Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Planning our Trip

I am getting excited...really excited for Brayden's Make-a-Wish.  We leave in just a few weeks.  This will be such a memorable experience for our family and I cannot wait to see Brayden on the rides!

I need some planning.  I know that Make-a-Wish plans most things and I know that they know what they are doing.  But I like planning.  Any trip we go on, I start gathering all of our gear in a spare room.  In that room are two lists:  things that need to get packed and things to shop for.  Over a period of a couple of weeks, I tweak the lists, finally having every last detail covered and things packed.

Traveling with Brayden requires an entirely separate list.  Brayden's gear and needs require a lot of thinking, planning and packing.  Amazingly, Make-a-Wish tries to coordinate with a medical supply company to provide much of Brayden's supplies there in Orlando (suction machine, cases of glass bottles for his food, case of cans for his food, food bags, IV pole, pulse ox monitor, etc.)

Now that we are flying I start to think of all kinds of questions (please feel free to answer any of them, you well seasoned fliers):
  • Can we take a cooler with all of his medications and some of formulas as a carry on?
  • Can we take his feeding pump and bag on the plane?  A small travel oxygen tank?  Both as carry ons?
  • I assume Brayden sits in his car seat on the plane...which way does it face because he needs it to recline?
  • We can wheel his wheelchair right up to the plane to unload him and then they take GOOD care of his wheelchair?  Then return it to use before deboarding the plane?
  • With all of the things he needs as carry ons, can any of the rest of us have carry ons?
Then on to the parks.  Rumor is that we receive a three days of passes to anything Disney World, two to Universal Studios and one to Sea World.
  • What are the must sees?  The boys are 8, 6 and 3 (almost four yrs old!)
  • What are the must dos?  (Character meals, shows, etc.)  I know nothing about Universal Studios.
  • Tips on planning out our week?
  • Things to by-pass
I know that this is such a special opportunity, that I want to make good use of EVERY moment...we have to sleep right?!  I have grilled a friend who just came back from their Make-a-Wish and she was extremely helpful.  I want to get my lists started and some kind of itinerary or at least some sort of game plan!

I welcome any and all helpful hints!


Mo said...

I've never been but have fun and good luck!! Looking forward to hearing all about it!!

Tracey said...

If you know which airline you are flying, call their 800# and talk directly to their travel personnel.. they can answer questions about what you can take on.. they throw a lot away and most items have to be taken in very small (think travel sized) packages. They might have exceptions given his needs but who knows.. they threw out my shampoo and mary kay because the packages were too large.. good luck hope the trip is all you want it to be :)

Anonymous said...

Why don't you contact "Dream Mom." She and her son went to Disney a few months ago. Her blog is at: http://dreammom.blogspot.com/

IMHO said...

We went to Sea World and Universal over Christmas holidays. If you're going over spring break, expect it to be pretty crowded. Either way, for the shows at Sea World, I would get to each early--they recommend 45 minutes. They filled up for each show. There is a marked "splash zone", make sure you avoid that area or you'll all be soaked (unless you want that). We saw 4 shows there--dolphin, sea lion, shamu and an indoor "dry" show that looked similar to acrobatic group who is so popular and name escapes me. very colorful and entertaining--kind of an oriental type of them. We thoroughly enjoyed all the shows. I recommend them all. You can check online to see what shows are available. I can't remember if the show times are posted online, but I'm pretty sure they were. Look at the times and the map to figure out how to make them all. We went immediately to the dolphin show, then went to shamu, then the indoor show and then to sea lion. Then we went back and saw other things. We didn't have time to ride a single ride. We got there at 11am and left at 7:30 pm. We ate lunch there-not dinner, so we were on the move or waiting for a show much of the day. If I had to pick only two shows, it would be the dolphin and sea lion. Shamu is impressive, but the other two have human interactions and are more theatrical. I can't remember if the handicap zones were at the bottom of the stadiums or at the top--sorry. I did look, but can't remember, but then I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.
As for Universal, we went there as well. Did I mention it was the busiest week of the year in Orlando? Our granddaughter (and us) wanted to go to Harry Potter. We got to Universal at 10am. There is a Universal Walk (can't remember the name)--anyway, you have to walk down it from the entrance to the parks..many shops, movie theater, restaurants. We actually ate lunch at Bubba Gump's before we went on into the park. There are actually two parks....I'll write more tonight on Universal. I have to get ready for work. If you have any questions that come to mind about Sea World, let me know and I'll try to answer them.
love ya cuz, Debra

Shannon said...

