Even though it is absolutely miserable and freezing and cold and icy here in North Carolina, I am still dreaming of the warm sun and sandy beaches of the Bahamas that my family and I experienced a few weeks ago when we went on a short vacation.
My husband, daughter Lilly, and I went on our first family cruise aboard the Disney Dream with some folks from my husband’s company. We were really looking forward to the trip and I’d heard so much about the detail and standards of excellence that Disney puts into their cruise ships. Now, I’d never been on a cruise before, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it really was an amazing experience.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts I’ve written on here before, once you work in AV, it’s hard to “turn off” the “AV meter,” so to speak. Meaning, everywhere I go now, I notice creative integration of AV.
But some of the ways the Disney Dream incorporated technology really blew me away with the creativity!
The first thing I noticed once we boarded the ship was on the main top deck, there is an absolutely MASSIVE video wall that is both interactive during shows on the main deck stage, but also plays Disney movies all day and all night. The picture is crystal clear (even in the blazing sun) and the sound is as crisp as can be.
We hung out by the pool our first day on the ship and I was able to watch and hear Snow White, Emperor’s New Groove, and The Lion King all from a few hundred feet away. I tried to do some investigative work to find out who made that video wall, but have yet to learn who did it… if any of you know, let me know in the comments!
The next thing we noticed was when we got to our stateroom. We had a small stateroom on the interior part of the ship, but when we walked in, we noticed a “magic” porthole above our bed (pictured above). The porthole is a display that connects to a camera on the exterior part of the ship so you’re able to always see what you WOULD see if you had an actual balcony or window stateroom on the exterior of the ship.
Another really fun feature is every so often, a Disney character will come across the screen and interact with you in the room. Such a simple use of a display but really made for a cool experience.
In the evenings when my husband and I would drop our daughter off in the nursery of the ship, we’d go exploring some of the adult-only parts of the ship. One of THE COOLEST bars on the ship was called “Skyline.” Skyline features specialty drinks from all the “major” cities of the world (Paris, Rio, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, etc). But what I REALLY loved about Skyline was the wall of the entire bar was lined with LCD displays that changed “skylines.”
So, one minute you felt like you were in Paris, then 10 minutes later you’re in Rio. The displays were really clear and even twinkled and moved so it felt like you really were there. Lights turned on and off, cars drove by, planes flew by. It was a really awesome experience.
But, BY FAR, my favorite use of technology was in one of the main restaurants onboard called “Animator’s Palate.” The entire restaurant is themed from the movie Finding Nemo, but what’s even more amazing is the walls of the restaurant are lined with over 100 interactive LCD screens.
When you first sit down for dinner, it just looks and feels like you are inside a big giant aquarium surrounded by characters from Finding Nemo. BUT, once dinner gets started, you realize it’s so much more. The lights dim, music starts playing, and Crush, the sea turtle from the movie, begins talking to you… along with all the other characters. Then, throughout dinner, Crush and the characters will swim up to your table and strike up a conversation.
They ask where you’re from, sometimes even know your names, and really make it a TOTALLY interactive experience. It is one of the COOLEST things I have ever seen and just so incredibly creative.
Now, while I did not experience this part directly, on the Disney Fantasy ship, you can create a drawing in Animator’s Palate that gets shown on the screen via movie form.
Here’s a video I found that shows you a little bit about how Animator’s Palate works:
Again, I tried to ask around to find out who was a big part of the integration of this on the ship, and not many people could tell me… so if any of you know – PLEASE let me know!
My ONLY complaint aboard the ship was in the 687 sports bar in “The District” – we went there the last night on the ship to watch Carolina lose to Duke and all the TVs were standard def. I can’t STAND HDTVs that aren’t in 1080p. #firstworldproblems. Now, I don’t know if this is because we were on the ocean and not on land… but I feel like in 2014 this would be possible? No?
Anyway, overall we had such a great time, but I really, truly (if you can’t tell by now) was BLOWN AWAY by the attention to detail on board and the creative use of technology.
There were SO many other things (I could go on for days)… but those were just some of the highlights and things I loved most.
What about you? Have you been on a Disney cruise? Seen any creative uses of technology?