PDA

View Full Version : Walt Disney World is not mobility impairment friendly!! If you're disabled, Beware!


dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 02:40 PM
This is a letter I recently wrote to the guest communication department about the major disappointment we faced throughout the day. For our aggravation, Disney offered us 2 base tickets but only if we had our receipts:

To a Disney guest service manager or whom it may concern,

I am writing to you today to let you know the details and thoughts I had about a recent trip I made to the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. It would make sense for me to first tell you a bit about myself: in May of 2010, I was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease); I had spent 18 years working in various restaurant positions, the last 4 of which as the executive chef of an upscale contemporary steakhouse where we received a four star rating from the local paper and I was nominated for a James Beard award, before this illness forced me to quit the industry. ALS is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and quickly affects your ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe causing death as doctors don't yet know why it occurs or how to successfully treat it.

I am 34 years old, in my lifetime I have visited Walt Disney World over 12 times, the first of which was when I was 10 years old, and have made it an annual trip for the past eight years. I have kept coming back because of that magical experience I found when I was very young. With my limited mobility, last year should have been my final year coming to the parks, but this year I found a way enlisting the help of strong friends who I bribed with Park admission and they helped me to get on the rides. I think my gate total to get in to the park with a one day Park Hopper was approximately $520 with tax for all four of us. This is money that does not come easily to me.

I can tell you this time, despite the rising cost of Park admission; our experience this year was not so magical. It all started with the parking lot attendant who, after we showed a medical parking request from my doctor describing my disability and disease, threatened to call the Sheriff and have our car towed. Last year we were able to do this so I am not sure what changed in your policy but it was not right for us to be so rudely treated early in the morning by a cast member.

After waiting in line to pay cash for our tickets at the Magic Kingdom, we got in and went on a couple rides. I was excited to see that I did not have to get out of my wheelchair to board the Jungle Cruise so we got in line and we’re told that it would only be a 20 minute wait while they pulled the specialized boat when the normal wait time was only 25 min. After about 45 min. 2 wheelchair boats went by we were told it would only be eight my minutes until our boat arrived. Finally it did and we had a good ride.

After the cruise ride we went to Pirates and could not understand why it was set up so impossible to get on. I love the movies and this is one of my favorite rides so it was discouraging that my friends literally had to pick me up at 225 pounds and put me in the boat/pick me up to get out of the boat. When we got off we headed over to the Haunted Mansion because we thought it would be easy to get on. So we waited in line and by the time we got to the end we were ushered along a passage way to the ride’s exit. A cast member asked me if I could walk onto a moving platform and we said no to which he rudely responded, “you know; now we are going to have to completely stop the ride now!" I was absolutely floored by his response but we decided to proceed and I struggled to get on the ride right in front of him. When the ride was over we asked if we could go through again because it was so difficult to get on and impossible to get on other rides he again rudely said, “NO"! So we left the park and went to Animal Kingdom.
We found the Animal Kingdom to be incredibly accommodating although when we got on the Safari the driver and tour guide was incredibly unenthusiastly boring. We decided not to board with the wheelchair because we were short on time and as we were getting off the ride the attendants hurried us while boarding our row.

Around 4 PM we left the Animal Kingdom and said goodbye to our friends who had to leave because they had to get home to relieve their babysitter. My fiancée and I headed over to Hollywood studios because we knew there would be some easier rides to get on. We also found this Park to be very accommodating but around 7 PM we were hungry and wanted to get to Epcot for dinner as I knew the International World closed at 9 PM that Sunday, March 4th. Instead of getting in and out of the car again, we decided to take the bus. At 7:15 PM the first bus labeled for Epcot passed right by us and about 10 other people. We were told by a bus attendant that it should have not gone by and picked us up. After we got on the next bus at 7:35 PM and went through all the trouble of stabilizing the wheel chair, the two of us theorized that the first bus driver did not want to deal with the hassle of getting a wheelchair on and off the bus as by now this was our viewpoint and our only explanation.

So we got to Epcot around 8 PM and after a bathroom pit stop, hightailed it over to Italy from the bus stop. I knew that the main restaurant would be closed but we wanted some good pizza to remind us of last year's trip to Naples. When we crossed the threshold of the door the host started to shake her head no, which we thought was incredibly rude. It was now 8:35 PM and we were told that the seating had ended at 8:30 PM. We begged and pleaded with the host, explaining that we ran over from the main gate but she would not accommodate us. Instead of asking for a manager we just left, so aggravated we didn't even bother to stay for the Illumination show that in previous years had been too cold for us to watch and this year I had been looking forward to. We were so hungry we didn't have any time for souvenirs and needed to leave the parks to get dinner somewhere else before it got too late as we plan on going to Universal Studios the next day. As we left the park crying I almost threw a fit, like a spoiled five-year-old, because I knew that I would never be able to come back with my condition progressing as quickly as it is.

This act in my mind was the ultimate betrayal from Disney, all the other stuff didn't mean much until this happened to us. I have never been so mad at a company that prides themselves on hospitality and I have never written a letter like this trying to explain a small fraction of how upset I was and still am. Do you know how many stands we walked by that were still open before Italy that we could have eaten at?

This is the note that we left the Disney Company on. I cannot begin to describe for you the sour taste in my mouth. Especially when we went to Universal Studios and they were so overly accommodating! The people in the parking lot, at the Gates, at the rides and helping us out were so friendly – stopping moving ride platforms, allowing us to sit in the front on roller coasters, and allowing us to ride the Harry Potter ride four times in a row! When we went into their bake shop they actually gave me a free cookie with our purchase. It felt like they honored every request we had! I know you don't understand my financial situation but I can tell you every time I turn around and this disease progresses we have to make a big purchase to I accommodate my home. In 2011 alone, we spent over $30,000 on wheelchairs, a wooden ramp and communication device that uses my eye gaze because I cannot talk, walk or move so well any more. Now I am on Medicaid with an $800 monthly salary. My family gave me a good deal of money so I could make this trip this year because they love me and want me to forget about my disease for a day. In reality I don't have two nickels to rub together! That Is what makes this so incredibly frustrating – I spent money I didn't have to be treated so ignorantly.

Even after we left the parks we still had issues with your cast. While at the outlet mall in Orlando we decided to stop at the Disney store for some discounted Souvenirs. We picked out a couple things and one of the items, a sweater, did not have a price tag. When we went up to the counter the clerk informed us that she had to find a similar item in the store for the price and walked around to try to find one. She then informed us that there was nothing in the store so she had to call over a manager to get a price for us. The manager called around to other shops for a little while before she went to the back room where she disappeared for about 20 minutes. After over a half an hour later, the manager told us that they could not sell us the sweater because they could not find a proper price. This was on the day that we were to fly out of Orlando – now talk about a waste of time for absolutely nothing! I could see if this were a full price retail store in downtown Disney but it was not, it was an outlet store selling picked over merchandise. That manager could have sold us that sweater for $30 and made up a price but she was not empowered to do so, nor did it seem like she cared. She was just another Disney employee trying to get to the end of the day. And it seems we had encountered so many of them on our trip.
Overall we saved a lot of money on your mistakes, which is how I have decided to look at it. Unfortunately I have a lot of friends with children that I'm going to describe our experiences to. I will also call the ADA and post on disability Web sites about how unaccommodating Walt Disney World is towards incapacitated Human beings. I can tell you that we have decided not to book a Disney cruise for next year and I doubt we will ever come back – not because I am dying but because the disabled customer experience is terrible! Your company has lost a loyal and lifelong fan. It is a real shame because I found myself always having to defend your products to my friends. Now I understand why those parks are struggling for attendance.

If for any reason you would like to contact me my e-mail is listed below, electronic means of communication are preferred – I will not be able to talk to you in a direct manner over the phone.

Thank you for your time reading my letter and I'm sorry it had to come to this,
Daniel Tracy


Visited March 2012

Robo
04-20-2012, 02:55 PM
.

stargazertechie
04-20-2012, 03:01 PM
I'm sorry you had a bad wheelchair experience. That is not the norm

Brian_WDW74
04-20-2012, 03:06 PM
I've moved this thread to the disABILITIES! board. The nice folks here will be better able to address the issues that the OP experienced.

zumbergc
04-20-2012, 03:08 PM
If you want advice and help planning a Disney vacation. You should check out the disAbilities section of the board

You can post over there and let people know your limitations people can let u know which rides have accessible ride cars etc. each person with mobilities issues can do certain things and need different types of accommodations.

You did encounter some bad

SenecaWolf
04-20-2012, 03:09 PM
So sorry you had a bad experience, i'm here now and an disabled and so far Epcot and MK have been amazing, the CMs helpful and engaging, I have never been made to feel like a burden which is what I was worried about. Even with an ecv on the busses.

LilyWDW
04-20-2012, 03:37 PM
I am sorry, but out of that whole thing, I only see a couple of things wrong. Much of it seems like little things that just didn't go as you had planned and had little to nothing to do with a disability.

