Disney cruise ship to sail out of Galveston

April 6, 2011 3:49:24 PM PDT
The magic of Disney is about to get a lot closer to Houston.

For the first time, the Disney cruise ship the Magic will call Galveston home for 12 cruises starting in September 2012. On the island, it's already generating a lot of excitement.

"I guess they've been asking us for so long to come and have a ship in their own backyard where they can actually just do it straight from a port at their convenience and finally we're here. So you asked for it, and we are doing it, and we're really excited," said Jim Urry with Disney.

On the island, tourism officials say the seven-night cruise packages, which include ports of calls in Mexico, will have a huge economic benefit to the area.

"It's hard to actually put a number on it, but we really think that with Galveston being such a family-oriented destination that people will come, hopefully stay pre or post, after the cruise and really enjoy all that Galveston has to offer as well as the cruise," said Meg Winchester with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Travel agents say they are already getting calls from eager vacationers eager to hop on board for the Disney experience.

"I've got people coming from, that will be coming from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and from California because they don't have to fly all the way to Orlando," travel agent Teresa Cory said.

Travel agents add having the Magic in Galveston will make the Disney ship much more affordable.

"If you have airfare for a family of four or five, that's a sizeable amount of money, and when you can just drive or take a commuter-type carrier to Houston, it's very affordable for a lot of people," travel agent Bettie Lee said.

The first Disney cruise from Galveston sets sail September 22, 2012, and you can start reserving your cruise beginning Friday.

The Magic isn't the only cruise coming to Galveston. Carnival and Royal Caribbean also are adding cruises set to sail from the island's port, so there will be some competition. But what sets the Disney cruise apart is the family-oriented nature of that ship.

Experts say the cruise industry pumps about $30 million into Galveston's local economy, so the addition of another ship will only increase that number.

KTRK-TV is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company.

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