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After his heart transplant, Dylan, 6, sets sail for a big adventure at sea

  • Dylan wished to go on a Disney Cruise Line cruise with his family.

  • Everyone in Dylan's family loved the Pirate Night.

  • Dylan, 6, dressed up and having a blast on the ship's Pirate Night.

  • There were always plenty of fun activities to do aboard the ship for all the kids.

  • The wish had lots of water excursions like snorkeling, tubing and swimming with dolphins.

  • Dylan and his siblings had never been to the beach, so playing in the sand was a big highlight.

  • Hanging out with Mickey Mouse in the Captain's Lounge was Dylan's favorite part of his wish.

“ This was my favorite vacation ever! ”

- Dylan

When Dylan was born, something unusual happened. His heart rate started dropping immediately and he was soon diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition that could not be treated with medication or time. Dylan needed a heart transplant, a reality that turned his family’s world upside down.

After waiting anxiously through many holidays and birthdays, Dylan’s family got the call. The hospital had received a heart.

“It was so surreal, like something out of a movie,” said Dylan’s mom, Melissa. “He received a successful heart transplant and during this very emotional time, Make-A-Wish Arizona came into our lives.”

According to Melissa, Dylan had been thinking about his wish for a while.

“He loves Mickey Mouse, but hates roller coasters,” she said. “When Dylan first learned he could go on a Disney Cruise Line cruise, we knew this was the perfect wish for him by the look on his face.”

“I wished to be on the land and the sea and be around Mickey Mouse all the time!” Dylan said.

To reveal his wish was coming true, Dylan’s Make-A-Wish Arizona wish granter volunteers surprised Dylan at his school to share the news that he was leaving in just a few days!

“It was so sweet!” said Melissa. “The school created an impromptu assembly and called Dylan onto the stage. His entire first grade class brought Dylan balloons and his wish granters showed a presentation to explain why Dylan was receiving a wish.”

Just a few days later, Dylan, his mom, dad and two siblings, Maddie and Alex, set off for their big adventure at sea.

“Dylan’s wish was nothing short of phenomenal,” said Melissa. “We made our way onto our ship, The Disney Dream, and the crew was already waiting for us with a smile and a cold drink. No better way to start a vacation than that!”

Dylan and his family spent the day meeting people and exploring the ship, and the next morning they arrived in the Bahamas.

“We went to an aquarium, walked around on the island and even swam with dolphins!” Dylan said.

Before the day came to an end, Pirate Night back on the ship was a huge hit for everyone.

“They left bandanas in our room so we could be pirates!” said Melissa. “The kids, adults and even the crew dressed up so everyone could be a part of this fun gathering.”

“The Pirate Night was really cool!” said Dylan. “And it ended with a dance party and fireworks!”

The family’s time on the water was filled with excursions. Dylan had the chance to interact with stingrays as well as snorkeling, tubing in the ocean, and bicycling around Disney’s private owned island, Castaway Cay.

“I’ve heard stories that the Bahamas has the most beautiful turquoise water you had ever seen, but there was nothing like seeing it for ourselves,” said Melissa. “Our kids have never even been to a beach before – so we were all captivated. Dylan, Alex and Maddie loved playing in the sand!”

After a day full of adventure, Dylan and his family went back to the ship for a special party for all the Make-A-Wish families on board. They arrived at the Captain’s Lounge on the top deck, where Dylan had a meet and greet with none other than his favorite character, Mickey Mouse.

“I couldn’t wait to meet him!” said Dylan. “Hanging out with Mickey at the wish kid party was the best part of my wish.”

“When Dylan saw Mickey Mouse he just went up and sat with him for 15 minutes,” said Melissa. “It was the sweetest thing. Dylan wanted to keep hugging him and Mickey gave him that opportunity. Everyone did a fantastic job making each child feel extra special and it was truly a heartwarming moment.”

For Dylan and his family, even days at sea were a blast because there were so many fun activities on the ship. Dylan loved the pool and waterslides, going to shows, meeting Disney characters, playing games and – of course – the unlimited ice cream for everyone.

“My kids must have eaten a couple of dozen cones between them,” Melissa said with a laugh. “They were having so much fun just being kids. I wouldn't have expected it, but it was nice for us all to get out of our comfort zones and just relax for a little while.”

Dylan’s family finished off their last night at Disney’s interactive restaurant, Animator’s Palate, and seeing the show, Disney’s Believe, which is about discovering magic in life’s everyday moments.

“I cannot thank Make-A-Wish Arizona enough for everything they gave our family – an adventure we will never forget as long as we live,” said Melissa. “This trip impacted us in so many ways. First, Dylan was blessed with a new heart, and then Make-A-Wish Arizona granted his one true wish. I always tell my kids that wishes do come true and anything can happen. I think we all see that after Dylan’s wish.”

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