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Angel's MAW DREAM Cruise & extended days at wdw: 4/13-25/2013. UPDATED 8/16

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by angel's momma, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    There were lots of last minute things to take care of the night before the trip.

    Angel's uncle came over to pick up Cutie Pie the gerbil, and we doubted she would make it until we returned home. :(

    MAW had arranged for a limo to take us to the airport :drive: , which Angel was very excited about. The limo company called that night to confirm the arrangements. I'm glad they did, because the pick up time was 20 minutes earlier than the info the MAW coordinator sent, which gave me more reason to dread what else the MAW coordinator could have gotten wrong. :rolleyes2 Then the limo rep read our address to confirm, and it was the wrong town. :faint: It was her error though, not the coordinator's, and she had just said the destination city by mistake.

    We had wanted to get to bed really early, but that didn't happen. Tom & Angel managed to get to bed at a decent time though, and Angel slept well despite thinking that she was too excited to sleep at all. :hyper: It took me much longer than I expected to get the rest of my things done (Tom had offered to stay up & help, but it was stuff I needed to do myself), and I finally got to bed around 2 am. The alarm was set for 6:30 am. :crazy2:

    Angel ready to go:

    [​IMG]

    I discovered that morning that my MAW shirt was the wrong size (and of course too small instead of too big). I should have thought to verify the sizes when the wish granter gave them to us. I went ahead and wore it anyway.

    The limo was right on time.

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    For some reason, Angel loves to ride backwards when given the chance, like on the monorail & peoplemover, and she was happy to get to ride backwards in the limo for a whole hour. :)

    [​IMG]

    We had to laugh that the limo was so old that it had a video player in it. :rotfl2:

    I usually do online check in the day before a flight, but the MAW paper work said to check in at the airport, so I figured there must be a reason. Turns out there wasn't, and the check in kiosk was a little temperamental, which really made me panic because it seemed like it wasn't going to accept the expense card MAW gave us when I was paying the luggage fee, but it finally went through.

    I understand why MAW arranged for us to be at the airport so early, but our airport is very small and doesn't really require that much time for check in & security, so we had quite awhile to wait. Being so small, it also doesn't have anything to do while waiting. On our previous trips to wdw, we usually had a direct flight to Orlando, and it was obvious that a majority of the people on the flight were also on their way to wdw. This time we had a layover in Chicago, and it felt odd not having that atmosphere of excitement that a bunch of families with little ones headed to wdw seemed to create.

    Our wait time went by much quicker than we expected, and it was soon time to board the plane. :)
     
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  3. girangel

    girangel Mouseketeer

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    I was very excited when I woke up the morning we were leaving. :hyper: We quickly got ready and I sat eagerly waiting for the limo. :rolleyes1 When it came, we took a few pictures with it, and when we got inside, I picked a seat where I could ride facing backwards. :) We were then on our way to the airport.



    Here's a picture I took of my mom and dad in the limo:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jessicalynne

    Jessicalynne Mouseketeer

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    Yay! You have started your trip report! I hope that means you are feeling a little bit better, well, hopefully you are feeling a lot better.

    It sounds like the limo ride was fun, and that Angel really enjoyed it! What a great start to a MAW trip!

    I can't wait to read more about your trip!
     
  5. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    I hope it's not too confusing having us both post details of the trip. I want as much as possible to be from Angel. She would also prefer to only post pics that she took herself in her posts, which means I may post pics in my section, when the description takes place in her section that follows. If that seems confusing, just let us know & we'll try something else. :)

    It was our first time flying with United. All of our flights on the trip were sold out. We were very thankful that the wish coordinator had gotten us seats together, because when I verified the info when she gave it to us over a month in advance, the flights were already full enough that we couldn't have changed seats even if we had wanted to.

    The flight from Moline to Chicago was on a very small plane, but it was only about 30 minutes.

    In Chicago, United doused us with pixie dust. pixiedust: Angel will tell all about it. :) We were very grateful for their help & generosity. We'd never been to O'Hare before, and even though I had printed out a map, I'm not sure if we would have managed to navigate to where we needed to be with enough time left to eat.

