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Old 10-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #1
angcmom
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A Wish for Princesses, Dolphins and a Wal-Mart Shopping Spree (Nov. 8 - 17)



Welcome to Abigail's wish trip report. We are all so excited about the trip and have had a great time planning.

A little introduction to the wish girl...Abigail is an 8 year old with 3 older brothers who adore her (in their own way ). She loves all things pink and is a huge animal lover and a sweet all-around girl. She loves basketball (and is pretty good at it, all things considered) and would play football in heels. She's all-girl who has to play with the big boys!



When Abigail was about 18 months old, it was discovered that her spine did not form properly....(I like to call it a puzzle spine) she has three vertabrae that did not separate on one side and a couple of vertabrae that are shaped like triangles instead of rectangles. Because of the deformities, her spine began to rotate and curve and she was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis (with thoracic insufficiency).

Like anyone else would, we searched high and low for the best treatment for her and came to the conclusion that a Vertical Expandable Titanium Prosthetic Rib was our best option. A VEPTR is normally attached to the child's spine and rib and allows the rib to expand. It has to be expanded (or replaced) every five or six months until the patient is done growng. In Abigail's case, her curve was so severe that one lung had only grown to 75% of the other one, thus diminishing her capacity to breathe. She had her first surgery in January, 2008 when she was 4 years old. Surgery #9 was two weeks ago. Here is a picture of her recovery spot on the couch with her faithful companion, Black, right by her side.



Abigail was approved for a wish from Make-a-Wish and we met with her wish granters in July. When asked what her wish was, Abigail said she wanted to go to Disney and see the princesses. (We have been to Disney twice before but she doesn't remember a great deal of it.) The granters said that in case Disney didn't work out, they would need to put down another wish. Abigail said she'd like to swim with a dolphin as her back-up wish. Too my surprise, our wish granters said..."You know, we just had a little boy who had the same wish and he was able to do both on his trip...why don't we put that together with your first wish."

In my research on the disboards, I didn't think it was possible to have both wishes and had seen that most wish agencies have a separate trip agenda for Discovery Cove and swimming with the dolphins. I figured they knew what they were talking about and so that's how we left it. Now there was a dilemma....Abigail had not even thought about another wish, but they needed to put down a second wish on their form. The granters asked if she liked to shop and she answered with a loud "YES". So they said "well, where do you like to shop....you could have a shopping spree as your second wish?"

And my girl, who could ask for anything in the world, confidently answers:
"Wal-Mart." Just another reason why I love her more than air.

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Pre-trip report! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post42896165
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
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Awww - what a brave little girl and such a cute story!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
angcmom
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Here is the rest of the crew:

This is an older picture of all 6 of us on our annual Family Mission Trip. My husband works for a church and each summer we take a group of families and conduct a week long sports camp...basketball, soccer, football, cheerleading. We have been on 5 total trips and our kids look forward to it every summer. We have gone to Cleveland, Hershey (PA), Baltimore, Cincinnati and this past summer we went to Pittsburgh. This picture is from our Cincinnati trip.



I don't have a recent picture of all of us together. Here is a pic of me and the kids a couple of weeks ago:



From left to right: G (13 yrs old...he will turn 14 while we are on our trip), Abigail (just turned 8), C (15), Me (old ), and N (11..almost 12). We are a homeschooling family...the lifestyle works well for us especially with Abigail having surgery a couple of times each school year.

Here is a picture of my husband, Larry, with Abigail at our local fair. Abigail had surgery 8 days prior to this picture and was THRILLED that she has met the 48 inch mark and could now ride the fast rides.



We met with our wish granters in late July and heard back from them in early September with our dates. Abigail was hoping to go on her trip prior to her surgery, but I knew that was going to be next to impossible.

Being here during the day, the kids would jump whenever the phone would ring to see if it was "Make-a-Wish" on the caller id. Luckily, our wish granter called from her work so they had no idea that she had called with the dates. We decided to wait a couple of days and surprise them with the news. I went to Wal-Mart (surprise) and ordered a cookie and got everything Mickey Mouse/Disney related I could find for food. We made Mickey Mouse shaped hamburgers and I got Mickey Mouse cheese on Minnie Mouse plates and had a special dinner. No one really caught on until we brought out the dessert...



