Review: Marvel Day At Sea

Marvel Day at Sea is exactly as you might expect, an entire day aboard the Disney Magic dedicated to all things Marvel. Well, all things Marvel that Disney controls with a heavy focus on the characters introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you read our trip report for Marvel Day at Sea, that was really just a teaser, as this post will include a lot of photos and video from the meet and greets and marquee shows including the finale on the upper decks.

MDAS Photo BackgroundFor the most part going forward, I will be using MDAS instead of Marvel Day at Sea and MCU as a reference to Marvel Cinematic Universe

MDAS Avenger Posters

The first hint in the morning of MDAS are banners, no no not Bruce Banner, but posters on display outside Cabanas and around the pool deck – one for almost every main MCU character.

In addition to the character posters, Disney Cruise Line Stark Industries video reminiscent of a screensaver was looping on Funnel Vision giving passerby’s a hint at the the events of coming up later in the day.

Later in the morning, the Disney music loop heard around the ship was switched over to various tracks from the MCU scores. Marvel Day at Sea is a full day, and I mean a full day of events, character meet and greets, and shows.

Marvel Day at Sea Character Meet & Greets

The MDAS character meet and greets are a mix of the traditional stand-in-line variety, pre-reserved ticketed experiences, and characters walking around the ship. Some of these roaming character encounters often turned into paparazzi like street mobs. I should warn you, we arrived at the first meet and greet of the morning, 9:15 AM, at 9:00 and immediately learned this was going to be a day where 15 minutes early is too late. If meeting characters is high on your list of things to do, you should arrive extra early. We noticed a lot of families sending one person to hold a spot in line and use the Navigator App or Wave Phones to let everyone else know when the it was nearing their turn. This strategy opens up more time for others in your party to enjoy other activities or even meet other characters. These lines reminded me of the old days of the Princess Gathering before they began issuing tickets.

Most of the characters will sign autographs, Iron Man and Groot are the exceptions. There is one caveat; Marvel characters are not permitted to sign on the same surface that has been signed by a Disney character. Same autograph book is fine, but not on the same page next to say Mickey Mouse. Just keep this in mind if you are planning to have something signed. The easy solution to his is to pick up one of the MDAS autograph book, pictured below in the merchandise section of this post, available in the onboard gift shop. The left page has a spot for a photo and the right works for the character’s autograph.

During our voyage, there were only three characters with open meet and greet times at designated areas around the ship. Loki and Thor were meeting in the atrium on deck 4 starboard with a backdrop of Heimdall’s Observatory and Captain America was meeting near Preludes.

This was our first opportunity the God of Mischief. Loki’s meet and greet was excellent. He spend a bit of time with each guest versus moving the line along as fast as possible.

MDAS Loki Meet & Greet MDAS Meet & Greet Loki Autograph

MDAS Thor Meet & Greet MDAS Meet & Greet Thor Autograph

MDAS Captain America Meet And Greet Isabelle MDAS Meet & Greet Captain America Autograph

While the lines for the scheduled meet and greets may be long, the interactions between the super heroes and the kids (and even at times the adults) are worth it for sure.

Other super heroes are around for meet and greets, but these are a quite different as they are roaming the halls around the ship. Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Doctor Strange were around, but we we never crossed paths with them. However, Isabelle did get to meet Black Widow on the Wonder.

Black Widow Isabelle

We did happen to cross paths with two Guardians, Star-Lord AKA Peter Quill and Gamora. Isabelle caught up with them in Shutters and they were both taking photos and signing autographs.

MDAS Gamora Star Lord Meet & Greet MDAS Meet & Greet Gamora AutographMDAS Meet & Greet Star Lord Autograph

Another time during the afternoon, we randomly ran into Cap, who chatted with Isabelle on his way to his next meet and greet appearance in Preludes. Although, I am glad we are past Civil War because he might have knocked Iron Emily through a porthole since she is team Iron Man. This is one of those great examples of a casual super hero encounter that you can not plan.

MDAS Captain America Emily Isabelle Walking Around

The roaming characters are a fantastic addition, especially if you go into the day knowing you may not meet all the super heroes. If your goal is to meet everyone, you may need to stage a S.H.E.I.L.D. level stakeout and use the chat feature of the Navigator App to assemble your team at the current impromptu meet and greet location.

