It was December 28th, with a couple kids in our family finally seeming to come down with the flu we were trying to hard to avoid. So the many prayers, extensive hand washing, masks on the faces for the healthy people, vitamins galore and homeopathic remedies went into full swing, all in the hopes of a short existence for those who were sick and a non-existence for those who were healthy. It was only 3 days until our flight to Orlando.
December 30th came and Toby was still extremely feverish along with Addie. The rest of us were holding out. We went ahead and traveled to the hotel by the airport, in faith that things would turn around by morning.
We were all up bright and early. Toby's and Addie's fevers were both broken. Addie was doing remarkably better, but Toby had a cough. So we kept him in the mask for the entire travel day. We also kept Isaiah in a mask so he would not pick up the virus still.
Onto Orlando we went. We picked up our 15 passenger rental van at the airport and drove to our resort. We arrived in the evening to our amazing resort, Give Kids The World. It is a lovely, little place designed for Make A Wish children and their families. It is staffed by thousands of volunteers. There is a a carousel, train ride, arcade, swimming pool and splash area, mini golf, special visits with Mickey, horse back riding, ice cream to eat all day, and parties every night, all free! We could have spent our entire week just here, but we were also given free passes to Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studies. We hope to return to Give Kids The World as volunteers some day as the younger kids are older.
The weather during our entire week in Florida was beautiful. We even went to the beach one day, which was about an hour drive. I think that was one of the favorite days for all of us. Not only is the beach the most favorite place for many of us in our family to go, but it was just peaceful and relaxing. In spite of the annoying seagulls that kept trying to snatch our food from our bag.
|This was Addie's very first time at the beach. She wasn't so sure about the water, but she LOVED the sand.|
|This was Ellie's second time at the beach and she LOVED the water and the sand!|
|Isaiah and me on a train ride at Animal Kingdom.|
|At Animal Kingdom there was a safari jeep ride that was very neat. These rhinos were on a road right next to our jeep.|
Our first day to the parks we went to Animal Kingdom. We had a lot of fun there, however Jay stayed back at the hotel with Toby as his cough was wiping him out. Jay kept Ellie by default, as we knew she would have the hardest time in general at the parks, so any day she could get in her nap and hang out would be a bonus for her.
The next day we went to Magic Kingdom, our entire group. There were 13 of us. Our 12 in our family and we also brought along one of our helper young ladies, Charis. She was a huge blessing and we were so thankful to have another pair of hands and eyes to help navigate our crew around.
Magic Kingdom was my favorite park. That was also the day that Isaiah had a special meeting with Mickey Mouse. He was quite apprehensive to be close to Mickey. He looks a lot bigger than on the television. All the other kids did great and gave him hugs and high fives. It was really neat that this Mickey was able to talk to us with a real Mickey voice even.
|Fun meeting with Anna|
|Our family just arrived at Magic Kingdom.|
|Meeting Donald at Epcot|
|Epcot was very neat|
|In front of the famous Castle at Magic Kingdom|
We also had the wonderful opportunity to see my father, his wife and my half-brother James. They were taking James to the airport to head back to TX to finish up his tech school for security forces in the Air Force, just like Jay was. Anyway, they haven't ever met any of these children, only Tyler, so this was a privilege all around. They live about 2 hours away from Orlando, so they drove up and had breakfast with us in our villa.
Some of the younger kids had never been on a horse. We got everyone up except for Ellie. She was going to but when she saw the horse she just kept shaking her head "no, no"..No way, was she going to get on that animal!
|Isaiah on a horse for the first time, the volunteers were so kind and caring to all of us.|
Anyway, we enjoyed the Killer Whale and dolphin shows, we went on a few fun rides and got to feed the stingray and dolphins. It was a wonderful place. Lots of memories were made that day.
Here are a few photos from our adventures at Give Kids the World. We got to spend 6 nights and 7 days on this wonderful trip. We had a very long travel day home and got home at midnight, which felt like 2 AM to us due to the time difference. We were so blessed and can't thank everyone enough for making this trip possible for our Wish Kid. We are so honored and humbled.
|Hugs from Miss Mary.|
|Ice Cream every night!|
|Thank you Charis. We love you and so appreciated all your help!|
|We had a cute little Christmas Tree in our villas.|
|A Candyland Play ground. One of the daily gifts we received was a Give Kids the World Village Candyland Game.|