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Old 12-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
Owensheart
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Owen's Make A Wish Come True

Owen's Make A Wish trip was the best experience ever! We had an early start on Sunday when the "shuttle" showed up at 8am. Much to our surprise.. there was a white stretch limo in our driveway! The driver had us loaded up in no time and we were on our way to the airport.

Owen loved the limo ride. He kept saying.. "this is the best limo ride ever!


We used curbside check in at the airport and found our wish granter that was sending us off. It wasn't long before we were passing through security and found our way to the gate. I loaded us up with snacks and water bottles for the 4 hour plane ride. We always pre-board because of Owen's oxygen concentrator and all his luggage. The pilot let him hang in the cockpit while I cloroxed his seat and surrounding areas.

Kam and Daddy got the front row of seats with all the extra leg room, while Owen and I took up the row behind them. Kam worked on her algebra the majority of the flight, while Owen played iPad and ate snacks. We were all excited to finally be on our way to Orlando!

The four hour flight went by surprisingly fast and soon we found our GKTW greeter. She escorted us, and another MAW family from Phoenix, to baggage claim and to find our rental cars. Alamo let us pick out any car we wanted and a minivan it was! I don't pack light and we had 7 checked bags and million carry ons.

We hit the road and before we knew it, we were at the village. (stock photo)

We checked in at the House of Hearts and Owen was given a plush Mickey and Kamryn a Shamu. There was a big tree in the middle of the house and Spiderman was peeking down from the ceiling.

We arrived just as the cookie cart was passing by with lemonade and chocolate chip cookies...yum! Our villa was decorated for Christmas and it felt like home, rather than a hotel. We unloaded our luggage and made our way to the Gingerbread house for a quick dinner. As soon as we walked in, we knew how amazing this village was. There were so many volunteers helping out, taking our trays to our table and they were all so sweet.

After dinner we spent a few minutes at the ice cream parlor before I had to be at the 7:45 orientation. Carson took the kids over to Matthews Boundless Playground which is designed after the Candyland game. It was Candyland night and the kids had so much fun! I have no pictures because we left the camera in our villa and I missed out due to orientation. But.. I hear it was very fun!

After orientation, I ran to the office to see if Apria delivered Owen's oxygen and of course.. they did not. I called in and they had to make a late night delivery so that we had oxygen for day 2. In the meantime, the manager took me to the storage building and we found some oxygen tubing and leftover oxygen tanks to get us by. When I got back to the villa.. the kids were settled into their room for the first night.

As I finished unpacking and picking up for the night, I took a shot of our villa Christmas tree. Isn't she pretty?

We had a great start to our trip and the next ten days proved to be magical with lots of surprises along the way. I crashed by 11pm (9pm AZ time), and we only played musical beds once on the first night.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:58 PM   #2
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Yay, you've started your TR!!!

Can't wait to hear more
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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Great start to your report
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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So excited to be reading! Sounds like a great beginning! And Owen seems to have loved the Limo!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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Joining in. Looks like a great start to the trip, can't wait to read more!!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:12 PM   #6
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Off to a great start!!!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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Great start !! So excited to be reading this .. it's getting me very excited for our trip to GKTW !!
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:17 AM   #8
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I can't wait to read all about your trip! I am sure it was great!
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:24 AM   #9
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Sounds like a great start! I can't wait to hear more!
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:14 PM   #10
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I'm in! Can't wait to read more.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:28 PM   #11
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Day 2 -- IOA and Halloween at the Village

We slept in our first morning in Florida. There is only a 2 hour time difference, but it felt like so much more. We were exhausted from our day of travel, so sleeping in until 9am felt amazing!

Before heading out for a day of fun, we wanted to fill our bellies at the Gingerbread House. These rocking chairs were on the front porch of our villa.. so homey.

Since we arrived after dark, I wasn't able to take a good picture of our villa. Here it is.. purple, orange and turquoise.. love it!

Our villa was in the best location. We were right around the corner to the pool area, castle of miracles, and gingerbread house!

All of the tables in the Gingerbread House are filled will peppermints. It is such a happy place to be. There were so many sweet volunteers, including a couple groups of girls from Ohio State. Owen became very fond of his 'pretty girls' while we were there as they were always around the village the entire week. Breakfast did not disappoint. There was a waffle bar, sausage, bacon, eggs, cereal, bagels..you name it, they had it!

After breakfast, we headed back to our villa and loaded up the van because we were headed here...

After a long hike from the parking lot to the entrance, we were finally at Islands of Adventure!

The first ride of the day, just to get it out of the way, was THE HULK rollercoaster!!

Kamryn wanted nothing to do with it and she was petrified.

But after a little convincing and a quick photo.. Daddy and Kam were off to ride.

Owen was obviously a little small for this monster of a ride, but he would have been on it if he could. Instead, we walked around Superhero Island and soaked it all in. In case you don't know.. Owen is obsessed with Superheros!!! Loves them all... including the "bad guys".

As soon as Daddy and Kamryn came off the ride, Sis was all smiles and begged me to ride with her. You don't have to ask me twice. Daddy took Owen and found this bad guy.

Daddy was then approached by a couple members of Universal management. They wanted to know if Owen wanted to have a "surprise" greeting with his favorite Superhero characters. Um.. yes. We were lead to an area to wait for about 15 minutes.


It wasn't too long before we were taken behind the scenes of a ride and found these Supers waiting just for Owen!! Spiderman started by introducing the Ladies first, and then Cyclops and Wolverine introduced themselves.

