaurant takes cruisers into a dining experience titled “Avengers: Quantum Encounter” that really caters to the deep-dive Marvel fans, although casual fans should enjoy it as well.
Disney Wish is the fifth ship in the DCL fleet, set to begin sailing with paying customers starting July 14.
“Since we built Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy, we brought on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we brought on Lucasfilm, and Star Wars gave us even more stories to tell, even as Pixar continues to evolve,” said Jennifer Haile Tin, Director of Marketing Strategy for DCL. “So I really think of this always as our palette. It’s really how do we want to immerse our guests in the next stories that we want to tell.”
For the Marvel-themed restaurant, the storytelling is strong, with a lot of thanks to charismatic actor Paul Rudd, who as usual steals the show with his humor in the role of Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. He’s joined on screens littered about the dining venue by Evangeline Lilly playing the role of The Wasp, virtually demonstrating the technology from their film franchise with its ability to shrink and grow everyday things just like in the movies, including a surprise treat at the end of dinner.
Part of that is diners interacting with something called a Quantum Core, one of which is at every table alongside Avengers-themed flatware, napkins, tablecloths and even salt and pepper shakers. The superhero overlay is complete, even to the display of Coke products in native Wakandan on the menu.
And just like in the movies, things don’t always go the way one would expect. Without giving too much of the story away, Ant-Man at one point will have to answer to captain, and not Captain America, or Captain Marvel, because of his accidental shenanigans.
The dialogue in the dinner show that accompanies the appetizers, salads and soups is witty and humorous, before it then becomes full-blown entertainment with the voice talents of Kerry Condon, who gives the voice of AI character Friday from the Iron Man films informing diners and Ant-Man about the impending arrival of the show’s villain, and his army of, well, villainous minions. Again, not trying to give it away.
Luckily, more A-list talent is on its way to help in the form of the two captains Ant-Man didn’t get in trouble with — Anthony Mackie in his new role having graduated from Falcon and now taking the helm as Captain America, and Brie Larson as Captain Marvel — as well as the addition of the newest Marvel superhero, Ms. Marvel which only began streaming on Disney+ this summer.
Diners are asked to help with the battle, and the wall screens, tableside Quantum Cores, and other lighting in the dining space truly make it an immersive experience.
The food isn’t bad either. It may be the most diverse menu offering for rotational dining on the Disney ship to date. That also is due to Marvel, as the items look to offer food from the real and fictional geographical locations from the Marvel films, specifically New York, African nation Wakanda, eastern European country Sokovia, but also other Marvel destinations like seared turbo filet from New Asgard and golden mystic pasta from Dr. Strange’s Kamar-Taj.
Just like a Marvel movie, there’s Easter eggs to be found, like the lamb shawarma salad, a nod to the extra-credit scene in the first Avengers film.
Don’t worry. There’s a kids menu too, that opens like a comic book in fact, which is a nice touch, and filled with games, but most importantly, the menu listing that includes apparently every kid on a Disney ship’s favorite: crisp chicken tenders.
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The experience is memorable, and much like other spaces carved out on the ship, tidily separated so diners will feel like they’re in their own Marvel world.
The Marvel footprint can also be found in the kids play space, the Oceaneer Club. Marvel’s Avengers Academy is making its fourth foray onto a DCL ship, but this new one has a great thematic tie to the restaurant.
Danny Handke, senior creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering, said the goal was to get kids who went to the Oceaneer Club first a deeper understanding of the Quantum Core technology, as well as getting a taste of who the secret villain is, and maybe, just maybe, the confidence to take the villain down. It also works the other way, with kids who have dined at the restaurant recognizing the tech they experienced there back in the play space.
It’s the largest dedicated Avengers space in the fleet, and offers up its own interactive superhero suit creation activity that looks to call on characters such as various forms of Spider-Man and Black Panther.
The Ant-Man theme runs strong as well, with microscopes on hand to get a closer look at familiar things such as Hot Wheels cars and Hello Kitty PEZ dispensers that have a habit of growing to massive size in the movies. No sign of the Thomas the Tank Engine train though.
Marvel characters can also be found littered among the artwork on board, and are among the cast of the sail away party, as are the traditional Disney, Pixar and Star Wars characters. It’s a jumbled lot, but each intellectual property is keeping their feet in.
For Marvel, though, the footprints are getting bigger.