Saturday, January 28, 2012

Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom - Day 6

This was our last full day. :( BOO HOO! We started the day off with breakfast in the Gingerbread house and a carousel ride at GKTW. A lovely way to start the day - delicious belgian waffles with strawberries and cream and a carousel ride. Life doesn't get better than this trip has been!
 We hadn't been to the Animal Kingdom yet, so that's where today's fun was had.  We saw a bunch of birds and ducks on our way to the safari ride.  This ride was super cool.  All the girls loved it. 
 We saw these huge nile crocodiles on our safari.  I'm pretty sure I got goose bumps seeing these monsters sunbathing and walking on the rocks. 
 Whenever we saw an animal Sophie would say, "woah giraffe! (or other animal we were seeing), more giraffe, more giraffe!"  Her favorites were the giraffes, elephants and hippos.  Cicily and Maya also loved the giraffes.
 We went on a nature walk and saw more cool animals.  Here we are in front of a big aquarium.  If you look closely in the tree in the background you can see these cool hanging bird nests.  The birds that built them are a beautiful yellow. 
 Next we went on a train ride to a petting zoo.  Sophie fell asleep in the stroller on our way to the train.  She must have been exhausted, she never falls asleep outside of her bed.  And then she stayed asleep for the train and petting zoo!  Therefore, no pics of the petting zoo.  Cicily liked this little pig that kept coming up to her and of course the goats!  Maya liked brushing the sheep.  Oh, and here we are with Rafiki.
After Animal Kingdom we headed over to Magic Kingdom.  Maya and Soph shared another double stroller. 
Here they are with their cousin Mikey's balloon.  We were pleased that we could participate in this special day and share our love for Mikey.

That is where the pictures end for our trip (except for a few more Disney photo pass ones).  Our camera battery ran out of juice - pretty good timing.  We spent most of the day getting videos with our video camera.  So, I'll tell you the rest. 

(Imagine a picture of Maya smiling while driving her own car with Daddy and Sophie as passengers.  And another pic with Cicily smiling while driving her car with Mommy as a passenger.)
This was another thing Cis has been excited about for months.  She really liked driving Dad and then Mom around in her car.  Good thing they let us ride 3 times!  First I went in Maya's car and man is she a crazy driver!!!  Chris will have to take the lead on her driving training in 9 years, I don't have that much patience or bravery.  Then I drove with Cis and she wasn't bad.  She quite appreciated it when I kept saying that she was a much better driver than her big sister!

(Imagine another cute picture in front of Small World with little girls smiling.) 
To end the night we jumped on Small World.  Since there was no line we got to stay on the boat and ride 4 times - making a total of 5 Small World journeys for Cicily's wish trip.  It was the perfect last ride.  It happens to be Cicily's favorite ride of course, and Maya and Sophie's as well.  As you may imagine, Cicily's favorite part is the last room where all the dolls are dressed in white and dancing and singing together.  The angel room as I like to think of it.  Very fitting for my angel girl to love. 

(Imagine a picture of fireworks flashing in the night sky.) 
To send our trip out with a bang, we stayed till closing and enjoyed the fireworks show over the castle.  Well, Maya loved the show, Cicily thought it was sorta cool and Sophie hated it (was exhausted).  So, we left a tiny bit before it was over and made our way to some very last souvenirs on Main Street on our way out of the park.  (Grandma DeEtte would be proud that we left the park 30 mins after it closed, I told Cis.)

Then we caught the ferry boat back to our car.  And I made it to the bathroom just in time to empty my stomach of most of the vacation food I've been eating.  I guess Maya was right on that ice cream for breakfast idea.  I should listen to the good things I've taught my girls I guess!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sea World - Day 5

