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Blanche_Neige
01-07-2010, 02:06 PM
A couple of questions;

-Do family traveling with autistic children have the possibility of pre-bording if needed? My DS sometime has unpredictable behavior in :crowded: areas...

-Some has mention to me that we can do a separate drill, at the same time but in a less crowded area. Is that possible on DCL?

I don't know if we will need any of these but I would feel better to know that it is a possibility.

Proud mom of 3 autistic kids :cutie:

disney-akj
01-07-2010, 02:53 PM
I was told no when I asked the same question. We are going on a cruise in March, so if someone else has different info- would love to hear it as well.

kcashner
01-07-2010, 03:00 PM
You can get a lot of information at the Dis-ability section of the boards.

DCL does not do pre-boarding for special needs. What I've seen at the safety drill is kids not being required to put on the life vest when this was a problem and being released from the drill early so they are not in the crowds going back to the room. Every person is required to show up at their assigned muster station, even if they are only there for a few minutes.

If your children cannot handle the crowds at the terminal or waiting till it is their turn to board, can you arrange to arrive at the terminal about 12:30? At this time, the boarding "rush" of people is completed. You will check in, do the security photos, and walk right onto the ship. The gang from WDW will arrive by bus about 1:30, so you'll have some lines again at that point. It has been my experience that an arrival from about 12:15 to 1:30 has no waiting! You're still on board in time for lunch, and your cabin will be available at 1:30 (basically as soon as you finish lunch).

DO complete and have your pediatrician sign the medical form giving as much detail as possible about what will facilitate the cruise for your children. This form will be distributed to the kid counselors, dining staff, etc. so everyone can be aware of your needs and meet them.

PrinceandPrincess
01-07-2010, 03:03 PM
The boarding is done by number, so find a quiet spot to stand and wait there until they call the number. I would find an area near a window, or behind a pole. Other thoughts that work for us is the bathroom, gross as it sounds DS loves to splash in the sink and the crowds in the restroom are never too bad. Take a clorox wipe and clean the sink and faucet before you child plays. Also check with the other board members, because I think there are a lot of people who have arrived about 12 and walked on very quickly.

The muster drill is important, because in an emergency it will be even more chaotic than the drill. When you get to the muster station talk to the CM and ask that your child be in the front of the line and have him/her face out toward the ocean. Sometimes not seeing all the people worked well for us. Also work on teaching your child to put hands over ears, or get some noise reducing headphone, like a construction worker would use. This may also help. My son who is on the spectrum has been on 3 cruises and has done well with the drill.

Good luck!

Kim

barbarasc
01-07-2010, 03:36 PM
IF you call they do tell you that they DO not pre-board. BUT having sailed with my daughter on DCL for 10 cruises now THEY will pre-board. My daughter has Autism along with other disabilities and we have ALWAYS boarded first even before we were higher level club members.

You need to call and write to guest services and explain the situation and make sure that you reservation is noted. When you check make sure you explain to the guest service folks that you need to have assistance boarding and tell them why. Then normally someone will take you over to the "Mouse Ears" so you board first. :yay:

makelifehappen
01-07-2010, 03:56 PM
IF you call they do tell you that they DO not pre-board. BUT having sailed with my daughter on DCL for 10 cruises now THEY will pre-board. My daughter has Autism along with other disabilities and we have ALWAYS boarded first even before we were higher level club members.

You need to call and write to guest services and explain the situation and make sure that you reservation is noted. When you check make sure you explain to the guest service folks that you need to have assistance boarding and tell them why. Then normally someone will take you over to the "Mouse Ears" so you board first. :yay:

This is the best news I have read yet.

We are big Disney fans and are hoping to make our next trip a DCL one. I have been poking around for a couple of days, just trying to take it all in and see if this is right for us...

Disney has always been more than amazing with our girls needs and it is the reason we keep going back! This is exciting...thank you.

barbarasc
01-07-2010, 04:56 PM
This is the best news I have read yet.

We are big Disney fans and are hoping to make our next trip a DCL one. I have been poking around for a couple of days, just trying to take it all in and see if this is right for us...

Disney has always been more than amazing with our girls needs and it is the reason we keep going back! This is exciting...thank you.

I have also worked with a company called Autism on the Seas and they are amazing. They helped us out on a Carnival Cruise in July :thumbsup2 They even arranged for an alternative location for our Life Boat Drill :cool1:

We cruise with Jen at least twice a year and it is the best vacation for her and for the rest of our family. Disney is AMAZING and they will do anything you need to help with your situation.

Blanche_Neige
01-07-2010, 06:29 PM
I have also worked with a company called Autism on the Seas and they are amazing. They helped us out on a Carnival Cruise in July :thumbsup2 They even arranged for an alternative location for our Life Boat Drill :cool1:

We cruise with Jen at least twice a year and it is the best vacation for her and for the rest of our family. Disney is AMAZING and they will do anything you need to help with your situation.

This is where I got the info too, They do DCL as well but I did not book throught them.

The altenative location for the life boat drill is also important as they would be more attentive to the important information if less crowded.

