A Real Princess Goes to the Magic Kingdom!
Hello Disboard Officianados:surfweb: !
The time has come to start a thread for my DDs Make a Wish Trip:wizard: . It has been very inspiring, informative and fun to read Wish Trip Reports :coffee: here. I hope our thread will do the same for others.
For those who don't want to read the background story.... skip this part.
Index of Pages in this Trip Report:
Medical Background and Introduction
Requisition Poem #65
Send Off Party #110
Day One: Flight and Arrival at Give Kids the World Village #133 and Day Two: Sea World #135
Day Three: MAGIC KINGDOM!!!! #137, Day Four: Morning at the Village #142, Animal Kingdom #143, Day Five: Universal Studios #145, Islands of Adventure #148, Pirates and Princesses Party at Give Kids the World #149
Day Six: Epcot #151, Disney Studios #152, Day Seven: Hang out at the Village and Fly Home #154
Magic Kingdom Poem #33
Let me begin in 1987. My DW Lin:hippie: , who even my female coworkers acknowledge is a HOTTIE, is also a redheaded Irish-Cherokee:scared1: . LIfe with her is lots of fun and certainly interesting:love: . Long before we met, she lost a little daughter to Neuroblastoma before she reached 2-years of age. "N-blast" is a cancer that often strikes children before or soon after birth. Before our family came along, it was commonly thought that it was not a genetically connected disease. My wife's maternal line showed otherwise.
My DW lost an uncle, two cousins, a sister and her daughter Becki to this disease. There are many other family stories from "the old days" of family members dying as children from cancer or "abdominal troubles."
My DW also had three healthy children before we met, and I had four nearly grown children of my own (they are all grown and gone now). To make a long story short, we met, fell deeply in love and married. We have one child together, Elysia, the Princess. Her name is from the Greek word for paradise.
We knew something was wrong when a fetal-age ultrasound showed an abnormality. We prayed that it was not N-blast. Immediately after birth, our beautiful DD went in for a CT scan. At 6 weeks she began her surgeries. I will never forget the eye contact she made with me when the surgical team took her away. All I could say was my nickname for her "Sugar Baby," as tears welled up in my eyes.
Surgery lasted hours. One adrenal gland was removed as cancerous and a 'c' shaped tumor was removed from around her spinal cord. Unfortunately, the adrenal tumor had adhered to her renal artery. Several hours later another surgery was performed to remove her kidney. Months of chemo followed.
Somehow, our, now bald, little baby bounced back. Things looked great for months. 6 months later the other adrenal gland showed up as cancerous. It was removed and more chemotherapy followed.
Miraculously, she has been cancer free for over three years now as confirmed by twice-yearly diagnostics (2-days each go and lots of difficult tests). We thank God for this answer to prayer. Dr. Judy Felgenauer of the Spokane Sacred Heart Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncology clinic is to be thanked for her expert guidance and wise consultation with colleagues:flower3: . Dr. Diane McCarthy, the surgeon achieved the amazing feat of removing EVERY cancer cell during the last surgery:cheer2: .
Bill and Lin
For those waiting for Wish Trip information only, skip this post
There is an old Jewish saying, "Coincidence is not a Kosher word;) ." I prefer to see the hand of God in the story that unfolds below:yay: .
"It just so happens that" Elysia's oncologist was beginning her practice by studying under Becki's oncologist back in 1989. When she met Elysia in 2002, she remembered Becki:idea: . It gets more amazing from here.
The doctor who had been Becki's oncologist was, by the time Elysia was born, a cancer researcher conducting in-depth research into Neuroblastoma. Dr. Judy contacted him to tell him about this second incidence of the disease from children of the same mother. He requested genetic samples from all of Elysia's close relatives:grouphug: . From this sampling, not only was it demonstrated that in her form of N-Blast, there is a genetic connection, but the actual gene was found. Now children can be tested to see if they have this aggressive form of the disease.
