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View Full Version : Well...It started out GREAT...7/7/01 trip report


RobinsonFamily
07-17-2001, 04:36 PM
We were also on the 7/7 Magic sailing (myself, DH, DD11 and DS7). My brother and his wife and 2 daughters, 12 and 15 were with us on the trip.

We had a terrific time thanks to the advice from this board: we were 3rd to board, our excursion form was first in the box, we had a wonderful brunch at Palo, we pre-arranged the Bayside horseback ride and seatrekkin', and my son especially enjoyed the children's program. However, our vacation ended Tuesday morning in St. Maartin.

We were on the beachside horseback ride (my brother, my 2 children and my 2 neices) feeling very lucky to have read about others' positive experiences with this activity and so glad we'd pre-arranged it, especially when we saw people being turned away. Unfortunately, about 30 minutes into the ride the horses became spooked about something and 3 of them took off down the beach. My 2 children and another little girl from another family were fast disappearing from view. My horse was barely under control and I watched helplessly, not able to climb off the horse or chase the kids. The guide chased after the kids, but my daughter fell off her horse and snapped her radius bone near her wrist. My son was very scratched up when he fell, but luckily broke no bones. The other little girl managed to hang on and her horse ran back to the stables

My daughter and I travelled by ambulance to the hospital while my brother took the others back to the ship. It was decided at the hospital to stabilize her and head back to the ship where the medical staff confirmed the she needed surgery. They recommended having her treated at home. We had to fly home and our cruise was over. We had minutes to pack. Disney found us flights home by way of Puerto Rico and arranged for someone to meet us at the airport. When we got there, the plane was still on the ground, but they had closed the gate and refused to let us board. We then went back to the Magic, spent the night and flew back home the next afternoon from St. Thomas.

Upon landing in Indianapolis, we headed straight to emergency where my daughter's bone was finally set under anesthesia.

My children took horseback riding lessons in anticipation of riding in St. Maartin and the Bayside Riding Stables seemed to be highly recommended. It was a pretty scary, lousy way to end a vacation. I don't think we'll be horseback riding on vacation again, especially outside North America.

There was another disappointment. My daughter is deaf and we were asked by Disney to switch our reservations to this cruise because Disney had scheduled interpreters. The theatrical interpreters were incredibly talented and were an example of how wonderful Disney can do things. Unfortunately we were also assured that there were children's club staff that were able to sign and this turned out not to be the case. There was one teen counselor who had a childhood friend that was deaf and was able to help a couple of times, but he was barely able to explain the rules to a simple game, and certainly could not interpret the captain's talk or the stories. People may not be aware, but Disney is by law supposed to provide this kind of service and it saddens me that they are not more willing to do so, especially for kids.

I DO want to emphasize that we were having a blast on board and recommend the cruise highly. For the mostpart it was absolutely wonderful and we are very hopeful that we can try it again, but without the horses and with Disney meeting their obligation to make the children's programs accessible.

Thanks for everyone's contributions. It was neat being able to plan and anticipate and dream about the trip for so long with a group who was as excited as we were about the cruise. I'm thankful that my kids were not hurt any worse --- could've been a leg or a neck.



:eek:

LisaT
07-17-2001, 04:46 PM
Im so sorry your trip ended this way. Hope your daughter is on the mend.

Lisa

Limmer
07-17-2001, 05:35 PM
I cannot even imagine the terror you felt watching you child on a runaway horse! I hope she is feeling better.

RellingTwin
07-17-2001, 06:08 PM
So sorry you had to end your trip on such a horrible note! I think the chance of having the same thing happen is not worth the risk. I have been riding since I was 10, but my kids are strickley "sit on the horses back" kind of riders. I think we will either wait until they are bigger, or DH and I will put the kids in the clubs for a few hours while we go riding. I have been on a runaway horse and it is very scarey! Thank goodness it was a "minor" injury. You are right it could have been much worse. Horses know when the person riding is not in control, and if they want to go back to the barn, that's what they do!It seems the folks at Bayside should have picked older, calmer mounts for the kids!:(
Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess accidents can happen anywhere, but when it happens on vaction, and outside of the US no less, it really is awful.
I hope your daughter is healed up soon. It is a vacation she will NEVER forget!

cjhardin
07-17-2001, 09:14 PM
So sorry to hear about your daughter. Did any of the Disney People talk to you about rebooking (for free or at a reduced rate) since it was their excursion that caused the injury? Hope you had the trip insurance at least to help pay for all the planes, ambulances, etc.

