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Celebrating the holidays aboard the Disney Wonder

Celebrating the holidays aboard the Disney Wonder

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In early December, a pal and I decided to close out the year with a week-long Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera, the last time (at least for the near future) that the Wonder will be making this voyage. As with the parks, the holidays were in full swing on board, and we even got to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah our last night on board.


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In the lobby, there's a huge, beautiful Christmas tree - and the scrollwork on the base matches the scrollwork in the nearby Grand Stairway and other architecture in the atrium lobby.  On the first night of the cruise, the Disney characters come out in their Christmas outfits for the Captain's tree lighting ceremony. A little boy was chosen from the crowd to wear Triton's crown and wield his magical triton to bring the Christmas tree to life. The rest of the atrium is decked with garlands as well.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

Instead of the usual deck party show, the Wonder featured "Deck the Deck", an audience-participation heavy show by Goofy's Pool, which has a handy stage right there on deck. There's hula-hooping with Pluto and Goofy (one little girl was fantastic!), a "pass the coconut" game with oranges instead of coconuts, with Lilo and Stitch (they said that Stitch stole all the coconuts - and during the show, he kept trying to make off with the oranges), and other kid-friendly activities with Mickey and Minnie, Chip and Dale and the rest of the gang. The kids were brought onstage in groups of about ten for each section. The show ended with a conga line that went up the stairs and around the family section of Deck 10, right toward us, so we got some great shots.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

Each restaurant was decked out as well; Triton's had wreaths and twin trees with beautiful blue-and-green sea colors, shells and lavender fish; Parrot Cay went with a more tropical theme, lovely orchid swags all over the restaurant. Animator's Palate really had fun with the black-and-white/color aspect of the restaurant; white and silver garlands and wreaths with colorful balls, tubes of paint and artists' palettes. Palo, the adults-only "extra" restaurant, was decorated tastefully with poinsettias and small decorative trees decked with elegant musical instruments. The Outlook Cafe and Cove Cafe had special holiday coffees.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

The outside of the Walt Disney Theater had trees full of show-themed memorabilia, and even the Cadillac Lounge classed up the joint with floral decor rimming the stage where Laurence J. Blackler played each night. Teresa's favorite, however, was found in the Promenade Lounge: a gigantic gingerbread house! The house had been created entirely on board, baked in the massive bakery and put together right in place. Along with the usual ginger and candy decorations were a large collection of snowmen, some deer, and some Disney friends, including Lotso peeking out from a side window.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

On our last night on board, we gathered in WaveBands for the first night of Hanukkah. Simon, the club host, poured the wine and grape juice while one of the ship's officers (she was in charge of the kids' clubs and every time she interacted with a child, it was adorably obvious) played host for the celebration. Disney brought a rabbi on for the remaining nights of Hannukah, but since this was just one night, they didn't bring one on board for our cruise. Servers brought out delicious latkes with freshly-made applesauce and sour cream, and our host asked some children to tell the Hanukkah story, then gave them dreidels as a reward. Then it was time for lighting the candles, interestingly enough only one of the two circumstances in which an open flame is allowed. They had to have a bucket of water underneath the table for safety, and all children had to stay at least a foot away from the table. After the prayers, we sang songs, which were printed up in a lovely program for those of us who can't remember all the words.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

We weren't there for the actual holiday (it's on my bucket list now), but I do know that on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they serve special meals, including a gorgeous Yule Log. Disney did a great job of blending the holiday celebrations in with the regular decor and themes on board.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

While we were on board, we got the bad news that there were no more regular cruises scheduled out of Los Angeles planned in the future, except for stops on the way to and from Vancouver. All four ships would be sailing out of Florida next year, which is a shame for us "Disneylanders". When it comes to the Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland is pretty much the red-headed stepchild of the family.


Photo by Teresa Whitmore

Would I do it again? YES, if I didn't have to fly all the way across the country first. The service and quality remind me of trips I used to take to Walt Disney World in the late 1980s. Every little detail was perfect...and if anything did go wrong, they bent over backwards to make it better. I was afraid that the holiday celebration would intrude on the regular cruise offerings, and vice-versa. I had nothing to worry about.

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  • would love to see more pics of the christmas decor on board!

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