February 2023
by Jan McComas

As far back as I can remember I have wanted to do the full Disney experience.  Stay at the resort, see all the parks, enjoy the food and entertainment, and just watch everyone have a blast.  I promised my daughter that when my grandson, Finn, was four, I would take everyone for a full week.  Then I was diagnosed with ALS and everything changed. 

Finn is only three but I did not know what kind of shape I would be in when he turned four so we planned to go early this year.    

We arrived on a Sunday and checked into our hotel, the Grand Floridian, in the afternoon.  The hotel was just beautiful and I had a lovely accessible room with a sitting area and a balcony.  The hotel also sent up a princess mug, and some treats from the gift shops to welcome me.  That night we had a wonderful dinner at Citrico’s and got a good night’s rest before embarking on our adventure.

On Monday, we did the Animal Kingdom.  We started the day early with the Safari tour.  Early is the best time to get there since most of the animals are out and you experience more.  At the end of the trip, we saw all the lions out on their rock and the male was actually roaring as we drove by!  It seemed like something out of a movie. 

Of course we did “It’s a Bugs Life” and the Dinosaur ride too.  Most of the day was just wandering the park and taking everything in.  The bubble makers were a hit and Finn enjoyed those.  That night we had dinner with Chef Mickey and Friends at the Contemporary Resort and had our picture taken with Mickey!

Tuesday was Hollywood Studios.  We started the day with breakfast at Minnie’s Beach Bash, which was one of the best breakfasts we had.  Of course, we spent a bunch of time at Star Wars and Toy Storyland. 

We met the Incredibles, and Merida and we took in the Beauty and the Beast show.   Dinner was in Mexico at Epcot.  Another epic day.

Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to the Magic Kingdom.  Finn loved the Princess Breakfast at the castle where he got to meet all the princesses.  The Prince Charming Regal Carousel was his favorite ride. 

We went to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique and transformed Dragon Slayer Finn into Prince Naveen from the Princess and the Frog.  Once his transformation was complete, they escorted him over to the castle where he was sworn in as a Knight and received his sword and shield! 

However, the highlight of the day, and our trip, was when Finn pulled the Sword out of the stone!  A 3-year old was proclaimed King Arthur and the cannon went off over the castle.  It was spectacular!  A bunch of people tried before and after him and no one could pull out the sword.  We spent the rest of the day on Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Dumbo and the Jungle Cruise.  The Jungle Cruise (being a newer ride) actually had a special boat for wheelchairs with a lift that made it easy to get on!

Friday was our final day and we spent a low-key day wandering around Epcot, purchasing souvenirs, eating junk food and having a ball.  We did start the day with crepes in France and riding the Ratatouille ride – one of the best rides at Disney!  Saturday was checkout and we had a nice breakfast at the hotel and headed over to Disney Springs where we shopped and finished off our trip at the T-Rex Café. 

Just about everything is accessible at Disney World.  The only warning that I would give folks in wheelchairs is this.  Some of the older rides require you to get into a some kind of vehicle and get out – this was difficult for me and I should not have tried to ride them.  Luckily, my big, strong son-in-law was able to lift me!  The newer rides were no problem.  Also, all the bathrooms have only one (1) handicapped stall.  These are often taken by moms with children – so plan accordingly because you may have to wait a bit.

I cannot thank Team Gleason enough for helping to support this adventure.  It was the dream of a lifetime for me and my family!