Kids talk about confidence boost on charity ‘dream’ vacation to Florida

Seriously ill or disabled children have said they gain confidence and change as people on the vacation of a lifetime in Florida.

The 191 young people from across the UK, many of whom had never been abroad or were away from their families, were taken on a free trip to Orlando by charity Dreamflight.

They have visited Disney's Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park to ride roller coasters and waterslides and meet Disney characters.

On their penultimate trip to SeaWorld's Discovery Cove on Sunday, they had the chance to swim with dolphins.

Some young children got out of their wheelchairs and entered the water to get close to the dolphins before they were seen doing tricks.

Holly Hall, 11, from Woodbridge in East Suffolk, told the PA news agency: “This has been my favorite day, ever since I found out I was going on this trip I've been really excited about it.

“It's all been so surreal, we've done so many things that people wouldn't normally be able to do.

“Because everyone here has been in the hospital, I've always felt like we've always had less and now it's like we're getting a lot more, it's really amazing.”

Grace Pinches, 14, from Bridgend, Wales, said: “At first I found the dolphins scary because they felt so strange, but then it was fun.

“This trip gave people a lot of confidence, it really helped everyone grow and make new friends, not just judging people by their looks.

“We got to meet people for who they are and that was really cool.”

Leo Jewell, 13, from Poole in Dorset, said: “Swimming with the dolphins was an amazing first experience, I wish I could do it again, if I could I would do it every day.

“It was awesome watching them do tricks, I would love to be a dolphin trainer.

“I think it's an amazing experience, it's the best place you can go, it's really a dream flight.

“I think it's changed me as a person, I'm a lot more social, I wouldn't talk much before, I'm going to come home to my parents as a new person, completely different.”

Children were selected to participate in the holiday after living with a serious illness, disability or trauma.

Dreamflight has taken more than 6,000 children on the annual trip since 1987.

This is the charity's 35th holiday, costing more than £1 million.

They were snapped on their trip by celebrity couple Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan at Heathrow Airport last weekend.