We're off to see the World! A Wish TR w/ pics from BigGive, Days 1-7, and PhotoPass!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by GoofyDoo, Jun 30, 2008.

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What is your favorite Walt Disney World park?

  1. EPCOT

  2. Hollywood Studios

  3. Magic Kingdom

  4. Animal Kingdom

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  1. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
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    Shortcuts:
    Big Give outfits & pixie dust from the DISBoutiquers, pages 6 -14
    Make-A-Wish send-off party
    Overview of our adventures!
    Day 1, Part 1 -- the flight to Orlando / GKTW
    Day 1, Part 2-3 -- GKTW
    Day 2, Part 1-2 -- Magic Kingdom
    Day 2, Part 3 -- Magic Kingdom
    Day 3, Part 1-2 -- Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure / Christmas at GKTW
    Day 4, Part 1-2 -- Animal Kingdom / Disney Hollywood Studios
    Day 5, Part 1-5 -- Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure
    Day 6, Part 1 -- EPCOT
    Day 6, Part 2-4 -- EPCOT / Magic Kingdom
    Day 6, Part 5-6 -- Magic Kingdom
    Day 6, Part 7-8 -- Magic Kingdom
    Day 7, Part 1-4 -- GKTW / SeaWorld / the flight HOME!
    PhotoPass pics from Disney!

    The pre-trip report starts here:
    OK, due to the encouragement of my fellow posters on the Wish Trippers Unite thread, I've decided to go for it and do a pre-trip report! Our dates are set for Tuesday, July 29, through August 4, 2008, and we are bound for Florida thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We are a family of six, which includes my husband (43) and me (36-ugh!), a daughter (14), a son (11), and twins--another daughter (8) and the star of the show, a son, Clay (formerly known on the boards as "CJ") (8). We are so excited to be staying at Give Kids the World Village as I have been so very impressed with everything I've heard and read. In fact, when I first read the story of GKTW's founder, Henri Landwirth, I was moved to tears and retold the story to anyone who would listen. The second thing I did was purchase a paving stone in my son's honor in hopes that it will be ready to show to him once we arrive there. I would love to have his picture beside it, but we'll be cutting it close. I did purchase the stone twelve weeks before we are to be there (which is how long the website says to allow for the engraving to be completed), but they are currently running up to a month behind. It never hurts to hope and pray, though, does it? I haven't told anyone I purchased a paving stone--not even my husband. I want it to be a surprise. On my list of definite things to do before we leave is finish reading Henri Landwirth's biography, which GKTW sent to me after my donation.

    Moving on, a little about Clay: he was born with mild cerebral palsy. Although he wasn't actually diagnosed until eighteen months of age, we noticed a problem at about five months, which was made all the more dramatic by the fact that he has always had a very aggressive twin. Very early on, he began receiving physical and occupational therapy and things were going well until Clay was six. In the middle of his kindergarten year something happened that I hoped and prayed never would--the brain damage began causing him to have seizures. At first they were partial complex seizures (staring or "blanking out" spells), but then they progressed to petit mal and finally grand mal. After trying a few meds with some not-so-lovely side effects, we have found the perfect med for him, and he has been seizure-free for two years, praise God.

    We have struggled--especially my husband has struggled--with being able to accept the generosity of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and everyone else who is making this trip possible for us, but when I think of what he's been through and what he goes through every day, I do feel that he deserves it! He is mobile, but he does walk with a limp and does not have full use of his right hand. He does well in school, but it's no picnic for him. He is a great reader, but he does struggle with math and other problem-solving activities. I'm so glad that he tries the way he does, though. I am very, very proud of him. I'm also proud of his siblings. They are amazing in the way they watch out for him. I know why God gave him a twin, and I know why He gave Clay his particular twin. She is a bossy thang!! But boy does she watch out for him! I truly have amazing kids, and I'll shut up now about them.

    I've posted these pics before on the Wish Trippers Unite thread, but I'll post them here again:

    Clay & his twin sis, Shay Lynne:
    [​IMG]

    Older bro, Ty & sis, Madison:
    [​IMG]

    And I have to post this pic of Ty and Madison at WDW in 1999 (just can't help it...aren't they cute? I'm taking a comparison pic in a few weeks!):
    [​IMG]

    And here is Clay at the Texas Motor Speedway recently--he was invited to the final day of the Corvette Classic by Make-A-Wish, during which he got to ride in this driver's Corvette and race around the track!
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for reading!! More about our proposed itinerary, etc., later....
     
