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MousePlanet Mailbag for August 18, 2005
Compiled by Stephanie Wien, Mailbag editor
Feedback for Adrienne Krock
Parenting in the Parks (link) editor Adrienne Krock answers some letters about car seat rentals and visiting Walt Disney World with a special needs child:
Heather Lake writes:
Hi, Heather Many large cities (and even small cities) have companies that rent baby equipment including portable cribs, strollers, car seats, etc. I found this website (link), which lists Kid Equip, LLC (877-467-0453) in Seattle. I'm assuming you are staying with your friend rather than in a hotel but another option would be to call some hotels in the Seattle area and ask them for a recommendation.
If you're flying, how do you plan to have your baby on the plane? One of my soapbox issues is to have a seat for your baby because lap-sitting babies are a safety concern when you're flying through strong turbulence. Flight attendants regularly refer to lap sitting babies as footballs in turbulence. If the baby has his/her own seat, you'll need the car seat on the airplane anyway. If the baby doesn't have a seat, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your airlines and ask about a baby ticket. They usually cost less than a regular adult fare.
Another option is a car seat cover. Many baby supply stores carry covers that have straps on them so you can carry the car seat over your shoulder when you're not using it. If you gate-check your stroller, your stroller will be with you to the gate when you board, and then as you de-board at your destination. You'll be able to hang bags on the stroller, put bags on your shoulder, and push the stroller. You can check the car seat as luggage in a car-seat bag, if you do not need to use it on the plane. Then you could rent a luggage cart to carry your luggage and car seat. If you have a baby carrier like a Baby Bjorn or Snuggly, then your hands would be free to push the luggage cart.
Have a great time!
Larae Nevills writes:
Hi, Larae I know you're going to have a fantastic vacation. I consulted with my friend Margaret who frequently takes children with special needs to theme parks and with MousePlanet's Mark Goldhaber who has more Walt Disney World (WDW) knowledge than I have. Here's what I've put together:
First of all, you might be surprised how many rides your daughter can enjoy at Walt Disney World. She can rest while you and your older daughter ride the faster rides so you might want to plan to ride family rides and faster rides alternatively to pace yourselves.
I would recommend going ahead and ask about a Guest Assistance Card (GAC) on the first day of your visit. The Guest Relations Cast Members will be able to tell you if you will need a GAC or if having a wheelchair will suffice. The card will be good for the length of your entire stay so you won't need to get a new one every day. Stopping your first day for a few minutes may make it easier to meet your daughter's needs throughout the trip.
If you have a stroller that is comfortable for your daughter, possibly more comfortable than a wheelchair, you can bring that and use it as a wheelchair. You will need to get a Guest Assistance Card on your first day to allow you to bring that stroller into lines with you. It may be a more affordable alternative to a wheelchair rental, and more comfortable for her, too.
If your daughter has her own wheelchair, you may consider bringing it instead because it will be easier on your budget and would fit your daughter best. The parks rent chairs but you cannot take them out of the parks: They must remain inside and you won't be able to take the chair back to your resort with you when you leave the parks. Alternatively, there are several companies in the Orlando area that will rent you a wheelchair for the length of your stay, delivering it to your hotel and picking it up, even. Three of these services are:
As far as eating, I have two suggestions. The first is to plan ahead for where you want to eat and to arrange Priority Seatings when possible. You can call those restaurants at least 72-hours in advance to speak with the chefs and they will be very accommodating to prepare meals that address your daughter's allergy needs. The phone number to make these arrangements is; (407)-WDW-DINE. If you're eating at a counter-service restaurant, you can request a list of ingredients for the menu items. Don't be shy, they're happy to provide them.
Finally, you can call WDW (407-939-7807) and request a set of "Guides for Guests with Disabilities" to get the most current guides available to help plan your trip. In the meantime, there is some information available from the Official WDW website (link)
Hope that helps!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.
