OUR MAKE -A- WISH TRIP WAS AMAZING !
So it has been over month since we got back and I just got the time to sit down and write about it.(Ok, so I'm siting down a second time to continue writing.) As soon as we came back I had laundry, unpacking, new school for Jasiu and year end close at work (read: long hours at the office + weekends for almost 3 weeks). I did go through our pictures during the late night hours and compiled our memory photo book, but it took all the energy I had left after that trip. So let's start at the beginning...
Shortly after his 3rd surgery (April 2012) I applied to Make-a-Wish for Jasiu to see if his wish could be granted. For those that are not familiar with Make a Wish, "Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve." (from: www.wish.org)
Jasiu's paperwork was sent to his medical team reviewed and he qualified for a wish, it is a common unfortunate misconception that a child has to be dying in order to have a wish granted. We were overwhelmingly grateful that he got this opportunity and yet it is also a reminder that Jasiu does have a life-threating medical condition despite how well he looks on the outside.
We met with our wish granters last winter and Jasiu decided he wanted to meet Mickey, Daffy, Goofy and the clubhouse friends. We were granted to go to Disney World in Florida. We decided he should be just a bit older before we go so that he can enjoy and remember the trip a bit more. A whole year we waited, the kids even forgot about it for a bit and then we surprised this December that we will be off to meet Mickey.
We had a fun start to our trip as the limo guy is the one who woke us up at 5:15am. We set our alarm clock for 4:00 am so that we could get ready and then slowly wake up the kids and not agitate them too much as it s quite early for our guys, but my husband set his alarm clock for 4 am on next Saturday not Monday. So the limo driver who was sitting on our driveway since 5am called my cell phone at 5:15 !!!! Well that was an abrupt wake up call, we double teamed, Joe got the bags in the limo, (good thing they were all packed the night before) and I got the kids not so subtly woken up, dressed and out the door. When we were driving away from our home it was 5:25 !!! We did it all in 10 minutes and we did not forget anything. AMAZING !
In addition to a limo to and from the airport, with Make-a-Wish trip is you get amazing service at the airport, you skip all the lines, go straight to TSA and get a helper to help you with bags and then we were off. Our flight was not bad, kids were excited and we got a Give Kids the World Greater at the airport. GKTW is an experience in and of itself. It is a village for "wish" kids. You spend the week in your fully eqipped villa, meals, all you can eat pizza and ice cream plus all other meals. There is a heated pool, splash pad, playground, arcade, and much more. Every week the village celebrates Halloween, Christmas, Birthday party for the Mayor, Pirate and Princess night, etc... ohh and the mayor is a 6 foot Rabbit, Mayor Clayton. The Mayor can come and tuck the kids in one night, that was a blast. You can spend the whole week on the property and not get bored at all... but that's not the end of it. We got 3 day passes to all 4 Disney parks, 2 day passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and 1 day pass to Sea World, it's really amazing because it's not just regular passes, they are "Wish" passes which grant you access to all the rides and character greetings without waiting in any of the lines. AMAZING once in a lifetime opportunity. (let me tell you for Anna and Elsa, the line was about 3 hours long, Ariel, 1.5hrs., Merida 2 hrs. Whinnie the pooh 1hr, most rides were 55 min +. You could easily spend one full day just waiting in lines and we didn't - All the staff members recognize the "Wish Geanie" and just help in any accomodating way they can.
So I carefully planned out each day, located the kid rides we were going to experience and shared it with the family, but as plans like to do, they changed... we were exhausted and had to take a day to recuperate and visit urgent care for an unexpected ear infection for Jasiu. One day and one prescription for antibiotic later and we were back on track.
The highlight of our trip for Jasiu was meeting his current heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We had to travel to the Nickelodeon Hotel and had a private meeting with all four TMNT. It was a bit weird that Jasiu was a very shy and not super ecstatic, but he came around and he turned out to have a blast. I think he may have been overwhelmed by the whole thing. We all had a good time and enjoyed our private meeting with the turtles. Turns out that the ear infection was already brewing in Jasiu because I checked his temperature that evening and it was elevated. I checked in the morning and it was a full blown fever and an ear ache. So instead of Animal Kingdom, we went to urgent care the next day.
Day 1 - Getting to FL an spending time at GKTW at their Halloween Party
Day 2 - Hollywood Studios including many rides, character greets , Holiday Lights Show and Frozen Sing along experience
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom (New Years Eve) including Fireworks show, Cinderella's Castle light show (2 different ones) Meeting Elsa and Anna and many more characters, rides and great time. Mommy did 32,000 steps that day !. We were so tired we didn't even make the GKTW NYE party.
Day 4 - Sea World and Meeting the TMNT, great fun day but we started noticing Jasiu being more cranky and irritable. Christmas party at the village
Day 5 - AM - Urgent Care, antibiotics. PM - Downtown Disney Emily had a princess transformation booked and Jasiu spent lots of time in the LEGO store. Considering the circumstances a decent day plus Mayor Clayton came to tuck the kids into bed. .
Day 6 - Animal Kingdom - Amazing experience and Jasiu was sooo much better, In the evening it was Princess and Pirate party at GKTW
Day 7 - Day to go home we made it to Universal Studios and in the morning before our flight home to see some more of our favorite character.
This trip was such a blessing to us and it helped us celebrate the hardships that Jasiu went through to get to this point. It was a once in a lifetime trip that I hope the kids never forget, even if it is just by looking through the pictures.
Here are a few pictures and a link to the memory book that I created that captures the amazing moments we had. I will never forget the true happiness on the faces of my kiddos when they experienced it all.
After the week long adventure, we came back tired and sad that we had to leave but so happy that we go to experience Disney World and Florida in such a special way.