The comment from the CM at HM was out of line (if it was said in the way you implied). They should be happy to stop the ride if you need it to board.

Pirates is an older ride that has not be refurbed in a way to require them to change any accommodations. It is pretty well known that the transfer for it is more difficult.

It is also well known that it often means a much longer wait while in the accessible line. I don't know why 2 other boats went by, but it could have been for any other reason.

Via Napoli stopped seating at 8:30. It was after 8:30. Not sure what begging and pleading is going to do. You knew they were closing...

The bus that didn't stop that said Epcot could have just not changed the sign yet. They could have changed the buses routing while it was in route. It is 100% possible that they were not actually going to Epcot at that time.

toocherie
04-20-2012, 03:45 PM
I am sorry about your illness. However, I am also disabled (although not life-threatening) and have had many GOOD experiences in the parks.

I would like to respond and ask questions about some of your post:

It all started with the parking lot attendant who, after we showed a medical parking request from my doctor describing my disability and disease, threatened to call the Sheriff and have our car towed. Last year we were able to do this so I am not sure what changed in your policy but it was not right for us to be so rudely treated early in the morning by a cast member.

Do you not have a handicapped card? Why did you only have a note from your doctor? If you don't have a handicapped card then you need to arrange for one asap. While it was probably over the top for them to threaten to call the police, my understanding of my state law (California) would not allow Disney to make an exception for someone to park in a disabled spot without a placard issued by the state.

After the cruise ride we went to Pirates and could not understand why it was set up so impossible to get on. I love the movies and this is one of my favorite rides so it was discouraging that my friends literally had to pick me up at 225 pounds and put me in the boat/pick me up to get out of the boat.

Isn't this exactly why you had your friends with you? Unfortuantely, not all rides are totally disabled friendly. Many are. Disney gives you a pamphlet at City Hall that describes which rides you have to transfer from a wheelchair for and which rides you do not.

When we got off we headed over to the Haunted Mansion because we thought it would be easy to get on. So we waited in line and by the time we got to the end we were ushered along a passage way to the ride’s exit. A cast member asked me if I could walk onto a moving platform and we said no to which he rudely responded, “you know; now we are going to have to completely stop the ride now!" I was absolutely floored by his response but we decided to proceed and I struggled to get on the ride right in front of him.

I have had to have the moving platform stopped for me too--but have never had an issue with the cast member being willing to stop it.

When the ride was over we asked if we could go through again because it was so difficult to get on and impossible to get on other rides he again rudely said, “NO"!

I know you have not been disabled for that long, but one of the things we struggle with is being treated like everyone else. If the disabled were allowed to ride numerous times that would not be fair to the non-disabled crowd. As for other rides being "impossible" which rides were those? From your description it seems that there were many rides/experiences that you didn't try. For example, the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear even Space Mountain. The Country Bear Jamboree. Hall of Presidents. Tiki Room. These are all (in my experience) pretty disabled friendly. I'm sure there are many others I'm just not thinking of right now. In fact, the only thing I know isn't very handicapped friendly is the PeopleMover (sorry, can't remember the proper WDW name for it)

We found the Animal Kingdom to be incredibly accommodating although when we got on the Safari the driver and tour guide was incredibly unenthusiastly boring. We decided not to board with the wheelchair because we were short on time and as we were getting off the ride the attendants hurried us while boarding our row.

So were the driver and guide "incredibly unenthusiastly [sic] boring because you are disabled? I feel hurried at most rides getting on and off. That is the norm.

Around 4 PM we left the Animal Kingdom and said goodbye to our friends who had to leave because they had to get home to relieve their babysitter. My fiancée and I headed over to Hollywood studios because we knew there would be some easier rides to get on. We also found this Park to be very accommodating but around 7 PM we were hungry and wanted to get to Epcot for dinner as I knew the International World closed at 9 PM that Sunday, March 4th. Instead of getting in and out of the car again, we decided to take the bus. At 7:15 PM the first bus labeled for Epcot passed right by us and about 10 other people. We were told by a bus attendant that it should have not gone by and picked us up. After we got on the next bus at 7:35 PM and went through all the trouble of stabilizing the wheel chair, the two of us theorized that the first bus driver did not want to deal with the hassle of getting a wheelchair on and off the bus as by now this was our viewpoint and our only explanation. I will say I have had a similar experience and wondered the same thing about the bus driver.

So we got to Epcot around 8 PM and after a bathroom pit stop, hightailed it over to Italy from the bus stop. I knew that the main restaurant would be closed but we wanted some good pizza to remind us of last year's trip to Naples. When we crossed the threshold of the door the host started to shake her head no, which we thought was incredibly rude. It was now 8:35 PM and we were told that the seating had ended at 8:30 PM. We begged and pleaded with the host, explaining that we ran over from the main gate but she would not accommodate us.

Again--you shouldn't get "special" consideration because you are disabled. If the seating hours ended at 8:30 then oh well. It's not that there weren't other food possibilities available.

Instead of asking for a manager we just left, so aggravated we didn't even bother to stay for the Illumination show that in previous years had been too cold for us to watch and this year I had been looking forward to.

You cut off your nose to spite your face.

We were so hungry we didn't have any time for souvenirs and needed to leave the parks to get dinner somewhere else before it got too late as we plan on going to Universal Studios the next day. As we left the park crying I almost threw a fit, like a spoiled five-year-old, because I knew that I would never be able to come back with my condition progressing as quickly as it is.

This act in my mind was the ultimate betrayal from Disney, all the other stuff didn't mean much until this happened to us. I have never been so mad at a company that prides themselves on hospitality and I have never written a letter like this trying to explain a small fraction of how upset I was and still am. Do you know how many stands we walked by that were still open before Italy that we could have eaten at? And there were probably how many open AFTER 8:30 that you could have eaten at?

This is the note that we left the Disney Company on. I cannot begin to describe for you the sour taste in my mouth. Especially when we went to Universal Studios and they were so overly accommodating! The people in the parking lot, at the Gates, at the rides and helping us out were so friendly – stopping moving ride platforms, allowing us to sit in the front on roller coasters, and allowing us to ride the Harry Potter ride four times in a row! When we went into their bake shop they actually gave me a free cookie with our purchase. It felt like they honored every request we had!

Even after we left the parks we still had issues with your cast. While at the outlet mall in Orlando we decided to stop at the Disney store for some discounted Souvenirs. Not sure about the outlet mall in Orlando, but the Disney outlet in California is NOT run by Disney, it is run by a third party. Its employees are NOT Disney employees.

Again, I am sorry about your illness. However, your letter does not come across as someone who was wronged, it comes across to me as someone who expected to get special treatment and was ticked off that he didn't get it. There are thousands of "special needs" people who go to WDW/DLR every year and I think Disney does a pretty good job of handling their needs.

At the end of your post I was struck by the fact that you went to four different parks in one day. I'm lucky to get to two parks in a day! Perhaps you would have had a more pleasant experience if you had chosen one (or even two) parks and concentrated on those. You had to have spent an awful lot of time traveling.

So, probably not want you want to hear but I don't think your letter--in which you threaten Disney that you are going to post it on every disabled website, etc. -- will get you anywhere. You "may" have encountered some Cast Members with responses you deemed rude, but I don't think the ADA prohibits "rude"---otherwise it sounds to me like you tried to jam too much into one day.

jmartinez1895
04-20-2012, 04:09 PM
I am sorry that you did not enjoy your trip and that you do not feel that you will return. We love Disney because it is one of the only places that seems to care about people with disabilities. We have been to many different places and of them all Disney bends over backwards to help make things equal for all. This does not mean special treatment. We have had our share of things not going as planned, but it's not Disney's fault, it was either poor planning on my part or just one of those things.
With the restaurant, you have to look at it from the other side as well. Could they have let you in, yes, but then they would have to let everyone who was only a few minutes late come in. At what point do they get to start closing things down and finish up service so they can go home?
I hope that once you rest up from your trip and calm down you will rethink your decision and will try a trip again.

disney david
04-20-2012, 04:31 PM
just a side note the bus drivers don't have control of the marque so it could of said epcot because it was coming back and had not reached the point that it would change. so that is one reason he didn't stop he wouldn't went past all you for the reason you said. if he didn't want to load you he would of stopped and made another excuse disney would of noticed if he didn't stop to pick up any guests. plus if he did skip you he would have to find a new route so he get in trouble if he skipped his route without permission from dispatch. i been in mk waiting for the board walk bus and a lot said magic kingdom and pulled into spots so the marques didn't change to the resort it was stopping at. so it could of said epcot because it just got done with picking up guest at a resort for epcot then be dispatched to dhs to pick up another resort or park and take a break.

with your time frame i really don't think the first bus was going to epcot that route will most likely just have one bus assigned to it unless it really busy then they will add another bus it take them around 10-15 to go between those two parks and factor in the time it wait at each stop it be on the time frame of every 45 min. these are just estimates it may take them longer or shorter to get between the two.



other disers had problems with hm cms so they should of fixed the problem so lets hope they final get the idea they need to retrain them all.

