Dream Granting Guidelines. Trips to New York City

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1 Dream Granting Guidelines Trips to New York City So the child asked for a trip to New York City, what do you do now??? Obviously you ll have to get a few details from the family: what does the child want to do in NYC? Go to museums? Shopping? Tourist attractions? Broadway show? The answers to these questions will help direct you. ACCOMMODATIONS; After the child s interests have been determined, hotel reservations should be made. (Hint: Hotel management has suggested that to get the best rates, you can either look on a travel site (like or ) or you can call and ask for the manager or supervisor of reservations, tell them the details about who you are, what you trying to arrange and see what is the best rate they can offer.) Here are a couple of suggestions to begin the search: Millennium Broadway Hotelwww.milleniumhotels.com/millenniumnewyork 145 West 44 th ST This hotel is right in the middle of Times Square/Broadway Theatre District. The Good Morning America Studio is across the street; MTV and Planet Hollywood are across the street the other way. They are within walking distance of Build A Bear, Radio City Music Hall, Time Square, Theatres, and Toys R Us. The challenge with this facility is that the rooms only hold four people. If there are more than four dream participants, connecting rooms are a cheaper option than booking the mega-expensive twobedroom quite. It s a nice hotel, excellent location, can be pricey, but they re willing to work with you a little on the price. This hotel has a few wheelchair accessible rooms with roll-in showers and wider doorways. Just ask: they are the same price as any other rom. 1

2 Double Tree Guest Suites Broadway Also right in the middle of everything; next door to theatres, shopping, very close to Radio City and Rockefeller Center. The big benefit to this hotel is the fact that one room can accommodate more than four people! Rooms have refrigerators and microwaves. There is even a special family floor. This hotel has 23 wheelchair accessible rooms (1 per floor) 5 of those rooms have roll-in showers. Be sure you request what you need! Wellington Hotel Seventh Avenue at 55 th Street Also located right in the middle of everything; near Carnegie Hall, Central Park, and everything listed above for the other two hotels. According to the hotel, although they consider themselves ADA compliant, the bathroom doors in the guest rooms are not wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs because of the age of the building. TRANSPORTATION: Okay, you ve found a hotel and got that booked and squared away. Now for transportation. There are three airports within the NYC area: Newark which is actually in NJ, but considered a NYC airport because of its proximity; LaGuardia; and JFK. LaGuardia is the smallest and probably the priciest. (Customer Relations at both the Wellington Hotel and Doubletree feel that LaGuardia is probably the most convenient to their hotels. JFK and Newark are both huge airports.) Getting from the airport to the hotel: there are at least two options. Airlink shuttle ( is available at each of the airports and will transport people to hotels in NYC. See their website for charges. Taxis: For approximately $45 plus toll and tips, there is always a long line of cabs willing to take anyone anywhere. Getting around New York City Although the hotels listed are within walking distance to many, many places, sometimes you just need another option. 2

3 Taxis are everywhere in New York City. Families could also ask the concierge at their hotels to help them get a cab. Depending on the size of the family, there are times when they may need either two cabs or a van which are not as easy to find, but still around. If they are relying upon taxis, be sure to give them enough spending money to cover the costs. Bus: Gray Line Tours. These big red double decker buses are very convenient and can be seen everywhere. The 3-day Super Saver Tour is approximately $ per person. This allows your families to sight see for 72 hours.go anywhere.get off anywhere.see EVERYTHING! You can also add the Statue of Liberty package for a few extra dollars. These tickets can be purchased in advance on their website. All of their NYC sightseeing buses are at street level : therefore, someone in a wheelchair just rolls on and there is space in the front of the bus for two wheelchairs. ATTRACTIONS: Things to do in New York City It is virtually impossible to list all the choices; however, here are a few suggestions * Big Apple Greeter is a non-profit organization that matches visitors with friendly and enthusiastic New Yorkers who are happy to share the city they love. A wonderful experience for families, friends and individuals traveling solo, Greeters help travelers feel welcome and get more from their stay in the Big Apple. Big Apple Greeter s services are offered FREE OF CHARGE, and there is a NO TIPPING POLICY. The New Yorkers who serve as Greeters are all volunteers, come from varied backgrounds and can welcome visitors in 22 languages. The office staff, also mostly volunteers, matches Greeters to visitors according to language, neighborhoods requested, and interests when possible. You do have to book the greeters approximately 4 weeks in advance. You can find their request form on their website. Big Apple Greeters also has an accessibility department that focuses on handicapped accessible activities. If you have a family with a wheelchair, you may want to consider booking Big Apple Greeters for the family s first full day in NYC. They may be able to get a lot of good information from them regarding getting around town easily. Broadway plays: Determine which play the child wants to see, do a little research and determine the venue, contact the theatre and ask to speak with the House Manager. Ask for a donation, discount or upgraded tickets. Ask to make arrangements for the child to meet the cast after the show. Empire State Building: Contact to request complimentary tickets to the top. Shopping: Try to determine a few places they d like to go; contact the store; request a donation of a gift card and perhaps a personal shopper when they arrive. Museums: Many of the museums have a suggested donation, some have a specific ticket fee, some are free. For the ones that have a suggested donation, the family should know that it s just a suggestion and they can donate any amount. The suggested amount can be pricey. 3