Everyone was thrilled (N doesn't look too thrilled...he had been sick for a couple of days when I took this picture.)



I thought the cookie turned out great. Thank you, Wal-Mart.


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Pre-trip report! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post42896165
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:07 PM   #4
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What a great story! I hope everything goes well! It is so exciting!
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angcmom View Post

Abigail was approved for a wish from Make-a-Wish and we met with her wish granters in July. When asked what her wish was, Abigail said she wanted to go to Disney and see the princesses. (We have been to Disney twice before but she doesn't remember a great deal of it.) The granters said that in case Disney didn't work out, they would need to put down another wish. Abigail said she'd like to swim with a dolphin as her back-up wish. Too my surprise, our wish granters said..."You know, we just had a little boy who had the same wish and he was able to do both on his trip...why don't we put that together with your first wish."
What wonderful wish granters to let Abigail do Disney and Discovery Cove! Every Make-A-Wish group operates differently and your family was blessed to be in an area that goes above and beyond the norm! So happy for Abigail that she'll get to do both!

I saw that you asked about Busch Gardens that GKTW gives each family 4 free tickets. You must let them know the day before so they can make arrangements to have the tickets in your name. You will have to buy two additional tickets.

Check out Korrisa's Wish trip report in post #3 for their day at Busch Gardens that might answer your questions and help you decide if you want to go there and they also got to do Discovery Cove.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2691947

You have a lovely family and have fun planning your trip!
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p00h4me View Post
What wonderful wish granters to let Abigail do Disney and Discovery Cove! Every Make-A-Wish group operates differently and your family was blessed to be in an area that goes above and beyond the norm! So happy for Abigail that she'll get to do both!

I saw that you asked about Busch Gardens that GKTW gives each family 4 free tickets. You must let them know the day before so they can make arrangements to have the tickets in your name. You will have to buy two additional tickets.

Check out Korrisa's Wish trip report in post #3 for their day at Busch Gardens that might answer your questions and help you decide if you want to go there and they also got to do Discovery Cove.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2691947

You have a lovely family and have fun planning your trip!


Thank you so much for the link to Korissa's trip and the information on the tickets for Busch Gardens!!!

I was completely blown away when the wish granters suggested putting both wishes into one. I know I had read somewhere along the way that the two were totally different wishes. I received an email two days following Abigail's surgery saying that she would be able to swim with a dolphin! (She was having a really rough day...hadn't hardly moved off the couch and had not eaten when I was able to give her the news. It brought a great big smile to her face on an otherwise dreary day.) It was a few days later when I got confirmation that reservations had been made for all of us to swim.

I have told the boys what a blessing this trip will be and that it will definitely be a trip of a lifetime for them as well. Abigail could not ask for any better brothers and I am so glad they will get to share this with her. My 2nd son will turn 14 while we are there so I'm hoping to make it special day for him.

We have had a great time planning out our days so far....we have been to Disney twice, so we know what our "can't miss" things are going to be. One big difference is that Abigail has surpassed the 48" mark with this past surgery...she grew 3/4 of an inch in one day....so there are so many new things to ride. She is a thrill-seeker by nature, so Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster are at the top of her list. (Fortunately her doctor does not restrict her from many activities.)

I'm off to read Korissa's trip report. Thanks again!
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:11 PM   #7
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Hope you had the chance to read through Korissa's trip report! Sounds like your children matches them with the love of thrill rides. That's one of the reason why they choose to go to Busch Gardens for the thrill rides! Will you be able to extend your trip?

How fantastic that Abigail's doctor put no restriction on rides for her! She's tall enough to enjoy them all on her trip! Also allow some time to explore GKTW because you'll only be able to stay there once. Are the children looking forward to being able to have ice cream for breakfast? Since you've been to Disney World a couple of times, you know what to expect at the parks there.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:23 PM   #8
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you have a beautiful family....and one very brave little girl
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p00h4me View Post
Hope you had the chance to read through Korissa's trip report! Sounds like your children matches them with the love of thrill rides. That's one of the reason why they choose to go to Busch Gardens for the thrill rides! Will you be able to extend your trip?

