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Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast Episode 50: The History of the Disney Cruise Line


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Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast Episode 50: The History of the Disney Cruise Line

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Len: Hey folks. Len here. A quick word on the audio for this Disney Cruise Line episode. It's not great but we tried. For these shows, we brought two separate identical audio recorders to the island. The idea was that Jim would talk into one, I would talk into another and we'd combine both tracks into one show for the podcast. It didn't work out like that though. One of the recorders ran a little faster than the other. About one tenth of one second per minute. That doesn't sound like much but over the span of about ninety seconds, Jim's voice started to have an echo, then really bad reverb. Like Jimi Hendrix in Monterey reverb. And then it just sounded like two Jim's talking. And let's face it, no one wants that. It would have taken days to fix these issues. We tried really hard and I'm not sure the results were any better than what we have now. So we've got this podcast based on one microphone which is Jim's because Jim's the star of the show. The point is, we tried to improve the quality here. For the next couple of shows though we'll be in our offices and sound quality should be great. But for now as you listen to this show, try not to think of the audio quality. Think of Jim sitting on Castaway Cay recording the show, while wearing crispy white shorts like Captain Merrill Stubing on the Love Boat. Thanks, enjoy the show.

Len: Welcome back to another edition of the Unofficial Guide Disney Dish Podcast With Jim Hill. Jim and I are still on our Disney Cruise and on today's episode I thought we'd talk about the ship itself, specifically the Disney Dream which is what we're on right now. Also happens to be my favorite Disney boat in the fleet along with the Fantasy. So to do this conversation we obviously have to have Jim Hill with us. Jim! Welcome back to the show.

Jim: (sings) A three hour tour.

Len: When they, when we were boarding the ship, when you board the ship on the Disney Cruise they announce who you are, like "Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hill" or whatever and I wanted to be announced as  "Thurston and Lovey" and apparently they'd heard that before,

Jim: Really?

Len: Cause they were like "Okay, what are your family names?" They did the exact opposite of everyone else.

Jim: Well, we were going to go with Sacco and Vanzetti but thought better of it. "Ah yes, we'll put you in the Anarchist section of the boat."

Len: "The captain will speak to you now." So you get on this ship and you're on deck I believe three on the Dream and you walk into this beautiful atrium slash lobby. It's got this huge art deco chandelier.

Jim: And let's not forget about Admiral Donald.

Len: Admiral Donald in the, at the front but it's a huge atrium. I mean, just a big cavernous space. It goes up what, three floors, four floors. They've got glass elevators so you can see as you go up. There are multiple points on each of the other decks, on four and five where you can sort of walk out and overlook the atrium and get shots as well. And that's really the first impression you got, you get when you're on the boat. What did you think when you walked on the ship?

Jim: Well, again, it's great storytelling. It just, if you want to... again, if you're trying to create that feeling of romance of sailing of the twenties and thirties, what better way to arrive in this area that's loaded with art deco detail and the railings that have- in fact, what's kind of interesting is that, and again this'll be a lot of talk about what was done with the Magic and the Wonder versus what was done on the Dream and the Fantasy. If you look at the brass work on the Magic and the Wonder, it's all of these little things that pay tribute to the crew. I mean, for example, you have Mickey holding a microphone done as a brass relief. That's paying tribute to the entertainment crew.

Len: Oh, really neat.

Jim: And Minnie I think has a feather duster, that's housekeeping. And on and on. When they got around to doing the Dream and the Fantasy, it's like, "Oh, to hell with that idea."

Len: "We've paid tribute to the crew."

Jim: Okay, that's true,

Len: "Time for something new."

Jim: "Screw the cast. We're going to show you what you should be doing on the boat." So it's like,

Len: Oh, is that what the theme is?

Jim: Yeah. So you've got Donald with his life preserver cause you're supposed to be going to the Aquaduck. Which, again, is a... thinking outside the box for Disney.

