Madelina’s wish was to go to Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, FL, to meet Mickey and Minnie (and the princesses too)! She was almost three when her wish was granted in October of 2015 and it was a trip of a lifetime. Madelina was treated like a princess the minute we arrived at the Pittsburgh Airport. This was Madelina’s first ride on a plane, so that made it even more memorable. Once we arrived at Give Kids the World Village, we began our whirlwind of a journey. Our family explored all that Give Kids the World had to offer, from the Ferris wheel to the pools to the ice cream and all the wonderful evening activities. There was always something going on at Give Kids the World!
On the second day of our trip, we headed to the Magic Kingdom®. Madelina, along with her big sister Gianna, could not believe their eyes when they walked through the front gates of the park. My girls could see Cinderella’s castle in person! We met Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Goofy, Elsa and Anna, just to name a few! The girls were able to take pictures with all of the characters as well as get autographs.
On the third day of our trip, Epcot® was an adventure! We started with breakfast with the Princesses! Madelina and Gianna got to dance and sing with the Princesses as well as get their pictures and autographs. We spent the rest of the day exploring the different countries and attractions at Epcot®. Later evening, we were treated to a Halloween party at Give Kids the World. The girls dressed up as their favorite princess and trick or treated around the resort. What a blast!
To start day four of our trip, Madelina made a special star with her name on it that was placed at Give Kids the World. We then traveled to the Animal Kingdom®. During this day, Madelina had a special character meet and greet lunch at the Tusker House. We met Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy. The smiles on Madelina and Gianna’s faces was priceless, and even I got a few pictures! That evening, the girls received a special tuck-in at Give Kids the World by Mayor Clayton and Mrs. Clayton.
During our next two days, we visited SeaWorld and Universal Studios. We saw sharks, fishes and whales! The girls loved being up close to the animals. We also had a lot of fun visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios. Seuss Landing was a lot of fun too. We even got to join in during one of the performances.
As a Wish Dad, this trip meant that I was able to see Madelina be a happy kid again. It showed me that acute myeloid leukemia wasn’t stopping her from having the trip of a lifetime. It was great to get away from everything to be together as a family, having fun and relaxing. It was also great to see Madelina and Gianna being sisters and enjoying their time together, because they spent so much time apart when Madelina was in treatment. We also made a lot of new friendships with other local wish families during our trip that we still keep in touch with today.
Overall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will never forget! Thank you to Make-A-Wish® and all who made our trip possible.
— Chris, Wish Dad