Twice a week Mickey and Minnie Mouse come from DisneyWorld to make a special visit to Give Kids the World.  All girls were quite excited to go this morning and see them.  Cicily has been talking about wearing her dress that looks like Minnie's to meet Minnie Mouse for months!  This was her BIG chance and she was extremely happy about it!  Minnie Mouse even noticed Cicily's dress and liked it - which made Cis even more happy!
At GKTW the famous mice can autograph whatever you want.  We took all the girls' Minnie shirts and they kindly autographed them.  They also autographed the shoes on the cute Mickey that GKTW gave Cis when we arrived. 
Today was our Sea World day.  When we arrived only Maya knew who Shamu was.  When we left, Sophie couldn't stop saying "Shamuuu".
First we went to the Shamu show.  We got some treats and were hooked up with some perfect seats. 
I believe this is supposed to be the Mom and baby.  They're "kissing".  I'm pretty sure Orca whales don't really kiss like this, but it's still cute nontheless, especially if you're a Mom watching the show with your 3 girls!
Cicily was the only one of the 3 brave enough to grab the fish and toss it to feed the sea lions and seals.  I doesn't look like it in this picture, but she really did like it!  With Cis' magic GKTW badge, we got to feed the sea lions, seals, sharks, rays, and dolphins.  It was pretty cool!!
When I asked the workers who gave me the fish what we actually do they said, "basically just protect your children from the birds".  There were huge, rather agressive, water birds coming at us for their share of the fish we were feeding the sea lions.  I got pecked by one, and tried unsuccessfully to convice Maya it wasn't even as big a deal as a chicken peck.  Whatever fish the sea lions ended up with, they seemed to enjoy!
This was a pretty awesome fish tank you could walk into.  Quite a cool feeling to be surrounded by fish and not be wet!!
FEEDING THE DOLPHINS!  This had to be the coolest part of Sea World.  Cis again was the only one of the little girls who would hold the fish and feed and boy did she enjoy it!!  I tried to get Sophie to pet the dolphin under it's nose and she absolutely refused.  I thought it was kinda weird since she's pretty adventurous, then I realized their mouths do gape open with a fair number of pretty sharp teeth!
There was of course, a nice Sea World employee who stuck by us to make sure we got the most out of the experience.  She did some kind of hand sign and the dolphins would swim up onto this ledge so the girls could pet them.  Maya did dare to pet the dolphin without the teeth threatening.  These are Maya's, Cicily's and Daddy's hands petting the dolphin named Lilly.
The girls watching the same dolphins from an underground viewing spot. 
Since Cicily hasn't wanted to buy hardly any souvenirs for herself, but LOVES buying souvenirs for others, she bought Sophie this cute dolphin.  Here is Cicily happily and lovingly giving the dolphin to Sophie.  And here is Sophie greedily grabbing it out of Cicily's hands (can we claim she was just exhausted?).

  Just like the other parks, Sea World really took care of us.  All the kind special treatment really has made for a wonderful wish trip for Cis. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