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  3. Iluvmickeymouse!

    Iluvmickeymouse! Proud mama to a DD who beat HLH

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    I can't believe how many MAW trip reports we have going...I am never going to get anything done!! :lmao: Great start, I can't wait to read more popcorn:: (poor housework will just have to wait!!! ;) )
     
  4. Robin+5

    Robin+5 Mouseketeer

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    Great TR. I can't wait to hear more. Isn't this site great. I find myself on the computer all the time now.

    Robin
     
  5. bex271

    bex271 Mouseketeer

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    Those are great pictures, dh liked the one with corvette. You have a couple of cute kids.

    becca
     
  6. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    So I suppose I should talk a little about Clay's wish. Like many, I never dreamed that he would qualify for a Wish until I learned that the child's condition no longer has to be terminal, but "life-threatening". I was perusing the MAW website one weekend this past spring and found their online nomination form, so I thought, "what could it hurt?". I was taken aback when I got a call back from our local MAW chapter that very next Monday! I even explained that I was merely inquiring, that we have been very fortunate and Clay is doing great now, that I know how fortunate we truly are compared to how it could be... (I even started crying on the phone!!). The very sweet girl explained to me that they are not the ones who actually qualify children for wishes, but the children's physicians do, so I gave her the name of our pediatric neurologist, along with his contact information...and the rest is history. It was about a week or ten days later that we found that beautiful, fat Make-a-Wish envelope in the mailbox!! I opened it with shaky hands to read that Clay had been approved for a wish! OMGosh!!!

    The next stage was to meet with the wish granter. He came out about three weeks later with a HUGE box of K'nex (which Clay loves as he is obsessed with such toys). I am still kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture. How could I have done that? I am one of these people with back problems from carrying around my heavy camera in my purse at all times!!! Oh, well. I should mention what we went through in preparation for this meeting, though. It seemed that Clay would wish for all kinds of crazy things, from Chuck E. Cheese to a visit to a local waterpark in our area!! It was really difficult to get him to think on a grander scale while at the same time ensuring that it was truly his wish. Then there was the complication of Disney World vs. Disney Land. He had heard of both, yet he kept getting the two confused and used the terms interchangeably. I, however, had already heard of GKTW, so I knew it just had to be the World for his Wish Trip, at least (although we do intend to check out the Land, eventually!!). Then my fourteen-year-old daughter piped up and said something about the Nickelodeon Hotel being in Orlando, and Clay being the Sponge Bob freak that he is, that was all she wrote. Great. His wish suddenly then became "to stay at the Nickelodeon Hotel and go to Disney World". That sounded like two wishes to us, and I just wasn't sure how it would work out, and I was just worried to death about his (our) missing out on GKTW, so I just fretted about it for days. But when the wish coordinator met with Clay, he really knew what he was doing! He talked to him for a long time about what he likes and enjoys. Clay told him that he loves Spiderman, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Scooby Doo, SpongeBob, Peter Pan, pirates, and I've forgotten what all. So they gave him a choice between the Nick Hotel and just Disney, or staying at GKTW and getting in to Universal and Sea World, too. Staying at the Nick Hotel would not have afforded us the opportunities to meet all of Clay's beloved characters as will GKTW due to their partnerships with Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld. Since there are so many things we want to see at Universal, we are really excited about going there, too, although Disney definitely will take priority!!! And so when we laid it all out for him (and even drew him a map or two to make it all visual), Clay decided to stay at GKTW. Oh, and I might've shown him an awesome picture of GKTW or two to help convince him. Sue me!! It was for his own good!!! Besides, I need some of that ice cream!! One thing is for sure, though: now that we are not staying at the Nickelodeon Hotel, we have to be sure and meet SpongeBob somewhere!!! Clay is expecting that!! And we've explained that we can take him to the Nick Hotel someday on our own, but GKTW is only for special Wish Trip kids and their families. YAY! We're going there!! In less than a month!!!
     
