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Old 08-14-2009, 03:39 PM   #2446
cleostar09
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Talking My baby sister's Make-A-Wish Trip questions

Hi everyone!!
I'm Annastesia. I'm 18 years old and the proud sister of 7 siblings (ages 3, 7, 8, 11, 15, 18 and 23) and I'm very happy to say that my little sister( the 3 year old) is going to Disney World to meet Mickey Mouse and celebrate her Birthday in late Nov. thru early Dec. Now, while I am VERY excited for her, I do have a lot of questions for veteran trippers. But a lil background first...

My parents adopted all of my siblings and I. Yes... There are 8 of us all together. Most of my siblings have been adopted through foster care and alone went through tough stuff. On top of that, my baby sister was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. She was only 2 years old at the time and went through all kinds of horrific treatments, steroids, chemo, spinal taps and surprise trips to the hospital...

Her journey to health is almost over and she is doing fine now... Now in Dec., eight members of my family get to experience the magic that is Disney World. I was dubbed the official trip planner and am having a BLAST doing so.. I just have some questions for those of you who went through this once in a lifetime experience...

1. I think we are only in Orlando for 6 days which equals to only 4 park days... The parks we really want to see are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Sea World, and Universal. Is there ANY way we could do everything? Suggestions would be WONDERFUL.

2. 3 of us kids will be having a birthday at Disney. Is it a good idea to let the birthday kid have their day at 1 of the parks or make it just about my lil sis?

3. If the older kids are in line for a ride, will we get to skip the line also or just the Wish kid?

4. I've heard people say not to bring ANY money if your staying at GKTW... Is this true?

5. How should we pack if we are going in late Nov. and Early Dec.?

6. Is there regular food at the Ice Cream Shop as well as ice cream?

7. What restaurant in Disney world did you find the best/cheapest?

8. Did you eat out at a full service restaurant?

9. How did you entertain your children on the plane. (we live in MI so it will take us a while to get to FL)

10. What do the kids do on the Kids night out/parents night off nights?

11. Do teens have to be with the kids during this?

12. what can 3/4 year olds in Universal Studios?

Thank you in advanced for answering my questions. And I'll be sure to post a PTR and TR when the time comes!
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:40 AM   #2447
5dwarves
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Welcome to the Dis

Hi Annastesia! Welcome to the Dis. I am very excited for your little sis and your family because of the wonderful trip you have ahead of you! I love your enthusiasm in the planning. The Dis helped me tremendously when I was in your shoes. My biggest piece of advice is to go ahead and do all the detailed planning, but when you get there, remember your plans are an outline and sometimes things just happen and you will need to roll with it.

Now, on to your questions...

1. Is there any way we will be able to do everything? No, sadly, it is not humanly possible. Some wish families have extended their trip a few days, but for most families (mine is a large family too) it is not feasible to do so time wise or finances wise. We doubled up two parks at Disney on one day...Animal Kingdom, and Disney Hollywood Studios, but we left things undone. If you are going in NOv. Dec., remember that AK will close early (at sunset I believe). Take a look at each Disney park and decide which attractions are "must do" and which are "nice to do". Make a plan of attack for each day. Don't go to any Disney park on an Extra Magic Hours day. That is when all the visitors who are staying on property have extra time there, and when the park is the most crowded. Try going to a park the morning after there were EMH the night before. Most on property guests are headed somewhere else that day and the crowds are a little lighter. We didn't double up Universal and Islands of Adventure, but it is possible to do so. The younger children in your family kind of mirror my younger boys ages. They were not crazy about all the coasters at Universal or IOA. We were there for the character (comic book) meet and greets. Many other wish families have had positive experiences at the Universal parks since I went. Your best bet is to read everyone's experience and decide how it would apply to your family and make your choices from there.

2. Birthday kid celebration vs. Wish kid celebration That is a personal preference, but I don't see why both can't be celebrated. If it is your first visit to Disney, stop by guest relations as you go in and let them know. They will give you first visit buttons. They will also give you birthday buttons for birthday kids. Those kids will receive some extra attention from the CM's (cast members) at Disney as will the wish child. I think it would be fine to let the wish child and the birthday child celebrate together. If you go to allears. net they have a comprehensive guide to all the restaurants at the Disney parks with their menus. You can get a good idea what kind of desserts are offerred where, and make sure to make the birthday celebration special.

