Thursday, August 2, 2012

Make A Wish Trip Day 5 (Universal Studios)

Day 5 already? Whew.  You know, I kept thinking the whole time that I wasn't taking enough pictures, but it seems I've taken plenty!!

This morning started out in a fun way, in that we (finally) took the kids over to the ice cream shoppe to have ice cream for breakfast. Crazy as it sounds, this is one way that Give Kids The World promotes their charity, by having Ice Cream For Breakfast promotions and donation events.  It's a special week for all wish kids, and why not give them anything they want, including ice cream for breakfast?  So off we went.

This may be my most favorite picture of all the pictures I took.  Little Kimble L.O.V.E.D. getting ice cream (he only wanted it if it was in a cone, and usually chose strawberry ice cream) and you can see the joy on his face.  He experienced a week of amazing adventures, and I don't think he could have asked for a better experience.  He even knew where his  favorite things were, at the village, and would often run ahead of us to get to them.  This included the carousel, the ice cream parlor, and the train (pictured later).

After ice cream, I made them get a regular breakfast that included protein (!) at the Gingerbread house, and then before we left for Universal Studios,we had a few new friends to visit.  They were roaming around the village, just waiting for people to take pictures with them. First up, Belle!

She was a lot of fun. She talked about "The Beast" and the other characters in her conversation, like "Oh, you just had eggs?  The Beast loves his eggs scrambled too!"

We found Pluto in the castle!

Mickey Mouse was in the theater.  Kimble ran right up to him and gave him a great big hug. It was so sweet, and everyone who was watching gave a sigh of happiness.  It's just so special, what GKTW does for all the wish kids and their families.

After hugging, they had a little (one-sided) conversation of sorts...

...and Kimble can't resist giving anyone who offers, a high five!

Then the other kids got some turns hugging and posing for pictures with Mickey.

Finally, a group picture with Mickey Mouse!

 Now..we are off to Universal, and the first thing we did was make our way back to Hogsmede to see all the cool Harry Potter offerings.  Here is a picture of Hogwarts.

The kids, standing by the Hogwarts Express.

After some of us rode a dragon rollercoaster, we all went into Ollivander's Wand Shop to pick out wands, but first, a visit with Ollivander himself, who played the part to perfection. The kids were enthralled.

After they all got a wand (even Kimble!) we wandered around the village a bit more.  We enjoyed going into the Weasley brother's Zonko shop and Honeydukes.

We also couldn't pass up the opportunity to get some butterbeer (and neither could anyone else..the wait was long!)

Oh, but the frozen butterbeer was wonderful, and well worth the wait.  The kids all loved it (reminded me of cream soda, for those of you who remember having that as a kid) and Kimble loved it too!

He got a butterbeer'stache. Yum!

They offered many more rides and rollercoasters, but with half the kids being too short for them, we decided not to do them.  Our focus was Kimble, afterall, so we went in search of things for him to enjoy.

We found a little rollercoaster that he (and all of us) could ride.  It was impressive the zips and turns and whooshes for such a little rollercoaster.

Everyone loved it. The second picture was taken as the ride was swooshing around, and although it's blurry, it shows how happy Kimble was, and that is a good thing.

 We entered Jurassic Park!  I love love love those movies!  Although they had plenty of big rollercoasters and rides here too, we bypassed most of them for Kimble's sake.

But we did find a little toy that he just loved! The dinosaur had a big "chomp chomp" action with his mouth and it totally enthralled Kimble.

There was a pterodactyl ride that soared through the treetops on a roller-ized swing.  Kimble rode all by himself in a little chair (which terrified me, as I was sitting behind him in my own chair) but he loved it so much!

There was also this great playland that had him running up stairs, across rope bridges, and through misty and foggy trails.  He probably could have stayed there all day.  The Husband and I simply followed him around, as he maneuvered through everything, with a smile on his face.

The last thing we did was a water-coaster ride that looked amazing. I stayed back with Kimble, waiting in an air conditioned place, while the rest of the family rode it.  Judging by the picture, it looked so fun!

We checked out the map of the park, and upon realizing that there wasn't much more for Kimble to do, we decided to leave the park and head back to the village to eat, swim, and get ready for tonight's village  activities, which included Santa Claus!

As we were walking out of the park, we saw an fresh pearl/oyster shop.  I found a necklace and a ring (both with pearls) that I picked out as my souvenir, and we even had the kids open an oyster and find a pearl.  The pearl we found was a golden pearl (only 8% of all pearls are golden pearls) and the kids really enjoyed it.

