(Possibly) theme park related gift after a house fire

DisneyAuntie12

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 15, 2016
An old friend (we live in different states now but were roommates for years,) recently contacted me and let me know that her house caught fire. She's living in a hotel with her three kids at the moment. They do have insurance although of course that takes awhile, and they didn't lose absolutely everything although from the pics she sent it looks like it's about 50/50... there will be a picture of one pristine closet with all the clothes hanging in it, and outside of that closet the rest of the room is nothing but char and ash. Not familiar with how fires move but that surprised me! Anyways, my point is they won't have to replace every single last thing, but they will have to replace a lot, and I think unfortunately her kids lost almost all of their toys.


I have already put together a care package with some toys and gift cards. My question is this, especially for people with kids (as I don't want to send a well meaning gift that is ultimately a hassle for them, not being a mom myself)... would you want a season pass or, alternately, gift card, to a nearby theme park / resort in that situation? Or would it be overwhelming to think about travel with everything else going on?


My rationale is that 1) The kids are going to get super bored in the hotel, so it might be helpful if they have a place to go run around; and 2) The community is rallying to help them with practical needs, so it might be nice for the kids to get a gift that is 100% 'just for fun' during a time like this, something they wouldn't normally get the chance to do.


On the other hand, again, I don't know if that would be a help or a hassle for a parent in that situation. They are in an area with quite a few resorts / theme parks nearby, there are at least six that are just over an hours drive from them. A theme park season pass would be cool in that they could go over and over again (some offer 'the rest of 2018 and all of 2019 at this point in the year'); a resort would be nice in that the parents could relax a little more and given the ridiculous pricing of those places, I don't think it's something they'd do in the absence of a gift certificate.


So, I dunno. Would you think "Yay! My kids have been through enough, what a treat and a way to get out of these cramped quarters!" or "Waaah, I have enough to do, why didn't you load this money on to a Target gift card so I could buy frozen meals?"
 

Christine

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 31, 1999
It's really hard to say. I think the season passes might be a good idea but, they may not be able to use them until next year. Also, I'm not sure how their financial situation is but even if you're paying for a stay in a resort, there are other expenses involved with that which may be higher than what they'd pay locally in their boring hotel versus at a resort. Again, there's not enough specifics here for me to really analyze that.
 

DisneyAuntie12

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 15, 2016
It's really hard to say. I think the season passes might be a good idea but, they may not be able to use them until next year. Also, I'm not sure how their financial situation is but even if you're paying for a stay in a resort, there are other expenses involved with that which may be higher than what they'd pay locally in their boring hotel versus at a resort. Again, there's not enough specifics here for me to really analyze that.

The season pass they could definitely use this year if I bought the 'end of 2018 / all of 2019' special (they basically throw it in almost for free, it's maybe $30 more. They couldn't use it a ton once the weather gets cold but they do have special Halloween / holiday events.)


I've thought about what you're saying with the resort expenses... I would try to include that in the gift card, but I know it can be hard when kids are there and see all the extra toys / food / arcade games (this would be for an indoor water park resort, so the pool and room would be included but there is always stuff they're trying to sell you.)


I'm on the fence. I may send the original gift package now and then think about sending the other later, maybe closer to the holidays. I was reading that after a tragedy people are almost inundated with support and gifts immediately afterwards, so sometimes following up in the later months can be really helpful.
 

thatgirl

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 16, 2000
We lost our house on Christmas Day last month (it burnt completely to the ground) so I can give you an insight into the other side of the coin. With trying to figure out how to function with all of your things destroyed, and in an unfamiliar living situation with two stressed out dogs, cleaning up the fire site, while still trying to go to work plus do all the documentation that insurance requires...As much as I love Disney, I don't think even I could truly appreciate a season pass right now. My mind would constantly be thinking/stressed about all the things I have to do. Plus, the grieving process is overwhelming. I'm not even sure Disney could cut through that.

People keep asking what they can do and what we need but, truth be told, we don't even know what we need until we need it. Our immediate needs are just that, immediate, and we handle them then and there when it pops up. Not to mention the complete awkwardness of asking for help which I haven't managed to conquer. The most helpful thing people have done is just to give us a funny card or letter or something that's completely impractical but brings a smile to our faces and helps us forget for a little while. Also, people have given us gift cards that are so appreciated. That way, when we need something we can just go and get it without bothering anyone or the embarrassment of asking for help.

I think your idea is so generous and thoughtful. I would just give her a Disney gift card with a flat amount on it. They don't expire and that way she can use it when things calm down. And it will be 6 months to a year probably before things truly calm down. Losing your house to a fire is actually a lot of work, recovery is time-consuming both literally and figuratively.

You're a wonderful person for wanting to help your friend though. Just knowing that people are there and they care go a very long way. I'm sure she'll appreciate anything you do. :love:
 

DisneyAuntie12

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 15, 2016
Thanks thatgirl, and I'm so sorry about your house!! And thank you for sort of confirming how bad a house fire is - months later I am kicking myself a little bit for how much I spent putting together a gift package (I did end up going mostly with gift cards, plus some things to keep the kids entertained as they were living in a hotel.) I can be bad with money so a part of me was like "Am I being frivolous and just looking for an excuse to shop?" but my gut said "No, this is really traumatic, help as much as you can." Especially for the kids, I hope when they look back on the event they'll remember something positive about people caring about them, and not just a mid-childhood trauma (they were in the house when the fire broke out which makes it even worse, I think.)
 

Disneyfan754321

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
After living in a hotel with three kids for three months
I would buy them a entertainment system for the hotel room tv or kindle fires. It's really hard to keep them quiet and entertained.
 



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