Wish trip report from 2006
I did our trip report on our family website and have sent people there to read it several times. I decided I need to put it on here so everyone can read it. I am just copying the report from our website so it may have some extra stuff in it along with the actual trip info. Our cast of characters is me, DH, Mickey (wish kid - leukemia patient at the time; leukemia survivor now!), Brad our super son!
April 29, 2006
Greetings from beautiful Florida!! We have had a very full, wonderful day. It started with the kids being up and ready 30 minutes before the limo was due to arrive. We were picked up at 4:00 AM in a white stretch limo. Thanks, Newcoms!! Brad talked the driver's ear off the whole way! When we got into the airport, we noticed a family with a teenage boy wearing a Wish Fund T-shirt. They had a young girl with them and Mickey immediately started talking. Long story short, Mickey has a new best buddy named Chelsea from Ft. Wayne. The flights were great. The kids really enjoyed their first flights! They even got to go into the cockpit in Atlanta and meet the captain.
We were several hours too early to check into the Village, so we took the kids to Downtown Disney for lunch and shopping. Mickey got a bunch of My Little Pony things and Brad found a Star Wars Transformer and a little Lego toy. He loved the Lego Store with all the HUGE Lego sculptures all around. Mickey found a water play area and got absolutely soaked!! We dried her off by sitting by the lake eating sundaes from the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain! YUM!!!
Give Kids the World Village is simply incredible. All the people are so gracious! Mickey's new friend, Chelsea, is in a villa just down the street from us so we've seen quite a bit of her and her family. So far we've gone swimming, ridden the train, carousel and tram and helped Mayor Clayton, the Village's mascot, celebrate his birthday. It's been very, very busy.
Tomorrow we will take the kids to Islands of Adventure to celebrate Brad's 7th birthday. We are very excited about the breakfast with Spiderman, which is a complete surprise to him.
Brad with Mayor Clayton at GKTW
Mickey in GKTW pool
April 30, 2006
Happy Birthday, Brad!! We love you so much!
Another great day here in sunny Florida. We started the day with breakfast at Islands of Adventure (a Universal Studios park) with Spiderman, Cat in the Hat, and Thing 1 and Thing 2. Spiderman was great! He spent a lot of time with all the kids in the restaurant. Thing 1 & 2 were a riot! Brad had left his hat on the table when he went to the buffet and Thing 2 put it on and went to visit another kid. Brad got it back and then kept a close eye on his stuff. Mickey interacted great with Cat and Spidey, but was scared of Things 1 & 2. Oh, yeah, the food was excellent!! We hit several rides although Mickey only rode a very few. She rode two under protest and hated both of them. We honestly thought she would enjoy them, but she didn't. So after that we told her we will not make her ride anything she doesn't want to. It's really not a big deal since we can do a child swap and not have to wait in lines forever so both Michael and I can ride. Brad and Michael rode Popeye's River Rat Barge, a river raft ride, twice after the four of us rode it together. They had a blast!! Michael was still damp when we left the park several hours later! We came back "home" to the Village, ate supper, swam (okay, Michael and the kids swam in the very cool evening), and had pizza and milkshakes before bed. The kids were out within moments of saying their prayers tonight. All in all, another great day!
Mickey chatting with a Cat
Brad and Spidey
Mickey, Brad and Captain America
May 1, 2006
Can you say "character interaction"?!? That's what today was all about for the kids. Mickey has decided she does not want to ride any rides, so it's all about the characters. And man did we see characters today! It was overwhelming! It started with a Princess breakfast at Epcot. After that we went to a place called "Character Connection" in Epcot. It's a very large room with 5 areas with a character in each area. As soon as they saw Mickey's "Give Kids the World" button that identifies her as a wish child, the character "handlers" jumped into action. We had no idea what was going on till they had pulled all the characters, including some who were on a break, into the center section so we could get a picture with all of them. Plus each individual character took as much time as the kids wanted to interact. It was simply amazing! After that we went to the Magic Kingdom so Mickey could meet Cinderella. This is what she has been waiting on for months! Finally the moment arrived and she was thrilled! She was wearing her Cinderella dress so the Cinderella character made a huge deal about that. It was priceless!!! She danced and showed Cinderella how her gown poofs out! After that it was on through the park in search of other characters. Total we rode 3 rides in the Magic Kingdom. But it was still a wonderful, magical day! It ended with a pool party with Shamu back here at the Village. The kids played in the pool and we had pizza at poolside. Incredible! Brad closed the pool down and inhaled more pizza on the short walk back to our villa.
