Pied Piper Wish Holiday Blog Header

Our Experience Of A Pied Piper Appeal Wish Holiday

Have you ever dreamt of soaring through the skies with Peter Pan, greeting Mickey Mouse himself, or whizzing down a thrilling roller coaster? For our family, that dream became a reality thanks to the incredible Pied Piper Appeal and their Wish Holiday program.

Over the May half-term, we embarked on an unforgettable adventure to Disneyland Paris, a trip made possible by the generosity of the Pied Piper Appeal. If you’re unfamiliar, one of the ways the Pied Piper appeal helps families is by granting wish holidays to children with serious illnesses or disabilities. They create magical experiences that bring joy and laughter to families facing challenging times.

Our adventure at Disneyland Paris was more than just rides and character meet-and-greets. It was a chance for our family to create lasting memories, escape from everyday worries, and celebrate the simple joy of being together.

What is the Pied Piper Appeal?

The Pied Piper Appeal holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Gloucestershire. As the county’s leading children’s charity, they’ve been a beacon of hope for sick and disabled children for over three decades. Founded in 1992, their mission is clear: to make a real difference in the lives of these youngsters.

Pied Piper Logo

Based at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, the popular charity goes beyond standard medical care. They understand that a child’s hospital experience can be daunting and stressful.  That’s why they focus on creating a more positive and comforting environment.  They fund facilities within the hospital itself, like the Children’s Centre, that provide a sense of normalcy and joy during difficult times. Over the last year, they have been raising money to provide mental health facilities to families of the Emily Kent Paediatric Oncology ward under the name of Emily’s Gift.

But their reach extends far beyond the hospital walls. The Pied Piper Appeal recognises the importance of supporting children with additional needs throughout Gloucestershire. They offer financial aid to Special Educational Needs (SEND) schools and The Chamwell Centre at Milestone School which is a specialist leisure centre for people with additional needs, by helping them acquire essential and practical equipment and resources. Perhaps one of the main ways they support families is by bringing the magic of wish fulfilment to life.  For children facing life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, the Pied Piper Appeal works tirelessly to grant the children’s heart’s desires through their incredible Wish Holiday program. These unforgettable experiences create lasting memories for the whole family.

Who Is Eligible For A Pied Piper Wish Holiday?

The Pied Piper Wish Holiday program is dedicated to bringing joy and respite to children facing the toughest battles. Eligibility is focused on youngsters in Gloucestershire with serious or life-limiting illnesses. These can encompass a wide range of conditions, from chronic illnesses to those with a terminal diagnosis. The Wish Holiday team works closely with families and medical professionals to ensure each trip is tailored to the child’s specific needs and creates a truly magical experience.

Charlie Denman, the Pied Piper Wish Holiday Ambassador says “I’m so proud to be Wish ambassador for the Pied Piper Appeal, it really is such an honour. I really want to promote the cause so we can have more applications from families who really need a break. The Pied Piper Appeal really make the process so easy for families and they ensure that they feel supported every step of the way. I honestly can’t thank them enough for all the support they have shown us.”

How Does The Process Work?

If you believe your child in Gloucestershire might be eligible for the incredible gift of a Pied Piper Wish Holiday, the first step is to check their website for the latest guidelines. These guidelines outline the eligibility criteria and application process.  You’ll also find an application form that you can complete to share your child’s story and their dream wish holiday. You will also need to attach a photograph of the child and an accompanying letter from the child’s Doctor or other medical professional in support of the application. You may also wish to include a letter from the family explaining why a wish holiday would be beneficial. The Pied Piper Appeal understands the importance of these wishes, so don’t hesitate to provide as much detail as possible to help them create a truly unforgettable experience.

Once the application has been submitted, it will be discussed at a trustee meeting where they will then decide whether or not to grant the wish. The trustee meetings are held 4 times per year. Once the trustees have approved, the family will be contacted so that they can start making arrangements. For us, we received an email telling us the amount that had been granted for our trip and instructions on how to book via Co-op Travel Gloucester. 

