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The Abbey School - Florida 2018!

As we all head off to Gatwick for dinner, there are some very excited children from the Abbey School! Hopefully we will all get some rest after dinner- A good nights sleep required, before we fly off to the sunshine and new adventures in Florida! !smiley


Sunday 16th September

We all had a fantastic breakfast, we headed over to Gatwick South for our flight to Orlando. Many thanks to the team at The Sofitel for making our stay with you so great! All the children loved the dinner and big breakfasts!

Orlando Florida here we come!




After a long flight we landed safely at Orlando Airport. Everyone found their suitcase and we collected our 4X4 and mini bus. Everyone pleased to have arrived safely and set up in our houses! The Abbey children were thrilled to see the special gifts that awaited them at their house. Thank you David, Bonnie & Denise, from Elite Homes- They loved them!!

Gordon and the gang went shopping,while the children enjoyed a welcome swim in their house pool, followed by takeaway pizza! Tired but very happy children! 



Monday 17th September

Everyone managed to get a good nights sleep! Breakfast was had at the house and our first day, had a slower start. Monday was a hot hot day with temperatures hitting just above 100'!!  We drove out to Bogey Creek after lunch and stepped aboard our Airboat for an exhilarating ride across the lake. We all enjoyed having the wind in our faces and seeing the birds and wildlife, as we skimmed the water. Tonight's Dinner was at Buca Di Beppo in Celebration. The Red T-Shirt family were able to tuck into an Italian Feast, followed by slices Chocolate cake- This went down a treat with our children! We are very grateful to Vern ( our Waiter) and all the team at Buca for looking after us this evening! There was even enough food left over for Take-Out!


Tuesday 18th September

Today saw our first visit to Universal Studios- What a day! We were treated like VIP's all day and were able to see many areas behind the scenes, which made it extra special for the children. Breakfast was had at the park and we then headed over to Transformers, The Jimmy Fallon Ride, The Mummy and met the Blues Brothers! A fantastic morning! Lunch in the La Bamba VIP restaurant was delicious and this was topped off with a private meet with The Simpson family, which the children loved! We even got to visit the Universal Radio Station, with some of the children sitting in the DJ seat! An actioned packed afternoon started with the new Fast & Furious ride, a trip to Gringotts Bank, Men in Black, The Simpsons ride and ET. Our final ride of the day was The Rocket Roller Coaster- which was so good, they rode it twice!

We are so very grateful to Denise for arranging our day and to Brian & Demi our guides. We will be back on Friday for Universal take two!




Wednesday 19th September

What a day! Discovery Cove was amazing and the children loved this brilliant experience- swimming with the dolphins and becoming a dolphin trainer, was the highlight for many today. Our day began with breakfast at Discovery Cove and we then headed over to the Lazy River to float around and enjoy the views. Everyone enjoyed their Dolphin encounter and many of the students did a deep water swim. The chance to swim on the reef with huge tropical fish and Mantas Rays around us, was a unique experience. Some the students went into the aviary and a few had birds land and feed from them. Snorkelling around the big fish and seeing the sharks was a favourite for some of our boys! The day was rounded off with dinner for the whole group. Everyone enjoyed their food and dancing to the music! Off to bed now,before we head over to Disney tomorrow!




Thursday 20th September


Today was a Disney day, but before we headed over, the students wanted to try lunch in a US McDonalds! Everyone enjoyed their Burgers and chicken nuggets! Arriving at Disney, we took the Monorail across to the Park. First stop was Town Hall and then a walk down Main Street. The rides kicked off with Pirates of the Caribbean, then Buzz Lightyear. The Students took their seats for the Magical Disney Parade and a few of the children got a high five from Snow White! We finished off with a cooling ride on Splash Mountain and then Thunder Mountain, before we went in for dinner at Tony's Restaurant in Town Square. A magical day was completed with a ride across the lake on the giant Paddle Steamer and the Disney Fireworks over Cinderella's Castle!



Friday 21st September.

