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Old 01-03-2013, 08:27 AM   #16
kcashner
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There is a difference between Open House and free play time (although free play may occur during open house). As noted, during open house hours, a parent must be with a kid. Anyone of any age can come in. There are activities scheduled (check the navigator). This is the new open house system started in December 2011.

Free play time occurs any time there is not a scheduled activity, and is also available to kids who choose to not participate in scheduled activities.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:04 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by IncredibleboysMom View Post
My seven year old has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair and forearm crutches.
My son has SB too. Any advice on getting around the ship with a chair. In everyday occurances people are more than accommodating and let us in line, through doors and on elevators before them. I could understand people on a three night cruise being a little bit more pressed for time and not as friendly.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Never to old View Post
I think they have open house in the kids club on boarding day before the ship sails. Does anyone know if there might be kids there during that open house as opposed to the ones they do on cast away cay day?
There are Open House hours every day for 1 or 2 hours, once or twice a day. During those times there are activities going on.

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Originally Posted by NCConch View Post
My son has SB too. Any advice on getting around the ship with a chair. In everyday occurances people are more than accommodating and let us in line, through doors and on elevators before them. I could understand people on a three night cruise being a little bit more pressed for time and not as friendly.
I'm afraid you may find that people will rush the elevators, regadless of whether someone else (in a wheelchair, or not) is already waiting. Sometimes it's because of rudness, other times, people just have blinders on and have that "it's all about me" attitude.

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:16 AM   #19
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I know this might not be the info you are really looking for, however on our first Dream cruise my DS became great friends with a wheelchair bound boy (about his age). We ran into the family throughout the cruise and the two of them just talked like they had known each other for years. It really touched me and I had a proud moment. We've always raised DS to treat everyone the same, regardless of looks, disabilities, etc and it's nice to SEE it happen. He still talks about his friend in the wheelchair.

SO, based on our personal experience I do know they accommodate them but to what degree and what happens if the child needs assistance, I'm not sure.

I hope it works out for you and you have a magical cruise!!

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by NCConch View Post
My son has SB too. Any advice on getting around the ship with a chair. In everyday occurances people are more than accommodating and let us in line, through doors and on elevators before them. I could understand people on a three night cruise being a little bit more pressed for time and not as friendly.
I wouldn't expect people to necessarily allow you into the elevators/lines before them, but you certainly shouldn't have to wait beyond "your turn" due to rude people. The problem on the ships is that the elevators are small and they may arrive at your floor already full. I'm probably just not a nice person, but I would not hesitate to point out to someone that "We were here before you" and take the elevator when it comes.

There will be CMs to help you with restaurant and theater entrances and seating. There are wheelchair seating areas, as well as provisions for those guests who can/choose to transfer. This can be funny. On one cruise, we were instructed to remain seated till the CM brought my friend's chair after the show. So we sat....and the announcement asking all guests to clear the theater came on, and we continued to sit. A few minutes later, the house manager came down and said something like, "I'm sorry ladies, but I have to ask you to leave so we can prepare for the next show." He about stroked out when I said that we would be happy to leave, but had been told to wait until someone brought the wheelchair. He fell over himself with apologies, and as soon as he made a call, the chair appeared. There had been a change of shift and the info about the chair had not been passed on--not a big deal to us at all. The CMs were like "OH MY, I can't believe this happened...."

You will have all the assistance you need from CMs, but there are a few things they can't do. For instance, they can't lift the chair with the person in it onto a tender boat (safety for the guest and the CM....) You'll find the ship very wheelchair friendly. The biggest problem is other guests who think it is OK to park a stroller in the hall--this can be a major obstruction for a wheelchair guest on his/her own!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:33 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Never to old View Post
My nephew is able to use switches and some levers but these need to be given to him. He is not able to participate without assistance from another person. In school he has a personal care assistant. If Disney can not provide someone and does not allow a family member to help then I feel they are not in compliance with the American disability act.
If the club were a school, then perhaps they'd have to provide an assistant. But they aren't. The ADA requires certain businesses to make accommodations, but there are many things they don't have to do. For example, every restaurant doesn't have to have the menu in Braille, or have a signer for the deaf, but they do have to have a handicapped stall in bathrooms or an exemption for why they can't accommodate.

I think Disney goes way beyond what is required by law, but there are just going to be some things that a person in a wheelchair can't do. The pools are not accessible, for example. There are excursions that are restricted to those who can board a vehicle or vessel, or walk a short distance.

I think you'll have more luck getting permission for an adult to stay with him than you will trying to get a CM dedicated to him. Allowing someone to stay is the type of accommodation the ADA had in mind, not requiring private businesses to hire staff dedicated to the care of one individual.