Len: It's literally outside the box because the Aquaduck hangs over the side of the ship.

Jim: A hundred and fifty above the water.

Len: (Laughs) So it's a water slide but it's a powered water slide, almost like Crush 'N Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon. And it,

Jim: Yeah, it's... you are powered along by seven to nine thousand pounds, or gallons, of water. It's a combination Lazy River powered slide thing. And it was just the notion of what can we do up here? And in fact it was somewhat controversial because again, if you're going for those romantic lines of the twenties and the thirties, to have this sort of piece of spaghetti rolling around your upper structure of your ship... It took... But again, it's,

Len: That wasn't on the Titanic.

Jim: No, that's,

Len: The Titanic did not have an Aquaduck.

Jim: Well, you know, it would have made life a little easier for Jack and Rose. Just grab one of the inflatable things, go, go!

Len: But I think the way they got around the lines is it's a clear structure and it's also not coincidentally so you can see as you are going through it.

Jim: No, absolutely. You nailed it. And in fact, to run it through one of the fun- in fact, that's the other thing that's fun about these ships is that it's just we're no longer using coal to power ships, we're using diesel. You don't need the multiple funnels. Disney actually only uses one of the funnels. The other one is faux, again to preserve the lines of the ship.

Len: That's right, cause on the inside of one funnel was actually a pub where they hold the occasional meeting, AA Alcoholics Anonymous. There's also a kids club up there, a teen club I believe.

Jim: Yeah. In fact, that's one of the more interesting aspects of teen club is as the Aquaduck goes through it, evidently the teens can look out at the bloated adults.

Len: Never get like that, kid.

Jim: Never get like that. It's like.... but yeah Joe talks about this when it came time to "All right, we're going to do two new boats." And it's like, "Okay, let's apply- let's be smart, guys. Let's take everything we learned from-" Think for example the Oceaneering Lab and the Oceaneering Club.

Len: That's the two kids clubs, right?

Jim: One of the things they encountered was that, you know, mom and dad would be out for the evening and mom would get nervous and decide "Can we go back to by the kids club and see if our kid is doing okay?" And what of course would happen is the kid would see mommy and daddy and "WAAAGH." Even if they're having the time of their lives. "Oh you're here, take me back."

Len: Yeah.

Jim: And it's like, "All right. What can we do so we can take all of our nervous mothers and fathers and deal with this?" And what they did is they put on the outside of the clubs on both sides of the entrance... they have one way mirrors.

Len: Oh. Really?

Jim: So as a parent... in fact,

Len: You can just peek in without stepping in.

Jim: Yeah. For example, on the Monster's Inc Scare Lab side, it's... you're looking in through a computer monitor. And Andy's bedroom I think you're actually looking in through the window of Andy's bedroom. And it's just sort of like, take a look at your kids and like, "Cool. Motor on. Back to the District." Not to say that everything they developed actually made it onto the boat. In fact, there's this amazing automatic hand washing station that they created for I wanna say the Lab, the Oceaneers Lab.

Len: The kids club, yeah. They actually have a pretty cool hand washing feature. It's almost completely  automated right now.

Jim: Yep, yep. And but the thing of it is is that when it was originally designed... if you remember film Wall-E there was a little white robot that worked on the ship called Moe who... his job was, in the film, eventually became to follow Wall-E around cause he was leaving all this earth dirt around the ship and leaving tracks. So it just was, "We'll put this character at the front." And it's like, "Kids will love interacting with Moe." And it's like, "Oh God, do they love interacting with Moe." The kids would wash their hands and... when you put your hands in at first Moe would make sort of a disgusted grunt like "Oh my God your hands are dirty." And then the- it's this amazing is the word? where it rotates and sprays soap and water on your hands.

Len: Really?