The crème de la crème of meet and greets are the two pre-booked character encounters. If you are booked on a MDAS cruise make sure you book these experiences when your onboard booking window opens. It did mention in the navigator to visit Guest Services to obtain tickets, but I did not inquire about availability on embarkation day. It is best to do reserve times online and do it as soon as you can to schedule your preferred time.

Meet and greet tickets will be left in your stateroom with the date and time.

MDAS Meet Greet Encounter Tickets

The first of the two ticketed meet and greets is the Groot Heroic Encounter, which was held in Animator’s Palate. Groot is by himself, but loves to speak with guests.

MDAS GROOT Meet & Greet

Groot meet and greet was just a teaser compared to Mission New York Heroic Encounter. The D-Lounge was transformed with photo backdrops and even scrims which changed the overall feel of the venue. The Mission New York Heroic Encounter features Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Iron Man. This experience was set up similar to the Princess Gathering where everyone begins in this case meeting with Spider-Man then moves to the next super-hero

MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Spider Man MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Black Panther MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Black Panther MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Iron Man Family MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Iron Man Isabelle MDAS Mission New York Hero Encounters Isabelle Iron Man Comic

The ticketed meet and greet experiences are fantastic. The entire process is efficient. For example, our ticket to meet GROOT was for 2:00 PM and we were done and off to the next activity by 2:05 PM. My one request would be to expand these ticketed meet and greet opportunities to include all available super heroes during the MDAS voyages. At the very least, include Gamora and Star-Lord with Groot. Bottom line, it is possible to meet all the characters, but it will take some planning, patience, and some good luck.

Marvel Day at Sea Events & Activities

If you looked over any of the MDAS personal navigators, you cannot miss the abundance of activities available throughout the day. It is not easy to attend each and every event with all of the other stuff going on. All I can say is plan wisely by staying up a little later on MDAS eve studying the personal navigator.

Marvel Super Fan Challenge invited passengers to test their Marvel knowledge against each other. The challenge started off easy with everyone in attendance using a handheld device to track multiple choice answers.

MDAS Marvel Super Fan ChallengeAfter round one, the scores are tabulated and the top 10 or so are selected to move on to the next round where participants write their answers on wipe off boards and are eliminated by answering incorrectly.
MDAS Marvel Super Fan ChallengeThis round is much tougher as it is no longer multiple choice. However, the judge is lenient, especially when it comes to spelling.
Marvel Super Fan Challenge IsabelleThe field in narrowed down and the next elimination round is more like Jeopardy with contestants buzzing in then giving the answer. This is where the questions become exponentially harder until there are two people remaining. The final two meet in a winner take all round where they must identify the Marvel character shown on screen. The person who correctly identifies the most in 30 seconds is the winner. This challenge extended well beyond the MCU including details from the comics and the Marvel small screen shows such as those on Netlfix. They call this super fan challenge for a reason.

The best onboard event gets a super hero makeover for MDAS. Little Hero Dash – a themed version of the Diaper Dash was held int he atrium and offered a great distraction while in the meet and greet line.

MDAS Little Hero Dash

Over in the Promenade Lounge, guest have an opportunity to explore the vast library of Marvel stories in the Marvel Comic Vault. This was more of an on your own activity. Guest were provided a 12″ iPad Pro loaded with one of 2 apps.

MDAS Marvel Comic Vault IPad LogoThe first app is the web based, Marvel’s Choose Your Mark Quiz that matches you with a Marvel Character. We all ended up with different characters. Isabelle: Hulk, Emily: Captain America, and I ended up with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. MDAS Marvel Comic Vault Character Match AppThe other app was the the Marvel Comics app with a selection of comic available to read digitally.MDAS Marvel Comic Vault Isabelle

The Promenade Lounge also hosted Marvel Comic Academy Drawing Class where Gus from the cruise staff showed us how to draw Spider-Man.

Marvel Comic Academy Drawing Class SpiderMan IsabellePro tip, bring your own iPad Pro and scan the drawing paper then you can draw it digitally.Marvel Comic Academy Drawing Class SpiderMan IPad

In addition to these activities, there was Marvel Trivia similar to all other DCL trivia where you writing your answers on a sheet of paper and score your own. Plus, there was a Super Showdown Game Show  combining trivia and challenges. We did not have have the time for these events due to scheduling conflicts. Nor did we attend the Meet the Marvel Masters session which on our sailing featured Marsha Griffin who is best known of her work writing on dozens of the Marvel animated series.

