Saturday, October 18, 2014

Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World

After we all recovered from Eddie's eye exam, it was time to celebrate!  My mom threw a Make-A-Wish send off party for Eddie and invited all of our family!  Finally, we were going to Disney World!
 The awesome decorations planned by my mom!
Eddie was a little confused about the Mickey Mouse cupcakes and he kept asking if it was his birthday because everyone kept giving him presents! Haha! So we sang Happy Birthday (to my Dad) and let Edward blow out a candle!
                        All of our family came wearing their Eddie shirts!  What a cool surprise!
Eddie, still thinking it is his birthday :) No buddy, this is your Disney send off!  

I would like to especially thank my parents for having everyone over to celebrate with us.  It was such a nice night.  Eddie was again, spoiled rotten with Mickey Mouse slippers, all sorts of new Disney pajamas, Mickey underwear, Mickey t-shirts, Mickey blankets, Cars characters, books, stickers, markers, candy, spending money, and one too many stuffed animals :) THANK YOU! I thought that we received enough Disney paraphernalia that night that we wouldn't have to buy anything in Disney World.... but anyone who has been to Disney World knows that is simply not the case!  A Mom can dream, right?

Before I even get into the details I have to say that the Make-A-Wish foundation is seriously amazing and our week was a first class, one of a kind trip. Prior to our departure, I had no expectations.  I was just happy we were getting a chance to go away together as a family.  Other than visiting our parents/family members, or going to weddings, Michael and I have not been on a trip since our honeymoon.  But, I was blown away by the thorough thoughtfulness of everything involved from the time we were picked up, to the time we returned. They went over the top.  Every little detail was taken care of for us. It is truly unbelievable what they can do for families and what they accomplish. 

Day 1: Monday, October 6th- Travelling, Naps, Halloween Nights at GKTW
We were picked up by a limo, at 6:30 a.m.  Eddie thought the limo was so cool because the dimmed lights kept changing different colors.  He would NOT sit still and kept falling off of the seats every time the limo changed lanes or made a turn.  When we arrived at the airport, a ticketing lady from United met us outside and brought us right up front to the desk, gave us our tickets and gave Eddie a goodie bag full of lollipops, fruit snacks, animal crackers, and a Lightning McQueen car.  She said,  "Eddie I heard you like cars."  She then motioned for this TSA guy to come over and he said, "Hey, where is Eddie?  I need a high-five!" We followed this big man who took us right to the front of a very long line for security and whisked us right through.  All of the security workers were saying hello to Eddie and once we all made it through security they gave him another bag full of presents (4 Hot Wheels cars, a coloring book, and crayons).  Mike and I looked at each other like, "Is this going to keep happening?" And yes, it kept happening the entire week. 
 In the United Club Eating breakfast and watching Disney Junior!
 Milk and chocolate donuts!
 Eddie loved his Lightning McQueen suitcase that Aunt Nicole gave him and he insisted on rolling it himself.  He also packed it himself.  It was full of toys, which, we obviously didn't need to bring.
The pilot presenting Eddie with real pilot wings!
How neat!
Playing in the cockpit before everyone boarded!
Eddie loving being in the pilot's seat!
Finally we are taking off.... soon to be landing in Orlando!
We arrived at Give Kids the World!
Time to check in!
Welcome home for the week!
We unpacked our suitcases and we all took a nap. We were exhausted.
 We learned that Monday Night at Give Kids the World was Halloween Night.  I packed Eddie's firefighter costume knowing they did this.  He was so excited.  GKTW had trick-or-treating, face painting, music, games, a balloon artist, a fog machine, and spooky decorations everywhere.  And all of the workers were dressed in different costumes.  It was so sweet!
 Eddie playing corn hole.
 Eddie and Daddy in front of the giant black cat!
Fog Machine + 3 year old firefighter = endless fun
 He kept saying, "Mommy why is there smoke here? I have to put out that fire!"
 He couldn't get enough. We spent at least a half an hour just playing like this.
 Watching the balloon man.  He asked for a fire hose.  The balloon man said that was a first for him, but he would try! And you can see he had a fire hydrant painted on his face.
A firefighter at work!
Having fun :)
 The balloon man made a white hose that he twisted around Eddie's waist and the blue balloon was the water shooting out from the hose!  AND back to the fog machine he went to put out the fire.  Eddie was providing free entertainment for many people that night!  What a night for our first night in the village! The next morning we were off to Sea World!

