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Two ships for Disney and possible new cruise terminal at PortMiami

PHOTO: Disney Cruise Line
Disney Magic currently sails seasonally from PortMiami. Disney's new agreement with the port would have larger ships starting in 2023
Disney Cruise Line will expand to a pair of big ships at PortMiami and gets first right to negotiate for a potential new cruise terminal on the south side of the port, according to a resolution approved by Miami-Dade County commissioners.

Year-round five-five-four and seasonal three-four-day cruises

Starting in January 2023, Disney plans to begin year-round operations with a ship carrying at least 3,500 passengers on a five-, five-, four-day rotation. A second large vessel would start sailing seasonally in January 2024 on a three-/four-day rotation.

The memorandum of understanding approved by commissioners increases Disney's berthing capacity at the port by offering it the first right to negotiate for a possible new cruise terminal on the port's south side, to the east of Terminal J, which serves smaller ships.

New pier and terminal subject to widened ship channel, turning basin

Construction would include a pier complex capable of accommodating ships up to 1,150 feet in a homeport capacity, a rehabilitated bulkhead and apron, terminal complex, provision staging and loading areas, bus and taxi staging areas and a parking garage.

Before PortMiami could build such a facility, it will be necessary to complete the previously announced widening of the ship channel and turning basin on the south side for cargo and cruise use, and the acquisition of rights to the necessary cargo land currently leased to Seaboard Marine.

The new terminal would enable Disney to homeport ships carrying more than 3,500 passengers. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy each have capacity for 4,000 passengers. Three slightly larger newbuilds are on order for delivery in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Should it turn out that building a new terminal on the south side of the port isn't viable, Disney may explore alternative berthing options on the north side.

The line would also get the right to negotiate for preferential berthing rights for Sundays at Terminal J.

Meanwhile, Disney would have year-round preferential berthing rights at Terminal F on Sundays through 2019, and at new Terminal C on Saturdays, commencing in 2020.

360,000 passenger movements guaranteed in 2023

Under the amended agreement with the port, Disney would increase from its minimum annual guarantee of 100,000 passenger movements now to 150,000 passenger movements each fiscal year from 2019 through 2022, and then to 360,000 passenger movements in fiscal 2023.

As well, starting in fiscal 2019, Disney will guarantee annual dockage revenue based on the dockage tariff rate and 80% of the line's anticipated vessel calls in a given year. This represents an additional $890,000 in 2019.

The agreement is expected to generate $2.7m in gross revenues. The minimum annual guarantee will go up 3% a year through fiscal 2022, so upon the start of the year-round service, Disney is expected to generate $7.2m in fiscal 2023.

The county will continue to provide Disney a share of its parking revenue, expected to be approximately $465,000 in 2019.

A valued cruise partner since 2012

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said Disney has been a 'valued cruise partner at PortMiami since November 2012,' adding: 'We couldn’t be more excited to work with Disney on expanding growth opportunities in Miami-Dade County.'