How fantastic that Abigail's doctor put no restriction on rides for her! She's tall enough to enjoy them all on her trip! Also allow some time to explore GKTW because you'll only be able to stay there once. Are the children looking forward to being able to have ice cream for breakfast? Since you've been to Disney World a couple of times, you know what to expect at the parks there.


Yes, thanks so much! I did read Korissa's trip report....LOVED it!!! We are extending our trip....we check out of GKTW on Monday, November 14 and are moving over to a condo at Windsor Hills where will stay until the 17th. I'm not sure yet what time our return flight is going to be.

Right now I am re-thinking the side trip to Busch Gardens. My next post is on our tentative itinerary.
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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Tentative Itinerary!!



Not sure why I have been so hesitant to post our itinerary...part of my thinks it will prolong the trip planning if I never put it down.

Tuesday, November 8

Flight leaves at 9:40 a.m. and arrives in Orlando at either 1:05p.m. or 2:37 p.m. I haven't received the actual flight number from the wish granter yet, she only told me when we leave. (I'm thrilled with the departure time...we aren't the most early morning crowd ever.)

We plan on just hanging out at GKTW on Tuesday afternoon/evening. If there is one thing that I have read over and over again is to spend time at the village. I'm hoping I will listen and take that advice.

Wednesday, November 9

Horseback riding at Keaton's Corral....with Abigail being the animal lover, she is looking forward to this. She has asked many times if she is going to be able to really ride by herself or will someone be holding the reins for her. If anyone knows the answer, let me know. Also, does anyone know if there is a weight limit for the horses....Abigail only weighs 48 pounds, but one of the boys may want to ride.

We plan on spending the day at a Disney park. I'm leaning toward doing Magic Kingdom/Epcot today.

Thursday, November 10

Disney Characters are available at GKTW. I'd like to meet them before we leave the village for the day....may just depend if we saw Mickey/Minnie at Disney and if Abigail is interested in seeing them again. (Abigail has ALWAYS been afraid of characters. She is even hesitant this time....I told her I would pay her 50 cents for every picture she took with a "stuffed" character this time...she's OK with the ones who have "real" faces, like the princesses.)

Universal Studios or Islands of Adventures...not sure which one yet...for the remainder of the day.

GKTW for the Winter Wonderland...really want to do the horsedrawn carriage ride and Christmas events.

Friday, November 11

DISCOVERY COVE!!!!!!!
Dinner at GKTW and stay remainder of evening for some downtime

Saturday, November 12

Sea World
Possibly out to eat for G's birthday, which is the next day. I'm thinking about Hard Rock Cafe....he is a lover of music and I thought he would enjoy this. Any input would be great!

Sunday, November 13 (G's 14th Birthday)

Disney Parks...Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios

Having been to Disney twice, we know what we like/don't like at Animal Kingdom. We have talked and we think we can do what we want in half of a day....there's really only two things on our list right now...ride Expedition Everest and find Gi-Tar Dan.

Gi-Tar Dan was the highlight of our trip last time....he's this folk singer type that walks around and interacts with the park guests...making up songs about them. He made up the greatest song last time about our stuffed cow that we take EVERYWHERE...his name is Buma. Buma the Cow. Here is a link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYrj6tkw6sE

We have talked about that experience for 3 years...always saying that if we could go back and do anything at Disney, it would be to find Gi-Tar Dan. Such a talented man!

I'm thinking we will probably go to AK in the morning and then spend the rest of the day at Hollywood Studios. We love Osborne Festival of Lights and would love to see that before we leave the park.

The birthday boy has requested we be at GKTW for the Candyland Game that night....I hope he's not disappointed....he thinks it will be the greatest thing ever.

This will be our last night at GKTW so we will spend the evening here.

Monday, November 14

Check-out of GKTW/Check-in to Windsor Hills

Right now, I am planning on this being the day we ride to Clearwater and go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and see Winter from Dolphin Tale. When I asked Abigail the other day what she was most looking forward to, she said "riding the dolphins and seeing Winter". How can I not take the day and drive over.

