Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 4

Today is bonding day for Nikolas and the grandparents. Mikayla and I are going to Universal Studios just the two of us. We’ve been there before and I know that there really isn’t anything for him in those parks since he can’t play on the playgrounds and isn’t interested in most of those characters.
I reminded mom how to use my camcorder and after breakfast we were on our way. Today mom, dad and Nikolas are going to explore GKTW and take some pictures or video while we’re gone.

We got to Universal about 11:30 and went straight back to the Mummy. It was the only thing I “had” to ride. It was the only ride I hadn’t ridden last time we were there so it was a MUST DO for me. Mikayla had pretty good memories of what she liked and didn’t like to after riding the Mummy and deciding she really did like it we made a loop and started riding.
We started the loop with ET, which is really cute, then went over to the Simpsons. I’m not a huge Simpsons fan but that is a virtual ride and it’s really fun. We went over to Men In Black, which Mikayla remembered and wanted to ride again the skipped a few and went to Jaws. HINT: If you take your kids on this be sure they know the story behind JAWS or let them watch it if they’re older. I took her on this ride and the man running it was actually from our home town. It was funny since the first thing he said was that “no one is from Shelbyville….” my thoughts exactly! When that was over we moved on to Disaster…we found it rather dull and don’t really recommend it. Moving on we did Twister again and then Shrek for the first time. Shrek is really fun and one of the rides we’d both recommend to everyone. One last ride…Jimmy Neutron…we forgot Terminator and never even went into Islands of Adventure. Like I said, we’ve been there before and there aren’t a lot of things we like to do since we aren’t big coaster people. We were done there by 3:00 and called to have mom order a late lunch from Katies Kitchen. We just went back (oops-there was confusion so we stopped at Taco Bell) and rested for dinner and Christmas at the Village.

Christmas and Santa were AMAZING!! They even created snow for the kids. Santa is willing to hold any child you are willing to put on his lap and that alone was nice since so many people are leary of holding our kids with all the equipment some of them have. We got some neat gifts and went outside to play in the snow and see all the decorations. We met up with Cathy and the kids and had a blast. She got some cute pictures of the kids playing together. It’s a really nice way to spend a special evening with your kids and we had a wonderful time.

-If you only go to 1 or 2 of the evening activities....make sure that Christmas and Pirates & Princesses are it. They are amazing and all kids are very included in everything. They were very theraputic for both of my kids. They never once felt like outsiders for a change. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 3 continues...

After Peter Pan we started toward Mickey’s Toon Town Fair. When we passed Ariel’s Grotto we notice that she was there and stopped for some really nice photos and a meet-n-greet. My son is such a flirt! He was laughing and grinning at nearly everything she said or did. It was really nice because this was a character Mikayla wanted to meet last time and we kept missing her so now we have the much longed for autographs!


We stopped for a photo in front of the sign and started the character meets. Today there was Tink, Fawn & Terrance and Belle, Aurora and Cinderella at the Hall of Fame tent. Nikolas liked Fawn but wasn’t too impressed with Tink (I think she was too intense for him though I don’t know why since his sister is just like that….maybe that was it?). He did seem to like Terrance and we got a pretty nice picture for the album.




We went in to see the princesses next. We had to wait for awhile (we actually were forgotten but it wasn’t a problem). While we waited we met a wonderful family with a service dog. Their dog is an assistance and seizure dog which is what we will be looking into in a few years. They said it was the best thing they’ve ever done and that we won’t be sorry when we get ours. Their dog is a border collie but we want a german shepherd. I know it’s unusual but we had one we were training for that and he passed away at 3yrs old. I just like the breed, size and intelligence of shepherds so that’s what we will have trained.

After asking how much longer the wait was (it was over 30 min by then) we were taken back and got to meet their Royal Highnesses. Once again he was flirting up a storm with the pretty princesses who were so focused on him. We got picture with Cinderella, Belle and Aurora. I love the one with Aurora because we have that exact same pose with her from 4 years ago. That was totally unplanned but really nice.




After his flirt session with the princesses we shopped for a few minutes then went next door to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Boo seemed to like Minnie but was really excited to meet Mickey again. This time he was dressed in regular clothes not sorcerer ones! Mickey and Minnie signed both autograph books then we left to ride the train. We hopped on the train and rode around to Frontierland so Mikayla and I could ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Mom and Dad took Nikolas wandering while we were gone. It was getting a later now (a bit after 6pm) and Mom was getting too tired so we started out of the park. She hadn’t ridden Pirates yet but since we were coming back on Saturday we didn’t worry about it. I did get them to stop for a picture in front of the castle while it was all lit up and just dark enough to get a really nice picture (after LOTS of tries).
Time to head back for dinner and a decent night’s sleep.

Day 3 It's All About The Magic Kingdom!

