Oh boy, there is so much to tell about, I'm sorry for how very long this post will be! I'm just not willing to leave anything out!

Day one was travel day and we were so glad to get that part over with. Air travel is not the easiest thing to do with 4 kids, 3 of them 5 and under. It was pretty bad, but we survived. The first 5 minutes after take off and the 5 minutes of landing were fun, the rest was pure torture. We had a stop in Chicago after 2 1/2 hours, then ran off the flight for some food (they don't serve meals anymore on planes!! Booooo to airlines!) Anyhow, they also don't preboard small children any more, so we had to wait until the very end to board. We probably could have been on a comedy show trying to get situated with our kids. Everyone was praying we were not going to plop down by them, hehe. I caught a couple of young guys whispering and looking at us and chuckling, then sure enough one of them ended up next to us. Surely he was whispering about how excited he was to sit by us :) The one thing that make it all better was a sweet woman next to us that gave us a lovely compliment after a long flight with misbehaving kids. I will pay that forward by giving a compliment someday to someone who is a bit flustered. It meant a lot.

When we arrived, Brinley was greeted by someone from Give Kids the World, the village we stayed at. The kids were given some stuffed animals right when we got there, and a gift bag of goodies and fun stuff was on our table. The kids were so excited, especially when we got to meet Mayor Clayton, the bunny mayor of Give Kids the World. The girls had heard all about him and were thrilled to see him in person!

Give Kids the World (GKTW) is a village that was made just for wish kids. I want to tell you all about that first. It was started by a man who was a Holocost survivor and wanted to make a difference in the lives of children who had life threatening illnesses. It is truly a magical place. By the time we left, I had truly grasped it's purpose and it made it all the sweeter. They have created a fairy tale place for children who have seen some very dark times. Everything about it was like every child's dream.

There is a carousel you can ride any time, every time Brinley walked by it she wanted to jump on and have a couple rides. Before breakfast, after breakfast, before dinner, after dinner. All the rides are free, they even have those little rides like the ones outside the grocery store (the ones your kids ask to ride every time you walk by them...) but you could just push the button and ride! I think Brinley rode her favorite one about 20 times in a row, no joke. You can also order pizza every night, which we did practically every night. There is an ice cream shop open at 7am! (All of this at no cost at all). They have a castle of miracles where a star is hung for each child who has stayed at GKTW, so Brinley got her star hung too. We had to spend a whole day just doing things there because there is so much to do. Each night there is something new. One night there is a Christmas party, then a birthday party for Mayor Clayton, a life-size candyland game, lots of dancing and games, a tea party with a princess, nail painting and make-up, the list goes on. My kids were IN HEAVEN! Each day was a new gift on our table when we came home. Movies, games, toys. We had a whole duffel bag of gifts just from GKTW when we came home.

GKTW is full of volunteers. Throughout the year, they have about 8000 volunteers there. Everywhere you turn there is someone with a volunteer button on. They carry your trays for breakfast and dinner, they deliver food to your door, they give you train rides. I had to really fight back tears in the beginning when I saw how many good people there are willing to give up their time like that to do something nice for families like ours. It was an amazing experience, we feel so blessed to have been there to witness it and be receivers of the goodness in these wonderful people. Words can't describe it. So here are some pictures.

I would have to say the highlight of GKTW was the "tuck in" with Mayor Clayton. One night while you are there you can schedule for Mayor Clayton to tuck in your kids. The kids were full of giggles, and the pictures turned out great, but to get the whole experience you have to watch the video. So I decided just to share the video with you!

Mayor Clayton's Tuck In from David H Torres on Vimeo.

We spent 3 days at Disney World. I love Disney! Disneyland has always been one of my favorite places, and Disney World held true. We were treated like royalty, we got passes to the front of all the lines for rides and character meets. Make A Wish gave us all of our spending money, including souvenirs, so there was no expense on our end whatsoever. It was such a happy place, so cliche, but true! Just look at my kids faces and you can't argue it!