3. Older kids...line skipping Technically, no one gets to skip the line. What your little sis will get is called a GAC, Guest Assitance Card. It doesnt' get you front of the line access, it gets you extra assistance. In many cases the extra assitance works out to be a quicker ride time, because you are going in through the exit, but it doesn't necessarily mean you won't have any wait time. When you go up to an attraction, show the CM the GAC. My son would have destroyed the GAC, so I wore it, along with the GKTW button. He would have messed with the button and put huge holes in all his shirts, so I kept it close. When I showed the CM the GAC and the button they asked how many people were in my party. I would tell them 7 and they would prepare for us. In the case of the Kilmanjaro Safari, we waited as long as we would have in a regular line. On other attractions we were able to take our strollers in with us (Bug's Life) because we had the additional stamp on our GAC that our stroller was a wheel chair. If your little sis gets fatigued at all, I would recommend that you get the stroller/wheel chair stamp at Guest Relations to give you the option of keeping your stroller nearby for her. There was an instance where my teenagers wanted to ride Tower of Terror, and there was no way the boys were going to go on it. My husband and the boys sat on a bench and waited for us and after that we left the park. I took the GAC with us and once we were through the outside line and in the tower, we went through a special entrance and got on a ride vehicle a little faster. My boys and DH would have gone bonkers if we had to wait for hours and we would have had to skip the ride. I am sure since your sis is only 3 there will be similar circumstances. Your family will know what her tolerance is for waiting on everyone; I am sure you can space them to keep everyone happy.

4. Money at GKTW There is nothing available for purchase at GKTW. Your lodgings, food, and entertainment are all covered. If you need to borrow a digital camera or video camera, you can check one out for your stay there. You have two free full meals at GKTW every day and then snacks from the Ice Cream Parlor. No money changes hands at GKTW. That is not, however, the case at WDW and Universal. You will get several things for free, like your parking and stroller rentals. If you want to eat or drink anything while you are there (and I am guessing that will be a hearty yes) it is going to cost. There are also souvenirs like pictures on the rides, or a Disney PhotoPass that cost as well. Most wish granting agencies give you a cash gift along with your trip. For us our cash gift covered our travel expenses (we drove), tolls, the meals that were not covered at GKTW and some souvenir money for my wish child. It was a generous gift for us and we felt blessed. Still, you will need money. Most wish agencies do not tell you ahead of time what the cash gift will be. Ours was larger because we drove to Orlando, but also because there were 7 of us and we all were being compensated for lunch every day. Once you get more posts, you will be allowed to PM. PM me, and I will tell you what our cash gift was; just remember it included driving costs for us for 500 miles one way.

5. Packing for Nov/Dec. Go to Weather.com and check out the past weather reports for those times. They will give you a good idea about weather. It definitely isn't Michigan, but it also isn't Honolulu. I would keep checking up until a week before.

6. Food at the Ice Cream Palace When we were there 2 years ago there were sandwiches there. We ate lunch there the day we arrived. It is my understanding that Boston Market has also opened up a place there as well, but that was after we were there. I think Mama Merri's delivers pizza at lunch time too...not sure about the hours though.

7. Best/cheapest restaurants I loved the menus with prices that I found on allears.net. It will give you a good out look. My favorite thing was the pastry place at Epcot, followed by the fish place there and then Flame Tree BBQ at AK. There are food threads here where other Disers rate restuarants and take pictures of their meals.

8. Did you eat a a full service restaurant? Nope, we just didn't take the time, but we had thought about going to Sci Fi at DHS. We did do a character breafast at Universal with Spiderman and Cat in the Hat, and the character meal was much cheaper at Universal than Disney ($15 a person vs. $40+++). It was very good and the characters were very interactive.

9. Plane entertainment We drove...so we had even more time to entertain. We used portable DVD players, game systems and favorite toys. I let my boys pack their back packs for trips and they travel well. Take a look at other wish trippers who have little ones (3yr olds). I am sure they have tips.

10. We didn't do this. GKTW has some regulations about the age of siblings who can babysit, and also requires parents to stay on property. We were at the parks, and didn't ever take advantage of it.

11. Do teens have to be with the kids during Parent's Night Out I think you have to be 16 to be on your own at GKTW, but I am not sure. They will fill your family in at orientation.