Jim: And then when you're done, when it's, I guess it's a fifteen-twenty second cycle, to keep your hands clean. And honestly, again, remember the reason that they're obsessed with hand cleaning on boats is because of things like the Norwalk Virus. I mean, they don't want people getting sick,

Len: Yeah, cause there's nowhere for them to go, right? They're not gonna be quarantined, yeah.

Jim: So anyway, they do this thing and so when it ended, Moe would purr with satisfaction cause your hands were clean. And what ended up happening was like, it was too successful. The little kids would get their hands washed by Moe and immediately go "That was cool," and put their hands back in.

Len: And Moe would be like "Okay! Here we go!"

Jim: And it's just sort of like- but even for the OCD kids, it's like, "They never made it out of the lobby." So for the play test, there's just like "Okay, we need to step back and make this a little more generic."

Len: It's fun, but not too fun.

Jim: Not too fun. So but yeah, they just talked- again, the difference between boats that were built in Ninety-Four leading up to Ninety-Eight and boats that were announced in Two Thousand-Seven and started sliding into the fleet in Two Thousand-Eleven and Two Thousand Twelve... We'd made some big jumps in technology. And at the same time, the Walt Disney Company was really getting heavily into the notion of "Okay, what can we make that guests can interact with?"

Len: Is that where the Midship Detective Agency comes in?

Jim: Yeah.

Len: That's... what a fun game.

Jim: Yeah. They've created these pieces of enchanted art on the boat which basically are images you've seen from classic Disney films that... there's a motion sensor in them. And when... if you're standing in the right place or you walk by it the right angle, they suddenly come to life. And it's a great little thing, but Disney was putting these in and it's like, "Well, couldn't we do something else with them?" And that's where the Midship Detective Agency idea came from. Where you can actually use these screens to tell a story and send kids scurrying around the ship. Now the, interestingly enough though, there is a downside to the Midship Detective Agency. That,

Len: The stairs that you have to walk? Because,

Jim: Well, not just,

Len: So it's a mutli-part game, right?

Jim: Yep.

Len: And you gotta go... You start off at Deck Five and they sort of show you the game and on the Dream it's stolen paintings or stolen puppies. And the idea is that on the ship are maybe half a dozen to ten suspects. And as you go to different points in the ship to view these different pieces of enchanted art, each piece of art has you play a little game. And at the end of the game or the end of the task that you do- and it's interactive- at the end of that, it gives you a clue and the clue eliminates one suspect. So you'll go from point to point to point and as you go along you'll be eliminating suspects from the list of possible people who could do it. And at the end of course you find out who actually did the mystery and there's a little pay off video at the end. But what's the downside?

Jim: Well, the downs-

Len: It's usually popular.

Jim: Oh, and that becomes the issue because suddenly you have these ships' corridors that were built for maybe one or two people passing- we have entire families going out to play this game together. And so you'll have four or five people standing in front of these,

Len: Yeah, there's a line in front of the doorway.

Jim: Yeah.

Len: To get out.

Jim: And I was talking with folks who built the boat and they were saying, "You know, when we took the fire people through and the coast guard through, they weren't real happy about this." In fact, what's interesting is they had to cut back the number of- only eighteen of the twenty-two enchanted art pieces are allowed to be part of this thing.

Len: Really?

Jim: There were three that were positioned in areas where it's like, "No, you cannot-"

Len: Yeah, one's actually on Deck Five by the port excursions thing. Yeah, that's a map of the Caribbean,

Jim: There you go.

Len: And it's got sea serpents that appear and pirate ships and stuff.

Jim: These are heavy guest traffic areas. You cannot have this here. But conversely, I mean, it's sort of the same technology... again, these are hugely popular boats but obviously you have trouble selling the rooms that don't have any views.

Len: Right. The inside state rooms.

Jim: Yep.

Len: The ones without port holes, the ones without vents (???). We actually have really nice rooms but the inside cabins are always the, well they're the cheapest.

Jim: Yeah.

Len: But they're the cheapest for a reason.

