As the debut of the Disney Channel original Descendants is fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how Disney Cruise Line incorporates villains into its ships. Disney Cruise Line (DCL) may be ‘Disney’ themed, but it is not overly ‘Disney’. One has to look for the hidden characters in the décor to really appreciate the Imagineers and how they have subtly incorporated the characters. Yet, being a Gold Castaway Club member (I have been on 9 DCL cruises and on all 4 ships) I have yet to see a villain in the ships décor, it seems to focus on Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and other “nice” characters.
So are there villains on board a DCL ship? Yes, if you look for them. But, they are not the main focus like the “Fab 5”. In fact DCL has not forgotten about the villains – they actually have a stage show of their own called Villains Tonight! The stage shows on DCL are Broadway-type shows with elaborate costumes and sets, special and pyrotechnical effects. The show was designed to be family-friendly and is not scary, even with villains running up and down the aisles. Currently Villains Tonight! is showing only on the Magic and Dream ships in the Walt Disney Theatre, or if you do not want to leave your cabin, you can watch it on your stateroom TV.
Now for a quick review of the show without giving too much away. You can go to the DCL link here, for a more detailed review and pictures. The story takes place after Hades’ run-in with Hercules. The Three Fates, the goddesses (If you can call them that, as they are ugly!) of time and fate, visit Hades in the Underworld and discover the Underworld to be a happy place. The Fates give Hades a deadline to fill the “evil-o-meter” with evil or he will not be the “Lord of the Underworld” anymore. Enter Pain and Panic and their silliness to help Hades gather villains and their wickedness. In true Disney style there are 8 movie songs rewritten for the show and 2 original songs. Each time we meet a villain the set changes to reflect the movie from which they came. After they sing a song and do a little “bit” the evil-o-meter changes – not always rising, which upsets Hades. By now you are wondering who Hades summons for help, well here you go:
- Ursula from The Little Mermaid
- Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians
- The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Captain Hook from Peter Pan
- Scar from The Lion King
- Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
- Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
- Jafar from Aladdin
Now that’s a list of villains I would not want to run into unless they were in this show. As I mentioned earlier, I do not want to give too much away, but in the end Hades remains the “Lord of the Underworld”. Oops, gave it away! The show is about an hour long, but fast paced with songs and special effects to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend seeing this show if you are lucky enough to be aboard the Magic or Dream. I’ve seen it several times, and they do a good job of updating the jokes that Hades and the cast of characters use, so it keeps it fresh.
Besides Villains Tonight!, it is rare to see villains at Meet & Greets on non-Halloween on the High Seas cruises. During most cruises there is a Pirate Night and that is the day you will see Captain Hook at a Meet & Greet. (Pirate Night is worth a post of its own.) On my last cruise I did see some of the secondary stage characters from Villains Tonight! in the atrium area during the Till We Meet Again party. They were not part of the show; they were just hanging around on the second level. This farewell party is on the last night of the cruise. A Disney Villains Quote Trivia contest also took place on the same day as the Villains Tonight! show. The contest tests your knowledge of which villain said certain lines and from what movie. Fun!
Photo of the Personal Navigator is from Andrew’s personal collection from the June 2015 Baltic cruise. Other photos ©Disney.)
This article contains information from a cruise in June 2015 and the comments/review is the authors personal opinion. Other villain appearances may take place on different cruises or times of the year (Halloween) which were not discussed in this article.
Andrew is a 17-year-old senior in high school from Ohio. He was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. He has been to both US Disney parks, several D23 events and is a DCL gold Castaway Club member. If you would like to contact him feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or look him up on Facebook and on Twitter.