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Old 03-20-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
tbelfonti
Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
 
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A Dream is a wish your heart makes:Day 6 - last full day

This is our pre-trip report for our Make A Wish trip

Cast Of Characters:

Olivia: age 4 and star of this show. She is all princess, all the time. All about dresses, pink and anything “girly”. Loves to swim, dance and take gymnastics. Goes to preK and probably would have been ready for K last year but was too young. Was very much into Sleeping Beauty and now is all about Ariel.

Olivia has been through hell and back. This little girl technically shouldn’t even be alive today. When I was 18 weeks pregnant with Olivia, we were told she had complex heart defects. They strongly suggested we not continue the pregnancy. Long story short, we ignored that advice and here we are! Olivia’s had three heart surgeries – the most recent was March 24, 2008. We are technically “done” and she shouldn’t need anymore surgeries!!!

Maddie: age 8 and the co-star. She is in third grade and very much my tomboy but starting to show interest in fashion, etc. Maddie plays basketball for her school team; sings in the chorus; a member of the Lego Team and is involved in Girl Scouts. She also LOVES to swim and just started taking a new swim class that is a “pre-pre-pre swim team” to work on her swim strokes. She LOVES Disney and still sleeps with Classic Piglet that we got for her before she was born.

This trip is just as much about Maddie as it is Olivia. Maddie had a really hard time with Olivia’s last surgery. So much so that she passed out after seeing her sister in ICU. She acts tough but really has a sensitive soul. I have to remind her that I'm the mom and I'll do the worrying about her sister. When and if it's time to worry, I'll let her know. But in the meantime, she's to just enjoy life

Tricia: age 38 (gulp). Aka Mom. I’m a Disney gal through and through. Would have named one of my children “Disney” if I could have gotten away with it and not been disowned by the family :lol. I work FT in IT for a bank. I also dabble as a Disney travel agent. I live and breathe Disney. My girls say that Mickey is my boyfriend.

Arnie: age 39. Aka Dad. He became a huge Disney fan on our honeymoon. He works for a printer as a customer service rep. Well, there’s a fancy schmancy title there but basically it’s customer service rep . He's the voice of reason and responsibility (booo ). He has no problem being silly and crazy with the kids and they love him for it! He's a big fan of Ariel and Jasmine ... for obvious reasons .

Background:

When Olivia was first born I would whisper in her ear “we need to get you better so we can go to Disney World”. That was my goal. Get that baby healthy enough to get to Disney World. After every surgery, we’d start the same chant “get better so we can go to Disney World!”

Olivia’s been to Disney 3 times. The most recent trip was in August after the last surgery. We needed to live like “normal people” and so off we went. It was a birthday gift for both girls and a very magical trip.

Olivia went through a huge Sleeping Beauty phase starting last spring. After her surgery she was lying in ICU watching SB. The surgeon was concerned with how much bleeding she was having at the time and was hovering by her bedside. All of a sudden, Olivia was crying hysterically. Of course, Arnie and I were right there asking what was wrong. Was she in pain? What hurt? She said in the midst of her tears "I can't see the tv because HE IS IN THE WAY!" (finger pointing at the surgeon!) That right there is Olivia in a nutshell. We were all freaking out that she was going to go back into the OR ... and she was mad because the surgeon was interfering with her movie!

Make a Wish came about because of our pediatrician. She suggested we do this sooner than later for no other reason than to do it while Olivia is still young enough to thoroughly believe in the Magic.

We contacted MAW in early fall. Paperwork had to be filed by the cardiologist. By mid-November we received the packet stating Olivia had been accepted. It was a Saturday and I cried my eyes out. Because throughout it all I always thought “it could be worse”. MAW accepting us was a reality of everything we’ve been through.

November 21: Our wish granters, Louise and Mike, came out to meet with us and brought gifts for the girls. They asked Olivia what she wanted if she could wish for anything. She was coloring and without even looking up she said “I want to be a princess in Disney World!” We picked a range of dates starting the last week of April and ending the Friday before Mother’s Day and said “pick a week”.

December 5: We got a call from Louise that our dates were booked: April 27 – May 2.

January 7: We got flight confirmation. Surreal that this is actually happening!

So this is where we're at for today. I'll be posting more coming up with our actual park plans. I'm having a hard time planning the "non-Disney" days which I'll get into in the next post.
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Maddie Rose, born 7/29/00 & Olivia Ann, born 7/19/04


04/27/09 GKTW: Make A Wish trip
Our Wish Trip Report






Last edited by tbelfonti; 05-21-2009 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 03-20-2009, 02:07 PM   #2
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Woo Hoo!! Another Wish Trip pre-trippie!!

I am so excited!

I want to know how I can dabble as a Disney travel agent? That sounds like FUN!!!

I love Disney, too. But my friends all think that I have lost my mind.

- I am very glad you didn't take the advice of those doctors saying you should terminate your pregnancy. I know people have to make hard choices every day and that isn't one that anyone should have to make. I am glad you chose the way you did!

- Bless Maddie's heart! It has to be tough on a sibling!!

- Olivia! My kind of girl...Doctor Dude! Get out of the way of my TV!! I am so glad she is better!! And good choice on the Disney vaca!

