Disney Cruise Line’s Next New Ship is Heroic & Villainous

Disney Cruise Line revealed the first details about its next ship, the Disney Destiny, which is the third Wish-class ship and will join that and the Treasure in rounding out the trio. This post offers a first look at the new Heroes and Villains-inspired addition to the DCL fleet, plus our commentary about the good and bad of this thematic choice.

This update comes as the Disney Destiny reached a new construction milestone today with a keel laying ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. With the good luck garnered by this maritime tradition, this ship of legends and lore is beginning to take shape.

The Disney Destiny’s Heroes and Villains theme will draw on the legacy of beloved Disney stories, characters and theme park attractions, to forge a cruise vacation that will empower guests to embrace their own calling aboard every unforgettable voyage. Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering teams were inspired by the dynamic duality of every great Disney story, where opposing forces of light and dark drive characters to rise to their purpose, when developing the Disney Destiny.

Onboard, guests will encounter heroes and villains alike – including those from beloved Walt Disney Animation Studios stories like “The Lion King,” “Hercules” and “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” – within the spaces, experiences and entertainment throughout their voyage.

To embody and embolden the theme, Disney also unveiled brand-new filigree artwork for the bow of the Disney Destiny, continuing a beloved Disney Cruise Line design tradition. The illustration depicts Minnie Mouse striking a valiant pose in a heroic ensemble, her cape waving majestically in the sea breeze as she boldly leads guests toward their vacation destinies.

“The Disney Destiny will celebrate our most legendary Disney stories and characters, bringing them to life in new and exciting ways exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests,” said Sharon Siskie, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Cruise Line. “As we continue to expand our fleet, the Disney Destiny will further strengthen our position as a leader in family cruising as we offer even more ways for families to experience Disney magic and world-class service at sea.”

The Disney Destiny is scheduled for delivery in 2025 as part of a multi-year expansion of the Disney Cruise Line fleet that includes the Disney Wish and Disney Treasure, the Disney Adventure that will homeport in Singapore, and the new island destination in The Bahamas, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point.

Here’s the really well done teaser trailer for the Disney Destiny. Cute, fun and well worth a couple minutes of your time:

In terms of commentary, let’s start with the negative. This should’ve been named the Disney Dichotomy. It was right there! It rolls off the tongue, is smart, and makes perfect sense. It would’ve been a great and unexpected name, pitch perfect for the heroes and villains thematic duality. (Ah, there’s another great one–the Disney Duality!)

I’m joking a little bit, if only because I completely understand why it’s not going to be named the Disney Dichotomy or Disney Duality. More logical as those names might be, they’re lacking the whimsy and ‘crispness’ (for lack of a better term) out of the buzzwords that Disney uses.

There’s also the reality that the average American consumer may not know what those words mean. Even worse in our online era, they may not be able to spell them. (Says the guy who foolishly named his second blog “Travel Caffeine,” not realizing that the ‘I before E except after C’ rule and exceptions thereto really trips people up.)

So anywhere, very minor quibble and one that I realize is unrealistic. Still, when friends ask which ship we’re sailing, I fully intend upon telling them the Disney Dichotomy, and claiming that’s what it’s informally known as among cool kids.

Otherwise, I love what we know of the Disney Destiny so far. My nitpicking aside, the Disney Destiny is actually an excellent name given the referenced practical realities of Disney naming conventions. It’s strong and sharp. As someone who is very much over the grabbag of generic Disney buzzwords (like wishes, dreams, magic, fantasy, or wonder) that are so open-ended they could mean anything and everything, I also really appreciate the narrowing of focus.

To be fair, those names all made sense for ships when the Disney Cruise Line fleet was a lot smaller. They needed all-encompassing terms that could include a diverse selection of stories and intellectual property. You don’t want to have only two cruise ships, one of which is named the Disney Sivako that’s all themed to blue alien cats; and the other named the Disney Aristocatship, all themed to fancy felines.

Wait a minute, those are excellent ideas. But seriously, the fleet was too small then and it would’ve excluded too many characters and IP if the focus were that narrow.

