Disney Cruise Terminal Design Approved for Fort Lauderdale

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Cruise travelers looking for the most magical oceangoing getaway ever will soon have a new embarkation port to try. Authorities have agreed on a design plan to transform Cruise Terminal 4 of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, into a dedicated Disney Cruise Line terminal.

Disney Cruise Terminal Coming to Port Everglades

Disney Cruise Line has already announced its intention to set sail from Fort Lauderdale in autumn 2023, an agreement that was reached in December 2021. The 15-year agreement with the port ensures Disney Cruise Line a dedicated terminal, with three options for 5-year extensions.

Now, the Broward County Commission approved Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Inc. for design and consulting services to transform Cruise Terminal 4 into Disney Cruise Line’s new Port Everglades homeport.

Port Everglades, Florida
Photo Credit: Broward County’s Port Everglades

“Disney is known for its remarkable creativity worldwide.  I’m sure this new terminal will reflect the magical Disney experience for travelers,” said Broward County Mayor Michael Udine.

Undoubtedly the new terminal design will evoke magical moments and the excitement of beginning a Disney cruise, likely with classic elements and logo designs that have become familiar to Disney Cruise Line passengers.

Improvements Planned

The terminal’s transformation will be more than just decoration, however, and a number of logistical improvements are to be expected in order to accommodate the increased passenger traffic, supply deliveries, and crew movements associated with more ships homeporting at Port Everglades.

“Our Seaport Construction staff has been working closely with teams of Imagineers and other creative groups to brainstorm designs and ideas to maximize guest flow and efficiency. I am excited to see the final product,” said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Jonathan Daniels.

Cruise Ships in Port Everglades
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock

Improvements to Cruise Terminal 4 and the adjacent berth will begin once the interior and exterior designs are complete. The entire project must be completed by fall 2023, when Disney Cruise Line sails for the first time from Port Everglades.

“We continue to make progress on our specially-designed Disney Cruise Line terminal, which will allow us to provide the outstanding experience our guests have come to expect from us, along with that special touch of Disney magic,” said Disney Cruise Line Senior Vice President and General Manager Sharon Siskie.

Further details about port facility improvements have not been announced, but may include work on traffic flow, parking availability, signage, and public transit access.

Which Ships?

Disney Cruise Line has not yet announced which ship will be the first to homeport from Fort Lauderdale. Currently, Disney’s primary homeport is Port Canaveral in central Florida, just an hour from the iconic Walt Disney World resort complex and theme parks.

With Disney Wish debuting in mid-July and two additional Triton-class vessels already ordered and anticipated to set sail in 2024 and 2025, it is logical that Disney Cruise Line would be seeking new permanent home port options.

Disney Magic in Grand Cayman
Photo Credit: Yevgen Belich / Shutterstock

In addition to the one ship to set sail from Port Everglades in the fall of 2023, the port agreement includes a second, seasonal ship deployment to begin in 2025.

Depending on the season and current ship deployments, the cruise line also sails from PortMiami as well as San Diego, Galveston, New Orleans, New York, San Juan, Vancouver, and Honolulu. Different Disney ships also offer Mediterranean, British Isles, and Northern European itineraries from European homeports.

Local Benefits

The dedication of Cruise Terminal 4 to Disney Cruise Line will do much more than simply benefit the cruise line and eager passengers.

The agreement supports an estimated 1,111 local jobs generating $31.6 million in wages and $12.3 million in state and local taxes, according to a study by nationally recognized maritime research company Martin Associates.

These jobs and income will likely include local hotels, restaurants, and retailers who will serve cruise passengers arriving and departing the port. Port Everglades is already one of the world’s busiest cruise ports, with an estimated 4 million passengers visiting the port annually.

In addition to Disney Cruise Line’s forthcoming partnership, other cruise lines that sail from Port Everglades include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruise Line.

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