Best of luck!

My 6 yo is also in a lovely fushia cast as of yesterday, but not for something so exciting..she tripped on her own feet and fell.

Hope she's well soon

amy

northsouth
07-18-2001, 07:42 AM
I am so glad you posted this, but sorry for your misfortune. I had planned the exact same thing for St Maarten day but was having second thoughts after reading a recent newspaper article about a couple who went on a horseback ride and the DH was injured. The article was about whether or not to get travel insurance, and it made me think about this issue. Now I think we will probably pass on the horseback riding, much as I was looking forward to it.
Did you carry travel insurance, and if so was everything covered?
Hope this isn't too nosey of a question.:) And it was my understanding that Disney no longer offers this excursion, is that true? We were going to book it on our own through Bayside.

So sorry your trip was cut short, but glad it wasn't worse.:(

RobinsonFamily
07-18-2001, 11:01 AM
Thanks for all your good thoughts.

We have an appointment tomorrow with the orthopedic surgeon who will x-ray the fracture again and confirm that it was set all right. After being broken for almost 2 days, it was pretty swollen by the time it was reduced. DD very much wants a waterproof cast in a glow-in-the dark color. She is a positive, resilient kid with a good sense of humor and will come through it with an interesting story. I am hopeful it will end happily with us going again and finishing the cruise.

We DID have trip insurance and are waiting for a claims form. I don't know how much we will get refunded. We used DVC points to pay for the adults. I, too, am curious how it all works. Part of the insurance plan was a service that would help get medical care and transportation home. Disney arranged for the flights home and cabs to the airport and we found enough medical care to get her stabilized on our own. Our trip insurance did not include medical coverage, but I think our health insurance will cover it. I did have to pay the emergency bill at the hospital in St. Maartin, in CASH, but it was only $41.00. We had to call National Car Rental to let them know where to get their car since we never made it back to the DCL parking lot, so there's bound to be a charge there!

Of course, I didn't have the insurance card with me at the time, or the phone number for the Disney Magic and next time would make sure I carry both those. It was very difficult not being able to talk to my husband or the medical staff on the Disney Magic directly. My information was sent through a third party, the import officer at the dock. My husband received all kinds of inaccurate information at his end.

This was NOT a Disney excursion, so I don't hold them responsible for my daughter's injury.

I didn't see a final bill for our cruise because we left so quickly. They planned to just bill the credit card we gave them at check-in. My sister-in-law did go to Guest Services and they agreed to refund our wine package after deducting for the bottles of wine we drank, of course, and to refund all our excursion fees, but I haven't seen the bill so I'm not sure if that happened.

Other than the cost of the trip, we didn't have a chance to spend much money. We'd barely begun and had only bought lanyards, pins, pop mugs, and formal photos! :eek: We wanted to hit the Magic's stores one more time before our second attempt to get home, but they were closed while in port, and we were in no shape to venture off the ship.

terryains
07-18-2001, 12:21 PM
Sorry to hear about your daughters accident. That must of been really scarey. I was on the 7/7 cruise also. I enjoyed watching the theatrical interpeters during the shows, they looked to be very good. It's too bad that didn't have that same service in the clubs as well, Disney really needs to correct that, by law they should have someone available who knows how to sign.

Sorry your cruise ended early. We had alot of things happening on this cruise, we had a women and her daughter miss the ship in St. Thomas and the ship slowed down to let them climb aboard a latter, a 14 year old jump off the 4th deck in St. Thomas, and a gentleman had a heart attack on the second deck on the last day. I guess with that many people on board, things are bound to go wrong.

Good luck with your daughter's recovery and getting all the loose ends worked out with the Cruise.