Brad, Jasmine and Mickey
DH wearing Mickey's crown!
Looks like Mickey is proposing to Mickey
The whole gang at Character Connection at Epcot
Mickey and Cinderella discussing Crocs vs. glass slippers
Cinderella and her Mini Me
Mickey and Miss Merry at the Shamu swim party
Mickey and Shamu
May 2, 2006
Today we went to Animal Kingdom in the morning. We saw a few cool animals along a jungle trek, but not many more since the kids didn't want to ride the safari. Brad and I went to Rafiki's Planet Watch. We stopped to look at an area about animal habitats since that's what his class is studying in science this week while he is gone. Mickey didn't want to ride the train (the only way to get there) so she and Michael sat at the station and waited for us. Mickey had a great time digging up mammoth bones in DinoLand. That was the best part of the day for her. When we left Animal Kingdom we headed to MGM Studios. We watched the Beauty and the Beast Show. Michael and Brad went to Lights, Motors, Action. It was a very cool stunt show according to Brad. After MGM we came back to the Village to swim and eat. Once again, the kids were asleep moments after lights out.
Meeko and our gang at AK
Mickey and Brad with King Louie and Baloo
May 3, 2006
We spent the whole day at the Village. We were all happy not to be going anywhere. We started with breakfast at the Gingerbread House restaurant here. The first activity of the day was horseback riding. The kids had a great time and got their very own cowboy hat to keep. (If anyone has advice for packing those for the trip home, we'll gladly listen!) Following that was crafts and face painting - well, actually hand painting since they didn't want their faces painted. Brad had a red light saber and Mickey chose a butterfly. The paintings lasted just a few minutes until we hit the pool. Most of the day was spent either in the pool or on the carousel. We came back to the villa for a couple of hours in the middle of the day for a break from the sun. Mickey ended up napping for an hour or so while Brad and I snuggled and watched Lilo and Stitch and Michael read a book. After dinner it was time for a few more spins on the carousel then some dancing in the Castle of Miracles. Brad and I rode the train at 9:00. It was so pretty seeing the Village after dark. Brad rode up in the very front and got to ring the bell and blow the whistle. The night was finished off by Ms. Merry, Mayor Clayton's wife, tucking the kids into bed. What a great way to top off a fun, relaxing day!
Proof of ice cream for breakfast at the Village!
Brad at Wacky Water Works at GKTW
Mickey at Wacky Water Works
May 4, 2006
We got a bit of a late start this morning. We had to visit with a few friends who stopped by the Village. You may have heard of them - Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Mary Poppins and Goofy. We had a family picture taken with Mickey and Minnie and then went outside to see Mary Poppins and Goofy. We were very excited to meet Mary since we didn't see her in the parks when we were there. Then we had to throw in a few rounds on the carousel before we could leave. Finally we were on our way to Sea World. I think this was the best day in a park we've had. We started by feeding the stingrays. Mickey was a little timid and watched as the rest of us did it. It was way cool! It was the first time I'd ever fed a ray. Then we saw Blue Horizons, the new dolphin show. It was fabulous! Both kids really enjoyed that. After the show we went to the Dolphin Cove where we got a tray of fish and got to feed the dolphins. Since we were on a wish trip, we got to go into a roped off section with an employee and have extra interaction with the dolphins. We spent about 10 minutes in there and all got to pet the dolphins several times. We split up after that so Michael and Brad could go to the Shark Encounter. They liked it so much they went through three times! Mickey and I found the sea lions and fed them a tray of fish. It was harder to do than feeding the rays and dolphins. I had to throw the fish over the wall to them and hope they catch them. While we were waiting for Michael and Brad, we saw a place set up with a trampoline and a harness/bungee combo to help kids jump really high. Mickey really wanted to do it, so I told her she could if she wanted to use her money to do it. She said she wanted to so she went up to pay. When the employee saw her Give Kids the World button, she said there's no charge! We were very surprised. Mickey had a great time on the trampoline. From there we hightailed it across the park to the Shamu show. It was very good! Then it was time for the big surprise. I had gotten reservations for Dining with Shamu, a buffet dinner set up behind the stage at the Shamu stadium. The kids were thrilled! It was an incredible meal. The food was excellent but the atmosphere was unbelievable! The trainer had Shamu doing some behaviors in the pool just on the other side of the wall from where we were sitting. And yes, we did get splashed just a little two times. But it was so worth it!!!
