Courage for Kennedy – Journal

June 28, 2006

Loved Disneyland! Thank you so much Make A Wish!

Category: Family,Gratitude – Melenie – 9:41 pm

While we are totally exhausted and need a vacation from our vacation, we had the most amazing time in Southern California! Many, many thanks to Make A Wish, Sheraton-Anaheim, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Alaska Airlines, Oregon Limo Service, Super Shuttle, Medieval Times and everyone else who made this possible for Kennedy. Her wish to meet the Disney Princesses definitely came true!

Things started out bumpy and some weird stuff happened but we just kept our smiles and laughed. Our limo was late because of crazy directions, our flight was delayed, I thought I broke my finger the 2nd day at Disney park, Keith lost his wallet (but it was recovered with everything in it), there was confusion about Kennedy’s dinner, there was a communication error between the staff at Knotts, the beach was a big disappointment, and we almost didn’t have a ride from the airport home…and through it all, we did what the Duval’s always do…we kept our spirits high, had a good laugh and enjoyed all the wonderful things that were going right!

Disneyland absolutely exceeded our expectations! It was fabulous! I felt just like a little kid and even gushed to Mickey Mouse that I had waited 33 years to finally hug him and have my picture taken! Everyone was wonderful and even when there was a mix up at Ariel’s Grotto, things were cleared up and we were taken care of. The park was immaculately clean and the staff was exceptional. We had the most amazing time. We saw the parade twice and the fireworks 4 times and each time it was as awesome as the first night. Kennedy loved the time she had with Sleeping Beauty (a private meet and greet in City Hall) and was in awe of all the characters. The kids got tons of autographs and I took over 800 pictures! It’s true!!! Kennedy’s favorite ride was the Haunted Mansion and the Dumbo ride. Austin’s was definitely Splash Mountain! He even talked Grandma in to riding it and later that evening I rode with him. I was scared to death! I just knew that I was going to fly out of the log! We never had to wait in line more than 5 minutes and were treated fabulously. The stores are amazing and expensive but we knew what souvenirs we wanted ahead of time so we stayed very close to our budget. All the characters were great and I was thrilled to have my picture taken with the evil queen from Snow White at the Villan’s Lair. I could gush and gush and would still not be able to do Disney any justice so as soon as I figure out the pictures (this week for sure) I will let them speak for themselves.

Knott’s Berry Farm was fun but after spending 2 days at Disney it was hard to really enjoy it. The kids loved Camp Snoopy and the best part was we were able to have a private meet and greet with Snoopy himself! Kennedy was even part of a musical show and got to dance and be spun on “Grandma’s Feather Bed.” We have lots of those pics too. Now, if all that wasn’t enough…we also had dinner at Medieval Times! WOW! That was just incredible and I highly recommend to everyone if you are in a city that has Medieval Times…you absolutely HAVE to go! It was 2 hours of the best food (and the kids loved that you ate with your hands!) and the entertainment was just awesome. We will definitely do that again regardless of price as it was worth every penny.

We spent Saturday at the beach. Let me just say that we are spoiled here in Oregon! I will never again take the Oregon coast for granted and let me just personally thank all the tree huggers out there who fight to keep our beaches so beautiful. We asked the hotel about where we could find a “quaint” coastal town to spend the day and they sent us to Laguna beach…if that is quaint, please do not take me to a popular hot spot! It was huge and crowded! We drove up the coast in hopes of finding a smaller, quieter town and ended up paying $10 to spend an hour or so at Huntington beach. Apparently most of the coast in California is privately owned or owned by the Parks Dept. who charge $10 for a day use pass! The beach was cloudy, cool and more crowded than Pacific City in 70 degree weather and perfect surfing. It was crowded and not even close to as clean as the Oregon beach. Now, before I offend anyone in California, please understand that this was my first experience on a coast other than Oregon and Washington. I’m sure many Californian’s LOVE their beach and would be quick to defend it…I would love to give them the opportunity to visit the Oregon coast and our many small coastal communities and see how peaceful the beach can be on a cool, misty afternoon with absolutely not another soul to see for miles. Our communities here are friendly, inexpensive, quiet and feel as if very little has changed in the last 50 years. I will now understand the treasure we have here.

The weather was incredible in California but I’m sure many of you Oregonians were enjoying the sun and warmth here too. We had the best time and extended our stay by 2 days. We spent Sunday in the Disney park taking in everything and revisiting the rides we loved. Grammie and Papa left around 5 pm to rest in their hotel but we just wanted to drink it all up and we didn’t leave until about 11:30pm. None of us wanted the time there to end. But, we were so glad to be headed home on Sunday. Kennedy was exhausted and slept from the moment the plane taxied down the runway until we arrived at our gate in Portland. I have to say that we truly live here in God’s country. Oregon is so beautiful and green and was such a welcome sight, especially from above. We had a whirlwind trip but are so glad to be in our own beds and back to a routine.

Ok, I would love to tell you the stories…about the Bug’s Life show, Grizzly River Run, almost breaking my finger, meeting Sleeping Beauty, etc…but I am exhausted.

Who knew last year that life could be so good now?


2 responses to “Loved Disneyland! Thank you so much Make A Wish!”

  1. aprilb says:

    YEAH! I’m so happy to hear about your wonderful trip! Yes, OR is God’s country and our beaches are one of the most beautiful in the WORLD!!! I’m glad you smiled despite the mixups…they always seem to happen in life. I’m glad you are home safe and sound. Give everyone a great big hug from Joshie and me!

  2. Chelle says:

    Hello family! Sounds like you (basically) had a blast on your vavation. I’m so happy for you all! I do have a request. I’d love to get real detailed news on Kennedy as of right now. See, I am writing a newspaper article for our local newspaper on what our court has done for Kennedy, a little about her, how she’s doing, and what she’ll do at our fair. You are coming, right? It is the 25-29. We requested (and got approved) for your family to get free passes into the fair each day. We also have it lined up for Kennedy to be in a horse-drawn cart through the parade, have a “run-in” at the rodeo, and (if she’s feeling up to it) having Kennedy walk around with the court and fulfill some of her “queenly duties.” I’d love to see our little spit fire again soon. She is a true inspiration to me and I fell in love with her (and the rest of the family) the first time I met her. The court will be at the Yoncalla parade and rodeo on the 4th of July. We’ll be there all day if you’re able to come and visit, I realize that’s not much notice, but I thought I’d offer. Well, that’s all I can think of right now. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet such a wonderful girl.

    Lots of Love,
    Princess Rachelle

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