Several weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend a media event for the Disney Magic, which will undergo dry dock in September. Once she hits the water by the end of the month, she’ll be all shiny and new … more or less.
I was really excited about the upgrades and new elements. To me, being in that room with Joe Lanzisero and seeing his excitement and passion for the ship—it seemed totally RIGHT, like the natural progression of the ship and the DCL brand.
But when I talked to Estelle about it, I was surprised to find that she (someone who’s actually, you know, cruised on the Magic, unlike me) feels like the new plans take a lot of the soul and personality out of the ship. She was especially upset about the redesign of the ship’s lobby. And that made me sad. And a little confused.
Because Lanzisero was heavily involved in the original design of the Magic, and he has overseen (and will continue to oversee) the ship’s revamp. He loves this ship. You can see it in his eyes when he talks about it. He kind of is that ship. So how can he neuter its soul?
During the event, he admitted that a lot of the changes they’re planning to make are for two reasons: first, and most obviously, Disney has its hands on a lot of amazing new tech and a lot of amazing new IP that it didn’t have when the ship was christened in 1998. It needs an upgrade. No Disney fan would argue with that.
The second reason for the changes was because people simply don’t utilize the ship and its spaces in the ways that the Imagineers imagined they would. They spend a lot of time watching guests: their traffic patterns and how they interact with the ship. And they wanted to make things better and more reflective of how guests actually use the spaces.
Take, for example, the lobby atrium that made our girl so sad. Right now, there’s a huge, double staircase in the space. But soon, it will be a single staircase. Guests weren’t really using the second staircase anyway, but they did want more open space to congregate and loiter in the atrium … getting rid of the second staircase (which they weren’t using anyway) gives them that space!
And the removal of the staircase is just one part of an overall strategy to make the lobby feel less stuffy and grand and more flowing and comfortable—more like the kind of space that guests expect in a Disney resort experience.
So, yes, the epic chandelier is going … but in its place will be a much lower key, much friendlier space that is more suggestive of how guests actually use the space.
And, hey … you never know … maybe you can buy the chandelier at Cast Member connection a few months from now.
What do you think of the changes to the Magic?
(Pictures from Disney Cruise Line.)