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Old 07-18-2007, 05:03 PM   #1
Iluvmickeymouse!
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Question for MAW families

My daughter has wished for a trip to see Cinderella's Castle My question is, how involved were you in planning your trip? What did you plan, what did MAW plan? How long were/are your trips? What tickets did you get and for how many days? Any other info you could provide would be wonderful. I found Wendy's trip report and have been reading that. We are looking at going at the end of October. Thanks for your help!
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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Congratulations!

So glad to hear your DD is getting her wish fulfilled! I hope that your family has a wonderful time! I am glad to read you have found Wendy's trip report. She and her husband have been blazing the trail for all of us who have yet to follow.

We are leaving for our wish trip a week from Saturday. We are not MAW, but are going through a state wish organzation, Magic Moments. Our trip is very similar though and we are staying at GKTW (Give Kids the World), where MAW familes stay. I can tell you what our experience has been, and then maybe you will think of questions to ask your MAW chapter.

Reading on this forum has taught me that not all MAW chapters handle wish trips the same. Each state may have a little different spin on things. Make sure you get to know your wish coordinator well He or she will be able to best direct you on specific questions.

My DS8's wish organization is affiliated with GKTW, as MAW is. We will have our lodging, and two meals a day there (breakfast and dinner). There is a cafeteria there, but you can also order a continental breakfast delievered to your villa or pizza (at night). GKTW has an ice cream parlor, a pool, "wacky water works", a fishing hole, remote controlled boats, a miniature golf course, an arcade, a play room, a theater, horseback riding, a train, a carousel, and character meetings on site; all of which is free to your wish family. There are also organized activities on site. Their website, www.gktw.org, has a "prearrival" link on the colorful map (roll your mouse around until the window pops up) and under "Village Information" there is a weekly schedule posted there. There is also a link called "Area information" that will take you to the theme park information and the other local attractions information. Their website has lots of valuable info...directions from the airport, what to expect to pay in tolls, and even has video of the village and of the villas. You will definitely want to visit the website for more info.

The ticket package includes a 3 day park hopper to WDW, a 2 day park hopper to Universal and a 1 day ticket to Sea World. You also receive free parking, a free stroller rental or wheel chair rental. In addition to that, there are also other attractions that offer free or reduced admission to GKTW families, places like Cape Canaveral, a Titanic Museum Exhibit, Pirate Adventure Golf, Gatorland, Busch Gardens, Medieval Times Dinner theater...and so on. the GKTW site has a listing.

When Magic Moments booked us at GKTW, we gave them 3 sets of dates. Our first was not available, but our second set was. You said that you were travelling at the end of October. That will coincide with MNSSHP (Mickey's not so scary Halloween Party). I believe this is a big draw to the park. The plus side is that the characters are in costume as are many of the guests. The downside is that a lot of the restaurants may already be booked and there may not be any ADR's left. I made our ADR's myself. Our wish organization did not do our daily planning, so they would not know where we wanted to eat or when. We have gone low key though, so our main ADR is with Spiderman for breakfast, at Universal. I wanted to go to Akershus (sp?) and we still may if we are able to walk up, like Wendy did

We have decided to drive. My DH is pooh sized and doesn't like to fly, and my DS8 is my wish child. He is a transplant patient and on immuno supressants. The very last thing we need, is to be sitting next to someone like the TB guy in Colorado , and be exposed to aggressive germs like that, in a closed environment on a plane. It will take us 10 hours to get there, but we are breaking it up into 2 days. If you fly, GKTW will have greeters at the airport to help you get your bags and get to your rental car. Our wish organization is paying us for the fuel, and for our lunches, souvenirs for DS8 and hotel costs. Not sure what MAW will do.

The best advice I can give you is to seek out all the WDW resources you can find. Your wish organization should take care of the travel and lodging, but the daily planning is up to you. The resources that have been the most helpful to me are:

1. disboards
2. allears.net
3. UOG (Unofficial Guide)
4. OG (Official Guide)
5. Tourguide Mike
6. gktw.org
7. wdw website
8. Passporter's Guide to WDW for your Special Needs

Hope you enjoy your trip! FYI, planning for the trip is almost as fun as going
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:58 AM   #3
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ooops...forgot

Sorry...forgot to answer one of your questions. Our trip is from Saturday to the following Sunday. The first Saturday is a travel day for us. We check in to GKTW on Sunday 7/29 then check out on Sunday 8/4.
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Old 07-19-2007, 05:35 PM   #4
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5dwarves summed it up real good there. I'm also glad you found my report. Here's the answer to some of your questions...

how involved were you in planning your trip?

