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Old 03-18-2014, 11:13 PM   #1
SixtoMouse
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Smile 1st Cruise with a special needs child (CP)-Share your experience on a cruise

Hi
I am a mother to a sweet and loving 4 yr old who has CP, Gtube, Non Verbal in a wheelchair. My son had a hard start in life but we are at the stage where he stable and enjoying life. He is my sweet angel who loves to smile and be around other children. To see the joy on his face when he hears other children around him is priceless.
This is why we choice Disney Cruise to be our first official vacation as a family.

I am nervous about our trip and would like to hear other family's experiences on the cruise

Any suggestions to make this experience easier would be greatly appreciated.
THank you in advance
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:43 PM   #2
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We did a cruise in Dec with my 12 year old brain injured son. He is in a wheelchair and has a special diet. They were so accommodating for him. I spoke with the restaurant manager the first day, and picked what he could eat and they finely chopped and puréed it for him. After the first day, at the ean of dinner each night, I chose his meals for the next day, and how it needed to be prepared. And they had it ready when we arrived. They were so accommodating to our needs and were very helpful. Feel free to ask any detailed questions.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:52 AM   #3
SixtoMouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krosmith View Post
We did a cruise in Dec with my 12 year old brain injured son. He is in a wheelchair and has a special diet. They were so accommodating for him. I spoke with the restaurant manager the first day, and picked what he could eat and they finely chopped and puréed it for him. After the first day, at the ean of dinner each night, I chose his meals for the next day, and how it needed to be prepared. And they had it ready when we arrived. They were so accommodating to our needs and were very helpful. Feel free to ask any detailed questions.
THank your for you response.
Did you do any ports? How did you manage with the wheelchair? Where some ports easier than others? Did you opt to stay on the ship?
Sorry for so many questions i am trying to get a better understanding how we are going to manage with a wheelchair.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:21 AM   #4
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Hi there, my family and I have just completed our 6th Disney Cruise in 5 years. We have a 10 year old son with special needs and I have always found the experience amazing. The cast members and crew have always been accommodating. Although my son did not require a wheelchair I found the experience enriching for his development and to see him smile made it all worth wild. Please note that the cruise cabins are quite small and tight therefore you may have some challenges with the wheel chair but I'm sure Disney has that all figured out. My other concern was nothing that Disney can really control which was other guest and their lack of tolerance or acceptance of child with special needs. I guess we generally deal with that everywhere we go.

Depending on your cruise and budget, I would recommend you look into adding on an Adventure by Disney option to your cruise for excursions. Disney will completely take care of everything for you with this option however it is a bit pricey.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:59 PM   #5
SixtoMouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwgoofydaddy View Post
Hi there, my family and I have just completed our 6th Disney Cruise in 5 years. We have a 10 year old son with special needs and I have always found the experience amazing. The cast members and crew have always been accommodating. Although my son did not require a wheelchair I found the experience enriching for his development and to see him smile made it all worth wild. Please note that the cruise cabins are quite small and tight therefore you may have some challenges with the wheel chair but I'm sure Disney has that all figured out. My other concern was nothing that Disney can really control which was other guest and their lack of tolerance or acceptance of child with special needs. I guess we generally deal with that everywhere we go.

Depending on your cruise and budget, I would recommend you look into adding on an Adventure by Disney option to your cruise for excursions. Disney will completely take care of everything for you with this option however it is a bit pricey.

Hope this helps.
Thank You for your response i will look into the disney excursions.
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:14 PM   #6
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You have chosen well! We just returned from our 3rd Disney cruise with our twin sons (now 15). One of our sons has CP (uses a walker or w/c and is otherwise age appropriate). This time, he was very recently released from hospital after major orthopedic surgery (had been in hospital for acute and rehab care for 3.5 months!). He is still not able to use his walker, so we brought his powerchair.

Our experiences with DCL have been very, very good. The CMs are very accomodating. In fact, the biggest challenge with first time cruising is figuring out what your needs will be and asking for assistance. I don't think I have ever asked for help and not seen the CMs do their utmost to accomodate.

The elevators get busy, so bring your patience! Also, we found working with the power chair to be a mixed blessing - wonderful for our son to have his independence (I almost cried the first night he made his way home from the teen area (Edge) on his own!) but excursions/ports were definitely more challenging. The manual w/c was easier. Still, there's lots to do onboard, so staying on the ship isn't such a bad option!

Happy to answer more specific questions - would probably be best if you told us your itinerary etc. ARe you in a handicapped accessible cabin? We can help you better with as many specifics as you are comfortable sharing, I think.
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Last edited by twinmum; 03-21-2014 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:23 PM   #7
SixtoMouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinmum View Post
You have chosen well! We just returned from our 3rd Disney cruise with our twin sons (now 15). One of our sons has CP (uses a walker or w/c and is otherwise age appropriate). This time, he was very recently released from hospital after major orthopedic surgery (had been in hospital for acute and rehab care for 3.5 months!). He is still not able to use his walker, so we brought his powerchair.

Our experiences with DCL have been very, very good. The CMs are very accomodating. In fact, the biggest challenge with first time cruising is figuring out what your needs will be and asking for assistance. I don't think I have ever asked for help and not seen the CMs do their utmost to accomodate.

The elevators get busy, so bring your patience! Also, we found working with the power chair to be a mixed blessing - wonderful for our son to have his independence (I almost cried the first night he made his way home from the teen area (Edge) on his own!) but excursions/ports were definitely more challenging. The manual w/c was easier. Still, there's lots to do onboard, so staying on the ship isn't such a bad option!

Happy to answer more specific questions - would probably be best if you told us your itinerary etc. ARe you in a handicapped accessible cabin? We can help you better with as many specifics as you are comfortable sharing, I think.
Thank you for you response
I do have a question
How wide are the door ways?
First we had an accessible room but had to switch because of the sleeping arrangements and now we are a regular 1 bedroom room. We have a stroller/wheelchair type that can be taken apart in two pieces. i was hoping that maybe we can squeeze thru instead of breaking it apart.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixtoMouse View Post
Thank you for you response
I do have a question
How wide are the door ways?
First we had an accessible room but had to switch because of the sleeping arrangements and now we are a regular 1 bedroom room. We have a stroller/wheelchair type that can be taken apart in two pieces. i was hoping that maybe we can squeeze thru instead of breaking it apart.
The regular staterooms have narrower doorways than the accessible cabins. But assuming your son's stroller/wheelchair is a pediatric size, you'll probably be fine getting into the stateroom. However, unless you have an interior stateroom it may not fit around the queen-size bed into the "living room" area of the stateroom unless it's light enough to lift/carry.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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You might want to check out the Disney Cruise Line forum on cruisecritic:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=167
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