Emily’s Wish Day 1
The unexpected snowfall was both unwelcome and inconvenient; however, it didn’t create any problems other than worries and several trips out to the driveway to shovel the accumulating snow.
Both NJ and PA had declared a state of emergency, so our scheduled driver couldn’t leave until 7am, causing us to be delayed about an hour. To be fair, the Make-A-Wish coordinator had him coming a little early because of the car seats to be sure we’d have enough time.
Jay was an excellent driver and had us at the airport in plenty of time and was a big help loading and unloading in the cold and wet weather. Once we were inside, it really wasn’t too bad until we got to the security checkpoint, only because we had so many carry-ons, so many kids, so many pairs of shoes, and so many jackets that we were still loading things into the machine with nobody to unload on the other end causing a bit of a pileup. Aimee dotted all her i’s and crossed all her t’s in regards to Emily’s medical bag, so that delay was even relatively short.
The flight was right on time and we had priority boarding. The attendants were very helpful throughout and even though takeoff was EXTREMELY turbulent, our kids were shouting and screaming because they thought it was so fun! Even Emily was all smiles… Carter did get sick about an hour in, but was very happy that we had an identical shirt for him to change into (sometimes, OVER planning is just enough).
Once we landed, the GKTW greeter, Hope, met us and helped us to quickly find and move our baggage to the car rental garage. Once there, they told me to go pick a van. I found a Dodge Caravan and we loaded everyone in. When I started to put Em’s KidKart in, we realized we’d just hit our first major snag. It didn’t fit. It didn’t fit in any direction unfolded or folded. Once we admitted to ourselves that we’d have to start moving car seats into another van; Hope and I sought out a van that could hold Em’s chair. We ended up in a Sienna. If it had been white, I think the kids would have thought we’d had our own minivan shipped to Florida.
The kids were cranky, tired, and hungry. If you wonder why I didn’t include a lunch break in this detail filled post, it is because we never had any. Oops…
We arrived at GKTW and met another greeter, Don, who gave us the rundown of the village and escorted us to our villa. This place is beyond description. The playground across the street would be enough reason to fly down here. The carousel that is at ground level and wheelchair accessible is at the top of our list for the rest of the week, but for now, we needed to eat something. We called and ordered (Boston Market sponsored) chicken and meatloaf from Kate’s kitchen as well as took a ride to the ice cream parlor(Friendly’s) for dessert. Aimee went to the orientation to get our park passes and other info while I tended to the medicine, formula mixing and crankiness. Once Aimee returned, she led the bedtime routine and unpacked all the clothes and I went to Walmart for some essentials.
The kids enjoyed some made-up Disney songs as we tucked them in. Aimee’s lyrics rhyme better than mine, but we all have our weaknesses…
Emily’s Wish Day 2
A highly respected friend has a saying, “Some people wouldn’t be happy in Disneyworld.” Sadly, some people just can’t be pleased and can’t help but complain. Thankfully, there is nothing to complain about here. Our day was FANTASTIC. The kids got to see a parade, go on a few rides, enjoy some souvenirs, see some shows and see kindness from everyone.
The master plan was to dress in our Mickey Gear, go to Magic Kingdom in the morning, then do a costume change and check out Hollywood Studios. We set the alarm for 6:30, hoping to be out the door at quarter after eight…
At 6:30, Emily’s feeding ended and then she choked and became sick all over her beautiful personalized pillowcase. After four episodes, she calmed down, stopped crying, and fell sound asleep in her own mess while Aimee ran the bath water. During the early morning bath , Emily giggled throughout, while I put the laundry on*.) *Yes, GKTW not only provides a full size washer and dryer in the villa, but also enough detergent to do 2 loads each day!
Unfortunately, I too, started feeling nauseous and we were starting to question how to alter the schedule, but everyone was so excited about seeing the castle, and Emily seemed to be ok…
Drew, Brenna, and Carter got to try Matthew’s Boundless Playground which is a Candyland themed playground that is as accessible as possible for children with disabilities. They (of course) loved it and took turns running to colored spaces and can’t wait to go back.
We finally left the village at 10am and the kids loved the monorail once we got to Magic Kingdom. Emily slept through the parade, but everyone else was wide-eyed throughout and we got our first Photo Pass picture taken (which ended up being the only time we saw a photographer the whole day, but we aren’t going to be unhappy in Disney World).
Aimee and I decided long ago that It’s a Small World would be our only “Must see” attraction, since we thought it was gentle enough for Emily, and there would be plenty of music, movement, and lights. It was our first ride, and I can honestly say we could come home tomorrow and I’d have no regrets. We were able to have her stay in her chair on a special boat and she(right on cue) opened her eyes and smiled throughout the entire ride.
After lunch, we enjoyed the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. They even used a joke that Drew submitted. “What happens when a ghost falls down?” wait for it… “He gets a Boo Boo”. The kids all laughed and Emily stayed awake for the whole show. I guess she has a lot of Aimee in her, she also sleeps during boring things like car rides and conversations with me…but wakes up for the end of movies and game winning homeruns. Afterwards, Emily and I hung around while everyone else defeated the evil Zurg on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. Carter and Drew each found Buzz Lightyear light up guns and we proceeded to another shop to get Minnie headbands for Emily and Brenna.
While Aimee and Brenna were in line, the rest of us hung out by the door out of the wind. Emily choked once and then got sick BIG TIME. Her cart, her coat, her texture bag, and her brother (Carter, who was standing in front of her) all were in need of a good cleaning. No less than half a dozen strangers offered to help and (cast member) Ralph, who we had struck up a conversation with earlier ran to get Aimee, brought me additional tissues and a bag for the initial clean up.
We were planning on meeting Mickey and Minnie, but instead detoured to a secret chamber of awesomeness hidden in Magic Kingdom (I’ll never tell)
The Wish Lounge is a quiet room decorated with beautiful furniture, a life sized replica of “The Genie’s Lamp” and wonderful Aladdin and other Disney artwork. This lounge is exclusive for guests of the charitable organizations that send kids to Disney. Aimee cleaned up Emily and her chair in a private area while Carter, Brenna, and Drew relaxed on oversized pillows, a vintage chaise lounge and drank cold bottled water in the only quiet room in Magic Kingdom (I know, awesome). The best part was the discussion between Drew and I on the dangers of rubbing the Genie’s Lamp in a small room with lots of fragile, fancy, furniture. He decided we should take it out of the room to rub it, because we’d have to use our first wish to clean up everything. This kid is going to grow up to be something pretty amazing. He’s far more logical than the standard middle school kid.
After we cleaned up, we headed back to the Village. Emily was able to ride the carousel, but we didn’t have a camera with us. We’ll be returning tomorrow, I’m sure. Everyone loved it and Emily could park inside a turtle and smiled until the carousel (on her second turn) slowly soothed her back to sleep.
We are back at the Villa now, enjoying some pizza for dinner and hoping tomorrow will be as special as today was, but with less laundry…