Jim: Well, and it was one of these things where Disney, it's like, "What can we do about this? Cause we're going to have a hundred and fifty of them on the Magic. Oh, excuse me, on the Dream. And they came up with this kind of interesting solution. The virtual port hole, which... there are five cameras on board, depending on the way your state room is orientated down on the deep bowels of the ship. They give you that view out the virtual port hole. But at the same time, you know, this just isn't enough. So they went... and went to the ARL, which is the Animation Research Library at Disney and had them pull pieces, individual pieces of animation so that every three to five minutes something is happening out the window even when it's just the ocean. So you'll have Carl Fredricksen's house from Up float by  or the boat that Mickey used in Steamboat Willie or Peach the starfish from Nemo will suddenly flop up on your window and be peering into your room and wave at you before they fall off. I mean, it's a very clever idea. In fact, too clever cause when Disney announced the program they suddenly had people going, "I want the virtual port hole."

Len: Port hole. "I don't want to see the ocean, I want to see entertainment and the ocean."

Jim: Yeah! And it was one of these things where these rooms would go clean before the other rooms on the boat. And it was,

Len: "No, you want a veranda! You want to get the... you want the ocean smell!" "No I don't!"

Jim: I mean, for so many of these people, when they go on a Disney cruise, they want to eat, sleep, and dream Disney. And God love them, they try. I mean, just, for example, when we were walking out to where we're doing the recording today, who's walking up the beach in full,

Len: In full regalia.

Jim: Yeah!

Len: It's Captain Jack Sparrow. On the adult beach, too! He's not even entertaining the kids. He's entertaining the adults!

Jim: No, in fact, that was the funnest part of the equation, to watch all the women with bikinis just swarm this guy.

Len: "Hello, Jack."

Jim: And he... if there was ever a cast member who was enjoying his job... again, he's not a sixteen year old trapped inside of a giant plastic Mickey head when it's twelve hundred degrees out.

Len: I imagine when they told the guys like, "Look, you gotta wear all this make up, you gotta wear this entire get up. It's gonna be eighty-five degrees outside. You're going to be sweating like a pig." He's like, "I'm on board." "Dadada, really, you have to do some training, you have to," "No no no, really, let's go out now. I'm good." It's fantastic. So what was the idea behind Cast Away Cay? I don't think we talked about this in the last episode. So, I mean, it's their own island. Did they... they didn't buy it though, they're leasing it.

Jim: No, that's it. It's a ninety-nine year lease. Disney paid two hundred and fifty million dollars for it. And to be honest,

Len: So twenty five million a year. No, two point five million a year.

Jim: What, a hundred... two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year.

Len: Oh, sorry. Whatever. Math is hard.

Jim: There we go. Thank you, Barbie.

Len: Yeah, that's where it came from, too!

Jim: Okay, okay. No, it's one of these things where this... Look. Cast Away Cake- Cay, excuse me, back in the day used to be known as Gorda Cay. And for those of you who are keeping tabs on these sorts of things, the difference between an island and a cay is an island is over a mile or at least a mile long. A cay is under that length. This had been a spot in the Caribbean that was, to be honest, a favorite of fishermen if there was a storm coming... this was a great place to make land fall and ride it out. There's more than... if fact, it's again, ironic to have a fake pirate like Captain Jack strolling the beach because back in the day, this did see some activity. In fact, there have been some treasure found off of the island and if you can believe it, a hundred and seventy-five pound silver ingot,

Len: Really?

Jim: Oh yes.

Len: Wow, they ain't fooling around with that.

Jim: But that was in the mid-fifties and since then it's been a while and nobody found much of anything but the most colorful period for this island was sort of late seventies early eighties when somebody put it together like, "Wait a minute, that's just two hundred and twenty-five miles away from the States." And there have been a local businessman who would developed this area and hoped to turn it into a resort who had built an airstrip and suddenly there was some rather powerful men who, in fact, brought some even more muscular dogs with them who basically chased everyone off the island and then,

Len: Really?

