You might recall the sweet Hall family who won our Unfrozen Winter contest earlier this year by submitting a picture of their creative snowman. Check it out!
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning sent the family on a Disney Cruise and covered airfare for four. Bradley and Rebecca 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 truly magnificent everything was,” wrote Rebecca. “It was a vacation we could have never done on our own. Disney does cruising right!”
The Halls were nice enough to send over their itinerary and some snapshots from their incredible trip. If you’re thinking about going on a Disney Cruise, or just looking to see what it’s all about, read on to see the highlights from the Hall’s experience.
We were on the ship for two days (Saturday and Sunday) and then ported in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. We reserved a Catamaran and went out with 4 other families for several hours. It was my kids’ first time snorkeling and they were in heaven. We got to see turtles and stingrays – it may have been the best experience of the whole cruise!
We sailed from Tortola to St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands, where we got to do more snorkeling, went swimming, and bummed around on the beach. The water was actually that turquoise blue that you see in movies – truly beautiful.
We sailed all day Wednesday and then ported at Castaway Cay, Disney’s Private Island. The water was incredibly blue and had clear visibility beneath, so of course that meant more snorkeling! They hid Mickey Mouses you could look for underwater, which helped make up for the fact there weren’t as many fish. They also include an 18+ beach which we enjoyed while Korbin and Brooke played basketball, pool, and shuffleboard. Castaway Cay had employees everywhere to help take care of the kids so we (Bradley and Rebecca) relaxed and enjoyed a daiquiri. It was basically a floating Disneyland!
It gives me goosebumps remembering 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 they give you a card so you can write down all your clues. When you hold the card up to a painting, the painting comes to life – it speaks to you, tells you about the mystery you are trying to solve, and gives you signals and directions. One mystery lasted two hours because we were chasing clues all over the cruise ship.
They are continually showing first-run movies out around the pool so we got to enjoy 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 zooms you up and down and swings you out over the boat!
All of us went Goofy Golfing and they also have games like foosball, basketball, and a Tween Club called Edge with things like scavenger hunts, get to you know you games, and more.
It’s very easy to meet characters on the ship – you only have to wait a few minutes versus 30 or 40 at Disneyland. We got to see about two a day, and one day we got five in a row! They also have different versions of the characters, such as Captain Mickey, Traditional Mickey, etc.
The actual room was amazing! We had an ocean view room with a HUGE porthole and window seat. Our room was a perfect size and all four of us were cozy and never felt squished.
You rotate through three restaurants. Enchanted Garden has neat flower lights on the ceiling that open and close and the colors change on the ceiling throughout your meal and Royal Court was extremely elegant and made me think of Cinderella. The food is very gourmet and they have a great variety. My son tried everything, even the escargot at the Royal Court. (He told us it tasted like dirt!)
Animators Palette is animation-themed and they put markers on your table so you can illustrate a figure. They offer a tutorial on how to draw a figure, then they collect the drawings and at the end of your dinner, they animate your drawings on the wall. You have no idea it’s coming! They arrange them to music and position them in Disney clips. Our daughter is our artist so she put a lot of effort into hers and was ecstatic – the rest of us weren’t quite as accomplished
“Our family can’t thank Service Experts enough for this once in a lifetime experience,” Rebecca said after they returned from the trip. “I get emotional when I think about it all. Entering a contest I never thought would go anywhere, learning we were a finalist, the stressful voting stage, the big reveal, planning and choosing which cruise, the elation of going and finally experiencing a sensational vacation. It was such an amazing time living it all. We are forever grateful!”
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