Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make A Wish Trip Day 1 - Departure

Zach was granted a wish from Make A Wish Foundation and he chose DisneyWorld. We have been waiting for this trip for a long time and it is hard to believe it is finally here.

These posts are an attempt to document the trip and share the fun with our friends and family. Most of this will be pictures and short videos.

Day 1 - May 9, 2010 (Mothers Day)
Our Flight on Southwest Airlines from St Louis to Orlando was at 10:45am. We were a bit worried about how Zach and his wheelchair would make it through security, so we wanted to be there 2 hours early. We got up at 6:30 to get ready and get the kids ready by about 8am. Luckily the kids had been packed since Friday, and Todd and I finished packing at about 2am on Sunday morning - 4 hours sleep is not much.....
But we made it to the airport with no problems (except the fact that our van battery was dead, and we had to jump it after we had loaded all our luggage - luckily it started right up). Thanks Dad for driving us.
We unloaded and got in line to check our luggage. They tagged Zachs chair and we headed to security. We really didn't have any problems in security. They patted Zach down and there was some questions about his pump, but overall it was fine. They didn't have a problem with the charger either.

Once we got through security, we were a bit hungry, so we stopped at Duncan Donuts and got some breakfast. Nothing like paying way too much for not so great food......sounds like vacation already.
After breakfast we headed to the plane. We were a bit early, so we had a wait about 45 minutes. Zach liked watching (and asking non-stop questions) everything happening on the tarmac, and especially watching for out plane to pull up.They let us on the plane first and Zach drove right to the door and then we carried him to his seat (they took the wheelchair to stow it below - Zach was pretty worried that they would do something to break his chair.....can't blame him, I was a bit worried also.) We got our seats, and since we were the first ones on the plane the pilot called the kids to come to the cockpit. Cassi got to sit in the pilots seat, and even got to push levers and buttons.
Pretty cool. Southwest just won some points in the Blakemore book.

Todd (aisle), Zach (middle), and Brianna (window) were in one row, and Cassi (window) and I (middle) were in the row behind. The kids had never flown (that they could remember), so they were nervous/excited to finally take off. They had their gum ready and we took off. We were on our way to a week of magic.

They loved the take off and were excited about seeing everything so small. Of course they soon needed somethign else to entertain them, so we pulled out my new netbook and Todd's laptop and queued up some movies. Headphones were on and entertainment ensued. They did really well on the flight and it went a lot quicker than anticipated.

When we got close to Orlando, the pilot announced we were cleared for landing in Orlando, Brianna turned to Todd and said in all seriousness "Oh no Dad - we are on the wrong plane. We were supposed to DisneyWorld, not Orlando" It was quickly explained Orlando was the city where Disney World was located. Break down averted. We had to wait for everyone to exit the plane and then another 15 minutes for them to get the wheelchair off and up to the jetbridge for us. To our relief, it worked fine.
We headed to find our luggage and the man in the Red Derby Hat (he was the guy that would bring us to our rental van). We found the Derby Hat guy (can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of him) and then he lead us the baggage carousel. We waited forever for our luggage to come, but the kids were troopers.

We headed to the van and got all loaded. How cool is that to have a ramp van rental. Make-A-Wish of course arranged everything…..amazing. Now to the Give Kids the World Village – check out the link, this place is amazing - where we will be staying for the next 6 days. Of course if you clicked the link you would have found that this is a special village just for make a wish kids. I won’t go into details as their website does a good job.Once we got the village, the first thing they did was direct us to the icecream palace for lunch and of course icecream. The kids ate icecream first and then some of their lunch – hey it’s their dream vacation, why not icecream first for every meal.

After lunch, we went back for our orientation and to have them show us where our villa was. We learned all about the village and activities each day/night. We got to our villa, and they had a great gift bag for the kids. Oh yeah they also had a big Mickey doll for Zach, and some Shamu whales for the girls. Zach was in heaven. He had brought 2 Mickey dolls with him already, and now he had 3.
We quickly unpacked and head to the pool. It was a great pool and they had a huge splash pad also . In fact, they even had a place to catch some waves…….
After swimming, we headed to dinner, and then more icecream. By this time it was almost 9:30 and we were ready to get them to bed. We walked back to our villa, and got the kids ready for bed. They said their prayers – all by themselves, without our prompts or even involvement, and were soon out. Zach is in Mickey heaven, I am sure he will have dreams of Mickey tonight.That pretty much wraps up the day. Tomorrow we are headed to meet Mickey and Minnie – as they come to visit the kids at the village each Monday and Thursday. Zach can hardly stand it. After that we will head to Disney World, Magic Kingdom!!!!!!!


Tami said...

I LOVE this post! How cool you all got to see the cockpit of the plane! I'm so excited for you and the kids this whole week. I love the surfing pics and the one of Zach sleeping with his Mickeys. I can't wait to read the next post!

Amy said...

What a fun time to make great memories. I'm glad your family gets to enjoy it together!

em said...

Wow! So much fun! That is awesome that the kids got to see the cockpit! I love reading about your adventures and seeing the pictures! The kids look so happy and excited. I love the surfing pictures. I'm sure the kids will have ice cream every day! What an awesome place. Thanks for posting! Keep it coming!

Louise said...

What a wonderful grand adventure! I love the pictures and the stories. Thanks for sharing.

Sandy said...

This is such a sweet adventure for your deserving family. I look forward to more blogs. Have fun.

Jer and Cam said...

Natalie! I found your blog from Cherilyn's and it's so fun to see your family! Zach is so big and Brianna was just tiny when we left St. Louis. So glad to see you're doing well and what an amazing trip!
I read an article about you in the BYU magazine a while back. Congrats on all your success with Zach's park. What an accomplishment. We think the world of you guys and wish we still lived closer! Much Love,Camie