    We're used to only having one or two checked luggage, and 2 or 3 items to take on the plane, but this trip we each had a checked luggage, carry on, and personal item. While we were waiting to board, I noticed that the MAW drawstring backpack Tom was using as his personal item had split open down the seam. :( He didn't have much in it, and there wasn't anything heavy, so it shouldn't have come apart that easily. Thankfully we hadn't lost anything. We were grateful that United had given Angel a drawstring backpack too, because Tom had planned to use the MAW one in the parks too.

    The flight went well, and even though it was a longer flight than we're used to, it seemed to go by quickly.

    Gift from the United Rep that met our flight:
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    Gift from the flight attendants:
    [​IMG] Tshirt, sweatshirt, rollup blanket, mug, cards, game book, book about the history of flight attendants, and chip clip.
    It was very nice of them to give her the gift, but I do wish they had waited until the return trip to do so, because we now had a large heavy bag to carry in addition to what we already had, and it was also difficult getting it to fit under the seat. Not to mention how to pack it for the trip home (that book was really heavy).

    Angel getting a tour of the cockpit from the Pilot:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. girangel

    girangel Mouseketeer

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    Before we knew it, we were on a plane heading to Chicago. It wasn’t very long until we were at the huge Chicago airport. When we landed, there was an announcement over the plane’s intercom that there was someone waiting for us! :mic: When we got off the plane, we found the person who was waiting for us and they took us to one of those carts you can ride inside an airport. It was very good that we got to ride it through the airport, because it was a long way to where we needed to board for our next flight! :eek: The person that was waiting for us also gave me a United backpack and hat and gift certificates for all of us to go get lunch at any restaurant in the airport. My dad and I both chose to get something from a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, which we would never have done if we had been paying on our own. I had an Italian Bistro sandwich, which pretty much had different types of meat and something called a zucchini tapenade, and my dad had a four cheese pesto pizza. They were both really good. :)

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    My mom is a much pickier eater, so she decided to go and get something from a McDonalds further down the terminal, and she came back with shakes for all of us, which was a very nice surprise. :goodvibes She also said that she passed by a giant dinosaur 'skeleton' on her way, so my dad and I walked over to see it.

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    After a while, it was time to start boarding. Our boarding number was called, but as we were standing in line, we were surprised to be called over to the boarding desk. One of the flight attendants came out and gave me a bag of goodies. Then, she took us right onto the plane and introduced us to the other flight attendants. I thought it was interesting that this plane had little TV screens built into the seats because I had never been on a plane that had them before. We were only able to watch the TVs until the plane took off though, because you had to pay to continue watching. During the flight, the flight attendant was coming around offering drinks and snacks to the passengers. When she came to us, she said we could pick any of the snacks from the menu as a gift from the flight crew. :lovestruc We chose three different snack boxes to share, with lots of interesting goodies in them. I wish I had taken a picture, but I forgot. Some of the interesting things included were hummus with chips, marinated olives, and chocolate covered blueberries. :) Before long, we were landing at the Orlando airport. We were told to wait until everyone else got off the plane before we could go. We found out it was because they were allowing me to go up into the cockpit and to meet the pilot. I didn’t realize there were so many different switches and controls used to fly a plane! After that, we left the plane and went out to find out where we needed to go next.

    I thought these clouds I saw on the flight to Orlando were neat because they looked like they were forming a hill. :):
    [​IMG]
     
  7. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    Thanks Jessica. :hug:

    I'm still not feeling well, which is why I've neglected this thread for so long. :( Angel goes back to school on Mon. (where did summer go??), and we were feeling really sad about not getting the TR done. We had hoped to get at least one more section done today, but it took more time than we expected. Tom just got home, so we need to make dinner etc. Maybe we'll be able to post more later tonight. I'll also try to be back to answer the previous posts.
     
  8. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    We've always used Magical Express on our wdw trips, so we've never had to get our luggage at MCO (Orlando airport) before. We were a little worried about it, and we weren't quite sure how we were going to manage lugging all of the luggage around, but it went extremely easily - the luggage arrived on the carrousel just as we got there, our 3 bags were some of the very first, and came out very close together.

