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Joel has a new sense of independence after his wish

  • Joel and one of his favorite characters

  • Joel at his wish reveal

  • Joel on one of the waterslides

  • Joel meets Mickey Mouse on the ship

  • Joel and one of his favorite characters

“ This definitely brought our family closer and it was a true bonding experience for us. ”


- Joel's mom, Jolyn

Joel, 10, spent three years receiving chemotherapy treatments for his cancer, and he has been in and out of the hospital his whole life.

During his wish to experience a Disney Cruise Line cruise, Joel spent every day enjoying the fresh air, being independent and feeling like a kid.

“Joel and his brothers liked the freedom of being in the kids club and not having mom and dad there to tell him what to do,” Jolyn continued. “It was a great break knowing they were safe, we could communicate via walkie talkie as needed and he could play and roam freely as he wanted to without the need to ask for permission.”

Aboard the Disney Dream, Joel and his two siblings would spend hours on end playing and having fun.

“My favorite activities were the kids club, the scavenger hunts, and the waterslides,” he said.

Unlike most kids who pick the cruise for the characters, Joel picked the cruise for the waterslides.

“We watched videos of the cruise on YouTube and he wanted to ride the water slide on the boat. He enjoys some Disney cartoons but mostly wanted to ride the waterslide,” Jolyn said.

When Joel wasn’t in the activity centers or eating cheeseburgers by the pool and Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast, he would be running around the ship trying to solve different mysteries and puzzles. Joel’s wish trip also included stops and fun excursions at Atlantis Resort and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

“We loved exploring the islands and hanging out at Castaway Cay together. We made sure we ate dinner together and spent time playing games and watching the fireworks. This definitely brought our family closer and it was a true bonding experience for us.”

“Our kids are older, and the fact that they did not have electronics and could unplug on this trip really made a difference. Our older son said, ‘I wish this trip would never end,’" Jolyn said.

Joel says if he could describe his wish in three words, it was “freeing, spontaneous and emotional.”

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