If you decide that having an adult stay with him would work, get it in writing and have that document with you. The 20-somethings working at the Club and Lab need to know that an exception has been made (if they do grant that).

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:48 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by neg58 View Post
...I think you'll have more luck getting permission for an adult to stay with him than you will trying to get a CM dedicated to him. Allowing someone to stay is the type of accommodation the ADA had in mind, not requiring private businesses to hire staff dedicated to the care of one individual.

If you decide that having an adult stay with him would work, get it in writing and have that document with you. The 20-somethings working at the Club and Lab need to know that an exception has been made (if they do grant that).

Nancy
No exception will be granted for this; DCL changed their rules about a year ago and they are very strict about it. DCL allows absolutely no adults other than CMs in the secured programming areas. This is unfortunately the result of one (or possibly more) incident and DCL no longer allowed family members or paid care-givers to remain with a child in the Club/Lab. They do offer at least 1 "Open House" each day in each club, and yes there are special activities planned during that time in addition to free play; a parent or adult is required to remain with any child (special needs or not) attending Open House.

To the OP: unfortunately, if your nephew requires direct 1:1 attention from a caregiver, they will not be able to accommodate him in the Club/Lab. It is a remote possibility that the 14-yr-old brother could attend to him, but since 14 is well above the overlap age for the Club/Lab I wouldn't plan on it. I suggest taking advantage of the Open House times (check your Navigator as it may change each day) so someone can join him while he participates with others. Also, there are many other areas of the ship and other activities where the family can participate together - there are many family activities, not just in the kids clubs. The D Lounge has various family activities throughout the day.

While I understand it can be frustrating to think he's missing something others get to enjoy, try looking at it from the positive point of view - we'll get to do THESE activities together (with brother, cousins, family who otherwise would be excluded from specific kids club activities) and it will be fun together. Yes, there will be other kids doing these activities as well - not all kids spend all day in the kids clubs.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:54 AM   #23
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Did you find that your son was able to navigate the rest of the ship in his wheelchair? Was there anything that was not accessible or was challenging?
I can only comment on the Dream/Fantasy layout. Most areas are easily accessible for wheelchairs. Watch out for the following...

Make sure you reserve an Accessible stateroom. The doors on the standard staterooms are 30" and not wide enough for most chairs. The bathrooms in the standard staterooms are raised and not accessible. Not enough clearance around the bed in veranda staterooms that are not marked accessible.

Connector corridors between port and starboard corridors (on stateroom floors) are tight, Accessible but tight. Elevators are fine except immediately after shows, avoid the ones closest to the theatre.

Royal Palace/Royal Court has a decorative step up, but the ramp is behind the main stairs and easily found.

All dining, decks, and main corridors are not a problem.

Normal docked ports fully accessible from the ship. Be mindful of excursions.

Pools and Aquaduck will require transfer. There are multiple steps. The Goofy pool has a lip around it to sit in the water. It is impossible to have a zero entry pool on the boat because of size issues. There is an accessbile splash area on the dream. The accesible entrance to this is on the right side of the area facing Cabanas.

The Aquaduct requires climbing many stairs to get to start point. There may be a hidden elevator access to this point, but it is not visable to the public. You would still need to transfer at the end. There are at least three steps from the end platform to the main deck.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:58 AM   #24
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I would not expect an exception to the policy of no adults in the secure programming other than DCL CMs. This policy was instituted after the actions of an individual over the age of 21 who was allowed into an area dedicated to minors in an assistance capacity created issues involving other guest(s). Many of us suspect that the new, very strict policy came from the legal department.

It is unfortunate that the actions of one or a few individuals made life more difficult for many others, but DCL is protecting itself on this one.

Yes, you'll be able to enjoy the open house times. DO talk to the CMs about whether or not they can provide for your child during secure times. But don't expect them to alter their basic policies. I don't think the CMs on board CAN--I think this policy came down from "on high."
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:05 PM   #25
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...The Aquaduct requires climbing many stairs to get to start point. There may be a hidden elevator access to this point, but it is not visable to the public. You would still need to transfer at the end. There are at least three steps from the end platform to the main deck.
At least on the Dream, the AquaDuck does not have an elevator and therefore is not considered accessible. I suspect the same on the Fantasy unless it was constructed differently, which I have not read about. I have heard of at least one instance in which someone was carried up the stairs and those in line voluntarily allowed them pass.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:19 PM   #26
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Cruise Ships and ADA

http://candyharrington.com/clips/cruise.php

if you read the link you will find that cruise ships are required to meet ADA. DCL is very accessible, and in fact even the tenders in grand cayman are now "ramped", and work well as long as the seas are clam.

DCL meets ADA for physical arrangements - ramps, elevators etc, for 99% of the requirements - companion bathrooms - accessible cabins - staff at dining areas willing to help get food and carry it to a table at the buffets.