Well, we chose the days we wanted to go. They asked us for three dates but we really wanted to go on Michael's bday so we asked for accomdations then and they helped. We were originally going to have to stay at a Disney resort (yes, I say "have to". Originally I thought that would be great but now I'm so glad we got to stay at GKTW) and we were put on a Standby List. Then we were 1/2 at Disney (with a standby at GKTW) and 1/2 at GKTW. About two weeks out we were confirmed for our entire trip at GKTW. They asked us for what ADR's we wanted (1, 2 and third choices) and we got our second choice but on the "wrong day". I would recommend doing your ressies yourself. You choose what days you will do when unless you have a special "meet and greet". However, again, Michael's wish was to "fly with Peter". We found out he would "meet Peter Pan" on the Wednesday while on our trip. He was to meet him the next day (Thursday). As you can tell, we had already met with Peter thanks to the Wish lounge. Apparently MAW has a difficult time setting up actual meets until Disney calls, usually one or two days prior (this is due to character time availability and I completely understand). If your child wants to meet a particular character, and that character has a normal meet and greet time (see the Soares site), then you can probably just meet the character yourself on your own time. (make sure child has the pin and, if possible, a special piece of clothing or something that indicates to the character that their character is extra special to the child). GKTW standard tickets are three park hopper passes two Disney (no water option), two park hopper Universal tickets and one day Sea World. You can use then whenever and in whichever way you want. They are good for up to two weeks, I believe. Your day to day activities are not planned but be sure to look at what GKTW schedule is (you get a daily plan only but they have a general plan posted on the website). You do not want to miss any special events and "Winter Holiday" is awesome as well. Horseback riding is fun for kids who've never done it and is only scheduled on certain days. You will also be scheduled for a morning to take a family picture with Mickey and Minnie on either Monday or Thursday (typically) at GKTW.

What did you plan, what did MAW plan?

see above and just wanted to emphasize that I knew more about Disney then my wish granters (thanks to this site) and was more comfortable planning my days as I saw fit.


How long were/are your trips?

We flew out at 7am ish on Sunday and left at 6pm ish on Saturday. We flew in and out.


What tickets did you get and for how many days?

see above

feel free to ask any more questions and I'll be happy to answer what I can.

Oh, and if you want to do MNSSHP, I'd recommend letting them know as they may be able to get you tickets for it.

Remember every MAW chapter is different so what may happen here may not happen with yours.

Just remember that this trip should be the best trip ever and plan the trip however, make sure to take a few minutes to just enjoy whatever is happening around you and go with the flow. You will not see anything. Oh, and if your daughter is young and you have no older children, remember that MK is probably the funnest place for her.

gotta run.
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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Thank you so much for the help! My DH and I have been 3x's, two pre-kids and one w/o DD. This will be our first trip with kids! My DD will be 4 and the other DD will be one when we travel. Our wish granter has been doing this for 15 years, but I feel like I know more than she does in some areas. I'm certain I know more about Disney than she does! I have glanced at the GKTW site but not too thouroughly. Will have to do that soon. What happens with the Universal tickets if we don't use them? I don't think we will be taking the kids there. I am a planner and not knowing what's going on will drive me nuts. I wish I could just schedule the flights, car, etc. so I KNOW what is going on. I am really hoping on an ADR with princesses, whether it be at the castle or Norway, I don't care. All my DD talks about are her friends, then she proceeds to name all the princesses, pooh tigger (etc.) mickey, minnie, etc. She is definitely her mommy's daughter!!!!! I have showed her all my autographs and am trying to get her excited about getting them to. We have not been to hip on Santa and the Easter Bunny in the past, so I am hoping I can prep her enough that she will be ok. If not, oh well.

Again, thanks for helping, I will be back with more questions I'm sure!!! And if anyone else has more info to share, please do!!!!!
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:49 PM   #6
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My littlest ones are boys. If my DD was still little we would be off to Downtown Disney for the Bibbidi Bobbity Boutique. Allears.net has their prices posted, along with some pics. You can do just hair, or hair and nails, or the whole kabang to include princess costume and shoes. I think your DD could get a hairdo, tiara, sash and her nails done for about $40. If she is into princesses, might as well look like one too! BTW, I have seen posts of pics on this site where adult women had their hair done complete with tiara...maybe a mother daughter thing! Way Cool! Here is the link...http://www.allears.net/btp/bibbidi.htm. I would LOOOOVE to do this with a little girl...not enough to have baby #6, but still...LOL...I guess eventually there will be grandchildren.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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I don't think anything happens to the tix if you don't use them. I think they have expiration dates on them though. I'd have to check. Don't discount Universal though. Wait for my TR for that day at least.

Also the BBB is coming to the castle so you may want to look at that. I believe they come in September. And remember that if you just want to be at the castle, you can probably make a reservation for dinner with little problem. My biggest issue is that we didn't have confirmed flights until about a month out. Drove me crazy before then. I totally understand the whole super planner thing! LOL

Gotta run.