Our second day at Universal, was a huge success, with every student having an amazing day! We were so lucky to have Demi and Brian our hosts, taking around the park again and showing the children the best that Universal has to offer!

A delicious breakfast was enjoyed by all in the VIP Restaurant La Bamba, which set us up for the day ahead. A few easy rides, with Cat in the Hat and the Dr Seuss Train, allowed our food to settle, before we went on the Hulk Roller Coaster! On such a hot day, it was great to go on 3 water rides - Popeye, Ripsaw Falls and Jurassic Park - of course some riders got a little more wet than others! A delicious lunch was enjoyed by all the children in the Three Broomsticks and we headed back out to the park for Take Two - The afternoon didn't disappoint! A Raptor experience thrilled everyone! We rode the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmead to Kings Cross Station and back, stopping off at Harry Potter & the forbidden journey,for a bit of Quiddich!. Everyone enjoyed the Spiderman ride and King Kong Skull Island! As true VIP's,we were even treated to a private meet with the Marvel Super Hero's, which everyone loved! What a day! We are so very blessed to have the support of Denise and the team behind her, who makes these two days so special for our special children!




Saturday 22nd September

 A later start for our group this morning, meant that they could chill at the house, before heading out to spend some of the money that CWSNF had given each student. They all enjoyed looking for gifts that they could take back to the UK. All shopped out, the students went over to Madame Tussauds and The Sea Life Centre. Posing with the waxworks kept the children entertained for the afternoon! The day was then rounded off with a couple of games of bowling, when the students looked forward to showing Gordon 'How it was done!'

Thanks to our friend Jimmy, we were all treated to dinner at Chef Art Smith's HomeComin' Restaurant. Our group were so full, that the desserts had to be taken back to the house for later!

Another really great day, here in Florida!



Sunday 23rd September


Legoland was huge hit with our students today! Tyler acted as our guide around the park and we were treated to a behind the scenes tour in the Master Legobuilder workshop. Each student had the chance to build their own Lego model which was a unique gift to take back home to the UK.The students enjoyed the Dragon Coaster and  Coastersaurous! Everyone was thrilled to get a high score on Ninja 4D Ride!  Our afternoon was rounded off with a visit to the Legoland Waterpark, which included a Lazy River, Tube Flumes and Slides and a wave machine. A brilliant day, which the children loved! We are very grateful to Katherine, Tyler and James the GM for organising such a special day. Magic Wand made sure that our special children felt like VIP's all day!

This evening was our chance to thank many of our wonderful friends in Florida, that support the charity each year. We are so lucky to have dear friends and supporters of the Children with Special Needs Foundation -With their help and support we are able to make dreams come true for our special children! 



Monday 24th September

Our last day in the parks, before we all head back to the UK tomorrow evening. A day at SeaWorld proved to be a great hit with our group! The thrill riders rode the Mako and Manta roller coasters, while the relaxed students, rode the hovercraft in Antarctica to see hundred of penguins- Amazing. We all went to The Dolphin Theatre to see the show and also visited the hugged stadium to see the Shamu show and giants of the ocean - Killer Whales- Spectacular! The students viewed Manatees and went into the amazing Turtle Trek dome! A long hot day was rounded off with large Ice Creams all round!

Our Evening finished with the students all dressing up for an evening at Planet Hollywood. Thanks to our great friend Mark, who ensure we were treated like VIP's the whole night! Great food, fantastic music and a lot of dancing! The perfect end to our Trip of a Lifetime!!




Tuesday 25th September


Time to head back to UK! The students had the chance for a few more hours in their pool, followed by a little bit of last minute shopping. Suitcases were packed and the house cleaned, ready for the next group of travellers!  Our group had lunch, to set us up for the long flight home. Every Student received a certificate, which awarded them a prize for their achieve mens over the last 10 days. A great set of children this year- They were a credit to themselves and to The Abbey School! Time to drive over to Orlando Airport - drop back our minibus and fly back to a rather chilly UK!