  7. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Thanks for reading, y'all!! I know I can get a little wordy!!! xo
    ~Amy
     
  8. bigdisgrandma

    bigdisgrandma Mouseketeer

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    My goodness, here it is July 1st. It's your month:banana: to go. Our family is so excited for you all. Great report so far!

    Denise
     
  9. HeatherN

    HeatherN Dreaming of Disney

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    Oh boy, I am so excited for you!!!!!! CJ sounds like such a neat kid. I really hope we do get the chance to meet at GKTW! I had exactly the same reaction about that thick envelope, my hands were shaking too, and then I burst into tears after reading it. I have a feeling I am going to be a blubbering mess the whole time we are there!
     
  10. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Thank you!!! My two youngest have been asking and asking whether it's July yet. Today I can finally say "YES!"!!! :goofy:
     
  11. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Oh, girl, I hear you!!! I seriously cannot read one single trip report--nor can I even think about a volunteer or CM's kindness to us while we're there--without becoming a water fountain!!! What will I do? My eyes will be red in every picture!!! But then again, I'm always the one taking pictures, so that won't be a problem, I'm sure!! It is truly overwhelming, isn't it?? When my kids wake up (the sleepyheads), I'm going to show them the pics of your kids and tell them their names so that they'll know we have to be on the lookout for y'all at GKTW!!
     
  12. twinmum

    twinmum DIS Veteran

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    Yay! Another trip report! Our Wish Trip is not until November, so I'm using these to keep the excitement building. And yes, sometimes I think I am more excited about the trip than our wish kid and his twin brother, but I think that's because of everything I have learned from reading here. While I have shared some info, I don't want to build up our twins' hopes too much, in case certain things don't happen.

    Amy, your CJ is making me think of our Mark - some similarities, but differences too. Our twins were born at 26 weeks, and Mark has cerebral palsy, deemed to be "moderate" because he does rely on a walker/wheelchair for mobility. He's got some other medical issues and relies to a feeding tube to supplement his nutrition. Although his reading is phenomenal, the demands of Grade 4 did bring out some frustrations in math and writing - he uses a computer and just couldn't keyboard fast enough to keep up with his ideas!

    We have a number of friends whose kids have seizures, so I can appreciate how scary that can be. I remember waiting, and waiting, hoping we wouldn't see the onset of seizures and finally feeling relieved by about Grade 1 that he was being spared this.

    I am SO EXCITED for you, and wishing that our trip was sooner...but it will be wonderful to leave cold and possibly snowy Toronto for the Florida sun on November 1st.

    I'll write a pre-trip eventually, but it all seems so far away...

    Alison
     
  13. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Alison, I think our boys probably do have a great deal in common! My twins were born at 35 weeks, which is great for twins, and it was determined that in Clay's ("CJ's") case, the damaged occurred in the womb, well before birth. But as far as the cognitive issues, we have found that the older he gets, the more challenges he has faced. He will be in third grade, and things are leveling out, however. But I would have to say that math and writing will probably always be a struggle. He does OK, just has to work extra hard and does so willingly, I'm happy to say. As for typing/keyboarding, I don't know how it will go.... But for now we deal with it all and count our blessings, and we just generally feel grateful for how well he does.

    I'll be interested to see how his twin sister reacts in light of all that will be done for Clay on this trip. I'll let you know how that goes. For one thing, she really wants to meet the princesses, and obviously this is not one of his priorities, but I've told him "too bad"!! Your sister wants to meet them, and you are going to let them kiss you on the cheek, too, so I can get some cute pics!!!!
     
  14. twinmum

    twinmum DIS Veteran

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    Guess I know how we're both spending this morning! I was so excited to find more pre-trip reports!

    I share your concern about the non-Wish twin feeling left out, or not that special. Mark's twin Douglas' life has also been seriously affected by Mark's disability. And besides, he too bears some of the scars of extreme pre-maturity. In fact, he spent longer in the NICU than his brother did!

    With twin boys, we find that their interests are very similar. It makes planning the WDW trip easier, but it also means there aren't such distinct activities like seeing the princesses that we can designate as being Douglas' special "thing." He does like more intense rides than his brother, but there's an incentive to stick together as (OK, I'll admit it), we're not used to spending a long time in line. On our last trip, Douglas and my hubby headed out to the parks early one day to beat the rush and do some things that Mark wouldn't/couldn't do, but had trouble fitting in a lot...those GAC's work wonders!.