PS. I've updated my TR.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:59 PM   #8
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DS's (4) wish trip is in early Dec. How soon will we find out if we're staying at GKTW? It sounds fantastic. We're driving down from PA so we plan to take 3 days coming and going. Wendy, your thread really is helping. I guess I'm mostly concerned about what I don't know that I should know. Karen

Oh yeah, what's an ADR?????
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:26 PM   #9
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ADR is an advanced dinner reservation.

How soon you will know when you go depends on your organization and when they can get the tickets. We put in our application in February, interviewed in March and found out our ressies in May for our June trip. We could have known in May about our ressies but GKTW was full. Early December is a downtime for them so chances are high that you'll go to GKTW. Even if you don't, you'll get full access to GKTW and that's actually where you will have to pick up your tickets and other "stuff". This is of course assuming you are going through a GKTW partner Wish organization (like MAW).

December is an awesome time to go. You should see if they are having any Christmas Parties at Disney (what is it called guys?) while you are there so you can get tickets to it! I hear its great!
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:56 AM   #10
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MVMCP--Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. December is an awesome time to go. That is when my DH and I went in '05 without my DD. Loved all the decorations and the party is so much fun. I would have liked to go in December this year, but I am working now and that is a busy time for me. Ugh! I will have to look more into the BBB. I had read a few things about it. Not sure if DD will like it or not. Depends on her mood for the day! I always say she skipped the terrible twos and had the terrible threes.

We went to Univeral in '01. Neither my husband or I are into thrill rides. I guess I have not looked into it since. Are there things there for little ones to do?

I think I will go nuts if I don't here about our reservation until the month before. Is Cinderella at the castle for lunch too? We did the breakfast last time so I know she is there then.

It is nice to be able to talk to other families that have gone through all the medical stuff as we have. A little background for those of you wondering, my daughter was 7 weeks old when they diagnosed her with Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, HLH for short. It is a rare genetic blood disorder. We were told that she needed chemo and a BMT or she would not live. So, we started 6 weeks of chemo, decided to see if the HLH would stay in remission after the chemo (there is a chance), but it did not. More chemo, and then on March 1, 2004 she had her life saving transplant. She recieved umbilical cord stem cells from an unrelated donor. She did very well with the transplant. Shortly after we got out of the hospital for that, we were back in ICU with Autoimmune Hemalytic Anemia. (hemoglobin had dropped to 2) She recieved medicine to fight that. And due to that medicine we now have low immuglobulin. We still go in every six weeks to recieve IVIG, an immune booster. The brave little thing gets poked every time to because she does not have a central line in any more. Looking at her you would never know that she has gone through so much.

I know I did not need to give a background, but I always wonder what others have gone through, so I thought I'd share an abbreviated version of what we have been through.

Thanks again for all you help.
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:44 AM   #11
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Morning Iluvmickeymouse:

I had to peek to make sure I got your name right . I am glad to hear that your daughter was able to get a matching donor for her BMT when she was so young. My son was born with a degenerative liver disease and I knew that he would eventually need a transplant. He was on the waiting list for 19 months when we got the call that there was a matching pediatric donor. It was a surreal phone call, one that I knew was coming but couldn't believe I was getting. That was 15 months ago. We have had some bumps in the road, but he has a very heatlhy new liver. He was 13 weeks preterm, and we are still working through some of the issues that come with that.

Our wish trip was such a blessing to our family. It came out of the blue for us. My DS, Adam was in Children's Hospital in Birmingham in March. His transplant was at UAB (University of Alabama Birmingham) where the "grown ups" go. Liver transplants are complicated, and at the time Children's didn't have all the right facilities, so they kept the pediatric liver patients and the pediatric heart patients at the main hospital. Recently he had some gastro issues that didn't seem to be transplant related and he was admitted to Children's. About 3 weeks later, in April, I received an unsolicited application from Magic Moments, our wish organization . The letter stated my son had been nominated for a wish by a liver nurse (who I hadn't even met yet) I filled out the application, and reread the letter that told me that not every wish was granted. I was stunned Adam had been nominated by someone we didn't even know. I was even more stunned that after NUMEROUS hospitalizations there was still someone at the hospital who we didn't know. Adam can't walk down the hallway there without high fiving or hugging the nurses, the receptionists, the lady at the snack counter...we know them all. Anyway, I get a call from a lady pastor who is a volunteer with Magic Moments and she tells me Adam's wish has been granted!!!!Wow...what a day. Tears, joy, surprise and gratefulness all rolled into one. This trip wasn't just for Adam; it was for all of us...all of us needed a little magic to erase some of the heartache and stress that we have been dealing with. Adam's wish was to meet a storm trooper at Star War's weekend or Spiderman at Universal, but GKTW was booked for June already (we were only a few weeks away from June at that point). We were able to get into GKTW in July and are breakfasting with Spiderman in 2 weeks.