When we got back from Sea World, it was time to see Santa Claus in the Castle here at the Village. He comes every Thursday evening and brings gifts to the children here. We got a family picture taken with him then went to the Ice Cream Palace to decorate cookies. Then it was time for one final swim. Brad and Michael closed down the pool while Mickey and I went for a horse drawn carriage ride when she got out of the pool. It was a perfect ending to a fantastic day.
Hopefully we'll be able to update tomorrow night. We check out of here tomorrow by 11:00, after one last breakfast and meeting Barney and friends. Then we are getting tickets to Wet N Wild and heading there for the day. When we leave there, we will be driving down to St. Petersburg Beach for a couple of nights. I should be able to update, but don't be surprised if I don't since I may be thoroughly exhausted at that point!
Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way!
Mickey feeding the dolphins at Sea World
Mickey bungee bouncing at Sea World
(on a side note, when we were there all the face painting booths and places like this bungee bouncing place were free to wish kids!)
May 10, 2006
Back to reality! The kids went to school; Michael went to work; and I did laundry and had a ton of pictures printed at Walgreens. So now I'll go back and pick up where I left off in the trip updates.
We went to Wet N Wild on Friday. We split up most of the day. Mickey enjoyed the kiddie pool area and Brad was all about the Surf Lagoon with the waves that rolled in every few minutes. We had a great time and felt good about our decision to go there instead of Universal Studios.
We left Wet N Wild and found a Buffalo Wild Wings in Clearwater for dinner. It's one of our favorite places to eat and really hit the spot after a long day in the water. Once we all had our fill of boneless wings, we hit the road again. We made it to St. Pete Beach sometime after 9:00 that night. The only redeeming factor about our hotel was the location. We could walk out our door, through the pool area and onto the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. The room itself was nothing to write home about. But then again, we didn't spend much time in it so it really didn't matter. On Saturday morning the kids headed down to the beach before they even got dressed. We have pictures of them in the Gulf wearing their jammies. We got dressed and found a grocery to get breakfast and lunch then hit the beach again. That was all good till Mickey got knocked over by a wave and Brad got a huge face and mouthful of salt water. Then they decided to look for shells for a while before heading to the pool. We took a break from the midday heat with some souvenier shopping before going back to the pool. Mickey was tired so she and Michael went back to the room and Brad swam till after dark. I did get him out of the pool long enough to walk to the beach with me to look at the sunset. Beautiful!!!
Sunday morning we packed up and drove up the Gulf coast to Clearwater Beach where we had reservations on Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise. We got there plenty early so we explored the marina a bit. Brad and I went aboard a fishing boat and talked to the owners for a while. Brad thought that was really cool! Finally it was time to set sail. And Mickey did NOT want to go. She didn't change her mind the whole two hours we were on the boat. She mainly sat inside, just popping out once in a while to see what was going on. Brad, on the other hand, had a blast! This cruise is geared toward kids. They have water gun fights, pirate stories, a treasure hunt, and dancing. All things a 7 year old boy would love.
When we docked, we hopped in our car and started off toward Disney again. We had reservations at Disney's Pop Century Resort for Sunday and Monday nights. The kids were thrilled when we got there and found our room was on the ground floor facing the pool! And the pool was still open! We got the car unloaded, got some supper from the hotel food court and got swimsuits on. Again, Mickey was tired and wanted to finish supper in the room, so she and Michael went in there. I stayed out in the pool area with Brad till he was done. They fell asleep pretty easily considering how excited they were that we were going to MGM and the Magic Kingdom again the next day. I guess all the fresh sea air and swimming helps wipe kids out!
