This morning started early at 7:30 with breakfast in order to disembark onto Disney’s private island at 8 a.m. We wanted to go early, as we heard not many do, so we could have a lot of the island to ourselves.
While getting in the elevator, we ran into a new friend of Kaleb’s. He met Jack at the Oceaneer’s Club, a crazy-amazing place full of games, plays and activities for kids. Jack’s family told us they were from New York, and they loved that Jack had made a nice friend on the ship. They asked us where we were from, and we informed them. They laughed and said Kaleb told Jack he was from North America. Hahaha! Kaleb replied, “Stranger danger.” We were cracking up!!! It sounds like Kaleb will have another pen pal, and we promised to give them our full address.
I have neglected to tell you so far about Matthew. On our first night on the ship, he came to our table at dinner and introduced himself. Matthew is the on-ship Make-A-Wish representative. He told us he would be checking in with us the entire week to ensure we were being spoiled sufficiently. Have I told you how INCREDIBLE this organization is?! He also told us he would have surprises every day for Halle in her stateroom. Monday night it was a stuffed Mickey and 3 envelopes. In those envelopes it told us that we had complimentary rentals for snorkeling equipment, bikes and floats on the beach. It also told us Halle and family would have a private meet-and-greet at 3:30 today. On Tuesday, it was chocolate covered strawberries. Today it was fruit, cheese and crackers.
So…we got off the ship and strolled to the beach to get our rentals. The island was pretty sparse at this time of day, which was nice. However, it was incredibly windy. Also, remember the post about Halle and sand?? Uff, her struggle was in full effect today. That meant lots of carrying Halle and a tired mom, dad and grandma. Due to the wind, the staff did not recommend using the floats or renting kayaks, water trikes, etc., because it would be so hard to move them. We moved on to snorkeling. Oy vey. Halle’s glasses made it impossible for the goggles to seal. She couldn’t figure out how to work the breathing…Kaleb didn’t like the feel of the flippers. Halle was crying about the sand again. Kaleb was accused of trickling more sand on her…Yo, Malia and Nick were out snorkeling…Grandma couldn’t see or breathe with the equipment on…epic fail.
We moved on down the beach to the water slide area. The water is ABSOULTEY beautiful…turquoise…the sand is soft and white…the views are amazing…oh to sit in a beach chair and enjoy it…that’s apparently for another vacation. Malia was tired. Kaleb didn’t want to try the slides. Halle, Yo and I swam out and went down the slides and had some fun. Yo is NOT a fan of salt water. He’s not sure what God was thinking on that one. Then Halle had to go to the bathroom. Then something in the water bit her. The kids whined about going back to the ship. We headed back at 10:45. The ship was pretty empty, and the kids had full access to all the pools, the Nemo water play area and no waits for the big water slide. They were happy, so we were happy. Nick and I agreed we are coming back to a tropical island, soon, without them. 🙂
Mom and I enjoyed a delicious crab and shrimp lunch on the deck of the ship, while Nick and Yo watched the kids swim. The kids had ice cream for lunch…and snack. We were all happy. 🙂 It was time for naps and journaling and getting ready for the night’s events, which included a Pirate Party.
At 3:30, we headed to our secret gathering place, as instructed in Matthew’s invitation. Halle, along with all the other Wish Kids on the ship, had a private meet-and-greet with Mickey Mouse. The girls LOVED it. Mickey told them he loved them, danced with them, gave and received kisses, and took lots of pictures. I could not keep it together. Scanning the room, I saw some of the bravest kids anyone could know. To know all these precious ones are battling their bodies breaks. my. heart. There was one family, in particular, with a little girl who had to be 3 or 4. She appeared to be nonverbal and was crying, moaning, and wincing a great deal. Her mom shared with us that she was having major stomach surgery the following week. Mickey approached her and kissed her on the cheek. Her cries turned into laughter and big smiles. To see these children experiencing such happiness in the midst of their health struggles…there are no words. I had to find a corner by the cookies and have a good cry. Nick followed suit. It was a beautiful time for these kids. Thank you, Make-A-Wish!!!
We ate dinner in the Royal Ballroom and continued on to a Pirate Party on the top deck. We were pretty tuckered out, so most of us went to bed. Nick and Yo stayed up to see the fireworks at 10:30 and people watch at the dance. Yo learned some new, interesting moves.