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh! I wrote info about Universal and blogger ate it! I'll try it again. Universal has a 'walk'--can't remember what they call it. When you park and come in the park entrance, there is a 'walk' with restaurants, shops, a multiplex movie theater and street entertainers. At the end of the walk is the entrance to both parks. Yes, there are two parks. Each requires its own ticket. To the left is Islands of Adventure. Now, we never made it to the 'original' park of Universal; it is based on various movies, and I think it is more of the adult park/rides. Why didn't we go there, you might ask? Our granddaughter went with us, and she wanted to go to Harry Potter World. (cont)

Anonymous said...

Harry is found in the Islands of Adventure, so we went there first. We got into the park around noon; we ate lunch at Bubba Gump's on the 'walk'. We headed straight to Harryland, and were met by workers yelling that there is a 2.5 hour wait or you could take a ticket to come back later at a set time. The recall time when we got there at noon, was 7:40PM. We decided to get in the line. Have I mentioned yet that we went to Florida during the BUSIEST week traditionally. You can imagine this story isn't going to be pretty. What they didn't tell us is that they didn't really mean that it would be 2.5 hours. What they meant was you got in the line and they assumed you might get in at 2.5 hours if people left the park at the rate they expected. Well, we were in line for almost 3.5 hours and had drama just to get in. When we got to the front of the line, they workers just walked away. No word to anyone..just turned and walked away. Finally, someone in the waiting area went and found an employee; the person came back and said the park was at full capacity and they had no idea when we would get in because they were letting people with the recall tickets in as people came out of harryland--we were in the 'standby' line. We would be permitted in IF enough people left Harryland. (cont

Anonymous said...

At the same time, with no employees around, people starting going under the 'cattle' lines and jumping in line. Now the 14 or so new best friends who had been chatting in line for 3 hours were being joined by people who shouldn't be at the front of the line. Someone asked for a supervisor and finally someone appeared. They finally let us go in (20 of us) and while we thought we were just outside the entrance of harryland, we had to hold our right arm up high with our standby ticket visible and stay in a line and work our way through the crowded area through two other 'lands' until we finally got to harryland. It was about a 20-30 minute walk to get to the harryland entrance. Once we crossed the entrance into the magical harryland, we found an uncomfortably crowded mess. Each of the stores--the candy store with chocolate frogs, etc., the Wand store--all of them--had a wait of 2 or more hours to get in. The 4 or 5 rides all had waits of at least 2 hours. I have to admit that 'harryland' looked like Hogwarts and the village they visit, but it was not enjoyable because of the size of the crowd. We wandered around harryland as best we could for about an hour and then left--no rides, no shops...just bumping into people. When we left Harryland and got past the throngs of people with recall tickets who were also being turned away at this point, we got to dr suessland which was really neat and had NO people. It was that way for the rest of the park. Everyone was in, around or thinking they were around harryland while standing in line and waiting.
With all this, I would still recommend going to Islands of Adventure. The kids will love suessland, spiderman and some of the other attractions. If they are harryland fans, I'd go there first. If they are doing recall tickets with recall times within 2 hours of your arrival, I'd take it. I would NOT get in standby line. They don't tell you it's a standby line. They tell you the wait in the line is XX hours. When we got home that night, we heard on the 11pm news that they had closed Islands earlier in the evening and that thousands, with recall tickets as well as those in the 2.5 hour standby line were never permitted to enter harryland because it was at maximum capacity. Yes, we went to fl during the worst week of the year, but since we had to accommodate the school system schedule, we had limited options. If you happen to go over spring break, I don't think it will be as bad as what we experienced. One thing we noticed was the vast majority of people everywhere we went were international travelers who were taking advantage of having a couple of weeks off. I will say that the Space Center and SeaWorld were crowded, but not miserable like Universal. Oh yes, since we had purchased (at an extra $30) for both Universal parks for the day, we were disappointed because we never got to go to the other park--we were exhausted, frustrated, hungry and ready to leave when we finally got out of Islands at 9:30PM. We bought tickets to both because that is highly encouraged by Universal in case one park is at capacity. You may wonder why we didn't just get out of the harryland line and go do something else. The answer---for the first 2.5 hours, the line moved very quickly. At the 2.0 hour mark, we could see the 'gatekeeper' who would let us into harryland. We were about as far away, at that point, as the distance between Bill and Nell's beach umbrella to the ocean at high tide. We never imagined we would get that far and then just stop. By the time we'd invested 2.5 hours we thought it would be crazy to leave that surely we would be in there in a few minutes. Even with the less than thrilling harryland experience, the park was pretty neat,and I love Dr. Suess. Suessland was very neat and relaxing in a weird sort of way. Morale of the story: NEVER go to Orlando theme parks between Dec. 25 - Dec. 1 unless you want to encounter long lines and massive crowds. Debra