DuncanLL
07-18-2001, 07:30 PM
How and why did a 14 year old jump off of Deck 4 in St. Thomas????????????????????????????????

Linda

ILuvDVC
07-18-2001, 09:01 PM
Wow, so sorry to hear that you had to cut the cruise short, and I hope your daughter gets all fixed up and as good as new soon. I can't even imagine anything like that happening. I guess a lot more went on on that cruise, then we even got to hear about.

Thanks so much for sharing...I never take out that insurance, maybe I should start rethinking this!

RobinsonFamily
07-19-2001, 11:23 AM
Yes, I guess it turns out that was a very exciting cruise! I heard the 14-year-old jumped on a dare. The medical staff said that at least a couple of times a month they have to evacuate someone.

My daughter is doing fine. Thanks for all your positive wishes. She was x-rayed again today and things are progressing. She can't get a different cast for another 2 weeks, but they trimmed this one a little. It turns out BOTH bones were broken. Her nerves were twisted for so long until the break was fixed that she has lost some sensation, but that should return.

I'm looking forward to getting the forms from TravelGuard and from the Dept. of Justice, filling them out, and sending them off so we can put the unpleasant parts of the trip behind us.

I really enjoy looking at the photographs we bought, and again cannot stress enough how fabulous this cruise ship is.

Credit Man
07-20-2001, 10:54 AM
So sorry to hear about your accident.:( I hope your DD is feeling better.

RobinsonFamily
07-20-2001, 12:57 PM
Thanks for your good wishes.

For those of you interested in how the insurance process works, I just received the forms yesterday.

They asked us to send:
our old (unused) airline tickets and receipts for the new tickets,
car rental receipts,
intinerary for the trip,
receipts for the cruise, and
medical contacts and a form to be completed re: what kind of injury and when it happened.

I'd gathered most of that together already and am copying it. The only thing that may take a few days is the medical form which needs to be completed by the attending physician.

So far, it looks reasonable. I'll keep you posted on the process.

dbkelly
08-04-2001, 08:25 PM
One of my biggest fears is that one of my children will get hurt on a trip outside of the U.S.. I finally booked our first cruise and now I read this thread. It sounds like you daughter is doing well and I am very glad. The best thing you ever did was bring her back to the U.S.. I just don't trust the medical care outside of the U.S.. I actually don't trust the medical care outside of Boston. Although your thread scared the hec out of me, it also made me feel good that you got as much help as you did from Disney.

Please keep us posted on the travel insurance.

wendym
08-05-2001, 08:59 AM
My kindest regards to your daughter. As for the idiot who jumped off the ship. It was a typical teenager dare. He jumped off deck 4 while the ship was docked and swam round to the front of the ship. Unfortunately the Captain was testing the gears and propellers at the time. He climbed back on board safely. According to the Captain he had bread and water in his cabin- I just hope his parents dealt with him.
Wendy