You probably have all of this pretty much figured out! Hopefully we can help with the non-Disney days and the GKTW stuff...

This will be a trip like none other!

Welcome to the Wish Trippers family!
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have had quite the experience with her. Enjoy your normal time..I know we relish it!
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:08 PM   #4
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Wow! Your Olivia sounds sooooooo similar to my Bella! We would use a trip to Disney to motivate her to get better as well! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your pre-trip report and MAW Trip Report too! How very exciting for you and your family. I can't wait to see some pictures!
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:48 PM   #5
Somer
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WOW, your little ones have been through so much and they deserve to go to Disney World. And so do you!!! We are a heart family also. Our trip is in October and I just started a pre-wish trip report even though we have a long wait. Nice to meet you, and I can't wait to see some pictures.
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:11 AM   #6
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You have a great way with a story, Tricia! Can't wait to read the rest of it!
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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I'm on board, too! I love the relationship between your two girls. It reminds me of a couple of sisters that I know!
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Love the story of her crying because the surgeon was in her way!! Now that's spunk!!
Hope your trip is full of princess pixie dust!! Looking forward to more!!
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Thanks eandesmom!!!
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
maroo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherSue View Post
I'm on board, too! I love the relationship between your two girls. It reminds me of a couple of sisters that I know!
Their names would not happen to be Teresa and Heather, would they?
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:36 AM   #10
tbelfonti
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ok the "you're" should be "your" in the title and that's going to bug me forever and always :lol:

So here's where we are today with park plans, etc.

It's very hard giving up "control" as I'm sure you all experience when someone else is planning your trip. We are SO THANKFUL for this trip as it's giving my girls the opportunity to experience things we could never give them - for example staying at GKTW.

Also, the girls and I very much Castle people. If we could, we would live in the castle. I could spend an entire week at MK and not bother with any other park :lol. Don't tell the kids, but in October I had to go to FL for a training class so I left a few days early and did a solo trip to WDW. Spent two full days at MK ... by myself LOL.

Anyway I digress ...

We got our flight information and I'm bummed out.

Flights:

Monday: lv 8:30AM ar 11:30AM
Sunday: lv 12:30PM ar 3:30PM

So Monday and Sunday are shot for park days. Arnie's happy about the flight home, for no other reason but that he'll be rested for Monday morning back to work .

We have 5 full days to use 6 days worth of tickets - which isn't a big deal because I'm not sure we're going to SeaWorld at all but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Our current plans:

Monday: arrive at MCO. Pick up car and drive to GKTW. Check in, hit Walmart if needed. Swim.

4:00pm ADR at 1900 Park Fair.
7:30PM(?) Orientation at GKTW

Tuesday: MK day Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at 11:10AM. CRT at 4PM.

Wednesday: Universal Day. No dining planned - not sure what to do for food here.

Thursday: DHS day. 5:45PM ADR at Sci Fi. Couldn't get 4 together so we're booked as 2 tabletops (?) - possibly not together. May spend morning at Epcot as DHS isn't usually a full day park for us.

Friday: Universal or SeaWorld day. We went to SeaWorld in '05. We were less than impressed. The food? HORRIFIC. We like to eat. We have no problem spending money for a good meal. However - we found the food at SeaWorld inedible. So we're probably going to head back to Universal if the kids enjoyed it.

Saturday: MK day. Arnie really wanted to do a Segway Tour at Epcot so he's going to do that while the girls and I go to breakfast at CP and we'll meet up at MK later. 6:20PM ADR at the Plaza Restaurant.

Sunday: pack up and go home.

So my questions to all the families who have done Wish trips and / or Universal:

1. Where do you recommend eating at Universal?
2. Will it matter that we skip AK all together?
3. Same question for SeaWorld? Is it worth it or should we plan to do two days at Universal?
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Maddie Rose, born 7/29/00 & Olivia Ann, born 7/19/04


04/27/09 GKTW: Make A Wish trip
Our Wish Trip Report





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Old 03-23-2009, 12:46 PM   #11
tbelfonti
Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
 
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A pic of my baby

I wanted to share a pic of my baby

This is my Olivia with her SB. This moment was AMAZING for her and for me.



I'll post some of Maddie this evening. I don't have anything available here at work to me
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Maddie Rose, born 7/29/00 & Olivia Ann, born 7/19/04


04/27/09 GKTW: Make A Wish trip
Our Wish Trip Report





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Old 03-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #12
maroo
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Planning!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stage!

I am so glad that you are aware you can't do it all! I have seen so many families try to plan to do every single park! We decided to skip AK, too. But I went back on a solo trip and it was my favorite park! But there are very special wish trip things (VIP lounges, etc) at the other parks...so you should be good to skip AK!

Sea World - First...I can't believe the food was bad for you guys. We had a buffet there and it was the best food of our whole trip! I would go back to Sea World just for that buffet. Yum! Strange how that works out, isn't it! The only thing that is different at Sea World for a wish family is feeding the dolphins. You get to do this for free and if you let them know you are a Wish Family then they usually do what they can to make sure you have a good experience.

