Monday, March 4, 2013

What is an AquaDuck?!?!


The Disney Cruise Line AquaDuck

 File:Aqua duck on disney dream.jpg

While I still have 11 months and a few days left before my next Disney Cruise I find myself thinking of the fun I’m going to have. Almost every day I catch myself looking at the Disney Cruise website looking to see what new things I can learn about the cruise.

I’ve already been on two Disney cruises, both the board the older ships of the fleet. I sailed on the Disney Magic in 2005 and on the Disney Wonder in 2011. My next cruise will be on the Disney Dream, one of the two new ships of the Disney Fleet.

For those who do not know much about the Disney Cruise Line let me give you a little bit of background. Disney Magic was the first of the fleet in 1998 followed almost a year and a half later by the Disney Wonder. Magic in Wonder are almost identical twins. Two of the three main restaurants are identical on the two ships, the third restaurant is unique to each ship. With a few other minor changes they are identical except that the Magic’s interior design is Art Deco while the Wonder’s interior to sign is Art Nouveau.

In 2011 the Disney Dream joined the Disney fleet and a little over a year later the Disney Fantasy set sail. Like their elder twin sisters the Magic and Wonder the Dream and Fantasy are also near identical twins. The Dream and Fantasy are 40% larger than the Magic and Wonder. These new ships carry almost twice the number of guests and crew as their elder sisters. The Disney Dream’s interior design is Art Deco and the Fantasy’s interior design is Art Nouveau.

One of the major differences between the elder ships in the two newer ships is the AquaDuck. The AquaDuck is a water coaster. It is the first water coaster on any cruise ship. This is one of the things I’m looking forward to checking out the most.

Here some information I found out about the AquaDuck:

Aquaduck is a water coaster (a water slide with similar turns, drops and g-forces to a roller coaster) that is located on the deck of two Disney cruise ships. It was first constructed on the Disney Dream in January 2011 and then later on the Disney Fantasy in February 2012. It was developed by Disney Imagineers, and despite a few exceptions, is accessible to almost anyone. The AquaDuck is the first water coaster to exist on a cruise ship, and so far it is the only one of its kind.

History

Disney announced the development of the two new ships in 2007. After plans had been finalized, construction began on March 2, 2009 with a special ceremony: the trademark Disney scrolls that reside on the bows of both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy were cut from steel. Both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy were constructed by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. Meyer Werft is an upscale ship construction company, known for its precise attention to detail. Disney Dream was complete in early 2011, followed by Disney Fantasy in early 2012. Joe Lanzisero and Bruce Vaughn, the two Disney Imagineers responsible for the idea, were accompanied by many others in the development of the coaster. Disney Dream launched on its maiden voyage on January 19, 2011 from Port Canaveral in Florida. The Disney Fantasy was introduced the in March the following year.

Design

AquaDuck is 765 foot long and exists on 46 foot tall stilts. The AquaDuck was built on both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, two sister ships in the Disney Fleet. The entrance to AquaDuck on both ships is located on Deck 12, an exposed deck where most swimming pools are located, midship. The AquaDuck captures the mechanics of a roller coaster and combines them with the physical attributes of a water slide. The coaster is made of a transparent acrylic material, much like a clear plastic, that most water slides in resorts and theme parks are made of. Within the acrylic tube, water jets are used for uphill propulsion, a similar concept to conveyor belts on roller coasters.

The Experience

The entrance to the AquaDuck is in the middle of Deck 12, the main swimming deck aboard both ships. The entrance, leads one directly to a set of stairs leading to Deck 16, the highest deck accessible by passengers aboard the ship. Once one has reached the top of the stairs, he or she climbs into a specially designed inflatable raft that seats two. If riding alone, the tourist will sit in the rear seat. If not, the heavier passenger will sit in the back with the lighter passenger directly in front of him or her. After boarding, a conveyor belt carries the raft to a translucent, acrylic tube. Because of the clear nature of the tube, the rider(s) will catch glimpses of the ocean and the ship's deck below. After leaving the loading area on Deck 16, the highest point accessible by travelers on the ship, the raft is launched 12 feet out over the edge of the deck and is suspended 150 feet over the water. The water coaster utilizes high-power water jets to defy gravity and propel the raft uphill at about 20 feet per second, an idea adopted from roller coasters. Two sloped straightaways line the port and starboard sides of the ship. AquaDuck boasts several tight turns and quick drops, much like most roller coasters. At the end of the coaster, the raft is pushed through 335 ft of rapids, down the lazy river and finally returned to the unloading area on Deck 12.

Restrictions

Adult and children riders must be at least 42" or taller. Single riders must be at least 54" or taller. Children under 7 must ride with someone 14 years of age or older, provided the child is at least 42" tall. AquaDuck is not handicap accessible; riders must be able to board themselves into and out of the raft without assistance. AquaDuck is subject to closure in the event of storms or high winds, and hours are posted every day in the Daily Navigator. The cast members will not allow any loose items to be brought aboard since they could very easily be lost. Riders are advised to wear a swimsuit, although AquaDuck is not known to soak its riders.

Interesting Facts

  • AquaDuck filters about 10,000 gallons of water per minute.
  • Several windows in the Tween Club allow children to catch a glimpse of the riders as they jet by.
  • The tube the riders are enclosed in is about 4 feet in diameter.
  • Only about 2/3 of the tube is clear, the rest is enclosed. Claustrophobic riders should keep this in mind when boarding.
  • Following sunset, AquaDuck’s lights are turned on, creating a colorful and glowing attraction.
  • Rafts are sent out about 30 seconds apart in order to avoid collision while on the attraction.


 

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