Happiest Day Of My Life

(so far.)

This past year was a wild one for me. One of my absolute favorite moments from my final contract with Disney Cruise Line was the day I flew in a helicopter to go dog sledding on the Denver Glacier in Skagway, Alaska.

I was on my “vacation” between my first and second contract when I got the call telling me my ship transfer request was approved and I will be embarking the Disney Wonder. At that exact moment, I had one of those daydream moments you see in rom-coms, immediately picturing myself and my boyfriend at the time, in slow motion, gracefully flowing past on the back of a dog sled in Alaska, wearing one of those big puffy winter jackets. You know, with the fur around the hood? Even though we wouldn’t be in Alaska until the following year, I was grateful for the opportunity.

It was going to be perfect.

I ended up finishing my second contract early to be able to match contract dates/lengths with that boyfriend. This meant my return date for my third and final contract would change which made it possible for me to join the ship for the two-week western bound Panama canal cruise. I was so over the moon excited, I just had to get through the two months of 2-4 day Mexican Riviera cruises in order to make it all the way up to Alaska, which also included a stop in San Francisco. In those 18 weeks, I had the opportunity to travel from Cape Canaveral to Vancouver. I’m sure I’ll write about all the stops in between but this particular day will always hold a special place in my heart.

A few days before embarking, I found out my boyfriend at the time had been cheating on me in the five days we were apart and so I ended that real quick (a detail relevant for later, I promise).

Fast forward to June, the celebration of my birth was fast approaching and I was determined to be able to treat myself to the one and only thing I wanted since I started working on the ships. There were a few obstacles; first, I needed to put my name on a waitlist, I wasn’t guaranteed a spot and the fee to go was $300 (& that’s the crew rate, guests pay closer to $700) second, being able to do it within my allotted break time, which wasn’t more than a few hours. Luckily, I was able to run off the ship and put my name in as soon as we were docked aaand a fellow lifeguard agreed to cover my first 30 minutes after my scheduled return time if I wasn’t able to make it back when I was supposed to.

The moment I was bumped off the pool, I sprinted down to my cabin, changed and rushed off the ship. Thankfully, the facility was right in the same parking lot of where we were docked. Shortly after arriving, I was joined by two friends from the entertainment cast and we were given the thumbs up to be able to go. We watched a short instructional video while we put our gear on and prepared for the moment of a lifetime. I had never been in a helicopter before and normally I’m terrified of heights and flying but I was just too excited about this experience.

The flight was only about twelve minutes and we arrived at the top of the beautiful Denver Glacier. That summer was uncharacteristically hot and the snow was melting at an alarming rate. They had just moved camp to higher ground so that the snow was nice and fresh, which made for some incredible scenery but it was insanely bright and I didn’t think to bring sunglasses. One of the staff members overheard me say that to my camera while I was vlogging and she loaned me a pair which was so nice. We were then divided into our sled teams and off we went. I stood on the back of the sled to start (see last photo in the group) but throughout the ride, we were able to change seats.

I was able to escape it all and just be happy.

Once we arrived back at the camp we were given a chance to hold the newest members of their dog sledding family. The puppers were only 17 days old and hadn’t even opened their eyes yet! At that moment, I remember feeling so overwhelmingly euphoric and couldn’t stop smiling to the point I was almost crying. With everything that was happening in my personal life at that time, for those few hours on top of a mountain surrounded by dogs and snow, I was able to escape it all and just be happy. Even though my vision for this moment was slightly different than what I had originally pictured, I’m actually glad I had this moment to myself to be able to look back on without any distraction. Overall, a once in a lifetime experience that I’ll hopefully never forget. 

TLDR;

Thanks for reading & Drink more water
-Ri