The sun hid behind the clouds on a cold, crisp winter day. The wind was relentless and engulfed my lungs as my mom carried me the length of a football field to another commercial airplane - the third of the day.
Hours earlier, I was told I was finally going to live out my childhood fantasy - have breakfast with Mickey and the gang in The Happiest Place on Earth.
I was granted the vacation through The Sunshine Foundation, which grants wishes to children with special needs. A family friend suggested submitting an application to the organization after getting word of my wish.
I was 10 years old when the application was approved. My heart skipped a few beats when I received a letter a few months later, stating that I could bring my motorized wheelchair instead of my manual one.
On a frostbitten February morning, my family and I headed to LaGuardia Airport in New York to board our first flight. However, when we arrived in New York to catch our flight to Florida a few hours later, it was delayed due to weather conditions. The day's events led to a game of cat and mouse across New York City, getting misleading instructions from seemingly every stewardess, stranger and cab driver in sight.
My parents were breaking their backs loading and unloading my chair into cars and cockpits - the same chair we were told not to bring. It's times like this when motherly instinct really comes in handy!
In the midst of the chaos, my brother, TJ, fought bouts of nausea from bouncing from one plane to another.
We were so caught up in trying to board the right flight that none of us really kept track of time.
We hadn't eaten a warm meal since breakfast - which we ate nearly 12 hours earlier in the glow of the automatic lights in our car.
Tired and hungry, we dropped our bags on a bench in JFK Airport and collected ourselves.
The clock must have ticked passed 6 p.m. before mom threw her arms in a fit of anger and said, "OK, that's it! Just give me tickets home."
The airline angels must have heard her through her tears, because about an hour later we did get tickets - for a first-class flight finally to Florida, complete with complimentary peanuts and a hot meal.
The only catch was that we had to retrace our steps back to LaGuardia and start all over again.
Needless to say, we missed the entire first day of our big three-day vacation.
We made up for it as we spent the next two days indulging in a feast for the senses - and I got to have breakfast with Mickey, Minnie and The Seven Dwarves.
I'd be crazy to do this all over again for a vacation, but hey - they don't call Disney World "The Place Where Dreams Come True" for nothing, right?
Erin Kelly, 26, was born with cerebral palsy in Seoul, Korea and now lives in Altoona. She is a 2009 graduate of Penn State Altoona. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.