Jim: Then mid-seventies early eighties, they were seeing six flights a day come in here that would land,

Len: Really? For the resort?

Jim: Well, no, this was more of a delivery point.

Len: Oh, for UPS you're saying?

Jim: There we go. Yes, yes. And then these deliveries would go stateside and eventually there was a pretty spectacular bust here of basically a hundred million dollars worth of cocaine was intercepted on the island and the US authorities kind of leaned on the Bohemians. It's like, "Look, get your ___ together."

Len: "Get it all together at this point."

Jim: But here's the fun-

Len: "Nice island you got here. Terrible something should happen to it."

Jim: But this where it gets bizarre is as this is going down, who comes to this island but Disney but not for the reason you think. You've seen the movie Splash, right?

Len: Yeah.

Jim: Okay. This is actually,

Len: Oh, it was an Eisner film, right? Wasn't it?

Jim: Yes! And actually it was Ron Miller... as Ron Miller was going out the door, it was one of the very first things that Michael Eisner had to deal with but they shot the scenes in Splash where Tom Hanks wakes up on the beach and it's Daryl Hannah whose just rescued him runs back into the surf and it's the moment they reveal that she's a mermaid. But they shot it, in fact, here, on the beach we are right now.

Len:  Right now? Oh wow.

Jim: This, Serenity Beach, this stretch right here. So, in fact, that's Tom Hanks now. Anyway, so Disney was aware of the property.

Len: Yeah.

Jim: And so now we jump ahead ten years, Disney's thinking about getting into the cruise line business, and nobody had done at that point... I think there's one cruise line that had it's own island but it was... you had to take the... what do they call those things, the little ferries,

Len: Launches.

Jim: Launches back and forth from the ship to the island.

Len: To the island, yeah.

Jim: And Disney was like.... it just... this is a company that's done transportation that's done safety and it's like, "God, that's a nightmare waiting to happen."

Len: Yeah.

Jim: And it's a pinch point... "Couldn't we just haul it in?"

Len: Yeah.

Jim: And it was like, "Oh my God, let's do that!" And so they buy the island and they then spend eighteen months dredging this three hundred foot long channel that's thirty-five feet deep. And building  this pier point out and, again, think about it. When you come to this island, you step off of the boat and you're here.

Len: Yeah, you're here, yeah. And so we're staying aft (???) on the ship. We went down (???) and we were off the ship. We're the last cabins before you get to Cast Away Cay. Yeah, and you're right there. And you could, I mean, it's maybe a two minute walk to trams and the trams will take you to the farthest stretches of the island.

Jim: And the weird thing of it is is that for some- and again, you have to understand, we are in the Caribbean, prone to hurricanes, so the- every building that's built here, every piece of signage, everything has to be able to stand, withstand a hundred and twenty mile per hour winds. And even then, they've had a couple of hurricanes come through where it's like, "I'm sorry, we're gonna need three or four weeks to get Cast Away Cay back in shape." Because it just,

Len: It was that strong.

Jim: Yeah. But no, this has turned out to be so successful, such a hit that just in the past year they've begun developing itineraries for the Disney Cruise Line where you have a day here early in your trip, you go off and do like at Nassau, you do a day at sea and before you go back to port you have one more day at Cast Away Cay.

Len: Yeah. A double dip, yeah. It's extremely popular. In fact, for the upcoming book we do, we actually recommended Double Dip as your first cruise because, like today is sort of your first day on Cast Away Cay. Now you've got the lay of the land. If you came back again a second time, you'd know immediately "Okay, I'm gonna get up in the morning, I'm gonna eat an 8 o'clock breakfast, I'm gonna run the five K, I'm gonna snorkel in the morning before anyone's in the water. Then by the time everyone gets in I'm gonna have an early lunch." Stuff like that. I think that's... the second time through you'll know what you're doing and that's more important. What about the cabanas and stuff like that? Was that part of the original entertainment?

