Ride Review: AquaMouse on the Disney Wish

June 30, 2022, 9:13 PM · Disney is billing its AquaMouse water coaster on the new Disney Wish as the "first Disney attraction at sea." That seems a bit dismissive of the many shows, character interactions, and play adventures that Disney and its Imagineers and entertainment talent have crafted on Disney Cruise Line vessels over the years. An attraction does not need to be a ride, after all. But the AquaMouse blends a sprinkle of media with some thrills to create a unique ride experience for passengers on Disney's newest cruise ship.

Just the idea of a ride attraction on a cruise ship seems a bit... recursive? "It's a ride, on a ride!" Disney has set a high bar for theme park attractions, so slapping a small kiddie ride atop a Disney cruise ship would feel like signing a junior high kid to take the court with the Golden State Warriors. It's just not fair to anyone, especially the kid.

If you're going to build a real thrill ride on a cruise ship, a water ride seems the most logical choice. You've already got passengers in swimsuits coming for the pools. A properly designed water ride will not stress its foundations like a high-speed roller coaster or spinner. So water coasters have become the attraction of choice for many cruise line, including Disney with its Aquaduck on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

But how to plus that experience for the Wish, the new flagship of the Disney Cruise Line fleet? For something that important, Disney went to the top of its org chart.

Calling Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Disney's first couple star in the "Swiss Meltdown" animated scenes that play on screens in the AquaMouse's lift tunnel. You ride in two-person rafts up a conveyor belt in the show tunnel before dropping into the water slide portion of the ride. A special effects tunnel leads into a couple of powerful uphill launches that do as much to move water up your backside as propel the raft forward for the ride's final twists.

Let's take a ride.

The AquaMouse would be a nice extra attraction on the entertainment-laden Disney Wish, if... or, one hopes, when it gets its operations up to speed. The water coaster struggled to stay operational for more than a few minutes at a time on this Christening Cruise - the AquaMouse's first opportunity to be tested by the public.

Forgiving that challenge, AquaMouse delivers an impressive moment of water-soaked thrills for a cruise ship setting. Sure, you can find longer and more intense water coasters on land, but they won't fit on a ship, would they? If I had a wish for the Wish, it would be for a more immersively themed lift tunnel to set the scene for the AquaMouse's show. I get the argument for the rather utilitarian tunnel that Disney has deployed here - it most easily can be used to swap the animated scenes shown to riders. But that doesn't feel very "Disney," does it? A practical ice tunnel decoration truly would have made the AquaMouse feel like riding a Disney theme park ride at sea.

Even as it is, if there wasn't much of a wait, I would not be able to resist a trip on the AquaMouse if I get the chance to sail on the Disney Wish again. It's fun, it's wet, and it's just the type of mischief that any Mickey and Minnie Mouse fan would enjoy.

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Replies (6)

July 1, 2022 at 12:33 AM

Nice write up. As you say, it would have made a lot more sense to theme the tunnel rather than turn it into ... a Best Buy showroom? I mean, you're moving through a dry, bright tunnel passing video screens, what does that have to do with a waterslide? If screens were the only choice, why not have them show the Yeti chasing you up the hill from screen to screen, or literally anything that had to do with the ride you're experiencing?

July 1, 2022 at 12:09 PM

I’m sure the ride is still fun but it looks extremely underwhelming.

The ride is around 2 minutes 40 seconds and over 1 minute 30 seconds is devoted to going up a long, slow, boring lift hill?

Maybe it’s more exhilarating in person? Otherwise they should have just kept the Aquaduck.

July 1, 2022 at 12:15 PM

My wife and I have been on 9 Disney cruises and have for the most part loved them. They are overpriced but it’s Disney so I guess it comes with the territory. The Aquaduck is a blast each and every time and something we enjoy. When DCL announced this Mickey version of the slide as an actual “attraction” and that it was a first for them I expected something really cool. This is just, shall we say, underwhelming. It’s just the existing Aquaduck with some screens and maybe a total of 30 seconds of disjointed animated scenes. This, along with the ship’s exceptionally unimaginative Star Wars lounge (really folks, some mood lighting and a video screen do Not a galaxy far far away make) really do highlight the Chapek era of OVER PROMISE and UNDER DELIVER.
Color me unimpressed so far.

July 1, 2022 at 2:05 PM

Haha, but Chapek made sure you can buy a FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR drink in that Star Wars lounge, so the Disney board just gave him a raise.

July 5, 2022 at 11:03 AM

We rode 3 different water coasters during our recent trip to Texas, and I just don't see the appeal. I guess their one redeeming quality is that they can allow for slightly improved throughput over a standard water slide because of the limited block control (more rafts on the slide at a time) and easier loading/unloading compared to standard raft slides. However, I don't think that most water coasters are worth the wait or their expense to parks.

July 6, 2022 at 10:28 AM

And the advantage of the block zones evaporates (heh), if block zone incursions cause the water coaster to go down every few minutes, as was happening here.

I like going up on a water slide, which a water coaster enables, because of how that messes with your expectations. But Disney could have done more with the place making here.

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