The Disney Magic, the first in its class of Disney Cruise Line's themed ships, was christened and set sail last summer. The design of this 83,000-ton vessel was supervised by Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), in conjunction with various consultants. These include Imagination, a London-based design and communications company, which was responsible for lighting most of the interior public spaces as well as the exterior of the ship.

"We wanted to recall the grace and elegance of a classic ship from the golden age of luxury liners. Ships such as the France or the Queen Mary were the reference," says Robert J. Holland, AIA, director of design and development for WDI. He refers to the fantasy and romance of the seas at a time "when ships were great. The Disney Magic is historically based, but the concepts are fresh."

Tony Rimmer and Kate Wilkins were the principal designers from Imagination who designed the architectural lighting for the Disney Magic, which was built at the Fincantieri Shipyards in Italy. The project manager for Imagination was Paul Scott. "We did most of the front-of-house spaces," says Rimmer, who along with Wilkins designed the lighting for the restaurants, clubs, and children's play areas, as well as the exterior lighting for the ship (they were not responsible for the on-board theatre, the guest cabins, or service areas).

"We broke away from traditional ship lighting," he says via telephone from Italy, where he is working on the Disney Wonder, the second ship in this class. "The lighting here is more dramatic and subdued, so that the ship stands out as a single piece in its own right."

This approach begins with the exterior lighting. The funnels on the ship are painted red, so Rimmer accented them with PAR-64 lamps in marine searchlights by Francis Searchlights. These were custom-fitted to hold rose-tinted glass filters that highlight the red. A logo with a wave design cut in each funnel is edge-lit with side-emitting fiber optics and blue dichroic filters. All of the fiber-optic lighting on the ship was provided by Cie-Fort, an Italian company.

In the center of the wave is the famous Mickey Mouse head with ears, this time in white and lit with searchlights using PAR-64 spots with no color. "There are three layers of lighting on the funnels--red, white, and blue," explains Rimmer. The searchlights are hung on nearby speaker posts that double as flag poles. "We wanted to keep the lighting as discreet as possible."

Additional Francis searchlights with 150W CDMT lamps effectively pick up the vertical lines in the architecture of the white structure of the ship. Horizontal fingers of light from 150W CDMT lamps create diagonal beams to pick out additional patterns on the ship's exterior. The white radar superstructures located fore and aft are washed with white 500W halogen floodlights and underlit with white fluorescents. The name of the ship is outlined with end-emitting fiber optics so that it literally twinkles.

In the main entry atrium the lighting was designed by Wilkins to accentuate a large colored-glass chandelier made by artist Dale Chihuly. The glass is lit with end- and side-emitting fiber to make the inside of the chandelier glow, while small 70W CDMT lamps recessed in the ceiling above it make it sparkle.

"There are two levels of ambient light in the atrium," Rimmer explains, referring to the use of Osram Sylvania DSX color-discharge lamps. "If you vary the signal you alter the color temperature." Pre-programmed control allows a cool white light during the day and a warmer white for the evening. All of the lighting aboard the Magic is controlled by a Strand Premier system, which in turn is run by Disney's own ship-wide control system.

A ring of white 50W halogen fixtures is recessed along the edge of the balcony. These are on a separate circuit to be used for the lighting of Disney character parades and special events, as well as for general ambient lighting. ETC Source Four ellipsoidals are hung between the elevator banks to shine on the characters as they descend the ship's grand staircase.

The main walkways in the atrium are fitted with custom pendants mixed with Erco low-voltage downlights fitted into the beams to create different light levels and a warm glow in the evening. The perimeter beams are fitted with additional Iguzzini low-voltage downlights to highlight the walkways.

In Parrot Cay, a restaurant with a Caribbean theme, the lighting was also designed by Wilkins. Yellow and blue neon circles the portholes where large palm fronds provide a touch of the tropics. Small candle lamps hidden in bananas on the revolving ceiling fans add to the theming.

The color of the neon changes according to the time of day, from hot orange sun for the morning to a cooler dark blue or purple in the evening. "It's almost like sunset in a Caribbean garden," Rimmer points out. Gobos of palm trees and bamboo are projected from columns onto the floor with patterns in Microlight fixtures using 50W MR-16 halogen lamps. Halogen downlights add a soft ambient light, which Rimmer describes as "a subtle moonlight glow on the tables." Erco spotlights accent the tables like sunbeams.

Perhaps the zenith of the inspired design aboard the ship is the Animator's Palate (pun intended), a restaurant designed by New York City-based architect David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, with lighting by Rimmer. The restaurant is entirely black and white when guests enter, from the carpet to the dishes, and in full living color by the end of their meal. Magic? Not exactly, just really clever design.

The black-and-white animator's line drawing is on a frontlit metal perforated scrim in front of the real wall. When the lighting changes and the scrim is backlit, it seems to disappear to reveal the full-color wall behind it. At first it is frontlit with track-mounted Italian fixtures from Iguzzini, which use 50W halogen lamps. The fixtures are hidden in a ceiling cove. The backlight comes from more of the same fixtures at the top of the wall and blue neon at the bottom.

The effect of the wall changing color was so successful that an entire show was scripted around it, complete with storyline, video, and musical score. The dining experience is now part of a complete entertainment event, all of which developed from the lighting concepts. "The first time I sat down and watched it as a customer, everybody started applauding when the whole restaurant changed color. It made me feel good that it got such a unanimous reaction," says Rimmer.