GKTW and EPCOT -Day 4

This is a medallion in the heart of the Avenue of Angels at GKTW.  It's exactly what we've tried to do for Cicily and encapsulates the mission of GKTW and Make-A-Wish to me.  These organizations realize there is not a cure for some children in life.  Instead of worrying about what we can't do for children, these organizations do what they can do - provide happiness, hope, memories and joy.  That is something priceless to our Cicily and our family.  
A delicious breakfast in the Gingerbread House.  All the 'angel' volunteers serve you and make you feel so special eating here.  Also Cicily is very entertained here because there are thousands of dolls, bears and stuffed animals all around.
A family train ride around Amberville, a family-fun corner of GKTW.
GKTW even has their own mini-golf course!  Cicily liked putting the ball!  Maya played a full 7 holes.
Sophie kept trying to steal everyone's ball (she loves balls, and we think she was trying to be helpful).  It was a great way to spend the morning, we laughed a lot.  I love that GKTW has this, it's something I've wanted to do at home, but didn't want to "waste" the money knowing that nobody would actually do real golfing!
Matthew's Boundless Playground.  This is the park that is a life-sized Candy Land game.  We ate our lunch here and played for quite a while.  This is Maya's "classroom" where she wanted Cicily to come play with her.  I love it when she wants Cicily to join in her fun.  When we told the girls it was time to go to EPCOT, they didn't want to leave!  We even told them is was the night to have dinner with the princesses in a castle, something they'd been very excited for at home, still kinda didn't want to leave.  
Cis was excited to go down this slide holding hands with her sisters.
Sitting atop the sparkly gumdrops.
Sophie pretending to eat the chocolate bars.  She was funny, really sticking out her tongue and pretend chewing and saying, "mmm, yummy!"
We did make it to EPCOT and we were glad we did!  It was character central and early on a cast member saw our GKTW magic button and told us to go straight to the front of any character lines.  It made for an amazing character day!  The girls loved talking and interacting with all of them and having them sign their autograph books!  The first character was Daisy.  I think she was Sophie's favorite.
Mary Poppins was great!  She asked where we were from and when Maya told her she said, "well that's quite a ways for an umbrella trip!"  Cicily thought it was so funny!!!  Mary let her hold her parrot umbrella.  She also asked Sophie to say hi and Sophie happened to be sticking her finger up her nose.  Mary replied, "well, not how I would do it, but ok."
We made our way through the EPCOT countries to Norway where we ate dinner in the Akershus Castle.  Lots of the princesses were there and they all came to our table and talked with the girls, gave an autograph and posed for a picture.  This was the "princess parade".  I wanted Cis to enjoy it, so I took her around and helped her with her princess wave.  Princesses aren't her absolute favorite thing, but she enjoyed it.
Mulan was cool.  She showed Maya how to do a warrior pose.  Maya is definitely our princess of the family!
Sophie wasn't impressed by the princesses, but she LOVED making friends with this Disney employee, Trina,  and playing peakaboo with her!  Trina was so nice.
Possible TMI:  After our princess dinner, and a fun little ride in Norway, we needed to change a couple diapers.  Very fortunately for us we happened to use this family restroom.  It was a little blessing because Cis ended up blowing out big time and Dad got it on his shirt, which he had to wash out.  Then Soph had a rashy bum so I let her air out for just a brief minute and she ended up wetting her pants.  Fortunately we had a spare pair of pants for Cis and Sophie's shirt was like a short dress.  Since we were at Disneyworld and we happened to be in the perfect bathroom, we actually laughed at the mishap, got a picture and went on our way!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Magic Kingdom, Small World! - Day 3

Today started off with a horseback ride.  Cicily got to ride in her pjs!  She went first to show Maya and Sophie how it's done since Cis rides a horse every week.  It was Maya's first ride on a horse.  She's never been brave enough to do it before.  She feels so safe at GKTW that she jumped right on.  Sophie loved the horse and kept making horsey noises.
Give Kids the World has it's own carousel!  This time Daddy and Cis rode on a sitting animal and Cis liked it much better!
How sweet is a garbage can that's a clown's mouth!  (Unless you don't like clowns, but these girls do.)  Sophie was giggling non-stop when the paper flew into its mouth. 

It's a Small World!!!!  This is one of the things Cicily REALLY wanted to do when we came on her wish trip.  Cicily was so excited when we got on she was signing to call Grandma to tell her about it.  So, Grandma got an earful of the song while we rode.  We also took lots of pictures of the dolls so we can make Cicily her own Small World book when we get home.  We'll also go back to this ride later in the week for sure!
In line for Mickey's Philharmagic.  3D glasses ready!
Sophie was making Cis laugh with this trick - a double fingers up the nose act!  A great way to pass the time while waiting for the Tiki Room to be ready for us!
Maya's been so great to push Cis and Soph around the parks.  She's been helpful, happy and excited to see her sisters have fun. 
Cicily was giddy when I asked her if she'd like to buy some treats to take to her school class.  She picked out some chocolate covered pretzels shaped like Mickey.  That's been the souvenir she's been most excited about by far.  Of course it would be something to give to someone else.
The GKTW night activity was Mayor Clayton's birthday party.  A "once in a lifetime chance" according to Maya.  We finally broke the news to her that every week they have a party for Mayor Clayton.  But then she wisely pointed out that we'd never be back for a party for Mayor Clayton.  For the party fun Cicily petted some dogs, decorated a shirt, her and Maya got balloon animals, we ate cake and ice cream, and danced a bit. 
After the party we got our nightly ice cream treat and rode the train home.  Cicily was loving tasting our banana split.  I'm not sure what it is about food on this trip.  She must just not want to miss out on any detail of her wish fun!

