Pre- & Post-Cruise Experiences
By Georgina Cruz
The moment a cruise passenger boards a ship is "magic,"
marine historian John Maxtone-Graham once said. And now, for
passengers setting sail from Florida and California ports, there are
opportunities for even more magical moments pre- and/or post-cruise.
Disneyland in Anaheim, California,
Walt Disney's pioneer park, which he called "the happiest place
on earth," is marked its 50th anniversary last year. The
celebration, which launched in May, is hu-u-uge with an array of new
"It will be the biggest event
in our history," said Michael Eisner, Disney's CEO. And, as if
sprinkled with pixie dust, it not only extends to all Disney parks,
including Walt Disney World in Orlando, but it also lasts 18 months.
Here is what was on tap at
Actress Julie Andrews (of Mary
Poppins and The Princess Diaries fame, among many other films) has
been named the event's ambassador. She was on hand at the
announcement of the celebration in 2004 and will, along with other
Hollywood stars and dignitaries, officially launch it on May 5.
attractions at Disneyland will include the following:
* Disneyland - The First 50 Years,
presented at the Opera House in the Town Square section of Main
Street, features an exhibit of artifacts including authentic
attraction models, concept artwork, layouts and maps which relay the
story of how Walt Disney and his original team of Imagineers
conceived, designed and built the park.
Focal point is the original pencil
aerial schematic of Disneyland created by Imagineer Herb Ryman and
Walt Disney over a weekend in 1954. The attraction will also feature
a new film retrospective highlighting the first five decades of the
park using archival photos, familiar Disney tunes, and narration by
Walt Disney himself. After the movie, an exhibit showcases
attractions and shows planned that never materialized and what is to
come in years ahead.
* Remember… Dreams Come True is the most lavish and monumental
fireworks display ever presented at Disneyland. It incorporates
narration and Walt Disney's own words about the origins of
* Sleeping Beauty Castle, the centerpiece of the park, will sport
new paint, special banners and other embellishments including a big
number "50" for the celebration.
* Space Mountain, one of Disneyland's most popular roller
coasters, has been enhanced with new "rocket ships" and
new effects including an encounter with a meteorite.
* Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams is a new parade, one of the
biggest ever staged at Disney parks, featuring more than 100
performers, floats rising to 20 ft., confetti showers, choreographed
musical numbers, and of course, Disney's beloved characters.
* Block Party Bash, a new street party, will fill Disney's
California Adventure, Disneyland's sister park, with music,
excitement and fun.
At Walt Disney World in Orlando, the celebration also reaches
fairytale proportions. It is highlighted by several new attractions
- four of which have been imported from other Disney parks around
"We're giving Walt Disney World guests a chance to sample
Disney magic from three continents," said Al Weiss, Walt Disney
The new attractions, which are being imported from Tokyo
Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios
Paris to the four Disney theme parks in Orlando (the Magic Kingdom,
Epcot, Disney-MGM and Disney's Animal Kingdom) include:
- "Cinderellabration" - A musical spectacular direct
from Tokyo Disneyland, this show will be presented in front of
Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom several times daily. The
live stage show continues the "happily ever-after"
story of Cinderella, with Disney's most beloved princesses
gathering to celebrate Cinderella's coronation.
- "Soarin'" - An import from Disney's California
Adventure at Epcot, it enables visitors to "take to the
skies" in a thrilling hang-gliding journey over the wonders
of the Golden State. The "flight" ends -
appropriately-with an aerial view of Disneyland itself. Also new
in Epcot is a preview attraction showing scale-models and
renderings of the new Hong Kong Disneyland, the 11th Disney
park, which is slated to open in that picturesque corner of
China in December.
- "Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show" - This
spectacular comes to the Disney-MGM Studios from the Walt Disney
Studios Paris and spotlights the bombastic best of stunt masters
several times daily. Filled with high-octane energy and
choreographed thrills, the live show sends cars, motorcycles and
watercraft careening across a re-creation of a European village.
The attraction has a 5,000-seat grandstand.
- "Lucky the dinosaur" - Lucky comes to Disney's
Animal Kingdom from the California Adventure park, Disneyland's
sister park. A lifelike Audio-Animatronics creature -the first
such free-roaming one-it can laugh, sneeze, bray and even
hiccup. Lucky will roam the park's DinoLand U.S.A. section,
talking with guests and signing autographs.
New attractions, not imported from other parks, at Disney World
include Crush 'N' Gusher, opening March 15. It is a white-knuckle
"water coaster" thrill ride at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
water park. While riding it, visitors are whisked along a series of
flumes and spill-ways that weave through what appears to be a
rusted-out tropical fruit facility. Guests slip and slide through
torrents of gushing water, with gravity-defying conditions caused by
recent "typhoons" that create crushing bursts, propelling
visitors through cavernous twists and turns. The ride will have
three "fruit spill-ways" to choose from, each ranging
between 410 to 420 feet in length with varying degrees of slopes and
Opening later in the celebration year is Expedition Everest. A
thrill attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom, it will be an
adventure themed to the world's highest mountain and will include an
encounter with the yeti.
IF YOU GO - Visit www.disneyworld.com
Passengers sailing out of Florida on the Disney Cruise Line may
arrange for pre- and post- cruise packages through the cruise line.