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Disney Cruise Line Announces Onboard "Water-Coaster"

Cruise passengers will be screaming with excitement on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship. That’s all but guaranteed since the 4,00-pasenger Disney Dream will feature "AquaDuck," the first water coaster at sea—a whopper ride, 2 ½ football fields in length and 46 feet high, sitting atop the cruise ship.

The AquaDuck will use technology similar to Master Blaster at Typhoon Lagoon—it’s basically a high-speed flume. Riders will get in two-person inflatable rafts with water jets pushing them forward and upward with a top surging speed of about 20 feet per second. After the initial drop, the ride actually cantilevers some 13 feet off the ship—with nothing but the sea some 150 feet below. Talk about a rush!

Much of the AquaDuck experience is through clear tubes (sea views as you whip by). A large section also involves river rapids and getting wet. The ride will be free and open day and night. AquaDuck will be restricted to those at least 48 inches tall—hopefully a further indicator that this experience will be exhilarating.

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I personally can’t wait to get my kicks on this ride, but like everyone else, I’ll have to wait until January 2011 when the ship debuts. The 128,000-ton Dream, Disney’s first new ship in 10 years, is currently under construction in Germany. Disney unveiled the coaster plans at a press conference in New York, to applause from those present.

To be clear, Disney was not the first to think shipboard coaster. Other lines have explored the idea—new ships have boasted more and more elaborate water slides instead. But when it comes to rides, Disney is Disney and Disney knows how. Or, as Jay Rasulo, Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, told me, “People are probably not shocked Disney has offered something a lot of fun for families.”

Bookings for a three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral open Nov. 9, 2009.

Guest blogger Fran Golden is a cruise expert and frequent contributor to Travelandleisure.com.

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