NEW YORK (AP) -- Disney Cruise Line's oldest ship, the Magic, is getting a makeover, including the addition of a children's area themed on Marvel Comics superheroes and a three-story water slide, the company announced Friday.
The Magic launched in 1998. Other updates when the ship goes into drydock in Spain for a month this fall include updating audio technology and lighting, and retheming decor, motifs and layout in cabins, dining rooms, play spaces, and adult areas like bars and clubs.
The new Magic ride, called AquaDunk, is a waterslide three decks high that sends riders on a near-vertical drop through a translucent tube extending 20 feet over the side of the ship. The ship will also get a water playground and pool called AquaLab, as well as a splash zone for infants and toddlers, using Donald Duck's mischievous nephews as a character theme.
The Magic's new Marvel's Avengers Academy will use characters from the Marvel brand, which Disney acquired in 2009. It will feature games, programming, and equipment consisting of reproductions of props from superhero films. It's designed to appeal to both boys and girls, inspiring them to become superhero "recruits" for missions from the academy.
Adding the AquaDunk ride to the Magic will bring it in line with Disney's newest ships, the Dream and Fantasy, which already have flashy thrill rides. The Dream and Fantasy also have play areas called Andy's Room themed on "Toy Story," and the Magic will get one too, with oversized furniture, a human-sized Mr. Potato Head and a Slinky slide designed to make children feel they are no bigger than a toy.
Fran Golden, a veteran cruiser who blogs for Porthole Cruise News at Porthole.com, said the Magic is in need of an update. "Disney's newer ships — Dream and Fantasy — have more attractions. Adding a thrill water slide, AquaDunk, will get people excited — and not just kids," she said, noting that the water slides on Disney's other ships are popular with adults as well as children.
She predicted that the Marvel area will also be a big hit. "What kid can resist hanging with Captain America, Iron Man and Thor?" she said.
Stateroom changes will include raising beds up to allow for storage underneath and reconfiguring the rooms so that bedrooms can be closed off from the rest of the cabin. Retheming of adult areas includes a new piano lounge and a new Irish pub and sports bar. A Brazil-themed family dining area called Carioca's will replace a Caribbean-themed restaurant called Parrot Cay. And the popular Animator's Palate restaurant, which offers guests an interactive look at Disney animation, is also getting a complete technological redo.