Disney Magic on the Waves

A whole new Ocean and a Sparkling New Show for the Disney Magic

The Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro is graced with a new landmark these days. Pass over the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning the harbor entrance, and below you'll see a large, graceful, red-black-and-white vessel with two towering smokestacks and the art deco silhouette of cruise ships from the golden age of transatlantic crossings. 

Also, Mickey ears.

The ship is the Disney Magic. Far from her home port of Port Canaveral, Florida, the 83,000-ton vessel is sojourning on the West Coast for the summer of 2005, cruising the Pacific to three Mexican ports of call. It's all part of The Happiest Homecoming on Earth, Disneyland's 18-month birthday party - and indeed, most of the passengers we saw embarking wore golden Mickey ears, the signature headgear of Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration.

Disney Magic sets off for Mexico

The Disney Magic gets a gala send-off
on her way to Mexico.(Photo: Gene Duncan/Disney)
The Disney Insider went on board the Magic and got the grand tour - including a seat for the Magic's newest stage show, "Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story." We also got the behind-the-scenes story from Jim Urry, Director of Entertainment for Disney Cruise Line, on what it takes to mount a Broadway-style stage show - and shipboard fireworks! - at sea.

"The Disney Cruise Line is the only one that launches fireworks from the ships, while at sea," Jim tells us. "It was a huge safety and logistics challenge - it took about nine months to figure out how to do it and give a show we were happy with. But Disney is the largest consumer of pyrotechnics in the world, and we have a lot of experience making the experience amazing AND safe; we just had to discover how to do it on sea."
Another place Disney Magic passengers will see pyrotechnics is on stage, right in the heart of the ship, in the Walt Disney Theatre. This 977-seat venue, lavishly decorated in velvet and carved wood, is the home of "Twice Charmed," a brand-new original stage show created especially for the Magic. In it, pyro effects, spectacular lighting and levitation, innovative projected animation, and Broadway-caliber original songs combine to tell the story of Cinderella and her prince losing their happily ever after ... and finding it again.

Disney Magic arrives in San Pedro

Nineteen cast members, some of them Broadway veterans, appear in this and four
other Disney shows during each weeklong
Kyle Thurmond of Fullerton, CA, greets the
arrival of the Disney Magic in San Pedro.
(Photo: Gene Duncan/Disney)
voyage, says Jim. And all five shows use the same stage, but have entirely different sets and costuming - requiring a daily shuffle to dress the stage anew. All of this must take place within the limited confines of the ship’s staging area - and it must take place on a moving vessel, in fair sea conditions or foul.

"Safety is absolutely paramount to us. The more elaborate and exciting you want to be, the more challenging it is to find the technical equipment to let you do that on a ship," Jim explains. Fortunately, "We’ve got great partners throughout the Walt Disney Company to help us find answers to those challenges."
Leaving the Walt Disney Theatre, we were given the grand tour of the ship. The theatrical performances were far from the only Disney touches we spotted - from the Disney-themed kids’ clubs to a Mickey-shaped wading pool and even Minnie Mouse worked into the wrought-iron railings, the Magic is a Disney vessel, through and through. Even the deck chairs are in the classic Mickey colors - red, white, black, and yellow - and embellished with Mickey’s silhouette. Disney Magic new show, Twice Charmed
We were struck, however, by the extremely grown-up amenities onboard. The soaring multilevel atrium that passengers enter when they board the ship looks like "Twice Charmed: An Original Twist on the Cinderella Story" -- gives Cinderella and her Prince Charming a happily-
ever-after ending -- again!
a setting for an Agatha Christie tale of glamour and intrigue, and from the adults-only gourmet restaurant Palo to a deck boasting a whole "street" of adults-only nightclubs, the Disney Magic is not just for the kiddies. The ship abounds in architectural detail rendered in rich materials - crushed stone, marble, precious woods, and artisanal glass light fixtures. Grown-ups can avail themselves of a spa, a gym, and even an adults-only swimming pool. And "Twice Charmed" was created to appeal to adults as much as to kids, with clever humor, spectacular stage effects, and Broadway-style song and dance numbers.

We were also amazed at the sheer scale of the ship. Each "deck" (or level - if the ship were a building, they would be stories) we toured was huge, and public areas like nightclubs, restaurants, and dining rooms were generously sized. Peeking over the railing of the pool deck to the harbor waters far below was a vertiginous experience. This is a ship on a grand scale -- with 10 decks in all, it's taller than a 15-story building.

On August 20, the Disney Magic will embark on a two-week cruise through the Panama Canal, back to her home waters and her usual Caribbean ports of call. And the Port of Los Angeles will have lost a smidgen of pixie dust.

To learn more about the Disney Cruise Line, click here to visit our Disney Cruise Line page.
Click on the link for a No Obligation price quote, or call us at 609-978-0740.
Originally Published: June 28, 2005 The Disney Insider