You might remember the charming Hall family who were the winners of our Unfrozen Winter contest earlier this year. Check out their adorable snowman submission!
McElroy Service Experts sent the winners on a Disney Cruise and paid for airfare for four. Rebecca and Bradley (Mom and Dad) took their two oldest kids, Korbin and Brooke, on their Disney Cruise during mid-summer. This was Korbin and Brooke’s first cruise and Rebecca and Bradley had not been on a cruise in nearly 10 years.
“I can’t begin to describe how much fun we had and how seriously unbelievable the whole experience was,” wrote Rebecca. “It was a getaway we could have never made happen on our own. Disney does cruising right!”
The Hall family was nice enough to send over their itinerary and some pictures from their amazing trip. If you’re interested in taking a Disney Cruise, or just looking to see what it’s all about, keeping reading for the highlights from the Hall’s experience.
We were on the ship for two days (Saturday and Sunday) and then landed in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. We scheduled a Catamaran and went out with four different families all day. It was Korbin and Brooke’s first time snorkeling and they had a blast. We spotted turtles and stingrays – it was probably the most fun experience of the entire cruise!
We went from Tortola to St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands, where we got to snorkel even more, swam, and hung out on the beach. The water was truly that turquoise blue you always see in pictures – truly incredible.
We sailed all day Wednesday and then got off at Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island. The water was so blue and had clear visibility underneath, so of course - more snorkeling! They hid Mickey Mouses you could hunt for underwater, which was nice because there weren’t as many fish. They also have an 18 and older beach which we lounged around on while Korbin and Brooke played games. They had staff everywhere to help take care of the kids so we (Bradley and Rebecca) relaxed and had a daiquiri. It’s like a floating Disneyland!
It gives me goosebumps thinking about everything on the cruise ship – it was so much fun and extraordinary! The cruise has a “Midship Detective Agency” where you pick the mystery you want to solve and Disney gives you a card so you can keep track of all your clues. When you put the card up to a painting, it actually comes alive – it speaks to the group, tells you about the mystery you are trying to solve, and gives you clues and directions. One mystery went on for two hours because we were chasing clues all over the boat.
They are continually playing first-run movies out around the pool so we got to see Finding Dory, Big Friendly Giant, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Jungle Book. We also got to ride the Aqua Duct, which is a huge slide that shoots you up and down and swings you out across the boat!
The whole group went Goofy Golfing and the cruise also has other games and a Tween Club called Edge with things like scavenger hunts, get to you know you games, and more.
It’s so easy to see characters on the ship – you only have to wait three or four minutes versus 30 minutes or more at Disneyland. We saw about two a day, and one day we hit five in a row! They also have different versions of the characters, like Captain Mickey, Traditional Mickey, etc.
The room was incredible! Ours came with an ocean view room with a HUGE porthole and window seat. Our stateroom was a really good size and all four of us were cozy and never felt smothered.
You rotate through three restaurants. Enchanted Garden has cool flower lights on the ceiling that open and close and the ceiling changes colors throughout your meal and Royal Court was extremely elegant and made me think of Cinderella. The menu is very gourmet and they have a great selection. My son tried everything, even the escargot at the Royal Court. (He thought it tasted like dirt!)
Animators Palette is animation-themed and they give you markers on your table so you can draw a figure. They provide instructions on how to draw a figure, then they collect the drawings and at the end of your meal, they animate your drawings on these screens on the wall. You have no warning! They choreograph them to music and place them in Disney clips. Brooke is our artist so she put a lot of effort into hers and was so excited – the rest of us weren’t quite as accomplished
“We can't thank Service Experts enough for this amazing opportunity,” Rebecca wrote after they returned home. “I tear up when I think about the experience as a whole. Entering a contest I never thought would go anywhere, hearing we were a finalist, the stressful voting round, the big announcement, reading about and choosing which cruise, the excitement of going and finally experiencing an incredible vacation. It was such a fun time living it all. We are forever grateful!”
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