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Old 03-19-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default BroganMc Live in Disney ( after a bitter winter)

Yes the grandpa Mohawk Chronicles have sadly ended and giving away to the BroganMc Tales.

After some trials and tribulations and lots of doubts I arrived in Orlando yesterday a little after 3 p.m. My aunts and cousins we're already settling into their beautiful Bay Lake Apartments with the view the little 4 year olds couldn't stop raving about. Miranda was so excited to be going to Disney she kept talking about it for weeks even though she didn't even realize she was going. A classmate at school had just come back from a trip of her Own. my brother (nicknamed Brohawk in the Chronicles because he was especially close to her dad and a frequent Disney kidnap victim) and I flew down for the week. This first trip I wanted to make sure I had someone with me to settle me in and see exactly what sort of help I really need to travel here. Plus it's good for all of us to keep on traveling as our parents wanted us to do.

We arrived at the resort just as my cousins we're going out to meet magician Mickey. We settled in a little bit in the exact same room dad and I have been staying in for the last four trips. I admit it was hard checking in without him. I'm still referring to places in the apartment as Dad side or Dad's chair. I had a nice could cry when I was alone. The weird thing is I have been so used to traveling with him, worrying about him, and making sure I included him and all my discoveries that it felt a bit like a betrayal to Adventure without him.

Brohawk didn't want to waste a park ticket on half a day so he opted for a solo monorail tour of the resorts. he roasted marshmallows on the beach and even took the Epcot monorail around the park.

I put on some Disney music and headphones then took my own people-mover ride into Magic Kingdom. That is after I watch the sunset in the elevator Lobby on and I floor. Ironically that was the last sight my dad and I got to enjoy together around New Year's.

Wandering into the crowded Park listening to music from Little Mermaid (Part of Your World) was an interesting experience. I've always had an affinity for the sentiment of that song. It came out at a time when I was struggling to walk my way through the day and be "normal". Back then my doctors did not handle my arthritis right. I was under medicated Andover exercised. I couldn't use any wheelchairs or too many adaptive devices because that was failing at fighting my disease. I got a lot of guilt trips over making concessions to my disabilities. And despite everything I tried I just could not beat the disease. It made it harder and harder for me just walk from classroom to classroom in school. And yet I did just that all the way to my college diploma. It was after I graduated and joined the adult world that I realized I need it devices to help me keep up.

I got my first power wheelchair in 2003. I adopted my first car was driving controls in 2005. I spent the next years remodeling my house to make it the most accessible place on this planet. My secret to keeping my 85 year old father active and enjoying life all the way up to the end is that I made him part of my world. I'm not sure if you can understand how difficult acceptance can be for someone with a disability. The word itself suggest you are lacking. We hear an awful lot about prejudism based on someone's race or religion. We think we live in a tolerant Society where everyone is included and cherished. But have you ever seen a Disney princess in a wheelchair? Have you ever seen a blind Disney prince? The model of perfection is a hard one to emulate for those of us who don't fit the mold. Not to mention all the interesting things are health issues like to throw our way in the middle of the day.

I'm not bitter about it. That's the one thing people notice when they get to know me. Yes I could struggle with simple things. But I've lived my entire life and this body. And I'm spent a long time figuring out how to manage life struggles. I don't get defeated that often these days. I guess I am naive and young enough at heart that I see challenge and struggle instead of disappointment. It's like Queen Elsa finally accepting she is different and how special that can make her.

That's not to say I never get overwhelmed. I am very dependent on my adaptive devices. And they can break down. Last October the batteries in my power wheelchair died within a few days. I ended up spending the last 3 hours of the Halloween party in the castle Circle because I needed to conserve juice to get home. And I lost a good day looking for a battery replacement shop. But I cope with all of that by having alternative plans and backups. One device that I always use is called a dressing stick. It is this two-foot-long half-inch dowel with hooks on either end. They give it to patients when they have hip replacements. That is one of the most common ways old people feel disabled in a hurry. You take out your hip and you have to learn how to sit, stand, walk, and lie down again. The dressing stick is to help you reach the things your joints won't let you. I got my first one when I was in high school and it became my third arm. I seriously Chester with it as if it is a hand. And if it breaks it's like I have no arms left. So I brought down not just one but three dressing sticks. And since walking can be treacherous, I brought down two canes too. Quite a feat for someone who was flying down.

