Cruising for a Cause: A Special Disney Fantasy Sailing to Support Rescued Pets

Travel agent Tracy Whipple, owner of Travel on a Dream, LLC, describes a special group sailing on the Disney Fantasy and her commitment to raising funds for the nonprofit organization Running for Rescues.  Continue reading for more details on the cruise, how you can join in, and what “Running for Rescues” is all about.

Editor’s Note: “Adventures by Daddy” is pleased to welcome Tracy Whipple to the site. Tracy has been a travel specialist since 2006 with a focus on Disney vacations.  She opened the Travel On A Dream, LLC travel agency to provide a full array of services and destinations to clients, broadening beyond Disney.  Disclosure: Travel on a Dream, LLC is a paid advertiser on Adventures by Daddy.  However, AdventuresbyDaddy.com receives no compensation or commissions from trips booked with Travel on a Dream, LLC or the group cruise described below.

Article by Tracy Whipple

For years before I was a travel agent, I helped friends and family plan their trips to Walt Disney World.  I enjoyed doing the research to find the best possible travel plans and airfare for our family vacations anywhere.  I saw it as a challenge.  There has got to be a way to get a lower price!  And I would find it!  I never had a desire or plan to be a travel agent, I was happy working in a law firm as a paralegal.  But I did love hearing about my friends’ vacations and that my suggestions worked for them.  And when I was offered a job out of the blue, I thought I would give it a shot.  I couldn’t have been happier with my decision.  I enjoyed it, but was looking for something more, so I started Travel On A Dream (ToaD).

I wanted to meet all of my client’s travel needs.  For example, there is more to a Disney vacation than just planning your hotel, tickets and dining.  Similarly, there is more to going on a Disney Cruise than just picking your stateroom.  There isn’t a teleporter to take you from home to your room magically.  There are logistics that need to be taken into account.  Maybe you are driving to Florida and need hotels on the way.  Or you are flying in and need a car rental or a town car to get you there.  Or you want to stay in the port area the night before your cruise and need help selecting one.  I wanted to assist with it all.

Once I started the company, I received feedback from many clients and friends who wanted to cruise with a group and wanted me to go with.  This gave me an idea to offer group sailings.  With the Disney Fantasy starting her inaugural year, this was the perfect time.  And so ToaD’s Fantasy Sailing was born!

The Disney Fantasy docks at Castaway Cay. Photo by Kent Phillips © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

 

We will depart on October 20, 2012 to the Eastern Caribbean.  This is one of my favorite cruise itineraries with stops at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.  In my previous experience with group cruises, my favorites were always the ones with some organized activities, but also plenty of time for cruisers to do their own thing – whether as a family or with a group of families and friends.  After all, you’re on a cruise, you should enjoy everything the cruise has to offer!  Therefore, for this sailing, we have designed a set of activities to highlight the cruise itself.  There will be a couple of events to allow you to explore (and learn) the ship, plus informal get-togethers at various cruise offerings.  Disney Cruise Line does an incredible job with entertainment, and guests will have every opportunity to experience it.  There will also be gift bags for each room, and attendees are even planning their own gift exchange leaving items in bags hung outside their stateroom doors (aka Fish Extenders).  In our ports of call, there will be some group shore excursions as well.  Shopping, sailing, snorkeling anyone?

When we started planning this first group cruise, one thing we hadn’t planned on was any fundraising.  However, last fall, a client of mine asked if I would do a 5K for her organization, Running for Rescues.  I reluctantly agreed.  I would never be able to run a 5K, but walking was possible.  I have come close to walking 5K many times before, but never in an official race.  As I thought about which 5K I would participate in, I recalled that Disney offers a 5K on their private island, Castaway Cay.  We would be there on our October 20th cruise.  Why not do it there?  I mentioned the idea to the group, immediately received enthusiastic support, and committed to the Castaway Cay 5K.  One of our participants even agreed to make us a t-shirt logo.  What do you think?

I started to become competitive though.  When I set out to do something, I go all the way.  How much could I really raise for Running for Rescues doing fundraising all by myself?  It didn’t seem like enough.  I became a fan of Running for Rescues on Facebook and saw the many pleas for help to save a dog or cat from being euthanized.  Even though I don’t have pets myself, it still touched me.  I cry if I see someone hit a squirrel on the road.  An accident!  How could anyone do this to an animal?  I followed along as Jodi from “Running for Rescues” found a new home for their first rescue, Ivy.  The passion demonstrated by Jodi and her Running for Rescues team touched me.  I couldn’t just walk a 5K with a little fundraising thrown in, I needed to do more.

This is when I came up with my next idea.  For those who have never cruised on Disney Cruise Line, there are two adult only restaurants on the Disney Fantasy – Palo and Remy.  Palo has Northern Italian cuisine while Remy has French cuisine.  I have dined at both on the Disney Dream and very much enjoyed the experience.  In each of these restaurants, there is a private dining room.  The rooms can be reserved for parties of a certain size.  The menus are the same, but the experience is more intimate.  You are not sharing the restaurant with others, you are dining in a special room.

Remy on the Disney Dream and Fantasy. Photo by Todd Anderson © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

 

I decided that Travel On A Dream would “purchase” seating in each of the private rooms for one night during the cruise, we would auction off the spaces, and all the money raised would go to “Running for Rescues.”  That’s right, I’m also contributing the cost for the private rooms to “Running for Rescues.”  Every penny collected goes to the organization.  We have 13 seats in Palo and 6 seats in Remy to auction off.   The nice part for our participants is that they will not only get to dine with some friends, new and old, but they also won’t need a separate a reservation at these restaurants.  Of course, you must be on the sailing to bid on the space.

Now is your chance.  There are still rooms available on this fantastic sailing on the Disney Fantasy.  To participate in our activities and receive the gifts, you do need to be booked with Travel On A Dream.  If you are already booked on this sailing directly with Disney and not paid in full, you can transfer your reservation to Travel On A Dream and join us.  There is no extra charge to be a part of this group, everything is included with your cruise fare.  If this cruise date won’t work for you, you can still join us with another group sailing or book any date of your choice.  Our agents are here to help find your dream vacation – just e-mail info@travelonadream.com for more information.

You can also help us help “Running for Rescues” without sailing on the cruise.  To make a donation just click here.  With donations of $50 or more, you will be able to get one of our t-shirts too!  Shirts will be shipped after the October 20 sailing as they will make their debut on the Disney Fantasy.

Thanks to Tracy Whipple for this initial post on “Adventures by Daddy.”  Hopefully, when she comes back from the Caribbean, she will come back and report on all the details of the cruise – including how much they raised for Running for Rescues.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

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