Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dear Son's Make A Wish Trip-Day 3- Universal Studios and Barney!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010~Day 3

This was probably the most emotional day of the trip for me and the day that it felt like our trip really started. After months of planning the wish trip and hoping for it to be Dear Son's best birthday ever, Dear Son got the H1N1 only one week before our previously scheduled trip in November. After months of recovery, we were finally here. After we passed through the admission gate, we walked into the theme park and suddenly, it was quite overwhelming for me. It was as if a dream was coming true. For so many years, Dear Son had hospitalization after hospitalization and these past few years, it seemed like his body took a beating from all of the respiratory treatments and medical treatments. There were times when I wondered how on earth he could survive another round and I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I questioned what a good mother could do to help. The Make a Wish trip in part was my dream as well, to see my Dear Son have something to look forward to and more importantly, to have some fun, while he still could do that. I wanted for him to be happy so that when the ravages of disease take over his body, I will know that he had some fun and some good memories to look back on.

As I walked into the park, I couldn't help but be in awe of the enormity of the place. Everything looked huge. The sky looked huge, the park looked huge and tears welled up in my eyes as the realization that his dream and my dream were finally coming true. For months as Dear Son lie in bed, we'd talk about the big trip, how he would see Barney. He'd smile when I'd talk about that. I'd tell him that we'd see Mickey and Minnie Mouse then talk about all of the rides he could go on and that the place was built for kids in wheelchairs. I doubt he could grasp the enormity of the place and quite frankly, it is quite a place. At the same time, I couldn't help but think about the reason that we were here...that his days are truly numbered. A high price to pay for admission and yet, it is what it is.
Memories came flooding back of his early days at Big Academic Medical Center. Back then, the hospital was filled with mostly pediatric transplant patients. I'd watch the little kids on the floor of the hospital and be half envious of their lives. I envisioned that those children would live a normal life after they recovered however my Dear Son would never be free of his issues.
The sun beat down on us as we walked towards our first event, "A Day in the Park with Barney." Universal Studios offers over 40 rides, shows and attractions. The streets imitate those of Hollywood and New York. There are rides for every major blockbuster movie including rides for: Earthquake, ET Adventure, Jaws, Simpsons Ride and the Terminator 3-D. Since the most important thing to Dear Son was Barney, that's where we started. We weren't sure how long Dear Son could sit up for each day so we tried to start with the event or attraction that would bring him the most pleasure.
We were the first in line for the Barney show, "A Day in the Park with Barney". One of the things that was great about our trip, was that all of the theme park tickets are donated to Give Kids the World so we had three days passes to Walt Disney World, two day passes to Universal Studios and a one day pass to Sea World. In addition, they comped our parking. If that weren't enough, we received a Universal Orlando Guest Assistant Pass which allowed children with special needs quick and easy access to rides. Essentially, they took you through an accessible entrance and let you go on the rides without waiting.

We waited in line for the Barney show and saw the pre-show. We had first row seats for the Barney show. The theater was built to allow plenty of room for wheelchairs. Dear Son just watched the show in amazement. Everything really was larger than life. After the show, we were escorted to a special location for a "Meet and Greet" with Barney. I had originally asked for Barney to sing, "Happy Birthday" to Dear Son and to have a cake as part of his wish and they reported difficulty in getting a cake there per the Make a Wish coordinator in the Big City near our home. I had wanted Barney to sing Happy Birthday and have everyone clap. Dear Son loves to be the center of attention and even though his birthday was six months ago, we thought it would be fun. I asked at the Barney show if they could sing to him and they said no, since it was a taped show. We still had a great time and looking back on the week, there was plenty of things to do and we really did have a fantastic trip!

You may notice that Dear Son looks a bit tired in many of the photos. You have to remember that he is still pretty weak and doing all of these activities takes quite a bit of effort for him. Prior to our trip, he was only able to go to school for two, half days a week. It would take him a few days in between those two half days to recover.