My family always teases me about the amount of stuff I bring when I travel. And yes I do over pack the clothes but mostly I just need options and backups. That's why I so prefer the Auto Train. Just having my car down here and knowing I can go wherever whenever I want to is huge for the Peace of Mind. It's not like I can just Uber anywhere.

Okay back to the trip report. So I went out for my solo ride through Magic Kingdom just after sunset. It was Sunday which meant the crowd was building and building. I really hate how crowded the castle and Main Street are with these new fireworks. But to my delight I noticed two new reserved areas for viewing the fireworks. The reserved locations are for wheelchair only guests. And their families of course. They are located behind each fountain. Cast members told me they just put them in place the last 2 to 3 weeks. Finally!

People were starting to gather about an hour before fireworks. I did not keep my eye on it so I don't know how full it got but that's something I'm going to check out tonight. I'll report back later for all my wheelie friends.

My cousins had a Full Slate of fast passes with characters and dinner at Crystal Palace but I knew they had one coming up for Buzz Lightyear. I ended up strolling through the circle into Tomorrowland where I noticed cast members standing outside of an empty Buzz Lightyear. It had broken down. I texted my cousin's just to give them a heads up. Then I made my way around to Fantasyland. I was just going to do a loop around the park listening to my music when my phone rang. Little Miranda had just seen Cinderella and her aunts noticed my text. Sure enough Buzz Lightyear was still down so they wanted to take her on something else in Fantasyland that had a short wait. Their first choice was small world. I just happened to be sitting right outside it and could see the wait time was only 10 minutes. So we joined up and I took Miranda on her first slow boat ride. She even got to sit up front in the wheelchair boot.

Weren't sure exactly how she would adapt to Disney. Her grandmother warns that she's a tentative little girl but not in Disney. Her eyes lit up with every room. Her mother is Chinese so she got an extra special kick out of seeing the acrobats and the pandas. But she knew so many of the other countries as well. And when we came back around the cast members offered to let us go around again. They do that with the special wheelchair vehicles. It saves them time from the unloading and it doesn't affected the right capacity. Call it a perks of not being able to do all the rides and all the queus like every other "normal" guest.

But it was getting late and we wanted to meet up with Miranda's grandmother to see the fireworks together. I took them over to our favorite viewing spot in Fantasyland. I figured the castle and Main Street was just way too crowded by then. And in this spot the fireworks are all around you. Of course it was a Gamble. We didn't know how little four-year-old Miranda was going to react.

They had ear plugs for her and her daddy was on hand to hold her tight just in case she got too overwhelmed. But to our surprise and Delight little Miranda was enthralled. The expression on her face when those first big fireworks boomed overhead was absolute Joy. She kept saying wow and Awesome and my dreams come true. Sure she jumped once or twice but that just made her squeal with joy even more. And seeing her sitting there with her daddy both of them and join the moment together made me laugh and cry at the same time. Seeing fireworks there with my dad never got old.

Sappy alert here. You know that one man's dream Museum in Hollywood Studios? The one that ends in a little movie that everyone seems to skip. Will in that Walt Disney himself tells you why he created the theme parks. It was just because he went out one Saturday to the park with his kids and saw his daughter enjoying the carousel while he sat on a bench and watched. He wanted to create a place where Daddy's and daughters could enjoy things together. A place for The Young and the old to have fun. That's what Disney has always meant to me and to my dad. That's why I love being here. And why I love bringing others to share my joy. They don't always like everything I do. And it can be a struggle getting people to try things. But when it works like with little Miranda I feel like Santa Claus.

My dad felt the same way too. After he died well one of the things you experience when you lose your partner is a loss of your identity. The things you did together seem impossible. Some things you will never do again but the challenge is finding all the things you can continue doing. And the things you've never done. The reason I wanted to come on this trip now, is because I did not want to lose Disney from my life. I do not want it to just be a memory. I want going on these trips and sharing these experiences to be part of who I become. And there are so many other travels that I can do and want to take people. Not just a theme parks. I don't know how I'm going to do all of it. I don't know how my arthritis is going to throw a wrench in the works. But I am young enough to test my limits.