Marvel Day at Sea Shows

There are a variety of Marvel live-action shows offered during the day for all ages to enjoy. Mickey and Friends Super Hero Celebration is held in the evening between dinner seatings on the Deck 9 stage. The show features Mickey and the gang dressed up to celebrate their favorite Marvel characters. Although we did not make it to this show, we do have the following publicity photos from Disney Cruise Line so you can see Mickey and the gang in their Marvel inspired outfits.

DCL MDAS Super Hero Celebration

One of the bigger shows, offered in the Walt Disney Theatre during MDAS, was Doctor Strange: Journey into the Mystic Arts. The show features Dr Strange teaching young passengers on stage (who arrived to the theatre early – don’t quote me on this as it could always change) the ways of the Mystic arts.

Doctor Strange Journey Into The Mystic Arts LogoNormally, photography and video recording in the Walt Disney Theatre is prohibited and it was even listed in the Personal Navigator with the X over the camera, but more than half the audience had cameras out.Doctor Strange Journey Into The Mystic Arts MDAS Doctor Strange Journey Into The Mystic Arts

By the time I realized video was permitted for this show, I missed a decent portion. Thanks to my buddy Mike Drauer I was able to combine his video with mine to give share the majority of the show.

The show was nice, short, and fun to watch. Keep in mind, the show is geared towards the younger passengers which is evident by the kids onstage participation during the show. It is a great show for the intended audience.

For the fossils, I mean those not of the targeted Doctor Strange audience, over in Fathoms guests are treated to a salute to Captain America during the Star-Spangled USO show with songs from the 30’s and 40’s.

MDAS Star Spangled USO Show MDAS Star Spangled USO Show Captain America

I learned this USO Show was originally held in the Promenade Lounge on the early MDAS cruises. DCL listened to guest feedback and moved the show into Fathoms which was a great fit for the show and the audience in attendance.

All day long the Avengers have been making promotional announcements for the Stark Expo which is technically listed as Marvel Heroes Unite on the Personal Navigator. The show was listed as a 10:15 pm start time, but in reality the pre-show began at 10pm. Plan to be on deck early if you want to see the show from a specific spot as it fills up quickly.

Marvel Heroes Unite is the finale to Marvel Day at Sea where Tony Stark’s special presentation turns into an epic battle between villains and super heroes. This is where I want to put in a disclaimer. If you are booked on an upcoming MDAS cruise, I’d suggest you skip down to the next section on the MDAS Food and NOT watch the video. Even though I try to keep up with all things DCL, I never watched any  video of this show before because I did not want to know anything about the show, I wanted to see it live first, and I suggest you do the same because it is that spectacular.

Ok, if you are reading, I suspect you are ok with spoilers. One of the cool aspects of the show was seeing former cruise director and now DCL’s Director of Entertainment Operations/Creative, Christiaan Abbott in a starring role as well as seeing Red Skull come to life as one of the show’s villains.

MDAS Marvel Heroes Unite Christiaan Abbott MDAS Marvel Heroes Unite Red Skull MDAS Marvel Heroes Unite Group Photo

This was a show that was not to be missed. Seriously, do whatever you can to get to this show, it is one of best, NO. Marvel Heroes Unite on the Disney Magic is the BEST deck party/show that I’ve seen on a Disney Cruise ship. I will admit, this is a biases statement due to our enjoyment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I should also say we’ve not been on a Star Wars Day at Sea cruise for comparison. Speaking just for myself, I am much more of a Marvel fan so while I can appreciate a good show, I have more of an attachment to Marvel.

Marvel Day at Sea Food

When you think of cruising, I bet one of the first things that comes to mind is the food. Well, Marvel Day at Sea cruises offer some special culinary options as well as themed popcorn buckets, souvenir mugs and glow cubes.

MDAS Popcorn Pricing MDAS Popcorn Buckets And Souvinir Cups MDAS Souvinir Mjolnir Thor's Hammer Glow CubeDuring the morning of MDAS, all of the signs in Cabanas were comic themed.MDAS Breakfast Special

The real culinary treat is at dinner. I must say, we lucked out with our rotation landing on Animator’s Palate for the Marvel Day at Sea dinner. Out of the three rotational restaurants, Animator’s is the perfect fit for a comic themed dinner experience. On top of this, the background music for the evening was selections of various Marvel scores.