Biggest disappointment at this time is the lack of an accessible pool or hot tub which can be solved by adding a lift.. ( Im hoping that as they go in for major dry dock that these get added)

the question then becomes are they required to provide an assistant to a handicapped person at certain activities -and there the law is less clear - they have to make a reasonable accommodation -and the question becomes one of health and safety not only of the individual but of the rest of the children in the club, and disney's liability should said attendant do something illegal.

So while they must comply with ADA,the lawyers would and could make a fortune with this question.

trust me-go on the DCL cruise,the CMs and characters will go out of their way to make sure he has a good time...

John
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:43 PM   #27
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trust me-go on the DCL cruise,the CMs and characters will go out of their way to make sure he has a good time...

John[/QUOTE]

This is the bottom line and I totally agree with John's statement!

AKK
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:17 PM   #28
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I think you'll have more luck getting permission for an adult to stay with him
They will not allow an adult to stay with him during secured programming. At this point, no adults other than DCL cast members are permitted during secured programming. This is what the open house times are meant to address - disabled children have access to the clubs at that time, with a caregiver. This is how they make the accommodation, if it is required (a reasonable accommodation is required - I don't practice law anymore but I could make the argument that providing open house in the clubs is a reasonable accommodation.)

The OP wants her nephew to be left in secured programming with other children - but he appears to be unable to be left on his own without a caregiver, he cannot have an adult with him and apparently DCL does not have the option of hiring a staff member to provide one on one care to disabled kids in secured programming. They went the open house route instead.

They will do what is possible to make sure he has a good time, and there will be plenty of opportunities for him to interact with other kids at the scheduled family activities, even if he is not left in the club, but if he requires one on one care from an adult you will not be able to leave him in the secured kids' programming. If the clubs are not busy a cast member may be able to stay with him, but you will not find an option to make one cast member continually responsible for him.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:10 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by NCConch View Post
My son has SB too. Any advice on getting around the ship with a chair. In everyday occurances people are more than accommodating and let us in line, through doors and on elevators before them. I could understand people on a three night cruise being a little bit more pressed for time and not as friendly.
The elevator situation is one of the most challenging parts of cruising with a wheelchair. In our experience, very few fellow passengers will let the person in the wheelchair on ahead of them. My family typically splits up, one of us waits for the elevator with my son in the wheelchair and the rest of us go on via stairs. I would strongly encourage you to choose a room closer to the forward or aft elevator bank. The midship ones are very busy.

Navigating the ship in the chair was not a problem whatsoever. You must have an accessible room, as even a childs wheelchair will not fit through the regular doors. There is not an elevator for the AquaDuck, but we were told that we could come 15 minutes prior to opening and they would let my son ride several times in a row before the masses. We never took them up on that offer, however. He is still small, so DH or I had no trouble carrying him up. When the line paused, we set him down on the step. He LOVED the Aqua Duck by the way. They also let DH carry him up the Mickey slide and I caught him at the bottom over and over....

They excuse you from the safety drill early so you can get to the elevator, this is a great way to get a good spot for the sail away party

Excursions are also a bit of a challenge as you will notice that most of them specifically state that no one in a wheelchair is permitted. We have gotten over this by planning our own adventures. We rented a jeep in St Maarten, and found a great handicapped certified dive shop on St Thomas that took enthusiastically welcomed our family and DID provide a one on one assistant for my son to snorkel with.

I could go on and on, but my family loves DCL and are truly not interested in cruising with anyone else until my kids are older. Feel free to ask more questions!
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by PrincessShmoo
Quote:

Originally Posted by Never to old

Hi! My 9 year old nephew who has cerebral palsy will be cruising with us in Sept. He has motor difficulties and uses a wheelchair. I have received conflicting information from Disney representatives regarding him using the kids club. We were told that they have a specially trained person on one day. The next day we were told no and that they can not provide him with a lot of help. I was wondering if anyone has any personal experience with a physically disabled child and the use of the kids club? Would an adult family member be able to go with him so that he could participate in the activities? Any suggestions, information and tidbits is appreciated.

During the regular Secured Programming, no adults other than DCL CMs are allowed to be in the club with the kids. During Open House hours, adults (parents) must be present for the child to attend.

AFAIK, they will do their best to assist your child during the Secured Programming hours, but you will not have a dedicated CM for that.
bolding is mine....
No, not really...If a parent feels comfortable allowing their child go alone they certainly are allowed to. Kids who have sign in/out privileges can attend. I think it would be better to say this is the only time PARENTS or other adults are allowed in the clubs because really the kids (hopefully only older ones!!) don't Have to Have someone to come in with them. It's just Disney is not responsible for 'watching' them.


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