All right back to the trip report. So after the success of the fireworks which concluded with Miranda seeing Tinkerbell fly and telling me all about how much she loves fairies and wanted to be one. I led them out of the park through the side route where it was less crowded. Tomorrowland to that behind Main Street walk and out. I wanted to make sure I reactivated my disability pass and sign them all in as part of my group. I learn something new. I thought I had to go to guest relations every time, but it turns out I can reactivate a pass with one of those gate attendance who carries around their iPad. So I reactivated my past and had all my cousins join my group on the way out the door. It was quick and painless. I still need to add my brother and my uncle but I can do that at guest relations later today. The ones who really want to go on rides are my cousins, us and little Miranda. Her grandparents are less able. They just want to enjoy Miranda's pleasure.

By the way they love their room. They get to go to sleep with a view of the castle and Space Mountain. My uncle actually stayed in the room last night and watch fireworks from his balcony. I'm really glad this trip worked out the way it did.

There is a little awkwardness. My dad and I expected it. See it is their trip. We want to be available to them but we don't want to be glued to them. We are actually on two different floors. They are accessible apartment is just above hours. And they drop something on the floor, we hear it. Well something big and heavy. It's enough distance 2 keep us out of each other's hair. This isn't the first time I have vacations with extended family. My brothers have taught me a thing or two.

The rest of the trip report ends with my brother and cousin ubering to the grocery store last night for supplies. We got enough to hold us for the week. My nephew wants to bake a cake for his girlfriend this weekend so we had to get stuff for cake baking too. And my brother had a complication last night. He lost one of my credit cards. The household card I use for groceries and expenses at home. I had to call to cancel it and get a new account number. It's just going to be a pain having two set up all the auto charges at home. Everything that could get billed to that credit card was. Oh well these things do happen. I'm not mad at my brother. He's mad enough at himself. And fortunately I did not give him the credit card I'm using for this trip. So now everything is going to go on a Magic Band and a room charge. I've got plenty of gift card money to cover that. Gifts for my dad.

Okay enough of lazy morning. Time to get dressed and go to the park. I sent my brother over to enjoy a little bit on his own then he's coming back to get me for the 3 p.m. parade. I'm still working out all my first here and figuring out what help I need. Next challenge getting out of bed, showering and getting myself ready for the day. Leave it or not that is a challenge with an extra soft mattress and a marble slippery bathroom floor. Wish me luck. And don't worry too much. God always has my back.

Pictures tonight I promise. (Oh and forgive all my typos. I have been dictating this to my tablet. Effective but not as accurate as my typing at the computer.)
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:05 PM   #2
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So glad to hear that you are back at Disney. This first trip without your dad will surely be hard at times. Thank you for taking us along and for sharing your ups and your downs.

Always dreaming of my next visit ...

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Old 03-19-2018, 02:24 PM   #3
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Awesome! Thanks for taking us along!
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:33 PM   #4
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I think your dad is with you, he lives on in your memory and spirit!

Have a great trip!
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:37 PM   #5
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:00 PM   #6
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Great to hear you made it down! I know what you mean about your feeling of being there without your dad, but how happy it would make him to know you did it! Funny how it worked that you have the 4 year old there to enjoy the trip in a different way through her. So glad you posted - love to read what you have to say.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:01 PM   #7
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What a wonderful report! Miranda sounds delightful.

Originally Posted by broganmc
My nephew wants to bake a cake for his girlfriend this weekend so we had to get stuff for cake baking too.
A good man!

I look forward to reading more, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:03 PM   #8
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Nothing like the world to bring some happy memories... old and new.

Following along..
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:10 PM   #9
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Enjoy this trip with your family!
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:14 PM   #10
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Following along on your adventure. I got a little teary-eyed reading about Miranda's view of the fireworks. There is nothing like seeing Disney through the eyes of a child, especially on a first visit.
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