I have a magnet on my fridge from a good friend that says, “Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms.” I keep it at eye level to remind me that despite the storms we have been through since my daughter was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, we’ve had many, many rainbows to count. One of these rainbows is our experience with Make a Wish of Minnesota.
When my daughter was going through chemotherapy in the fall of 2015, we got a call that we had been referred and were approved for a Wish. It was an amazing experience to be connected to our volunteers and see them fall in love with our child. In her typical style, my daughter wished to go on a boat with Mickey and Minnie (perhaps since she saw a HUGE picture of this exact trip at our weekly visits to Costco!) We were granted her wish, and Make a Wish made plans for a trip in September of last year.
Although most people claim that Disney World is the happiest place on earth, I’d like to politely disagree. I think Disney Cruise ships are the happiest place on earth. Our family found the whole experience with Disney Cruise Line totally magical. From the time we arrived in Cape Canaveral in Florida to board the ship, every thing was touched with Disney magic.
Our children were treated like royalty from the moment we stepped on board. Our ship was called the Disney Dream. We had a beautiful room with an ocean view, complete with a window seat that the kiddos loved (and yes, fought over). We were close to all the eating and dining and a short elevator ride to the pool deck. Almost everything on the ship is included, which means all the wonderful food and entertainment options are already paid for. The time we spent on deck was filled with waterslides, pool time, and endless ice cream. My son claimed one day he ate five servings of pineapple ice cream.
When we got too warm, the theater had new Disney movies, sometimes in 3D, and top-notch shows every night. There were special touches everywhere we turned, including the artwork, the staff, and the activities. There is a magical place called Kids Club, where children can play completely supervised and parents can have their own time. What??? Yes, we traveled 2,000 miles and got on a ship just to have a date night. We just happened to be on a Halloween at Sea cruise, which meant Halloween costumes, parties, and more!
Our Wish Kid was head over heels for every huggable Disney character and beautiful princess she could get her picture taken with. As most people know, one of the highlights of a trip to Disney is photo ops with their favorite characters – but the lines can be long. If you cruise Disney style, all of the iconic characters sail with you! There were short lines to get big hugs from Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Rapunzel, and many more! Plus, sometimes the characters would just appear in the lobby or the kids club. It was a dream come true for our Disney fan.
I try not to exaggerate, but our cruise given to us by Make a Wish was truly a trip of a lifetime. We are already planning and saving to go again, and we think it will be even more fun in a few years when the kids are older. There are specific teen hangouts and activities. The best part of the experience was that it was truly for our whole family, and not just for the kids. We looked forward to our Make a Wish trip during the course of our daughter’s cancer treatment, and it was even more than we dreamed about.
If you go on a Disney Cruise: Things to know!
- Some people like to decorate their doors with magnets – Disney themed, of course! It was fun to see all the family names and decorations.
- Try not to overpack – I brought A LOT of clothes for everyone in the family, but we really only needed a few outfits, a few swimsuits, and some dress up costumes (for the Halloween Parties!)
- If you are looking for another fun Disney experience, there are some Disney Pin exchanges on the ship. My 9-year-old loved trading pins with the wait staff, in the gift stores and even with other cruisers.
- Castaway Cay is for Disney cruise ships only – which means if your itinerary stops there, your ship is the only one in port. The staff is all Disney on the island, which means the service and food is impeccable. And… you might even meet Olaf on the island!