Lysiprincess: , as we call her at home, is doing very well these days:banana: . She has Addison's Disease from having her adrenal glands removed and operates on only one kidney:headache: . Thrice daily (I have waited ever since studying Shakespeare in college to use that word) steroid doses take care of the lack of adrenal glands for the most part, although occasional injections and emergency hospitalizations :scared1: for I.V. therapy result from ordinary illnesses like the flu or from injuries. She also receives injections to prevent her growth from stopping at too young an age:sad2: .
Otherwise she is a healthy, active, brilliant, sweet, precocious little girl. She has graduated from Head Start and is about to start Kindergarten:yay: .
Lysi's Big Wish
If you were waiting for Wish Trip information only, start reading here......
Last winter, and believe me Spokane knows how to have a real winter :santa:, on our last hospital visit for scans, we found a brochure from Wishing Star, a wish granting organization with an office in Spokane. When we asked about it,they researched the issue and told us that they thought Elysia would qualify:grouphug: . They assisted us in completing an application for the Make a Wish Foundation:wizard: .
One week later, I called Tammy at Children's Hospital Child Life Services to ask about the qualification standards for a Wish Trip. Tammy was very nice and said that she was sure Elysia would qualify because any child who was in six months or more of treatment for cancer would be entitled to a wish trip:dance3: . We became cautiously optimistic.
The First Wish!
We asked Lysi what she would wish :wizard: for if she was awarded a wish trip. She said that she would wish to spend the night in Cinderalla's Castle ..at :tink: Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
The First Call and Visit
A Wish Trip volunteer, Kathy, from our little home town (a person I had worked with on local committees in the past:thumbsup2 ) called to set up an appointment for a Make a Wish interview:cool1: . Elysia danced around all day singing a little song she made up, Make a Wish is Coming to Visit Me:yay: . It was so adorable. What a joy to see our little Sugar Babyprincess: , who has been through so much suffering, trauma and stress in her life:sad: , filled with joy and delight:love: . Her eyes really lit up:woohoo: . Throughout the day she would stand by her special window in our living room to see if Kathy's car was there yet:goodvibes .
Kathy Wellman arrived at 7:15 p.m. Kathy introduced herself to Elysia and asked her lots of questions about school and all of the things that Lsyi enjoys. Finally Kathy asked Elysia to tell her what her One Big Wish in would be if she could have any wish in the world. Elysia said that she would wish to spend the night in Cinderalla's Castle at :tink: Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Kathy told us that a lot of kid's have the wish to visit the Magic Kingdom and get to stay at a wonderful place called Give Kids the World Village with all sorts of fun activities, beautiful rooms and free meals:dance3: . Lysi became very excited about GKTW:cool1: .
Elysia decided that she would still like to ask for a night at Cinderalla's Castle but would like to make her wish include a week at GKTW at any rate.
Kathy told us that GKTW would provide tickets to the Orlando area theme parks:banana: .
Daddy went on the internet to find information about Give Kids the World Village and wish trips:wizard: . He learned that GKTW is a resort where wish kids can stay for approximately a week while they visit Orlando area theme parks:yay: . A stay at includes a 3-Day Park Hopper Pass to Walt Disney World theme parks including MK, AK, MGM and Epcot:cheer2: .
2-Day Park Hopper passes are included for Universal and Islands of Adventure:banana: .
1-Day tickets are included for Sea World:goodvibes .
GKTW has lots of attractions of its own for kids to enjoy. These include a small scale train ride, the Castle of Miracles , the Gingerbread House cafeteria , an Ice Cream Palace, a beautiful prayer chapel, spacious 2-room duplex villas to stay in with whirlpool tubs and two bathrooms, a swimming pool, a water fountain play area, a butterfly garden, an arcade building and a dinosaur themed miniature golf course:dance3: .
The Big Call!!!!!!
On May 18, 2007, we got THE BIG CALL!!!!!!!!
