Well we had one heck of a time in Florida. We had to leave the house super early but got picked up in an amazing pink stretch hummer from our friends at Jet Limousine. Once to the airport everything went smooth and we got on our flight bound for Orlando. Once we arrived we had a car waiting for us at National car rental and they said just choose any car in the full size row. We picked the Charger and it was a fun car to drive. Shortly after that we arrived at Give Kids the World which is the resort that is for wish granting agencies to send their wishers for a Orlando experience. The ticket package you get is 3 days for Disney, 2 days for Universal Studios and 1 day at Sea World. We plan was to spend all 3 of our Disney days then decide from there. When we arrived our room wasn’t ready because they said they were making it extra sparkly. Best excuse I have heard yet for not being ready. We were hungry so we headed over to the dining hall and grabbed some lunch. It turns out that Boston Market, Papa John’s and Perkins are the sponsors for food. So we had some Boston Market for lunch before going to explore. They have a carousel open all day everyday so we started off by riding that. By that time our room was ready so we got checked in and headed off to our Villa. Cole gives a great tour you can watch on YouTube if interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBpfcCwt8Ww
After getting settled the kids and I went and played a bit while Melissa got settled into our awesome villa. We rode the little ride they have and played in the arcade area. Then we played a round of miniature golf and discovered all the fun things that happened once you hit your ball in the hole. There were some good surprises. One of the holes was a cave and when you hit it in a thunder sound happened and strobes went off with some mist. After that we grabbed some dinner then headed over to the playground where they were having a sugar party and the largest game of Candy Land ever. The playground has a life size version of the board and we pick cards and go to the right space. It was a great start to the week. Cole also did a great tour of the Give Kids the World Campus here on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eG1tTA0Gc0&t
First day to spend at the park Audrey started her day off with some pancakes and yogurt in bed. Then we met our friend Kile at Hollywood studios so that we could start our Frozen focused day. We walked around a bit and ended up over in Pixar so we rode the toy Story ride which was awesome then went to the Frozen show. After that we stopped off and saw the Frozen show. It was pretty amazing. Then we headed over to see Olaf. Audrey fell asleep so Cole, Kile and I went and rode Star tours. The picked Cole as the rebel spy and he was all excited to get put on the screen. Then we went and saw Olaf, Mickey and Minnie. We had done everything we needed at that park so we headed over to Epcot to do the Frozen ride which was good and meet Elsa and Anna. All of that went very well. We wondered a bit after that and ended up riding the test car ride twice at Audrey’s request then us boys went and rode the rocket ride and we picked the orange (more intense) style. Cole barely made it through without throwing up. Then just before heading out we did the earth ship ride which is the slow ride inside the big ball.
The second day at the park we went to the Magic Kingdom and it was crowded. At least we get to get in the fast pass line on every ride and the cast members were amazing. Started the day off right with meeting Mickey Mouse and it was fun to watch him talk with Audrey and we caught the dance party too. Then we made our trip around the park counter clock wise and got to most of the rides other than tomorrow land. Audrey rode everyone including splash mountain that Cole didn’t ride. That girl has no fear! The next day we planned to go back to the Magic Kingdom to finish up tomorrow land and ride some of Audrey’s favorites again like the little mermaid. We rode the haunted house twice, peter pan twice and the little mermaid twice at Audrey’s request.
Our last day at Disney was great. We started a little later as we were tired so got moving a little slower. We headed to the parks but stopped at a special discount store along the way called casting connections. You have to have a cast member with you to go in. We had Kile of course. We got a number of nice Disney things at hugely discount prices. The. We got to the Magic kingdom about noon. We saw snow white so we stopped by and got a picture with her. Then we headed to Tomorrowland to finish up what we missed the day before. We rode buzz lightyear ride and then went to the laugh factory. Cole got chosen to do jokes during the show. It was a lot of fun. Then we rode the rocket ride. After that Melissa, Cole and I rode space mountain. It was Coles first real roller coaster. He was scared but did great. Audrey and Kile rode the people mover while we did that. By then we were hungry so Kile suggested since we on our wish we should see if one of the most reserved restaurants be purchased guest would let us in. We walked up and asked and they said sure just give us a minute to get your table ready. With in 5 minutes we were being seated. It was beautiful in there and apparently the only place to meet the beast which we did after dinner. The food was very good and they had beer which was very good as well. After dinner it was getting late so we made apparently plan on what rides to hit before close. We decided the be our guest story, 7 dwarfs mine train, Aerial and Peter pan. We ended up riding the 7 dwarfs train twice and stopping to ride Winnie the pooh along the way that she also decided she wanted to ride twice. Then we still had some time soon we rushed over to ride thunder mountain before close. She liked that one a lot too so we finished our Disney trip by riding it again before leaving.