Friday, January 20, 2012


We started the day with a bubble bath for the girls in the jetted tub.  Then some playtime at the awesome playground here at GKTW.  It's an actual life-size Candy Land game, which our girls love.  Then we got a picture in front of our villa as the gift fairies were coming to leave the girls a gift for the day.  This fairy comes by our villa each day to leave a little something for each of the girls - they love it!
Then it was off to Universal Orlando for HARRY POTTER THEME PARK!!!!!  (we can't just say it, gotta yell it)  Here's Maya in front of Hogsmeade.  When we saw the snow-capped buildings I again got a little teary.
Cicily, Mommy and Maya in front of Hogwarts Express.  HP theme park (as we call it, technically it's called the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) is mostly a street made to look like a village in HP, Hogsmeade.  So it has shops with various trinkets, clothes and food from the books.  There's also a restaurant, the Three Broomsticks.  And at the end, there's the actual school, Hogwarts.  We didn't go on any rides (the girls aren't real thrill seekers - who am I kidding, neither are their parents), but they do have 3 themed roller coasters and a ride inside the castle.  If you're a Potter fan, it's really sweet!  Maya's listened to each book at least 3 times and Chris and I have read them all, so we had a great time.  Cicily genuinely seemed happy to be there soaking in our excitement. 

There's a show at Olivanders wand shop where Olivander chooses a child to come up and have a wand "choose the wizard".   In our show Olivander chose Maya to be the wizard.  She was stoked!  (Although you couldn't tell from her expression.  She's "good at acting serious" she tells me.)  Her very own wand is the only souvenir she really wanted, so this was perfect.  There was a magic show, where her wand chose her and she worked some magic and then we could go into the store next door and purchase her wand.  She's been casting spells around our villa since.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry castle.  We got to go inside and see the actual talking pictures and Dumbledore's office.  We ducked out on the ride though.
Then it was sorta the day of food.  There was a lot of Harry Potter food we were excited to try.  The first one was Pumpkin juice.  It was pretty good.  Sorta spiced apple/pumpkin juice.
Then treacle fudge - just like Hagrid is famous for making.  Mmm, we loved it!
But the best was - Butterbeer!!  A carbonated beverage straight out of the books and delicious!
Cicily loved the butterbeer!  Really, she couldn't get enough.  She even got a butterbeer mustache!  She's really been respecting tasting food on this trip.  First ice on the plane, then butterbeer.
Eating lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  Fish and chips, cornish pasties, and chocolate trifle.  Just like a Hogwarts feast!
There were two cute shows.  The first one we watched was the Hogwarts quartet with singing frogs.  Then this one was the tri-wizard tournament show.  Everyone at HP was really cool to us.  We didn't have to wait in line an hour to go into Olivanders (I couldn't look the people in line in the eye, I felt bad!), and after each show they asked us to be first to get our picture taken.  It really does allow us to take care of Cis and still be able to make her wish trip packed full of fun.  We so appreciate all the kindness.  
After HP we went to Seuss Landing.  All the girls love Dr. Seuss books, especially Cicily.  We were talking about all her favorite characters.  This was a One Fish, Two Fish ride.  Cis and Sophie really liked steering it up and down!
Cis thought the Dr. Suess fake-animals sounded fun to ride on the carosuessel.  But, after it got started, she hated it.  She doesn't do well with motion, something with her brain signals.  I felt bad, I just tried to hang on to her and distract her.
Back at GKTW.  Each wish child that comes to stay here gets a special star.  They put their name on the star and the "star fairy" comes at night to magically take them up into the tower where it stays forever.  Cicily enjoyed this special experience.
Each night at GKTW they have some kind of party.  Tonight was Pirates and Princesses.  Here's Cis with the mayor of GKTW, Clayton.  

Other things to remember:
In our rental van Cicily keeps taking her toes and rolling down her window.  It's so rare that she can manipulate something and make it work all on her own.  Each time she gets that window to move she's delighted.  Chris and I get mock-annoyed and she laughs!
Cicily kept asking at various times during the day to call her Grandma and Grandpa and Michelle to share the day with them.