Disney Cruise Line

A Look Back: Announcing the Disney Dream

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As possible substantial announcements about the new Disney Cruise Line ships begin to draw nearer (D23?), let’s take a quick look back at what happened when Disney announced details about the Dream Class ships.

Construction of the then new Dream and Fantasy were announced in February 2007. The first ship, the Dream, sailed her maiden voyage on January 26, 2011. Near the mid-point of that four-year span was a media event held on October 29, 2009 (which I was lucky enough to attend), where Disney gave details about the ships’ features and design. Let’s compare what was announced in 2009 with what the ships actually look like. Did what was initially announced match what happened onboard?

But before we get started, here are Disney bigwigs Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo looking dapper at the event.

Stateroom Decor

Here we see the first looks at Dream-class stateroom decor: a vision board for soft goods and furnishings, and an inside room model with a virtual virtual porthole.

Dream stateroom finishes, presented October 2009
Model Dream inside stateroom, presented October 2009

Compare this first look with what’s on the ship today.

Disney Dream verandah stateroom, June 2019
Dream Inside Stateroom, May 2015

Walt Disney Theater

This was the vision board for the Walt Disney Theater.

Walt Disney Theater, presented October 2009

This is the Walt Disney Theater today.

Walt Disney Theater, June 2019
Walt Disney Theater, June 2019

Animator’s Palate

The first look at Animator’s Palate on the Dream showed dishes similar to that of the Animator’s Palate restaurants on the older ships, the Magic and Wonder, as well as the introduction of the interactive dining room screens featuring Crush.

Animator’s Palate, presented October 2009
Crush entertainment concept, presented October 2009

This is how Animator’s Palate was realized.

December 2015
Animator’s Palate table number, August 2017
Interactive screen with Crush, January 2019
Animator’s Palate dishes, June 2019

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden was a totally new concept for the Dream class, not a reimagination of something found on existing DCL ships.

Enchanted Garden Artist’s Rendering, presented October 2009
Enchanted Garden tableware, presented October 2009

And this is Enchanted Garden now.

Enchanted Garden, June 2019
Enchanted Garden plate, June 2019
Enchanted Garden design element, menu sign, June 2019


The AquaDuck was the most exciting thing at the media event. The Mickey Slide was also a big hit with attendees.

Mickey Slide model, presented October 2009
AquaDuck concept, presented October 2009

The Mickey Slide and AquaDuck today.

Dream pools, August 2017
Slide, December 2015
Dream pool deck, June 2019

Evolution Nightclub

The concept for the Evolution nightclub was based on a sophisticated butterfly.

Evolution vision board, presented October 2009

Changes in lighting can alter the appearance, but the look today is much the same as the original idea.

Evolution sign, May 2015
Evolution, December 2015
Evolution, June 2019
Evolution interior (note the butterfly on the screen at the back), June 2019


Pink was DCL’s first champagne bar.

Pink nightclub vision board, presented October 2009

In 2013, Pink looked very much like the concept design, with ornate armchairs.

Pink, June 2013

A few years later, the chairs were simplified and the color made a more uniform, well, pink. The light fixture stayed the same.

Pink, June 2019
Pink lighting fixture, June 2019

Captain Donald

Donald rules the lobby atrium. Here is the 2009 model, compared with Donald in the Dream lobby today.

Model of Donald Duck atrium decor, presented October 2009
Atrium, June 2019
Donald up close, June 2019


There was a display of DCL robes at the 2009 media event. Currently there are only robes in the concierge rooms, or you can buy one at the gift shop.

DCL Robes, presented October 2009
Robe in Dream gift shop, June 2019

The Ship

A 2009 model ship got a lot of attention from the press.

Ship model, presented October 2009
Ship model, presented October 2009

The actual ship looks much the same. One of my favorite details, seen in the second model photo, is the checkerboard design on a deck at the bow. This was realized in the outdoor pool deck at the Vibe teen club.

The Dream at Castaway Cay, as seen from parasailing, June 2019
The Vibe pool deck, June 2019


At the 2009 media event, the entertainment option most heavily promoted was a headliner show called Villains Tonight. This show did indeed run as expected, but it aged poorly and was removed from the Dream in 2017 (and from the Disney Magic in 2015).

Villains Tonight concepts, presented October 2009
Villains Tonight costume design, presented October 2009

Villains Tonight is the only major aspect of the Dream’s mid-point press event that is not still represented on the ship ten years later. Overall, the ideas presented to the media were accurate to what would eventually be realized on the ship. Disney concept art is not always quite so spot on.

The Triton class ships are scheduled to debut in 2021. If Disney follows the example set with the Dream class ships, we should see interior design elements released in the next few months. And if the pattern holds true, much of that presentation will accurately reflect what appears on the new ships.

What do you think of the comparisons? What would you like to see on the new ships? Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

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