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The_Alice
05-05-2012, 02:36 PM
We just got back from WDW last week and we had a good time. But, we did have a melt down at Haunted Mansion due to the changes. We worked to resolve it with the CMs there, but I did go to Guest Services to state that there are some issues with how the GACs are being handled by CMs.

What the Guest Services CM told me during the course of the conversation didn't really set well. She stated that because so many people are having their children "pretend" to have Autism or simply just state their child has ASD in order to "cut lines" they are being a bit more discriminate in the giving of GACs to Guests, sometimes refusing to give them. I informed her I understand that this can be a concern, but that to my knowledge Guest Relations is not allowed to ask for "proof" and that this could lead to quite a firestorm if they weren't careful.

If we had to provide proof we could from several sources including his doctors, Easter Seals, school corporation etc., but I know that it wouldn't sit well with our family to be looked at like we were trying to "get away with something". The GAC makes touring the world much easier and less stressful, and as I am sure most of you would agree, I don't mind waiting longer if it means he is calmer during the day and we have less meltdowns.

I would chalk this up to an inexperienced CM but I also heard it from two other CMs at DHS when we got to talking about my son's GAC and they wanted to see where it was issued.

Has anyone else heard this?

Nik's Mom
05-05-2012, 02:54 PM
That is totally against the law. They really need to do a better job educating their cm's. But, I will gladly show them a doctors note if it means that only those with a disability are able to get a GAC.

The_Alice
05-05-2012, 03:02 PM
See that's what I thought too, but she just stated that they could just refuse to give one if they didn't "believe the child had Autism".

The other two CMs also stated they had spoken with families refused GACs due to the Guest Relations staff not believing or recognizing the signs of ASD in their kids.

Does anyone have a link to the Title III requirements from the ADA?

clanmcculloch
05-05-2012, 03:32 PM
Wow, this is so BAD. I know we had a frustrating experience at MK a few trips ago when getting DD14's GAC but we were given it and then we were never questioned about it after. The CM who was issuing it was telling me in a somewhat snotty tone that he didn't think we needed it but would give it to us because we had been given one in the past (I had a couple past ones with me). We then moved on to purchasing my TiW card and he started chatting a bit with DD14. By the end of the conversation he was really sweet to her because despite being in such an amazing mood due to having just arrived at WDW and riding the monorail alone with me (she LOVES alone time with me; we hopped the monorail just to get her GAC so she was SUPER happy), she still started showing some signs of a meltdown brewing (I got it under control quickly but the stimming was evident as was the rigidity so it became much more obvious). I think he got a huge lesson in not judging disability book by its cover. At least I hope he did. I'm not sure how I'd handle somebody looking me in the eye (well, as close as anybody gets to that; I don't look people directly in the eye) and saying that he thinks I'm lying. Come to think of it, DD14 would give him an earful and it would be VERY clear that she's autistic with the way she'd respond. Boy, I pity the fool who tries that with us. LOL

BillSears
05-05-2012, 03:42 PM
I tend not to comment on disabilities that I do not have personal experience with so please forgive me if I get any of this wrong. I figure you guys who live with it day to day know much more than I would.

From what I've heard equal access cannot be denied and you cannot ask for proof for equal access. But for superior access you can ask for proof. For example a handicapped parking permit requires proof.

So what type of access is needed/desired for an ASD GAC? If all you want is to go into the normal line then that's equal access, legally equal but not end result equal. Being given a little card for a time to return and then being escorted past the line would be equal access with pretty much equal results. But being allowed to use the fastpass line without a fastpass or to otherwise bypass the line isn't equal access.

In the past Disney did give wheelchair users superior access and after a lot of abuse in the 80s-90s(just a guess on my part) things were tightened up and now wheelchairs seem to get about equal access with some better and some worse. It's not as nice as getting front of the line access wheelchair users used to get but it's still better than most other places in the "real world". I can see Disney trying to do something similar with the ASD GAC. If people abuse it they have to stop the abuse somehow and providing equal access instead of superior is one way to do that.

