I am sure that it will take several posts to completely fill you all in on Sam's amazing Make-A-Wish trip to Disney. It truly was the trip of a life time. Here is the basic run down..
Day 1 (10.8.09)
We didn't end up leaving Lindenhurst until about 1:30 on Thursday when we planned to leave closer to 10:am. We picked up Andrew at school and headed out. I had made reservations at a hotel near Atlanta GA. The drive was pretty uneventful but we didn't arrive at the hotel until about 4:25 AM. I think the check in clerk thought I was nuts. But we checked in, got a few hours of sleep and were back on the road by 9:30am.
Day 2 (10/10/09)
We arrived at my Aunt Ann and Uncle Ray's house in Brandon FL at about 7:30PM. The boys were full of energy. We ordered pizza and called it a night. The next morning after a dip in the pool we headed out to Ybor City for Cuban sandwiches. We rode the trolley and spend the day just hanging out. We had our orientation appointment at Give Kids the World at 7:45pm and that is where we got all our tickets/passes. It was about an hour and a half drive and we just made it in time. However the orientation was filled so I waited for the 9:00 session. In the mean time we were escorted to our villa (#123) and began to settle in. The villas are amazing... 2 bedroom, 2 baths with a living room, laundry and large eat-in kitchens. Every morning we were surprised to find special gifts for the boys (everything from games, stuffed animals, DVDs and much more). I will write another post just about Give Kids the World Resort... it is an amazing place. And yet another post about all the characters and special people we met.
our home sweet home at GKTW
Today we started hitting the parks. I will say that we had more passes than we had time to use them (Thank you Make A Wish). We planned to meet Uncle Ray and Aunt Ann at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. It was very clear that it was going to be a very hot week. Everyone was telling us that it was unseasonably warm for this time of year and there were times when I thought the boys might melt. So water rides were top on our list. At the end of the day we realized that we never even made it into Universal Studios... we spent the entire day in Islands of Adventure (AMAZING and they treated us like VIPs) You see with our special passes we got escorted to the front of the line...we never waited for more than a few minutes for anything. This was a blessing due to the heat but even then a very special treat indeed. When we tried to pass over to Universal at the end of the day we found that it was closed for their Halloween Bash (to reopen later that night). Besides we were all exhausted and hot so we headed back to the villa and ordered pizza and salad.
Today we went to Animal Kingdom. Again another hot day...I guess you could say it was Africa-Hot (LOL) but the boys really enjoyed the Safari ride and the Lion King show was amazing. After a long day we headed back to GKTW for some ice cream and a dip in the pool.
tree of life
my boys in front of the tree of life
Today we went to Sea World. We saw some amazing shows and got to feed dolphins and stingrays and again got some special service with this. I have some great pics that I will post soon of the boys feeding the dolphins. We then took them to the underwater viewing area and it was funny to see a few of the dolphins really take an interest in Sam's wheelchair. The checked him out up and down... or it could have just been that they were saying thank you for all the fish. The first tray of fish Sam was given he through right into the water...the whole thing. They gave him another one but the dolphins really liked the extra treat. The assistant also kept calling them over to us and had them get up on a ledge so that the boys could touch them and get a really close look.
Today we went to the Magic Kingdom and the Epcot laser light show/fireworks. We knew it would be a long day so we let the boys sleep in a bit. We stayed at the park all day (more on this later) then about 8:00 we took the monorail over to Epcot for the show.
We went to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom again then back to Hollywood Studios for the Fantasmic Show. Andrew was chosen for Jedi Training Academy and he did awesome (more on this later). We played in the Bugs Life playground and had a great day. In the late afternoon we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to catch a few special things that we missed. It started raining and the boys played in the rain. So after we were completely soaked we headed over to meet the Princesses (this will be a whole post later). Sam loves Cinderella so this was a must. With our special passes we got right to the front but being the only mom in line with a boy... and not being dressed in a gown with sparkles I got a few looks (LOL). OMG...this was amazing and I could hardly tear Sam away.
Sadly this was the day that we had to leave GKTW. We packed up our stuff, gave Sam's star to the Star Fairy and all the boys made their special pillows (more later). And as one last treat...after we checked out we used our complimentary passes to go to Aquatica (water park at sea world). Then we started making our way to Apex North Carolina to see Brad and Kim. We stopped for the night and got an early start.
We made to Brad and Kim's... yea!!!
We went to the North Carolina State Fair... seriously the largest state fair ever and I swear they deep fry EVERYTHING. A whole lotta happy!
We headed up to Martinsburg WV to see Pat's cousin Jen and her family. We had fun with the Sampsells and I think the kids were over joyed to be out of the van
We headed to Washington DC for our whirlwind tour of the Capital.
Started making our way back to IL. We stopped in Cleveland for the night and hit the hotel pool.
Day 14 (10.22.09)
Home again home again!
I have to say that our entire trip was wonderful... we tried not to rush too much, we pulled over to see interesting things, we ate when we were hungry and we slept...well never. There is no way possible to get everything in one post to look forward to several more.