Early this month, my family and I embarked on our very first Disney Cruise, our first cruise ever actually! Dare I say… We are HOOKED on being out at sea! We were asked by the Huggies Little Swimmers team to join them aboard the Disney Dream, experience the ultimate water play vacation, and add memories to our family’s #WaterPlaybook. Being that it was a Disney Cruise and we happen to use Huggies Little Swimmers with our own kids when playing in the water, I immediately screamed, “Yes Please! We’ll go!” The time leading up to our trip went by quickly and before I knew it, my family and I were rolling our bags aboard the ship. When they announced “Welcome Aboard, The Saldana Family,” I burst into tears. I can’t even begin to explain the immense gratitude I felt (and still feel deeply) that we were able to set sail on the Disney Dream! The week at sea was a trip of a lifetime and one that our family will never forget. I’m thrilled to now share with you the fun we had! Keep reading until the end, because I’m giving you details on how you can enter for a chance to WIN your very own Disney Cruise experience courtesy of Huggies Little Swimmers!
When traveling in the past, I’ve made the mistake of setting high expectations. So when things don’t turn out the way I expect, I feel frustrated. Now, when traveling with Mila, I always keep my expectations low. With Mila being only two years old, her emotions run high, while her attention span runs low. I’ve learned that when traveling with kids, it is best to just to follow their lead. In order to make everyone in the family, including myself, get the most out of a trip, I like to plan some “must do” activities for each of us. Our “must do” activities can either be a few or a whole handful, depending on the time we have and everyone’s attitudes ;) Luckily, Disney Cruise Line is built for families and wholeheartedly dedicated to making magic for children of all ages. Once aboard, I planned about two “must do” activities each day. The rest of our free time was wherever Mila would take us! In my opinion, planning our “must do” activities ahead of time was key and made us feel full and accomplished every day. Plus, any other activities felt like the whipped cream and cherry on top of our already great day. Sometimes, Mila can surprise us and her spirits stay high! One night, we stayed out until 11pm swimming under the stars and watching Cars on the giant movie screen on the upper deck.
Our first experience aboard the Disney Dream was setting sail. I’ll admit I was nervous. I had taken my Dramamine, but my nerves took over as I started to think about us just floating in the open sea. We were standing on the top deck and I was holding Mila’s hand. My stomach turned to butterflies as the ship horns blew ‘When You Wish Upon A Star.’ A cast member came by and gave us these blue and gold ribbon wands as the ship started to move. I immediately burst into tears when the music began playing. I was standing there with my husband and my daughter, all three of us waving our ribbon wands. I am not sure why I felt emotional just then, but the setting just made me feel so happy, content, and whole. Feeling whole isn’t something I feel often ever since losing my three year old son, Ryan. That feeling I felt while sailing away from land will stay with me forever.
The following days were filled with tons of water play and soft serve ice cream whenever we wanted to indulge (which was a few times a day)! Mila’s favorite hangouts were Nemo’s Reef and the Donald Duck puddle pool. Obviously, our last day at sea was spent entirely at the Donald Duck puddle pool! Dan and I took turns riding the AquaDuck water coaster, which was by far the best water experience! We also rode it at night, which was so intense. I’ve never done anything like that before. During the day, we swam. And at night, we ate, watched a live show, ate some more, and then finally slept. Oh, and we also met Princess Tiana, which was a major highlight for Mila.
If you ask my husband he’ll tell you, “My favorite day was Castaway Cay!” Honestly, that entire day was an accumulation of all our dreams coming true! Dan spent his time lounging on the white sandy beach and taking a nap in a hammock. I cried again when I saw our view and when we met Olaf on the beach. It was as if my son, Ryan, had magically arranged that. He used to go around the house reenacting Olaf’s Summer song, “I like to close my eyes and imagine what it’d be like when Summer does come…” When we met Olaf right there on the beach, the air was light. For a moment, I felt sad that Ryan wasn’t experiencing this with us. It was then that Olaf literally gave me a warm hug. I thought, “Well, I bet Ryan is here, he has to be.” Mila was losing her mind, of course. She could have stayed there all day with him! The splash pad on Castaway Cay was all Mila! That was all she wanted to do that day. So, we spent quite a lot of time there. After lunch, we all took naps on the sand and finished our afternoon playing in the warm beach water before heading back aboard the ship. Castaway Cay is filled with magical spots, a lot of which we didn’t even get to because it felt so dang good relaxing by the water. We want to plan another Disney Cruise just to experience Castaway Cay again. It was that good!
We’ll be talking and reminiscing about our time aboard the Disney Dream with Huggies Little Swimmers for months. It was such an incredible experience and a memory that we’ll forever look upon fondly with great gratitude.
(Giveaway Now Closed) I’m so excited to share that Huggies Little Swimmers is giving away a Disney Cruise! Be sure to enter before 9/4/18 for your chance to win! Here is how to enter: Post a photo of your kid(s) playing in the water. Include these two hashtags in your caption #waterplaybook #sweepstakes No Purchase Necessary. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older. Ends 9/4/18. For Official Rules, including odds and prize description visit http://www.huggies.com/waterplaybook. Void where prohibited.