Sue aka ILoveMickey
08-06-2001, 01:15 AM
Robinson Family,
How disappointing for your family to have your vacation end this way. Glad your D.D. is on the mend and that her injuries were not more serious. Still I'm sure it was very scarey for all of you. We were at the Bayside Riding Stable that morning. I had printed info off the net about this stable from someone that had done this excursion. My D.H. really wanted to do it. With this being our first cruise and visit to the islands, I thought it may be too hot, so I didn't want to book it ahead of time. We got off the ship in St. Martin. I showed a cab driver the print out about Bayside and told him this is where we wanted to go. We climbed aboard a van along with some other people that were going to the beach. After a freightening ride up a mountain (they don't have speed limits there) and down a dirt lane, we arrived at the stables. The driver got out opened the door for us and we handed him $30.00, cab fare plus tip. He asked if we had reservations. I said "no, we thought we'd just take a chance to see if we could get to ride." He said "good luck", got back in the van and left us standing in a cloud of dust, in the middle of nowhere! The place looked deserted. An older man came out of a building and we explained that we would like to go riding. He kept saying "not possible, all booked up". Next thing we knew 3 horses with saddles on, but no riders came running full speed down the lane, heading for the barns. The old guy said," we got problem" and took off after them. We heard a child screaming down the lane. I'm an EMT so I thought I should go help. As I started running toward the lane a woman on horseback came riding full speed up the lane, she stopped by a man and little girl (the one that was crying) they exchanged some words in french, then she continued riding into the stable. I saw that the little girl although covered in dirt and stones from the road, didn't appear to be seriously injured. I told D.H. let's get out of here until things calm down. D.D. said, "you're not seriously going to ride after this are you?..let's just go!" I thought yea right we just paid $30.00 to get up here to the middle of nowhere and how were we going to get out of here now. I said, "well we don't know what really happened, horses are unpredictable, an accident could happen, but I think it would be fun to try." We started heading down the dirt lane away from the stable toward Le Galion Beach, which was about 1/4 mi. away. We had to jump into the weeds along the side of the road to get out of the way of a speeding jeep being driven by the woman that was on horseback talking to the man and child.The beach was nice and we had it pretty much all to ourselves. There were a few big rocks on the beach, I ran over to one and said, "I claim this one." I took off my shorts and shirt and sat on the rock. We had our swimsuits on under our clothes, even though it was clothing optional beach, we're not into that! D.D.s (15 and 16 yo) had the teen attitude, "this is stupid and I'm not going to have a good time...the Griswalds do St. Martin". I said, "look we paid $30.00 for these rocks, we are on a beach in the Carribean, this is as good as it gets, now get in that water and enjoy it." There was a food stand a ways down the beach I got cold drinks for all and we did get into that wonderful aqua blue water and sat on the rocks enjoying the sunshine and beautiful view. We did notice the ambulance on the beach to the left of us and thought that must have something to do with the horseback riders. After enjoying about an hour or so on the beach, we decided to go back to the stable to see if we could ride. We talked to a beautiful girl named Christine. She was the wild woman on horseback and in the jeep. She said the horses were eating their lunch and resting between 11:00am and 2:00pm, (when it's so hot) but if we could come back at 2:30 she could take us on an hour ride, because she knew we'd been waiting around. I liked that idea better then the 2 hr ride anyway, wanted to be able to sit down when I ate dinner for the rest of the cruise, plus it would just be the 4 of us and Christine. So we went back to the food stand on the beach, had lunch, went swimming and sat on our rocks some more. we went back to the stables at 2:30 the horses we saddled up and ready for us. Another group was leaving for a 2 hr. ride. Later, while we were riding, Christine was telling me (I was on the horse behind her) that there was a little boy that was involved in the incident in the morning...he had fallen off but came back to ride that afternoon. Well our ride was not without incident either, although not nearly as tragic as the Robinson familys. Christine was riding the horse that she said caused the accident that morning, I was on Wind Dancer, a 7 yo that was quite spirited, D.H. was behind me on a sweet horse (don't remember his name) D.D.s both had horses with sweet dispositions Mari and Ceejay (he was 24 yo and liked to be in the back, D.D. had to keep proding him along). Now I'm a pretty experienced rider having had a horse when I was younger and we have a horse now, but my horses have always been gentle and easy to handle. Wind Dancer kept trying to pass Christine. At one point there was a young boy on the beach that was hopping on one foot, this spooked Wind Dancer and he started hopping around on his 4 feet, I hung on and got him under control. When we were going through the water , he kept trying to put his head down in the water, then he tried to lope, as I tried to get him under control his rear end spun around hitting D.H.s horse. This annoyed his horse, so he tried to pass Wind Dancer. Somehow the saddle on his horse came loose and started to slide over, while we're in the water. D.H kept hanging on, trying to get his horse onto the beach. He had his camera around his neck and was trying to hold it up to keep from getting wet. Just as the horse got to shore, the saddle went all the way over and he went off, D.H. and his camera hitting the beach. He wasn't hurt, but the lens on his camera either got bent or sand in it, because he couldn't turn it after that and he didn't use it for the rest of the cruise. We did have alot of the disposible cameras with us for the girls, so we got plenty of pictures of the cruise. Other then that the ride was very enjoyable. Christine was so nice, the ride actually lasted about 11/2 hours, she gave us a nice little tour explaining things about the island as we rode. We got back to the stable, Christine posed for some pictures with the girls and "their " horses. She called a cab for us. While waiting for the cab she wrote a note to the Robinson Family and asked us if we would take it to the ship. I gave it to guest services, hope you got it.
Wow, I sure rambled on, guess I should have done a trip report!

