A Pre-Trip Report and a Thank You (long)

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by TravelMom, Jun 8, 2001.

  1. TravelMom

    TravelMom Mouseketeer

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    This is a pre-trip report, and a way of introducing myself to the DIS Board after "lurking" for some time. I'm a single Mom with DS aged 12 and DD aged 10. I love to travel, and like to take the children along, but I usually take one or the other on trips. (I like to say that it allows for 100% less pinching and arguing.) DS and I took a Carnival Cruise last year and we had a wonderful time - he recently told me it was the greatest week of his life!

    When I decided to take a Disney Cruise, I did what I usually do: hit the library, hit the bookstore, and hit the internet for travel tips. This Board has been so helpful in that regard - so far saving me $200 on the already reduced (Fall Fantasy and early booking savings) price of the cruise. We are bargain travelers - going to Europe in March, for instance, or having an inside stateroom allows us to travel more often and to "splurge" on other aspects of the trip.

    Initially I was planning to travel in early January, as I always see great deals for that time of the year - kind of post-Christmas but before the big Winter vacation (or Spring Break) rush. When I read on this Board about the Fall Fantasy rates I decided to go mid-December instead. (Thanks, DIS-ers!)

    Then I started brainstorming. As a single parent, I knew I'd pay an adult rate for child #1, and a child's rate for the second. It's almost a shame not to fill the cabin, no? (And with anyone else also presumably traveling at a child's rate.) My son's best friend is a disabled child who uses a wheelchair, and I was hoping and dreaming to take him and his mother along. Once several years ago I went to WDW and had also paid an adult rate for he and I (for the hotel) so I asked the tour company if I could take the child and his mother with. (The room rate was already covered - and I was going to pay for the mother's airfare - I was mostly asking if we could bring him along on the flight as a "lap child") He is a dwarf, so even at age 8 he was as small as a two year old. The company (Transglobal) was kind enough to provide airfare for both the mom and child and even 4-day Disney passes for them too. It was really a wonderful opportunity for them - their family is pretty low income but very hard working and can't afford frills like vacations.

    So I wondered if I could catch lightening in a bottle again and take them both at child's rates (switching the Mom for my son as the second adult, etc.) Unfortunately, there was no way to fit 5 in a handicapped accessible category 11 (or any category 11). The best Disney could offer was two side by side staterooms, but that changed the extra price I'd pay for them from $900 (for two "children" with transfers, without insurance) to closer to $1700. I just couldn't afford it - I knew it'd be a stretch even with the extra $900, not to mention their airfares later on. The poor CM I talked to when booking - I was a mess crying and trying to explain this and that. She encouraged me to contact Make a Wish via the DCL which I was doubtful of, as Brandon is disabled but not terminally ill. So I did send a letter to them, only to receive a negative reply from DCL (not Make a Wish, which was strange). However, it was what I expected.

    Not to be denied, I then considered my options. (I had already booked for the three of us but knew if I acted fast enough I could probably still add ONE of them to our existing reservation.) I felt I needed the wisdom of Solomon to decide: the mother or the child? On one hand, FDS (Friend's Darling Son) is limited in what he's been able to experience so it'd be great for him.

    On the other hand, I worried about his ability to get around the huge cruise ship - his power wheelchair is HUGE and he needs assistance to push his "travel" chair. (He much prefers the power chair but I didn't think it would even go down a typically narrow cruise corridor.) Also, I doubted whether his parents would allow him to go halfway around the world for an entire week without one of them along too. (He stays at our house for sleepovers all the time but that's hardly the same as 8 nights away!) I had also "felt out" FDS about cruising in general and he didn't sound too keen.

    DF (Darling Friend) is a wonderful person, who works very hard taking care of her son's constant medical needs. I felt that she really needed a break - a week of pampering to herself. (She works at a Group Home for mentally disabled adults so she is constantly a caregiver.) Back when I was trying to arrange the Make a Wish deal, I had her check her work schedule and the only week she was free to get away was Dec 1st, so when I made my initial reservation, I made it for the 12/1 - 8 Magic in case they could join us. (It's also my 40th birthday that week, so that will be an unexpected by-product of reserving that week!)