12. What can 3/4 year olds do at Universal/IOA The ET ride, Curious George, Fievel's coaster, character meets, Dora attraction, Barney, Dr. Seuss rides...there are some families who had very young kids who preferred Universal to Disney. Dig into some trip reports to find out more.



Hope this helps...keep asking questions!

~Elisa
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:37 AM   #2448
LindaBabe


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Gang - there's a new thread - this one is closed since WendyGrace isn't usually available to moderate it.

Please do not post to this thread

Go HERE instead
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:29 PM   #2449
Bill_Lin
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Elisa

Your Rock Elisa! Your answers are thorough, complete and terrific.

I am excited for the wish trippers.

I still think the "best" plan for young kids is:

One whole day at MK
One whole day at AK
One whole day at SW
One day split with US/ IOA
One day split with Epcot DHS

I pays to check on wdwinfo.com for the best parks to visit each day of the week, including opening and closing times.

My favorite hints are:

Don't count on getting to the parks at opening. Take a leisurely time having strawberry waffles at the Gingerbread House and meeting the characters who visit GKTW. I have never heard of a GKTW wish trip family having a problem with long waits in line, so don't sweat the time schedule. Relax and enjoy.

Buy souvenirs at Wal-Mart near GKTW and the Flea Market across the highway from there. You will even find them in the airport.

Bill


Quote:
Originally Posted by 5dwarves View Post
Hi Annastesia! Welcome to the Dis. I am very excited for your little sis and your family because of the wonderful trip you have ahead of you! I love your enthusiasm in the planning. The Dis helped me tremendously when I was in your shoes. My biggest piece of advice is to go ahead and do all the detailed planning, but when you get there, remember your plans are an outline and sometimes things just happen and you will need to roll with it.

Now, on to your questions...

1. Is there any way we will be able to do everything? No, sadly, it is not humanly possible. Some wish families have extended their trip a few days, but for most families (mine is a large family too) it is not feasible to do so time wise or finances wise. We doubled up two parks at Disney on one day...Animal Kingdom, and Disney Hollywood Studios, but we left things undone. If you are going in NOv. Dec., remember that AK will close early (at sunset I believe). Take a look at each Disney park and decide which attractions are "must do" and which are "nice to do". Make a plan of attack for each day. Don't go to any Disney park on an Extra Magic Hours day. That is when all the visitors who are staying on property have extra time there, and when the park is the most crowded. Try going to a park the morning after there were EMH the night before. Most on property guests are headed somewhere else that day and the crowds are a little lighter. We didn't double up Universal and Islands of Adventure, but it is possible to do so. The younger children in your family kind of mirror my younger boys ages. They were not crazy about all the coasters at Universal or IOA. We were there for the character (comic book) meet and greets. Many other wish families have had positive experiences at the Universal parks since I went. Your best bet is to read everyone's experience and decide how it would apply to your family and make your choices from there.

2. Birthday kid celebration vs. Wish kid celebration That is a personal preference, but I don't see why both can't be celebrated. If it is your first visit to Disney, stop by guest relations as you go in and let them know. They will give you first visit buttons. They will also give you birthday buttons for birthday kids. Those kids will receive some extra attention from the CM's (cast members) at Disney as will the wish child. I think it would be fine to let the wish child and the birthday child celebrate together. If you go to allears. net they have a comprehensive guide to all the restaurants at the Disney parks with their menus. You can get a good idea what kind of desserts are offerred where, and make sure to make the birthday celebration special.

3. Older kids...line skipping Technically, no one gets to skip the line. What your little sis will get is called a GAC, Guest Assitance Card. It doesnt' get you front of the line access, it gets you extra assistance. In many cases the extra assitance works out to be a quicker ride time, because you are going in through the exit, but it doesn't necessarily mean you won't have any wait time. When you go up to an attraction, show the CM the GAC. My son would have destroyed the GAC, so I wore it, along with the GKTW button. He would have messed with the button and put huge holes in all his shirts, so I kept it close. When I showed the CM the GAC and the button they asked how many people were in my party. I would tell them 7 and they would prepare for us. In the case of the Kilmanjaro Safari, we waited as long as we would have in a regular line. On other attractions we were able to take our strollers in with us (Bug's Life) because we had the additional stamp on our GAC that our stroller was a wheel chair. If your little sis gets fatigued at all, I would recommend that you get the stroller/wheel chair stamp at Guest Relations to give you the option of keeping your stroller nearby for her. There was an instance where my teenagers wanted to ride Tower of Terror, and there was no way the boys were going to go on it. My husband and the boys sat on a bench and waited for us and after that we left the park. I took the GAC with us and once we were through the outside line and in the tower, we went through a special entrance and got on a ride vehicle a little faster. My boys and DH would have gone bonkers if we had to wait for hours and we would have had to skip the ride. I am sure since your sis is only 3 there will be similar circumstances. Your family will know what her tolerance is for waiting on everyone; I am sure you can space them to keep everyone happy.