Now, with only half the day over, we have the rest of the day at the village.  On the way to the pool, we stopped by the area where they let kids ride horses.  Ironically enough, it's named "Keaton's Korral", so we had to take a picture with Keaton!  He said "I've never been famous before. It's pretty neat!"

Swim time!  The pool had a zero-depth entry and it was big.  It only went as deep as 3'6 and so it was perfect for everyone to stand up in and still be able to practice swimming (well, just barely too deep for Kennedy, and much too deep for Kimble).  It was a lovely pool and we all enjoyed the next few hours in the hot Florida sun.

Kimble wasn't content to have us give him "horsie rides" through the water.  He didn't want us to swim him around. He only wanted to be thrown back and forth, or for him to jump off the edge of the pool and into our arms.  Oh, he had such a good time! (Kamy took these next few pictures).

Much too soon for their taste, we said goodbye temporarily to the pool, and went back to the house to get changed for the rest of the day.  The kids loved seeing these bright green lizards as they scattered between leaves.

As The Husband and I were finalizing a few things, the kids enjoyed playing with their wands that they got at Harry Potter world.

While we were standing outside, getting ready to walk the short two blocks to the village square, the trolley train pulled up and offered us a ride.  We accepted!

Wile we were sitting there, enjoying conversation with the driver about what we had done that day and where we were going, another little truck pulled up, offering lemonade and cookies.  Ok! Yes please!


He pulled us up to a stop right behind the theater (where Santa was waiting!) and right next to this big elephant statue. Perfect for a family picture, right?

After saying goodbye to our Trolley Driver, we went to visit with Santa.

The real Santa was inside, and he enjoyed some conversation with the kids, and demonstrated a few magic tricks, before we took a family picture with him.

Family Picture!

 After visiting with Santa, we went outside where the kids could pick out their own present.  Kimble chose a little toy where the figurines slide down a little penguin slide.

We were right next to "The Clayton" miniature home, and all the kids loved going inside it (it was air conditioned!) and playing amidst the miniature furniture.

Then we went for a ride around the train track!  Keaton and Kolby sat in the front, by the engine, and blew the whistle.

Kimble was so excited! He loves trains.  "ChooChoo!" he calls them. So cute.

This was his expression the entire ride. So happy!

Then we saw Mayor Clayton (the 6 foot rabbit) and Miss Mary, his wife.  Family picture again!

The kids also got their pillows, which are made by wonderful volunteers and are given to every wish child and their siblings. They were so excited about the pillows, because it meant they could take them on the airplane ride home and use them to sleep on.

Carousel time again!  And Again!  And Again!  He must have ridden the carousel about 60 times during our week stay.

Kolby had a penguin riding with him!

By this time, it was about 9pm.  We grabbed some dinner from Katie's Kitchen (it serves meals from Boston Market) and we went back to the villa to eat and go to sleep.  It was a great, great day!


courtney said...

I am just loving hearing all about your trip, I am so happy you guys had this opportunity to celebrate having Kimble with you and having all the kids together!

heleen said...

What a lovely trip you have had.
I know it is unforgettable for you and your children. I have to say my 18 year old envies you. Her ulimate wish is visiting Hogwarts in Orlando. It's a bit far from our country though, so maybe it stays a wish.

Unknown said...

I don't post often but read about the family all the time. I was in tears when I heard that you got a trip with Make A Wish. What a wonderful thing to take place. I think it looks like all the children had a wonderful time. Including mom and dad. That little Kimbel is getting so big. All the kids are getting bigger it seems every pic I see of them. ou two should be very proud of your family, they always seem to be a great bunch. I know they are kids so I'm sure they have there days!! God Bless you and your family. You keep writing I'll keep reading. Oh and I have made some of your recipes also, very good.

Colleen said...

Ahhhhh! Harry Potter Land! I must go there. This trip sounds absolutely amazing, and I can't believe all that you packed into every day. Kimble looks like he's having the time of his life!

Give Kids The World said...

Wow! What wonderful pictures! We are so glad you and your family had a wonderful stay here at GKTW! Thanks so much for sharing your family with us for the week. So glad to see that you have so many wonderful memories to keep forever! Sending you all lots of love from the Village today!

wienerhoneymooners said...

You GO Kimble!

Memories like this are priceless. GKTW are superstars to a well deserved family!