Olaf
08-06-2001, 05:28 PM
Wow, these reports have been very informative. All I can say is, AVOID THAT STABLE! I rode a lot as a young girl and had a horse in my twenties. It's been about 8 years, but I think I could probably get back on with some help.

This stable sounds totally irresponsible. To send customers out without checking a girth--not a good sign. Not to mention all the runaway horses. I hope they at least stuck hard hats on you. Being on a runaway horse is one of the most frightening experiences anyone can go through--those poor girls.

Now we know why Disney keeps their mounts at a walk.

RobinsonFamily
10-23-2001, 03:07 PM
UPDATE:

First of all, I apologize to Sue for not responding earlier to her post. I missed it. We did get the note from Christine. Thank you for delivering it. I was under the impression that she had brought it over. She said she had cancelled all rides for the rest of that day; strange that you were able to ride. The only boy on our ride was my 7-year-old son. He most certainly did not ride again that afternoon...he was covered with road rash and we were busy begging American Airlines to let us on the airplane home, so Christine was not accurate about that. I'm glad no one was injured on your ride.

We finally got a check back from Travelguard, for the sum of $2,083. Our airfare back home cost that much, not to mention the unused airline tickets that Travelguard required we give them, and of course our trip expenses. We used DVC points, so understand there would be a discrepancy between the trip costs for us and a cash-paying traveller, but are obviously NOT satisfied. I have a call into Travelguard to get clarification. They have apparently been overwhelmed since September 11 and have been slow returning calls, although have done so within 24 hours. Our paperwork was filed with them mid-August.

As promised, I'll keep you all posted. I'd sure appreciate any comments from those of you with more experience with travel insurance.

Our daughter is healing well; she has some nerve damage and they are watching the growth plates, but we are still hopeful for a full recovery. Neither child has been back on a horse, but I will get them back to the stable they took lessons from so that their last riding experience is a more positive one.

Best wishes.

Kristina

ps Well, guess who just called? Travelguard did not pay attention to the airfare cost, apparently. The explanation for the $2083 was 406 points reimbursed at $5 a point, then our children's cash fare was $1258, all divided by 2 since we completed half the trip, they then added $439 for our unused airfare from the original tickets. I haven't done the math yet. They will look into the airfare costs and get back to me. They wondered why Delta charged us $2000 instead of a change fee.

inkkognito
10-28-2001, 07:27 PM
What a horrifying experience!! DH had told me about this post, but I didn't see it myself until now. Having ridden since I was 14, working at a livery stable, and owning horses for 20 years, I have to say that Bayside sounds like a dangerous, irresponsible place. At the livery barn where I worked, there were certain horses that were used for children. These were all reliable horses that could be counted on to plod along and not take off...a horse is an animal, so there is always a change it could spook at something, but with these horses the chances were the lowest possible...they were used to cars, people, dogs, noises, etc. In several years working at that stable, I can never remember an incident like the one you described at Bayside (we did have a couple of incidents with adults getting hurt, but in those cases, alcohol/drugs played a major factor). The horses the adults were put on were more spirited, but still as safe as possible. The psycho horses were ridden by us trail guides!
We rode at a different barn in St. Maarten, but it was still not a place I would recommend for families. I can't remember the name, but it was on the Dutch side...we found out about if from the tourism office and took a cab. You rode through an oil refinery, and on the way back there were loud dirt bikes racing there, and the horses were freaking out. I have a lot of experience riding, but I've owned the same horse for 20 years and he is about as well-trained as they come, so I get very nervous on hyper mounts. I really wasn't comfortable! It's not a ride I would recommend to families with kids. I guess that things are a lot different outside the U.S...riders, beware!
Barb
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