Tiger Cruise
Tiger Cruise Film Photo
Directed by Duwayne Dunham
Produced by Bill Borden
Barry Rosenbush
Written by Anna Sandor
Bruce Graham
Starring Hayden Panettiere
Bill Pullman
Music by Hayden Panettiere
Distributed by Disney Channel
Release date(s) August 6, 2004
Running time 88 min.
Language English

Tiger Cruise (August 6, 2004) is the 53rd Disney Channel Original Movie. It stars Hayden Panettiere, Bill Pullman, and Hayden's real-life brother Jansen Panettiere (this was the Panettiere siblings' first film together - their second film together was Racing Stripes where Hayden starred and Jansen's voice was used for the young stripes). The film's fictional events are intertwined with the real-life events of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Plot Summary

Maddie Dolan, an artistic teenager from San Diego, is on a mission to convince her father Gary Dolan, a U.S. Navy Commander (O-5) and executive officer of the USS Constellation (CV-64), to throw aside his career and come home, where she believes he belongs. In order to accomplish this, Maddie accepts her father's offer to participate in Operation Tiger, a week-long cruise for military families and their friends aboard his aircraft carrier. Along the way, she meets two other teenagers boarding the Tiger Cruise: Tina, who's fascinated by military life as well as her older sister Grace (a naval aviator under Commander Dolan), and Anthony (whose older brother is a sailor), a carefree drummer who much prefers to have nothing to do with military life.

However, two days into the cruise, the passengers learn to their horror of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. The ship goes into high alert, with many of the passengers going through fear and confusion, but also showing mental strength. Tina finally learns the full meaning of her sister's warnings about military life not being as glamorous as she thought it was; Anthony realizes the gravity of the situation when he fears the safety of the people he personally knew, who had jobs in the twin towers. Maddie, while comforting passengers young and old, experiences first-hand her father's courage, honor, and commitment to his family and his will to make sacrifices for his country.

The ending shows the passengers holding up a giant American flag on the deck of Tiger Cruise as a suggestion by Maddie, impressing her father and the military officers. By the end of the cruise, Maddie tells her father to "keep doing what [he's] doing" and has accepted being a military brat, a title which she had disliked earlier.

Tiger Cruise is a fictional story inspired by actual events aboard the USS Constellation (CV-64), as well as 9/11.


When the Constellation arrives in San Diego, California, Downtown San Diego is featured in the background showing the Twin Hyatts where only the first one had been completed by September 2001, roughly around the time of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Much of the movie was shot on board USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) with additionally filming on board USS Nimitz (CVN-68) (the Constellation was decommissioned before production started). The hull numbers of all three ships are visible at various times throughout the movie. Actual crew members of the Stennis were used as extras, and a few can be seen wearing Stennis ballcaps instead of the prop Constellation caps.


  • My Hero Is You by Hayden Panettiere


Actor/Actress Role
Hayden Panettiere Maddie Dolan
Bill Pullman Cmdr. Gary Dolan
Bianca Collins Tina
Nathaniel Lee, Jr. Anthony
Mercedes Colon Grace
Mehcad Brooks Kenny
Jansen Panettiere Joey
Lisa Dean Ryan Diane
Troy Evans Chuck Horner
Ty O'Neal Danny Horner
Gary Weeks Lt. Tom Hillman
Barbara Niven Kate Dolan
Jennette McCurdy Kiley Dolan
Mark Christopher Lawrence Pop
Ben Schenk Tiger Kid


  • Tiger Cruise is one of the few Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) to have a PG rating
  • Tiger Cruise is one of the only two DCOMs to bear a Viewer Discretion warning at the beginning of the film. However, it encourages family viewing so that the family watching it could talk about the movie and the events of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The other such movie was Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.
  • Tiger Cruise was based on real events which happened on CV-64 USS Constellation while on its week long trip to Hawaii. Crew members and their families were alerted about the events of the World Trade Center attacks. They only spent one day in Hawaii due to the seriousness of the event and because they were on high alert.

External links

Preceded by
Stuck in the Suburbs
Disney Channel Original Movies Succeeded by
Halloweentown High