Jim: Oh no no no. That,

Len: Cause the cabanas, the (???) cabana is they hold maybe six people, there's what, eighteen of them on each side? One family side and one adult side? There's like thirty six total? You can never rent them. I mean, you guys know. I've tried. Where money isn't an object. I'm like "Look, just tell me how much I have to pay. I will rent the cabana." You can never get a cabana. It's like trying to reserve a life boat off the Titanic. You just can't. You can't do it.

Jim: Well,

Len: I've had more luck getting Bieber tickets. And One Direction.

Jim: Oh, what happened there was that again, when they decided to do the Dream and the Fantasy, you suddenly had... you went from these eight hundred plus foot ships to eleven hundred plus foot ships. And so,

Len: (???) percent larger.

Jim: Yeah. So it was one of these things where it's like, first thing you had to do is actually- they extended the dock by a hundred and fifty feet but it's like, "Look, we- and we need to put in things, more stuff to do." So Pelican Plunge went in and that sort of thing. And while they're making these changes, this is something that sort of traveled out into the industry. I mean, think about it. These were... Cabanas were predated by the Cabanas that went into Blizzard Beach and,

Len: Oh, right, yeah.

Jim: And Typhoon Lagoon and it's just like, they knew that they were onto a money maker. And it's like, "Well, God, we've got Cast Away Cay. We should put them in there." And never anticipating that these would just go through the roof.

Len: Yeah. There' like three... I think three hundred?

Jim: Yep.

Len: Per day? But again, you couldn't rent them. You could offer five but no one would give them up. It's that sort of thing. And I think Nancy is having a massage in one right now.

Jim: Yeah. Yeah. It's, she's taking a hit for the team.

Len: Life is rough. They've got Pelican Plunge. They've got the snorkeling where they've buried like literally an entire replica Nautilus.

Jim: Actually, not a replica. That is,

Len: That is the Nautilus?

Jim: Well, it's a Nautilus from the Twenty Thousand Leagues attraction at Walt Disney World.

Len: Wow. So,

Jim: Yeah.

Len: So it's full of fish and so I was out earlier today snorkeling and I saw more fish than I've ever seen. I'll try to post some pictures on the web but literally there's fish that were swimming around me like... almost like I had food dangling from the back me. You guys know that I'm not a huge fan of snorkeling in open water because there are sharks everywhere and they'll kill you at a moment's notice.  But... okay so I saw Jaws when I was younger. But these fish were around me and for a minute I was thinking, "Oh my God, the fish are around me, that must mean there are larger fish coming to eat these smaller fish! And the larger fish are going to eat me!" But that never happened. They've actually got safety nets out there to prevent the larger fish from coming in. But yeah. Great snorkeling. They've got rafts. They've got the slides.

Jim: But now,

Len: They've got three... So they've got three restaurants.

Jim: Yep.

Len: They only advertise two of them, Jim.

Jim: Well,

Len: They don't advertise the Serenity Beach Barbecue on the adult beach. And it's great. So it's funny. I went back to get some water between podcasts and apparently they brought out the steaks.

Jim: Oh dear.

Len: So when we were there they were doing sausages and hot dogs and the grilled Mahi. Well they brought out the steaks and there were these people that were loading up like two and three sirloin steaks. Like it was the last days of Atkins diet right there. Right there,

Jim: Jeez.

Len:  That was what they were doing. It was incredible. It smells really good though.

Jim: Oh, I would imagine. But at the same- again, just the whole notion of... I'm sorry, I'm of the generation where... in your head, "You don't go in for an hour."

Len: Yeah.

Jim: If you're eating fifteen hundred pounds of steaks, you don't go in! I mean, you're,

Len: (???) go back in, yeah.

Jim: Just for the fact that (???) like, "Wow, now that guy."