I know you guys are in a tough situation and I don't know what a good solution is. Hopefully something will be done that all sides can live with.

jmartinez1895
05-05-2012, 03:46 PM
On our last trip we went to City Hall at MK to get my son his GAC. The family in front of us was trying to get one for there child and they did not get one. I got very nervous, but I just told them what we needed and why and they gave us one. I think that they may be cutting back on people just walking up and saying my child has xyz and we need a GAC and they are enforcing the need to explain what you need ( or at least I hope that this is what is going on).t the

The_Alice
05-05-2012, 03:57 PM
We kept our GAC from last time just to be on the safe side, and all we asked was that he be provided an alternate area to wait. No front of the line stuff etc. The reason we ask for this is so primarily he can be kept calmer during his day and also if he does have a melt down in line a.) it's easier to get the heck out of there if need be and b.) since he can become violent to lessen the risk of harming others should he start to strike out.

The_Alice
05-05-2012, 04:07 PM
I tend not to comment on disabilities that I do not have personal experience with so please forgive me if I get any of this wrong. I figure you guys who live with it day to day know much more than I would.

From what I've heard equal access cannot be denied and you cannot ask for proof for equal access. But for superior access you can ask for proof. For example a handicapped parking permit requires proof.

So what type of access is needed/desired for an ASD GAC? If all you want is to go into the normal line then that's equal access, legally equal but not end result equal. Being given a little card for a time to return and then being escorted past the line would be equal access with pretty much equal results. But being allowed to use the fastpass line without a fastpass or to otherwise bypass the line isn't equal access.

In the past Disney did give wheelchair users superior access and after a lot of abuse in the 80s-90s(just a guess on my part) things were tightened up and now wheelchairs seem to get about equal access with some better and some worse. It's not as nice as getting front of the line access wheelchair users used to get but it's still better than most other places in the "real world". I can see Disney trying to do something similar with the ASD GAC. If people abuse it they have to stop the abuse somehow and providing equal access instead of superior is one way to do that.

I know you guys are in a tough situation and I don't know what a good solution is. Hopefully something will be done that all sides can live with.

Bill to my knowledge the fact is that Disney quite simply does not have an alternate area set up for many of it's attractions, especially in MK due to it being built in the early 70s.

Do we go up expecting the Fast Pass route. As I stated previously, if it meant waiting double the time in a more quiet area versus standard time in line so long as it minimized his stress therefore melt downs I would gladly do it.

I too hope for a resolution that makes all parties at least satisfied. I do think the CMs need more training with ASD as now 1 in 88 are diagnosed on the spectrum in some form. So with growing rapidity they will start seeing more children coming into the parks with ASD or some type of processing disorder.

Nik's Mom
05-05-2012, 04:13 PM
We kept our GAC from last time just to be on the safe side, and all we asked was that he be provided an alternate area to wait. No front of the line stuff etc. The reason we ask for this is so primarily he can be kept calmer during his day and also if he does have a melt down in line a.) it's easier to get the heck out of there if need be and b.) since he can become violent to lessen the risk of harming others should he start to strike out.

Same here. We do not ask for or ever get front of the line access. And we also use touring plans, get to the parks at opening, etc. So, we often don't even need to use the GAC.

Mary976
05-05-2012, 04:17 PM
We don't usually get a GAC (DD uses a wheelchair) but were offered one last time to help with something specific for a couple of rides. We only used it a handful of times. At Soarin, the CM did check the name and asked who it was, he then asked me where the card was issued. But then he handed it right back and there wasn't a problem. I would assume he was verifying that the person whose name was on the card was actually the one using it...maybe the asking where we got it was to be sure we weren't "borrowing" the card from someone else??

Anyway, it seems like if you can explain your needs clearly (rather than just your diagnosis), the GAC process is more likely to be a smooth one.

Mary

The_Alice
05-05-2012, 04:18 PM
Same here. We do not ask for or ever get front of the line access. And we also use touring plans, get to the parks at opening, etc. So, we often don't even need to use the GAC.

Agreed. We used it on HM to avoid the stretching room which is what led to all of this. Our youngest can't deal with the tight enclosed space, blackout etc. It sets him off. So we hoped to avoid the stretching room. They found a way for us to do so and basically wait in line, go in the chicken exit and avoid it. But, it took some doing.

cmwade77
05-05-2012, 04:48 PM
Here is the link to Title III of the ADA:
http://www.ada.gov/taman3.html

This is a very interesting read and it could be argued that Disney is in violation of several of the sections, even before they started this new denying guests GACs.

