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Old 01-10-2013, 05:06 PM   #1
amagical
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Returned from Disney Fantasy - Not a Fantasy experience

Greetings -
Years ago I was a member of the DIS (10 year cast member) and so on. When I left the company I took a break from all things Disney! Fast forward to today and 2 children later!!! In the past year we have been to Disney 3 times and have now just returned from 7 nights aboard the Fantasy. My 6yr old son is bi-laterally profoundly deaf. Both of our children are adopted from ethiopia. Needless to say the crusie did not go so well fo him and I wrote guest communications and included photos of some of the challenges and the response I got was not even an I'm sorry just a thanks for sharing your feedback. I really am rather upset and am hoping you can point me in another direction to advocate for him.

Courtney
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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You might want to check out cruisecritic.com and see if any of the experienced cruisers have suggestions:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=167
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:11 PM   #3
Cassandy
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If the cruise is over, it's a little late to advocate for your son. What are you trying to accomplish with guest services? By which I mean, what would be a good resolution that you would be happy with?

Also, why would you say, "needless to say the cruise didn't go so well for him". Why is that 'needless to say' when Disney tends to be super-accommodating? Did you foresee problems that you didn't address ahead of time? What were the issues? How would a picture help capture those issues?

I guess the question is.... what do you actually want, and what in the world happened?
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amagical View Post
Greetings -
Years ago I was a member of the DIS (10 year cast member) and so on. When I left the company I took a break from all things Disney! Fast forward to today and 2 children later!!! In the past year we have been to Disney 3 times and have now just returned from 7 nights aboard the Fantasy. My 6yr old son is bi-laterally profoundly deaf. Both of our children are adopted from ethiopia. Needless to say the crusie did not go so well fo him and I wrote guest communications and included photos of some of the challenges and the response I got was not even an I'm sorry just a thanks for sharing your feedback. I really am rather upset and am hoping you can point me in another direction to advocate for him.

Courtney
Disney's first response is usually a 'thank you for the info' just to let you know they got it. It may take them quite a while to check into the issue (especially when it is about a ship at sea).
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:40 PM   #5
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Does your son use sign language? Did you request interpreters? What were the challenges? A little more info might help us guide you.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Does your son use sign language? Did you request interpreters? What were the challenges? A little more info might help us guide you.
x2
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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x2
How long before the cruise did you request the interpreters? They need to be requested at least 45 days prior to the cruise. I am really surprised you were unable to get interpreters. A friend just got back from a 4 day and a 3 day last week.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amagical View Post
Greetings -
Years ago I was a member of the DIS (10 year cast member) and so on. When I left the company I took a break from all things Disney! Fast forward to today and 2 children later!!! In the past year we have been to Disney 3 times and have now just returned from 7 nights aboard the Fantasy. My 6yr old son is bi-laterally profoundly deaf. Both of our children are adopted from ethiopia. Needless to say the crusie did not go so well fo him and I wrote guest communications and included photos of some of the challenges and the response I got was not even an I'm sorry just a thanks for sharing your feedback. I really am rather upset and am hoping you can point me in another direction to advocate for him.

Courtney
I am surprised because in my experience DCL has been wonderful at accommodating children with special needs. As long as they know in advance, they'll arrange to have CMs who speak a certain language (for non-English speaking kids) or someone who knows sign-language; they do a great job with allergies and meals; except for the profoundly disabled who require direct 1:1 assistance they'll work to include the kids in the Club. Do you have more specifics of what went "wrong" and how you think it could be addressed? Also, as a PP mentioned, the "thanks for the info" response is usually a canned response that goes out automatically; if you included contact information you may well receive a call at some point after they've done more investigation into the situation.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:18 PM   #9
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We had an issue come up during our last visit. Once home I wrote an email to GS to let them know of the issues ( I had made contact ehile there as well, but the GS CM I spoke to gave me an email address and asked me to send an email once I got home). I also got a generic thank you, but within a week I received an email asking for my contact info. Within hours of me sending it I had someone calling me to gather info and then she had someone else call me. In the end I felt that my concers where listened to and that it was something that would be taken care of in the future.
I am sure that they will contact you soon. Be sure that when the do to be direct and offer solutions that you think they might could consider.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amagical View Post
Greetings -
Years ago I was a member of the DIS (10 year cast member) and so on. When I left the company I took a break from all things Disney! Fast forward to today and 2 children later!!! In the past year we have been to Disney 3 times and have now just returned from 7 nights aboard the Fantasy. My 6yr old son is bi-laterally profoundly deaf. Both of our children are adopted from ethiopia. Needless to say the crusie did not go so well fo him and I wrote guest communications and included photos of some of the challenges and the response I got was not even an I'm sorry just a thanks for sharing your feedback. I really am rather upset and am hoping you can point me in another direction to advocate for him.