MDAS Animators Palate Logo

The Marvel Day at Sea menu is presented a multi-page comic book format.

MDAS Menu 0 Cover March 2018 MDAS Menu 1 Drinks March 2018 MDAS Menu 2 Appetizers March 2018 MDAS Menu 3 Entrees 1 March 2018 MDAS Menu 4 Entrees 2 March 2018 MDAS Menu 5 Dessert Drinks March 2018 MDAS Menu 6 Desserts March 2018 MDAS Menu 7 Back Cover March 2018The kids menus were shaped like Captain America’s shield and Thor’s hammer which you can see more of these menus on the MDAS menu page.

MDAS Menu Kids March 2018

 

 

MDAS Dinner Marbled Bread With Red Pepper Dip

Marbled Bread With Red Pepper Dip

MDAS Dinner Californian Cherry And Walnut Salad

Iron Man – Californian Cherry And Walnut Salad with Goat Cheese, Baby Gem Lettuce, curly Endive and a Raspberry Dressing.

MDAS Dinner Wakandan Piri Piri

Black Panther – Wakandan Piri Piri Cilantro, Ginger and Chili-marinated Chicken with Papaya Coconut Salsa

MDAS Dinner Baked Buttermilk Corn Fed Chicken

Hawkeye – Baked Buttermilk Corn Fed Chicken on Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper and Spinach Hash served with a Red Wine Thyme Chicken Jus

MDAS Dinner Ricotta Gnocchi

Scarlet Witch – Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach, Kale and an Arugula Pesto

MDAS Dinner Roasted Scandinavian Cod Filet

Thor – Roasted Scandinavian Cod Filet with Pancetta (withheld), Pea Puree, White Asparagus and Riesling Wine, Chervil and Chive Sauce

MDAS Dinner Dessert Ravagers' Devil's Food Cake

Ravagers’ Devil’s Food Cake layers of Chocolate Cake, filled with Chocolate Chantilly Creme

MDAS Dinner Dessert Collector's Warm Apple Crisp

Collector’s Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream and Sugar Shard

MDAS Dinner Dessert Bounty Hunter

Bounty Hunter pastry treasure chest filled with Raspberry and Custard, hidden under fresh Raspberries and topped with Key Lime dome.

We were really impressed by the various menu offerings, and the items we tried from the menu were quite enjoyable and flavorful!

The servers had wore ties and the head servers wore a vest with the same Marvel pattern.

MDAS Dinner Head Server Marko Vest

This is food related and is also considered an event/activity. Fathoms is transformed ok, the menu is the same, but the drinks have Guardians of the Galaxy inspired names for the evening when Fathoms becomes an adults only venue.

MDAS Ravager’s Club Fathoms Drink Menu Cover March 2018 MDAS Ravager’s Club Fathoms Drink Menu March 2018

During MDAS, the venue becomes the Ravagers Club featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy hosting the most awesome dance party in the galaxy. That last part is from the description, not my personal opinion. I went to bed after Marvel Heroes Unite.

Marvel Day At Sea Merchandise

A handout was left in our stateroom on the first day to give guests an idea of there mechandise available. Unlike other voyages, Disney did not offer any merchandise pre-orders. However, we did not notice any issues with supply.

MDAS Merchandise Stateroom Handout

The Marvel Day at Sea autograph book and photo album I mentioned during the meet & greets. Isabelle loved the idea of getting autographs and printing out the photos at home to add to the book.

MDAS Merchandise Autograph Book Front MDAS Merchandise Autograph Book Front Back

In Sea Treasures on Deck 3 near O’Gills, you can get personalized Marvel Day at Sea name tags made.

MDAS Merchandise Name Tags MDAS Merchandise Name Tags

MDAS lanyards were available for new cruises or those wanting to have something other than the Castaway Club lanyard to hold onto their KTTW cards.

MDAS Merchandise Lanyards MDAS Merchandise Lanyards PriceDoor magnets for the event were available.

MDAS Merchandise Door Magnets MDAS Merchandise Door Magnets

The clothing options included what you’d expect including hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets. However, the coolest item were these iron-on patches.