In one case, I know Disney was in violation for a time at World of Color at California Adventure, they decided to move all of the wheelchair spaces to the back. This meant that they were not dispersed throughout the seating area and that they were not providing the same lines of sights as available to other guests, even though it was readily achievable since they had done it previously. It also limited the number of people that could sit (in this case stand, but the principle is the same) with their friends or family. This was a clear violation of 4.4660 on this list (and a few other sections in ADA as well). I called them on it and they have since corrected the problem after I spoke with some of the management team at the Disneyland Resort. And yes, the rules listed above apply to Amphitheaters, even when they are generally standing only venues. In all reality, their current arrangement may still be a violation, I am not sure. At bare minimum allowing guests to put kids on their shoulders in front of the wheelchair sections is indeed a violation, as this is a readily achievable accommodation that can be made to provide equal viewing.

Looking at this, they absolutely cannot deny a guest a GAC because they don't think the guest has a disability based on what I am reading throughout this. There is no doubt about the language of the law, so stand up for your rights.

BillSears
05-05-2012, 05:02 PM
Looking at this, they absolutely cannot deny a guest a GAC because they don't think the guest has a disability based on what I am reading throughout this. There is no doubt about the language of the law, so stand up for your rights.

But I don't see anything in this that says Disney must provide an alternate entrance or a quiet waiting area if someone's disability would need that. Getting a GAC and then not giving an alternate entrance/waiting area would mean that basically your GAC is useless.

There are all sorts of rules for wheelchair access but very few rules for ASD types of disabilities. Disney has been giving a lot of accommodations that are fantastic but may not be required by law.

I've always felt that Disney goes above and beyond the law for wheelchair access. It's the probably the most accessible place I've ever visited and that includes most hospitals. I suspect it's similar for the ASD crowd.

cmwade77
05-05-2012, 06:06 PM
But I don't see anything in this that says Disney must provide an alternate entrance or a quiet waiting area if someone's disability would need that. Getting a GAC and then not giving an alternate entrance/waiting area would mean that basically your GAC is useless.

There are all sorts of rules for wheelchair access but very few rules for ASD types of disabilities. Disney has been giving a lot of accommodations that are fantastic but may not be required by law.

I've always felt that Disney goes above and beyond the law for wheelchair access. It's the probably the most accessible place I've ever visited and that includes most hospitals. I suspect it's similar for the ASD crowd.
For ASD, it would be under Mental Disability and large portions of Section 3 would cover that modifications that are easily achievable would need to be made to accomodate this, in the case of Disneyland/Disney World, a reasonable accommodation is the GAC, providing that it is handled properly.

That being said, there was a point in time where I would agree that Disney was the most accessible park; however, at least in Southern California other parks have been improving their accessibility while Disney has been staying in place, at best, at worst they have gone backwards slightly with their latest policies.

Out of the So. Cal Parks, I would place Disney as 5th in accessibility. I would place the following parks in order from best to worst, for the following reasons:

Sea World
[LIST]
Accessible parking is within a few hundred feet of the entrance.
They provide options for accessibility, even hidden disabilites, at all rides, shows, shops and dining venues. This even includes for those that simply can't stand for long periods of time, but can walk.
If you rent an ECV or Wheelchair, if you ask them, they will have someone take you all the way to your car with it, not just the loading/unloading area or to the tram.

San Diego Safari Park

The parking is once again very close to the entrance and they will allow the disabled to use the preferred parking at no additional cost when the accesible parking is full.
They provide free shuttles throughout the park.
They provide a companion with a free ticket.
If you are not travelling with someone and give at least 14 days notice, they will provide someone to push your wheelchair, a sign language intrepreter or someone to describe everything for the visually impared at no additonal cost. In some cases they will still do this, even if you do have other people in your party.
They have installed an elevator on their steepest hill, providing a second alternative to the shuttle.
Allows the use of Segways as accesible devices, at least in "Turtle Mode"

San Diego Zoo

Everything that the San Diego Safari Park offers, except the elevator. The only reason this one is here instead is that the staff doesn't always know what the accesible routes are and they are not as clearly marked.

