Just last week, Disney celebrated the keel laying of their newest ship, the Disney Fantasy. This happened not two weeks after the inaugural launch of its sister ship, the Disney Dream. Laying the keel is a milestone event in the building of any ship, so of course Disney made the most of it, with Minnie Mouse there to oversee the operations. She seemed satisfied as the first section of the ship was lowered into the dock at Meyer Werft shipyard. The president of Disney Cruise Lines was there to keep with tradition and place a coin under the keel for good fortune.

The Fantasy will offer many of the same over-the-top services as the dream, but as the building process continues, some enhancements are being added, as well. These are the first ships that Disney has unveiled in over 10 years, meaning many changes have been made in the cruisers favor. Not only are they considerably larger, doubling the capacity and adding two additional decks, but they also have a classic 1930s feel to them, unlike many new ships which are full of sharp edges and space-age coldness.

The Disney Dream showcases the industry’s first “watercoaster,” a combination waterslide and roller coaster, which will also be present on the Fantasy. At a length of more than 2.5 football fields, kids can spend all day slipping and sliding down a clear, acrylic tube that at one point careens over the side of the ship, 150 feet above the ocean!Disney is also the only cruise line to feature Fireworks at sea. All of their fleet feature this, but the Dream and Fantasy will also have a Pirates IN the Caribbean show, as well as Buccaneer Blast, with music and plenty of pyrotechnics.

With more entertainment, more dining options, and more space than most family cruises, the addition of the Disney Fantasy should have the competition paddling far behind. Disney cruises offer some of the largest family cabins at sea, and the classic design is well-suited to both adults and children, alike. And with all the entertainment available for the kiddos, grownups should be able to relax, take in the view, and allow Disney to do what they do best – create magical memories.

The Disney Fantasy will set sail from Disney’s home port of Cape Canaveral, on March 31, 2012. Reservations are already being booked through August of next year for Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Something new to look forward to in the Fantasy is an additional stop in Costa Maya.

I, for one, want to be among the first aboard!

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