Saturday, June 29, 2013

Beyond A Dream Come True!!!!

Three major posts are coming your way but I have to start with Mia's dream!!!

On May 4th, our family boarded a plane for the first time all together!  The anticipated plane ride and days that lied ahead brought the Fallone children  so much excitement......and that was just the beginning!

We arrived at the Orlando airport and were greeted by a Give Kids the World volunteer, Roger. He held a welcome sign and took over from there, not letting us lift a finger. After helping us with our luggage and rental van, we went to the greatest place on Earth, Give Kids the World.  At the "House of Hearts", we were given an overview of the resort and all of its magic and wonder.

This was the villa we stayed in.

Kitchen stocked with pots, pans, toaster, dishwasher and soap.
Family room.

Kids' room.
The villa had a full kitchen, two bedrooms, two full baths and a washer and dryer. The kids all shared a room which had its own bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub! As you can see, it was very spacious and clean!

Each day, the "Toy Fairy" would visit and leave presents on the kitchen table. All food was included and we could even have meals delivered whenever we wanted. On lucky mornings, you could catch the breakfast cart that drove around the village offering breakfast as you walk out your front door!

Here is a trip around the resort....

The Gingerbread House
 This is where we ate most meals. Volunteers serve your food and carry your tray to your table. You are not allowed to carry, stack, clear or clean anything. Okay.....very difficult for me!

The Ice Cream Parlor
The parlor was opened daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Yes, ice cream for breakfast was  a MUST!

Marc's Dino Putt
This miniature golf course we did not actually make it to! Just so much to do.

At Amberville, you could take a train around the resort....
play with an elaborate model train set....
play in the arcade with old school games as well as the latest Wii games.....

or race your remote control boat!

Julie's Safari Theater

This theater was the stage for "Village Idol", where kids performed, were judged and all received trophies.

Castle of Miracles
This castle was equipped with throne, princess spa, wishing tree that made wishing pillows, magically lit play area and ceilings that were lined with stars representing each "wish" child that has been granted a stay at Give Kids the World. The "Star Fairy" put Mia's star in Star Tower which was added to the castle because the ceilings were out of room. All stars remain forever!!!!! 
Enchanted Carousel

Keaton's Koral
Horse back riding is offered with therapeutic instructors!

Happy Harbour Pond
Nicolas went fishing but didn't have much luck!

Matthew's Boundless Playground
A Candyland replica playground!

The Pool and Splash Area

 Absolutely everything in the village was magical! Kids are not kids, they are princesses, guppies, princes, knights and pirates! Everyday is special. Sunday is the World's Largest Candy Land Game on the playground. Monday is Halloween in the village, complete with trick-or-treating. Tuesday is Mayor Clayton's Birthday Party. Wednesday is Village Idol. Thursday is Winter Wonderland where the village comes alive with snow, carriage rides, a parade and time spent on Santa's lap ending with a Christmas present for all. Friday is Pirate and Princess Party. Saturday is a poolside cookout and Big Splash Bash ending with family drive in movie by the pool's ship stage.

In addition to all of that, Disney characters come and visit the village throughout the week. Kids can  sign up to be tucked in bed by Mayor Clayton! And parents don't need to carry cameras. Photographers are there to capture your moments and put them on your very own disk. Even Village Idol was taped for us. However, if you want to take your own pictures, feel free. If you run out of space on your memory card, they will download your full card onto a CD to make room for your new photos. If you forget your video camera, just borrow from them. They will download all videos before you leave!

As if all of that wasn't enough, each family has their pick of tickets from just about any park in the Florida area. We were given 3 days at Disney, 2 days at Universal and 1 day Sea World. Any of these could be traded in for other theme parks such as Lego Land, Bush Gardens or air boat and helicopter rides. All of these came with free parking, stroller and wheelchair rental. Disney included a complimentary photo pass! The list just kept going.  

As far as Mia's dream......the pictures say it all! The moments were priceless. This unimaginable gift has left us humbled and changed forever!
Enjoy some of my favorite moments.

Our greeter, Roger

Mayor Clayton

Fun at the Pool

Horseback Riding

Character Visits at Give Kids the World

Sea World

Theme Parks



The kids wrote thank you cards to The Dream Factory. To sum up our trip, here are a few of their quotes cards:
"Without The Dream Factory, we wouldn't have had this once in a lifetime experience. This was one of the most incredible trips I will ever go on. I hope to someday volunteer at, not only The Dream Factory, but Give Kids the World too. I will never forget this trip." -Nicolas
"My favorite thing at GKTW was everything. I want to volunteer at Give Kids the World when I get older. That trip was an opportunity of a lifetime. There is nothing else like going to parks for a week and the amazing things at GKTW!" -Samantha