My DS all have different needs and are unpredictable. It usually works out great but you never know. When we go to WDW we get a GAC but we never had to use it. it's just nice to know that there is a way out during an imminent crisis...

Do you all think that 12:30 is the best time to be at the port. Someone has mentionned to me to be there earlier:confused3

kcashner
01-07-2010, 06:38 PM
What time to arrive at port depends on what you want to do and what is important to you. I sensed that you were trying to avoid crowds and waiting; in that case 12:15-12:30 is perfect.

If you need to board ASAP to make various reservations, etc. or if you are trying to purchase an upgraded cabin at the port you will want to be there as early as 10 am. BUT....boarding won't start till 11:45, so if you arrive at 10 you will be entertaining children in a crowded, confined space for 90 minutes after check in.

It's really whatever works best for your family.

Blanche_Neige
01-07-2010, 06:45 PM
What time to arrive at port depends on what you want to do and what is important to you. I sensed that you were trying to avoid crowds and waiting; in that case 12:15-12:30 is perfect.

If you need to board ASAP to make various reservations, etc. or if you are trying to purchase an upgraded cabin at the port you will want to be there as early as 10 am. BUT....boarding won't start till 11:45, so if you arrive at 10 you will be entertaining children in a crowded, confined space for 90 minutes after check in.

It's really whatever works best for your family.

I'm new to cruising so I don't really know how check in goes. I assume we can check in on line to accelerate the process.

We will not be looking for upgrades, we won't be dining at Palo... Can the other reservation be made online before the cruise?

Thank you all your help :)

kcashner
01-07-2010, 06:54 PM
You can do an online check in which does speed things along. You can register the children on line to confirm their participation in their groups, and you can make DCL sponsored excursion reservations on line. The thing that most people are rushing to do are spa and Palo reservations (yes, spa can be done on line also).

Things like Tea with Alice (on 7 night or longer) are handled by getting tickets at GS after boarding.

That's really all there is to book in advance.

Michaels Mommy
01-07-2010, 07:17 PM
When my son was 3, they let us (DS and me) skip the lifeboat drill. DS showed them the letter from our developmental pediatrician and there was no drama.

This year (he's 6 now) we're going to make him to it. I think he can handle it now.

Blanche_Neige
01-07-2010, 07:19 PM
When my son was 3, they let us (DS and me) skip the lifeboat drill. DS showed them the letter from our developmental pediatrician and there was no drama.

This year (he's 6 now) we're going to make him to it. I think he can handle it now.

How does the drill work? Where is it? Everyone there?

kcashner
01-07-2010, 07:28 PM
Each stateroom is assigned to a muster station. Your assignment is located on the inside of your stateroom door as well as on each life vest in your room. Before the ship sails (normally) on embarkation day, the emergency 7 toots of the horn will sound. Everyone must wear his/her life vest and go to their appointed muster station where attendance will be taken, safety instructions given, and then you are dismissed. People with mobility issues will be taken/allowed to go down early and will be dismissed early. Kids who can't handle it and their families are dismissed a little early. The idea is that in the event of a real "abandon ship" emergency, you know where you are supposed to go and what you are supposed to do.

Reality--they know that in an emergency everyone will not be able to go to their stateroom to get to their lifevest and may not be able to get to the appointed station. For that reason, there are alternate locations with lifevests, more lifeboats than needed, etc.

FYI, many of the stage performers have roles as muster station captains since they are comfortable with public speaking, etc.

Blanche_Neige
01-07-2010, 07:34 PM
Each stateroom is assigned to a muster station. Your assignment is located on the inside of your stateroom door as well as on each life vest in your room. Before the ship sails (normally) on embarkation day, the emergency 7 toots of the horn will sound. Everyone must wear his/her life vest and go to their appointed muster station where attendance will be taken, safety instructions given, and then you are dismissed. People with mobility issues will be taken/allowed to go down early and will be dismissed early. Kids who can't handle it and their families are dismissed a little early. The idea is that in the event of a real "abandon ship" emergency, you know where you are supposed to go and what you are supposed to do.

Reality--they know that in an emergency everyone will not be able to go to their stateroom to get to their lifevest and may not be able to get to the appointed station. For that reason, there are alternate locations with lifevests, more lifeboats than needed, etc.

FYI, many of the stage performers have roles as muster station captains since they are comfortable with public speaking, etc.

Thank you. it's not what I imagined it to be... I lookd on youtube for a video, as this helps the kids for events. But all I could find was this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FBlG7DUetI

Does anyone has a better one? Is it really that loud :eek:

I saw another one with the horn (I love it!!) and thought it was very kind of them to warn people before they blew it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK0ceP3t1Po&NR=1&feature=fvwp

kcashner
01-07-2010, 07:41 PM
The safety drill is usually (one cruise it was different for us) at 4 pm on embarkation day. Yes, the horn is VERY loud, but you know it's going to happen. It will happen promptly at 4 pm. You can warn the kids, use ear plugs, have them plug their ears, etc. The whole idea is that is can be heard all over the ship and will wake anyone who is sleeping. This is the only time (other than a real emergency) that it will happen. The entire drill lasts maybe 10 minutes.