    So now it's settled - DF will be joining us for a week of bliss on the Magic! (Her husband works construction so will be laid off in December and able to care for DFS that week.) I have squirreled away enough money to take her on a shore excursion (horseback riding at St. Thomas) and to treat her to a full body massage. She will only pay $253 for the entire week (plus her tips of course, and any spending $) as I'm picking up her airfare and deposit.

    I was lucky enough to hear about the postcard (and codes) from this Board so I was able to get a $50 stateroom credit from DCL (who said no postcard or codes were needed - as long as you were a first time cruiser and asked for the credit, you could get it). I had told my kids that they could each spend $25 of this "found" money. Then I also heard on this Board about the Dreams Unlimited special (ending today) that would entitle us to a $75 rebate and another $75 shipboard credit. (At first DU wasn't sure I qualified for both for a switched reservation - from DCL - but they double checked and said YES.) So I plan to surprise DF on the trip and let her go hog wild in the gift shop too. (Well, $37.50 worth of hog wild - I like Disney souvenirs too!)

    So this rather long pre-trip report is just to THANK the many contributors of this Board (I feel I know some of the contributors as friends, I'm so familiar with them!) for helping me plan a wonderful trip for my children, and also to share with my friend.
     
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  3. akasleepingbeauty

    akasleepingbeauty My favorite place to run is Disney!!

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    What a wonderful friend you are. I am sure you will all have a marvelous time made all the better by knowing your DF is able to share it with you.

    Can't wait to read the trip report so that I can share in your fun too!!

    Happy cruising to you all.
     
  4. lookingforward

    lookingforward DIS Veteran

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    You are such a special person. I hope that your cruise is totally awesome! Please let us know how things go, I look forward to your trip reports.
     
  5. Jules62

    Jules62 Earning My Ears

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    TravelMom,

    You are truly a special person. I hope you and your family and your DF have a wonderful trip!

    Jules
     
  6. kirsten

    kirsten Earning My Ears

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    God has a special place for people like you.
     
  7. JanMa

    JanMa Earning My Ears

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    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pre-trip report.
    I am also a bit of a "lurker" a habit that I must break! We
    will all look forward to a wonderful trip report, but in the
    meantime have a lot of fun with the planning and anticipation!
    Jan:wave:
     
  8. TravelMom

    TravelMom Mouseketeer

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    You guys are waaaaaaay too nice!
     
  9. Poohbush

    Poohbush DVC Member

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    I too just wanted to say how special I think you are. Your friend must think you're an Angel! :sunny:
    You made me smile, your friend is going to be grinning from ear to ear! Have a wonderful time!
     
  10. BethA

    BethA DIS Veteran

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    I just have to echo everyone else's comments. There are not a lot of people who are that generous and it's wonderful to hear about someone like you. Too bad they couldn't offer to let her son go along also. Have a great trip!
     
  11. Beth11

    Beth11 Guest

    and all warm and glowing inside!

    You are a wonderful friend who will, in turn, be blessed in many, many special ways!!

    Thanks for making my day!

    Beth11
    ;) ;) ;) ;)
     
  12. debster812

    debster812 <font color=blue>DIS Earth Angel!<br><font color=0

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    Your generosity of spirit is wonderful, and your friend is a truly lucky person to have someone like you in her (tough but rewarding I am sure) life.

    Hope the cruise is all you want it to be and more!!!


    :D :cool: :D :cool: :D :cool: :D
     
  13. RellingTwin

    RellingTwin <font color=purple>My motto is "All vacations are

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    I hope Shirley at The Perfect Gift sees this post! Is anyone else thinking what I am thinking???;)OK here is my idea, I have e-mailed The Perfect Gift. I will pledge 10.00 toward a basket for TravelMom and friend. If anyone would like to join me please e-mail me! RellingTwin@aol.com
     
  14. Beth11

    Beth11 Guest

    I am totally dying.... YES, THIS IS JUST A PERFECT AND WONDERFUL IDEA!!!


    YES, YES, YES!!! I WILL DONATE AS WELL!

    We need to post this on the information DCL board as well. How about starting a thread over there, Mary!!!