Anonymous said...

oops, moral of the story....learning the moral didn't do much for our morale. :)

kristihall said...

Hi there!
I just came across your blog - last year I took my son to his great grandparents in Texas from Edmonton, for Christmas. We were told to bring his pump in a carryon on but stand in the suitcase, and for his meds to use a soft cooler bag. Fortunately he doesn't have anything that required to be keep very cold because we weren't allowed to bring ice bags, etc on board due to liquid restrictions.
For his formula, we were required to start a new can every time we passed through security so we had to have a bottle while we waited to put our luggage through, then threw it out, starting a new one after we passed through security. We had no problems bringing un opened cans of formula, we just needed to pull them out of our carryon and run them through the scanner separately.
My son doesn't require a wheelchair yet due to his size, but we took his stroller right to the plane door and it was waiting for us when we got off.
As well, we had letters from his physicians to accompany his meds (obviously) but also to state why he required the pump. Again, we didn't need it. Security views it as a computer and scans it just the same as they would your lap top.
Between my parents, my husband and I, we all split his stuff up (formula can get heavy, depending on how long you're travelling for, waiting, etc) and just ensured that we had whatever documentation necessary to explain why we had it. Additionally, we had a fifth bag for Ben specifically with his toys and extra clothes. Since everyone is entitled to one piece of carryon, you should be fine! Beware, the pump gets heavy too - I made sure that was in my husbands bag! ;)

That's all I got for you, hope it helps!

Leah said...


Anonymous said...

Be sure to know the height restrictions for rides. Chef Mickey's for breakfast is good. Learn how to use Fast Pass when you can. Thunder Mtn, Philharmagic and Buzz ride in Magic Kingdom, Bugs Life, Safari in Animal Kingdom; Dinosaur ride is very "jerky", loud and can scare younger riders. Soaring, Test Track and Mission Space (two levels) at Epcot. Star Tours, Little Mermaid, Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios; they have a Jedi Training if kids are interested, great afternoon parade. Print maps ahead of time if you can to know where and what you want to do. If you want to do a parade or fireworks, get a spot 1 1/2hrs ahead to be sure you are up front and can see - people will still try to stand in front of you. Check these websites also allears.net and wdwinfo.com. Have fun and remember to take breaks - you will be miserable if you try to do it all. Take a day off from parks and go to Downtown during the day-can be really crowded at night. T-Rex at Downtown is loud as all animals "come to life" on a cycle.

K said...

Carrie - I think you can do all that you asked about re: the plane. If you look on your airlines web page under "Travelers with Special Needs". Most of it will require you calling the airline to arrange this ahead of time and having a statement from your doctor saying it is necessary. They will stow his wheelchair - either at the door to the plane or once you are on the plane, they can take it from you!