Elysia's Wish Trip to GKTW has been approved:yay: ! Hurray:dance3: ! Huzzah:cheer2: ! We are so thrilled. Lysi is ecstatic. It does not seem likely that she will be able spend the night in Cinderella's Castle since Disney is using those stays as the big daily prize in their Year of Wishes Sweepstakes. It looks like the trip will most likely be in the fall for seven days and six nights. We will have to wait for final word on these issuespixiedust: .
More Obsessive Research
Now I began to look for more detailed information on line about Wish Trips:surfweb: . I found wdwinfo.com and was thrilled at the accurate, detailed and helpful information:thumbsup2 . Through that website, I found DISBOARDS. I met wonderful people like wendygrace, who must be the real Wendy Lady from Peter Pan, and 5dwarves whose wish trip reports were by far the most helpful information in the world:cheer2: .
I began a Wish Trip Journal for Lysi to record all that was happening, created a Countdown Calendar to hang on the wall with stickers posted for each day that passesprincess: , and began to review ride clips and information with everyone going on the trip:dance3: . I also got tapes of two Travel Channel shows, one on Walt Disney World and one on Sea World. At the Disney site, I ordered custom maps for our family trip (they are real cool and appropriate for momentos) and a DVD on Disney World Trip Planning:tinker: . It is awesome!!
We get our dates:dance3: !!!!!! September 17-23, 2007:banana: . We are thrilled to learn three things:
1) It is still REALLY hot an HUMID in September, but there is a very small, slim, outside chance of seeing fireflies :jumping3: :jumping2: (other than the animatronic ones on Pirates of the Caribbean).
2) It is free dining month for people staying at Disney Resorts so the Disney Parks will be swamped:upsidedow .
3) It is the height of hurricane season:scared1: .
Once the paranoia levels off, none of this seems too bad. I have survived the infamous Columbus Day Typhoon in Seattle:laundy: , had one tornado pass over my head :cold: (thankfully I did not know that was what it was until it was gone or I would have... well use your imagination), one chase me across Spokane in my rear view mirror and one pass near by while I was in class at college, so what is a little hurricane anyway. Besides, I see that a hurricane has only shut down GKTW once, and that due to a power outage.
The main thing is that we are going and dates make it seem more real:smickey: :mickeyjum .
Preparing for the MISSION
I have always enjoyed preparing for positive experiences almost as much as the experiences themselves. I actually like studying. If only I could get paid for doing such things I would be a happy camper:surfweb:
Things I have learned and applied from information on this board:
1) Everyone needs to start walking :cool1: to get in shape for 5 plus days of intense theme park backpacking. Oddly, I have trouble getting the rest of the crew enthused about this. There is something ironic about the fact that Dad, who is recovering from a severe heart condition and little Lysi princess: who has short little legs, are the only ones interested in walking training.
*****Exciting Foot Note*******
My heart has improved so much that I can now walk 4.5 miles at a go:yay: .
2) Crocs are the official and best choice for rides that will get us wet, pavement that is hard and sudden rainstorms. We go to the local Hallmark Store to get Crocs. We learn that sizes vary slightly depending on the country of manufacture (written on the sole):confused: .
3) A daily itinerary will have to be planned (to be thrown out the window later if necessary) about which park to visit on which day. This will be affected by what time our planes arrive and leave, what events are planned in the evening at GKTW, when Extra Magic Hours will make parks crowded enough to scare us away (or draw us in if they let us take advantage of those hours), how tired we plan to be each day, what the opening and closing hours are for each park and what the expected crowd volume will be at each. WHEW:eek: !.... I need a chart if not a computer to plot this all out. Thankfully there is wdwinfo.com :surfweb: .
You have me in tears...I feel like I am sitting right there with you waiting for yoiur trip to happen.
Your daughter sounds like an angel!!! I cannot wait to read more and cannot wait to read about your Trip!
You will have blast!