    When we first started researching MAW cruises on the DIS, we only found a few trip reports, but they all had several things in common, one of which was that they stayed at the Hyatt Hotel in MCO the night before the cruise. Angel thought that was so exciting, and couldn't wait to do it. Later, she was disappointed to find out that not only did our MAW chapter not include the Hyatt, they also planned to have us fly down the day of the cruise, which meant a late boarding onto the cruise ship, and missing out on several hours of what is usually less crowded time on the ship. Since their original plan was for us to spend the night in Chicago before the flight (they later changed it so that we could fly out of Moline, which is much closer), we asked the coordinator if we could fly down the night before instead. We were very happy that she said that could be done, and in early March she called me to confirm that that she had made a hotel reservation for us near the airport, and gave me instructions for how to use their shuttle to & from the airport. We were very happy & surprised when our final itinerary arrived, and it showed that our reservation was actually at the Hyatt. :cheer2: I'm not sure why she had told me it would be a different hotel, but at least this was a very good discrepancy for a change. :)

    Being able to stay at the Hyatt was such a convenience - no lugging our luggage on a shuttle, no worrying how frequently the shuttles run, being able to sleep in longer than if we'd have had to take a shuttle back in the morning, and they even picked up our checked luggage in our room to take to the ship for us. :)

    Angel in front of the Hyatt:
    [​IMG] It was 30 degrees warmer in FL than in IL, so we changed into shorts as soon as we could. :)

    We weren't impressed by the room at the Hyatt - it wasn't all that clean, and there was lots of wear & tear (our room at POP later was much cleaner), but the convenience was well worth it, and Angel really enjoyed the view and the novelty. She was glad that our room had an outside view. Another DIS family was at the Hyatt that night, and they said they had the same opinion of the cleanliness of their room.

    Angel on the balcony the next morning:
    [​IMG]

    Rooftop pool:
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    Angel liked the elevators, so we decided that I would go outside & take pictures of her & Tom riding the elevator, but we wanted to try to get them alone in the elevator so they could be near the glass. That was easier said than done, but we finally did it.
    [​IMG]

    As we were getting in the elevator when we first arrived at the Hyatt, a family was getting off the elevator. We were a little startled when the mom turned back & stopped the door from closing, but then she asked if we were going on a MAW cruise, and said they had just gotten off one. We chatted very briefly, then went on our separate ways. It didn't take long for Angel to realize that the Dream didn't dock until the next day, and that the family must have been on the Fantasy, which was definitely a downer for us. When we went out to explore the airport a little, we were surprised to come across the family again. We had a nice visit with them. :) They were from Canada, and they were on the Eastern itinerary on the Fantasy. Their daughter had simply wished for a Disney cruise, not specifically the Fantasy.

    Sounds silly, but we were looking forward to eating at Chick-Fil-A for both dinner and breakfast, because it's an hour away from us at home. As we were ordering dinner, I realized that the next day was Sunday, and they wouldn't be open, so we needed to find another place to have breakfast.

    We had planned to get to bed early, but again, that didn't happen. The elevator pics, and the visit with the other MAW family, had taken a lot of time. I'm glad that we hadn't gotten to sleep when we had planned, because what happened next would have been even more startling if we'd been asleep.

    At 10:30, a small "Fire" box on the wall started blinking and beeping, and an announcement came on that said "Alarm condition activated. Personnel investigate. Please stand by for further instruction." It just kept saying that over & over. It was pretty scary, but Angel was especially upset by it. After several minutes, the announcement ended, without any further info, or saying that everything was ok, so Tom found an employee in the hall, who said an alarm had been set off in a room, and everything was fine now.

    After all the excitement, it was finally off to bed, with another early start the next day.
     
  9. girangel

    girangel Mouseketeer

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    After a while, we headed to the Hyatt hotel inside the airport. It looked so big when we were standing right in front of it! :eek:

    [​IMG]

    I loved the elevators because the outer wall is made of glass and you can look out into the center of the airport as you ride in it. :)

    [​IMG]

    When we got to the room, we found out it had a balcony where you could go outside and look out at the planes. :magnify:

    [​IMG]

    We walked around the hotel for a little bit and came across the pool. I thought it was neat how the pool was out on the lower roof. We didn’t have enough time to swim in it though. :sad2: We then decided to go look around at the different shops in the airport. We went to the Disney stores first. ::MickeyMo::MinnieMo We took my pins with us, so we could hopefully do some pin trading. When we got to one of the stores, I asked one of the cast members if I could see their pins. Then, a cast member wearing a green lanyard came over and showed me her pins. I politely told her that I was too old to be able to trade a pin on a green lanyard (green lanyards are for kids 12 and under), but she said that she was going to let me trade. I didn’t see any pins that I wanted on her lanyard, but it was very nice of her to allow me to trade. :lovestruc As we were looking around at the shops, we came across a Crocs store and there was a giant croc out on display. My dad was being silly and put his Croc in the giant Croc. :teeth:

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    I think it’s fun to ride the moving sidewalks in airports. As we were riding one, I found a really pretty mural with different wetland animals.
    This is my favorite panel of the mural.
    [​IMG]

    We then went to an area of the airport with several different fast food restaurants, and decided to go get chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.
    Late that night, we had been in the room for a while, and I was getting ready to go to sleep when we were startled by an alarm going off in our room. I was so startled that even when the alarm stopped, I was still nervous to go back to bed. :scared:


    View from balcony in hallway:
    [​IMG]

    Night view from balcony in room:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    Thank you Jill. :hug:

    Thank you Gail, I greatly appreciate the prayers. :hug: :rotfl: about your dad's reaction to your sister's driving. I'll update about MAW & school in my next post. :)

    Thank you Judy. :hug: I miss you too, and hope to be on the DIS more. Your prayers are always appreciated. Thank you for the 4th of July greeting. :)

    :rotfl:
     
  11. angel's momma

    angel's momma DIS Veteran

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    Note: This post isn't the update referred to in the thread title, there were 6 actual TR posts made today. :)

    I can't believe summer's over already. We had so many plans, and most of them didn't happen, mostly because I haven't felt well enough, so I'm feeling pretty down.

    Angel did help with the summer reading program at the library, enjoyed it, and wished it wasn't only for 4 days. She also helped with VBS at a church in town. They were more than happy to have her, even though it's not our home church (which is out of town).

    She was very happy that Tom took her to several movies this summer. We tend to wait until they come out on dvd instead of paying to go to the theater. I wasn't up to going to any of them, so it made for some nice daddy/daughter times. :)

    I finally called the camp to see if they had received her application, and she had been accepted :) , they were just running late on getting the info sent out. When the info finally arrived, Tom & I were hesitant about some of it. It wasn't a medical aspect, but something that went against our moral beliefs, and we reluctantly decided that she couldn't go after all, which greatly disappointed her. :(

    We felt sorry for her, and tried to think of a way to make it up to her, and ended up doing something that we had no intention of doing - we let her get another pair of gerbils. Cutie Pie is still with us :) , and we had said that there wouldn't be more gerbils as long as she was, and we weren't even sure if there would be more after that. We had been discussing for a few days if we were going to let her get some after all, and Tom & Angel went to the pet shop just to see what was available, and prices. Turns out the store wasn't even actually open, it had a new owner that was in the process of renovating, but he let Tom in to look at the gerbils. (Angel couldn't go in because of the dust caused by the renovation) The store happened to have exactly what she wanted, a black male, and other males to choose from (males get along easier than females, so we had said definitely only males if we ever got any more). The store owner told Tom he'd sell them for half price, and let him take the tank to the door for Angel to see if she liked any of them. Of course she found 2 she liked. :) It took her over a week to decide on the name of one, and another week to decide on the other. She named the first one Pumpkin, because she thought his coloring reminded her of a pumpkin seed (he's off white, with dark highlights, and a dark tail). She named the black one Puddin. I'm on my laptop, and don't have access to pics right now, so I'll try to remember to have her post a pic.

    Angel has about half of her 50 required driving hours in, and drove at night for the first time last week. She still needs practice, but is doing much better. Tom still goes with her most of the time, but I've been out with her a few times by myself too.

    She finished her correspondence class last week to replace her World Geography grade. It was very dry and tedious, and very time consuming. The test book was somewhat old, so hopefully the info was accurate, though it did say Pluto's a planet (which Angel wishes was still accurate). They're behind in grading her tests though, so she doesn't have a final grade yet. She can only send in a test after they've graded the previous one, so she's waiting for #4 to be graded so she can send the final test in. It took over 2 weeks for them to grade #3. She's gotten A's on the first 3 tests though. :cheer2:

    Angel had made a special arrangement with her Band Director just days before her diagnosis, that she could be in high school concert band without being in marching band. The school has a new Band Director this year, who wasn't agreeable to that arrangement (as well as making some other changes to band that don't work well for our family), so Angel very reluctantly dropped band, which was a big disappointment for her. :(

    We had a few more bouts of ants, but they've finally been gone long enough that I was able to put the food back in the cupboard just this week.