Wolverine showed off his claws and talked about how sharp they are. I think Owen was so starstruck that he didn't know what to do! He was just so thrilled!!

We all jumped in the photo and showed our best superhero pose. Spidey was helping Owen figure out his spider throw hand.

Love this photo so much! I am so grateful to the amazing team at Universal for making this happen!

Captain America must have been on break, because as soon as we came around the corner, there he was! Owen LOVES Captain America.. he's up there on the top of the list with Spiderman.

We weren't allowed to wait in any character lines the entire trip.. cast members wouldn't have it. So we had a little hang out session with the Captain and then we all showed off our muscles. Love it!

Another member of management walked us right up the back exit to Spiderman and put us on the ride. It has a 40' height requirement to ride, and Owen was right there. Yeah. The ride was crazy and there were bad guys everywhere. Owen was in heaven.

Superhero Island was such a big hit! Owen found a Spiderman and Venom toy to take home as souvineers.

After we left Superhero Island, we walked right into Comic Land. Love this picture of Kamryn. She was starving and tired, so this was fitting.

We walked through Jurassic Land and made our way to Mythos.. rated the best themepark restaurant for the past six years. Kamryn is learning all about greek mythology this year, so we thought it would be a way cool place to stop and eat.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:30 PM   #12
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During lunch, Owen was entertained with his creepy venom toy.

The service and food was fantastic, as well as the atmosphere. It was so awesome inside and everywhere you looked there was more detail.

Carson and Kamryn eating.

Our waiter surprised us at the end of the meal by bringing Owen (and us) a giant banana split, compliments of management to celebrate Owen's trip. Seriously thoughtful and so sweet.

After our relaxing lunch, we decided to make our way up to Harry Potter Land! My kids LOVE Harry Potter and we watched all the movies this past summer. It was so cool there!

Owen wanted to stop when we found out these "students" were performing a musical number with their singing frogs. He loved it so much! Afterwards, they asked him if he wanted to come pet their frogs and take a photo.

This is Hogwarts castle and also where you can ride the amazing Harry Potter ride.

Owen was too little for this Harry Potter ride, but they let him stroll through and check out the inside of the castle. These photos were just like they are in the movie and they talk and move around. So cool.

We pulled a ride swap on this one and then met outside to ride on the Flight of the Hippogriff. It's a "milder" rollercoaster for the 38" and up crowd.

Owen loved this coaster so much that he went on it four times in a row!!! He proved to be a small daredevil.

Kamryn wanted to go check out Ollivanders Wand Shop so we did that next.

There was a cool little wizard show with a little wizardry involved. They picked a boy from the crowd and found him the perfect wand. Then they led him through the door with his wand and said "this wand has found you.. now you can enter through the door and purchase it." Priceless.

Next up with the Dragon rollercoaster... awe. some. It was a super crazy, hanging roller coaster, that corkscrewed more times than I care to count. Owen was bummed he was too little for this beast of a coaster, so Daddy took him back to the Hippogriff coaster.

When Kamryn and I met up with the guys, we found that they had purchased some butterbeer. YUM. A combination of butterscotch and creme soda made a delicious treat!

Owen sure loved him some butterbeer.. and we went with the frozen butterbeer.

On our way out of Hogsmead, we stopped for a photo with the Hogwarts Express. We will never forget how cool Harry Potter land was. Rumor tells me they are building a HP Land at Universal Hollywood to open in 2015.

Next up was Seuss Landing..

I loved Seuss Landing.. so cute, colorful and fun!! We started riding the Trolly in the Sky, then rode the Cat in the Hat ride, and headed to the Fishy ride.

This ride has a surprise in store... Red Fish, Blue Fish, Up up up. Nobody mentioned that we were about to get soaking wet!!

The fish spit out water during the ride and soak you, if you are unlucky, and we were. The kids loved it so much we went on it again and again. After this, we were done and ready to head back to GKTW.

We let the kids get their jammies on and headed over to the Gingerbread house for dinner. We didn't know it was "Trick or Treat" night in the village. We got the kids pumpkin bags and headed around the Avenue of Angels getting candy and doing crafts. So fun. When we got to the main party area, we found Curious George!! Owen was totally excited!!

I have video, that I will update later of Owen dancing with Curious George. They had music blaring, characters dancing and kids having fun! Everytime we turned around, we saw someone new. I had to tell Owen all about Popeye and Olive Oil.

We then went for a little ice cream stop on our way back to our villa. Nothing is better than free ice cream all. day. long.

This became a nightly tradition. Something we will always remember from our trip.

When we came back to our villa to call it a night, we found the following "surprises" on our kitchen table. The Candy Land game is a special GKTW game, there is a fun pizza listening game and a travel Scrabble game.

We had such a fun day at IOA. We didn't get to see it all, but we had plans to go back on Friday! We tucked the kids into bed and crashed hard. Tomorrow was going to be a relaxing day exploring the village.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:54 PM   #13
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I am LOVING reading your trip report! We leave in less than a week for Lindsay's MAW trip so we are getting so excited just reading and anticipating what is to come. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time! Can't wait to read more...
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Old 12-18-2011, 06:59 AM   #14
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Your first day looked amazing. I love the Owen was able to meet all the super heroes. How great that you were able to meet them privately. The Harry Potter area looks amazing. My DD12 is going there next week and she is super excited. I am going to show her the pictures you posted. GKTW looks amazing too!
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:19 AM   #15
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Hello! Joining in!
What a great start to your trip! That is so wonderful he got to meet the superheros!!
HP looks so cool. We haven't been to US in forever!
Can't wait to see what's next!
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