750,000 reasons to like Disney Cruise Line

It’s been all over the news, the launch of Disney Cruise Line’s new Disney Dream, the line’s first new ship in over 10 years. Adding Disney Fantasy in 2012 more than doubles the size of the Disney fleet, bringing the line up to speed and beyond with new-ship features, new capacity to dominate the family cruise market and a new brighter outlook towards the future. But as is so typical of the American success-story company, as they look ahead, they look back.

It’s been so long since Disney launched a new ship that a world of media eyes descended upon Florida to sail along and see just what the legacy of Walt Disney had built. Most told of new features like the AquaDuck onboard water coaster, virtual portholes for interior cabins, the latest technology and new onboard entertainment.

On a short two-night preview cruise of the new Dream, Disney added one extra element hosting a fund-raising cruise for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America that raised $750,000.

Just being able to do that would be plenty for most organizations. But in typical Disney style the company brought along a number of Boys and Girls club members for the ride, treating them to an experience they’re not likely to forget any time soon.

Also along for the ride were normally land-based Disney cast members and their families who paid to sail along on the fund-raising cruise, see the new ship, and be part of it all.

As the ship prepared for “sail-away”, always a festive time on any cruise, company officials, dignitaries, cast members and friends packed the ship’s top deck. Disney Channel celebrities, the ship’s entertainment staff and the entire stable of Disney animation stars worked the crowd into a total Disney-immersion frenzy.

But it was bringing those Boys and Girls club members out on stage that sent the event wild, drawing the largest response from all. The deer-in-the-headlights look on the faces of those kids, unaccustomed to a rock star reception, gave way to smiles of appreciation with a side of “Yes, I DO have a future now!” . Once high-risk youths were safer, happier and had a much brighter future in no small part due to the Disney company and a relationship with the Boys and Girls Clubs that dates back to the 1950’s.

How appropriate for a ship all about dreams.

Photo: Chris Owen