    After a month, and 3 unanswered emails to the wish coordinator asking her to please check on the status of the reimbursement check, I emailed her & politely said if I didn't receive a response by the end of the week, I would be contacting the MAW office. She responded very promptly to that email. :rolleyes: She said she thought it had been taken care of months ago (yes, it should have been, and she should have at least responded to my many emails). She emailed the next day & said that the receipt copies I had sent in Feb. & March weren't acceptable (even though her letter said to mail her copies), and asked me to fill out an online form stating that the receipts had been lost. They hadn't been lost, I still had them, so I wasn't going to sign a form stating they were lost. She eventually responded, and said I could mail the originals in. The check finally arrived the next week, but for the wrong amount, it was supposed to cover 3 portions, and was only for 2. It took her a few days to respond, and she said a 2nd check would be mailed. I wasn't at all surprised when 2 weeks went by without a check, and I started emailing her again, with no responses. 2 more weeks, and she finally responded, and said it would be mailed that day. Nope, 2 more weeks, and then she didn't respond to my emails again for 2 more weeks. I was going to email at the end of the week to say that I was done dealing with her, but I did end up getting an email from her with a tracking number that it had been sent overnight UPS. There wasn't any need for that, and it was a waste of money, especially since I think it cost more for delivery than the amount of the check. Unbelievable that it took until 8/9 to receive a check that was supposed to be mailed 4/3.

    Angel had a clinic visit in late June. All of her counts went up. Her ANC was just below the normal range, which is double what hers tends to be. Her platelets were 113,000 , which was finally over the 100,000 restriction point, and meant that she could take PE again when school starts. That made her very happy. I would have been very happy at her age to not be able to take PE, but she's missed it very much. Her platelets are still well below normal though, but it's a wonderful milestone to finally reach.

    Her hemoglobin also went up, but at this point it's not exactly good news. When her hemoglobin finally responded last Fall, it should have stabilized in the normal range, but it has continued to increase beyond the upper normal limit, has been high since Feb., and has increased the last 4 times that labs have been taken. It's now 14.1, and shouldn't be higher than 13.3. We asked the Dr. about it, and he said it's nothing to be concerned about at this point, because another count isn't also high (but it is borderline). What he didn't say is that if it were to become a problem, it's a very serious one. Some of the info he told us was inaccurate too. He made Angel's next clinic appt. for 3 months out (10/3), so we'll have no way of knowing if those counts are still trending up. We're trying not to worry about it, but it's hard.

    Angel is sad that summer is over already, but she's also looking forward to school. Last year she barely attended 1st semester, so she missed out on so many activities. This year she's joined Student Council and FCCLA, and is even an activity officer for FCCLA. Missing so much school made her often feel that she didn't really fit in, even after she started attending 2nd semester. We're hopeful that this school year will go well for her. :)

    She still tires very easily, so we're a little concerned about her having enough energy for school, especially now that she has PE. Doesn't help that school will be starting 30 minutes earlier this year, and she has to be on the bus 40 minutes earlier than last year. The good news is that the bus will still pick her up at our house, even though her counts are better now. :)
     
  12. SigalTchelet

    SigalTchelet Mouseketeer

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    So good to see you back and read the start of your TR. Angel-good luck a school! Such a bummer not to be in band, but glad you can be involved in other stuff and grt to do PE. Christi-glad you're feeling better. Sounds like a great start to your trip! We are staying at the Hyatt 15 weeks from tonight (Who's counting??? ;) ). Looking forward to reading more!
     
  13. p00h4me

    p00h4me Mouseketeer

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    Saw you posting in the PTR and came to check out Angel's TR. Sorry that you still aren't feeling 100% yet. Wow, lots of updates and started the TR. I love reading both your and Angel's perspective.

    The school's all started this week here. Sounds like Angel had a busy but short summer. I'm glad she is happy to add two more gerbils to the family and that Cutie Pie is doing well.

    Have a great school year Angel! Praying that you'll stay healthy to attend school and participate in all the activities this year.
     
  14. blessedmom4

    blessedmom4 WE BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! ~~Nearly twice as many chi

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    I miss you Christi, Praying all is well! :hug:

    From our family to yours!
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  15. blessedmom4

    blessedmom4 WE BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! ~~Nearly twice as many chi

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