Len: That guy,

Jim: "Keep an eye when they come out of Serenity, those are the really good ones."

Len: They've just been stuffed. Stuffed with meat." Speaking of eating what was the reason why Disney... on the Magic and the Wonder, they've got sort of an upscale restaurant in Palo. And the Fantasy and the Dream also have a Palo but they've got the Remy as well. Why did Disney do the extra  high end restaurant?

Jim: Well, that, again, the difference between the Magic and the Wonder were built versus the Dream and the Fantasy is you have the  Walt Disney Company has acquired Pixar. And now- don't get me wrong. There were Pixar elements in the first boat. I think the kid play area there did feature Andy's bedroom,

Len: Yeah.

Jim: And that sort of thing but they could really go whole hog here. It was one of these things where it's like, "Let's... Palo's is fine dining. Let's go fine fine dining. Let's create... let's see what can happen." And you wanna talk about intimate- only ninety-six meals per night are prepared for that space. That's it.

Len: For Remy.

Jim: For Remy.

Len: Yeah. I mean, it's not big at all.

Jim: Weird thing is they do share kitchen space with Palo, but not a menu, not a commonality of ingredients.

Len: We were walking through yesterday and they showed you the menus. What was interesting about the menu?

Jim: There was not menu.

Len: It was blank.

Jim: Yep.

Len: Because they create it every day. And they hand write the menu in.

Jim: Yeah. And this is where you go to dine when you really, you want something special. I mean, for example, in their wine cabinet, if you really want to splurge, there's a thirty thousand dollar bottle of wine. You had mentioned,

Len: The Chateau Latour.

Jim: Yes. But again, if that's a little pricey for you, don't worry. You can always step down to the fifteen thousand dollar bottle of wine.

Len: Sure.

Jim: But it's... you just walk through and it's this weird blend of super upscale wonderful stylized pseudo-France but then you become aware of there are rats everywhere.

Len: That's right.

Jim: Whether it's in the upholstery, these little stylized rats stitched in, or the brass work where it's a giant side view of Remy's face. And did you see the Swarovski crystal rat that's up in the chandelier?

Len: No, I missed it. We'll go look tonight.

Jim: Yeah. It's just... what's funny is it's the third one. Because,

Len: Is it?

Jim: The first two they were carving and again, they wanted to be authentic, they wanted to make the people at Pixar pleased and they would get to the nose and it would break and fall off.

Len: Ugh.

Jim: And it was just like, third time, they finally got it to work. But even then, the Pixar people, it's like, "Look, we'll help design this. We'll help you do the detail thing." But they... Harley Jessup the production designer who did Ratatouille with Brad Bird who actually came over and just rode herd on this reference and said "Look, I will help you. But here's the deal. We,"

Len: "Listen to me."

Jim: "You know, look, you can have Remy's, but the reality is that Remy worked at Gusteau's. And I want a Gusteau's." And so there's a second smaller room off of Remy's that is supposedly the restaurant from the movie. In fact, they found a piece of artwork where- again, the whole notion of looking into the practical, working kitchen.

Len: That's right. That's the back wall is you're looking into, the,

Jim: Yeah.

Len: Yeah.

Jim: But this is the super romantic atmosphere in here.

Len: Yeah, the room that we were in there were one, two, three... four or five tables for two and a single table for four and that was it.

Jim: Yep.

Len: It's not like a regular Disney restaurant where they're trying to cram in tables or,

Jim: No.

Len: This was, you know, everything was spaced out well, where you can have a conversation. Not, you know, not hear the people next to you. It was really really well done.

Jim: But that's the other thing, if you are a Pixar fan, you want to go by the wine rack. They have in there- again, John Lasseter when they opened the thing showed up for the opening event and he had brought wine from the Lasseter family vineyard. But the thing is, these- every bottle of wine they had put in there was commemorating a Pixar film. They have them in there right up through Cars.

Len: Okay.

