We managed to sleep in a little bit this morning. This was a day to do all of our favourite things and connect (once again) to this wonderful resort we were lucky enough to be able to stay in. Once we were awake, we left our house to find Matthew’s Boundless Playground. This was a park that we hadn’t come across yet, so we wanted to see if we could find it. It was quite amazing and fit in well with our Candyland theme and was fully accessible for all kids – something I think every park should be!
After we checked that out, we headed to breakfast. The kids, of course, wanted a full ice-cream breakfast again…why not? By now Ben had perfected his order: cut a banana in half, put hot fudge on the banana, 2 scoops mint chocolate chip ice cream, whip cream, cookie crumbles, and cherries. Living the dream! Hannah’s order was a bit simpler with cookies and cream ice cream, hot fudge, cookie crumbles, and cherries. I was expecting social services to come grab them from me at any time for not providing the necessities of life…like produce and protein???
After our ice cream, we headed to the Castle of Miracles to check out Ben’s star placement. They took us into a room and told us that Stellar had left directions to our star. She said that we could use her magical fairy telescope to find it. She was also leaving a Giant (Franko) there to protect our Wish Star and Keep it safe. (I forgot to take a picture of Franko). We looked where the light was shining from the magic telescope…and sure enough…there it was – hung in the tower in a section called the Galileo Galaxy. Ben’s wish star will stay in that tower forever.
After checking that out, we went to Amberville (of course), so Ben could play with his remote controlled boats again. We then went bowling and played video games. We also went on Lori’s magical ride again. We then explored the park some more and noticed a quieter pool that we hadn’t noticed before. We played basketball for a bit (our skills were unimpressive to say the least) and then we headed back towards our villa. Enough adventures…it was hot out and time for a swim. We spent the afternoon playing in the pool and in the waterpark.
Afterwards Hannah and I ran to buy some last minute souvenirs from the Gallery of Hope, the only place in the park you can spend money. We had decided to go to Medieval Times for dinner that night. It’s pretty cheesy, but Jesse thought the kids would enjoy it, which they did. It was not too far from the resort – a short cab ride. It’s basically a huge arena where Knights battle in order to impress the Queen and get her favour. The big draw for Jesse and the kids was a three course dinner with no utensils (yup…soup was a course). This etiquette is a means of embracing the Royal Court’s traditions and hedonistic pleasures. In our family it was just a fancy red neck restaurant. We had fun cheering on our knight – the Black and White Knight as he attempted many skilful (yes, this is technically spelled right unless you’re an American) contests – attempting to put his lance though a small gold hoop at breakneck speed, jousting with other knights, and performing some other weaponry type of games. Frankly our knight was not incredibly skilled, but he was awfully pretty. He didn’t win, and our support of him became rather limited when we determined he was not winning. Pretty doesn’t buy loyalty. We did however grow to love the Blue Knight who could take a whole lot of heckling fairly light heartedly….we may have had a few cocktails!!! He was secretly our favourite (although we would never tell the B&W Knight that). The kids had a medieval blast.
We headed back to the resort and had a little bit of time before things shut down for the night. We went for ice cream again (ummm…hi….Weight Watchers…yeah…it’s me again….I’ve done bad things – real bad things…ummmmm…save me a seat for the next meeting…ummm…maybe make that two seats…) then decided to split up to do our favourite things again.
Ben was in his pajamas because he wanted to go play with the remote controlled boats then go to the movies. Hannah and dad went back to change and go for a swim. We went to play remote controlled boats again for a while then we played some video games (my Ms. Pac-Man skills were improving. After, we went for a ride on Lori’s magical ride. By then it was a bit late for the movies, So we decided to check out what Hannah and dad were up to in the pool. It looked fun, but it was almost time for the pool to close. Ben had changed his mind about swimming, so I told him to take off his pajama top and jump in. It was the perfect ending to an amazing trip!
We got back to the room about 10:30ish. It was time to start packing. Ben changed into different pajamas and was asleep in no time. We noticed that he was wheezing quite a bit, so we woke him up to give him his medicine. I’m not sure why….maybe the horses? He didn’t seem to have problems the day he went horseback riding? We gave him his medicine twice, and it seemed to settle him down quite a bit. Then we packed, packed, and packed until about 12:30 a.m. We went to sleep for a few hours (literally two) because our alarm was set for 2:30 a.m. We were getting picked up at 3:05 a.m. to take us to the airport. We groggily woke up, got dressed, met quickly with GKTW staff to thank them and get our exit package. Then we went on our way. Thank you Rainbow Society, Give Kids the World, Disney, and Universal for an amazing week of spectacular memories! We hope to come back one day to “pay it forward” by volunteering to help other families!
See man … see man eat meat! (He’s never looked at me that way!)