Here was Brinley's actual wish, to meet the Little Mermaid. She hasn't stopped talking about it!

The Wish Lounge - I just have to put in this little tidbit. They had a special room at Disney World for Wish families to take a little break in. It was by far my favorite place there! We had the whole place to ourselves both times we used it, and I could nurse Mylee, the kids could just lie down for a bit and watch some Disney classics. It was the best! I think we spent about an hour there just unwinding.

While we were walking out of one of the parks, an employee with Disney noticed Brinley's Make A Wish button, and told us to "follow me". He led us into a back room, where lo and behold, Minnie and Donald Duck were hanging out! They spent a good 15 minutes just playing with my kids. We all felt so special, it was really awesome.

We were also given tickets to Universal Studios Orlando. We had a great time there too. Once again we were treated extra special! An employee there also noticed Brinley waiting for the superheroes to come out, and led us back to where they would come after meeting people. So we waited and were given another private meet and greet with all the superheroes! Jade was especially excited to meet spiderman, he is her favorite! They were great, and Brinley is now a spidey fan as well!

This was truly a once in a lifetime trip, we could never possibly repeat it. It was an absolutely wonderful carefree trip. We love Make A Wish!!! Thank you!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow!!!!It is good to be reminded of the big and giving hearts that exist in this world.....and to see you all soooo happy ;) ( I want Mayor Clayton to tuck me in too!!) I am glad you made it home safe and best of luck today at the hospital. xoxoxoxoxox
A Nancy

Lidia said...

Ho!!!!! so beautiful!!they make the dream that steel in my child heart. Thanks to every body for make this came true!unforgettable!
Send my love and blessings for the treatment today. G Torres

Stacy said...

I LOVE the pictures. How totally wonderful!

Unknown said...

That is awesome Brinley needed that so much I don't think anyone has had as much fun as you.That was truly awesome.

chloe's clan said...

My sister and her family got back from Disney World last August. Make a Wish sent them as well and they had a wonderful time. If I ever have a winning lotto ticket guess who gets a chunk?? Make A Wish!!!!!!! Her son is in remission from brain cancer diagnosed when he was 2. He is now 3 1/2. So far so good and we continue to pray as every 3 months new scans are done. Take care. I am happy everyone had a great time.

Ali said...

I haven't cried so hard but had such a great time all week. What lovely photos and video. Thanks for sharing. I am so, so happy for your family. I don't know a family who deserved the pampering and fun as much as yours.

Can't believe how long Brinley's hair is and how big Mylee is getting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with all of us. My new favorite charity is Make a Wish. I never really understood what a difference they make in the lives of families. It's not just that you went to Disney World, but all the very extra special care and love that was there along the way. It must have been hughly wonderful to hear your kids laugh and giggle and be excited about life - a big burden lifted for a week and the sun shining in it's full glory on your little family. Such amazing people in the world!


Melanie said...

How cute! I love all the pictures. I'm so glad you guys had a week to just have fun. Make A Wish really is awesome!

Admin said...

This was so fun to read and see the huge smiles on the faces of everyone in your family.

Unknown said...

Hey guys,

So much fun to see the girls having a blast with the Mayor. That is as far as I got prior to being moved to write you. Lisl is positively obsessed with childhood cancer and finding a cure. That is what her purpose in life is. I frankly believe she will at least make a dent. We love you guys and pray for you daily. Due to Brinley Lisl HAS seriously become involved in the cure. Funny that she would forgoe the cure for IC but Brinley is cuter then me. We love you guys. Meredith and family

lynda burch said...

I loved viewing the pictures and videos of your trip! What a joyous sound-- the laughter of your cute kids being tucked in by a bunny! :) My second favorite photo was the one of Taylor and the girls all tangled up asleep after a long day! Thank You for sharing your joy!

Lynda Burch