A few days after we received confirmation that the wish had been granted, we booked an appointment at Co-Op and headed off to talk to Phil. He put together a package for us that included:

  • EasyJet flights (Bristol Airport to Charles de Gaulle and back again)
  • special assistance at both airports
  • 2 lots of 23kg hold luggage
  • private transfers to and from Charles de Gaulle
  • 3 nights in Newport Bay Club at Disneyland Paris
  • 4-day tickets to Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Studios
  • a half-board meal plan
  • a digital photo pass 

We also spent a lot of time in the run up to our trip planning what we were going to do when we got there. We didn’t want to wait until we arrived and just wing it but at the same time we didn’t want to plan everything down to the last second. If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland Paris then this article has all the information you could need.

Important Information for Wish Holiday Recipients

There are a few important things to note if you are the recipient of a wish holiday from the Pied Piper Appeal 

  • Trips can include a meal plan if that is what the family would prefer but cannot include an all-inclusive meal plan as the charity does not wish to fund alcohol consumption
  • Once your wish has been granted, you have 6 months to book, you don’t need to go within that 6 months but it needs to be booked within that time frame
  • Recipients must arrange their own adequate travel insurance so that Pied Piper can be reimbursed if the trip cannot go ahead
  • All trips must be within Europe
  • Pied Piper does not provide spending money
  • They do not cover additional expenses or expenditures unrelated to the booked holiday package
  • To help Pied Piper raise money and show others who may benefit recipients are asked to send some photographs and a few words about their holiday experience

Our Wish Holiday

We were eligible for a Pied Piper Wish Holiday because the Dinosaur was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, a life-threatening blood cancer. We decided that we would like to wait until he had finished treatment to go on this holiday, partly so that it could be a celebration of how far he had come and partly because it was easier to travel abroad when he was off treatment and his central line had been removed. After talking to him about what he wanted to do, he decided he wanted to go and see The Avengers and as Disney now owns the rights to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), a trip to Disneyland Paris was what he wished for.

We flew out of Bristol early on the late May bank holiday morning and landed in Charles de Gaulle mid-morning. During the flight, the EasyJet crew were incredible, the Captain even made an announcement that there was a real-life superhero on board and got the whole plane to cheer! When we landed, the children were invited into the cockpit to meet the pilot, ask questions and were even allowed to press a few buttons!

As we had booked special assistance we were whisked through security and out to our waiting taxi in what felt like seconds, this was somewhat aided by the wheelchair that the airport provided for Daddy Dino. I’ve never seen anything like it before! It was like a hospital wheelchair but with a motor and a platform on the back for the assistant to stand and drive it.

Once we were in the taxi we were whisked off to the Newport Bay Club Hotel at Disneyland Paris, we dropped off our luggage in the luggage store, headed to the concierge desk to collect the Dinosaur’s priority access pass and then were in the park by lunchtime.

We spent a wonderful few days going on rides, watching shows, meeting characters and enjoying parades as well as eating delicious food as part of our half-board meal plan then the taxi came to collect us again and take us back to Charles de Gaulle at 6:30 pm on Thursday.

Our Pied Piper Wish Holiday To Disneyland Paris

What it meant to us

Putting it simply, this trip was spectacular. We had such a wonderful time and it was hands down the best family holiday we’ve ever had. I think it was a combination of Disney magic, the relief and joy of doing something so normal (during treatment, getting on a plane and leaving the country was a complete no-go), getting to go somewhere that’s been on our wish list as long as I can remember and being able to take my own children to somewhere I had such happy memories of from my own childhood. whatever it was, it was transformational. I feel like something has changed in me, I’m nowhere near as anxious as I was about integrating back into society and the fear of relapse. It was like the trip was an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come, release everything from the last two-plus years and then close the door on it all. I feel like I can breathe again and that I can dare to dream and plan for the future. For me, this was much more than just a trip or a holiday, this was a complete re-set for us all and that is incredibly valuable.

If you would like to support the Pied Piper Appeal, please head to https://piedpiperappeal.co.uk/how-you-can-help-2/

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top