Imagine a fireworks show that makes you believe anything is possible! (Disney Stock Photo)
We had a hard time waking the kids the next morning…they were (understandably) a little groggy. I had to attend an orientation meeting at 9:00, which I did. I discovered there that they had booked us on a bus to the Magic Kingdom at 10:15 a.m. I texted Jesse (while in my meeting) to have the kids ready as soon as I was done so we could head out on the bus. Because we had slept in so much, we didn’t really have time to grab breakfast, so we headed onto the bus and got on our way. When they booked the resort for us, Rainbow Society asked us whether we would prefer the bus or a rental car. We decided a bus would work fine for us – it would save us trying to familiarize ourselves with the roads and worrying about where to park. The bus was late getting out, so we didn’t get to Magic Kingdom until about noon. We had been given 3 days worth of Disney tickets, a Disney Genie pass (basically front-of-the-line for all rides), and free stroller rentals.
I had my bag with me, which Jesse rolled his eyes at because he said I had too much stuff. I told him I needed everything I had. Here’s what was in my bag: hand sanitizer, wet wipes, sun glasses, ziplock bags (two different sizes), 4 rain jackets, small umbrella, luggage handle, phone charger, bandaids, lip balm (with spf), Ben’s FM/streamer for his hearing aids, 2 bottles of water, Epi-pen, inhaler, pen, sunglasses, eye glasses, lanyards, lens wipes, and a giant Carabiner (one of my most useful items). I had bought four little rain jackets back home that fit into these tiny little pouches. I was able to hang the rain jackets and the umbrella off the stroller handle for quick, easy access when the rain hit. It also allowed me to balance the weight of the stroller a bit as the front is quite light, so our bag would tip it if it became too heavy. The only thing I didn’t really need were the bandaids (we ended up using some liquid bandaids in the morning for Jesse’s potential blister problem), the luggage handle (I was going to use it to identify the stroller, but they gave us a sign with our name on it) and the lanyards (they gave me one). I also didn’t bring the glow sticks (which I wanted to be able to hang around the handle of my stroller at night so I could find it easily, but my sister told me I was a frightening person, so I ditched them). Note on strollers: yeah….big kids use them there…Ben looks about 5, so he was well within stroller norms at Disney (he’s actually 7…almost 8… but only 44 inches tall. There were lots of older kids using strollers there. (I also had on my fanny pack and I LOVED IT!!! – don’t judge the fanny pack people…it is here to help!)
When you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, you can either enter it by ferry or by tram. We chose the ferry. I stopped on the way in for an iced coffee (caffeine) and we got the kids a drink and we all shared a doughnut. We hadn’t really eaten yet, but we thought we could find something more interesting to eat in the park. At one point in the short ferry ride, you get a beautiful view of the castle, which is just magical and breathtaking. People on the boat applauded once it came into view.
We had left the Village around 10:40 (the bus was late), but by the time we actually cleared security, took the ferry, and were in the doors at Disney, it was easily 12:15…a little later than we intended to start. We were all a bit hot in their overwhelming humidity, and the kids were a touch cranky. We got our stroller rentals (free….thank you Disney) and set off. I discovered that I had forgotten Ben’s FM system, which irritated me, but we did ok for the day without it. We first went to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. It was super interesting, and we like to watch the t.v. show at home, so the kids were familiar with the story. The kids were still a bit sluggish, so Jesse and I decided we needed to pick something a bit more fun to get them settled. They had no idea what magic was really in store for them today. We decided to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room, which was funny, cool and interesting…the kids loved it. After that, we snuck out to Aladdin’s Carpet Ride and Ben loved it….mostly because I acted super scared when we went high (technically I was a little scared – heights are not my thing – but I knew I could survive a malfunction). He laughed (evilly) as our carpet flew higher and higher. After, we decided to have some Dole Whip (whipped pineapple ice creamy stuff) after that (breakfast of champions…I know), and the kids loved it. Hannah had the Pineapple Upside Down Dole Whip (yummm…) and Ben had the Dole Whip Parfait (also yummm…..). We went to wash up afterwards, and decided to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride….awesome! The kids were now fully invested in the Disney experience. We wrapped up our Adventureland activities with the Jungle Cruise ride, which was silly and fun.
