Our friends from Magic Moments met us at the Birmingham Airport on Valentines' Day to send us on our way in style. Yes, we left to go to the happiest place on earth on Valentine's Day, not too bad, huh? Magic Moments (www.magicmoments.org) is the organization that sent us on this trip of a lifetime and Give Kids the World Village is the place we stayed at in Kissimmee, FL. Sophie Kate was given a little Mickey Mouse and some glow sticks and bracelets for all the parades and nighttime shows we would be attending on our trip. The boys were given a bag of snacks and candy for the trip thus kicking off a week of over indulugence (in a good way) like we could have never imagined.
On the plane, Sophie Kate was fussed over by the flight attendants of course. And in true SK fashion, she did better than I did on the flight over and let's just leave it at that. We were then met at the Orlando airport by a sweet lady holding this sign...Yeah, we were feeling kind of like celebrities at this point. She took us to get our luggage, took us to our rental van and then made sure we had our directions to Give Kids the World Village. Once we made it to the village, our children received even more welcome gifts and then we were taken to our villa.
Our villa was just beautiful and fit our family of 6 perfectly. It backed up to a lake and was on a quiet little street just around the corner within walking distance from all the fun stuff. Magic Moments ordered all the medical equipment and supplies Sophie Kate would need for the week and they delivered it all to our villa. The only things we brought with us, medically speaking where the things we needed for her on the plane and her medicines. When I say we were completely taken care of, it doesn't even begin to describe it.
We arrived at GKTW around 4:00 on Saturday, Feb. 14, so after unloading we spent the rest of the evening exploring. We played Putt Putt golf, in which Sophie Kate proceeded to beat all of us unmercilessly. Of course, everything and everywhere at the Village is completely accomodating and accessibile for wheelchairs.
We had dinner at the Gingerbread House, where would be having many meals during our stay.
Cooper and Jacob even got involved in some of the games that evening. We found out very quickly that there is always something going on at the Village.
Their cup stacking skillz came in handy.
I went to a parent meeting that night where my mind was blown even further. We received tickets to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Seaworld Orlando. In addition, we received a special pass for all three parks that only GKTW families receive. Those passes gave us access to a once in a lifetime trip.
As special as this trip was for our family and y'all all know how much I love Disney, equally special was the time we spent at GKTW. The village is run mainly by voluteers. The actual employees we saw paled in comparison to the huge amounts of volunteers. These folks made us feel so special during our stay. Give Kids the World Village was started by Henry Landwirth, who is a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. Please go to their website (www.gktw.org) and read about his story and how his vision for the Village has grown into the amazing place it is today for special needs children and their families.
Well, that was our arrival day. It was packed full and set the stage for an unforgettable week of suprises, experiences and memories.
Here is a small glimpse into our week at the parks...
Y'all know I will give each day its due. I am going to have so much fun reliving this trip through pictures with you. Thanks for continuing to share in this journey with our family...it's gonna be fun!