See the Disney Wish Come to Life in a New National Geographic Special on Disney+

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Disney Cruise Line, Disney Wish, Disney+

Get an inside look at how the newest Disney Cruise Line ship was built, from conception to completion. You won’t want to miss the stunning magical touches shared in this documentary! 

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to build one of the magical, adventure-filled ships of the Disney Cruise Line, we’ve got the answers – and you can learn more, too, after watching the new National Geographic special Making the Wish: Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship. This documentary will take you through the process of designing and launching the Disney Wish, covering every stage from ideation to welcoming the first guests on board. 

Of course, bringing the Disney Wish to life was no simple task. With challenges that ranged from the COVID-19 pandemic to blending teams of architects, Imagineers, construction workers, artists and animators, and Disney cast members, you can take a look at all that went into creating this incredible new cruise ship on Disney+. Wondering what’s in store? Keep reading for a preview of the new National Geographic documentary, plus some behind-the-scenes secrets!

Go Behind the Scenes with Shipbuilders and Imagineers

You can see a massive cruise ship go from paper to the open ocean when you stream Making the Wish: Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship on Disney+. This 90-minute documentary will walk through the design, construction, and launch of the Disney Wish, as seen through the eyes of both the Disney Cruise Line and Walt Disney Imagineering teams. 

Both of these teams were absolutely essential to bring this cruise ship to Guests – and National Geographic’s first-of-its-kind documentary covers it all! In fact, the process of designing and building the Disney Wish took plenty of people and effort, according to Disney Parks Blog: “Hundreds of construction workers, engineers, architects, designers, animators, composers, storytellers, cast and crew are transforming 144,000 tons of steel into perhaps the most enchanting vessel ever to take to sea.”

Created by filmmakers Chad Cohen (director, writer, and producer) and Bethany Jones (producer and writer) in partnership with Disney Yellow Shoes, you can take a peek at the documentary below:

How the Documentary Came Together (and Why You’ve Got to Watch It!)

To get a true behind-the-scenes look at both the making of the Disney Wish and this special National Geographic documentary, WDW Magazine was lucky enough to participate in a press screening and Q&A with National Geographic filmmakers Chad Cohen and Bethany Jones in advance of the Disney+ premiere. 

Making of the Wish: Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship is a documentary that was really created for two audiences: the National Geographic audience, with an interest in “mega engineering” aspects of ship production and assembly, and the Disney fans who want to see how the magic onboard comes alive. As Cohen explained, this documentary showcases “passionate people and cool stuff” – and it really delivers on that promise!

And producing this documentary was quite the process! Like most documentaries, the production crew was lean. Just half a dozen crew members handled the scenes on land in the United States or Germany, while two crews of the same size filmed during the transatlantic crossing. 

While filming, the crew has only a very loose shot list to go off of, which they coordinated with Walt Disney Imagineering to ensure key moments were captured. Largely, the documentary team relies on shooting scenes – for instance, Anthony Mackie’s green screen shoot for Worlds of Marvel – and then bringing that footage together to tell a larger story. In the case of building both the documentary and the Disney Wish, there was a great story to tell, starting with the physical building of the ship, layering in all of the extras that “plus it” for Guests of Disney Cruise Line, and using plenty of new technology on board. And that was all done in the midst of the pandemic, too!

Filmmakers Worked Closely with Imagineers, Too

Of course, no Disney documentary would be complete without a little magic of its own! In order to tell the full story of the Disney Wish and bring its incredible story to life, we learned that the filmmakers and Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely to build relationships and trust. This allowed the two teams to show viewers things they never thought possible, like an inside look at the sea trials that take place prior to the first Guest sailings.

And of course, the filmmakers did plenty of research, too. Since shipbuilding takes a long time, there’s often a lot of waiting around. The crew used time lapse cameras to show off the action that could takes hours (or even days) to actually complete. And with their bit of downtime, the documentary team got some firsthand experience sailing with Disney Cruise Line by taking a trip aboard the Disney Fantasy. This better enabled them to share what a Disney Cruise is like from a Guest’s perspective.

Watch Making the Wish: Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship on Disney+ Today

If you’re interested in seeing how the Disney Wish came to life, you can tune into the National Geographic documentary Making the Wish: Disney’s Newest Cruise Ship and learn about the shipbuilding process on Disney+ starting February 17, 2023. Stream this special on-demand as you have free time – and trust us, by the end, you’re going to want to take a trip aboard this ship!

For our readers who love seeing behind the scenes, we can’t recommend this documentary enough. Not only will you have the chance to peek into spaces that you’ll never have a chance to see as a Guest, but you’ll also get to view the construction and design process. From selecting textiles in Laura Cabo’s garage to welding 100 blocks of the ship together at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany to fluffing pillows, rolling out carpets, and taking test rides on the AquaMouse on board, it’s all in this incredible special.

Tune in starting Friday, February 17 to catch all of the details, workmanship, and special behind-the-scenes moments for yourself!

To learn more about what it’s like aboard Disney cruise ships like the all-new Wish, subscribe to WDW Magazine today! We cover the latest cruise news, from delicious dining options to special single-day cruise events – and if you’re a true Disney Cruise Line fan, you won’t want to miss an issue of our upcoming DCL Magazine launch

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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