Dear Son really liked the souviner shop. He smiled when I took him through the shop. I purchased a big Barney pillow for him as a souviner. He loves it. He was so happy sleeping on it back at the villa and now that we are home, we use it between his ankles to prevent bedsores every night.

Another picture of the souviner shop. I think he liked it because he saw a lot of the Barney stuffed toys there. The Barney Show by the way, was blogger Michelle's idea. Thanks, Michelle!

Going down the street, we saw the Hard Rock Cafe along with Nickelodeon Store.

Check out the characters on the street!

Next we saw Betty Boop! I can't say I am a big Betty Boop fan however I do love the color pink and her store was all pink and red.
Love the storefront!

The interior...
More I loved the display case.

Moving down the street, we see the Brown Derby Hat Shop. Hmmm...I wonder what kinds of hats they have here? Of course, I had to try on this, ummm, blue hair. I happen to love big hair and it doesn't get much better than this. Dream Mom aka Marge Simpson!
Of course, it would have helped if I took off my visor. Honestly, it was so hot that day plus I ended up giving my white visor to Dear Son and the pink one didn't really match. More proof below that I really do like big hair. I often walk the line between really big hair and a more polished look. I think I am a Southern girl at heart...gotta love that big Texas hair.

Walking down the street, we see the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

And who do we see but Marilyn Monroe! Oh, oh, she took a liking to Dear Son!

Now let's get down to business, as if jewelry. Always fun to look at some gems.

More gems...

And still more gems. The boys waited outside. I refrained from spending any money here although I might have tried a few things on:) And who doesn't love emeralds?

More window shopping...
Somewhere along the line we went on the ET Ride. That was Canucker's idea (blog reader). She gave me the suggestion and said it was her son's favorite ride on his wish trip. I am not sure why I don't have any photos of this ride but Dear Son really enjoyed it. What was great was that they
had a separate ride with four rows and place for wheelchairs so we go to ride all by ourselves. It was a GREAT experience! We loved it!
Next came the Terminator 3-D attraction. I decided to let the boys enjoy that attraction themselves, lol! Meanwhile, I waited outside and did a little window shopping. Along the way, I saw Andy Griffith. Now of all the stars, I took the picture of Andy Griffith because Dad always used to watch this show with Dear Son. It used to drive me crazy when they had the Andy Griffith marathon weekends and all I heard was Andy Griffith.

A pretty window display.

Somewhere around this time, I smelled some really good food. Turns out it was Mel's Diner* which was where we ate lunch. By that time, it was getting late and I had to give Dear Son one of his medications. Not only did he get his lunch feeding via his g tube but he also got part of a vanilla milkshake. Dear Son has had anything by mouth in quite some time, however we made an exception for the trip. He loved it and had a big smile on his face!
Those are the highlights of our trip to Universal Studios.
After that, Dear Son was getting pretty tired. Also, the weather was very warm, around 92 degrees and very humid. With his Scopolamine patch, he can't sweat so we had to be careful he didn't get overheated.
Once we got back to the villa, he enjoyed lying down on his new Barney pillow while I hooked up his supper.
*Note: Photo credits for Mel's Diner are courtesy of Universal Studios


Mitzi said...

Have anxiously awaited your reporting on the Make a Wish Trip. The best photo was the last photo. So nice to see Dear Son so happy. I continue to pray for him each day.

Michelle said...

awww, so happy to see that big smile. And so glad he finally saw Barney. :)

Susan said...

Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

Jan's Funny Farm said...

I am so happy Dear Son is having his wish trip at last. You all certainly deserve this opportunity to have fun together. The photos are terrific.


Anonymous said...

It's so great to see the happiness shining out of Dear Son, you can tell he had such a great time.

Lori x

jankat said...

Thank you for sharing these pics and experiences with us! That last picture is great with that big smile. And it's nice to see pics of you--you're so pretty and elegant, even in the 92 degree heat!

Anne in NY said...

This last photo is the loveliest one I have ever seen of any child, on any blog, anywhere! No wonder Dear Son has captured all our hearts. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures.

Kristin Drohan said...

So glad you made it. I've got tears.

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