Courtney
Agree that it was a canned response. It doesn't mean they're not looking into the issue you had. It wouldn't be good business practice for any company to offer an apology before doing further research. To some people, that would imply that the company is taking responsibility for whatever happened. They're not prepared to do that after an initial email, so they're just acknowledging that they received your feedback.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:16 PM   #11
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I am sorry that you had a bad experience and didn't enjoy your cruise!
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:36 AM   #12
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I am surprised because in my experience DCL has been wonderful at accommodating children with special needs. except for the profoundly disabled who require direct 1:1 assistance they'll work to include the kids in the Club.

Not true, unless things have really changed. I was told by a friend who works for DCL not to worry about my special needs son in the Kids Club, that they are trained to handle all sorts of kids. Did not work that way for me.... my son was about 8, Down Syndrome, non verbal, mildly autistic. They looked at me like I was nuts when I asked to leave him. They did take him, for one hour, after that, I said forget it. The CMs were very nervous, and it was just not a good situation. (this was 12-13 years ago, yikes) I also had trouble walking him around in his McClaren chair, many doors did not have the button you push to open it, and the big lip on the floor when entering a room on some decks (which is there to block water, I understand of course)

I was glad it was just a 3 day cruise. For us, they parks are a better fit. I would try another cruise, but not with my son, who is now an adult and still in need of supervision.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by PatMcDuck View Post
Not true, unless things have really changed. I was told by a friend who works for DCL not to worry about my special needs son in the Kids Club, that they are trained to handle all sorts of kids. Did not work that way for me.... my son was about 8, Down Syndrome, non verbal, mildly autistic. They looked at me like I was nuts when I asked to leave him. They did take him, for one hour, after that, I said forget it. The CMs were very nervous, and it was just not a good situation. (this was 12-13 years ago, yikes) I also had trouble walking him around in his McClaren chair, many doors did not have the button you push to open it, and the big lip on the floor when entering a room on some decks (which is there to block water, I understand of course)

I was glad it was just a 3 day cruise. For us, they parks are a better fit. I would try another cruise, but not with my son, who is now an adult and still in need of supervision.

I am handicapped myself and also had a less than Disney-esque experience on DCL. The parks are fabulous, and there is very little that I can't do. The DCL staff just were not as adept or receptive.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:07 PM   #14
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I have both mobility, hearing, food allergies and diabetes and found the CMs quite helpful. No problems setting up interpreting, assistance at the muster call using the stairs, servers and chefs making sure I had safe meals. I was very satisfied. That said I have not been on the 2 new ships yet.

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Old 01-13-2013, 07:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcDuck View Post
Not true, unless things have really changed. I was told by a friend who works for DCL not to worry about my special needs son in the Kids Club, that they are trained to handle all sorts of kids. Did not work that way for me.... my son was about 8, Down Syndrome, non verbal, mildly autistic. They looked at me like I was nuts when I asked to leave him. They did take him, for one hour, after that, I said forget it. The CMs were very nervous, and it was just not a good situation. (this was 12-13 years ago, yikes) I also had trouble walking him around in his McClaren chair, many doors did not have the button you push to open it, and the big lip on the floor when entering a room on some decks (which is there to block water, I understand of course)

I was glad it was just a 3 day cruise. For us, they parks are a better fit. I would try another cruise, but not with my son, who is now an adult and still in need of supervision.
I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience on the cruise. I honestly don't know what it was like 12 years ago as I didn't cruise back then. And I don't know if the CMs have had more training now or what. But they are very well prepared to deal with autism and developmental delays - at least they are as long as the child is capable of functioning in a group environment without need for a 1:1 assistance at all times. Possibly your son's non-verbal issues was a stumbling block, especially if they hadn't been notified in advance. But again I didn't cruise that long ago.

We did not need to use our DD's Maclaren Major on the ship. I have read reports that the doors are very heavy and don't always open in the right direction and therefore cause challenges to those using mobility devices. Possibly the newer ships are better equipped with push buttons and automatic doors and not the lip when transitioning from one area to another.

OP's post was specific to children's clubs and programming, and I still think that if DCL has advanced noticed they will provide someone in the club who knows ASL. That said, there will always be kids and families (special needs or not) who don't feel the clubs "work" for them and I respect that. I'm glad your family has continued to enjoy WDW vacations.
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