New cruise ship Disney Wish arrives to cheers at Port Canaveral – Orlando Sentinel

PORT CANAVERAL — Disney Cruise Line’s new ship Disney Wish sailed into Florida for the first time this morning to the delight of fans let into Jetty Park to witness its arrival.

The first new ship in the Disney fleet in more than 10 years sailed into its new home port at about 5 a.m. greeted by hundreds of fans who either woke up early, or didn’t sleep at all waiting for the ship’s arrival.

With lightning in the background and under a moonlit cloudy sky, the pier was eerily silent despite the lines of people. The waves crashing along the pier were only interrupted by the sound of a buzzing drone flying overhead, but then the hoots and cheers of crew members on board as the ship sailed by were met in kind from the crowd.

Then the ship blew its horn to the tune of “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella and the crowd shouted even more.

Shelly Thomas and Nicole Dugan of Orlando are Disney Cruise Line super fans having sailed on all four of the other ships in the fleet, and they are booked for Wish’s inaugural sailing on July 14.

“We just wanted to be one of the first ones to see it as she comes home,” said Thomas, who said she has been on 47 Disney cruises since 1999. “We’re really excited for that first day just to be able to walk around the ship and see what’s new.”

Theo Arnold of Tampa, sporting a Captain Mickey T-Shirt, talked excitedly about the ship with fellow pier mates with a caffeinated glee.

“I got myself out of bed at 1 in the morning and just drove over. I didn’t go to sleep. I tried to, but got maybe 20 minutes,” he said. “I’ve only ever been on Disney. I mean I’ve thought about going on other ones, but when I go to book it, I’m just like I’ve got to come back to Disney.”

The ship made the transatlantic voyage from Europe, having officially been handed over to the cruise line on June 9 by shipbuilders Meyer Werft, which had been constructing the 144,000-gross-ton vessel since 2020.

Ahead of paying customers, Disney will christen the vessel on June 29 while also sailing a few times with Disney employees and news media, after which it will begin its normal three- and four-night sailing duties to the Bahamas.

About 250 Disney cast members that had stayed up all night as part of a cruise line slumber party bussed over to the port to welcome the ship as it pulled alongside Disney’s Cruise Terminal 8 after 6 a.m.

Shouts of “welcome home” could be heard from the employees as the ship blared its horn again amid a small fireworks display as the sun began to rise.

Disney Wish is the first of three ships in the new Trident class of vessels, larger than the older vessels but still with a 4,000-passenger capacity like Dream and Fantasy. The final two ships have yet to be named and won’t arrive until 2024 and 2025.

For now, Wish will call Port Canaveral home year-round, taking on the shorter sailings that had been handled by Disney Dream. That ship departed Port Canaveral for PortMiami earlier this month to make room for Wish.

Dream’s sister ship Disney Fantasy will remain at the port for mostly seven-night Caribbean sailings.

The new ship has the look and feel of its sister ships, but with its own signature offerings from the stern character Rapunzel in “Tangled” to the new water coaster that also features a dark ride snaking around the top deck called the AquaMouse. It was lit up like a Vegas billboard as the ship made its way into port before the sunrise.

Inside offerings include dining venues based on “Frozen” and Marvel, both with interactive shows while Star Wars will get its first adult-themed space on a Disney ship with the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge.

The popular Oceaneer Club with play spaces for kids ages 3-12 will feature its own Marvel Super Hero Academy seen on other ships along with spaces called Star Wars: Cargo Bay, Fairytale Hall and Walt Disney Imagineering Lab, the first time Disney Imagineering has been highlighted on board a Disney vessel.

The ship will debut a new version of “The Little Mermaid” on stage while bringing back a version of “Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular” as well as an original production called “Disney Seas the Adventure.”

The ship only got its first taste of water on Feb. 11 when it was floated out for the first time. Wish left the shipyard in March and has since been completing sea trials in the North Sea in Europe.

It was originally planned to have had a January debut but that fell victim to industry-wide delays during the COVID-19 pandemic. A planned June debut was delayed a further six weeks after the pandemic’s resurgence last fall.

“We have anticipated this homecoming of the Disney Wish for some time and know that our entire port community is excited to have her sailing from our port,” said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray. “We are proud of the longstanding partnership we have with Disney Cruise Line, and the arrival of the Disney Wish adds to the growing number of impressive cruise ships providing high quality guest experiences from our port.”