Feedback for Lani Teshima
Lani Teshima answers some letters about her series (link) on the Walt Disney World marathon and half-marathon:
Mary K. writes:
Hi Mary You're in luck! If you haven't had a chance to visit MousePlanet today, my Marathon article (link) is devoted specifically to volunteering. I, too, was not quite clear about how the aid stations were numbered. But according to the Disney Sports volunteer coordinator, the numbers are not sequentially numbered according to the number of aid stations, but instead denote the nearest mile marker. So for example, aid station #4 is near mile marker 4, aid station #10 is near mile marker 10, and so on.
I also ran into an error when I tried to just click on the course map PDF link at their Web site. However, I right-clicked on the link to pop up the menu, and saved the file onto my computer. Once it downloaded, I opened the Adobe Acrobat Reader software program. From inside Acrobat, I opened the file and it opened just fine. Hopefully you can get yours to work, as well.
Based on the course map for the 2006 Half-Marathon, the aid station located inside the Magic Kingdom appears to be aid station #6, located in Frontierland. Aid station #5 is near the Contemporary Resort, and #7 is near the Grand Floridian. Since the race organizers have changed the course for next year, I can't tell you exactly where those aid stations will be located.
Thank you so much for volunteering. As I mentioned in the article, the volunteers provide lots of cheer and good spirits (not to mention water and Powerade) to the thundering masses, and it is very appreciated!
A follow-up email from Mary:
Mary According to the new half-marathon map for 2006, aid station #6 will put you inside the Magic Kingdom around Frontierland. If it's anything like in the past, it is an area that includes background Disney music as well as cheering cast members and maybe even some characters you can see doing meet-and-greets.
Looks like the volunteer sign-up schedule for the half has considerably more slots available than for the full; looking at the full, the stop around Magic Kingdom (which is at mile 11) looks to be closed already.
I hope you have a wonderful and rewarding experience!
Alma Neifeld writes:
Is the half-marathon exclusively for runners or can walkers register for the half marathon if they are able complete it in 3 hours plus? Many thanks.
Hi Alma The only requirement that Disney has is that participants be able to maintain a 16-minute-mile pace, and to not take more than 3.5 hours to finish the half marathon. If you can walk faster than that, you are welcome! That said, do be aware that with the crowded conditions near the start, it is often the case that walkers get delayed several minutes before they cross the starting line. And although they will mark your net time on your official record (the actual amount of time taken from when your foot crosses the starting line, to when it crosses the finish line), the pacing requirement can be based on the official starting time of the event. That means for all intents and purposes you probably want to train for no slower than a 15-minute-mile pace, if not quicker. This will give you some padding for when you need to go on a potty break and so on.
Rene McWilliams writes:
Hi Rene Thank you for taking the time to write. I'm sorry to hear your sweatshirt was ruined. If Disney does the same thing they did last year, you should be able to purchase some event merchandise online later this fall. I will try to remember to mention it in the marathon guide when I find out.
Hi Charles Thanks for your great comments! I'll go check out the ChubRub shorts.
Hydration yes, that's an important one. Probably enough to warrant its own article, even (how to deal with heat, maybe?). I'll have to do some research. Any tips you want to share?
Bob Catinazzo writes:
A torn ACL is nasty. Did you get it playing hockey?
I assume you have a sports physician you work with? Coming back from knee surgery is always a serious challenge. At the very least, I'm thinking you want to have a very good stretching regimen and resistance training to make sure your muscles develop correctly and don't pull your various leg muscles off balance.
Also, don't forget that you don't necessarily have to grind out those miles to train for a half-marathon. You can cross-train with things like cycling you can still develop your leg muscles, and compliment it with a regular cardio workout to get in solid shape without just running mile after mile.
Eileen Druckenmiller writes:
That's funny! Although I didn't include all the replies he emailed me, he failed to mention that.
I am amazed that he can do this. All the best of luck for him doing the double next January. I'm assuming he's otherwise a very fit fellow, yes? Thanks for writing, Eileen!
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here.
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