The next day was a day to rest and just hangout at Give Kids the world. The kids and I decided to let Melissa sleep in so we headed out to play a bit and grab some food. We decided that it was a good day to have Ice Cream for breakfast. We brought Mom back some real food though. After that we decided it was time for some fun at the playground then headed over to do some fishing. After that Melissa met up with us and we spent the rest of the day in the pool. Audrey signed her star and put it in the star box for the star fairy to hang on the wall so she will always have a place at Give Kids the world. After that we took naps then headed down to enjoy a little Christmas and hangout with Santa . Got the kids to bed fairly early so we could enjoy a day at Universal studios the next day.
Universal was a blast. We had no idea what to expect as we knew nothing about the park. We heard the Harry Potter stuff was cool and the train between was a fun experience so we made sure we had that on the list. We started in the Adventure Island side. We went Counter clockwise so we started in the Doctor Suess area and rode the Cat in the Hat ride. Then we headed over to watch the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad stunt show. It was really good. Then we walked through the Poseidons Fury ride. It had a lot of really good effects and the kids enjoyed it. Next we headed over to the Harry Potter area and rode the easier Harry Potter themed roller coaster then went into the castle to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbiden Journey ride. Audrey was to small so Cole and Melissa rode it then we switched off and Cole and I rode it. Again the technology was amazing and very immersive. We continued around the park riding the rides that we could all ride. Most of them were a combo of a ride and 3D animation. It was a cool mix and we all enjoyed it. We then rode the Harry Potter train over to Universal Studios and hit a few of the attractions over there as well. The best thing about universal studios was the staff really took care of us once they say we were on a Make-A-Wish trip. They would walk us right up the exit to the ride and were super helpful. We ended our day with Dinner at the Hard Rock in front of Universal Studios. It was a long day but we were glad we chose to do it.
Now it was time to pack up and get ready to head home. We had to be out of our Villa by 11 but didn’t fly out until 4 so we had some time to just hang around the village. We did some playing at the playground and took Melissa over to see all the fun things at miniature golf. We went and found our star in the hall of stars and got checked out. We were exhausted once we got on the plane. What a jammed packed 7 days we had.
When we got off the plane and walked out of security we had all our friends and neighbors waiting to welcome us back and get us home in style again. Of course the pink limo was waiting for us and we all piled in and headed home. We were tired but it was fun to see everyone there.
In the end it was an amazing experience. Give Kids the World is an amazing place that I am sad is there. When you go into the hall of stars there are over 150,000 stars hung up. That is a lot of families going through a lot of hurt. We met 2 families that had terminal diagnosis and were spending some good quality final days together. We talked and consoled each other knowing the pain of the fight. The memories that we shared during this week we will always have. The joy and wonderment that both Cole and Audrey had can never be replaced. So many laughs and and smiles through the week as well as a lot of tears as we knew going into the week that the chemo wasn’t working and we have few if any options left. My mind kept going to this is our time to spend some good quality final days as well. I am not saying we are done fighting because we are not. But we know that the chance for cure is getting next to impossible and would have to wait until we got back to see what the future would hold.
The Link to view a bunch of our Disney Pictures is here. Or cut and paste https://www.dropbox.com/sh/541ymsiiqf8megl/AAAFPIQscf7FvhBkDKmLMltma?dl=0 in your browser.
One thought on “Make-A-Wish trip”
Ira, thank you for sharing. I used to volunteer with a great organization called Crops of Luv; they make wonderful scrapbooks of kids make-a-wish trips. Jodi is the head gal, they’re local and you would just give them your pictures and they’ll make a beautiful scrapbook for your family! Give the kids the world is an amazing organization! If you need a specific number for Crops of Luv let me know but I’d just Google ; )