15 minutes after the safety drill, you'll have the sail away party--again, crowded, loud up on decks 9 and 10. It's totally optional; may not be the best idea if crowds are a problem.

If you are out on deck when the normal horn is sounded (When you wish upon a star), they make an announcement in advance that you might want to plug your ears!

SweetSpot
01-07-2010, 08:09 PM
I will say DCL has been wonderful with my son, which is why we went back year after year. Our first cruise was a challenge because of boarding, crowds, noise and stimulation but we found ways around it. They will let you board early if you have a disability but it helps to have a letter if you need it. We just made sure we got there very early so it wasn't an issue for us back before the number system.

Yes the drill really is that loud, I can not stress to you enough the importance of earplugs, especially for the safety drill. Bring several pairs for the week in case one pair is lost and start getting him use to them now. You will use them for shows, dinner, kids clubs, etc. You will be surprised what a difference they can make when the kids are getting overstimulated.

When the drill begins, the lights flash, and a siren goes off before the recording to go to your station sounds. Then you have to put on this awkward, uncomfortable vest. Its overwhelming to our kids. I completely prepared him for what to expect and made sure he knew the noise was to come. We were one of the last to get there which allowed us to be closest to the doors (we were always on deck 4 for the drill) and that allowed us to be first to the stairs. Much to my surprise he did very well with the drill. Our kids surprise us with what they can do sometimes. You are doing to have an amazing trip.

atinkerbellmom
01-07-2010, 10:37 PM
I have posted so many threads to this question, I have to make a folder just for them. I have posted many many threads related to this issue and the mods actually made a lot of the information into a Sticky. So if you search in the above link you will find a lot of information. I have also included several threads below this post that wilol help you as well. If you do not find all you are looking for, please feel free to message me and I will help in any way I can. I have assisted many parents here. I have done social stories, graphics, step processes, dvds many many things.

I do want to start by saying, most people feel the DISability boards are not real helpful to the cruise section of Disney. They are AWESOME with the parks, but not the cruise as much.

I want to first address a few things; not to argue but to prepare you!

I want to say the family that mentions about priority boarding... Do not come to think you will get priority boarding. You can get boarding assistance, but not priority boarding. I would bet if they got to be the first ones on the ship, it was because they got there early enough to get a early boarding number and where then taken to the front for boarding assistance. Meaning... they did not get there after the people who got boarding number let's say 4 and then were allowed to skip the line and get on first. I have known many many to ask for priority boarding and ALL have been decline. One family even pulled the ADA card and still was denied. Having cruised DCL MANY times, I actually suggest arriving between 12 &12:30. You then have NO WAIT. I will explain this later.

As far as the safety drill. The safety drill is a federal mandated event and EVERYONE has to attend and they are not suppose to offer alternative locations. Actually if this is found out, the ship can be given a huge fine. If someone was given an alternative location for the drill and it was found out or if they allowed someone to skip :sad2: it will never fly. The truth is, if it were a true emergency on the ship, then no alternative locations would occur then and therefore ALL must be preparred. Now there is a way you can play the Autism Card if you want. When booking your room, you can have them give you a room located to the place the muster station is the WDT. The WDT is less stimulating than the outside decks and FAR less stimulating than AP. So you can request a room in a certain area if you want. The saftey drill is sort of like customs. No matter how bad you want to get out of it, you must go through it. Trust me.... When I would wake up at the crack of dawn to go through customs in St. Thomas, I was trying to pull out every card I could.:lmao: Ok, let me get serious again... You have to go and you SHOULD WANT to go. It is very important to know how to follow procedure in the event of an emergency. In my other post, I do suggest earplugs and I do suggest a SR that is not right next to the alarm in the hall.

I do want to let you know that DCL is the most lax of all of the other cruiselines with the Safety Drill. I think it is because there are som many kids. Just know if you prepare him, it will be fine. I do have a really nice guide I have put together. Another DISer has it right now, so I need to get it back from her when she is done, but let me know if there is something you need.

Please note there is no 1:1 care in the clubs. I will be very curious of how the mixing of ages will effect the ASD kids. Time will only tell there.

Here are the other links. Happy reading. Let me know if there is anything else.
Here is the thread: My post is #6.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1567951

Here is another one: I think my post is #4 & #7
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1677114
:love: Tink

Candy Apple
01-08-2010, 08:58 AM
The safety drill is usually (one cruise it was different for us) at 4 pm on embarkation day. Yes, the horn is VERY loud, but you know it's going to happen. It will happen promptly at 4 pm. You can warn the kids, use ear plugs, have them plug their ears, etc. The whole idea is that is can be heard all over the ship and will wake anyone who is sleeping. This is the only time (other than a real emergency) that it will happen.






This may not be the only time you hear the loud horn. On our most recent cruise, there was a crew member drill which went the whole nine yards, including an "abandon ship" horn which was very loud and long. I happened to be in the buffet line at Topsider's and I think we were directly under one of the speakers used for the alarm. Luckily, DS11 (also on the spectrum), is doing much better with the loud sounds and quickly covered his ears (as did I!!). So, be prepared if you hear an announcement about a crew member drill.