Talking Hands
04-20-2012, 04:42 PM
I was at WDW March 9-13 and had a totally different experience. For the most part CM were great. An exception is the nasty attitude of the CMs at Haunted Mansion but my experience was not as bad as yours. They did stop the moving ramp for me. What I don't like is the lack of a true line and all the pushing to get in to the entrance. If they are going to insist that all wheelchairs go through the regular line then they need to make it a structured line for the safety of all in line. We visited all 4 parks but did it 1 park a day. Much more relaxed. Unfortunately not all rides are accessible. Also those with disabilities do not get special privileges but need to get back in line like everyone else. This is because some guests have taken advantage of the help given them previously.

disney david
04-20-2012, 04:45 PM
I am sorry about your illness. However, I am also disabled (although not life-threatening) and have had many GOOD experiences in the parks.

I would like to respond and ask questions about some of your post:

It all started with the parking lot attendant who, after we showed a medical parking request from my doctor describing my disability and disease, threatened to call the Sheriff and have our car towed. Last year we were able to do this so I am not sure what changed in your policy but it was not right for us to be so rudely treated early in the morning by a cast member.

Do you not have a handicapped card? Why did you only have a note from your doctor? If you don't have a handicapped card then you need to arrange for one asap. While it was probably over the top for them to threaten to call the police, my understanding of my state law (California) would not allow Disney to make an exception for someone to park in a disabled spot without a placard issued by the state.

After the cruise ride we went to Pirates and could not understand why it was set up so impossible to get on. I love the movies and this is one of my favorite rides so it was discouraging that my friends literally had to pick me up at 225 pounds and put me in the boat/pick me up to get out of the boat.

Isn't this exactly why you had your friends with you? Unfortuantely, not all rides are totally disabled friendly. Many are. Disney gives you a pamphlet at City Hall that describes which rides you have to transfer from a wheelchair for and which rides you do not.

When we got off we headed over to the Haunted Mansion because we thought it would be easy to get on. So we waited in line and by the time we got to the end we were ushered along a passage way to the ride’s exit. A cast member asked me if I could walk onto a moving platform and we said no to which he rudely responded, “you know; now we are going to have to completely stop the ride now!" I was absolutely floored by his response but we decided to proceed and I struggled to get on the ride right in front of him.

I have had to have the moving platform stopped for me too--but have never had an issue with the cast member being willing to stop it.

When the ride was over we asked if we could go through again because it was so difficult to get on and impossible to get on other rides he again rudely said, “NO"!

I know you have not been disabled for that long, but one of the things we struggle with is being treated like everyone else. If the disabled were allowed to ride numerous times that would not be fair to the non-disabled crowd. As for other rides being "impossible" which rides were those? From your description it seems that there were many rides/experiences that you didn't try. For example, the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear even Space Mountain. The Country Bear Jamboree. Hall of Presidents. Tiki Room. These are all (in my experience) pretty disabled friendly. I'm sure there are many others I'm just not thinking of right now. In fact, the only thing I know isn't very handicapped friendly is the PeopleMover (sorry, can't remember the proper WDW name for it)

We found the Animal Kingdom to be incredibly accommodating although when we got on the Safari the driver and tour guide was incredibly unenthusiastly boring. We decided not to board with the wheelchair because we were short on time and as we were getting off the ride the attendants hurried us while boarding our row.

So were the driver and guide "incredibly unenthusiastly [sic] boring because you are disabled? I feel hurried at most rides getting on and off. That is the norm.

Around 4 PM we left the Animal Kingdom and said goodbye to our friends who had to leave because they had to get home to relieve their babysitter. My fiancée and I headed over to Hollywood studios because we knew there would be some easier rides to get on. We also found this Park to be very accommodating but around 7 PM we were hungry and wanted to get to Epcot for dinner as I knew the International World closed at 9 PM that Sunday, March 4th. Instead of getting in and out of the car again, we decided to take the bus. At 7:15 PM the first bus labeled for Epcot passed right by us and about 10 other people. We were told by a bus attendant that it should have not gone by and picked us up. After we got on the next bus at 7:35 PM and went through all the trouble of stabilizing the wheel chair, the two of us theorized that the first bus driver did not want to deal with the hassle of getting a wheelchair on and off the bus as by now this was our viewpoint and our only explanation. I will say I have had a similar experience and wondered the same thing about the bus driver.

So we got to Epcot around 8 PM and after a bathroom pit stop, hightailed it over to Italy from the bus stop. I knew that the main restaurant would be closed but we wanted some good pizza to remind us of last year's trip to Naples. When we crossed the threshold of the door the host started to shake her head no, which we thought was incredibly rude. It was now 8:35 PM and we were told that the seating had ended at 8:30 PM. We begged and pleaded with the host, explaining that we ran over from the main gate but she would not accommodate us.

Again--you shouldn't get "special" consideration because you are disabled. If the seating hours ended at 8:30 then oh well. It's not that there weren't other food possibilities available.

Instead of asking for a manager we just left, so aggravated we didn't even bother to stay for the Illumination show that in previous years had been too cold for us to watch and this year I had been looking forward to.

You cut off your nose to spite your face.

We were so hungry we didn't have any time for souvenirs and needed to leave the parks to get dinner somewhere else before it got too late as we plan on going to Universal Studios the next day. As we left the park crying I almost threw a fit, like a spoiled five-year-old, because I knew that I would never be able to come back with my condition progressing as quickly as it is.

This act in my mind was the ultimate betrayal from Disney, all the other stuff didn't mean much until this happened to us. I have never been so mad at a company that prides themselves on hospitality and I have never written a letter like this trying to explain a small fraction of how upset I was and still am. Do you know how many stands we walked by that were still open before Italy that we could have eaten at? And there were probably how many open AFTER 8:30 that you could have eaten at?

This is the note that we left the Disney Company on. I cannot begin to describe for you the sour taste in my mouth. Especially when we went to Universal Studios and they were so overly accommodating! The people in the parking lot, at the Gates, at the rides and helping us out were so friendly – stopping moving ride platforms, allowing us to sit in the front on roller coasters, and allowing us to ride the Harry Potter ride four times in a row! When we went into their bake shop they actually gave me a free cookie with our purchase. It felt like they honored every request we had!

Even after we left the parks we still had issues with your cast. While at the outlet mall in Orlando we decided to stop at the Disney store for some discounted Souvenirs. Not sure about the outlet mall in Orlando, but the Disney outlet in California is NOT run by Disney, it is run by a third party. Its employees are NOT Disney employees.

Again, I am sorry about your illness. However, your letter does not come across as someone who was wronged, it comes across to me as someone who expected to get special treatment and was ticked off that he didn't get it. There are thousands of "special needs" people who go to WDW/DLR every year and I think Disney does a pretty good job of handling their needs.

At the end of your post I was struck by the fact that you went to four different parks in one day. I'm lucky to get to two parks in a day! Perhaps you would have had a more pleasant experience if you had chosen one (or even two) parks and concentrated on those. You had to have spent an awful lot of time traveling.

So, probably not want you want to hear but I don't think your letter--in which you threaten Disney that you are going to post it on every disabled website, etc. -- will get you anywhere. You "may" have encountered some Cast Members with responses you deemed rude, but I don't think the ADA prohibits "rude"---otherwise it sounds to me like you tried to jam too much into one day.

in orlando their a disney world outlet that sells stuff disney makes to much of and other reasons. i think they are owned and operated by disney you could find some good stuff like if you go after holiday parties they might have some left over merchandise cheaper. but i am not sure if those are the stores she talking about the regular disney stores and disney store outlets are owned by disney the bought them back a couple years ago.



you are right the disney cms saved the op a 250 ticket you have to have a handicap placard to park in a handicap spot no matter what note you have so the op should of been happy not to get ticketed and have disney tow your car.

dananbethany
04-20-2012, 05:30 PM
An exception is the nasty attitude of the CMs at Haunted Mansion but my experience was not as bad as yours.

In my experience, the CMs at the Haunted Mansion are always like that but I always figured it was because they were supposed to act like that to keep in character with the ride :thumbsup2

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 05:58 PM
.

Via Napoli stopped seating at 8:30. It was after 8:30. Not sure what begging and pleading is going to do. You knew they were closing...


international world closed at 9pm, we ran from the gate to get there at a reasonable time. if I knew that all the restaurants closed earlier than posted I would have given ourselves more time.

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 06:05 PM
I know you have not been disabled for that long, but one of the things we struggle with is being treated like everyone else. If the disabled were allowed to ride numerous times that would not be fair to the non-disabled crowd. As for other rides being "impossible" which rides were those? From your description it seems that there were many rides/experiences that you didn't try. For example, the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear even Space Mountain. The Country Bear Jamboree. Hall of Presidents. Tiki Room. These are all (in my experience) pretty disabled friendly. I'm sure there are many others I'm just not thinking of right now. In fact, the only thing I know isn't very handicapped friendly is the PeopleMover (sorry, can't remember the proper WDW name for it

I wish I could still get on those rides but I just don't have the leg strength to side step, step down, or for that matter get myself back up.

deegack
04-20-2012, 06:12 PM
international world closed at 9pm, we ran from the gate to get there at a reasonable time. if I knew that all the restaurants closed earlier than posted I would have given ourselves more time.

