How AquaMouse Became The First Disney Attraction At Sea

If you've sailed on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy ships, you're probably familiar with the AquaDuck, a water coaster that winds high above the vessels' upper decks. For its newest ship, the Disney Wish, the company has retained this popular ride's splashy thrills but sprinkled it with a bit more Imagineering pixie dust to deliver the AquaMouse. The result is what Disney's hyping as the "First Disney attraction at sea." I recently donned my swim trunks during a media preview of the Wish, and took the AquaMouse for a test run to find out what separates it from its Donald Duck-inspired predecessor.

For starters, as its name implies, the AquaMouse trades Donald for the company's iconic mascot, Mickey Mouse. More specifically, it's based on the animated Mickey Mouse shorts Disney's been creating since 2013. The new water coaster actually builds on "Yodelberg," one of the series' most popular entries. In fact, AquaMouse primarily earns its "attraction" billing because it contains a pre-show — housed in its conveyor lift tunnel — which includes a number of large screens, each playing a portion of a new Mickey and Minnie short dubbed "Swiss Meltdown."

As the light, slapstick story goes, the adorable rodent duo are enthusiastically inviting riders on a sledding adventure. But, as I soon discovered — via the surrounding screens — while riding my two-person raft up the tunnel, the bright sun has very different plans. As the snow rapidly melts and mishaps unfold, including an encounter with an angry yeti, the excursion goes from snowy to soggy.

It takes about 60 seconds to ascend the ramp and see all the scenes. As such, "Swiss Meltdown" runs roughly two minutes shorter than the animated series' usual entries. That said, it delivers all the shenanigan-fueled laughs of the shorts, while also justifying the coming journey through the wet ride. There's also an entirely different, second story set-up called "Scuba Scramble," though it was not shown during the preview.

The wonderful — and wet — world of Disney

Beyond the show scenes, AquaMouse incorporates some other attraction-like inclusions. There are water effects, like riders getting sprayed when the yeti blasts spittle from his maw at Mickey, and similar surprises synced to the videos. These effects weren't actually functional during my sneak peek, but I could spot some of the moments where they were meant to trigger. The coaster also uses lighting effects during one of its early, darker stretches, as well as some story-supporting audio from Goofy towards the end of the ride. Chip and Dale statues also await to bid you farewell before you exit your raft. 

The "attraction" elements definitely make the ride more immersive and entertaining, but fans should also keep their expectations in check, as this isn't a Disney theme park-level experience. There are no audio-animatronics, big-budget effects, or any real extras during the actual ride portion of the coaster. The upgrades do give AquaMouse the edge over AquaDuck, while also adding some fun personality and story elements to its wetter stretches, but they're more like icing on the water coaster cake.  

Speaking of the ride portion itself, fans won't be disappointed by their trip through its 760 feet of slick slides and tunnels. Plenty of mild thrills come courtesy of those aforementioned darker sections, propulsion jets, unexpected twists and turns, and a lengthy, clear stretch of tunnel that takes you out over the ocean. As a water coaster that winds around a cruise ship's upper decks, AquaMouse more than delivers, while also enhancing the experience with some fresh elements that should put a smile on the face of any Mickey fan.