Words cannot begin to express how much this wish trip meant to our family. Everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect. When the limo came to pick us up to take us to the airport, Elliott was so excited. He felt like a real celebrity. The fun never stopped from that moment.
We met Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and all of his pals at Chef Mickey’s restaurant the first night we arrived. It was off to the Magic Kingdom the next day with tons of rides and attractions and lunch with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and friends. After we rested and swam at the hotel, we returned to the Magic Kingdom for more rides and fireworks. It was the first time my sons had ever seen fireworks and seeing Cinderella’s castle lit up at night was truly magical.
Then we visited Animal Kingdom where we went on safari and rode the river rapids ride. Every moment was filled with smiles, laughs and memories to last a lifetime. In Epcot we toured the world, talked to Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo and went on a ride called Soarin’ where we experienced a simulated hang glider ride around the country. Everyone loved the ride so much, we did it twice.
As if the trip could have been any better, we still had not even experienced Elliott’s Wish Day yet. We woke up early for our Star Wars Day at Hollywood studios so we wouldn’t miss a thing. The Storm Troopers entertained us as we waited to enter the park. As they played the Star Wars theme when we walked through the turn style, I got choked up just looking at Elliott’s face, so thrilled to experience the day. And what a day it was!
Our VIP guide met us and took us to get ready for the Star Wars Motorcade parade. Dressed in Jedi robes carrying their light sabers, we led the parade down the main street. He was all smiles. From that point on, there was non-stop excitement and fun. Elliott was trained as a Jedi and fought Darth Maul, we sat up front for every show and got private meet and greets with two of his favorite Star Wars characters, Ahsoka and Darth Maul. To top off they day, we got another private meet and greet with the actor of Darth Maul, Ray Park, and James Arnold Taylor, the voice actor for Obi Wan Kenobi from the Clone Wars. He got to talk to them, ask questions, take photos and get autographs. The two celebrities were so kind to my sons. I was overwhelmed. Then a group of Disney employees entered with an enormous basket of toys and special Star Wars memorabilia for Elliott to take home. What an awesome surprise! There are not enough adjectives in the world that could do justice for how special that day was to Elliott and all of us.
The trip wasn’t over as we had another 2 days to explore Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Both of my sons are huge Star Wars and Harry Potter fans, so getting to see Hogwarts castle, drink Butter Beer, eat Bertie Bots Every Flavor Beans and go to Olivander’s Wand Shop was the perfect way to end the trip. I sat on the plane on the way home reflecting on this unforgettable experience that my family shared together.
When both of our sons were diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the summer of 2007, we thought the sun would never shine again in our home. As the years go on, it is excruciating to see Duchenne rob them of their strength and ability to play with other children. We want to be able to experience as many things with them while they still can and Disney was certainly the trip of a lifetime that we will cherish always. For that week, the only focus was having fun together, not doctor or physical therapy appointments, or worrying about what the future may hold for them. And for that, we are forever grateful.
Paul and Joanna