Point being, I really love what Disney Cruise Line has done with the Disney Treasure (Adventureland at Sea) and now the Disney Destiny (heroes and villains dichotomy). To be sure, these concepts will still attempt to be as inclusive as possible so that they don’t alienate any potential guests, but they can have a bit more thematic cohesion.

Perhaps I’m a bit too fixated on this, but after the Disney Wish, which I found to be a thematic hodgepodge, it’s fairly important to me. Admittedly, it also helps that I love these two particular conceits. I’m sure others disagree because they dislike Adventureland or their kids are scared of villains or whatever.

But the good thing is that, with a half dozen other ships in the fleet, every ship doesn’t have to be everything to everyone. A bit of alienation is okay, as there are ample alternatives. (Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but this is precisely why the original lands of the castle parks work so well–and efforts to generify other parks won’t age well.)

Beyond that, I’m looking forward to the characters and stories this could showcase. Maybe we’ll finally see a significant Hercules presence? Emperor’s New Groove is another great option, and one that is often overlooked in the parks. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is yet another good one, as are Pocahontas and Mulan.

These all came at the tail end of the Disney Renaissance and have been notably overlooked in the parks, despite their prime demo coming of age and having kids of their own. (The trailer seems to hint at some of these characters having a presence aboard the Disney Destiny, but I wouldn’t necessarily put too much stock in that.)

As a child of the early 1990s, I would personally prefer to see the Disney Destiny ‘play the hits’ from then. Jafar, Ursula and Scar are all-time great villains that (I think) don’t get quite enough attention. And of course the actual classics–Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, Prince John (Robin Hood in general), and so forth. If I’m really dreaming, it’d be awesome to see Judge Doom and Roger Rabbit. (It’s not that unrealistic…Judge Doom was at Oogie Boogie Bash!)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Villains Tonight, but revisiting that concept or–can you imagine–Fantasmic on the High Seas?! There’s a tremendous amount of potential for not just stage shows, but also the rotational dining, bars, and pretty much every venue on the ship. I really hope Imagineering is able to go all-in and every venue leans into heroes and/or villains.

It’s probably a stretch, but I also wonder if the Disney Destiny will be a testing ground for certain concepts and characters for the Villains area ‘Beyond Big Thunder’ in Magic Kingdom. While that’s still blue sky and Walt Disney World hasn’t confirmed that’s what it’ll be…it’s far and away the best concept for an expansion. So much better than a single IP land, which would be incongruous with the rest of the park. Obviously, much of what’s on cruise ships doesn’t translate to theme parks (or vice-versa), so it’s not like the Disney Destiny will have rides–but I could see a stage show, restaurant or bar making its way from ship to shore.

That’s my preliminary take without knowing anything more. I like that Disney Cruise Line is willing to go all-in on a singular concept rather than playing it safe with something generic and crowd-pleasing. I also think it’ll pay off, with fans of heroes and villains appreciating something unique and novel over the sea of sameness. While the details are all still unknown, here’s hoping that Imagineering is given the creative latitude to make something unique and inspired that gets fans excited about heroes and villains, and proves to be a distinct draw for the Disney Destiny.

Planning to set sail aboard one of the DCL ships? Read our comprehensive Disney Cruise Line Guide to prepare for your voyage, plus plan entertainment, activities & excursions, and learn what to expect from your Disney cruise! For personalized planning & recommendations, click here to get a cruise quote from a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They can find you all of the current discounts, and help you plan the details of your cruise!


What do you think of the Disney Destiny name and Heroes & Villains theme? Excited about the potential for Disney’s dynamic duality? Does this have you looking forward to the third Wish-class ship? Do you plan on booking a cruise aboard this ship, or are you awaiting more details? Do you agree or disagree with our take about the more focused themes for the Treasure and Destiny? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

6 Responses to “Disney Cruise Line’s Next New Ship is Heroic & Villainous”
  1. Nixmom29 March 22, 2024
  2. Maggie March 21, 2024
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  4. Br16 March 20, 2024
  5. Mel March 20, 2024
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