Disney Cruise Line's Fantasy Christening. We Were There!

Piper Weiss, Shine Staff
The Fantasy hits New York shores. (Getty Images)
The Fantasy hits New York shores. (Getty Images)

Last night I attended the christening of Disney's new cruise ship, the Fantasy. All I knew going into was that I'd be on a brand new building-sized cruise ship off of pier 88 in New York and that was enough for me. Needless to say, the event was wildly undersold. The Disney folks kept the details of the gala a secret from press. Ingredient #1 for magic.

Ingredient #2: The cult of Mickey. A small crowd of Disney cruise veterans gathered outside the pier in hopes of catching a glimpse of the champagne christening. Several compared notes on past cruises ("Did you do the two day Magic cruise?" "No, we did four days on the Dream.") People really know their Disney cruises.

My fellow guest and resident photographer, Wicked Mint blogger Ryan Green, remarked at the high level of security to get on the ship. For a moment I got nervous I'd read the invitation wrong and the boat was actually taking off for a few days. Not that I'd have minded. Turns out that metal scanner protection wasn't for us, but for the VIP crowd we had know idea we were about to mingle with.


Inside the Fantasy Disney scintillated like CGI animation on entry. A suggestion of sparkles bounced of fthe pillars, the balcony and teeth of the crew dressed in black tie to greet us. We weren't in midtown Manhattan anymore. Some of us were also completely underdressed (shaming finger pointed at self).

We were quickly ushered into a Broadway style theater and grabbed our seats preparing for a brief revue of Disney songs. But it turned out we were pretty much at a live Emmy awards show.

Neil Patrick Harris walked on the stage. We did not know that was going to happen.

Seated close enough to see his words on a teleprompter I got an idea of why he's paid the big bucks. He's brilliant at ad-libbing and making pre-written scripts seem natural. He did a parody song revue that was a lot more entertaining than Billy Crystal's Oscar routine.


Harris got slightly racy for Disney standards, (her later apologized to NBC honcho Bob Iger for a pot joke), waxed nostalgic on his old DisneyWorld memories and gave a shout out to his new role as dad, a subtle reminder of Disney's long-time support of gay rights
. And then, my head exploded.

Jerry Seinfeld came on stage and did about 15 minutes of stand-up.


For the first five minutes I was just processing the fact that Seinfeld is a real person who exists. It's probably the same disoriented thinking kids experience when they see a Mickey impersonator for the first time. I reconnected by ears to my brain just in time for a very funny bit on bathroom stalls and how they're designed like horse stables ("How much does it cost to close off the bottom of the stall so we don't have to see each others dropped pants and shoes?") Trust me, it's funnier when it's not paraphrased on a blog.


Next, Harris walked into the audience and introduced stars seated a few rows ahead of us. Tim Gunn, Alan Cumming (who dresses like a Disney cartoon villain in real life), Mayor Mike Bloomberg (who has surprisingly adept comedic timing) and Ty Pennington (who wears a Kangol hat!). Disney head Iger was also stood up and revealed he was Harris' boss on Doogie Howser.


Between all the celebrity hoopla were a few highly pleasurable numbers from Disney cruise shows. I was particularly charmed by this magic carpet snuggie from Aladdin. I'm predicting an Olsen twin will be wearing it to a gallery opening next month.


Later for the big christening, things got even more ogle-y. Mariah Carey emerged at the top of the spiral stairs escorted by Mickey mouse.

Her husband Nick Cannon, fresh from the hospital, was charged with popping the christening champagne bottle on the outside deck. When he was done, I think he was allowed inside.


Later, we were all divided into different dining rooms. We were in the one as far from Mariah Carey as possible.

That was okay because I was seated in front of a pile of crayons. That old restaurant trick still works on me. The kid-friendly Animator's Palate dining room is pretty awesome. Before you even order, you're told to draw a character which will later be animated and broadcast on screens around the restaurant. I'm not a very artistic. I remembered to put a receding hairline on my character but I forgot to draw on pants. I regretted that later.


The party continued in the adults-only the nightlife section of the boat. It's called the Europa district and each room on the floor was inspired by a different European country. First we went to the Irish pub, where I learned via their signature cocktail, that Guinness plus champagne tastes a lot like cider. Delicious. Who knew?

Then we went into La Piazza, an Italian bistro with live music and a Vespa with sidecar that goes nowhere. It was just our speed. The bathrooms were Spanish-tiled and the "Tube" dance club was London-themed (though the music was more Britney than British Invasion). At Ooh-La-La, a French champagne bar, an entire wall was lined in glass bubbles.

A cozy, dark bar just behind baby France served to cover the rest of Europe's major attractions. The walls feature fake windows with a constantly changing 360 degree view of different European city skylines. It was Copenhagen when I walked through.

On the way out I passed Ty Pennington heading to the Italian Vespa lounge. He had impressively stuck around (with Erin Andrews in tow) to hold down the after-party. Not sure if this was a contractual thing or just a smart impulse on his part. When are either of us going to travel through Europe on a docked boat just christened by Mariah, Doogie and guy dressed up as a rug? For one night, it was a very small world.


Check out a preview of the Fantasy

Related:
Bob Iger on the new Disney cruise
Why Disney isn't just for kids
Disney's Fantasy Cruise launches a teen musical

Mickey pretends he doesn't see the bottle behind him. (Ryan Green)
Mickey pretends he doesn't see the bottle behind him. (Ryan Green)
Just another Thursday night. (Ryan Green)
Just another Thursday night. (Ryan Green)
Ducks, dogs and Doogie. (Getty Images)
Ducks, dogs and Doogie. (Getty Images)
I didn't even know Nancy Grace was there. (Getty Images)
I didn't even know Nancy Grace was there. (Getty Images)
That magic carpet is Boho chic. (DCL)
That magic carpet is Boho chic. (DCL)
This happens whenever Mariah walks down a staircase. (Ryan Green)
This happens whenever Mariah walks down a staircase. (Ryan Green)
I don't like how Goofy is looking at her. (Ryan Green)
I don't like how Goofy is looking at her. (Ryan Green)
My drawing was NSFW so here's a press photo of Animator's Palette. (DCL)
My drawing was NSFW so here's a press photo of Animator's Palette. (DCL)
London calling! (DCL)
London calling! (DCL)
We're in Italy, kind of. (Ryan Green)
We're in Italy, kind of. (Ryan Green)
The lounge that lets you look out onto a new city every day. (DCL)
The lounge that lets you look out onto a new city every day. (DCL)
Ty and Minnie caught canoodling. Her feet are twice his size. (Getty Images)
Ty and Minnie caught canoodling. Her feet are twice his size. (Getty Images)