Make a wish (a visit to Disneys Animal Kingdom)

This story first appeared in the Information Point newsletter Our World in 2013, when Diana Manny told The Information Point about her family visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, after her son Luke, who is diagnosed with  X- linked myotubular myopathy, had a wish granted by the Make a Wish Foundation. 

Diana, Danin, Luke, Mikalela and Taylor.

Luke was nominated when he was three years old to receive a Make a Wish. He is a lover of animals especially elephants. Make a Wish after interviewing Luke offered to send him as well as our whole family to Disneys Animal Kingdom in Florida.

They started preparing by setting up the details of when we wanted to go. We choose October hoping that the weather would be mild enough for Luke to enjoy endless days at Disney. They set up a party where they presented his trip a week before the trip. The volunteers from Make a Wish came, decorated our home, brought Lukes favorite things to eat, pizza, lollipops, and lemonade. We then were presented the details of our trip. Seven days at Give Kids the World, three days at all four of the Disney parks, two days at both Universal Studios parks and a day at SeaWorld. Not to mention spending money for all the treats and souvineers Luke and his sisters desired. The next seven days Luke was filled with excitement like waiting for Christmas to come.

On October 17th in the early part of the morning the limo arrived. We all piled in and went on our way to airport. Flying was a blast. People from American Airlines were eager to help us on our way. At the end of night we arrived in Florida.

We were met with a volunteer from Give Kids The World who had our luggage already on a cart. He escorted us to our rental van and we were on our way to the resort. We arrived at Give Kids The World, Luke was the star. He was presented with his own Mickey Mouse and was promised that Mickey would be at the resort to meet him personally during our stay. We walked into our villa and on the table were presents for all the children. It was as if Santa had been there. We soon learned that Give Kids The World Village has a fairy that comes everyday and leaves gifts when you are out and about.

We spent the next seven days going to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Universal Studios. Each day was filled with magic, from placing Luke’s special star in the wish tower at Give Kids the World Village to personally meeting Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mickey Mouse and even Transformers.

I cannot thank Make a Wish enough for the trip. It was hands down the most magical special trip by far we have ever experienced. Lukes days were filled with magic in each and every day. No day was short of magic.

Luke was made to feel as if were the most important person on the planet by everyone he came across. He starred in a parade at Universal with Spongbob and got a high five from Mickey Mouse when he was in the Castle. His smile lit up the sky as much as the fireworks did.

Luke wasn’t seen as a sick child with a life threatening illness he was just a regular five year old boy who loved Buzz and Woody. The time he got to laugh and have fun with his family made it more special. He even went swimming in a special wheelchair at Give Kids The World and we got to meet another MTM family while we were there.

Its been an amazing journey the past five years since Luke was born. It is nice that Luke has been well and what a better way to celebrate that than by Make A Wish sending us on vacation. It was nice to say yes every day to the kids. To let them get whatever they wanted. Luke even bought treats for his classmates back home and his nurses. It was just a special time. Time that will be forever remembered no matter where our journey takes us. The memories are priceless and will be forever cherished.

Medical clearance must first be obtained for a wish to be granted.

Eligibility criteria and referral information can be
found on the Make a Wish Foundation website.

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