Back to Activities Friends for Life Orlando 2018
  Friends for Life Conference and Expo

July 10 - 15, 2018 • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort • Orlando, Florida


Pre-Registration is Closed
On-site Registration Opens Tuesday, July 10

FFL is about our type 1 families

You'll hear from world-renowned diabetes care experts ...

... and learn about innovative research from pioneers in the field

Don't miss the Grand Opening of the Exhibition Hall

First timer? Don't worry -- you'll meet hundreds of others

Friends for Life is for kids with type 1 and their siblings ...

... and adults with type 1 too.

Grandparents have their own programming at FFL

Food is healthy and carb counted for you and includes a separate gluten free buffet

You're sure to meet a friend for life

Most of all, FFL is life-changing for all families living with type 1 diabetes


Conference Information

Children with Diabetes presents our 19th annual Friends for Life® Orlando conference! Join our international group of world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians, adults, children, and families with diabetes to learn the most current information in diabetes care. Attend educational sessions and get cutting-edge diabetes management ideas. Participate in discussion groups, share your story, and help motivate and support others who walk in similar shoes. Watch toddlers and teens, college students and professionals, young parents and grandparents, new and practiced diabetes clinicians make new and lifelong friendships. This is a conference you won't ever forget!

Who Should Attend Friends for Life®?

  • Families and individuals with type 1 diabetes
  • Young adults, teens, school-age children, and younger children
  • Grandparents
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes and their siblings and their best buddies
  • Their parents
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their spouses or partners and children
  • Health care professionals who work with type 1 diabetes (CEUs are not offered)

The Conference Schedule in a Nutshell

  • Monday, July 9:
    Move-in day for Registration and Sports Central. Lots of families will be on site already. Wear an old Friends for Life t-shirt and find some FFL families at the pool or park!

  • Tuesday, July 10:
    Registration is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, so pick up your name badge, conference t-shirt, and green/orange bracelets nice and early! Retinal screenings begin. TrialNet screenings begin. Pump Trials begin. It's very easy to find other FFLs – look for the bracelets and conference tees! Sports Central opens. Discussion groups and informal social get togethers will be held to help people meet each other. Staff dinner and team-building at Splitsville.

  • Wednesday, July 11:
    Registration is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm. Focus groups will be held all day (these are different from the Thursday and Friday sessions). Drop-In Children’s activities for up to age 12 will be provided so parents may participate in focus groups. The Teen program begins in the afternoon. Sports Central is open. Retinal screenings continue. TrialNet screenings continue. Celiac screenings begin. Pump Trials continue. First Timers Orientation – don't miss it! – will be held in the afternoon. The Exhibit Hall opens at 6:00 p.m., in conjunction with a Grand Opening Reception. The Quilt for Life opens in the Exhibit Hall.

  • Thursday, July 12:
    Registration is open from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Sessions for adults and children ages 6-17 are offered all day. Free full day childcare available for 5 and under, preregistration only. Sports Central, Screenings, and Pump Trials continue. The Exhibit Hall is open all day. The Family and Friends Banquet and Dance from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. – with DJ Miles – includes everyone – no tickets required if you are registered for the conference! The theme this year is FFL Island Party! Casual ‘island attire’ suggested – no bathing suits, please!

  • Friday, July 13:
    Registration is open from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm. Sessions for adults and children ages 6-17 all day. Free full day childcare available for 5 and under, preregistration only. Teens are offsite at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Important note: Teens must attend all four sessions on Thursday in order to participate on Friday); Sports Central and Screenings continue. Pump Trials continue. The Exhibit Hall closes at 4 p.m. There will be a Young Adult Dinner for ages 18-25. Dessert and Posters with the Faculty is back (all ages welcome), as is the T1 Adults Social Event (T1 Adults and their partners) and Family Movie Night (for the younger crowd and their parents).

  • Saturday, July 14:
    Registration is closed. Sessions in the morning. Saturday evening features the Teen Dance and Tween Social. The Family Fun Night (for all ages) will also be back this year. Sports Central Open Gym 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

  • Sunday, July 15:
    Farewell Breakfast, tearful goodbyes
Insulin Pump Trials and Screenings

Insulin Pump Trials

Insulin pump companies offer would-be pumpers a chance to try their products using saline. And if you already use a pump, here's a chance to try out a new one. A prescription from your physician is required and must include the wording "insulin pump trial with saline." If you plan to try more than one pump, be sure to bring a prescription for each.

This opportunity is by appointment only. Appointments will fill up quickly. For more information, contact:

  • Omnipod
    Wednesday through Friday in El Paso 2 behind North Registration
    Email Janet Tedeschi at to sign up and for instructions
  • Tandem Diabetes Care - t:slim X2® Insulin Pump
    Wednesday and Thursday in in El Paso 1 behind North Registration
    Contact Jenny Vandevelde at 858-255-6312 or to sign up and for instructions
    Tandem Pump trials are available to individuals ages 6 and greater

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Tuesday and continuing through Friday in Central Registration / Laredo 1-2. Family members who do not have type 1 diabetes can be screened for risk factors and can participate in important clinical trials. For more information about this important study, visit the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet web site.

Celiac Screening

Celiac, an autoimmune condition like type 1 diabetes, is much more common among people with type 1 diabetes than the general population. To help our families at Friends for Life Orlando, a team from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, led by Dr. Alessio Fasano, will offer celiac screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Central Registration / Laredo 1-2. If you suspect celiac, you must eat gluten for four weeks prior to the screening. One slice of bread per day is sufficient.