Right but that isn't the cm's problem. The last seating is 8:30. I she seated parties that arrived after you you may have an issue but that does not sound like the situation here.

utterrandomness
04-20-2012, 06:13 PM
international world closed at 9pm, we ran from the gate to get there at a reasonable time. if I knew that all the restaurants closed earlier than posted I would have given ourselves more time.

It is common for restaurants to stop taking orders a half hour before close so that they have time to make your food and you have time to eat before they close.

deegack
04-20-2012, 06:15 PM
I wish I could still get on those rides but I just don't have the leg strength to side step, step down, or for that matter get myself back up.

If I remember correctly, they stop buzz lightyear and with the exception of space mountain the rest listed are shows, so transferring shouldn't be an issue. I'm sorry you had a bad trip but it seems like with a little more advance research you can make adjustments and have a great time. I have always found wdw to be wonderful for people with a variety of disabilities.

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 06:23 PM
I am sorry that you did not enjoy your trip and that you do not feel that you will return. We love Disney because it is one of the only places that seems to care about people with disabilities. We have been to many different places and of them all Disney bends over backwards to help make things equal for all. This does not mean special treatment. We have had our share of things not going as planned, but it's not Disney's fault, it was either poor planning on my part or just one of those things.
With the restaurant, you have to look at it from the other side as well. Could they have let you in, yes, but then they would have to let everyone who was only a few minutes late come in. At what point do they get to start closing things down and finish up service so they can go home?
I hope that once you rest up from your trip and calm down you will rethink your decision and will try a trip again.

Most of the restaurants I have worked in seat a half hour beyond their closing time because you can't provide excellent service by turning people away. This is the first time I have ever experienced a restaurant closing a half hour early than what was posted. And they all closed early.

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 06:32 PM
If I remember correctly, they stop buzz lightyear and with the exception of space mountain the rest listed are shows, so transferring shouldn't be an issue. I'm sorry you had a bad trip but it seems like with a little more advance research you can make adjustments and have a great time. I have always found wdw to be wonderful for people with a variety of disabilities.

I watched youtube videos, studied maps, read everything I could on the subject, and I've been there 4 times in the past 4 year's. I knew exactly what to expect and what I was capable of. Unfortunately I think we ran into every disgruntled cm at the parks.

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 06:39 PM
It is common for restaurants to stop taking orders a half hour before close so that they have time to make your food and you have time to eat before they close.

no it's not. if they did they wouldn't stay open. believe me those restaurants wouldn't last very long beyond the gates of epcot.

Maggie'sMom
04-20-2012, 06:39 PM
I'm very sorry your experience was less than magical. However, I'm trying to understand a few things.

1) Did you not have a handicap placard for your car? If you don't have one, then the CM was correct in telling you your car could be towed if you parked in a handicapped space. That's the law. A note from a doctor isn't sufficient. You perceived the CM as "threatening" to have your car towed, but he would have been simply doing his job which is to make sure that the cars parked in the handicapped spaces have the appropriate placards or plates that indicate they are allowed there.

2) Did you research ahead of time what rides would necessitate a transfer? There's tons of information here and at allears.net, as well as in guidebooks, that you might have found helpful in preparing you for touring the parks with a disability. A stop at Guest Services could have also been helpful because they can provide you with a pamphlet that could have assisted you in knowing which rides would be more accomodating. A trip to Disney parks goes more smoothly with research and planning, whether the guest is disabled or not.

3) You really tried to get to all 4 major parks in one day? :scared1: As an adult without disabilities, I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself if I was so rushed to make it to all 4 parks in one day. I have a special needs daughter, and there's no way I could press her to do 4 parks in one day without it being a complete disaster.

4) The fact that Via Napoli stops seating at 8:30 is in no way connected to your having a disability or not. Again, a little research ahead of time would have been helpful. And I'm not sure why you still left rather than staying to watch Illuminations. If you had gotten seated at Via Napoli at 8:30, you would have missed Illuminations anyway. Since you didn't get seated, why not stop and see the show that you had been looking forward to?

I wish I could feel more sympathetic to your situation, but it seems there were many things that you want to blame Disney for that were within your own control.

dantracyjr
04-20-2012, 06:57 PM
I'm very sorry your experience was less than magical. However, I'm trying to understand a few things.

1) Did you not have a handicap placard for your car? If you don't have one, then the CM was correct in telling you your car could be towed if you parked in a handicapped space. That's the law. A note from a doctor isn't sufficient. You perceived the CM as "threatening" to have your car towed, but he would have been simply doing his job which is to make sure that the cars parked in the handicapped spaces have the appropriate placards or plates that indicate they are allowed there.

2) Did you research ahead of time what rides would necessitate a transfer? There's tons of information here and at allears.net, as well as in guidebooks, that you might have found helpful in preparing you for touring the parks with a disability. A stop at Guest Services could have also been helpful because they can provide you with a pamphlet that could have assisted you in knowing which rides would be more accomodating. A trip to Disney parks goes more smoothly with research and planning, whether the guest is disabled or not.

3) You really tried to get to all 4 major parks in one day? :scared1: As an adult without disabilities, I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself if I was so rushed to make it to all 4 parks in one day. I have a special needs daughter, and there's no way I could press her to do 4 parks in one day without it being a complete disaster.

4) The fact that Via Napoli stops seating at 8:30 is in no way connected to your having a disability or not. Again, a little research ahead of time would have been helpful. And I'm not sure why you still left rather than staying to watch Illuminations. If you had gotten seated at Via Napoli at 8:30, you would have missed Illuminations anyway. Since you didn't get seated, why not stop and see the show that you had been looking forward to?

I wish I could feel more sympathetic to your situation, but it seems there were many things that you want to blame Disney for that were within your own control.

at the parks they have designated medical parking that is a few rows beyond the handicap section, we were not allowed to park there.

I had everything you describe before we left and got a wheelchair access card when we 1st arrived. I budgeted just enough time to do everything I knew was possible ar 3 of 4 parks.

if you point out where any website states that all restaurants close a half hour before they close the park I'll be impressed.

I'm sorry I can't afford more than 1 day at the parks and wanted 1 last horrah.

canopynut66
04-20-2012, 07:01 PM
Will have to agree with the statement Universal and Sea World both accomadate the disabled much better thatn WDW. We have decided that regardless if we go back is of no concern to WDW as thousands of newbies will. and so the World goes on

mebbradley
04-20-2012, 07:07 PM
I can speak that none of what occured in regards to you happened to us.

I took my mom to WDW 5 times last year and we're leaving in 12 days to go again. She is in a scooter when we are there, cannot walk more than 2-3 steps due to needing knee replacement, and cannot bend her knee to transfer.

She loves Disney because of how they can treat her like a normal person. We go to usually 1-2 parks per day to pace ourselves. I help her get in and out of rides. We have a system and it works. For example, on Pirate's...I place our bags on the seat, have her stand while I get in, I then help her guide her bad knee in first and then she'll step in carefully. It typically takes me all of my strength to help her bend her knee to get out of the boat. I've had CM's help me by holding her arm, encouraging. We know to ride the "boat" rides in the early morning or evening while everyone else is on other rides.

We've stopped the ride at Haunted, Buzz. We've riden Buzz three times in a row because she loved it that much and they were accommodating. Granted, it was not during a peak time and park attendance was very low.

As for the meals...Via Napoli is operated by an operating Participant, NOT DISNEY. I find the CM's at that restaurant very un-accommodating when it's just me by myself, let alone with anyone else.

As for the parking, we do not park in handicap anyway because my mom uses a scooter. She can scooter her way to the monorail and I can walk.

The buses.... I second what someone else said about the marquee being incorrect. I never rely on those anymore.

My mom called me today and said "I'm beyond excited to go to Disney in 12 days! I decided that I won't do anything that requires a lot of physical activity for the three days prior so my leg is good to roll! By the way, can we meet Mickey first thing?"

She loves it and I love Disney even more because they let her have fun while accommodating her.

utterrandomness
04-20-2012, 07:09 PM
no it's not. if they did they wouldn't stay open. believe me those restaurants wouldn't last very long beyond the gates of epcot.

Yes it is. It is a completely reasonable to request that you not arrive too close to close. Just because it is outside of your experience does not mean it is uncommon. They probably didn't list it on the website because social norms are supposed to be common knowledge and, again, because it's fairly common. Not only that, but it is rude to expect that someone will remain open after they are supposed to be closed to accommodate you, even if you're running late. It happens sometimes when people are feeling lenient, but it is rude to demand it. Always.