My son was stuck once a week from the time he was discharged from the hospital until he was about 3 years old. I couldn't go past the Clinque counter at a department store without him freaking out at the women in white coats. It took him a long time to warm up to women because most of the lab techs who drew blood were female. He was a little pin cushion. I understand from your post that you know what that is like. I have had several doctors in ER's dismiss the need to restrain him for IV's or blood work because he was little and sick and couldn't give much of a fight, but they discover just how strong a small child, who doesn't want to get stuck by a needle, yet again, can be

The longer we have dealt with Adam's diagnosis and his surgery and all his relating special needs, the more I have found that I am not the only mother out there with a child who needs extra attention and medical care. You are definitley not alone, even though you may feel like you are. I have found that one of the most cathartic things I can do when I am feeling overwhelmed and blue by Adam's illnesses is to reach out with encouragement to another parent with a special needs child.

Wendy's latest TR installment has encouraged me to do a little more obsessive compulsive planning for Sea World and Universal. I have read about some of the kid friendly areas at Universal, but I think they are far less kid friendly than WDW...here is a link to kid's attractions there. http://www.universalorlando.com/ioa_attr_children.html.

You asked about Cinderella as well. I think the disboards and allears.net have a list of character locations. I will post the link here as well.

Hope you hear something soon and have a magical wish trip; we haven't even left yet and already feel like pixie dust has been sprinkled all over us!

Elisa

Last edited by 5dwarves; 07-20-2007 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 07-20-2007, 10:25 AM   #12
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Hi there. Nothing compares to Mk Fantasyland for little kids/preschoolers but Seaworld really did have an nice area and Universal's is even better. You'll have to see when we actually get there though. Definetly recommend more research than I did though!

Thank you for sharing your info. With Michael, he was born with his abdominal organs outside his body. Usually either the child dies right away or they are able to fix it right away. There are a handful of kids out there where neither scenario happened and Michael was one of them. While in the hospital for six months, he developed sepsis with severe complications and now has several life threatening conditions because of it. They didn't expect him to live past his first bday and every day we have with him is a "miracle". But as my dh likes to say "noone told him ".
Michael also had issues with white coats and we always knew when a doctor was really an interen when they balked at taking off their coat. When an intern didn't blink an eye at the request, we knew we'd be ok.

We did the lunch at CRT and Cinderella was in the lobby during that meal taking pictures and we get a copy of the picture.
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:53 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing your stories. 5dwarves...isn't it amazing what some people do who don't even know you?!?! I love your story of how you found out about your trip. Wendy--I think kids just do what they know what to do...be kids. To heck with what the doctors think they can and cannot do. We were told that DD would be delayed, may have learning disabilities, etc. beacuse of the chemo and meds. Like I said before, you would never know she was so sick. She is a "normal" three (almost four) year old. In fact she is starting pre-K in the fall. When we tell people what she has gone through, they look at her and are amazed.

I will have to research on Universal soon. Do you think I could call and make adr's now and then if something doesn't work out I can call and cancel/switch them? The last time we went I started planning 10 months out. So this is definitely short notice for me!

Another question that I thought of.....Do we get to take advantage of the EMH hours like resort guests? I thought I had read somewhere that we could. Thought I would double check though.

Thanks!!

Karla
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:05 PM   #14
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Hey....wanted to let you know something else for your little Cinderella lover. There are some restaurants (I don't know which, unfortuantely) that offer a choclated slipper filled with mousse and topped with raspberries and whipped cream. It looks awesome! The restaurant threads have some pictures of them, but there was one thread where this was all they talked about. I can't find it though. Here is the "cakes" thread. I saw a pic of the slipper on pg 1 and page 2....

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1173219
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:09 PM   #15
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We went on dd's wish trip in May 2006. I planned everything. I made ADR's for Breakfast with Spidey for my son's birthday and for Breakfast with Princesses in Norway for my Cindy-lovin' daughter. I had planned out where we would go each day so that we had a clue as to what to expect. We were able to extend our trip and stayed a few extra nights in FL on our own. I always suggest wish families do that if they can afford it. We "saved" one day of our Disney park hopper and used it after we had left GKTW. That allowed us a day to spend at GKTW enjoying everything they offer.

Something special happened to us at MGM. We were talking to a CM about dd loving princesses. He suggested we go to Beauty and the Beast show and ask about meeting Belle, Gaston and the Prince after the show. We asked and were able to do it. It was the most special meeting of the whole trip. Okay, 2nd most special - meeting Cinderella the first time was most special.

You can read my trip report at http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1509887

Have a magical trip! It is truly the trip of a lifetime!!
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