Day 2: Tuesday, October 7th- Sea World, Swimming, Fishing
Sea World was such a cool place.  We saw tons of amazing animals.  We saw flamingos, penguins, baby alligators, whales, dolphins, sharks, and many many more.  Eddie rode his first roller coaster, the train, and other cute kiddie rides.  He got his face painted, petted some sting rays, watched the Shamu show, and even fed the dolphins.  Feeding the dolphins was unforgettable. Memories worth a lifetime.
Welcome to Sea World!
 Here is Eddie on the train at Sea World's kiddie section of rides! Mike went to get on the train with him, and he said, "No Daddy, I want to go on by myself.  I am the train master." Okay then, big boy...
 He loved the train!
 This was a fun area to climb up ropes, jump on nets, and go down many different slides.
 We lost count how many times he went down the slides!
 The Shamu show!
 This was awesome.
 Such graceful and huge animals.
 Thank goodness we were not in the splash zone.  Some people got soaked!
 So cool.
 Eddue loved it!  We all did actually.
 As we were leaving the show there were vendors everywhere selling all sorts of stuffed animals.  Eddie really really wanted this big whale.  $20 later.... totally worth it.
 Eddie speaking whale.
 We bought this whale around noon, and he carried it throughout the park for the next 4 hours... 
 In the shark exhibit!
Awww! Again he wanted to do it all by himself. Such a big boy. 
 The Antartica exhibit was so cool - literally, it was freezing in there!
 So many penguins!
 They are so cute!
 Can't get enough of these little guys.
 Such quirky animals!
 Looking at the sea turtles.
 Feeding the dolphins...
 Oh hello there!
 so sweet....
 It was really amazing.
He absolutely loved it!
 This was so funny. Edward was exhausted. There was one more possible show to stay for but he wanted to go home.  We arrived at Sea World at 10:00 a.m. and it was already past 4 o'clock.  He kept saying he wanted to go home to GKTW and go swimming.  Apparently those directions are located on the Sea World Map.
 He is a total wiggle worm.
The fishing dock!
The fish we never caught!
Fishing with Daddy.
 Two happy boys :)
 We had no luck!
 The fish kept stealing our bait!  We gave up, stopped by the ice cream shop for Eddie's new nightly routine - a milkshake.

Day 3: Wednesday, October 8th- Magic Kingdom ALL DAY
We walked into a parade featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy.  Eddie was mesmerized!  We hit the ground running, and by that I mean we absolutely wore ourselves out that day!  With the fastpass we had, we went on 12 rides that day - it was incredible.  We rode the Race Cars (twice!), the Buzz Lightyear ride, Dumbo, Little Mermaid, It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's Philharmagic, The Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, the Pirates of the Carribean, is that 12 yet?  Ummm, we explored Tom Sawyer's play area island, I mean, I don't know if I can even remember everything we did.  The goal was to actually stay for fireworks that night, but around 6:30 p.m. we all decided enough was enough.  Regardless, it was a magical day.
 Buzz Lightyear ride!  It became one of his favorites!
 We got to shoot the bad guy with a laser gun!
 So excited before we take off!
 Look at those curls in the Florida heat! haha!
He kept waving to Mike every time we went around! 
He really loved Dumbo! So sweet!

Someone had a little crush on Ariel!
 Little Mermaid ride!
 Ahh! so many childhood memories! I love this ride!
 Eddie a little bit scared here seeing Captain Hook on the Peter Pan ride!
 It's a Small World
 The Race Cars!  Look who's driving!
After 9 hours in Magic Kingdom, we give up, we bought a 12 dollar balloon, we are going home!

Day 4: Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet at GKTW, Animal Kingdom, and Christmas Night at GKTW
Give Kids the World had characters coming to the campus all throughout the week.  We were sure to make time to meet Mickey Mouse.  Eddie was so excited and not scared at all.  He ran right across the stage into his arms.  It was so sweet.  After meeting Mickey, we grabbed breakfast and headed off to Animal Kingdom.  We had another long day in the park and the weather was very hot that day.  We rode many dinosaur rides, and played in the boneyard play area.  We rode on the African Safari and were able to see real giraffes and elephants up close.  We had front row seats to the live show of The Lion King.  Eddie loved the show, we all did!  Later that night Santa was at GKTW.  We waved to Santa but Eddie was too excited to wait in line to sit on his lap.  There were all sorts of games to play outside, plus more music and dancing, and even "snow."  Eddie kept saying, "Why is it Christmas?" We forgot our cameras that night, so no Christmas in the village pictures! Sorry!
 Meeting Mickey Mouse at GKTW!
 High Five!

 No better way to start our day!
 Yes!  We found Donald, his favorite!
 Eddie thinks Donald was so funny :)
But, he became so shy and would not smile or even look at Goofy. :( I think he was a little scared.
 On Daddy's shoulders!
 We had a stroller, but he preferred this :)

Day 5: Friday, October 10th: Hollywood Studios ALL DAY
Okay, so the first thing we did in Hollywood Studios was go and meet Lightning McQueen and Mater. Eddie is a huge Cars fan and seeing him stand with these guys just melted our hearts.  He loved them! We saw a Disney Junior Live show, and met Jake from the Neverland Pirates.  We then watched the Little Mermaid show, the live sing-a-long Frozen show, met Buzz and Woody, rode the Toy Story ride (twice), played in the Honey I Shrunk the kids play area,  and topped the day off with the Indiana Jones live stunt/explosion show.  Eddie loved every smoke-filled firey explosion, and I think Daddy did too :)
 Lightning McQeen and Mater!
 He was in his glory!
 His buddies!
 Disney Junior Live show with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters, Sofia, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Doc McStuffins.
 Front row seats!
High five!
 Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area.
 Buzz and Woody, his new pals!
He loved meeting these guys!
This guy came out of no where and scared the crap out of Eddie! It was so funny!

