In a whisper, three-year-old Avery of Erie, PA, looked at her volunteers and confided that when she visited Walt Disney World® she wanted to meet only one princess -- Ariel. She grinned widely as she shared her secret. It's all Avery had thought of for the last year as she bravely received treatments for Wilm's tumor. And she never wavered - every person who inquired as to what she was hoping to do when she went on her wish trip learned the same thing: she wanted to meet Ariel.
The meeting was just one day in a week-long adventure, but it was the day that Avery and her family will never forget. Avery's mom tells the story best.
"The girls had makeovers on Monday morning because this was the big day: Avery was to meet Ariel at Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom!" said Avery's mom. "Ariel made her way to the tables, and when she saw Avery wearing the same dress she was wearing, she showered her with attention...Avery was in awe. After Ariel made her rounds to the tables, Avery was able to have a special meeting with Ariel. Avery sat on Ariel's lap talking about all of the things Avery enjoyed, telling stories about Ariel's friend Flounder the fish who was taking a bath in Cinderella's bathtub and Prince Eric who was walking Max their dog. Finally, they sang ‘Part of Your World' together, which brought tears to my eyes.
"There was a time I wasn't sure if she'd be able to meet Ariel...one year ago I didn't know if she'd live long enough to have this life-long wish fulfilled. I will never forget this as long as I live."
Meeting Ariel was just one of many magical moments throughout the week. Riding roller coasters was an adventure of which Avery couldn't get enough. After each ride, she would look at her parents and ask if she could ride again. And with each ride, her hands were raised higher in the air, and the smile on her face even broader. She loved feeding and petting the dolphins at SeaWorld and personally meeting Barney.
Upon their return, Avery and her family admitted, "What we just experienced over the last week seems like a dream. It was truly a fairy land full of angels, ice cream, and love..."