Make-A-Wish “…grant[s] the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” (from the Make-A-Wish mission statement)
And because of Evie’s complex health issues involving so many of her systems, Make a Wish Iowa approved her for a Wish about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, because she was so incredibly unstable last year with the increasing damage to her intestines, we had to put her Wish on hold. It was a rough decision. On the one hand, we worried that if we didn’t do it soon, we’d lose her before we could do it, BUT we certainly didn’t want to further risk her health by pursuing it. Of course, in the end, we were able to find the defect/damage in her intestine, remove it, and now she’s doing better than ever. We still have a lot of health issues to sort out, but we felt she was stable enough for us to plan her Wish. We talked over things and showed Evie videos and decided Disney World would be perfect for her. Her best friends in the world for her 4.5 years have been all the characters that she’s loved watching and playing with. So we planned and stressed and tried not to let our anxieties overwhelm us and got on our way.
Just absolutely amazing. For all my panicking that it would be a catastrophe leading to a hospital stay or worse, it went as smoothly as we could have ever hoped. And Evie had such a wonderful time. It took some trial and error to find what she liked in rides, but the characters were a perfect hit right from the beginning.
I’m just going to do a brief overview of our trip in this post and then (mostly to record for my own memory), I’ll create probably some day by day posts. I’d also like to do a post of tips for future families going to Disney World for Wish trips.
Alright, onto the photos for anyone who didn’t just skip past all that beginning stuff! And these are JUST the photos taken by the photographers at Disney. If I wait until I’ve compiled all the pictures we took, this post won’t come out for another 6 months.
First up, characters at Magic Kingdom. How cute are my girls????
Evie needed time to chill each day which gave big sister a chance to hit a few thrill rides. That girl is definitely a bit of an adrenaline junkie. We tried to get a few family photos, but if a character wasn’t in the picture with her, Evie was less incline to give a smile. Still a pretty typical four year old in that regard, I’m thinking.
And then there were a couple of days at Universal! I grabbed quite a few of our pictures since there were so few professional ones. We just didn’t utilize the photo pass as well there. Partly because of the rain the first day, partly the crowds the second day due to the Harry Potter Celebration, and partly our own exhaustion and enjoying having slower days. Still, we absolutely LOVED Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. They were so great to us as a Wish Family and we found Evie’s ultimate favorite ride.
And we caught at least a little video of Evie on the Woody Woodpecker roller coaster. We’re still amazed that she loved this so much. We rode it at least 6-8 times and each time she would sign ‘again’ and beg to ride it.
That’s pretty much the best video ever, isn’t it?
And most importantly, our favorite place was Give Kids the World Village. This is where Wish Families can stay for their week in Orlando and it is beyond amazing. I just cannot emphasize enough how magical it was, how welcomed we were, how loved on the girls were, how fun the parties and activities were, and how much we wish we could have done EVERYTHING. I’ll make sure to do a post that details our time at the Village more because I want you all to know how much we loved it, but here’s some photos that the photographers took for us during the week.
Again I say, it was AMAZING. We’re so incredibly grateful to Make a Wish Iowa, Give Kids the World, Disney World, and Universal Studios for all of their hard work and dedication to make it a special week for Evie. Ty and I kept it together most of the week, but there were so many moments where we nearly broke down with the joy of seeing Evie having so much fun. This time last year we weren’t sure we would have much time left with her, so to be enjoying time as a family on our very first real vacation was truly wonderful.
I’ll get working on sorting pictures so I can do some more detailed posts, but hopefully this gives you at least a glimpse of all the fun we had!