    Beth

    P.S. Since you have such awesome ideas, I have been trying so hard to think of a way to repay Shirley! She is diabetic so that plays a part. I am going to write a letter to her local paper and tell them how wonderful she is.

    :) :) :) There is not a smile big enough to show how happy I am that you had this great idea!!
     
  15. duges

    duges Guest

    I would definitely like to contribute!
     
  16. TravelMom

    TravelMom Mouseketeer

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    Dear RellingTwin, Beth 11, duges and all,

    Oh please don't do anything like that. I feel kind of bad I posted my pre-trip report at all; the idea was not to say how great I am but rather to thank the DIS Boards for all their assistance in helping me to plan a fun trip for my family (and friend).

    My DF does many kind things for me, too - she brings me perennials for my garden, takes my kids overnight if I have to go out of town, and other things to numerous to mention. I feel embarassed to pretend I'm some great person - really more of a bargain hunter than anything else.

    But thank you all for your kind words anyway.

    TravelMom
     
  17. ducklite

    ducklite <font color=teal>Take the Poly, it's fabulous!<br>

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    TravlMom-

    It's very possible that you were declined by Make A Wish because of one minor detail. You can't request the wish for another family! The family themselves need to request the wish!

    Please have your friend (the mother) get in touch with your local or state Make A Wish (go to www.wish.org to locate the chapter near you) and request the wish.

    Make A Wish serves not only terminally ill children, but also those who are chronically ill. Now I am not aware of the medical history of your sons friend, but my guess is taht he would fit this catagory, and likely have a limited life expectancy. Please have your DF get in touch with this wonderful organization, I have a feeling you might see some magic happen.

    For those of you who haven't visited the make A Wish web site, please do. You will be moved by the courageous kids you'll meet, and their often very simple wishes.

    Anne
     
  18. @GoofyNut

    @GoofyNut Goofy For Disney!

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    Travel Mom.....It is so nice that you are sharing the "Magic" with a deserving friend.

    If the son is just hiding his true feelings and really wants to go......feel out your girlfriend and find out for sure. It's possible that you may be able to contact a local service organization like the Lions' Club, Kiwanas, etc and they could help you get the funds needed so the son could go with his mom and your son.

    It's a shame that MAW couldn't see that if they were to only pay for the son (instead of a whole family as they usually do) they could grant another child's wish.

    I'm sure you will enjoy your trip even more just watching your friend have so much fun along side you!

    Take Care -- the world needs more people that just enjoy doing for others. :bounce: :) :bounce:
     
  19. TravelMom

    TravelMom Mouseketeer

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    Dear ducklite and Goofynut:

    I realized (once I posted the letter to MAW at the address DCL provided - which was "in care of" Disney Cruise Line) that it must be the family or the child that makes a request. However, the "no" I received back was directly from Disney, not Make a Wish. It didn't reference MAW at all, or say the negative reply was because I didn't follow the guidelines, or anything like that. The letter just said that Disney couldn't help me (though my letter was clearly NOT intended for DCL itself.)

    The reason I didn't want to suggest that DF and/or Darling Friend's Son contact MAW themselves is because truly, if DFS were able to choose his very favorite wish in the world, it would probably be to meet Jeff Gordon, or George Lucas, or something really wild. The cruise was more my idea than DFS's so I didn't want to try to sway him into a once-in-a-lifetime MAW choice.

    I have read some really wonderful stories on this Board about MAW and the wonderful things they do for families! They are great.
     
  20. BethA

    BethA DIS Veteran

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    I would certainly be happy to contribute to a basket. I've only been on the boards a few months so I don't know if you've ever given a gift like that before. If so what was the response? The people here seem so nice- would it be possible to make up the extra money to include the son? I saw the suggestions of local groups that may be willing to help-perhaps enough people here could pitch in to make the difference. I'd be very happy to. Just a thought-- things like this always make me step back and realize I am not thankful enough for what I have. If there is not enough interest to do this please email me and I'll happily contribute to a cabin gift.
     
  21. Beth11

    Beth11 Guest

    Don't worry about what we are thinking here on the boards. You are an awesome friend. Please let us know when you book the cruise and when you are sailing and leave the rest to us......

    Take care and know that our world needs more individuals like you and your friend!!

    Beth
    :o :o
     

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