Our Once In A Lifetime

We just got back from Orlando, Florida and Give Kids the World village. We had an amazing time. They did not leave any stone unturned. Our trip was through Make A Wish and it started out with a limo ride to the airport. When we arrived, a volunteer from GKTW met us at the airport with a sign welcoming Parker and a cart to help us pick up our bags. She walked us to the rental car company, gave us detailed directions to the village and saw us off in the car. Upon arrival at the village, we were greeted with a booklet that I never let out of my sight all week as it had every bit of information we could need for everything we did, including directions, telephone numbers, events at the village, park information, and meal information. Parker was given a Mickey Mouse and we were taken to our villa and we had a tour of our place for the week. We had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a dinette, and a living room. We even had a closet that housed a washer and dryer and we had a dishwasher and a porch. Everything we needed to feel at home and care for our special guy was there for us. The village was extremely well done and so cute. It was completely designed for kids. It was basically an amusement park with a carousel, a train, 2 pools, a water garden, a theater, a castle with all sorts of activities, 2 restaurants, an ice cream parlor, and an adaptive playground. The restaurant had kid sized tables and chairs and of course was decorated for children. This place was great and we knew we couldn’t leave without at least a day spent exploring and experiencing it.

The first evening, I went to orientation to learn about what the village had to offer and I received tickets which included 3 day passes for Disney, 2 day passes for Universal, a pass for Sea World and we were told we could get more passes for any number of other parks. If we desired to go to a dinner show, Parker was free and Lee and I would be half price. In other words, we could never say we had nothing to do. Our only problem was to figure out what we wanted to do to get the most from our trip. As it turned out, we used all 3 Disney days visiting all 4 of the parks and we spent a day at Universal. We wanted to spend a day at the village and since Thursdays are Christmas at the village, we decided Thursday would be our day to experience all we could at GKTW. It was also a good break from the parks. I never thought I would say this, but, you can have too much of amusement parks. 4 days was great at the parks and I think 1 more day would have just wiped us out.

On Thursday, we had a leisurely breakfast and took a walk. We took Parker to the playground and went to the zero entry pool for a swim and took him through the water garden. We rode the train and the carousel and saw Parker’s star where the star fairy had placed it on the ceiling in the castle. We went to Katie’s Kitchen, which serves Boston Market, for lunch and after dinner at the Gingerbread House, we saw Santa and Parker picked his gift. He had the chance to ride in a horse drawn carriage, we ate banana splits, and we saw part of a movie out by the pool. It was busy day, but, we didn’t have to travel anywhere and didn’t have to fight any crowds.

Everyday, Parker received gifts at GKTW. We were told to bring an extra bag for souvenirs, but, we had no idea how much he would get. At the parks, we were given the royal treatment. We never waited in a line for anything. Even to see characters, we were taken to the front and the people waiting were told that we were VIP’s. At a couple of shows we went to, the employees told us to wait until the rest of the audience was gone and they had arranged a meet and greet for us with the stars. At the Magic Kingdom, we were allowed to rest in the Wish lounge which was quite lovely and in Epcot, we were given passes to enter the 2 VIP lounges. We went to one and it was very nice. I must say, these lounges really saved us. Parker doesn’t do well in heat and getting him out of it to rest for awhile was just what the doctor ordered to be able to get through the day. The calm quiet coolness helped him come back to normal.

We did not have to pay for anything on this trip as all our meals were covered at the village as well as all the ice cream we could eat, pizza and cookies each evening. We also were given a check before leaving to cover meals away from the village, souvenirs, gas, and incidentals. Of course, all the parks were a gift and they included parking. We were given photo cd’s from Disney and GKTW which is so very nice. Never have we been treated so well and I dare say we never will again.

So, now that we are back home, we are having to come back to earth. We were so spoiled on our trip that it was hard to get back to normal life. We loved the special treatment and we will remember it always! This was definitely our once in a lifetime trip.


About Lori Linn

Besides writing, Lori has been an Actress both on stage and in film, is currently a member of SAG and AFTRA, and is a credentialed teacher as well as her full time job as a mom.
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