4. Money at GKTW There is nothing available for purchase at GKTW. Your lodgings, food, and entertainment are all covered. If you need to borrow a digital camera or video camera, you can check one out for your stay there. You have two free full meals at GKTW every day and then snacks from the Ice Cream Parlor. No money changes hands at GKTW. That is not, however, the case at WDW and Universal. You will get several things for free, like your parking and stroller rentals. If you want to eat or drink anything while you are there (and I am guessing that will be a hearty yes) it is going to cost. There are also souvenirs like pictures on the rides, or a Disney PhotoPass that cost as well. Most wish granting agencies give you a cash gift along with your trip. For us our cash gift covered our travel expenses (we drove), tolls, the meals that were not covered at GKTW and some souvenir money for my wish child. It was a generous gift for us and we felt blessed. Still, you will need money. Most wish agencies do not tell you ahead of time what the cash gift will be. Ours was larger because we drove to Orlando, but also because there were 7 of us and we all were being compensated for lunch every day. Once you get more posts, you will be allowed to PM. PM me, and I will tell you what our cash gift was; just remember it included driving costs for us for 500 miles one way.

5. Packing for Nov/Dec. Go to Weather.com and check out the past weather reports for those times. They will give you a good idea about weather. It definitely isn't Michigan, but it also isn't Honolulu. I would keep checking up until a week before.

6. Food at the Ice Cream Palace When we were there 2 years ago there were sandwiches there. We ate lunch there the day we arrived. It is my understanding that Boston Market has also opened up a place there as well, but that was after we were there. I think Mama Merri's delivers pizza at lunch time too...not sure about the hours though.

7. Best/cheapest restaurants I loved the menus with prices that I found on allears.net. It will give you a good out look. My favorite thing was the pastry place at Epcot, followed by the fish place there and then Flame Tree BBQ at AK. There are food threads here where other Disers rate restuarants and take pictures of their meals.

8. Did you eat a a full service restaurant? Nope, we just didn't take the time, but we had thought about going to Sci Fi at DHS. We did do a character breafast at Universal with Spiderman and Cat in the Hat, and the character meal was much cheaper at Universal than Disney ($15 a person vs. $40+++). It was very good and the characters were very interactive.

9. Plane entertainment We drove...so we had even more time to entertain. We used portable DVD players, game systems and favorite toys. I let my boys pack their back packs for trips and they travel well. Take a look at other wish trippers who have little ones (3yr olds). I am sure they have tips.

10. We didn't do this. GKTW has some regulations about the age of siblings who can babysit, and also requires parents to stay on property. We were at the parks, and didn't ever take advantage of it.

11. Do teens have to be with the kids during Parent's Night Out I think you have to be 16 to be on your own at GKTW, but I am not sure. They will fill your family in at orientation.

12. What can 3/4 year olds do at Universal/IOA The ET ride, Curious George, Fievel's coaster, character meets, Dora attraction, Barney, Dr. Seuss rides...there are some families who had very young kids who preferred Universal to Disney. Dig into some trip reports to find out more.



Hope this helps...keep asking questions!

~Elisa
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:14 AM   #2450
LindaBabe


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Gang - there's a new thread - this one is closed since WendyGrace isn't usually available to moderate it.


Please do not post to this thread

Go HERE instead

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....39777&page=180
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Old 08-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #2451
Bill_Lin
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Link

I know how to get to the new thread, but wanted to let you know that the link you posted below is broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaBabe View Post
Gang - there's a new thread - this one is closed since WendyGrace isn't usually available to moderate it.


Please do not post to this thread

Go HERE instead

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....39777&page=180
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:15 AM   #2452
susang0714
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New to Dis

New to this...how do I post our story
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