Our book review blog series ‘Page TurnEars’ returns with a closer look at one of the few Disney Cruise Line focused titles out there. ‘Welcome Aboard! the Creation of the Disney Dream’ by Jeff Kurtti.
There’s something magical about a cruise. perhaps it’s the phenomenon of falling asleep in one port of call and waking up in a completely new destination. Maybe it’s the combination of crystal blue waters, crisp salty air, and glorious sunshine. Or it could be the incredible onshore excursions , the bountiful mouthwatering cuisine, and the fabulous onboard entertainment. whatever it is, the creative forces behind Disney Cruise Line services have capitalized on it and added an extra sprinkling of pixie dust to produce a cruise experience that takes guests to Never Land and back again. With the launch of the Disney Magic cruise ship and the Disney Wonder cruise ship, the cruising industry was revolutionized in an unprecedented way. Aesthetically and functionally, the Disney ships were dramatically different from the liners that preceded them, and cruise goers responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. but one thing the Walt Disney Company has never been content to do is rest on it’s laurels. So in 2007, DCL services announced that it would be building the Disney Dream cruise ship. Welcome Aboard! the Creation of the Disney Dream chronicles the conception and construction of this pioneering ship. From port to starboard, bow to stern, keel to deck, innovations abound, and the secrets behind them are revealed by none other than the Disney Imagineers who initiated and oversaw the ships creation. Readers are invited to peer into every porthole and discover the staterooms, restaurants, water slides, stage shows, and all the other ingredients that make a cruise on the Disney Dream cruise ship truly one of a kind.
Author Jeff Kurrti has a long association with Disney. He’s had involvement in numerous media related projects, written over a dozen books and was heavily involved in the creation of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. So it was perhaps unsurprising that Disney turned to Jeff when deciding who best to document the construction and amenities aboard its newest addition to the Disney Cruise Line Fleet, the Disney Dream.
A shrewd choice some might say, as the result is a refined and polished publication which is well structured and well written for its reader.
Im not sure whether the idea was that the book would make a nice souvenir from a Disney Dream voyage, however it was during a visit to the ships shopping ‘precinct’ that i discovered it. as far as i know, its only available either onboard the Disney cruise ships and from other Official Disney locations. (I’m pretty sure i saw it in the parks & resorts of WDW). as it turns out, its a fantastic reminder of our time spent on board, whilst also explaining how it all came to be.
The early chapters of the book provide a brief history of the Disney Cruise Line, from it’s conception through to the completion of its first two ships (the Disney Magic & the Disney Wonder) and the reasons behind its expansion and why the decision was made to add two new ships to its fleet. the first of which being the Disney Dream, to be followed a year later by the Disney Fantasy. it then goes on to document the various stages of the Dreams construction and some key milestones from it’s build, such as the keel laying ceremony which took place in the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenberg, Germany. There are some unique photographs included in these pages showing the ship at various stages of it’s creation. These, interspersed with comments from some of the imagineers who worked during this stage and the challenges they faced make it perhaps the most interesting section of the book. it certainly is for those buying this book hoping to learn more than just what you’ll find onboard.
A change of direction then moves the reader into what i suppose is like a glorified guide to the Disney Dream. not a comprehensive guide mind you, as there are one or two notable exceptions. Remy, the ships premier dining venue is overlooked, as is the whole retail area found on deck 3.
Most of the Dream’s main features however, such as its superb dining venues, bar & entertainment district, teen deck, kids clubs, pool areas and the Aquaduck water coaster are all given plenty coverage. each is complemented with images, conceptual art, sketch drawings and graphical representations to assist in the visualization.
There are no actual shots taken on the dream itself, perhaps due to the timing of the books completion, or maybe intentionally so, so as not to give too much away.
However if, like me, you buy your copy of this book on the Dream itself, then chances are you’ll have seen the finished article anyway.
That’s not to say there’s nothing new to be learnt in this half of the book for those perhaps now familiar with the ship. Depending on your age group, there will be areas onboard that you might not have available to you. Those of us who’ve long since past our teenage years for example won’t be able to access the teens club ‘Vibe’, located on deck 5 forward – It’s exclusively teens only! therefore getting the inside scoop on what you’re missing out on is well worth finding out (especially if you’re a family which has a teen or two among it’s number!)
The narrative by Jeff Kurrti that intersperses this ‘tour’ of the ship touches on the generalities of each area, without going too far into the finer details about what each deck offers.
There are additions from a number of the imagineering and executive team who were involved in creating the Disney Dream. Cruise Line President Karl Holtz & WDI Senior Imagineering VP Joe Lanzisero provide input to the back-story and an explanation on the decision making involved. others provide some enlightening facts and opinions. There is also a short foreword by Tom Staggs, Chairman of WDW parks & resorts, outlining how the DCL is an extension of the Disney experience found on land. These are mostly confined to the first half of the book which as mentioned earlier focuses on the Dream’s construction timeline.
Anyone hoping to glean a bit more about the inner-workings of the ship, its technical specs or the crew who operate onboard (and there are 1458 working on each sailing!) may feel a little short-changed. Such mentions are thin on the ground, but there’s enough within the books 96 pages to give you the gist. Happily, the Dream’s Master, Captain Tom Forberg does feature, he being the first crew member hired (he previously served on both the Wonder & Magic prior to joining the Dream).
Given it’s not a title that can be obtained too readily, and has a little competition as far as its DCL subject matter, it definitely makes a nice addition to any bookshelf. Certainly for any past or present Disney Cruiser, but equally so for any landlubber simply intrigued to know a bit more about what the Disney Dream is all about.
Whatever your sea-going status may be, Creating the Disney Dream acts both as a timeline of its creation, and a summarised guide to what’s in store for all those who set foot aboard her.