Make A Wish arranged for us to stay at Give Kids the World Village, an amazing resort for families on their child's wish trip. The Village is set up just for kids and was so amazing that we could have stayed there all week and had a wonderful time without any theme parks. Here is a picture of us as soon as we arrived at our villa.
We were at the Village from Saturday afternoon through Friday morning. We ate most of our meals in the Gingerbread House where all of the tables and chairs were kid-sized and ceilings were decorated with toys. The angels (volunteers) not only served us food, but carried our trays for us. Right outside the Gingerbread House was a carousel. The kids most have rode it a dozen or more times. Probably a couple of dozen times. They loved it!
The Village also had a giant sleeping tree that snored at us, a water park complete with pirate ship, dino putt putt, a train station with toy trains and a kid train, a life-sized Candy Land Game playground, and lots of other fun things for kids. And every day, when we returned to our villa, there were gifts for the kids! They got stuffed animals (lots and lots of stuffed animals). They got board games, videos, music, and other toys. It was all magical. A special place was the Castle of Miracles, where the kids could play and everyone can see the ceiling covered in over 140,000 stars. Each wish child who had stayed at the Village had a star on the ceiling. Here is a picture of DQ writing her name on her star for the Star Fairy to put in on the ceiling of the Star Tower (an addition built on to fit more stars!)
Both kids also got magic pillows in the Castle of Miracles to have magic dreams during our trip and at home.
One of DQ's favorite things was the ice cream parlor, which was open all day long. We had ice cream every day and we even had ice cream for breakfast! Sometimes, she needed two spoons to eat the ice cream cause it was just so good!
We had so much fun in the Village. The kids smiled whenever we were there and skipped as they walked about!
We also got passes to Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios, so we spent three days at Disney World seeing Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. We also took the kids to Sea World. The Mad Scientist and I spent an evening at Universal. Everything was so amazing. We got to the front of the line for everything we wanted to do. DQ was given royal treatment. She had a button from Give Kids the World that told people in the park she was a wish kid, so when we went places, the people knew. We watched lots and lots of parades and in each one, at least one dancer stopped to talk to DQ. Simply amazing. Here is a picture of DQ waiting for the Pixar Parade.
We watched lots and lots of shows.DQ' s favorite was the Mickey Christmas Show in front of Cinderella's castle. Below are some pictures. I tried to capture the pure joy she was showing. These are close, but not true enough. I guess you had to be there to see the utter joy of her being able to sing carols with Mickey and Minnie.
We also did awesome things like eat lunch with sharks, take a safari where a giraffe walked in front of our bus, and see Darth Vadar in person! A highlight was feeding and petting dolphins at Sea World.
But, the main wish for DQ was meeting the characters. And we did that. A lot. We met Jake (from Jake & the Neverland Pirates), Lightening McQueen, Mater, Phineas & Ferb, a green soldier from Toy Story, Buzz, Woody, Pluto, Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, Squidword, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), Ariel (the Little Mermaid) and Prince Eric, Shamu, and Tinkerbell. There were probably more as well, but I can't remember right now!
One of my favorite moments was DQ meeting Lightening for the second time. We were about to leave after taking all kinds of pictures. DQ ran back and hugged Lightening as only a three year old could do. She just stood there, hugging his headlight, knowing she might not see him again, just like he was a much-loved friend. The moment was magical (yes, that word again.) Lightening is one of her all time favorites. She sleeps with him every night.
Meeting Mickey and Minnie was pretty awesome too. They came to visit us at the Village, so we got a little more time with them.
DQ was all smiles when she met Tinkerbell.
But the most emotional moment of the week was meeting Elmo. DQ's initial wish was for Elmo and at Sea World, that wish came true. I was a blubbering mess as Elmo and all of the Sesame Street friends came to meet with us individually after their Christmas show.
This trip has proven that sometimes, wishes do come true. Seeing my baby's wish come true has done so much to help us all. The happiness that has been brought to our family because of DQ's wish being granted is magical. I know, I've used that word a lot, but there is no other way to describe what was the trip of a lifetime and memories I will cherish forever. I've never seen my girl as happy as she was last week. Thank you so much to the Michigan Chapter of Make a Wish and Give Kids the World Village!!!!!!