ETA: Please stop attacking everyone who does not agree with you. I know you're frustrated, believe me, I understand. I fight every day to get the accommodations I need to make it through my day, but the way to deal with it isn't snapping at people for the mere offense of not agreeing with you or, heaven forbid, having had a different experience than you.

TinkPirateMom
04-20-2012, 07:24 PM
I thought you needed ADR's for places like Via Napoli?

mebbradley
04-20-2012, 07:27 PM
I thought you needed ADR's for places like Via Napoli?

You do. They are not hard to get but you do need them.

Joanna71985
04-20-2012, 07:31 PM
I thought you needed ADR's for places like Via Napoli?

No. It is possible to get a walkup

TinkPirateMom
04-20-2012, 07:37 PM
You do. They are not hard to get but you do need them.

No. It is possible to get a walkup

Ok, so it is recommended to have an ADR but not required then but without one and walking up at 8:35pm, you're not entitled to get a seat. I guess that's my point.

LilyWDW
04-20-2012, 08:23 PM
No. It is possible to get a walkup

Not always. I have seen quite a few reports and had personal experience where they turned away walkups. The only way to guarantee getting in would be to have an ADR.

OP, you can get as mad as you want, but the point is that Via Napoli stops seating at 8:30PM. I don't see the huge deal in it. They told you the rules and stuck by them. You wanted them to bend the rules for you. When they didn't, you cried it was unfair.

Also, unless you have a HA plate or tag, there is no promise for special parking.

Most of your post had nothing to do with being disabled. It had to do with little things you got upset about. It was about some people keeping to the rules instead of bending them. Honestly, from what YOU stated, there is little to nothing there that shows Disney is not friendly to those with disabilities.

EvangelineG
04-20-2012, 08:27 PM
I am sorry you had a rotten experience for your last hurrah at Disney World. That really sucks. :( Our own recent Disney experience was almost all positive in regards to disabilities, but I am very sorry that what you experienced was not.

I am glad that your experience at Universal was better, we also experienced the very best service from the staff there. It was wonderful.

kaytieeldr
04-20-2012, 08:33 PM
if you point out where any website states that all restaurants close a half hour before they close the park I'll be impressed.
No website states that because it's a false assumption on your part.
You discovered at 8:35 PM that Via Napoli stops seating at 8:30 PM. You stayed there for an undisclosed length of time arguing with the hostess instead of opting for one of the many other table service or counter service restaurants in World Showcase. Assuming facts not in evidence. :sad2:

Hindsight being what it is, if you'd taken the boat between DHS and Epcot, you would have been delivered to the International Gateway entrance. Not only would this have cut out that ten minute or whatever run - but you would have started earlier, probably, since the boat wouldnt have passed by the dock; and the wheelchair wouldn't have had to be secured.

EastYorkDisneyFan
04-20-2012, 08:36 PM
Most of the restaurants I have worked in seat a half hour beyond their closing time because you can't provide excellent service by turning people away. This is the first time I have ever experienced a restaurant closing a half hour early than what was posted. And they all closed early.

Keep in mind there are differences between a restaurant in a theme park and anywhere else. They have to close at a certain time as they need to have all guest out of the park so they can bring in the maintenance crews to get the park ready for the next day. Often that will mean driving trucks and other vehicles around the paths.

Hook's Girl
04-20-2012, 08:54 PM
I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

On the completely opposite side of the coin my paraplegic brother who cannot walk at all moved to Florida to work full time at the Walt Disney World Resort. because of how accessible it is and the way he gets treated. He literally changed his life around because of the way Disney handles his mobility "impairment".

Since this is a discussion forum I just thought I'd provide the complete opposite experience because it exists! :goodvibes:):flower3:

And as others have noted, I would contact the Petina Restaurant Group with your Via Napoli concern as it is not owned and operated by the Disney Company.

chloelovesdisney
04-20-2012, 09:04 PM
I'm so sorry, it stinks when you spend so much money and are disappointed. I have read on this board about adult wish trips, maybe you could look into that for you and your fiancé. :goodvibes

LockShockBarrel
04-20-2012, 10:32 PM
Sorry you were disappointed but I have to agree with a good amount of the other posters that a great deal of what you encountered wasn't Disney's fault.

Cheshire Figment
04-20-2012, 10:39 PM
I had everything you describe before we left and got a wheelchair access card when we 1st arrived.
What is a "wheelchair access card"? If you are talking about a Guest Assistance Card you do not need one if you are in a wheelchair or ECV or even using a cane.

The medical parking is patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff's Office. They are very happy to write $250 tickets for any vehicle parked in medical parking without either a disabled plate or hang tag. A few years ago I forgot to hang my tag and got a ticket, but since I was able to show that I did have a tag my fine was reduced to only $20 for failure to display. And a plate/tag from any State, Canadian Province, or country is accepted by the Sheriff's Office. A doctor's note has not legal standing.

MolonLabe
04-20-2012, 11:19 PM
So, probably not want you want to hear but I don't think your letter--in which you threaten Disney that you are going to post it on every disabled website, etc. -- will get you anywhere. You "may" have encountered some Cast Members with responses you deemed rude, but I don't think the ADA prohibits "rude"---otherwise it sounds to me like you tried to jam too much into one day.

4 parks in one day. In fact, At both MK, AK and Epcot the OP went not just into each park, but to basically the back of each of them.

I'm surprised the OP got that much done in a day. Crowds must have been very low.'

I agree with the rest of your sentiments in this post. Aside from the Haunted experience, the rest doesn't seem to have anything to do with being disabled. The bus passing by... could be for any number of reasons. I was once at the resort waiting for a bus and as it pulled it, the sign changed. I was upset but I seriously doubt it had anything to do anything other than reassignment from bus HQ.

100% correct about parking in a State marked handicapped parking spot. The CM would have been allowing the OP to break the law by parking in one of those spots (assuming the OP didn't have the placard, which is sounds like he didn't).

For the OP,

I'm sorry you had a bad day. Unfortunately bad days can happen to anyone.

It sounds like you got a lot done and unfortunately lost control at the end. As you admit, you threw a "tantrum".

I wish you luck.

mdvlprof
04-21-2012, 05:24 AM
Will have to agree with the statement Universal and Sea World both accomadate the disabled much better thatn WDW.

That I won't agree with. To our experience Universal was way less wheelchair-friendly than WDW. We think WDW is one of the most wheelchair-friendly places, perhaps on the planet. Second only to DCL :goodvibes.

DOPEYLUVER
04-21-2012, 07:34 AM
Dear Mr. Tracy,

Let me start by saying I am able-bodied. I would summarize your experience as "The Perfect Storm." I think that you have really been dealt a lousy hand with ALS. This disease is most likely the main focal point of your life. It sounds as though your family and friends have been wonderful helping you both financially, in paying for your trip, and physically, in helping you on and off rides, and other ways I'm sure. Many people in your life are probably doing everything they can for you. You may be the only person in their lives who they need to focus their attention on.

I wonder if in the past when you went to Disney, did you see wheelchairs going to the front of the line and were counting on the same? As someone else pointed out due to AB's abusing this, a wheelchair is no longer a pass to the front of the line. I think the bigger contributing factor to the changes is the VERY large number of guests with wheelchairs and guest assistance cards that go through the Disney gates everyday. My daughter is doing the Disney College Program and she was telling me about a problem they have with one of the other CP's. He cries during all of his breaks because he is heart broken by the numbers of Make-A-Wish kids that come through. If it is a little girl dressed as a princess, he has to leave right away because he gets so upset. I kind of laughed when she told me that. I asked her how often they have Make-A-Wish kids and she said about 15 per day. I was shocked. My point is, you are the center of focus to family and friends. At least you would in my life because I do not personally know anyone facing such a challenge. At WDW you are just another guest who is facing a challenge.

Did you just set your expectations too high? Were you expecting to go to each park, get to the front of the line on your favorite rides, then proceed to the next? Instead, EVERYTHING went more slowly than you expected and by the end of the day you were just totally exhausted and in melt down mode?

I am truly sad that you had such a bad experience at WDW. If it is right for you I hope you get the opportunity to go again and have a better time. I am going on my first Disney cruise in a few months and am researching the heck out of it. There is a lot of good information on this board. Perhaps you can look into it and find that may be for you.

One bit of advice I have is for you to love and appreciate those around you. They want to be there for you. Don't push them away. Focus on the positive. How many of your friends and family have heard about the bad parts of your trip? The next time you tell your story, why don't you say, "Disney wasn't great, but boy let me tell you about Universal..."

Good luck as you continue to fight this terrible disease and appreciate every day you have.

Piper
04-21-2012, 09:02 AM
I have multiple disabilities and cannot do many of the rides--no matter how many people are with me. I don't let it bother me. I just focus on enjoying the attractions that I can. And believe me I do enjoy them!

I have also found that my having a very positive attitude impacts those around me. Some of my neighbors visit me frequently. One of them told me yesterday that she enjoys talking to me because I don't gossip about others or focus on negative things. She said she didn't have to worry about my talking about her behind her back!!

