Before I get on with our trip report, I wanted to ask you if you would keep our family in your prayers. Tomorrow Matt and I will take Brady for our long-awaited appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. If you remember, we are seeing a new doctor hoping to get a more “hopeful” 2nd opinion. Although we are praying that there are options available to intervene and fight against Brady’s spinal deformity, we are nonetheless sad and afraid that we may have to interrupt Brady’s life once again with some form of treatment. We have read about several different approaches, all of which are quite ground-breaking, and they each come with their own risks and discomforts for Brady. Of course our greatest prayer would be that the XRAYs tomorrow would show no further progression in his spinal curve. Our God has shown us many miracles along this journey, and we trust that nothing is outside of His reach. Thank you for continuing to pray for precious Brady:)
We are already on to Day 4! That means that reliving my vacation is almost over too:(
Before I share what we did on Wednesday, here are a few pictures from my mom’s camera from our first 3 days.
Inside the main building at the Grand Floridian.
Toddlers in rain ponchos…too cute! They look like little E.T.s! By Wednesday we had been at the parks for two straight days and we were ready for a break day. At the beginning of our trip report, I told you a little about Give Kids the World Village.
It is a little confusing to understand how the Make a Wish process happens, but I’ll do my best. The Make a Wish Foundation of Western New York and Give Kids the World Village of Kissimmee Florida partnered together to make Brady’s wish come true. Give Kids the World village is a not-for-profit resort where families who are on Make a Wish Trips to the Disney-area can stay. The provide free food, lodging, and transportation to the families staying there. Even though we opted to stay on Disney property, we were invited to visit Give Kids the World as often as we wanted during our week. They are also the ones who provide Wish Families with tickets to Disney and other parks.
Matt and I went the first night of our trip for orientation and then brought the whole family back for the day on Wednesday. The moment we arrived, we knew it was a special place that we would never forget.
Give Kids the World Village has areas of villas were guests stay that look like a pretty neighborhood with curved streets and lovely landscaping. The common buildings of the Village are all themed for children and are simply amazing.
Here is the Gingerbread House Restaurant. We went here first to enjoy a free (and very delicious) breakfast. The Restaurant is staffed by volunteers, most of whom were retired men and women who were so sweet and accommodating. They served your food cafeteria style and then one of them would carry your tray for you back to your table.
Brady was such a goofball! Did I mention that he never stopped talking throughout the entire trip? When everyone else fell asleep in the car? Brady was chatting…While we were dead-tired on our way back to the resort? Brady was chatting…blah-blah-blah-blah!
Next the kids took rides on the Enchanted Carousel. There were no other kids on it that morning, so the Williams 3 got as many rides as they wanted! Allie of course sat that one out!
The ceiling is covered with thousands and thousands of individual stars. Each star represents a child who has been a guest at Give Kids the World. I couldn’t help but be humbled knowing I was standing where so many families had stood before, each facing their own child’s illness, many of them knowing this is the last vacation they will ever take with their child. It was a special place…
When we arrived, Brady and I got to write his name on his star. Then he put in in a magic box and the Star Fairy came (via a few cleverly set up TV screens) and took his star and promised to fly up to the ceiling that night and place it among all the others. In a few weeks we will receive a certificate letting us know where his star was placed.
Here we are writing his name on his star. Look at his sweet little hand on top of mine.
The kids each also got to use the Magic Pillow machine. This was the most clever and adorable thing! The kids pushed a button to choose what type of pillow they wanted. The machine started shaking and making chicken noises (indicating that the “chickens” inside were busy stuffing the pillow with their feathers!). Then bubbles came pouring out of the machine! Finally a toddler-sized pillow dropped out of the bottom of the machine. SO super cute!
The castle was filled with all sorts of surprises for the kids. Here is Brady opening drawers and doors that covered one of the walls. Each time he did, he heard a silly noise!
Here are Cara, Grandma Kathy, Eli, and Matt on the way to the Amberville Train Station.
On the way there we stopped at a fish pond and got some great pictures!
This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip. I love how it really captures a spontaneous moment in time.
Always time for a hug!
“WAIT! Don’t move…I’ve almost got the picture….Oh forget it!”
At the train station, there was an incredible model train display!
I love taking pictures of my kids’ feet!
This monkey was showing us the way to the train rides. There were volunteers waiting there to give just us a ride (as many as the kids wanted!)
It had been drizzling all morning, but we were happy to find out that the mini gold course opened up after being closed due to the rain. Matt, who loves to golf, took the job of teaching our kids putt putt pretty seriously!
The kids of course don’t take anything that seriously!
It was time to eat again, this time we enjoyed food from Boston Market who sponsors a food stand inside Give Kids the World. Afterwards we enjoyed ice cream that the kids at the village can have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
We said goodbye to Give Kids the World Village in the early afternoon, but we knew we would be back someday! The Village welcomes all former Wish Families to stop back and visit for a day when they are in the area again. I will never, ever forget this place and we are so grateful for their generosity and love.
Even Brady was tired out. Notice he is snuggling up with his new pillow!
I must have put away my camera for the rest of Wednesday as I have no pictures to show! During naptime mom and I went to the Main Building at the Grand and asked a concierge to help us find a dinner reservation. Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Ron had reservations at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort. We were able to get a dinner reservation for mom, the kids, Matt, and I at the Wilderness Lodge Campground. This campground area is part of the Wilderness Lodge Resort. By this point in the week, the weather was starting to change. Temperatures were dropping and it was a dark, rainy night. We got on the monorail and headed to the Magic Kingdom. From there we boarded a boat that took us to the Campground, which was about 10-15 minute ride in the cold rain! We docked and had to run into the woods and to the Trail’s End Restaurant.
Matt and I had been in this area on our honeymoon, but we had the pleasure of going to see the Hoop Dee Doo Review which was one of our best memories! That dinner show is right next door to where we had dinner. (By the way, I give the Hoop Dee Doo Review 4 very enthusiastic stars!)
The Trails End Restaurant was a rustic buffet with good country-style food. I’m giving it 3 stars (***) for good service and satisfying food. I’m not much of a country girl, so the rustic atmosphere didn’t do much for me:)
After dinner we headed back to the resort the same way we had come. This time it was just a bit colder and windier. We huddled together with the kids and told them that we were on a big adventure!
I want to take a minute to brag about my kids. Each of them really exceeded our expectations with their behavior throughout the trip. They were so much fun, so enjoyable, and truly well behaved. There were very few tears, I can’t remember any tantrums, and it reaffirmed what I already know…
I have four great kids!