Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gab's Wish Trip, Part 1: Give Kids the World Village

Run yeterday, 5 easy miles, last .25 of each at 8:8:13-7:57, splits 10:17, 10:34, 10:11,10:10, 9:57. Surprise progression run? Left hamstring is a little wonky. That's new.


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As part of Gabby's Wish trip, we stayed at Give Kids the World Village. GKTW opened in 1989, and serves to provide a place to serve families with special needs on their wish trips.

Our flights to Orlando were super delayed - we didn't end up arriving in Orlando until almost 10pm. A GKTW greeter met us at the gate to help us collect our baggage and pick up our car rental. By the time we arrived at the House of Hearts (no, really) for check in, it was after 11. Gifts for everyone at check-in...


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They had also arranged for food to be brought to our villa, and waived the normal 11:30pm visiting hours cut-off to let my in-laws come and see the girls for a few hours.



Accomodations
The village is set up to provide a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa to each wish family (I saw one with the same name on both sides of the duplex, so I'm guessing that's what they do for larger families).

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Home :D

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Hello, Mayor Clayton
Each villa has a full refrigerator, 2 burner stove, and dishwasher - plates, cups, coffee, coffee maker, microwave, all included.

The kids' bedroom - 2 twin beds, 2 dressers, and attached handicap accesible bathroom.

And a giant tub with jets. (warning, naked babies ahead...)


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I know. It is REALLY EXCITING.

The second bathroom is standard and normal. Second bedroom has a dresser and king size bed.

They include a crib, an extra bed that folds up and I know there's a word for this but I cannot think of it, and a fold out couch. I think, all told, you can fit up to 7 people. We had some cousins stay over a few nights, and there was plenty of space.

They also aren't joking when they say to pack an extra suitcase. The Gift Fairy comes for a visit every.single.day.




The Grounds
During our planning, I was admittedly a little bummed that we weren't staying at a Disney resort. We've always stayed on Disney property, and I just love it. I kept seeing other people recommend leaving a day open to explore the Village, and kept thinking there's no WAY I'm taking a day out of the parks to hang out at a resort.

I was super, duper wrong.

I totally should have planned more time at GKTW.

I'm sure I'll forget something, but... on the 70 acre property... mini-golf, remote controlled boats, fishing, 2 pools, horseback riding, train rides, movies (in a theater), character greetings, arcade with pool tables, WII/PSsomething, and basketball, a nature trail, basketball courts, a "spa" to get your nails painted or a hand massage... There are also multiple planned activities every day - Real Life Candyland Game, cookout at the pool, Pirate and Princess Party, Halloween themed party, Christmas party, Mayor Clayton's Birthday... we didn't manage to hit any of them, and I wish we had (disclaimer, I planned on doing the Christmas party, since it ran until 9pm on Thusrday when we arrived, but then our flights were delayed).

And it's totally, totally runnable. You could probably loop through it for a good 1.5 miles? Maybe? I didn't try. But it's safe enough. The property is enclosed, with manned gates to let people in - you have to either swipe your meal card, or, if you're visiting, be buzzed in and announced to the villa you're visiting.

The layout was a little confusing for me at first, because I'm directionally lame that way, but once you realize everything is centered around the House of Hearts, it's super easy to navigate.


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You can't hear it, but they're yeehaw'ing. You know. Because they're cowboys...



Eating All The Things
A stay at the village includes food. A lot of food.

Gingerbread House serves hot meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A continental breakfast opens a little earlier than the regular dining room, as well. And, there are these semi-creepy dolls hanging over your head in one of the rooms...


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Katie's Kitchen serves Boston Market for lunch and dinner, either for eating at the picnic tables there, or take out to the pool, your villa, the car, whatever.

And, best of all, the Ice Cream Palace is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


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Ice Cream Palace also has unlimited sodas, and coffee, and express breakfast options earlier than Gingerbread House.


Castle of Miracles
Every family at GKTW attends an orientation, to review the amenities, learn how the Magic Pass works, get park tickets, etc. In our welcome packet was a star. The star is for the Wish kid to decorate, however she wants, and then bring to the Castle of Miracles for placement, where the Star Fairy will fly away and hang her star.

Decorating with a picture of herself :D


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Cute, right?

But, dude.


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The new Star Tower, where Gabby's star is - they ran out of space in the Castle.
 
That's a LOT OF STARS.

I took some pictures of the star fairy and the whole ceremony, but I kind of don't want to spoil it for anyone who might stumble through here.

A few days later, you get a postcard with a barcode, and an invitation to come see your star in it's permanent location. This is also super, SUPER cute, and I'm not spoiling it.

But I might have cried. Just a little.

13 comments:

Karen said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful!! Nobody deserves this more than your family. :)

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

The stars, all the stars make me cry. :(
I'm glad Gabby was able to go on this trip.

Fruit Fly said...

Of course you cried! I just got all choked up when we got to the star part and I'm only reading it!

This Village is NOTHING like I pictured. It is so cool!!!!

Sarah OUaL said...

Love love love. More posts and "THAT'S MY FAVORITE!" pics of Gab please. They warm my cold little heart.

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

That is a lot of stars. What a great place! I bet that is a trip you will never forget. Sounds like a really neat place!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

That is a lot of stars. What a great place! I bet that is a trip you will never forget. Sounds like a really neat place!

Tara @ texasrunnergirl.com said...

More more, I need more.

That place looks amazing. I'm so glad you guys got to go on this trip. Gabby looks so happy :) but the stars, oh man, the stars get ya.

Elizabeth said...

wow. that sounds like an amazing trip. sad to see so many stars though :(

Alma said...

I'm choking up seeing those stars and I'm sure this is nothing compared to being there. Amazing.

SupermomE12 said...

THIS IS THE POST I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!!! After I told you you had to stay at Give Kids the World, I was so worried you would go and then wish you had stayed at a Disney property. Give Kids the World is my favorite place on earth - no exaggeration. We could have stayed there for the week and it would have been an amazing trip. (And the people are incredible). I am SO glad you guys loved it and that you had this awesome trip. Big hugs to you!!!

Becka said...

Looks amazing!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Wow, how special. What a special trip.

Oh, you had me at real live Candyland game. I wish you could have done that!

chacha said...

I love that star idea! It's kind of bittersweet - I love that they turned it into something positive but that is just a ton of kids dealing with something that sucks (cancer, disabilities, severe illneses, etc).

Thank God kids are so much more resilient than us adults!

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