The color-changing theme is carried through on six columns designed like paintbrushes with end- and side-emitting fiber optics in their bristles to add color to the tips. Each brush is topped with a painter's palette suspended from the ceiling. And guess what? Even the paint spots on the palettes are lit with end-emitting fibers that also change color. Then the waiters get into the act; as the lights dim they arrive carrying small palettes with battery-controlled fiber optics lighting tiny paintbrushes. It's time for dessert and the waiters are delivering various colored sauces to "paint" the Mickey-shaped ice cream.

A glazed dome creates the look of the ceiling in an artist's studio and is lit with blue and white neon which can create a daytime or evening look. Ambient light is provided by flicker candle lamps in three chandeliers and Osram Sylvania 12V 50W AR70 halogen lamps in square fixtures by the Belgian company Modular. Each fixture holds four lamps, and they are recessed into the ceiling to highlight the tables.

Neon and fiber optics light up the Oceaneer's Lab and Oceaneer's Club, two child-friendly play areas. The lab is designed as a learning experience-cum-science lab where the columns in the space look like oversized test tubes with colored gel wrapped on the inside and different colors of neon behind the gel. Sound effects include gurgling liquids as the test tubes "fill." At the top of the columns are the planets, complete with Saturn's Plexiglas rings lit by end-emitting fiber optics.

"Other columns look like Buck Rogers 1950s spaceships," says Rimmer, who designed the lighting in these areas. When children push a button, the spaceships prepare for blast-off with red lights flashing at the bottom and rings of neon glowing at the top. Dark blue neon lights the edges of 5'-diameter portholes along the walls. Ambient lighting comes from custom-designed fixtures that look like lunar landing craft with halogen lamps in the arms. The endpoints of additional fiber optics create patterns, such as meteors flying through space and exploding, on abstract wall murals.

More of a play area, the Oceaneer's Club has the look of Captain Hook's galleon with blue carpet for the ocean and brown for the wooden decks. The columns here look like piles of packing crates with video monitors in them to play Walt Disney cartoons and television programs. Fiber optics outline characters such as Captain Hook, the Cheshire Cat, Tinkerbell, and Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, creating imaginary constellations in Disney's own Milky Way on the ceiling.

"The ceiling is very low, so we just used fiber," says Rimmer, who also wanted to avoid hot lamps in a play space for children. He added Thomas PAR cans with PAR-56 lamps and light blue gel in areas with higher ceilings and to add drama to cargo netting. Concord fixtures using 70W single-end halogen lamps wash a wall covered with refrigerator magnets the kids can move around to make their own designs.

"What we tried to do was use the latest lamp technology in retro-style fixtures," Rimmer explains. "We wanted to keep the lighting to a bare minimum but make it as effective as possible." One of Rimmer's goals was to use darkness and shadows to create drama, yet with proper light levels. "There is no lighting just for lighting's sake."

The romance of the sea that he envisions can be seen on the pool decks, where the night lighting is low, both in terms of position of fixtures and intensity. "I think you should be able to see the stars at sea at night, and not create light pollution," says Rimmer, who decided to let the night sky be part of the lighting package. "Floodlights would be too glaringly bright." Instead he used round bulkhead lights by Louis Poulsen with compact fluorescent lamps.

"We lit the deck so that you can see where you are going, but not to destroy the romanticism of the evening," Rimmer says. At night, Jacuzzi lighting includes halogen lamps under the water in Goby fixtures (from Outdoor Lighting in London) which cast a blue glow from the water onto white canopies above. The canopies themselves are lit with 35W halogen lamps, while base units at the staircases glow with high-intensity blue LED lamps, from LEC in France, with 15 diodes in each fixture. The overall effect is a gentle radiance of soft blue and white light.

In Studio Sea, one of the ship's nightclubs, Rimmer solved the problem of a low ceiling and restricted space by once again using fiber optics. To create a marquee look with lightbulbs around the entrance and as signage, he called for faux lightbulbs made of acrylic and lit with end-emitting fiber. A wall mural of paparazzi is outfitted with strobes that flash at random to look like camera flashbulbs. Banquette seating in the club has soft white neon at the backs of the benches.

The end result on the Disney Magic is a juxtaposition of WDI's special brand of themed entertainment design and Imagination's romantic lighting, in both interior and exterior spaces aboard the ship. It's just the kind of place where a tuxedo-clad Mickey Mouse might be seen dancing with Ginger Rogers on a starlit night at sea.

LIGHTING DESIGN Imagination Paul Scott, director of special projects, overall lighting, and show production of Animator's Palate Tony Rimmer, Kate Wilkins, lighting designers Steve Latham, show lighting designer, Animator's Palate John Del Nero, show sound designer, Animator's Palate


Main Entrance Lobby Custom-built chandelier with colored glass and end-emitting fiber optics Erco recessed downlights Osram Sylvania Colorstar DSX 80W color-changing lamps Technolux warm white neon 70W metal-halide lamps ETC Source Four 19-degree ellipsoidals

Animator's Palate Restaurant Modular Mini Multiple 4-way recessed downlights Osram Sylvania 12V 50W AR-70 lamps Iguzzini adjustable track spots with dichroic glass filters 12V 50W MR-16 lamps Technolux deep blue cold cathode End-emitting fiber optics Side-emitting fiber optics CIE illuminator units

Oceaneer's Lab and Oceaneer's Club Custom-built "Octopus" ceiling fixtures with glass insert 12V 20W MR-11 lamps Marlin DXF 50 recessed downlights 12V 50W MR-16 lamps End-emitting fiber optics CIE illuminator units Technolux white neon

Promenade Deck Louis Poulsen custom-built fixture with strobe 240V 100W GLS lamps Louis Poulsen Skot lamps 240V 14W compact fluorescent lamps Light Projects external spots 12V 35W MR-11 halogen lamps LEC blue LED lights