After breakfast at the hotel food court, we caught the bus to MGM. We had a list of goals for MGM. 1) Meet the Power Rangers 2) Brad wanted to go through Jedi Training 3) Watch the Stunt Show again. We did two out of three of those plus a ton more we didn't expect so it was a great morning. First off we met the Power Rangers. Both kids loved that! Then we headed to Star Tours so Brad could try again to do the Jedi training. Michael and I took turns riding Star Tours while we waited. It was really neat. While we were waiting for Jedi Training to begin, the evil queen from Snow White came from behind the scenes on her way to a character greeting. When she saw Mickey sitting there wearing her GKTW button, she stopped to visit with her. She was very good! You could just feel how cold and aloof she was. Neither of the kids were scared of her, so that was good. Soon after that fun, unexpected meeting, it was time for Jedi Training to start. Brad was the 3rd one chosen so he didn't have to sweat it out too long. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and bravely battled Darth Vader at the end. He was so good that the Storm Troopers guarding Vader came after him with their blasters ready. The Jedi Master told Brad to use the Force to push them away and he did! It was great!! He went into the gift shop there and got the t-shirt for the Jedi Training Academy. He was so proud of himself! Along the way to the exit we ran into several other character greetings. We met Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc., Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable from Disney Channel, Lilo and Stitch, JoJo and Goliath from Playhouse Disney and saw a lot of other characters we had already met. Mickey had decided the Mickey Mouse she got at check-in at the Village needed a wife, so she wanted to get a stuffed Minnie Mouse. We stopped at a gift shop so she could choose one and started talking to one of the cast members there about meeting characters. He told us to go to the Beauty and the Beast Show and ask if we could meet the Prince, Belle and Gaston after the show. He said there is no other way to meet the Prince and Gaston but backstage. When we tried to watch the show the other day we were at MGM, Mickey got scared when the Beast roared and had to leave, so we weren't too sure about this plan. But we are glad we tried. We asked about meeting the characters when we got to the show and even though it was actually too late to set the meeting up, a couple of cast members went above and beyond the call of duty and pulled it off for us. Mickey was a little scared but sat through the whole show and really liked it. We were ushered up to the front row before the final dance scene so we'd be close when the show was over. When the cast member gave the approval, we went around the corner toward the backstage and there stood Belle and the Prince in all their finery with arms open wide and huge smiles on their faces. (Gaston was standing off to the side in perfect character acting like this was all beneath him.) Mickey just ran with her arms open to Belle and the Prince and gave them huge hugs. It was a priceless moment, one of those things that only happens in Disney. We spent just a very few minutes with them getting pictures and autographs then had to let them prepare for the next show. It was truly a magical moment.
After that we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. We got there just in time to eat lunch and watch the afternoon parade. Brad was tickled when Cruella DeVille asked him from her float if he'd found any puppies for her yet. After the parade the kids and I rode Cinderella's carousel. Then we split up again because Mickey wanted to watch Cinderellabration again and Brad did not. So I took him on Dumbo and to see Philharmagic. That was a great 3-D movie experience. We really enjoyed it. Then it was time to meet up and switch kids for a while. Brad wanted to ride some things in Tomorrowland and Mickey wanted to watch...you guessed it...Cinderellabration. So we did. Then we met up again and went on a hunt for Peter Pan. We found him with Wendy, who remembered us from the last time we were there several days before. We also met Timon and Rafiki from Lion King. Mickey was scared of Rafiki so he was trying to get her to warm up to him. He got in the stroller when the kids got out, grabbed Mickey's stuffed Minnie Mouse and indicated to Michael that he wanted to go for a ride. This did not make Mickey warm up to him at all. In fact she got ticked because she thought he was stealing her Minnie Mouse. So we gave up on Rafiki. But she did have fun with Timon and played with him for a while. By this time it was almost time for the final Cinderellabration of the day. Brad had decided he wanted to ride the Jungle Cruise with me so we went in that direction while Michael and Mickey headed to the castle. We rode the cruise three times in a row. On the last ride, the skipper asked if someone would like to help him skipper the boat and Brad said he would. So he got to stand up front and "drive" the boat. By this time he knew all the jokes and was telling them with, or a little ahead of, the real skipper. It was funny. At one point the skipper gave Brad the mic and let him tell one of the jokes. When we finally finished the 3rd cruise, it was getting a bit late and we had to get to the back of the park to buy our CD of pictures from our 3 days in the Disney parks and make it to the front of the park and out the gates before the fireworks started. So we started