Ahhhh, the Magic Kingdom….my favorite place to relax and enjoy being a Disney nut. No one looks funny at the “grown-up” who is wearing the Mickey Mouse shirt, ears, etc. You can really be a kid there and it’s OK.
The kids and I woke all up in a good mood and ready to go. We got the grandparents and went to breakfast at GKTW. (We ate breakfast and dinner there every day to save and because it’s really good food.) I just knew this would be a very relaxing day for me and my family. OK, so dad is over all the Disney World trips (maybe we took 1 too many when I was a kid?) but he’s being a good sport since my kids are new to it all. We ate breakfast, packed up and were at the Magic Kingdom getting parked and to the monorail by 10:30. I decided against being there for rope drop at any park since DD is not a morning person and my parents really aren’t into all the parks anymore. Let’s keep it fun and relaxing. We also decided to use the monorail since wheelchairs & strollers on the ferry are just not a fun way to start the day.
We get there, go thru security and head for Tomorrow Land before we go to ToonTown. Of course I have to stop for some photopass pics in front of the castle.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm but not hot. Funny how 82 degrees in Florida feels so much cooler than 82 in Indiana. Today we will focus on rides that either Boo can’t ride since we have someone to watch him or ones that it takes another set of hands for him to ride and lots of character pictures. I was quite surprised at how much Nikolas enjoyed meeting all the different characters. He was really into being with each one of them and would get frustrated if we went too long without character interaction. That’s my little man…lovin’ Disney already!
Back to Tomorrow Land…we started on the TTA since Space Mountain was still being refurbished (that was a complete bummer since it’s my FAV!). After that we went over to the Carosel of Progress and Buzz Lightyear. Nikolas enjoyed all of them. He really likes about anything with movement which means he should like most of the park.
After that we decide to head to Pinocchio Haus for lunch. Let’s just say that wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped and leave it. When lunch was finished and tempers had cooled we went over to Small World and rode. This is one of my mom’s favorites. I think it’s really cute but there was too much going on for Nikolas. He just sat quietly and listened to the music without even trying to look around. With his visual issues he just has a difficult time processing lots of things at once. He did seem to enjoy all the music though. Next we rode Peter Pan. He hadn’t seen that DVD yet but he really seemed to enjoy that ride. I think the “flying” over the town had a lot to do with it since the motions are intensified a bit because the underside of the ships are free.

Up next...the rest of day 3...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 2 “So Many Parks”

Ok, so I figured if I wanted to have 2 full days in the Magic Kingdom (our favorite of the parks) then I’d split one day between Animal Kingdom and Epcot. No biggie. Then I decided to do ADR’s for Boo, after all it is his Wish trip right? Well the only one I really wanted for him was with JoJo and Goliath. Ummm, that means we’ve got to go to Hollywood Studios. It was the only park we weren’t going to do. There just wasn’t anything he was interested in except them. The plan is breakfast at GKTW, then hit Animal Kingdom (it’s a half-day park pretty much) after that we’d drive to Hollywood Studios for lunch (1pm ressies) then we’d be to Epcot by 2:30ish for an afternoon there. I planned this for the first full park day since we’d all be in good moods and full of energy. At least that part was right.
We started out a bit later than I wanted to but nothing too bad. It was 9am when we got to breakfast-I had hoped for 8:30, oh well. We then packed up for Animal Kingdom and headed out. We knew there were only 3-4 “must do” things so we hit the safari first and had a great ride. The animals were all out and moving around. You could even see the lions well. We decided against a few things we had been thinking about because they were walk-thru’s and there were a lot of people in them. Our new stroller is comfy but much bigger than a traditional one, plus our Zoo is amazing and most of the animals are there too. Nikolas couldn’t have cared less…he was “people watching” and he could do that just about anywhere! Mom and Dad took him to wander while Mikayla and I rode Dinosaur. Mikayla and I decided against Expedition Everest since we like smaller coasters but the big ones…not so much. Well after a few pictures and some wandering we were finished there, right on time.
Now we’ll just lunch at Hollywood and Vine….quick in & out kinda thing right, ummm, not exactly. We got caught up in Character shots. It was partly my fault, I’ll admit it. I’m a Sorcerer Mickey nut. He’s my absolute favorite! So I get the bright idea to do “just a few” shots….well to do that you have to go to Animation Courtyard and there are characters all over the place. We got pictures with Chip & Dale, more with JoJo & Goliath, June & Quincy, the UP characters and Sorcerer Mickey.
After lots of character shots we loaded up again and went to Epcot. There are only a few rides in this park we wanted to ride and we never go into the different worlds so it’s a pretty quick park for us too. We rode Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, Journey into the Imagination with Figment, and Nikolas did Nemo with Grandpa & Grandma. Next time we go I’ve want to do that one too. (They did it while Mikayla & I did Soarin’.)
It was a super busy day but we did all the things we really wanted to and most of the ones we kinda wanted to. Besides doing this day allowed the remaining Disney passes to be completely devoted to the Magic Kingdom. We stayed until 6:30pm and then went home (you’ll call it home VERY quickly). We ate at the Gingerbread House and went home to relax.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 1 continued...