MDAS Merchandise Iron On Patches MDAS Merchandise Iron On Patches Price

MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts MDAS Merchandise Shirts

MDAS Merchandise Hats MDAS Merchandise Hooded Zipper Jacket

Coffee mugs and Tervis tumblers were available with the MDAS logo.

MDAS Merchandise Coffee Mugs MDAS Merchandise Tervis MDAS Merchandise Silver Picture Frame MDAS Merchandise Silver Picture Frame Price MDAS Merchandise OrnamentIf you spent at least $60 on merchandise you could spend another $20 on a fleece throw.MDAS Merchandise Fleece Throw PromotionWe’ve washed ours a few times and it is still holding up!MDAS Merchandise Fleece Throw

Along with the other merchandise, a small selection of collectable artwork including some limited edition items were available.

MDAS Merchandise Artwork Ship Coins MDAS Merchandise Artwork Metal DCL Captain America Shield MDAS Merchandise Artwork Metal DCL Captain America Shield Price MDAS Merchandise Artwork Ship MDAS Merchandise Artwork Ship Price MDAS Merchandise Artwork Heroes MDAS Merchandise Artwork Heroes Price MDAS Merchandise Artwork Villains MDAS Merchandise Artwork Villains Price

Marvel Day at Sea merchandise wouldn’t be complete without pins.

MDAS Merchandise Pins MDAS Merchandise Pins MDAS Merchandise Pins

All in all, Marvel Day at Sea was a fantastic hit for our family. The entire day exceeded expectations and worth the full price we paid for this cruise.

The lone criticism we have is the abundance of events that are packed into the day. The ticketed meet and greets were fantastic, but the regular line meet and greets took up a lot of time often overlapping with other events. I’ve been asked a few times, no the Disney Magic does not have a Marvel Day at Sea horn. The Magic and the Wonder remain classic ships when it comes to the horn and do not have the extended catalog of horns heard on the Dream and Fantasy.

While Marvel Day at Sea is limited to a single day, there is some spill over, but nothing intrusive. For example, some of the ticketed meet and greets are available on other days which depending on your overall cruise plans may be a great time to reserve these experiences to free up more time on the big day. The evening before the MDAS Personal Navigator was delivered to our stateroom with our turndown service.

MDAS Navigators

The next morning, the stateroom hosts left a nice MDAS bed runner. We saw a number of guests who had the idea to use this to collect autographs during the meet and greets.

MDAS Bed Runner

At the end of MDAS, our stateroom host created Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, out of towels!

MDAS Towel Folding Mjolnir Thor's Hammer

Other than these items in the stateroom and the ticketed meet and greets, the rest of the cruise was just like any other day on a Disney Cruise. I guess what I am saying, is that if you are not at all into Marvel and you happen to be booked on a MDAS cruise, there is only one day full of events for you to avoid. For the most part, I believe you could easily spend the sea day enjoying the pool deck avoiding the activities around the various venues inside. You would need to be ok with Marvel films on Funnel Vision unless you headed over to the Quiet Cove.

Marvel Day at Sea Personal Navigators

For our super hero readers/planners, below is a list of prior MDAS Personal Navigators to help get a better idea of what has been offered on the various sailings to date.

Interested in booking a Marvel Day at Sea cruise? Well, you can click over to our Marvel Day at Sea itinerary page to see a list of the upcoming sail dates as well as past sail dates.

If you have any questions about Marvel Day at Sea, please let us know in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Review: Marvel Day At Sea

  1. Linda Clark

    We were on the April 1st sailing and yes, it was a full day, but we were able to do everything we wanted. We planned out the night before and in all fairness we didn’t have littles, so it was easier. We got pics and autographs with every character, did the game show, trivia, Dr. Strange shiiw, USO Show, both Deck shows (and had prime spots on deck 10) and ended the evening at the Ravengers Dance Party. One suggestion, we knew we wanted to be on Deck 10 early to get our spot, so the night before we told our servers we had to be out by 9:30. We were on our second course by the time most people were just ordering ; and we weren’t rushed. It was a Dream Cruise for my son and me. Your earlier daily blogs helped and I sincerely thank you for them.

    Reply
  2. Tammi

    I haven’t seen a single Marvel movie and really have no interest in them. Your descriptions of the day though kind of make me want to do a Marvel cruise.

    Reply
  3. Sandi Valente

    We leave on Sunday, and these posts have been helping me get our crew ready and amped! Thank you!!!

    Reply

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