Thanks to Disney Vacation Club for providing this vacation to my family for free. All opinions are my own.
My family is Disney obsessed, to put it lightly. My daughter has seen every single movie. Her favorite character changes every day (for the record, today’s is Tiana). We live in driving distance to Disneyland and are annual pass holders—we can’t get enough of the magic! So, we made it our mission this year to take more Disney-inspired family vacations to make unique memories together. Our top choice? Somewhere tropical, but still magical. And then the opportunity came up to embark on the exclusive Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise on the Disney Dream. So, obviously we were pumped!
I cannot begin to say how blown away we were. This was our first cruise experience and now we’re hooked. It was fun, relaxing…and filled with lots of pixie dust! From the exclusive programming of the Member Cruise and classic character experiences to the phenomenal excursions, this vacation was one for the books.
A little about the Disney Vacation Club—as a member of this flexible vacation ownership program, you can enjoy years of unique Disney experiences with your family. As we set sail, I heard from so many fellow passengers that their membership allowed them to set aside special family time for Disney vacations every year—whether discovering new countries through Adventures by Disney, exploring the seas with Disney Cruises, staying somewhere incredible while visiting the Disney Theme Parks, and more.
Our tropical vacation was part of DVC’s annual, members-only cruise. And trust me, they up the magic to an unbelievable level as a way of celebrating with Disney’s biggest fans. We were lucky enough to experience this exclusive trip—and it was so enchanting.
Kickstarting the Fun at Walt Disney World
The magic began before we even got to the port! My California family flew into Orlando two days early and visited Walt Disney World for the very first time. We saw the castle, took fun photos, and watched the fireworks.
While visiting the happiest place on Earth, we stayed at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins—which is a parent’s dream. Our cabin even had its own jacuzzi (perfect for soaking after a day at the Park)! Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is also home to Reunion Station, a members-only area that offers a lounge-like experience for a fee with breakfast, wine and cheese events, and classes during the week. By the time our stay concluded and we headed to board the ship, we were already glowing.
An Adventure at Castaway Cay
We boarded our ship and headed to Castaway Cay—Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. We enjoyed special character meet and greets as Disney Vacation Club took over the island, spent our time swimming in the bluest water I’ve ever seen, and embarked on fun excursions.
There were so many outings to choose from, including kayaking and a stingray experience. We picked snorkeling and it was amazing. But one of my daughter’s favorite activities? She couldn’t get enough of the unlimited ice cream!
One of my top picks would have to be participating in the special voluntEARS project. We had the opportunity to fill backpacks with school supplies for local Bahamian children. It meant so much for us to work together to give back to the community.
Celebrating Mickey and Minnie
Our favorite mouse was also a big part of the cruise. This year marks the 90th anniversary of Steamboat Willie and the introduction of Mickey and Minnie! What better way to commemorate this milestone than with a Member Mouse Party?
During the day on Castaway Cay, there were special party games inspired by some of our favorite Mickey movies and shorts. We had a blast tackling the Fantasia-themed bucket race.
The festivities continued on into the night. I let my preschooler stay up WAY past bedtime, but for a very good reason! The top deck of the ship transformed into a dance party complete with all of our favorite characters—roaming the party freely. I’ve never seen my 4-year-old quite as excited as when Goofy joined her on the dance floor. And the finale? The biggest fireworks display in Member Cruise history. Dreams really do come true!
Going Behind the Scenes
Another offering of the Member Cruise is the unique programming. We got a behind-the-scenes look at Ralph Breaks the Internet with Storyboard Artist Josie Trinidad, heard from Screenwriter Jared Bush about the experience of taking Zootopia and Moana from script to screen, and even got to sit in on a talk with Director Pete Docter and Composer Michael Giacchino about moving from Disney screen to score. My husband is a professional musician and this was definitely his favorite presentation.
Seeing each of these Disney artists in person was a phenomenal experience. A few of them brought their families along, too! In addition to these events, there were also special performances from DCappella and Disney Broadway artists, and a talk with Roy Patrick Disney (Walt’s great-nephew) about what it was like to “grow up Disney.” Just when I thought there couldn’t be anything more, we got to see Christopher Robin WEEKS before its release!
Bring on the Gifts
It’s no secret—one of the most coveted parts of a DVC cruise are all the gifts and boy are they exciting. Twice a day we found exclusive goodies in our stateroom just waiting to be discovered. My daughter had a blast finding them when we returned from our adventures. From beach umbrellas and themed lip balm (she claimed these for herself) to Marcy Carriker Smothers’ signed cookbook and a beach bag, the DVC team thought of every detail.
Can you see why we fell in love with this cruise?
Next year, DVC will be offering two Member Cruises (one to Bermuda and the other up the Pacific Coast). Now the only question is, which do you choose?!
For more Disney magic, check out these Mickey DIYs for back-to-school season: