Off to the airport we went. I was the only one with flying experience and that was for one trip over 10 years ago. So, we had no idea what we were doing at the airport and it showed! Fortunately, it wasn't too crowded so the people were patient with us. Of course, Jaycee's vest therapy machine, nebulizer, and bi-pap machine were all flagged by security for an additional screening. Jaycee's liquid medication was also flagged, but we had anticipated this.
Like any new experience, we had spent time talking to the kids about what a plane ride would be like and how they should behave. They were prepared. We boarded the plane with two happy kids. The ride went smooth. They loved being on an airplane.
We arrived at the Orlando International airport and looked for the greeters from Give Kids the World. They were easy to spot and they guided us through picking up our bags, getting our rental car, and navigating to the village. We would have been lost without them!
We made our way to the Give Kids the World village, which was about a 40 minute drive. I had read up on the place, so I prepared. But, it was so much more amazing than words can describe. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with happy, smiling people who seemed to love being there. We got checked in and introduced to our village. Wow! It was amazing! The kids had their own bedroom and bathroom. There was also WIFI, a kitchen, a living room, and a washer/dryer. Snacks were waiting for us as well as gifts for the kids.
I went to orientation that day. Orientation is the only requirement this place has. There you learn about the week's activities, the village, and get your theme park tickets. You automatically get a 3 day hopper pass to Disney, 2 days at Universal Studios, and 1 day to Sea World. There were many other options of possible places to go if those weren't appealing. We were provided with a meal card that gave us access to have all 3 meals at the village for free. We could also eat ice cream free anytime the ice cream shop was open. Drinks were free. Everything was free. (While I'm giving some details, I'm not going to give too much away since I don't want to spoil all the magic for future families.)
We took the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore the village. There were a few rides to ride. The carousel was our favorite. We checked out the arcade, watched an amazing model train display, and drove some toy water boats. (Everything was free!) We made special pillows in the castle, got ice cream, and swam in their heated pool. Jaycee loves to swim, so this was her favorite!
We enjoyed lunch and dinner at the village. We never had a bad meal; it was all so yummy! We later learned that Perkins restaurant and Boston Market supplied the food we were eating. No wonder it was so good!
That night we planned out the week based on what was happening at the village and what we wanted to squeeze in. Tough decisions! To be continued.....