Friday, January 30, 2015

Grin Kids Trip to Disney (PART THREE)

Day two we headed to the Magic Kingdom. Carter was so excited he was the first one out of bed and ready to go. He rarely gets excited about things so this was a very big deal. 

The blue pass around his neck was also given to us when we got there.
 I have no other way to describe it than a golden ticket! It was like the ultimate fast pass.
As soon as we walked up to any ride, show, character we were immediately brought to the front of the line!
We had a little chat with TJ when we got off the bus.
Photo Credit: Angus Lamond

We rode on a big boat over to the Magic Kingdom.

This wasn't only my kids first time at Disney World, my husband and I had never been either. Walking in and seeing that castle was just the most surreal moment. Sounds crazy, but the reality of this amazing trip didn't hit me until that moment. I was overwhelmed with excitement for my kids, and yes probably cried a little! 

Every day that we were there we stayed with the big group until lunch time, then were able to break off on our own. The first thing we did with the group is gather around Cinderella's castle to take a big group photo then individual photos with Ace & TJ and the rest of the show.

The whole Grin Kids Group.
Photo Credit: Angus Lamond

My family with the Ace & TJ crew. My little one was already wiped out clearly!
Photo Credit: Angus Lamond

My big one was not amused by all the waiting! 
After the pictures we head to our first ride, The monsters inc laugh factory. Which was awesome, made all three of my kids laugh. It's rare that they all find the same things funny. 

After that ride, we saw a show then were sent off on our own, we spent the rest of the day exploring the magic kingdom. It was just amazing. To be able to enjoy all parts of the park with all three kids was so nice. My kids are pretty far apart in age (2,6,10) so I was kind of worried about that. But they all loved it, and all of them got to ride rides, even my littlest one. He's a super tall two year old. Since the kids were given autograph books they really wanted to meet as many characters as possible. The little one was not having it, they were just too big and scary for him. So most of the time he stayed a little ways back while one of us took the two older kids up to the character.

The Haunted Mansion. Seriously the COOLEST ride. 

There were some rides he was just too little for.
 So while everyone else went on space mountain, he and I took a little break,


Over the next few days we park hopped over to the Animal Kingdom, where we saw the amazing Lion King show. I am pretty sure it was my little ones favorite. Then went on a safari. Most of the animals were sleeping so that was just kinda blah. I was lucky enough to meet an online friend and her kids for the first time while we were there as well. I've known her for 6+ years and had never met in person! We were hot and exhausted so we head back to our hotel and went swimming for the afternoon.

Us on the safari! My husband is the hot guy in the back in the gray t-shirt.
 They gave us shirts to wear every day, but the day we went to the Animal Kingdom
he HAD to wear his "I'm a Beast" shirt.

The next day we started out at Hollywood Studios. We got to see the Indiana Jones show and a Muppet's show. Then we went off to meet some characters!

That's me.

Staring contest with Mike.
      Then we found a shop with a name that my husband said "was in my native language"

I was born in New York and moved to North Carolina when I was almost a teenager.
My husband was born and raised here. 

Later that night we decided to go back to the Magic Kingdom. I am so happy we did. There is nothing like seeing Disney at night. Just so so magical. Thanks to Carter's "golden ticket" we had front row seats for the Electrical parade. We all loved that so much.

This photo with Elsa was absolutely the top moment of our entire trip for a number of reasons. Not only because the little girl in me was screaming with excitement that there were REAL Disney princesses in the room. And thanks to Carter's "golden ticket" we barely waited a few minutes to see Elsa and Anna, AND it was INSIDE Cinderella's castle that we got to meet them! He rarely shows much emotion because of his Autism, so this smile and this moment, was just <3 p="">

That day was just the longest most exhausting day of my life I think! We got back to the hotel and that magical Disney sleep happened, these kids were WORN OUT. 

Every day we were there when we returned to our hotel at the end of the night there was goody bags full of snacks and presents for all the kids from Ace & TJ and the Grin kids. It was so nice to come back to that surprise every day! 
These were our presents on the last night, a homemade blanket with Carter's name on it,
 a framed autographed picture of our family with Ace &TJ,
and a drawing by Disney artist Heather Worley.

The next day we packed up and boarded the buses to head home. Again, the buses drove us straight to the airplane, we were checked by security as we got on to the plane. My boy doesn't like big crowds so I loved doing this rather than navigating airport chaos! 

When we got back to Charlotte, we got off the plane and went to pick up our luggage. And right there by the luggage area was Ace & TJ's last gift to all the Grin Kids families. A big table with pizza for everyone to take home for lunch! 

This trip was the most amazing gift anyone could have given us. With everything Carter has been through it was nice to see some good happen to him. Its wonderful that Ace & TJ spend their time raising money to take these deserving kids and their families on a trip of a lifetime. I don't think we could ever thank them enough.

You can find PART ONE of this series HERE

I hope you enjoyed my little blog series and photos! To see more of my work or book a session you can check out my facebook page HERE.

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