Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi covers the videogame industry for Local Tech Wire and writes the Gaming Guru blog for WRAL.com
NASSAU –Disney Cruise Lines is constantly evolving the technology aboard its two ships — the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic — to take advantage of the latest breakthroughs.
I was able to watch the world premiere of Bolt in 3D at sea aboard the Wonder on Nov. 21 — it was the debut of Disney Digital 3D aboard the ships. To get an idea of how advanced this is, Bolt 3D is not even playing at the local Raleigh IMAX theater and if you catch it at any local multiplex, it’s in 2D.
You lose a lot watching a 3D movie minus the stereoscopic glasses. And that’s something that Disney cruisers will not have to worry about. In addition to Bolt, the ship had a selection of catalog films, including Hannah Montana in Concert 3D and Meet the Robinsons. Moving forward, every Disney and Pixar film will be released in 3D and will debut on the ship. In addition, older 3D films from all movie studios will be shown in 3D on the ship’s two huge screens in two different theaters.
Those who haven’t seen Bolt should definitely check it out in 3D. and once you have, Disney Interactive Studios has games across all platforms based on the film. The cool thing about the games is that players get to control Bolt inside the TV show, so it doesn’t regurgitate the plot of the film, which mostly takes place in the real world. Disney’s been doing a great job of going beyond the film experience with its movie tie-ins in recent years.
They’re also getting better with original games like Ultimate Band for Wii, which is essentially a Guitar Hero World Tour game aimed at kids that doesn’t require any additional peripherals. For older gamers, I recommend Pure, an off-road ATV racing game that’s among the best racing experiences out there on Xbox 36 and PlayStation 3.
All of these games were playable aboard the Disney Wonder. Videogames are part of every aspect of the beautiful ship. There’s a kids club called the Oceaneer’s Lab and a teen area, both are loaded with games. The adults have a Wii to play with in the pub, Diversions. There’s also an arcade for anyone to play coin-operated games. But clearly Wii is the big push for Disney, as its available across the ship with lots of different games. The Wii actually inspired a new game that’s going to be introduced on both ships next year. It’s a motion-sensor game that uses cameras to allow a large crowd of kids to steer Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship, the Black Pearl, through an obstacle course on a giant screen outside on Deck 9.
This is going to be part of a Pirates in the Caribbean night, which we watched on the cruise (minus the game). As is, the show features Mickey, Captain Hook and lots of characters and culminates with a fireworks extravaganza — Disney loves fireworks!
One thing I want to recommend to everyone is that Disney Cruises aren’t just for kids. Sure, there are tons of family experiences for those with kids. But my wife and I had a blast taking part in the adults-only activities like dinner at Palo and the secluded beach on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Costa cruises and without a doubt this Disney Cruise to Nassau was the most fun. Norwegian is also up there, especially the cruises we took this past May to Alaska and last october to New England.
I also recommend doing what we did with Disney by spending three nights inside the Walt Disney World Resort before or after the cruise and make a week of it. The Beach Club Resort or the Grand Floridian are the two hotels I recommend for this.
The good news is Disney is building two new ships that are even bigger than the Wonder and Magic, which will launch in a few years and introduce even more new technology for passengers to take part in.