23 February 2021

Hoist the Main

The fleet of the Disney Cruise Line is known for many things; a wonderful private island, Disney hospitality, delicious food, and onboard water features that are top notch. In addition, they are also known for evening shows, some of which employ Broadway-caliber technologies, performers, and music. Although everyone who has ever set sail with Captains Mickey and Minnie has their favorite show, they are retired every so often making way for something new. If you happened to be aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder during their first few years in 1996 or 1997, there’s one retired production you may be familiar with, Voyage of the Ghost Ship.
This show lasted only a couple of years, but even so it actually had two versions that guests may have seen on their sailing. The first iteration had to be toned down to make more family friendly. And if you need to ask why a show called Voyage of the Ghost Ship needed to be modified for children, just remember that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was PG-13 for a reason.
The show features an ensemble cast who are onboard The Lady Providence, either through work, booking of passage, or as a stowaway. The stowaway is the aptly named Trouble, who is quickly discovered by, and taken under the wings of, Captain Becker and the bosun Dutch. Princess Angelina and Lady Marta are returning to the princess’s kingdom where she is to be married, and they are accompanied by the Marquis Roderigo, who happens to be the magic-wielding Mad Jack in disguise, and his iguana, Charlie. Mad Jack’s goal is to reclaim his powers, ghost crew, and The Lady Providence by completing a spell and summoning the monster Charlemagne in the Dark Sea.

Captain Becker and Princess Angelina begin to fall in love with one another, but Angelina is transformed into the ship’s figurehead by Mad Jack. Deciding that the Dark Sea will put the princess in danger, not knowing her current whereabouts, Becker leaves Dark Sea. In order to bend the crew to his will and stop the ship from leaving the Dark Sea, Mad Jack summons sea sirens that will lead the ship to the rocks. Luckily, Trouble seems unaffected by the sirens, and is able to awaken the captain from siren’s song. The somewhat predictable, but no less fun third act kicks into high gear with Mad Jack makes his move, there’s a duel between Becker and Mad Jack, Trouble steals staff of Mad Jack, and Charlemagne appears to devour Princess Angelina and return Mad Jack to full power. He is a fire-breathing sea serpent, that looks a lot like the sillier serpent from the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage.  Charlemagne is fed a bomb, explodes, Jack sent overboard to swim with the sharks, Trouble uses the magic staff to return Angelina, Captain Becker becomes an Admiral, he and Angelina are married, as are Dutch and Marta, the crew of The Providence are commissioned to sail around the world, and Trouble becomes first mate. Take a bow you pirates and princesses!
Like many great Disney stories, this one wouldn’t be complete without some music.  The production included the songs My Name is Trouble, Hoist the Main, an interlude of Grim Grinning Ghosts (because, why not?), Mad Jack, A Sailor’s Tale which is very reminiscent of Whale of a Tale, Follow Your Heart and its reprise, We Fly, Hoist the Main (reprise), and closes with a second singing of A Sailor’s Tale.
The show would go on to be replaced with Who Wants to be a Mouseketeer, but still holds a treasured place in the hearts of some of the Magic and Wonder’s earliest sailing parties. I, for one, would love to see it returned for the Halloween on the High Seas sailings, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

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