The GKTW Village is really pretty simple to find from the airport so we just followed the directions on the back of the welcome sign and had no trouble. We got to the Village and checked in around 11:30am so our villa wasn’t quite ready yet. They gave us our meal card/door key and told us to go to Katie’s Kitchen for some lunch. Boston Market stocks there and the lunch is sandwiches or salads, sides and a drink. It’s all very good!
After wandering around and having some ice cream we checked back and got our villa. We were in 266 which is in the back by Matthew’s Boundless Playground.
Our villa was mostly tile inside and was beautiful!

The inside of our villa was ivory/light colored tile and the accessible bath was amazing. (I wish we had the room to duplicate it in our home.)
They had a Monday afternoon orientation at 3pm so I unpacked a bit of our things and my dad & I went to that one. We got our tickets and more information than you can process there. They give you a purple “manual”-keep it close. It has all the information you need and more in it. The staff and volunteers are always available so ask them lots of questions too. They are so sweet and helpful…you will be amazed…I know we were!
We had supper at the Gingerbread House. Everything there is soooo good. It had a home-cooked taste, not that “restaurant food” taste. They have lots of volunteers to wait on you hand and foot and they expect to do so. That was one thing that was hard for me to get used to since I’m usually the one who does most things. It was a nice break. One thing that made a big impression on my daughter was that there were a lot of kids who volunteer there. Younger and older teens... now she wants to see if our youth group at church can volunteer.
We decided to just hang out at the villa the first night so Mikayla & I went to borrow a couple of DVD’s from the House of Hearts lending library. Guess who was there? Momto4+more & the kids! (Hi Cathy!) I recognized them from the Big Give outfits the kids had on. We said, “Hi” and promised to meet the next evening at dinner to get to know each other a bit. Back to the villa to rest up for tomorrow. It’s our “jam-packed 3 park” day. (Yes, I planned a 3 park day…I’ll explain later but it does make sense.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Here's the beginning of our trip report...

OK, this trip report is gonna be long so I'm going to break it down into tons of posts. They will be the same as on the DisBoards so you won't miss anything if you don't read both.

Well, here goes….

Day 1…Time to leave!
I had to be up at 3:00 am and the kids had to be ready by 4:00 to meet the limo. It was right on time and got here at 4:15. :)
I admit I was worried because another Wish family left the week before and the limo was an hour LATE!!! We did all our boarding passes and baggage payments online the night before so we had some “wiggle” room but I was still a bundle of nerves.
I don’t have any limo pictures since it was so dark still-sorry! Mikayla was excited to ride in the limo but Nikolas was unimpressed.
I thought for sure Nikolas would sleep but...not a wink. Getting to the airport and thru security went off without a hitch. We got loaded on the plane and I got the cutest picture of Nikolas waiting for us to take off…

That last one was taken by me as we were about half way thru take-off. He LOVED the feeling I guess. (’s about 7:15am & I’m soooo tired!)
The plane ride was uneventful except that the pastry & iced coffee Mikayla got from Starbucks made her a bit queasy on the plane so she sat with her head down for about half of the flight. I warned her about too much sugar…mom’s don’t know anything do we? Hehehe..
When we landed in Orlando we had no trouble getting to the GKTW greeter. He was a very sweet older gentleman whom I believe knows everything about that airport. We found the luggage and got our van in the blink of an eye.
Finally…we were off to Give Kids The World!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're back!

OK, this was an AWESOME trip! While I would NEVER wish illness on a child (or anyone for that matter), if your little one has a life-threatening diagnosis....please look into a trip to Give Kids The World. There are many Wish foundations that can send you there. They are completely set up for our kids....lovely villas with huge bathrooms that are completely accessible (I wanted to bring that bathroom home with me!).
They love the kids and it shows every second of every day. Most of the people there are volunteers and they spoil everyone in the family. They have activities every evening that completely include ALL the children no matter how differently-abled they are. Santa comes and will hold any child you bring to him. A beautiful little girl on a vent was a few people before us and he told her momma to "bring that little one here so I can hold her". It brought tears to my eyes! Many people are so afraid of our kids but not there. Mayor Clayton (a 6ft tall rabbit) dances with the kids and interacts fully with any who want to try.
I'm getting ready to start my trip report on the DisBoards. I'll also post it here for those who aren't on there. It's going to be in phases and I'm trying to go day-by-day with pictures. Our PhotoPass CD from Disney has been ordered so there will be pictures too! :)

I took mostly video but there are random pictures I'll add as I load them. Have fun and enjoy reliving our trip with us!

Our first photo is of Boo waiting for the plane to take off...

I think he's just a little excited....what do you think? hehehe!