Alex and Maddy

Alex and Maddy

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Once in a Lifetime Adventure

I am not sure I can even put into words what this week has meant to us and how amazing it has truly been. I am mostly going to let the photos speak for me, but I have to touch on a few things. First, I have to say Thank you to Kidd's Kids, especially Caroline Kraddick, Lyndsay Davis, and Logan May who not only worked tirelessly to make this week happen, but spent the first three days with us and are such incredible woman. Their kindness, their passion, their love was apparent in every minute they spent with the kids. Second, Give Kids the World Village is a magical place. The amenities are incredible, but more then that the feeling, the atmosphere, the energy is full of hope. Third, sometimes you are lucky enough to meet people you connect with immediately and you know they will make a difference in your life. That is what meeting the Glenn's has been to us. Joy and I started communicating online a few days before the trip. The first two days in Orlando were fun, but our trip changed when we connected on Tuesday. From Tuesday on our families did everything together, We ate together, went to shows, rode rides. We were inseparable. The love they showered on Alex and Maddy was priceless. The 5 kids loved every moment together and I'm pretty sure us adults enjoyed it almost as much! Mitochondrial Disease has robbed so much from Alex, but the thing he misses the most is seeing friends on a regular basis. To wake up each day knowing that he would have unlimited time with friends brought more joy then I can express. Joy, John, Jaycie, Jayla, Jacob...Thank you for making this trip more then I could have imagined. The other families were equally remarkable, strong, friendly. This trip gave me something I haven't seen in a few months...my carefree, joy-filled, fun-loving son with a huge smile on his face. Thank you to everyone who made this week a week we will never forget.

Day 1- Travel and Group Dinner- This day was a hard one. We met the eleven other families at the airport and spent some time getting to know each other and talk to the media. The flight was uneventful. We had someone meet us at the airport and get us our rental car. By the time we arrived at GKTW it was POURING. Because of the rain, we were held up at the House of Hearts. We were all soaking wet and cold by the time we got to our villa. We had no time before we were meeting for a group dinner and surprise guest.  By the time we arrived at the dinner, Alex was feeling really bad. He could not enjoy that night at all. Maddy on the other hand had a blast. There was a stage in the room and we couldn't get Maddy off it. The Disney star, Laura Marano, from Austin and Ally came to spend time with the kids, but Alex felt bad enough that we left early and headed back to the Villa. We gave him multiple medications and he was up several times feeling terrible throughout the night. I was really worried about whether he would make it through the week.
 Getting ready to leave

 At the Airport



 Caroline and Alex

 On our Way

Alex and Laura Marano

Day 2- Animal Kingdom and Epcot- Alex woke up still feeling pretty puny. Luckily he started to feel better as the day went on. The highlight of the day was seeing the Lion King show as a group. Maddy sat on Caroline's lap the whole time and loved the animals and dancing. We all enjoyed the safari, but Bruce, Alex and I decided that the new Pandora- The World of Avatar was our favorite! After a quick break back at GKTW we took a bus over to Epcot for a dessert party and private viewing area for the fireworks. 


 Maddy and Caroline- These two had such a special connection




Day 3- Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios- Magic Kingdom is always magical. Maddy had been waiting weeks to ride on Dumbo. It was everything she hoped it would be. She also rode her first roller coaster, the barnstormer, and much to Alex's disappointment  didn't even cry! She did not like the Haunted Mansion. Alex loved Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and we rode both multiple times. Alex's Genie Pass was able to gain us access to lunch at the Beast's castle. It was really awesome to see the inside of the castle and, of course, the rose!  After a full day at MK, we quickly went to Hollywood Studios to ride a few rides over there.





 Loved watching these two love on each other

 So fun to run into our Make-a-Wish friend, Pierson



Day 4- Universal Studios- This is the day we connected with the Glenn's. Alex loved the Harry Potter rides, the Simpson's ride and really just paling around. There wasn't much for maddy at Universal, but she was happy to stomp in muddy puddles with Jayla. Thanks to Mona and Melissa and Joy and Glenn, Bruce and I got to ride some big roller coasters together for the first time in 13 years!

 This bubble wand was the best purchase- kept Maddy happy for days!










Day 5- Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom- Alex's 13th Birthday! We let him choose what he wanted to do this day. He chose the Magic Kingdom and then back to Animal Kingdom to ride on a Banshee again! The Glenn's took Alex for a little while so Maddy could do some of the smaller rides and meet all the princesses. She LOVED this day and Fantasyland. Every time Joy texted me a picture, Alex was grinning ear to ear!















 Maddy was sound asleep for these next pics!





 Bruce and I even got to ride some rides together!

Day 7- GKTW and Heading Home- By Friday we were all exhausted. We decided to enjoy the morning at GKTW before heading home. It was so hard to leave the Village and even harder to say goodbye. 
 Alex's Star in the Star Tower
 Our Villa

 The lobby of our building
 The entrance
 Outside Amberville

 We couldn't get Maddy out of the spa!



 We rode this carousel countless times!

 Alex writing his name on his star

 Alex and Jayla goofing around
 Disney Springs

 We were lucky to have a flight at the same time as my sister (who was leaving on vacation). We decided to meet for dinner!
 Alex and Skye
 The two princesses


 Maddy with "her girls"
 The Entrance to GKTW
 House of Hearts
 Amberville
 Movie Theater
 Ice Cream Palace
 Castle of Miracles
Hopefully, you enjoyed that snapshot of our trip. I didn't take a ton of pictures because I really tried to be in the moment and enjoy this amazing week. Joy probably has more pictures of Alex then I do! So if you want to see more, check out facebook.

Thank you for to everyone who supported us in making this trip happen.
Ali

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