This isn't a perfect world and I don't like having my abilities diminish. I do realize that I can't control my physical abilities (other than not giving up!) I can control my mood. I choose to be happy and at peace. I focus on the things I can do, not what others don't do for me.

I am going on a cruise at the end of September. It leaves out of Galveston which makes it possible for me. It will probably be my last contact with anything Disney and most likely my last "vacation." I am going to enjoy every minute because I know that I can choose to focus on the fun--not the negative.

goofieslonglostsis
04-21-2012, 09:13 AM
I watched youtube videos, studied maps, read everything I could on the subject, and I've been there 4 times in the past 4 year's. I knew exactly what to expect and what I was capable of. Unfortunately I think we ran into every disgruntled cm at the parks.

Sorry to say this, but you did a rather rotten job. Even by only visiting WDW's website and grabbing a park map you would've known A LOT more than you do now. Like knowing which rides do not require a transfer. A subject you painfully are not educated enough in, resulting in missing options. Buzz, Tiki room and many others require nothing else of you than staying put in a wheelchair when not being able to transfer. To make it easier on guests; it's even noted on maps with labels where you need to transfer or not. Not only could you have seen that by grabbing a map when entering the park, it's also shown on their site. Let alone the amazing stickies you can find here that include anything and all including even pictures of the exact procedure. The map, big sign at the beginning of the ride, any and all proper websites, all would've informed you within no time that POTC requires a transfer.

That same park map, in this case of Epcot has a simple printed list with opening and closing times of all restaurants and quick services. They can also be easily found online. When using disney transportation for any dining option, it is constantly communicated to leave upto 90 minutes before you arrive at your destination.

As far as the handicapped parking goes; it's been said enough. You need a placard and following those requirements is not to pester you but to make sure the few spaces are indeed used by those that fit the requirements.

When reading your complaint letter, there is way too much stuff in there that is of no importance. That's pure sentiment, not complaint. It makes the letter unreadable, diverts attention and increases your risk of being seen as something you don't want to BIG time. A proper complaint is factual, to the point and realistic. Threats is not a way to complaint properly. And yes, that is just what you did with your, IMHO pittyful, "I will drag you through the mud everywhere".

I'm very sorry you found this trip to be such a disappointment but IMHO that is largely directly linked to your own poor homework and unrealistic expectations. A simple hour could've resolved most if not all. Crabby CM's at hunted mantion; check, a known fact on here. Going a bit too far with the caracter. :confused3 Needing a parking tag; state and even international law. If not done already; GET ONTO THIS! A note is no legal anything. You will need it on more experiences and as such you will need to go through the proper channels and after doing it; be glad you did. That way it's clear what your rights are and no longer running a real risk of huge tickets because of not following laws. The rides; again could've easily been a different ballgame. Having seen enough over the years, I wouldn't be surprised if you ran into some CM's being less then stellar related to the fact what you were expecting and how that was communicated. Shouldn't happen, but in reality it does after running into wrong expectations, demands and attitudes multiple times a day. You would've known there are a lot more rides and shows you COULD have done instead of aiming for those that are not accessible. You would've known which ones needed which help because of being not accessible enough resulting in being able to decide to take along strong friends to navigate that or not.

What I've been reading so far too much of it comes down to your expectations not being realistic. It's wrotten when that happens, but it could've not gotten out of hand. Simply dropping into guest service at a park and talk. Which rides do you want to do, what can and can't you do, what needs to be done? What is doable? If need be, CM's will even call the CM's working the actual ride to get details as small as how high up a seating is and what not more. Have had them do it enough times. Unfortunately you felt the need to decide to add the cherry on top by cheating yourself out of Illuminations. Can't blame WDW for that, even if they were out all day to be a pain in your rear. You could've also decided to find a spot to enjoy Illuminations. It's a shame you felt it was needed to also cheat yourself out of that.

Already doing a :duck: but I think a big factor in this is emotions. Emotions resulting in unrealistic expectations, emotions resulting in dealing with hurdles in a way that leaves a sour taste in your mouth instead of seeing options that were there in many cases to turn things around. To go :confused3 when running into some CM not having their day or if finding it such a big thing; have it known at GS at the end of the day but deciding said CM is not going to be the deciding factor of the sentiment of the day.

Again; I'm sorry you experienced it the way you did. I do think there is a powerfull piece of info here that can be translated to all kinds of things in live. When sentiments have settled down enough, look back on things. What really happened, what could you have done to have it not turn into a sour experience, where might there have been a non-intentioned moment of communication or handling of your side added to outcomes etc. Or as that saying goes; if life gives you lemons, learn how to make lemonade. Eating them raw will leave a sour taste. Yet making lemonade out of them will result in a much sweeter experience. Same situations but totally different outlook, sentiment and thus outcome. We can't control the lemons unfortunately. But that lemonade making; it makes raining lemons so much easier to bear and enjoy life. In the end, that's all anybody has. If nothing else; take that from this experience and enjoy the profit of it.


And don't tell the bank ;) but that lesson is worth going bankrupt over if you ask me. ::yes::

SueM in MN
04-21-2012, 09:19 AM
I'm sorry you did not have the magical trip you planned, but from what you have written, it really sounds like you had too much planned for the time you had and you did not have enough information.*
Doing 4 parks in one day is a huge undertaking, even for people without any challenges. To expect to do 4 parks in that amount of time with any kind of disability is an almost impossible task.
I realize you may have been tied into doing that because of the helpers being available, but you would have had a less stressful, and overall better day if you had concentrated on only one park and on the attractions there that were easily accessible.
*
.......I can tell you this time, despite the rising cost of Park admission; our experience this year was not so magical. It all started with the parking lot attendant who, after we showed a medical parking request from my doctor describing my disability and disease, threatened to call the Sheriff and have our car towed. Last year we were able to do this so I am not sure what changed in your policy but it was not right for us to be so rudely treated early in the morning by a cast member.
I would suggest you get a handicapped parking permit.*
I am surprised that your doctor expected you to be allowed to use handicapped parking with just a letter from him. It would be just as easy to fill out the forms and get a proper handicapped parking permit and then you would not have to worry.
CMs are usually nice about directing guests to the spots at the ends if rows or in the Medical Parking lot that are not marked as designated handicapped parking spots. If you were parked in one of the marked handicapped parking spots when the CM approached you, you would be asked to move or possibly get a ticket. *The designated handicapped parking spots are marked with either a handicapped parking sign or blue paint lines.*
Guests parking in one of those spots MUST have a handicapped parking permit. Guests without permits *are allowed to park in unmarked spots.
I was excited to see that I did not have to get out of my wheelchair to board the Jungle Cruise so we got in line and we’re told that it would only be a 20 minute wait while they pulled the specialized boat when the normal wait time was only 25 min. After about 45 min. 2 wheelchair boats went by we were told it would only be eight my minutes until our boat arrived. Finally it did and we had a good ride.
There is only one wheelchair accessible boat on the Jungle Cruise. It loads and unloads in the same place, so if it had any *guests on, it would have had to stop at that dock to unload. Since you wrote it went by twice, my guess is that either it was on a training run when you saw it go by or there was some problem with the boat.
It does appear there was some miscommunication there since they told you it would be a shorter time than it took.
After the cruise ride we went to Pirates and could not understand why it was set up so impossible to get on. I love the movies and this is one of my favorite rides so it was discouraging that my friends literally had to pick me up at 225 pounds and put me in the boat/pick me up to get out of the boat
Since Pirates is one of your favorite rides, it's too bad you didn't remember how difficult it is to get on - even some able-bodied folks have trouble with the step down.
Pirates is a difficult ride to get on with any kind of mobility disabilities and is not something we attempt with our daughter each trip. She is small - only about 85 pounds, but not easy to pick up and put on.
There is no ADA requirement that every ride be accessible. In the case of Pirates, it would not be that easy to make a safe wheelchair accessible boat because of the 14 foot fall that the boat makes fairly early in the ride.

There a a lot of references out there that indicate the ride requires a transfer. For other potential visitors - check out the disABILITIES FAQs thread. Posts 18-22 on page 2 talk about what type of transfer is required and which attractions have a wheelchair accessible car.
When we got off we headed over to the Haunted Mansion because we thought it would be easy to get on. So we waited in line and by the time we got to the end we were ushered along a passage way to the ride’s exit. A cast member asked me if I could walk onto a moving platform and we said no to which he rudely responded, “you know; now we are going to have to completely stop the ride now!" I was absolutely floored by his response but we decided to proceed and I struggled to get on the ride right in front of him. When the ride was over we asked if we could go through again because it was so difficult to get on and impossible to get on other rides he again rudely said, “NO"!
I don't know what you expected from your comment about "struggling to get on the ride right in front of him."
CMs are NOT allowed to physically assist with boarding, other than small things like moving a wheelchair out of the way after you have gotten off.