4 Good Morning America: On the GMA website ( in the bottom left comer, there is a section labeled Be Part of The GMA Audience. Click on that, fill in the form (the hotel must be specified because although you might find out in advance if your family will receive tickets, they ll more likely be contacted at their hotel when they arrive.) On any weekday, they can be in the audience outside, but a limited number of people can be inside. When you fill in the form, be sure to explain why the family is going to be there! You never know when The Dream Factory may get a plug! Toys R Us (www2.toysrus.com/timessquare) and FAO Schwarz (fao.com): Two huge toy stores. FAO is the classic; Toys R Us has a Ferris wheel in the middle of the store. Both stores offer a personal shopper program if you plan ahead. Spending money for a trip to New York City Things are expensive in New York: even if the family just grabs a piece of pizza somewhere or pretzels in Central Park, it can add up fast. When you are booking your hotel, find out if they have a complimentary breakfast or a restaurant on site. If they have a restaurant, request the donation of a meal for the family. You should probably figure $15 for breakfast, $20 for lunch, $30 for dinner, (per person, per day). That should be more than sufficient. Families can also budget their food allowance and eat at a nice place once or twice. If they will rely on cabs, determine the transportation allowance based on number of days they are going to be there and what they are planning to do. If bus tour tickets are purchased, you may still want to give them an allowance for cabs. It s up to you to decide the additional money based on what they want to do and how long they ll be there. Remember to keep in mind the child s dream request. If it s a trip to NYC, that s one thing. If it s a trip to NYC and a Broadway show, that will cost more, but it IS the child s wish. If the dream request is to go shopping, be sure that your board adopts a specific policy on how much to allocate for requests of this type so that there is an equitable system in place. Generally, teenagers will want more expensive items than younger children, but there is no need to exceed the maximum dream limit by splurging on everything there is to do, see or purchase in NYC. Hotels, meals and transportation are much more expensive than at other dream destinations, so try to get as much discounted or donated as possible, and explain to your families that The Dream Factory has a maximum dream expenditure policy so that we can grant more dreams to more children. Unfortunately, the reality shows on television have given some families unrealistic expectations of what will be included in their trips. The vast majority of families will be very appreciative if they know that volunteers raise funds to grant their children s dreams and that we try to be as equitable as possible with all of our dream requests. Be specific with families about what will be included in the dream experience so that they can be prepared to supplement the funds provided to them if they want to include more or different options in their trip. Be sure to have a receipt for them to sign when funds are given to them, and that they know what the funds are for. (See insert for a sample receipt.) 4

5 RECEIPT FOR CASH GIVEN TO DREAM FAMILIES DREAM CHILD: DREAM #: TRAVEL DATE: RECEIVED FROM THE DREAM FACTORY FOR ONE OR ALL OF THE LISTED CATAGORIES: MEALS: GAS: MOTEL/HOTEL: SPENDING MONEY: ATTRACTIONS: CAR RENTAL: CAR INSURANCE: _ OTHER: _ TOTAL RECEIVED: (NOTE: NOT ALL CATAGORIES MAY APPLY TO EVERY DREAM) PARENT/GUARDIAN: ADDRESS: Signature: Date: Signature: Date: Volunteer: Date: Check #: Dated: 5

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