Disney Cruise Line is embracing the Force and really long hair as changes are coming to three of its four cruise ships.
Star Wars features big on both Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy while new Broadway-style show "Tangled: The Musical" will debut on Disney Magic.
First up will be the revamp of Disney Dream, currently in dry dock until Oct. 24 in the Bahamas. Among new features coming to the nearly five-year-old ship will be two new spaces in the Oceaneer Club including the "Star Wars: Millennium Falcon" play area.
Aimed at children ages 3-12, the new Star Wars-themed area will allow children to join the Rebel Alliance, punch up the hyperdrive and navigate Han Solo's ship across the galaxy. A large-screen TV will play the Disney XD series "Star Wars Rebels" while gaming stations will let kids play video games based on the TV series.
Also coming to Dream is Disney Infinity Toy Box, a space dedicated to the company's figurine-based gaming system with a life-size Disney Infinity Base for children to step onto for interactive game play. On display and available for use will be a complete set of figurines from all of Disney's franchises including Pixar, Marvel and classic Disney characters. The Star Wars and Infinity play spaces replace the Monster's Academy and Disney's Explorer Pod play areas while Andy's Room and Pixie Hollow remain.
Disney Dream debuted in 2010. It was the third Disney Cruise Line ship.
Star Wars will also be embraced with the on-board version of Jedi Training Academy, a popular experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Young cruisers will become Padawans to master a lightsaber and use the Force in a showdown with Darth Vader.
Dream's overhaul will also see the addition of Vanellope's Sweets & Treats, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, adults-only splash pool Satellite Falls and the addition of a "Muppets"-themed adventure to the Midship Detective Agency scavenger hunt.
Dream's sister ship Disney Fantasy will also be feeling the Force farther down the road for a set of eight special Star Wars-themed sailings from January-April 2016. Those sailings will feature the Jedi Training Academy, but also screenings of all of the Star Wars films including "The Force Awakens" that debuts Dec. 18. In addition, there will be Star Wars trivia, a Star Wars deck party with lasers and fireworks and for the adults, a transformed nightclub to resemble the Mos Eisley cantina featured in the original 1977 film.
The special Star Wars sailings on the Fantasy will be Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 5, March 19, April 2 and April 16, 2016.
Disney Magic had a major overhaul in 2013, but is debuting this November a new stage show based on the 2011 movie "Tangled" about Rapunzel and her extremely long hair. "Tangled the Musical" is the cruise line's first original production since 2012 and will feature three new songs along with popular numbers from the film, all written by Oscar-nominated songwriters Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
Replacing "Villains Tonight!," the new show debuts when Disney Magic begins sailing from PortMiami in November.
The cruise line's fourth ship, Disney Wonder, has been in a holding pattern for any major overhaul, awaiting the completion of a Panama Canal project that would allow larger ships to make the trip to the West Coast. At this point, Disney Wonder is the only ship in the fleet that can traverse the canal and take advantage of the lucrative Alaska summer sailing season.
By Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel
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