Our experience has not been the same and we have ridden many times with our daughter. They have always stopped the moving walkway for us and in fact, we pull her wheelchair onto the walkway right next to the ride car. After she is*

They can only actually stop the ride at a specific ride car (the one car that has a wider opening). They usually ask as we are waiting who can leave their wheelchair and walk 20 feet. They take those people ahead of us while we are waiting for the accessible car.

Riding a second time is sometimes allowed if there is not a long wait for the ride. It's a request though and can't be expected.

So we left the park and went to Animal Kingdom.
We found the Animal Kingdom to be incredibly accommodating although when we got on the Safari the driver and tour guide was incredibly unenthusiastly boring. We decided not to board with the wheelchair because we were short on time and as we were getting off the ride the attendants hurried us while boarding our row.
I'm surprised that your friends were able to lift you up onto that tram. That is quite high and I would not suggest it for anyone who is not at least able to step up into the ride car and back down again.*
Our daughter could not go on the Safari if she was not in her wheelchair. We would not be able to get her safely on and she would not be able to sit up. Since the tram only holds one occupied wheelchair, we do sometimes have to wait for a second tram if someone ahead of us needs to stay in their wheelchair.

In our experience riding many times, they don't open the gate to let more guests in until the guest unloading are out. I'm sorry you felt rushed, but it was probably more perception than really being rushed. The tram loading at the accessible load/unload area is not on a schedule to leave every few minutes like the regular trams.*

We also found this Park to be very accommodating but around 7 PM we were hungry and wanted to get to Epcot for dinner as I knew the International World closed at 9 PM that Sunday, March 4th. Instead of getting in and out of the car again, we decided to take the bus. At 7:15 PM the first bus labeled for Epcot passed right by us and about 10 other people. We were told by a bus attendant that it should have not gone by and picked us up. After we got on the next bus at 7:35 PM and went through all the trouble of stabilizing the wheel chair, the two of us theorized that the first bus driver did not want to deal with the hassle of getting a wheelchair on and off the bus as by now this was our viewpoint and our only explanation.
as other posters mentioned, there could be some logical explanations, such as the bus not actually being on its way to Epcott.
I do have to say though that the only really rude CM s we have encountered in all our trips have been bus CMs who seemed to not want to load a wheelchair.

For other travelers between the 2 parks, as other posters mentioned, using the boats would be a much better option.*
So we got to Epcot around 8 PM and after a bathroom pit stop, hightailed it over to Italy from the bus stop. I knew that the main restaurant would be closed but we wanted some good pizza to remind us of last year's trip to Naples. When we crossed the threshold of the door the host started to shake her head no, which we thought was incredibly rude. It was now 8:35 PM and we were told that the seating had ended at 8:30 PM. We begged and pleaded with the host, explaining that we ran over from the main gate but she would not accommodate us.
I would not expect to be seated in a restaurant at a park after*8:30 - possibly even 8:20.*
I have been in restaurants in malls where we arrived too late to be seated.*Like the parks, those people have to be out at a certain time because the place they are in is closing. That is different than a freestanding restaurant, although I have been at some of those where they stopped serving at 8:30 to close at nine. Guests need time to eat, so they have to stop at some point or they will be open waiting for people to finish at 10pm.
Instead of asking for a manager we just left, so aggravated we didn't even bother to stay for the Illumination show that in previous years had been too cold for us to watch and this year I had been looking forward to. We were so hungry we didn't have any time for souvenirs and needed to leave the parks to get dinner somewhere else before it got too late as we plan on going to Universal Studios the next day. As we left the park crying I almost threw a fit, like a spoiled five-year-old, because I knew that I would never be able to come back with my condition progressing as quickly as it is.
As other posters mentioned, if you had gotten seated at the restaurant, you would have missed Illuminations at any rate.*
Even after we left the parks we still had issues with your cast. While at the outlet mall in Orlando we decided to stop at the Disney store for some discounted Souvenirs. We picked out a couple things and one of the items, a sweater, did not have a price tag. When we went up to the counter the clerk informed us that she had to find a similar item in the store for the price and walked around to try to find one. She then informed us that there was nothing in the store so she had to call over a manager to get a price for us. The manager called around to other shops for a little while before she went to the back room where she disappeared for about 20 minutes. After over a half an hour later, the manager told us that they could not sell us the sweater because they could not find a proper price. This was on the day that we were to fly out of Orlando – now talk about a waste of time for absolutely nothing! I could see if this were a full price retail store in downtown Disney but it was not, it was an outlet store selling picked over merchandise. That manager could have sold us that sweater for $30 and made up a price but she was not empowered to do so, nor did it seem like she cared. She was just another Disney employee trying to get to the end of the day. And it seems we had encountered so many of them on our trip.
I would agree that the amount of time was excessive, but I do not know their policies for items without prices. I don't know if anyone there had the authority to just set a price. They apparently did spend a lot of time trying to research it though before getting back to you to tell you they could not sell it.
Overall we saved a lot of money on your mistakes, which is how I have decided to look at it. Unfortunately I have a lot of friends with children that I'm going to describe our experiences to. I will also call the ADA
I agree with other posters that there is nothing in your reported experience that would be in violation of the ADA.*
There is not a requirement that everything be totally wheelchair accessible. All the park maps indicate which attractions require a transfer (not just the special maps for guests with disabilities). There are also signs at the entrance that indicate the accessibility.
There is also no requirement that guests be allowed to ride twice just because it is hard to get on. Sometimes that request is granted, sometimes not.
and post on disability Web sites about how unaccommodating Walt Disney World is towards incapacitated Human beings. I can tell you that we have decided not to book a Disney cruise for next year and I doubt we will ever come back – not because I am dying but because the disabled customer experience is terrible! Your company has lost a loyal and lifelong fan. It is a real shame because I found myself always having to defend your products to my friends. Now I understand why those parks are struggling for attendance.
Again, I am sorry that your trip did not meet your expectation for a magical trip, but I think your expectations were perhaps colored by this being your planned 'last trip'.
I think you will find that most guests with disabilities who visit WDW parks would not agree with you

We have been coming to WDW for over 20 years with a child with multiple disabilities, who can't walk or talk. She was only 2 when she got her first wheelchair and we come to WDW twice a year for up to 14 days each trip.

The reason we keep coming back is that the WDW parks are the most accessible place we have visited and we can, to some extent, forget our daughter's disabilities.*

buffettgirl
04-21-2012, 09:30 AM
This is a letter I recently wrote to the guest communication department about the major disappointment we faced throughout the day. For our aggravation, Disney offered us 2 base tickets but only if we had our receipts:

In the end it seems that they are planning on reimbursing you, which seems to me like very good customer service; Making that offer for circumstances which were totally out of their control.

So Disney seems to be doing, as always, what Disney does best. Trying to make a magical experience for everyone.

PatsMom
04-21-2012, 11:03 AM
I wish I could still get on those rides but I just don't have the leg strength to side step, step down, or for that matter get myself back up.

I don't believe you have to leave your wheelchair for most of the attractions the PP mentioned. I know there is a wheelchair vehicle on Buzz and Pooh. You might have to wait a bit for the approppriate vechicle, but they exist. Most of the shows like Country Bears and Philharmagic and Laugh Floor also have seating where your chair would be accommodated. I am still able to walk but the day is coming when I will be in an ECV or chair so we try to keep up with these things!

There is a guidebook for guests with disabilities that sounds like it might have helped you out a lot. It tells the best way to access all of the attractions. I believe there is one for each park. I have been thinking about picking up copies because in January we are considering taking my niece with Angelman's Syndrome. She has very limited mobility and is non-verbal so we are figuring out the best way to deal with her condition.

The busses are another story - I have heard many times of people having issues with the busses. It might have been more efficient to go via boat. I believe the Friendship boats that go between MGM and Epcot are accessible. They run more often than the busses too.

Sometimes advance knowledge can really make or break a trip. I hope you find a vacation venue that you find friendly and are able to enjoy yourself on your next vacation!

Mama Who
04-21-2012, 11:11 AM
The map, big sign at the beginning of the ride, any and all proper websites, all would've informed you within no time that POTC requires a transfer.

27 seconds. I timed it. That's how long it took to open a browser window, pull up the WDW site, find Pirates and determine that it requires a transfer.

I am sorry the HM CM was so rude to the OP. I'm having trouble coming up with anything else that was wrong on Disney's part. I do think WDW needs to have a serious "come to Jesus" with the staff at that attraction. It sounds like there's a toxic work situation brewing there and it's impacting the show.

buffettgirl
04-21-2012, 11:32 AM
27 seconds. I timed it. That's how long it took to open a browser window, pull up the WDW site, find Pirates and determine that it requires a transfer.

I am sorry the HM CM was so rude to the OP. I'm having trouble coming up with anything else that was wrong on Disney's part. I do think WDW needs to have a serious "come to Jesus" with the staff at that attraction. It sounds like there's a toxic work situation brewing there and it's impacting the show.

sometimes the HM CMs seem to take their character a bit too far -when I read the story I could hear a CM saying those words, but in the HM 'voice' try and and you'll see what I mean; "you know; now we are going to have to completely stop the ride now!"

