|Image credit: Mr. Blurrycam|
Getting through security with the kids was like herding cats, especially once they separated me and Kayla from Gina, Jason and Emily. She needed a special pat-down and I had to stay with her. Got through, and made our way to the gate - last one on the concourse, naturally!
Once at the gate, we took a couple of pictures and then I had to take Kayla back to a bathroom. On the way back to the gate I run into a former co-worker! Chatted with him until Gina called me to say they were loading us NOW!!! "Now" means 45 minutes prior to departure! Cool! First on, last off.
We got everyone to our seats and buckled in the car seat only to realize there wasn't enough room between the car seat and the next seat-back to let us put her legs through. Oops. So they moved all 5 of us up to the bulkhead row, right behind First Class. Ooh, look at the VIPs kids! While the rest of the passengers filed on, we saw a girl - mid to late teens I'd guess - come on board with a tiara on her head. We immediately pointed out to Emily that there was a real princess on board!
Jason was really excited about flying and couldn't wait to start moving, until we actually did. He was okay during taxi, but then they revved up the engines and we got pressed back into our seats. He immediately slammed shut the window shades! He kept peeking though, to see what was going on, and as we leveled out he relaxed and got his homework done. By this point, Kayla was sound asleep. She's nothing if not cool under pressure.
Since we were dependent on the aisle chair, we were the last off the plane. As everyone filed past us, the Princess came up again. We of course gave our best royal waves and smiles. Then we got our first "Wish Magic": she took off the tiara and gave it to Emily! That's one happy little girl right there.
This smartly chapeaued individual helped get the bags to the van. Then he gave us the guided tour of the van. It's a Braun Entervan, a customized Dodge Grand Caravan. Here's a bit more "Wish Magic": There's a TomTom GPS unit for our use, withGKTW and other places already programmed in; and there's an E-Pass toll sticker so we don't have to pay tolls! That means the extra trip to the bank for a roll of quarters was unneeded, but now we'll have that many more quarters for the coin smooshers!
We jumped into Kayla's new chariot and hit the road. After a quick stop for lunch because we simply couldn't wait any more, we finally arrived at Give Kids the World. We checked in, got the villa key card and meal card, some basic intro to the resort and we were off to "home". The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the smell of new construction. This section of the area is fairly new, but the villa itself must have been updated very recently. Several others we've seen are also getting the "gut and redo" treatment. Very nice to have something so new.
I made a trip to the 3:30 orientation for the tickets and details. It's a good thing it's all repeated in the guide book! There's a lot to take in and I was starting to fade. Gina took the kids to the Boundless Playground while I did that, then we all headed to the central area for ice cream and entertainment. Kayla slept through the majority of this, partly due to the heat I think. Jason and Emily played with the RC boats and the model train display, but the ride-on train, the carousel and the mini golf were closed due to thunderstorms coming through.
We hung out in the Castle for quite a while where Kayla finally woke up. We did the kids' pillows, but saved Kayla's star for a little while.
We started the hunt for Maddie's star, but there was some confusion over that. There is a section of ceiling that got water-damaged and the stars were taken down, stored and catalogued. It was initially thought that her star was in that area, but we later got a call saying they had found it, tagged it, photographed it and we could go see it any time. That's good to know, and we'll have a picture of it that I hope will be better than any shot I'm likely to get.
We had dinner at the Gingerbread House, where there were more volunteers to help than there were guests. Then it was about time for the big Candy Land game which turned out to be a collection of oversized board games and a dance party. Jason and Emily danced their butts off and Kayla took it all in. We tried some connect four, but her arms just didn't stretch enough to get the checkers into the top of the frame! After that it was bath/bed and time for Daddy to sit down and put this down for posterity.
So far, so good. Kayla slept a fair part of the day, but didn't really miss anything "important". Our plan for tomorrow is to hit Sea World and just go from there. One of the freebies we get with the GKTW button is a free tray of fish! You get to feed dolphins, rays or another thing I have forgotten now. It sounds like a good way to start the week!