Group Trip 2015

We took 11 families with 13 dream children to Florida for the trip of a lifetime. As well as two representatives from Dreams Come True, we took two nurses, one of whom had been on the group trip as a child, when her brother was a dream child.

Why the group trip?

For example, Jonathan and his foster mother Jenny wanted to be part of a larger group.

Billie has always wanted to go to America and has saved up money from a part-time job ready for the trip. His family started preparing him for the trip a long time beforehand, looking at Youtube videos of the parks and talking through what it would be like to visit them.

Freya’s family have found in the past that family trips have proven to be very hard work. They loved the idea of getting ‘the chance to experience a trip with other families in a similar position and hopefully all manage to have an amazing, happy, memorable holiday together, where everyone can relax and enjoy and forget ‘reality’ for a short time’.

Dream experience: How was the dream experience for the family?  What feedback did we receive?

We took 11 families with 13 dream children to Florida for the trip of a lifetime. As well as two representatives from Dreams Come True, we took two nurses, one of whom had been on the group trip as a child, when her brother was a dream child.

They spent 10 wonderful days enjoying the attractions in Florida, taking time to relax and make new friendships between the excitement of the parks.

All of the children (and many of the adults!) enjoyed meeting the characters in the various parks. Everyone particularly enjoyed seeing how much Ellen’s loved to meet the characters, as she just could not stop smiling to see the brightly coloured characters, to feel their fur and hear their voices.

Ellen also surprised her family by just how much she loved water rides. She would giggle happily whenever on a water ride or under the shower type water features in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Prior to the trip, a new, specially adapted shower had been installed in Ellen’s house and she hated it! Since her adventures in the parks, Ellen loves having a shower!

The parades and the shows at Disney were just magical. Olubusola was very excited when the characters at the Lion King Show brought her in to be part of the show.

April loves Disney Princesses and got a record number of signatures around the parks, exhausting herself to fill her autograph book!

After an afternoon spent shopping at the outlet mall, some of the families decided they would meet up in the Hotel’s bar for a karaoke night. Most of the children were too shy to sing on stage. Aaliyah sat listening to Youtube videos of her favourite songs, and, as always, was very reluctant to leave her mother’s side. She surprised everyone by running up on stage to join the nurses and group assistant to sing the theme from Disney’s Frozen. She got the loudest round of applause of the night and a special mention from the DJ!

Freya is very sociable and although she didn’t want to sing, enjoyed watching the karaoke and filming the performances.

Jack loved meeting Spiderman and the Minions. He also enjoyed just playing in the pool with all the new friends he made and was particularly close to Freya.

Kayla’s family relished the opportunity to spend some quality family time enjoying the parks and Kayla loved spending time in the pool on rest days.

Billie flourished on the trip. He was so excited to be in the US, as he had dreamed of all his life and even photographing the number plates in a parking lot was exciting for him! All the staff at the parks have name badges that have the state that they are from written on them and Billie’s confidence grew so that he would ask them what it was like in the state they were from. He now wants to live in America!

Reuben is a massive Harry Potter fan and loved taking his wand around Harry Potter World where it could be used to cast real spells!

Cara and Roisin bought and won so many teddy bears that they almost covered the bed back at the hotel!

Sami was very daring and went on every single ride that he could in the parks – even rides that scare a lot of the bigger kids away!

At the end of the trip, there were some tearful goodbyes at the airport but the families promised to keep in touch and hope to have a reunion in the UK next year.

 

What they said;

‘Words cannot express how you have helped relieve the stress from our lives on this trip of a lifetime’

‘We really can’t thank you enough for looking after us all so well. We have had the time of our lives and all are so relaxed and so well cared for. We will never ever forget this experience. The girls said that their dreams really did come true.’

‘Thank you so much for all the time, effort and most of all love that you have so clearly out into everything and everyone. The organisation of this trip has been outstanding from start to finish’

‘Thank you so much for making this a fantastic, stress free holiday. We have enjoyed every minute of this trop. There’s no way we would have had such a good time on our own – so thank you’

‘Thank you for making this holiday so special’

‘Thank you so much for a wonderful time, it has been absolutely amazing’

‘We’d like to say thank you for making this a great and joyful holiday. We have really enjoyed ourselves’ 

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Author: Hannah Attenburrow

Date: 12/06/2015

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