Disney Cruise Line’s fifth: Disney Wish

The Disney Wish's stern will feature Rapunzel.
The Disney Wish’s stern will feature Rapunzel.

Disney Cruise Line’s fifth ship will be called the Disney Wish. At its D23 Expo on Sunday, Disney revealed the name of the ship as well as renderings of its stern design and atrium.

Disney described the three-story atrium as “bright and airy, inspired by the beauty of an enchanted fairytale.”

The stern design features Rapunzel with a paintbrush in hand, suspended by her enchanted blond hair. Her sidekick chameleon, Pascal, holds the easel while Rapunzel paints.

“Spirited, smart, curious and — above all — adventurous, Rapunzel embodies the wish and desire to see and experience the world,” Disney said.

The Disney Wish is scheduled to enter service in January 2022.

The Disney Wish's three-story atrium will be inspired by an enchanted fairytale.
The Disney Wish’s three-story atrium will be inspired by an enchanted fairytale.

“There couldn’t be a better name for our incredible new ship because making wishes come true is part of the Disney DNA and is at the heart of so many of our cherished stories,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

The Wish will be powered by liquefied natural gas. At approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, it will be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Also at D23, Disney revealed new information about Lighthouse Point, its second private destination in the Bahamas, located on the island of Eleuthera.

Disney said Joe Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando and the Aulani resort Hawaii, has taken a cultural tour of the Bahamas to meet with local artists and cultural experts.

“The Lighthouse Point site is so beautiful and so full of nature that we want to preserve this and use our designs to call attention to the extraordinary quality of the place itself — a place of natural beauty with a rich and fascinating cultural tradition,” Rohde said. “We will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment that creates this beauty, and we will be working with artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic.”

Disney said Lighthouse Point guests can look forward to an island experience that celebrates nature and the spirit and culture of the Bahamas.

Disney said Lighthouse Point guests can look forward to an island experience that celebrates nature and the spirit and culture of the Bahamas.

Disney Cruise Line completed its purchase of Lighthouse Point earlier this year, committing to develop less than 20% of the property and build an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel.

Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin after an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan are reviewed and accepted by the government of the Bahamas, Disney said. The company said construction could begin in 2020 with completion in late 2022 or 2023.

Disney parks slip, but remain atop global theme park attendance report

Image result for crowds at magic kingdom
Queues waiting to get inside the Magic Kingdom.
The 2016 TEA/AECOM Theme Index global attendance report is out, and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom remains the world’s most popular theme park. But Disney’s theme parks mostly saw their attendance slip in 2016, as rival Universal continued to see gains at most of its parks.

The top 25 most-attended theme parks worldwide in 2016:

  1. Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, 20,395,000, -0.5%
  2. Disneyland, 17,943,000, -1.8%
  3. Tokyo Disneyland, 16,540,000, -0.4%
  4. Universal Studios Japan, 14,500,000, 4.3%
  5. Tokyo DisneySea, 13,460,000, -1.0%
  6. Epcot, 11,712,000, -0.7%
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 10,844,000, -0.7%
  8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 10,776,000, -0.5%
  9. Universal Studios Florida, 9,998,000, 4.3%
  10. Islands of Adventure, 9,362,000, 6.5%
  11. Disney California Adventure, 9,295,000, -0.9%
  12. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, 8,474,000, 13.2%
  13. Disneyland Paris, 8,400,000, -14.2%
  14. Lotte World, 8,150,000, 11.5%
  15. Universal Studios Hollywood, 8,086,000, 13.9%
  16. Everland, 7,200,000, -3.0%
  17. Hong Kong Disneyland, 6,100,000, -10.3%
  18. Ocean Park, 5,996,000, -18.8%
  19. Nagashima Spa Land, 5,850,000, -0.3%
  20. Europa Park, 5,600,000, 1.8%
  21. Shanghai Disneyland, New 5,600,000 (Opened in June)
  22. Walt Disney Studios Paris, 4,970,000, -1.6%
  23. Efteling, 4,764,000, 1.8%
  24. Tivoli Gardens, 4,640,000, -2.0%
  25. SeaWorld Orlando, 4,402,000, -7.9%

Also topping the four million mark worldwide were Busch Gardens Tampa (down 2.0%), Universal Studios Singapore (down 2.4%) and Knott’s Berry Farm (up 3.8%). Singapore was the only Universal theme park to see an attendance dip last year. Overall attendance globally among the top 25 theme parks was down 1.1 percent, but attendance was up 1.2 percent among the top 20 parks in the United States, according to the report.

The big winner in attendance growth last year was Universal Studios Hollywood, boosted by the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April. Shanghai Disneyland also helped turn the year positive for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts by attracting more than five million visitors in half a year of operation. All other Disney theme parks posted attendance declines last year.

The biggest losers were Hong Kong Disneyland and neighboring Ocean Park, which likely saw a loss of visitors to the new Shanghai Disneyland park, amplified by an ongoing tourism slump in Hong Kong. Disneyland Paris continued to disappoint in 2016, too, with its attendance dropping 14 percent. It’s likely that many potential DLP guests put off their visit until this year, when the park is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the completion of many attraction renovations.

In the United States, Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks saw increases, while SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks continued their slide. Busch Gardens Williamsburg fell from the U.S top 20, replaced by Six Flags Great America, north of Chicago.