Retinal Screening

Once again this year, a team of eye care specialists from the Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science from the New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University will be on site performing free, non-mydriatic (no pupil dilation) retinal screenings to kids and adults with type 1 diabetes, beginning on Monday and continuing through Friday in the Acapulco / Baja / Cancun rooms. Pre-conference sign up is required and is done when you register for the conference.

What Does Registration Include?

Registration includes all sessions for adults and children, session materials, and one t-shirt per person.

Registration includes childcare for pre-registered children ages 0-5. We are not able to accept walk-in childcare. The link to the childcare registration form will be available in January 2018.

Quite a few meals are included in the price of registration. We will detail those in January 2018 once sponsorships are confirmed.

For the teens who participate in the Teen Day at Disney, a park ticket, breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided. Please note that teens must participate in all 4 sessions on Thursday in order to participate in the Friday Park Day. This is also true of the Saturday Teen Dance.

This year we will have childcare (ages 0-5), elementary group (ages 6-8), a young tween group (ages 9-10), and older tween group (ages 11-12), a young teen group (ages 13-15) an older teen group (ages 16-17). Participants 18 and older are in the adult group. Participants must be in their current age group – ‘skipping’ up or down is not permitted.

Please note that all conference participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or adult guardian registered for the conference and with them in the building during the entire conference (i.e., teens and children may not be dropped off to participate while parents go elsewhere). This is for health and liability reasons, and there will be no exceptions.

The Conference Venue and Hotel Reservations

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is located near Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Five swimming pools are on the Hotel grounds, including a huge, feature-pool complex with southwestern theme. A children's playground is on site, as is a large game arcade and fitness center. A jogging trail winds around the 15-acre lake. Complimentary Disney bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, is available between the Hotel and all Disney Theme Parks, as well as between the Orlando International Airport and the Hotel.

Sleeping rooms include 2 queen beds or a king bed, refrigerator, complimentary wireless internet, ceiling fan, coffee maker, wall safe, and telephone. Wireless high speed internet is also available in public areas of the hotel, including the lobby, conference center, and swimming pool.

Room rates are $162 + tax. This rate is available from July 3, 2018 to July 18, 2018 for those families who might want to extend their vacation. In support of the Friends for Life conference, $15 per room night will be donated by Disney back to CWD.

CWD rooms will be located throughout the Coronado Springs Resort in the Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabana buildings. We do not have designated rooms in specific buildings. If you have a physical disability which requires close proximity to the Convention Center, please contact Laura Billetdeaux at .

Corporate Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability. There are different types of suites and they have different prices; please contact the Hotel directly for availability and pricing.

Hotel Reservation Link

You may reserve a room online at

A few things to note in regard to this online room registration process:

  • Disney’s Online booking site is available for booking, modifying and canceling reservations 24/7. Should you need assistance while booking your reservation, please contact Group Reservations by calling 407-939-4686 during business hours – Monday - Friday.

  • The dates offered on the site for room reservations are those dates that CWD has contracted. If you would like to book hotel nights before or after that, you will need to contact the Housing office to inquire about availability.

  • Please put the names and ages for any children in your group under the “other information” section of the guest information landing page.

  • You may book Disney’s Magical Express reservations by visiting or by calling (407) 827-6777 with your flight information AFTER your hotel reservation has been entered into the system and you have received the Resort Confirmation email.

Also, please note that this year’s conference is right after the busy July 4 holiday week. The resort will be quite crowded and will likely sell out early. If you plan to vacation for a few days prior to or after the conference, please make your reservations as soon as possible. While CWD has a block of rooms under contract, once those rooms are spoken for, reservations are subject to additional availability.

For more conference information, including sponsorship and exhibitor information, contact Laura Billetdeaux at 734-353-9294 or .

Bringing Your Service Dog or Diabetes Alert Dog to FFL

The staff at FFL is well aware of the positive impact Diabetes Alert Dogs (DADs) can have on children and adults who live with type 1 diabetes. While we do not want to disturb these relationships, we want to ensure that the presence of DADs do not interfere with the positive experiences of all our attendees. While DADs are welcome, we discourage conference participants from bringing their DADs to FFL. We have learned from past experience that DADs have a tendency to become overwhelmed and stressed by being in a closed environment for several days with hundreds of individuals who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We have seen DADs become overly aggressive and exhibit signs of anxiety because of their situation at FFL. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we will ask that a DAD be removed from FFL if the DAD exhibits any unacceptable behavior that is disruptive to conference attendees.


Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to June 1, 2018 will be refunded minus a $25 per person processing fee. After June 1, 2018, no refunds are available.


The Diabetes Scholars Foundation offers conference scholarships each year. Please refer to the Diabetes Scholars Foundation website for more information. Note that the Diabetes Scholars Foundation is an entirely separate organization from CWD, so you do need to contact them directly in order to discuss scholarship questions.


Special Guests













  Friends for Life® Orlando 2018 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration Information - Conference Registration - Sponsors - Exhibitors - FAQ  
  Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - Sports Central Staff - Nightscout Staff - Retinal Screening Staff - CWD Staff - Fellows - Special Guests  
  Teen Faculty - Tween Faculty - Elementary Faculty - Child Care Faculty - Orange Team Faculty  
  Conference Schedule: Parents & Adults Program - Youth Program - Meet Ups - Child Care Registration  
  Conference Program - Printable Schedule - Download Mobile App - Official Facebook Page  
  Reports from 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

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