The Disney Wonder cruise. Is it Worth the Wonder?

Eliza M (Year 8), Contributor

Honk, honk! Here comes the Disney Wonder finally paying Australia and New Zealand a visit. On the 28th of October 2023, the Disney Wonder cruise ship will set sail in Australia. None of the Disney Cruise Ships has ever sailed in Australia or New Zealand before, so this will be a first. It will be departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland. Unfortunately, it will only be around for a limited amount of time. It will leave Australia in February of 2024. Many rooms selling out fast, but don’t fear, there is still time to convince Mum and Dad to book your ultimate holiday!  

 But first of all, you may be wondering whether it’s worth the price or your valuable time. Well, I have been fortunate enough to travel on Disney cruises three different times – the Disney Fantasy twice (in 2015 and 2019) and the Wonder once (2017), so I can give you my insight.   

   To start, all around the ship, characters are waiting to sign autographs. You do have to wait in line (especially for the more popular characters) but meeting them is a wonderful experience. Now, I understand meeting characters might not be as magical for teens, but for a younger child to meet Mickey Mouse, it is magical!  

 The entertainment is quite something. They have two theatres on board (one for musicals and productions and the other one for movies). If you’re lucky enough to be on a cruise when a new Disney movie is coming out, you will get to see the world premiere of it a night before it comes out in cinemas on land. When I was on the Disney Wonder I had the privilege of watching ‘The Last Jedi’ before it was released. This may be a bit controversial as I’ve only seen about two Star Wars movies and then I jumped to the ninth movie. The atmosphere of excitement is a next-level experience when you have the opportunity to see the movie before the rest of the world. 

 Over in the other theatre, the musicals are amazing! They do a variety of adaptations; some are pre-existing movies transformed into real-life musicals while others are originals. Don’t forget to arm yourself with popcorn and refreshments (which are always close by). I recommend you have dinner a little earlier and then go to the theatre to finish off your night by watching either a musical or a movie. 

 There’s always a theme night; my favourite being Pirate night. It is a fun night where everyone dresses up like pirates and they have Captain Jack Sparrow come to entertain. That’s all I can say without spoiling everything though.  

 Something you cannot miss while on this cruise is the fireworks! The colours are stunning and incredible to watch in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. 

 Something unique I found was having the same waiters every night you are on the ship. This allows for more of a connection as they get to know you better and know to sneak some extra ice cream on your plate. They entertain you as you’re eating by giving you different riddles to try and solve (such as moving only two match sticks from the pile of six to make two triangles rather than six). Regarding dining, the restaurant ‘Animators Palate’ lets you draw your own cartoon character which ends up animated on screen in a short film- also your name ends up in the credits. I don’t know about you, but that is something I don’t see every day!  

 You might not be super excited about spending a lot of time at sea since there aren’t many stops for the Wonder travelling around Australia, so here are some recommendations of things to do while on board: 

  1. The pools are a must. There are a few, with a giant tv screen playing Disney classics and, of course, there are water slides! 
  1. If the adults want a relax or the kids just want to do something for themselves, they have a great kids club to entertain younger kids for hours! It includes a craft area to make fabulous artwork, slides, toys to play with, and more. I understand this may not be super fun for teenagers as it is designed for younger kids, but they have a place called ‘Vibe Teen’ made just for teens! It includes fun games like pinball machines and Guitar Hero. They even have a coffee and smoothie bar, so you don’t have to travel far to get a nice refreshment. 
  1. If the adults need a getaway, they have a super relaxing spa called the rainforest room. It is a luxurious escape from reality where you will come out feeling a completely different person after some relaxing time in saunas, lounging, and more. 

 Now back to the main question… is the Wonder worth it? In my opinion, I would have to say 100% YES! There will be parts where the magic isn’t as special to us anymore as we are older, but I don’t think my reason needs any more justifying from what you have just read. So, don’t walk, RUN to get your tickets before it’s too late!