    I know this wish trip is Mark's wish trip, but Douglas is such a trooper...I just hope he isn't overwhelmed by all the attention his brother may receive. He deserves something special too.

    Looking forward to hearing about your twin experiences!
    Alison
     
  15. Bill_Lin

    Bill_Lin Grateful to God

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    Wow Amy!

    You really hit the ground running with your TR. I am impressed to say the least. Great job!

    You did not mention that I ruthlessly nagged you about starting your Pre Trip Report. I love reading what you write.

    Don't worry too much about being teary-eyed at the Pixie Dust and Magic that will come your way. If you are like most of us, you will be too dazed to cry right at the time. There were times when I was in SHOCK at the kindness (and I am a child of the kindly west).

    You are going to have a BLAST! Save the crying for night time; no wait, that is the time for soaking in the GKTW Villa Whirlpool bath. That is pretty much a necessity after days on the Theme Park asphalt. Don't miss a chance, though, to take an walk in the dark of the night around the GKTW courtyards to see how lovely the magic lights are. Throw in a visit to the chapel as well. I spent some time there just giving thanks for Lysi being alive and strong and for the wish trip..... oh yeah... you get to cry a lot at that time.

    Bill
     
  16. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Here I go blubbering again, Bill....
     
  17. Iluvmickeymouse!

    Iluvmickeymouse! Proud mama to a DD who beat HLH

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    I want to reassure you guys that ths trip is for your WHOLE family. Yes, it is a specific child's wish, but NOBODY will feel left out. Read LeeLee's report... and 5dwarves report....ALL their kids got special treatment. Gifts at GKTW....all your kids will get some, not just the wish child. Treatment at the parks....they will not single out just the wish child, the entire family gets the royal treatment.

    And....it's ok to cry....now....you won't hve time when you are there! :lmao: JK...there will definitely be times when you will be gushing. :sad1: :hug:
     
  18. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    OK, so I thought I would post my ideas for our itinerary. Any and all comments, thoughts, and suggestions are welcome. You know I love great tips!!

    TUESDAY, 7/29
    Leave our airport at 7:20am and arrive in Orlando at 10:45am
    Get checked in at GKTW & hang out there for the afternoon and evening
    (*side note: this is Nickelodeon Night, and I would LOVE it if they featured a SpongeBob character...but I have a feeling this night is geared toward younger children and characters such as Blue, Dora, etc. We'll see!)

    WEDNESDAY, 7/30
    Magic Kingdom!!! This will be a long day. I want to stay as long as the family can handle it.

    THURSDAY, 7/31
    US Islands of Adventure!! We are looking forward to this park. I do want to spend a full day here, although many say you can do both US parks in one day. We'll see about that, but I know one thing: I do NOT want to jeopardize getting back in time for Christmas/Winter Wonderland at GKTW that evening!!! If we happen to be able to get both US parks in on this day, then great--that will leave us more extra time for later.

    FRIDAY, 8/1
    EPCOT in the morning; Hollywood Studios in the afternoon!! I hope we can fit everything in. I'm worried about this. I am hearing everyone's advise right now telling me to just accept that we can't do everything on our list....but still, we have our must-dos. I hope I've made the right decision for us regarding which parks to do in half-day periods. I know we won't get back in time for the Pirates & Princesses Party at GKTW, and I'm mad about it!!

    SATURDAY, 8/2
    Universal Studios in the a.m. (just long enough to do the must-dos there, one of which is the Nickelodeon thingy since we have to meet SpongeBob, you know!!); SeaWorld in the p.m. We live in Texas and have done SeaWorld in San Antonio and loved it. I was actually pleasantly surprised to read that SeaWorld Orlando does NOT have an adjoining waterpark included in admission as does SeaWorld San Antonio. That will make things go more quickly for us!! Ha!! Don't expect me to say that if we ever pay for the tickets ourselves! We might make it back for Mayor Clayton's birthday party, but I doubt it. You never know, though.

