Monday, January 19, 2009

Make-A-Wish trip, Day 3, Part 2

Dear People,
So I don't know about you, but my computer is getting really slow to load with all of these pictures. I have decided to compress the pics. The good news is that the page should load faster. The bad news is that some family and friends are saving these pics, and although they should look fine compressed on the webpage, they wont look that great when you use them for anything else (Mom). So if you are reading this, and would like to use the pics, just e-mail me what picture(s) you would like, and I will send it(them) to you in their original size. The pictures I have already uploaded to this point are in their original format.



Day 3, Part 2

So after our Dolphin Encounter, and my break-down of tears of joy, we had to wash our hands of the lovely smell of the fish we were feeding to the dolphins. Well, they did. I didn't, because I was taking pictures the whole time. Don't worry though, I did take time out of my picture taking to take advantage of our amazing opportunity and pet the dolphins. I just didn't touch the nasty stinky fish.

From there, we went to check out the manatees. This was Kyley's special thing, she actually has manatee posters in her room, and they have a special place in her heart. We all have a lot of pics of the manatees, and there is really no need to post them all here, but I will show you some of my favorites.

Just to show how close we were

I like this picture of the boys, and their reflections

Three of my 4 favorite guys. Yes Rick is looking at his phone, but that is because he was taking pictures with it. He did an incredible job of leaving business in North Carolina during this trip. He was completely child-focused, and as the boss, I know how hard that must have been.

Apparently I am not the best map reader, plus Sea World's map is a bit hard to navigate. We waited for the Shamu show for an hour, only to find out that the show we were watching was not Shamu at all. Actually, that sounds worse than it was, because I am the only one who waited for the show. The kids and Rick took the opportunity to finally spend some of their money in the gift-shops. Plus, I was glad for the wait. I took advantage of Andrew's wheelchair, and just sat. After the continuos running of the last 3 days, it was nice. Turns out that it is a good thing that I am a bad navigator, because we saw an amazing show that we may not have seen if we had been in the right place. It was called "Blue Horizons", and starred (very cool after the morning we had) dolphins.

After the show, we were hungry. Those of you who know us well, know that Kyley and I enjoy healthier foods, while the rest of the family likes, well, junk. Sea World offers both, so we seperated. Unfortunately, we then spent an hour trying to find the others, and poor Rick had SIX by himself. But this was a good lesson, and we didn't seperate again during the whole trip, except for the times the boys were not big enough to ride.

After lunch, we went looking for the real Shamu show. We were hoping to get there early, and try to explain that this was Andrew's wish, Sea World not disney, in hopes that he would be chosen as the kid. But, because of my mess-up with the stadiums, and spending so much time at the wrong one, we got in with just enough time to get good seats. We all loved it!

Now for some rides. The Polar Express Experience at Sea World was cool, but we had been spoiled by the amazing 3 and 4-D adventures at Universal Studios, so the kids rated it pretty low. Also, we didn't get to see any polar bears, they were hiding.

On the other hand, the Journey to Atlantis ride was very highly rated for the kids. One of their favorites of the whole trip.

There were some kiddie-type rides, and because of the silly guilt Rick and I had about the whole line-jumping thing, only the younger kids rode these. It just seemed nicer for us to say to the ride-operator 3 or 4 than it was to say yes NINE of us want to be put on the ride in front of everyone who has been standing here for an hour. It was a silly guilt thing, and I know that without the line-hopping we would not have been able to do even half of what we did, and we know that this may have been Andrew's only trip to the Orlando attractions, so I am forever greatful that we had it.

Anyway, there was a lot more that we could have done at Sea-World. We were all dying to get back to Universal Studios, so we bowed out after making sure we did the shark exhibit. Our excitement and big rush to get back to Universal is also the reason that we didn't stop to view/purchase our professional dolphin encounter pics. I am still waiting to here back from Sea World about those.

So when we got over to Universal, after using the van as a changing room, (Some of us, me and Josh especially, were soaked after the Atlantis ride) we went crazy. I did not take a lot of pics of our final evening at Universal, mainly because I was like the kids, loving every minute of it. Who can be bothered with taking pictures in this amazing place?

I will just reiterate that Universal Studios was INCREDIBLE the rides were better than Disney, and they were so great with our VIP pass. We were able to jump on all the rides without any wait, ride them as many times as we wanted, and it was not obvious, they back-doored us. WE LOVE UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!!

We laughed, we played, we skipped and jumped. There is a reason Day 3 was so special for us. We were just all in the best of moods, and soaking in every second of it.

A funny story about this Jimmy Neutron ride, by the time we got on it, we had been riding so much, with no waiting, that we were actually super comfortable on the rides. They were becoming second nature to us, and when this ride broke out into a 4-D chicken dance, complete with throwing us all around, while other people on the ride were holding on for dear life, I looked over at Brooke, and then Kyley, and saw that the three of us were totally chicken dancing. We weren't riding the rides, we were living them!

So I'm not going into all of them, but the best rides according to our kids are The Simpsons, and Revenge of the Mummy

We had already decided that we were going to make it a late night, and not be back in time to have dinner at the village, so when the park closed, we spent some time at City Walk. It was crowded, it was neon, and it was exciting.

We got back to the village in time to order pizza. Yes, they also have free pizza delivery, until 10:30 every night, which they deliver to your villa. A few of the kids actually fell asleep on the way back to the villa. Good thing we ate a late lunch. But the ones that were awake for the pizza, all said it was the best they had ever had.

Also, might as well mention it now, The village is a gated community, and you have to be approved for entry to the gate, so when we got back every evening, we had to be buzzed in, and state who we were. It was always so cool to here "Welcome home McQueen's!" or "Yipee, so glad you're home!" Give Kids The World truly had every little detail covered. Amazing.


Caroline said...


I loved your comment on CBTHD and so I clicked on over to your blog. I was laughing along with the insanity, and enjoying the pictures of your trip, when I got to this post and realized what M.A.W. stood for.

A little over 17 years ago I visited all of the places you guys have been, even the Give Kids the World compound, with my family. My brother Michael died of his brain tumor (the very worst kind) a little less than a month later.

Words escape me, I didn't get much of a chance to read all of Andrew's story and prognosis (they'll be coming for me soon ;0) ), but I want you to know that my thoughts are with you guys as you go through this. It's like living in a bubble, where the regular world gets to exist on the outside and you just float along in uncertainty. Anyway, I guess what I mean is, if you need to talk, I'm here. And even if you don't, I'm still here, thinking about you guys.


doodlebelle said...

Thank-you Caroline for your kind words. It is amazing how the internet thing has connected so many people who have shared similar experiences. Luckily (ummm...yeah, NOT!) Andrew has "the best kind" of brain-tumor. Thank-you Charlotte Doctors for that lovely description. The best brain tumor has enabled him to have a 'normal' life. (In between surgery, ICU, rehab, and radiation.) Some day we will do the chemo thing. Hopefully not soon.

Anyway, I am so sorry about your experience, and to hear about your brother. But I am always greatful for a new internet friend, and desperately in need of an escape sometimes, which I will get from your great blog.

For my regular readers- Check Her Out! You'll be glad you did.