It’s often said by people smarter (or more cliche) than myself, that the only thing money can buy that will actually make you happier is travel. If this is true, than I was given the ultimate happy-making gift, which I’ve been living out over the last few weeks: a Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Magic to New York City; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; Stavanger, Norway; Oslo, Norway; and Copenhagen, Denmark; and then a week in Paris once the cruise had run its course.
This was a graduation gift from my sister and my parents; something to do post-grad to finally relax. And that’s exactly what I did. Not by laying out by the pool or sleeping in, though. But by making amazing friends from all over the world, losing terribly at trivia, staying up into the wee hours of the morning playing a multi-lingual version of Uno, drinking plenty of amazing wine, hugging Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a daily basis, and eating the most amazing food I’ve ever had.
Eating on Disney Cruise Lines with food allergies is like a dream. Every night, our wonderful servers, Giuseppe and Paulo, would give us a glance at the next day’s menu so we could pre-order our food if necessary. The grill on the deck and the pizza shop both had gluten-free options, making it incredibly easy to grab food at virtually every hour of the day. There was ice cream of all different flavors available until 11:30p.m. And Palo, the 4-star restaurant onboard, was able to make us GF chocolate soufflé, that actually rose. It was, by far, the easiest 2 weeks I’ve had since being diagnosed with celiac.
But it wasn’t just the food that made dinnertime one of the best parts of the day. Every evening we were greeted at our dinner table by our 6 wonderful table-mates at Table 35. Four of whom were from Paris, and two of whom were from Orlando. Being some of the youngest people onboard, we had a blast. We were easily the last people to reluctantly leave the dining room almost every night.
During the day hours, we attended drawing classes with Disney Animator, Don “Ducky” Williams, open houses of the kids' areas making flubber and becoming an Avenger (yes, that really happened), the Atlantic Ocean premier of Tomorrowland, a Star Wars marathon, Disney history lectures, and way more things than I can list on one blog post. A huge highlight was the special entertainment they brought onboard for the Transatlantic crossing, especially Broadway star, Jeremy Jordan. He was as brilliant live as I would have imagined and incredibly kind and sweet when we were able to meet him and his fabulous Music Director, Ben.
Now, I understand what all of this sounds like. “Oh, look at me! I got to go on a Disney Cruise! Woohoo look at my privilege!” But allow me to explain. Disney knows what they’re doing. They know how to make every single kid feel special and normal. Watching the cast and crew interact with children with disabilities was one of the most touching things I’ve seen. It’s the way all companies should strive to be. Because on that cruise, no one was weird. No one was different. I didn’t feel like I was causing a problem or being an inconvenience while ordering food for the first time in 4 years. Everyone was a part of the same, wonderful experience.
At one point, I overheard another guest remark, "The magic of the Disney Magic, is the people," and she could not have been more right. If you're going to cruise, even if you aren't a huge Disney fan, DCL is the way to go. It certainly won't disappoint.