Afterwards, we moved on to Frontierland. I should tell you now that we contacted our pediatrician and our surgeon before we left regarding Benjamin and what rides would be safe for him. We decided to use our discretion, but chose to stay away from rides with a back/neck warning on them. There were three rides in Magic Kingdom with this warning that I could tell: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. We had discussed with Benjamin beforehand that there were some things that Hannah could go on, that he couldn’t. He’s a reasonable kid, so that was just the way it was. Hannah and Jesse went on Splash Mountain while Ben and I waited. We bought Ben one of those Disney Mist sprayers, and that kept him busy the whole time they were gone. When they returned, we decided that Ben and I would go to Tom Sawyer Island while they went to Big Thunder Mountain. There was a storm brewing, so Tom Sawyer’s hut was closed. Ben and I just walked around then watched some of the parade going down the street. Jesse and Hannah were done and were on the ferry to come to Tom Sawyer island, but I said not to bother as we were heading back. I was worried about getting stuck there in a storm. Jesse’s opinion was that Splash Mountain might be ok for Ben, but Big Thunder Mountain definitely wasn’t. We put that into the back of our minds. Once we were all together it started raining. Rain here isn’t timid, sprinkly rain….it’s full-on fire hose rain. We quickly put on our rain gear and ran to the Haunted House. There was a lot of lightning happening outside, so it was a good time to get in. Sometimes I worry that Ben has a lot of metal in his body, so lightning makes me nervous! (FYI Florida has more lightning strikes/casualties than any other place in North America – I’m not being paranoid….I’m being logical. The kid’s a walking lightning rod!) The Haunted House was so fun – it was not a scary ride, but our kids don’t scare easily anyways. After we got out, we started searching for a Turkey Leg for Jesse. We had gone to Disneyland 6 years ago (the kids were too little to remember) and Jesse had seen someone eating a turkey leg. He was never able to find out where the guy got it. Anyways, he had been thinking about it (obsessed) ever since. I had an idea where to get one (research), so we looked around and found the place. I got through the line up to discover that they were sold out, but getting some more within half an hour. Jesse was a bit mopey, so we tootled around a bit and I went back to see. Lo and behold – the turkey legs had arrived! Jesse ate his turkey leg with a hunger and tenderness I have never been privy to. I believe they may have sold more turkey legs that hour than ever in history – Jesse was a walking advertisement for blissful carnivorous snacks. (Note: the turkey leg tasted strangely like ham).
We left there and wandered back to Main Street. Our Genie Pass gave us access to a small Wish Lounge. This was a quiet room with couches and a tv for families to rest up a bit. They told us we could watch whatever movie the kids wanted. We said we wouldn’t be long – we just wanted to freshen up and dry off a bit.
After we dried off a bit, we headed to Fantasyland, which was amazing. We went on the Peter Pan’s Flight then over to It’s a Small World (which Jesse said was creepy). After that we headed to a ride that had no back/neck warning on it, which surprised me. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was instantly Ben’s favourite ride of our whole trip! It was a somewhat interesting/fastish roller coaster ride which went in and out of the mine…he LOVED it! Afterwards, we went on Dumbo, where the kids rode together and Jesse and I shared an elephant behind them. We went to go to Barn Stormer, but there was a lot of lightning going on, so it shut done. We decided to move indoors to Buzz Light Year Space Ranger Spin, which was a super fun video game/ride. The kids loved it! (Side note: I won for accuracy…yep!) We then split up because Hannah wanted to go on Space Mountain. I went with Hannah while Jesse and Ben went on America’s Carousel of Progress….a ride/play about changes in technology in the 20th century. Meanwhile I was having a heart attack on Space Mountain battling my overriding trust issues with heights/roller coasters, etc. Hannah said it was awesome. I decided that this was not a ride Benjamin should go on. I hurt my hands gripping the bar too tightly. We all met up again to go to the Speedway Racing where both kids got a chance to drive a car. Jesse went with Ben and I took Hannah. I had previously thought I might get whiplash from Space Mountain, but that was nothing compared to being a passenger in Hannah’s vehicle. (note to self: hire someone to teach Hannah to drive in a car that we don’t own).
After all of this busyness, we decided to head over to our next splurge. We had bought tickets to the Dessert Party, which would then allow us to view the evenings fireworks in a less crowded, seated area. We were worried how it was going to be with Ben for the fireworks as he still has difficulty looking up. We didn’t really know what to expect. Anyways, we were so happy to sit down and rest. The treats were amazing!!! They had chocolate dipped strawberries, homemade s’mores, tonnes of little cakes and such, cheese, crackers, cookies, etc. They served non-alcoholic champagne, which the kids guzzled…it was a beautiful ending to our night.
And afterwards, the fireworks show! It was absolutely magical and made you believe in all things good. It pulled you into this world of beauty and imagination and made our spirits soar. It reminded us of all the beauty and magic we have seen in our lives over the past few years. At the end of the show Tinkerbell flew from the top of the castle right over our heads…amazing!
After that we left the park, caught our bus and headed home. Benjamin was asleep before the bus left the park. We arrived back at the Village around 11:00 with two exhausted kids. We noticed that the gift fairy had left us a version of Give Kids the World Candyland Edition. The whole resort is modeled after Candyland. The kids were excited, but also exhausted. They immediately went to bed and fell fast asleep.