I'm thinking this will be a good low-key day...maybe we'll go sit on a beach and put our toes in the sand...spend a quiet evening in the condo getting rested for our last couple of days at the parks.

Tuesday, November 15

Universal Studios/Islands of Adventures

Wednesday, November 16

Disney Parks...we'll probably just pick some things to highlight...I'd like to end up at Hollywood Studios that evening and watch Fantasmic at 6:30. We have not been able to see that either time we were there so I'd like to check that off of our list.

Thursday, Novebmer 17

Check out and fly home! Not sure of what time yet so I can't really plan this day...hopefully it's a little later in the day!

I still have some things I can't decide on....after reading all of the opportunities that we have with tickets from GKTW, I'd originally planned to take advantage of some of those.....Busch Gardens, GatorLand, Boggy Creek Airboats, IFly.....not really sure how to fit it all in though.

Another thing missing from our itinerary would be any character meals....we have never done one, especially since Abigail is not a big character girl....but...I've had multiple people tell me that we need to do at least a breakfast. I can't decide....I'm such a frugal gal when it comes to food....when you have 3 boys you are more concerned about quantity than quality and they would probably just as soon eat breakfast at GKTW. Again, any thoughts/input on that would be appreciated!

So that's the plan so far....we've been busy with life the past couple of weeks and I KNOW the next 2 weeks are going to fly by.

Thanks for reading along!
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Pre-trip report! http://www.disboards.com/showthread....5#post42896165

Last edited by angcmom; 10-23-2011 at 05:32 PM. Reason: messed up
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:38 PM   #11
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Oh, I wanted to post this picture of Abigail and two of the boys with a star from the Disney XD show "Pair of Kings" and "Fort Boyard", Geno Segers.

I went to school with Geno and he was in town last Tuesday night for a meet and greet. I asked the kids if they wanted to go meet him so we did. He is a super nice guy and sounds EXACTLY how he does on television....if you've watched either show, you know what I am talking about.

I laughed the first time the kids were watching Pair of Kings...I was in another room and heard this voice and said "Who in the world is that...it sounds just like Geno???" And it was!

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Old 10-23-2011, 05:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauriM View Post
you have a beautiful family....and one very brave little girl


Thank you Lauri! Abigail is the bravest little soul I know.

Here is a link to her caringbridge page for anyone who is interested in more of her story!

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/abigailshope
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:03 PM   #13
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Getting Closer!!!



WooHoo!!! Our wish granter came this morning to drop off our packet with tickets/rental car info/general info. We leave in 6 days and this has raised the excitement level in the house considerably.

She brought Abigail a gift with some snacks for the plane ride and two different card games for the kids to pass the time....Uno and a Yahtzee card game.

One surprise that I was not expecting was that MAW has covered our car rental for the entire time we are there....we have extended the trip by 3 days to be on our own dime. Definitely a blessing that I did not see coming. They do have us down for a mini-van and I am secretly hoping that I can get it changed to some type of an SUV that will accomodate us all. (Nothing against mini-vans...I have driven one FOREVER and hoping to get a vacation from it.)

Another thing I noticed is that our Discovery Cove tickets also include Aquatica! I never even considered this as an option....I might have to re-think our plans to see if this will work. Definitely a great problem to have!!!

I'm hoping to really nail down some details about our plans over the next couple of days. A couple of the boys are "go with the flow" kinda guys, but I have one who really likes to know what we are doing when and isn't big on surprises...so for his sake, I need to give him as much information as I can.

For him, I try and look at menus of restaurants prior to going so he can know what his choices are beforehand. He has a hard time making decisions on the spur of the moment and has completely shutdown in a new (to him) restaurant before, and wouldn't order or eat anything. I hate it for him....so I'm hoping to plan ahead so he won't have that frustration.

I know the next few days is going to fly by....we haven't even started packing yet and are in the middle of the end of football and beginning of basketball games. We have one football game and 3 basketball games between now and when we leave. I hate that we are missing the start of the boys' basketball season....they will each miss 3 games while we are gone...but I know they will forget all about basketball while we are in Florida. The weather so far looks like it will be perfect!
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