Day 6: Saturday, October 11th: GKTW, naps, and Magic Kingdom one last time!
Eddie was asking and asking and asking to go swimming again and to play mini-golf again, so we decided to spend much of our last day at GKTW.  Eddie could have stayed here all week without leaving once, and he would have been happy.  We walked around GKTW doing different things all morning, came home to nap, then showered for one last night in Magic Kingdom.  We rode 6 more rides (Race Cars, Buzz Lightyear, Dumbo, Goofy's Rollercoaster, Peter Pan, and Pirates of the Carribean- can you tell I have a boy????) and then we camped out with ice cream and popcorn for the Mainstreet Electrical parade and Wishes fireworks.  It was a great last night!
 Our GKTW villa
 The view across the street.
The ice cream shop that was open all day long.  Eddie came here every night for a new flavored milkshake.  He really likes strawberry milkshakes the best!
 Julie's Safari Theater where we met Mickey Mouse. 
 The tower in the Castle of Miracles.  All of the stars have a name on them and each star represents all of the kids that have been to GKTW.
  Eddie pointing to his star.  It will now be there forever :) with over 100,000 other stars.  This was both sad and remarkable to me... some of these kids have since passed away.  Let this place provide hope forever.
 The magic pillow tree, where all kids get to make a magic healing pillow.
 Look at all of the stars.
 Truly, a remarkable sight.
 The magic wishing well.  Eddie threw many, many pennies in there.
Eddie loved this little slide.
 I really lost count of how many times he went down this slide.
 The knight guarding the castle.
 The Gingerbread House where we ate breakfast and dinner most days.
The Enchanted Carousel that we rode about 7 times.
 Daddy and Eddie on the turtle.
 Me on the reindeer (Eddie's choice for me).
 Eddie riding the pig!
 O'Elmer the sleeping tree.
 He actually snores as your walk by.
 It scared Eddie EVERY day! haha!
 Selfie because.......
 Katie's Kitchen offered grab and go lunch!
Touring the Gallery of Hope. 
 Finding our villa on the GKTW map.
GKTW 7 hole mini-golf! 
 This might have been his favorite activity.
 We golfed 4 times in one week!
 The course was full of interactive dinosaurs....
 that shot water at you, 
 or roared when you finished putting, 
 and it scared Eddie every time.
We had a blast every time.  Eddie has zero patience whatsoever, and so each 7-hole game lasted at most, 15 minutes!
 Every time!!!
 So fun!
 Amberville train station and arcade.  All of the games and rides here are free. We came here at least every other day.  It's kinda like a Chuck-E-Cheese inside.
 Shooting hoops with Daddy!
Again, Eddie wanted to sit in the front to be the train master... whatever that means... 
 Riding the GKTW train.
 The pool!  The weather was awesome!  High 80's every day.
 Me and my buddy!
 Daddy having some fun!
 He kept saying, "Throw me again!"
 We could have stayed there all day :)
 Hi Minnie!
 Clapping and waving to Goofy!
 Buzz Lightyear ride one last time!
Dumbo one last time!
 Waiting for the Mainstreet Electrical parade to begin!
 Peter Pan and Captain Hook on their ship!
 And fireworks!
 Sitting on Daddy's shoulders for a better view!
And that's a wrap!

Day 7: Sunday, October 12th- Pack up, GKTW golf and games one last time, then off to the airport :(
Eddie did NOT want to leave.  He was very, very sad.  One lady asked him where he was from, and he said he was from Give Kids the World!  Haha! He absolutely loved that place!  But he keeps calling it "Kids Kids the World." We tried to explain it to him, not worth it.  He had the BEST time.  He was so incredibly happy every day. He loved every minute. What I love is that these memories are his forever.  

I have more photos if you can actually believe it, but this is a pretty good summary of our trip.  I cannot say enough how nice and accommodating everyone was from GKTW and Walt Disney World.  We were pretty much treated like celebrities.  Michael and I were joking that we can never EVER take Edward back, because we could never ever top this trip!

Gifts from GKTW: a giant Mickey Mouse stuffed animal, a mini-Mayor Clayton bunny stuffed animal, Candyland, Connect Four, Pirates of the Caribean DVD, a Transformer, Legos, a Sea World interactive telephone... and other things I am forgetting....

Things We Purchased For Edward in a Moment of Weakness: A Buzzlighter dart shooter, A BuzzLight Year Light up spinny thing (I don't even know), a giant Shamu (although I will justify that because he sleeps with it every night now), Lightning McQueen Mickey Mouse Ears, a light up Mickey glow stick, a pirate sword, a NASA remote control rocket (what?  I know.  That was Mike, ALL Mike.... it's not even d=Disney themed!!!!!!!!)  ummmm I think... I hope that's it....

THANK YOU Make-A-Wish.
THANK YOU Give Kids the World.
THANK YOU Aunt Annie.


Katie, Mike, and Eddie Spaghetti

P.S. If ANYONE buys Eddie a toy for Christmas, it will be donated to the local children's hospital.