Most families are only able to have those 5 full days...so you are not alone there. In fact, several of the families on recent trips have had 5 nights instead of 6 for some reason and had 4 park days for the 6 days worth of tickets.

Hitting 1900 Park Fare is a good idea on that first day!! Good thinking! I think orientation at GKTW is either going to be at 3:30 or 7:00 (ish)...you can just tell them you won't be there at 3:30 ...??

MK - BBB and CRT!

No clue on Universal food...maybe someone else can help you here! If you don't get any answers here, you can post on the Wish Trippers thread directly and they can tell you.

Hopefully when you get to Sci Fi, they will be able to get you a table together. Make sure they are aware you are on a wish trip! And Epcot in the morning sounds good! Soarin is my favorite!!

And Thursday night...make sure to plan to be at GKTW for the Christmas party! It is the best party (from what I read here...we missed it since our dates did not include a Thursday night)...

Maybe for Friday you could do Sea World first thing and just feed the dolphins and then head to Universal/IOA if you wanted after that?

The buffet that we found to be so good was "Backstage at Believe"...it was not terribly expensive...included drinks and fabulous desserts...(they were making bananas foster right there! YUM!). It is also a backstage sort of show right beside the training pools where they show you how they feed them, etc - Shamu just about came and sat with us at our table - and you get VIP seats for the Believe show, if you wanted to do that. I think that lunch is at 11:15 or something like that...if you are looking to try Sea World food again. But it is a pre-pay deal, you have to call and get ressies so that they plan for you.

Your plans look awesome! I think I answered all of your questions...and then some!
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:49 PM   #13
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Your plans look great - sounds like you ahve a pretty good idea what you want to do, and I also agree it's wise to accept that you just cannot do everything. Remember that while you might visit GKTW again, you won't stay there again, so relish it as much as you can. You may be surprised how much fun the girls have just hanging around GKTW.

We really enjoyed SeaWorld - our twin boys are age 10. As well as being given free food for the dolphins, I believe Wish Kids are also given food for the stingrays (we saw this after we'd bought ours!). As for people food, we had a delicious and fun lunch at Shark's Underwater Grill, complete with huge aqaurium...although I've heard mixed reviews. Our food was great! Also, it was unplanned, so we were pleased to get in without a reservation (we arrived just before 12:00). We sat up at the bar, at barstools...and the bar itself is also a very shallow aquarium, with lots of spots for the little fishies to zip in and out and around. The boys were very well entertained while they waited for their lunch!

We had a great day at SeaWorld, but then one of Mark's mini-wishes was that he feed the dolphins, so I booked (and paid for separately) an in-depth dolphin tour which included lots of info on training etc and a longer, more intimate experience with the dolphins.

At Universal, we had lunch at Thunder Falls Terrace, in the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure one day - healthier than your usual fast food fare and pretty good, and the other day we ate at the International Food and Film Festival and it was, well, just OK. We did stay for dinner one night and went to Bubba Gumps - the boys love shrimp and they really spoiled us!

Hope this helps!
Alison
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Sorry, there is just a Pre-Trip Report for Mark's Starlight Wish Trip:
November 2008: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1883215
With a brief report on Mark's wonderful Wish Trip!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:54 PM   #14
tbelfonti
Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.
 
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Pic and an anniversary

And now a pic of my Maddie. (linked from my Facebook account - not positive it's going to work so let me know if it doesn't).

Today was Olivia's One Year Fontan-iversary.

Here's a letter I sent to her dr's and the hospital that treated her:

Quote:
A year ago there was a little girl who was three. She was very limited
in her activities. She couldn't walk up the driveway. A flight of
stairs would leave her winded. Blue lips, purple fingers and toes were
the norm.

March 24, 2008 changed all that. That was the day of Olivia's
Fontan (heart surgery) at CT Children's Medical Center. Within two weeks
she was running UP the driveway. She could sprint 3/4 of a mile. She
runs down the driveway, arms extended and says "I can FLY!" while her
blonde hair flies behind her.

The little girl who was limited now takes swim lessons and attends
gymnastics class. She has boundless energy. She bounces and twirls
around the house nonstop to the point that we actually ask her to stop
jumping. And then we laugh and rejoice that she CAN jump and twirl.

You are to thank for all of this. You gave us this amazing child and
saved her three times. You've allowed us to be a complete family. One
who will never take anything for granted.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you, thank you, thank you.
We celebrated with cupcakes at school as well as dinner at Outback for "green beans".

We've come a LONG way and I'm so proud of my beautiful baby girl...
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Maddie Rose, born 7/29/00 & Olivia Ann, born 7/19/04


04/27/09 GKTW: Make A Wish trip
Our Wish Trip Report





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Old 03-24-2009, 10:01 PM   #15
maroo
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Aw...

Precious. The picture definitely worked.

The little girl who was limited now takes swim lessons and attends
gymnastics class. She has boundless energy. She bounces and twirls
around the house nonstop to the point that we actually ask her to stop
jumping. And then we laugh and rejoice that she CAN jump and twirl.


We rejoice with you!!! That is something we certainly can't take for granted in this life...

Bless you guys tonight! A good anniversary!!!
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