Jim: And the notion is that Mr. Lasseter is coming... evidently very very soon to deliver the wines for the next four films and evidently the thing of it is he'll come in and talk about, it's like, "Move these over." And it's like, "You're gonna need three more shelves because we got some other stuff coming." Speaking of which, I just found out about this yesterday. They're... and it's ironic cause it's probably the thing that people do the least here on board. I mean, think about it. You've got so much to do to, but you have the Buena Vista Theater, you have where they show the movies.

Len: We literally have a movie theater yeah. They're showing current movies so this is what, early September they're showing Lone Ranger,

Jim: Yep. Monsters University.

Len: Monsters University

Jim: And Planes. In fact, the funny part of it is it's supposedly if you go and see the stage show now, like Villains Tonight, they have woven in a lot of Lone Ranger jokes to the effect,

Len: Oh, okay.

Jim: Evidently when you go with- you're forced to go to Hades, the go to Hell to visit with Hades and it's like "What's playing at the cinema here?" It's like, "Nothing but Lone Ranger." So,

Len: Nice.

Jim: But they evidently... and seriously if anybody cruises on  the Dream or the Fantasy in October, please get back to us cause they're doing something unusual. They've evidently... Dis... you know, it's a state of the art 3D theater but what people don't realize is that the seats are built for motion.

Len: Really?

Jim: Yeah.

Len: Oh, I didn't know that.

Jim: The technology is already in place that they can move if they're synced up to a film. And supposedly... I was talking with somebody in the entertainment (???) "Oh we just did the test. It's gonna be cool." They're doing for Halloween, a special,

Len: I've heard this. The special- I didn't know the seats were going to move- but the special events for the Halloween event.

Jim: Yeah, but supposedly you're going to end- the guy didn't say what movie they were doing other than "Are you a Danny Elfman fan?" And it's like, "Yes." "Well, then you can work this out." But evidently it's Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D with seats that move within theater fog effects. It's gonna be,

Len: It's Rocky Horror.

Jim: Absolutely!

Len: Singing and dancing they're going to do the musical numbers as they happen, it's gonna be classic.

Jim: So please, if you go I'd love to hear back from you. But yeah, but that just speaks about the attitude with these boats. It's the notion of this isn't just where we do- this is Disney. We're trying new things that we can then- I mean, for example, think about it. The Midship Detective Agency. This is where basically you did the test run for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

Len: Yep.

Jim: All right. So... And a weird... Normally it would be stuff from the parks drifts into the boats. It's gone the other way. The boats are now the cutting edge. And Lord knows if they go forward with those two other boats that they have the open contract on, what's gonna happen?

Len: Trader Sams, character meals, there's tons of stuff they could do.

Jim: Well and to bring it back to where we're seated today, that one of the things they're talking about if they do that, if they bring the other two ships on... I mean, they've only developed... ninety percent of this island is left untouched.

Len: Oh yeah. You're talking about a few acres that they've really sort of developed. But look, you can see all the way over to the other crescent side of the island. That's nothing.

Jim: Yeah. No, absolutely. But the argument then is "Well, if we were to build a second pier and a second set up at Cast Away Cay. So you could bring,

Len: Two boats.

Jim: Two boats here simultaneously on different sides of the island. Each of them having their own designated areas. And in, again, what is it, the language these days. "Oh, you want to go to Classic Cast Away Cay? Or the New Cast Away Cay." So.

Len: That's fantastic. All right, well this has been great, Jim. But I think we have to go snork.

Jim: Ugh, well, okay.

Len: And finish up massages and then get ready for our fancy dinner at Remy. We must. We must end this episode then. Well Jim, thanks very much for being on this episode. For Jim Hill, this is  Len. You've been listening to the Unofficial Guide Disney Dish Podcast With Jim Hill. Please go onto Itunes and rate us and let us know what you'd like to hear next in terms of episodes. For Jim this is Len. We will see you on the next show.

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