And just like that, the clock struck twelve and the fairy tale dissolved into a million beautiful memories. It was truly, a Dream Come True. All the magic and wonder and fantasy and flair reflected in our daughters eyes as she soaked up every minute of her long-awaited Wish Trip, left us with memories we will cherish for a lifetime! Im going to have a ton of back-logged blogging to do after this summer, but wanted to get this out while its fresh and I still have sand in my shoes….and pixie dust too!
The day before the trip, we met Evie’s wish coordinator to go over details and itinerary. Miss Dana treated us to a frozen yogurt fiesta. Good thing we hadn’t had time for lunch while running around like crazy all day because we needed some serious appetites to tackle this yogurt bar! I was absolutely blown away by the Make A Wish organization and their attention to detail. They thoroughly arranged everything to make it relaxing for the whole family.
The night before the cruise, I painted 100 little fingers and toes so the girls would be all “glitzed” up for meeting the princesses. Sometime after we all went to sleep, a little Mickey Magic delivered new Micky/Minnie outfits for the girls to travel in. 6 little eager-beavers had no trouble jumping out of bed at dark-thirty to catch the shuttle to the airport.
After a short flight into Orlando, we caught the Disney Dream Shuttle for a 45 minute ride to Port Canaveral. The Disney difference starts with their employees….even our bus driver was a hoot telling the kids to watch out the window for Mickey who drives the truck that holds all the luggage. And warning that sometimes Goofy drives…and then the luggage gets lost 🙂
We boarded into the grand atrium welcomed with finesse by an applauding row of Disney cast members announcing our family’s name as we waltzed into the fantasy….
We oriented ourselves to the ship, grabbed some pizza from the buffet on deck, and joined the throngs for the mandatory fire drill. Then it was off to check out the kids clubs and explore the vast vessel and stroll the decks as the sun got low. It took us a little while to get our “sea legs”. No nausea, but just a general sense of “wooziness” for about 24 hours until our equilibrium balanced! Bad weather unfortunately rained out the deck launch party, but the night held enough magic to make up for it….
We had a late dinner seating which meant that every night there was a full-blown Disney musical proaction in the elaborately adorned theater before we continued on to a dinner seating that started after our kids normal bedtime! Thats perhaps what I loved most about the whole experience….being an irresponsible fun parent who for a few magical days could say “yes” to almost anything. Late bedtimes. Unlimited ice cream. And swimming in mermaid tails.
The theatre productions every night were phenomenal!! However, I watched less of the show than of the kids on the seats to my left. My childrens eyes lit up with wonder and awe at the special effects and singing along to classic Disney songs. Hundreds of thousands of iridescent bubbles raining down during the Little Mermaid scene with the girls grasping to capture the magic in their hands – priceless! The special effects. The glitter and glitz. The gleam in their eyes. It was pure magic!
We bumped into the ship captain on our way to dinner….Mickey himself was greeting guests and Gigi couldn’t WAIT to give him a hug (but was a little perturbed that he wouldn’t talk to her!)
I made a quick stop at Guest Services to see about arranging to get tickets to the Princess Meet & Greet. Amazingly, after only a couple hours since boarding, all the slots had already been filled up. Eeek!!! This was something Evie had been talking about for months – meeting all the princesses!! But, Miss Nicky who worked in Guest Services knew Evie was a wish kid, and said she’d try to work some magic. Sure enough, by bedtime that night, she’d already delivered tickets not only to meet Cinderella, Snow White and Belle, but had arranged a separate meet up with the Frozen cast as well!! We were told there were 31 Wish families on the ship. Such a humbling experience to see these other kids who also look healthy and happy, and yet know they have each fought such difficult battles and endured heartache!
The dining experience on the cruise was amazing!! Each table gets their own “serving staff”. We had two guys, one from Romania and one from Thailand who were our personal caretakers at mealtime. They rotated with us each night to a different dining room so they knew our drink preferences and always had a “Shirley Temple” waiting for Gigi even before she sat down. They were a fantastic team and our kids loved them. In addition to great service, they kept the kids enthralled with stories, magic tricks, card tricks….and mickey shaped catsup creations on their plate. Tristan has learned all kinds of new slight-of-hand tricks he’s been practicing.
Look at that laughter!! That’s the real deal!!
My only second thought about the cruise is having used the iPhone for most of my pictures instead of my Nikon. My intention was to be more “present in the moment” and not always asking the kids to re-stage things for that perfect shot on my good camera. We got the genuine expressions and I relaxed not messing with settings and shutter speeds….but the photographer in me is so annoyed by grainy iPhone shots:)
When we arrived back in the room, Cinderella (who has a very helpful fairy-godmother) had left “Cinderella pajamas” for the little girls all laid out on the bed. The turn down service had also left chocolate on each pillow and towel creations shaped like Arielle’s crab Sebastian….where else can you eat chocolate right before bed!?
After all the other kids fell asleep watching the Disney channel, Abi and I snuck out and decorated the magnetic stateroom door….an invitation for other cruisers to sign a star and leave a message for our Wish Kid for her scrapbook. We got dozens and dozens of stars from all over the world….what a fun keepsake to take home.
Good thing everyone was so thoroughly exhausted, because all the sugar and hype and anticipation would have made it hard to sleep, but everyone drifted off lulled by the gently rocking ship, dreaming about the adventures to come tomorrow when we would land on Disney’s own private island in the Bahamas!!