Disney Wonder Inaugural NZ Cruise 2023 – Day 1

This past week we had the most magical time on board the Disney Wonder cruise ship for the inaugural New Zealand sailing! The ‘Magic At Sea’ cruise was the very first cruise that Disney has ever offered from New Zealand, spending four days at sea (no port stops) where guests on board celebrated all things Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars!

The 4-night cruise started in Auckland on Tuesday 21st November 2023, and arrived back on Saturday 25th November 2023. We have always wanted to go on a Disney cruise – we just never imagined we would be able to go on one, and from our own city. It was everything we could wish for and more!

We will be writing up our full cruise adventure here on our blog, starting with day 1 –

Tuesday 21st November 2013

Our day started at 4.00am – we wanted to go down to the harbour to see the Disney Wonder coming in to New Zealand for the first time ever. We were tracking the ship position online, and found a great spot to see the Wonder in person! The ship looked beautiful with all the lights, and of course those iconic Mickey Mouse funnels!

After watching the Disney Wonder sail into Auckland, we headed back home to quickly finish our packing. We live pretty close to the port, so we still had plenty of time to pack, and double check we hadn’t forgotten anything. Our boarding time was 12.30pm, so before we knew it we were loading our luggage in the car and driving down to the port – and there she was, the Disney Wonder!

We quickly found our way to the boarding area, after taking a few photos of the Disney Wonder in port. We’ve never been on a cruise before, so we were expecting a lengthy boarding process – but it was quite quick really, lots of lovely helpful staff.

Before we knew it, we were stepping on board the ship and into the atrium. We were welcomed aboard the Disney Wonder! Goofy was there greeting guests from the stairs.

We were a bit overwhelmed, and didn’t know where we wanted to go first! So we sort of followed other guests, and wandered down the hall, where we were welcomed straight into Tiana’s for lunch. We were definitely hungry and excited to have our first meal on board.

We got our drinks and bread service, and lunch menu to order our meals.

  • K – Leafy House Salad, Vegan Pennette Pasta, Raspberry Sorbet
  • M – Beef Empanadas, Chicken Cesar Salad, Welcome Aboard Sundae
  • J – Beef Empanadas, Pennette Pasta, Welcome Aboard Sundae

Kristy’s lunch –

Matt’s lunch –

At lunch, we were told our room was ready, so we decided to go drop off our carry-on bags. After a bit of navigating, we found our room – our checked luggage was already waiting for us outside the door. We dropped off our carry-on luggage, did a quick tour of the room, and set off to explore.

4pm – We attended the mandatory safety briefing on deck 4 (section G). Took a little while, but after being reminded about life vests and life boats, it really did sink in that we were on a ship about to sail out to sea.

4.45pm – Found a spot on deck 10 to watch the Sail-A-Wave deck party. This was our first time seeing Mickey Mouse and friends on our cruise, which was so exciting! We finally heard the ship horn tune, which brought tears to my eyes – we had heard it in videos many times, but we finally got to hear it in person, which was simply magical.

We wanted to see the ship leave port, but after waiting a while we still hadn’t started moving (the ship was still moored to the dock), so we took a few deck photos then went and saw the characters in the atrium.

In the atrium, we met Pluto! We got hugs, photos, and autographs (I got an autograph from Pluto in the back of Juliet’s book, as I didn’t have one yet). While in line, we noticed the water moving past us out the windows – we were finally on our way!

We went up to the deck and took photos of Rangitoto Island, as the ship was finally sailing out of Auckland and out to sea.

In our research, we had read that the merchandise stores usually open an hour after leaving port – so we went to see if they had opened or if people were lining up yet. We could see all the fun inaugural sailing merchandise through the windows, but the doors were closed. A crew member said they needed to wait until the ship reached international waters, which would be in the middle of the night, so the stores would open at 9.30am the next day.

The stores were right next to the Walt Disney Theater, so we waited for a few minutes before the doors opened and we found seats for the Golden Mickeys show at 6.00 pm. The 1 hour show was awesome, there were so many great characters included – a great celebration of Disney films for the first day of our cruise.

After the show, we headed back up to see the view from decks 9 and 10. We could see Auckland shrinking into the distance behind us as the sun was setting.

After admiring the view from the the top decks, we headed back to our room, to get changed for dinner at the second seating.

8.15pm – Dinner at Animator’s Palette!

This was the rotational dining restaurant we were the most excited about, as we had heard so much about it. As we sat down at our table, we were given our drawing sheets – and we suddenly remembered we hadn’t practiced any figure drawing before our cruise! Oh well, we grabbed a marker and got stuck in, having fun with our character drawings.

After handing back our completed drawings, we got our menu for the night.

  • K – Arugula Leaves Salad, Black Bean Chipotle Cakes, Dark Choc Mini Cake with Strawberries
  • M – Chicken and Walnut Salad, Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken, Warm Sticky Date Pudding
  • J – Sliced Serrano Ham, Lemon-Thyme Marinated Chicken, Lemon Icebox Pie

Kristy’s dinner –

Matt’s dinner –

We went back to our room to put our Animator’s Palette drawings away, where we found our first towel animal (Kangaroo). We then ran back to see Goofy and Rapunzel in the atrium but they were just finishing their meet and greet, so we went for a wander around the ship.

Another trip back to our room for a quick pitstop and rest, and we checked the itinerary to choose our next activity. We decided to head to Azure for the Silent DJ party. We each got headphones with three channels to choose from, with lights to indicate the channel (red, blue or green) so you could see what your friends were listening and dancing to. This was really fun – we all danced past midnight!

Once the party wrapped up, we decided to go for a bit of a wander, before finally heading back to our room (with soft drinks from the self serve machines), and ordered fries with ketchup from room service – it came quick! Fun end to an awesome day. After writing down my itinerary notes from the day, we finally got settled for bed at 1.30am – what an amazing first day of our first Disney cruise.

Our day 2 blog post will be up soon – check out all our Disney Wonder blog posts here

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