I'm not disagreeing with the assessment of the CM at HM, there seem to be a lot of HM stories where the policies are a bit weird, but in this case, I wonder if it was just a HM cm doing his or her act a little too well.

dclfun
04-21-2012, 11:43 AM
I'm having a hard time with your post for several reasons. By the way, I also have ALS, live on a ventilator and use a power wheelchair and service dog, and we visit WDW often so that is my perspective.

As others have mentioned, if you don't have a handicapped placard, you cannot park in that section. Medical parking is what Disney calls "handicapped parking" to avoid the connotation of "handicapped" to disabled visitors. There is no separate handicapped vs. medical parking. I suggest that you apply for a placard asap as I'm sure you need it in daily life. Policeman ticketing vehicles will not be looking for a letter from your Dr.

You keep mentioning your budget, yet you also mentioned visiting Italy last year and that you were planning a Disney cruise. Yet this was your last "hurrah"? Threatening to NOT visit Disney again probably isn't your best approach. Mentioning your income probably isn't either when you have taken or were planning on taking other expensive vacations. Of course someone else could be providing $ for those vacations but that isn't clear in your letter.

There is no excuse for rude behavior or comments by CM's, but waiting for an accessible vehicle is something that those of us who cannot transfer have to deal with. There are also many attractions that you cannot enjoy from a wheelchair but I thought you had brought friends with you to help you into/out of those attractions. I wish you had stopped by City Hall to get the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities for each park. This would have helped you understand which attractions are accessible and which ones require a transfer. A little research before a trip goes a long way.

It sounds like you wanted to be treated as "special". There are MANY guests at Disney, including adults and children, who are on their last trip. This is not just Make a Wish guests, but those such as yourself or someone with other terminal illnesses such as cancer. CM's cannot look at us and know this information and there has been a big push to treat everyone equally, which I appreciate. You were treated as "special" at Universal. It is a different company and different parks. IMO you were very lucky to get to ride one of their most popular attractions 4 times in a row. Unless there were no other guests waiting to board an attraction, that would not happen at Disney.

As others have posted, the hostess at the restaurant could NOT seat you after their designated closing time. Can you imagine what would happen if she seated everyone who came up after that time and "begged"?

I don't think it was helpful for you to threaten Disney with posting your letter on message boards. I, for one, do not take your side for the above reasons, however I AM sorry you did not have the trip you expected. As someone with ALS who does not have the stamina you have, I'd have never been able to trek through four parks in one day and enjoy myself either. I hope you do get to come back and that you'll ask for help in planning. We are here to help each other and are happy to help you make the most of your time in the parks.

SueM in MN
04-21-2012, 12:13 PM
That I won't agree with. To our experience Universal was way less wheelchair-friendly than WDW. We think WDW is one of the most wheelchair-friendly places, perhaps on the planet. Second only to DCL :goodvibes.
I would agree.

I wonder if in the past when you went to Disney, did you see wheelchairs going to the front of the line and were counting on the same? As someone else pointed out due to AB's abusing this, a wheelchair is no longer a pass to the front of the line. I think the bigger contributing factor to the changes is the VERY large number of guests with wheelchairs and guest assistance cards that go through the Disney gates everyday.

I agree with everything you said, but want to clarify several common misconceptions that a lot of people had.

1) Wheelchairs going to the front of the line: even though people assume that happens, when the guests with wheelchairs are pulled out of line, they are usually just being pulled to a place that is accessible to board. That does not mean they board right away or do not wait, or go to the front of the line. For example, the Safari at AK and Spaceship Earth, the regular boarding area is not accessible. We frequently end up waiting longer there than guest who are able to walk on.

2) Wheelchair boarding beng a 'perk' or advantage: Attractions MK and Ecpot were designed before accessibility was being thought of and most of the attractions were built with one thing in mind - guest flow thru attractions.
This means keeping a steady stream of guests coming toward the attraction into the boarding area and then out at the unload point. The way they did this was by making the line narrower and narrower as it got closer to boarding to deliver a single file line of guests to board. The exit was often in another place or on the other side of the track, which was more efficient because it moved guests away from the boarding area quickly.
The reason for handicapped boarding areas was that was the only way the attraction was accessible.

3) Able bodied guests being the reason that wheelchairs no longer move to the front of the line: I am sure there were a few guests who rented wheelchairs because they thought it would be an advantage.
Those people were not the reason that access changed. The first reason is that the ADA (Americans with Disabilties Act) actually REQUIRES guests with disabilities to be handled in the same way as other guests, as much as possible. This led to Mainstream Lines, where guests with disabilities use the same lines as everyone else, as much as possible.
AK and the Studio were built with mostly Mainstream Lines. Attractions at MK and Epcot were renovated to be Mainstream as much as possible.

The other reason would be that word got out that WDW was an accessible place to visit with disabilities. As that happened and more guests were visiting with wheelchairs and ECVs, they needed better ways to handle them since some of the 'older' ways only worked with occassional guests needing to use them.

I have multiple disabilities and cannot do many of the rides--no matter how many people are with me. I don't let it bother me. I just focus on enjoying the attractions that I can. And believe me I do enjoy them!

I have also found that my having a very positive attitude impacts those around me. Some of my neighbors visit me frequently. One of them told me yesterday that she enjoys talking to me because I don't gossip about others or focus on negative things. She said she didn't have to worry about my talking about her behind her back!!

This isn't a perfect world and I don't like having my abilities diminish. I do realize that I can't control my physical abilities (other than not giving up!) I can control my mood. I choose to be happy and at peace. I focus on the things I can do, not what others don't do for me.

I am going on a cruise at the end of September. It leaves out of Galveston which makes it possible for me. It will probably be my last contact with anything Disney and most likely my last "vacation." I am going to enjoy every minute because I know that I can choose to focus on the fun--not the negative.
::yes::
:hug:


Again; I'm sorry you experienced it the way you did. I do think there is a powerfull piece of info here that can be translated to all kinds of things in live. When sentiments have settled down enough, look back on things. What really happened, what could you have done to have it not turn into a sour experience, where might there have been a non-intentioned moment of communication or handling of your side added to outcomes etc. Or as that saying goes; if life gives you lemons, learn how to make lemonade. Eating them raw will leave a sour taste. Yet making lemonade out of them will result in a much sweeter experience. Same situations but totally different outlook, sentiment and thus outcome. We can't control the lemons unfortunately. But that lemonade making; it makes raining lemons so much easier to bear and enjoy life. In the end, that's all anybody has. If nothing else; take that from this experience and enjoy the profit of it.


And don't tell the bank ;) but that lesson is worth going bankrupt over if you ask me. ::yes::
Very well said.

Cheshire Figment
04-21-2012, 12:39 PM
As a Disney CM working in Guest Relations, I feel that all CMs are given a daily allotment of Pixie Dust to distribute as needed. Those of us in GR get a higher than average allotment as we see more people with problems.

I have multiple disabilities and can empathize with others with disabilities, and I always attempt to dispense my daily allotment of Pixie Dust. We have the option to make exceptions and bend rules with no repercussions as long as we can justify our actions.

However, sometimes, due to the Guest attitude, we will get out the Villain Dust, not bend any rules and stick to the letter of the law or even, in extreme cases, get Security involved.

SueM in MN
04-21-2012, 12:51 PM
I'm going to close this thread at this point because it seems to have reached the end of discussion.

SueM in MN
04-21-2012, 03:13 PM
Originally Posted by toocherie
I know you have not been disabled for that long, but one of the things we struggle with is being treated like everyone else. If the disabled were allowed to ride numerous times that would not be fair to the non-disabled crowd. As for other rides being "impossible" which rides were those? From your description it seems that there were many rides/experiences that you didn't try. For example, the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear even Space Mountain. The Country Bear Jamboree. Hall of Presidents. Tiki Room. These are all (in my experience) pretty disabled friendly. I'm sure there are many others I'm just not thinking of right now. In fact, the only thing I know isn't very handicapped friendly is the PeopleMover (sorry, can't remember the proper WDW name for it
I wish I could still get on those rides but I just don't have the leg strength to side step, step down, or for that matter get myself back up.
Space Mountain doesn't have an accessible car and would be hard to get into and out of, but the rest are accessible.
Buzz Lightyear has a wheelchair accessible ride car and the others listed are shows.
We still think of it as PeopleMover, but the correct name is Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The access to the 2nd floor station where guest need to board and unload is not accessible.

I'm guessing that the OP chose specific rides because they had a significance to him from past trips and this was going to be his last trip.
So, although someone who was interested in accessibility may not have chosen Pirates, someone who was interested in recapturing memories might.
As I already posted, I think the biggest issue was trying to do too much in too short of a time with too little information. But, it's very easy for. Previously healthy person to overestimate what they can do, especially if they are young and feel like they are on a race against time.