Connecting at the Family Forward Retreat – Just What We Needed

A week ago, our family headed to Orlando, Florida for the Family Forward Retreat. Tom, TJ, and I hadn’t been on a family vacation in a long time, and never one like this before. We needed this. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. (Our retreat package was deeply discounted for our stay at Universal Orlando Resort, but we did pay for the trip, and we had to pay for our airfare and other transportation fees to get there. I am under no obligation to write about this experience, but I want to!)

Family Forward - Welcome


I don’t even know how to write about the experience. I said to my husband, I could write 4,000 words and have it not be enough, but no one would read that far! The whole thing was a blend of social media, entertainment, and family bonding. There were no events for which I was separated from my husband and son.

Family Forward Collage 1

We enjoyed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a family photo scavenger hunt, arts and crafts with Cricut and Duck Tape, a dance party with the Minions, and tickets to Blue Man Group.

Family Forward Collage 2

We celebrated TJ’s 8th birthday in Orlando, where TJ was given a button that elicited countless birthday wishes from almost every staff member we met…and Spider-man! (TJ got his picture taken with Spider-man for a personalized comic book cover that Spider-man signed!) We indulged in delicious food – from quick service to Finnegan’s to Margaritaville – and tired ourselves out. We wrote family love notes to each other during workshop time.

Family Forward Collage 3

We got soaked on the water rides. We had a red carpet welcome. We played in competitive team-building games that our bodies couldn’t actually handle. (That was my only real complaint the whole time – the emceed games did not have any allowances for those of us with physical limitations. Pride would not allow us to admit that our team couldn’t participate in two of the events because they were too physically demanding, because we did not know the nature of the games until we were in the middle of the game floor.) Tom and I indulged in rarely-enjoyed alcoholic beverages to quiet our screaming muscles. (My shoulders still haven’t fully recovered a week later.)

We had an amazing time. The memories we made together as a family are priceless. And we even made up a family motto for the trip…

Family Forward - Feet

Our feet hurt. But it was worth it.

Christina Gleason (974 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.

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