Introducing the Crew:
1) The Star of the Show is DD Sugar Baby:bride: , AKA Elysia the Real Princess princess: (the other day we bought a book about how to become a real princess focusing on manners), the WISH TRIP KID. She is actually the one taking us all on this adventure:cloud9: . She is:
A ball of fire
Sugar and spice
Full of energy
Able to wrap "Daddo" around her little finger with ease.
2) DS Kyle 13 pirate: who is:
Totally Cool :cool1:
A major chick magnet (although girls that young are probably chicklets).
A true adventurer and extremist
Determined to go on the Rockin Roller Coaster no matter what.
3) Jason, DS 26:coffee: , Lysi's hero who left his job across the state and moved in with us when Lysi was diagnosed. Since then he has come down with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy which stopped his piano playing (he was REALLY good) and guitar playing and which causes him a lot of pain. This does not stop him from reaching out to all kinds of people and giving of himself constantly. He is:
A major chick magnet (only the chicks are a lot older than Kyles)
A funny person
A caring and giving man
Single (don't tell him I told you that)
4) Lin, DW:hippie: , who is known as a real HOTTIE (I noticed this a long time ago), carries the world on her shoulders (for years she has had to care for a daughter with cancer, a son with RSD and a husband with a heart condition), and really deserves this trip.
Everyone's hero around here
A great wife
Really looking forward to this trip
5) Me:surfweb: . I am:
Obsessive about planning this trip
Totally spoiling my DD
Completely healed in my heart
Writing this wordy report
WE ARE ALL:
So grateful to God for this trip and totally jazzed about going.
The Plan--- so far
Well, we got our flight times and I put together a plan:coffee: :
Monday arrive at GKTW around 6:00 p.m.:sick: , check in, eat and have fun at the village:cool2: . This could be interesting after a 5.5 hours non-stop flight from Seattle (suggestions are welcomed for entertaining a 5 year old girl and a 13 year old boy sitting down for so long):scared1: .
Tuesday- do a short day at Sea World, return to the village, eat, have fun:fish: .
Wednesday- MAGIC KINGDOM :donald: pluto: ::MinnieMo :tink: :mickeyjum and the chance to meet Cinderella princess: (most important character to DD, followed by the other princesses and Piglet). Eat Dinner at the Grand Floridian with Cinderella. If there is a cancellation we will do lunch with her at the castle instead. We will see if Make a Wish can get us in for an early Magic Hour for Kids in Fantasyland.
Thursday- A, comparably, short day at Animal Kingdom :tigger: paw: :ccat: followed by Christmas at Give Kids the World:santa: . Like many other Wish Trip families who have posted we believe Christmas is all about Christ, Giving, Love, Sharing, and Really cool decorations, but Santa was a real person long ago and a fun idea now. I am not sure the Florida snow will be quite like our Christmas snow in the Selkirk Mountains however. I cannot remember a Christmas here that was not WHITE:cold: .
Friday, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, followed by the Piratespirate: and Princesses princess: Party at GKTW.
Saturday, MGM:wizard: and Epcot:3dglasses , although I am really confused about which to do when. It should be REALLY busy at MGM and slow at EPCOT. Epcot stays open later, but MGM has a neater fireworks show...... So many decisions:confused3 . One thing I do know, my plan is to drop everyone else off at one park, take the car to the park we will end up at, ride the bus back to the other park..... wait, do I have that right. I hope I don't end up in Cleveland. No offense to those who live there. We will take the boat from one park to the other. We really like boats:sail: . Did I mention my Granpa was a lighthouse keeper? :offtopic:
Sunday, we plan to take some time thanking God together in the chapel at GKTW:angel: , then we have some options since we don't check in at the airport until 4:00. Do we:
A) Go back to use our other day at Universal/IOA
B) Go to the Atlantic:beach: because all but DW have never been and we really like shells
C) Kick back at the village... stay tuned to find out what we do
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