    SUNDAY, 8/3
    Animal Kingdom!! My husband is really excited about this park. It sounds hot to me, although I do love animals. I just don't know how much I love them during the highly humid, extreme heat in August. I'm a Texas girl, but still. But we'll have our dorky neck-coolers on. Well, all of us will except for my husband, who will be making fun of us dorks. My kids--all four of them--have always loved playing CandyLand, so I'm kind of hoping that we are back to GKTW in time for the giant CandyLand game that evening. I don't know how that will be. If we are having too much fun at AK, I doubt we would sacrifice a Disney park for it. Again, we'll see.

    MONDAY, 8/4
    Our return flight leaves at 5:40pm and gets home at 7:20pm. I'm hoping we get some good hang-out time in at GKTW as I am afraid we won't have felt like we've spent all that much time there up to this point. I'd love to shop and explore Downtown Disney, but I doubt we'll be getting that in this trip. I know we'll be worn out, but we'll be sad it's over, I'm sure!!

    The only thing I'm fretting about right now is missing the Pirates and Princesses Party on Friday night. We'll want to stay late at HS for Fantasmic, so the only thing I could figure on doing is switching my Friday plans with our Saturday plans, maybe. I wonder if that party is worth it. My twins are eight. What do you think? Would they love the party? Would it be OK to miss? Oh, what to do???
     
  19. bigdisgrandma

    bigdisgrandma Mouseketeer

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    Amy,
    What a wonderful plan. You know you will never get to do it all but all you do will be so worth it! Your family is just going to love it all! I should know because I truly am addicted to Disney. We have taken 2 day trips and 12 day trips and we enjoy them all though I will say the 2 day trip with 2 days worth of flying was pretty intense!

    Denise
     
  20. twinmum

    twinmum DIS Veteran

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    Your plans look great...very busy, but great! I see that you are planning on doing Epcot and DS on the same day. On our trip in 2006 (when the boys were 8), we were planning an afternoon/evening at Epct and a full day at DS, eexpecting to be done quite early.

    Well...both boys found WAY more that interested them at Epcot, resulting in our spending another almost full day there - and I know that there is TONS we didn't see, that we'll be hoping to see this time. Bill has some great lists of "not to miss" attractions, but I'll just mention that given the age of your kids, I think Soarin', Test Track and Mission:Space (the green version) will be big hits! Each of these had multiple visits last time! Perhaps you can be quite selective about your specific interests in the World Showcase. For more info on attractions at any of the parks, check out the "Theme Parks" section of the DIS (see that blue toolbar near the top of your DisBoards screen?).

    And then, we went to DS, thinking we just needed to be very aware of our time so we made it to the specific shows we wanted to see. That, and throw in a little Star Tours and we'd be done, thought we. WRONG!!! What a full and wonderful day we had...Star Tours, meeting Darth Vadar (and now that the Jedi Training Academy is a permanent attraction, it's a must for an 8 year old boy (if he likes Star Wars). Catch the really interesting shows - the boys loved the Indiana Jones and Lights Motors Action shows especially. We all learned a lot on the Backlot Tour. We all tried Tower of Terror. Once was enough for me and for Douglas. My hubby and Mark (our wish child) went twice! Peter and I took turns trying the Rock 'n Roller Coaster. And this time, we're looking forward to trying Toy Story Mania.

    Don't forget, we had a GAC then, too, and that helped us so a lot in less time - really helpful due to Mark's stamina.

    So the moral of the story is...reserach what you really want to do, make a plan, but most importantly, try to accept that you won't be able to do it all. You'll just have to come back!

    Thanks for sharing your plans. I'm feeling the magic!

    Alison
     
  21. GoofyDoo

    GoofyDoo Missing Orlando...

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    Thank you, Denise!! You sound very experienced. I'd love to know more about your past itineraries some time when you get the chance!! I know you're right--there's no way we'll get to it all!!

    Oh, Alison, you are SO making me wish that we were going to have four days of Disney, but we just don't want to sacrifice the other parks this trip because there are things there that are part of Clay's wish...and besides, when we make it back to Orlando, I doubt we'll be going back to the US parks. I'll have to research the Jedi Training Academy--I'm not familiar. Thank you for all the great tips!!! I have to get a grip...I think I'm about to have a panic attack already for fear of running out of time. This is ridiculous!!!! But fun!!!
     

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