Being a Make-a-Wish family in Orlando comes with some wonderful privileges.
We get to stay at Give Kids the World Village...I will post about this place later, probably several posts about it because it is just that great.
Before embarking on our adventures to the parks, we are given a few things; a Give Kids the World button, Make-a-Wish Button, and a "special assistance" pass to wear.
At Disney World, these items helped those working at Disney recognize us as a Make-a-Wish family and may need assistance. For rides, we bypassed the long lines by either going through the Fast-Pass, escorted in the exit, or taken to the front of the lines. The staff would then let us wheel Brayden's chair right up to the ride and give us enough time to load and unload him (without feeling rushed). If Disney characters were making an appearance we were immediately taken to the front to meet them and given a good amount of time for talking, autographs and pictures. Luke was even part of the Lion King show.
Universal Studios was a place that I have not been to since high school. I remembered it to be a place of more thrill rides, so I did not expect many rides for Brayden. However, Universal had many rides that Brayden could ride, not just in Jeremy's lap but we could load his wheelchair right onto the ride. The staff there was so patient and helpful to get us on and off the rides, sometimes letting us go twice. We also got special attention from the characters...Brayden even got a push from Shrek.
At SeaWorld, we were given fish to feed the animals: string ray, dolphins, and seals. Carter and Jeremy were the only ones to give the fish to the string rays. Feeding and petting the dolphins was a favorite moment of mine, especially since Brayden did it too. The few rides that we did at SeaWorld, we were taken in through the exit to bypass any lines.
Wandering the parks we would see other Make-a-Wish families, easily recognizable by their buttons as well. We would exchange hellos and check in with their day. There was some connection with them, instantly feeling kindness because of an unspoken understanding as to what it means to be a Make-a-Wish family.
Those buttons and passes made our days easier and more enjoyable (otherwise I am not sure we would have enough patience for those lines).