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.