HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Disney has taken to the high seas, and Hawaii is its latest port-of-call.
The cruise ship, Disney Wonder, docked in Honolulu harbor Monday after making the rounds on neighbor islands. It's the first-ever Disney Cruise Line voyage to our state.
The company is testing the waters to see if a set itinerary to the islands is viable. Right now, plans call for Wonder to only dock in Hawaii once more this year. But, as is customary for Disney, they came to impress.
"We have Broadway quality, world class entertainment in our theatres. And of course, we get to cruise around with world famous Disney characters," says the Wonder's cruise director, Christaan Abbott.
In what has become a ceremonial maritime tradition, the ship's captain exchanged plaques and gifts with local leaders, including Governor Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle. Hawaii tourism officials told us they'd like to see Disney Wonder return regularly with its 2,700 passengers. They estimate just one day in port adds $250,000 into the local economy, and, truth be told, it's hard not to become a kid again when you're on-board.
I asked one of the most famous characters, "So, Goofy, are you having fun here in Hawaii?" Goofy nodded. I said, "You are? I see that you learned how to shaka". Goofy gives the camera two big shaka signs (which isn't easy when you've got gloves on). I tell him, "Nice, nice!"
The ship has something for everyone. Of course, it's geared towards children with five, age-appropriate play areas designated for kids - from babies to teenagers. Three pools, a jumbo movie screen, video games, scavenger hunts, sports - you name it. It's here. Parents can drop their kids off for one hour or the whole day – whether they stay on board during port-of-calls or not.
Youth activities manager, Arnaldo Kretzig, says, "We offer activities, arts and crafts all day, computers, lunch and dinner - so the children will be well taken care of while the parents are just going shopping or sightseeing."
20% of passengers don't come with children at all. "We have a pool and a restaurant - just for the adults. A spa for them, as well. Lounges, nightclubs, musicians, comedians, just for our adults," adds Abbott.
Disney also offers something called rotational dining - where passengers rotate among three restaurants and their servers accompany them. Cost for this cruise starts at around $3,200 for 14 nights. The next cruise through Hawaii sets sail in mid-October. It departs from Los Angeles. Currently, Disney Cruise Line has no plans to travel through the state in 2013.
By Teri Okita, Hawaii News Now