The Sunshine Foundation sends us to Disney World

My family and I just returned from the most amazing vacation we ever hope to have!  All because of the wonderful people and fabulous contributers to the Sunshine Foundation.  My daughter was awarded her “dream” fromt he foundation in April.  Her dream to see the princesses at Disney World, to ride the rides, to swim, and to have a family trip on an airplane.  We would never have been able to provide all that the foundation gave to us.  We had not taken a family trip in five years – and we were due for one!

We left on AirTran last Thursday (the whole family of five) and arrived at Orlando met by the most wonderful man.  He was a volunteer from the foundation and he took us to baggage claim and to rent our car, and helped with the kids.  The foundation provided us with airfare, a rental car, lodging at the village, tickets to the Disney and Universal theme parks, and spending money for food and souveniers. 

We went to Animal Kingdom and rode the safari, saw the Lion King from the front row, went on rides, and saw Nemo.  The parade was amazing, and all of the characters came up to my kids for a high five.  They drank slurpies and ate hot dogs and had a day full of amazement and fun.  We went to Downtown DIsney and went through the entire Disney store and looked at every princess dress and tiara, while my son went through the Lego store and Star Wars. 

Our day at Magic Kingdom was extra magical, as it was the 40th anniversary of the park, and we were part of all the celebrations.  We went on the Tea Cups, Alladins Carpets, Dumbo, and lots of other rides.  We saw the stage show with the princesses and Minnie Mouse dancing in front of the Kingdom, and saw more princesses than I could name.  In the boutique my girls got fairy dust to make their stay more magical.

Disney and Universal make getting around the parks with a disability a true pleasure.  We did not wait in one line, and were treated like royalty as we were ushered right up to the front.  Every ride my daughter wanted at all the parks, was accessible.  The parking was fabulous, the people were great, and we all had a truly magical, wonderful perfect time.

My kids really loved the Sunshine Village and the accessible pool the most of all.  They could have stayed there for the whole 5 days and stayed right in the pool.  My daughter, who cannot walk or stand, could walk the five feet between the walls of the pool, and she did it over and over again.  The independence she felt was palpable to all of us.  She only wanted to swim and walk and sing, and she was a different child when we got home.  She actually asked me for her canes, so she could try and walk without her walker.  Before I had to force her to use them, and now she was asking.  And she can do it – all by herself.

My husband and I are struggling to make all ends meet with three kids and a child with a disability, and without this amazing grant and trip from the Sunshine Foundation, our kids would not have gotten to see Disney.  The foundation made it so that we were able to share a time with our children that was so needed, so special, and truly so full of laughs – we are all a little different now that we are home.

Thank you to all of the wonderful staff of the foundation, to the people who volunteer and to the many people who make contributions.  My little princess could not have had a more special “Dream” come true in her life.

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