the trek that way. Mickey decided she wanted to see the Princesses and Minnie one more time. So we did that. We were very glad we made that detour. We got some wonderful pictures that night. And Snow White kissed Mickey's forehead and left a lip print that took two days to finally wipe completely clean! While we were waiting to meet the Princesses, a cast member said he remembered seeing Mickey the morning we went to the Princess breakfast in Epcot a full week earlier. He remembered her riding in the stroller in her Cinderella gown and doing her princess wave at everyone as she rode by. She is always making an impression like that! So we had finally met the characters for the last time, bought our CD with 156 pictures on it and were headed to the front of the park. But wait! Brad saw the Peter Pan ride and It's a Small World and wanted to try them. So he and I rode while Mickey and Michael walked around. Mickey still would not get on any rides. Okay - those rides are done and now it's out of the park! OH wait! Another stop to pick up the Cinderellabration Barbie dolls of Cinderella and the Prince as an early birthday gift for Mickey. Mission accomplished! Now leave!! We made it out of the park but were still at the bus stop when they started. Mickey is scared of fireworks so it was not a pleasant wait. Add to that the fact that we had not yet eaten supper and it made for a downright ugly wait! Finally the bus got there and we made it back to our hotel. We ended up eating pizza and meatball sandwiches at 10:30 at night! UGH! When we talked about the day to fill out the kids' travel journals, both said that waiting that late to eat was their least favorite thing of the day. We got back to the room and settled the kids into bed finally around midnight. Michael and I spent the next hour packing and repacking to make everything fit. We were so glad we had heeded someone's advice and packed a suitcase inside an empty suitcase. That way we had room for all the extra stuff that was going home with us. And Michael and I finally fell into bed after 1:00. It was an exhausting but wonderful last day.
We got up yesterday morning and had to drag the kids out of bed. It didn't help that it was raining (the only time it rained the whole trip). The rest of the day went pretty smooth. Pack the car, eat breakfast at the resort and get on the road. We made it to the airport, got through security and had just finished eating our lunch when they began boarding our flight. We had a direct flight back which was very nice. Brad fell asleep before take off and slept till we started the descent. Mickey slept from about halfway home till after we landed. We got to baggage claim and saw our limo driver waiting for us. He helped get our luggage, got it loaded and off we went. We came home to two dogs who were thrilled to see us! They've barely let us out of their sight since we got back.
So now we are trying to get back into the groove of reality. The kids said they had good days at school. I took them in and helped deliver the souvenirs to their teachers and the shells they collected for classmates. I also stayed with them while they gave a brief trip report to their classes just to help fill in the blanks. Everyone was very happy to see them back. Mickey was getting hugs all down the hallway. Both kids were swarmed by friends as soon as they stepped foot into their classes. That was great to see.
To see more pictures from the trip click here to go to Walgreens website where I have uploaded a bunch of pictures. That will save on loading time on our site. Please let me know if you have trouble accessing the pictures and I'll figure out another way.
Finally I have so many people to thank for making Mickey's wish a reality. First of all the Indiana Children's Wish Fund for sending us. Next is Give Kids the World Village for housing us, providing us with all the park tickets, and basically treating us like royalty the whole time we were there. The people at the parks were wonderful to us and made our visits so very enjoyable. Thanks to our dog and house sitters for giving us peace of mind that everything was taken care of back home. Thank you, Newcom family, for providing the limo even though you are going through such a hard time. Finally thank you to everyone who covered this trip and our family in prayer. Mickey stayed healthy and we had no mishaps thanks to all you prayer warriors!
Barney, BJ and Baby Bop on our last morning at GKTW
Michael with kids in jammies in the Gulf of Mexico
Mickey and Brad strike a pose with the Pink Ranger
Mickey's face painting at MGM
The Snow Queen was GOOD! She was very aloof and cold sounding. She was on her way to an autograph session and stopped to visit with Mickey when she saw Mickey's GKTW button.
Brad in Jedi training
Running for a royal hug backstage at the Beauty and the Beast show at MGM
Mickey didn't like Rafiki, only Timon
Rafiki hamming it up with Michael, acting like he was going to ride away in the stroller with Mickey's new Minnie Mouse doll
Cool picture with Stitch!
Thanks for posting this. I remember reading it when you first wrote it.
I'm assuming you would not mind a link to it in the disABILITIES FAQs thread, so I will put one there so it stays available.
Hey you! I never tire of seeing you and loved seeing your trip report!
The photos of Mickey seeing her face painting and the one of her running to Belle made me smile and get teary-eyed all over again.
Do we get the pleasure of another trip report soon?
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