Universal Studios

This was just below Disneyland for me (almost a tie though), until Transformers the ride came around.
The disabled parking is close to the entrance, with no tram required.
They provide shuttles to their lower lot for the disabled.
Transformers: The Ride is what pushed this one over for me. This is a thril ride, but it is desined to allow service animals as well as allow guests in their wheelchair to reamin in their wheelchair.
They provide accomodations at all rides, shows, shops and restaurants for all forms of diabilities.
I think their system is probably the most fair, in general, if the line is under 20 minutes, they simply allow you to use the Gate A (aka FOTL) access; however, if the line is longer they will give you a time to come back at that is equal to the length of the line (usually minus about 5 minutes to account for the time you will wait in Gate A). You return and use Gate A access. This means there is less abuse of the system, because you are definitely waiting the same amount of time as everyone else, just in a place that is more condusive to your needs and yet you do not ended up waiting much longer than anyone else, which is also fair to you.


The Disneyland Resort has several issues with accessibility still:

At most shows, wheelchair seating is limited to only one section, not dispersed throughout the theater, as required.
The wait times for those that need assistance (especially that cannot do stairs or need a wheelchair vehicle) often wait longer than everyone else. This is partially due to abuse, but mostly due to policy.
The hills going into and out of Critter Country and Mickey's Toontown are not ADA compliant and there are readily achievable accomodations that could be made to make this possible.
The accesible loading areas for the shuttles to the parking lots (with the exception of Toy Story) require them to wheel or walk further than most, if not all of the other guests.
The accesible parking spaces are not within the appropriate distance to the entrance of the parks. That being said, it could be argued that they only need to be close enough to the Trams, even if that is the case, they are still not close enough based on ADA. Nor are there enough spaces that do not require the use of the elevator at the parking structure. Some will say that the use of the elevator is accomodation enough; however, since the escalators are often broken to one or more levels, this puts an extra strain on the elevators and prevents the disabled from using them, which then violates sections of the ADA. This is a manitenance issue with the escalators and an issue with not enough elevators, let alone fast enough elevators.
There is no accessible parking for the Grand California hotel that I have been able to find and since Valet parking costs extra, that is not an alternative.
The parking structure at the Paradise Pier hotel does not have an elevator and there are not enough accessible spaces in their lot.

This is a smalle list of the issues that Disney still needs to address, there are indeed far more that need to be addressed.

Please note that I use Southern California as my example, as I do not know how Florida's other parks compare to Disney.

For the record, in So. Cal., I would rank all of the other major parks as non-ada compliant, mostly due to policy issues. There are some smaller parks that easily rank amongst the best of the best though.

Maggie'sMom
05-05-2012, 09:49 PM
What the Guest Services CM told me during the course of the conversation didn't really set well. She stated that because so many people are having their children "pretend" to have Autism or simply just state their child has ASD in order to "cut lines" they are being a bit more discriminate in the giving of GACs to Guests, sometimes refusing to give them. I informed her I understand that this can be a concern, but that to my knowledge Guest Relations is not allowed to ask for "proof" and that this could lead to quite a firestorm if they weren't careful.

GAC's are supposed to be based on needs and not diagnosis. My DD has a mood disorder and sensory issues but isn't on the spectrum. I've never used a GAC for her but it's always been comforting to know that they are there if I decide we need one. Your experience is bothersome to me because I'd hate to decide that we need a GAC and have a CM refuse because she thinks we're making up our needs or because it doesn't fit a pre-conceived notion of what diagnoses should receive a GAC.

Mom2six
05-05-2012, 11:01 PM
I would totally provide proof of what needs my sons have - I may actually take a doctor's note just in case I run across a problem getting the GACs. However, it is against the law for them to require proof, so I don't know what justification they are using to deny them to people.

bookwormde
05-06-2012, 06:09 AM
In ruling after ruling, it is demonstrated that the intent is that persons will disabilities have as equivalent access to accommodations (hotels, shows, rides or any other "public" event). This includes that the experience be as similar as practical to that for non disabled individuals.
That is part of why families and groups are not allowed to be split up beyond what would occur typically.
As for ASD individuals who cannot manage the high density, long duration lines, Disney must provide reasonable accommodations such as an alternate waiting area or electronic means to enter the attractions without waiting in line at a time no later than what would exist for non disabled individuals.
There are also clear rulings that even at older attractions that are grandfathered, that if the waiting area or system is modified in any significant way that, that entrance access must meet ADA even if the actual attraction is still grandfathered.
Different divisions at the parks sometimes make changes without vetting though the disabilities group (such as the double stacking busses issue we have last year), my guess is that this is what happened in with requiring more that "self declaration" for a GAC. The funny thing is that you do not need a GAC to get accommodations anywhere at WDW, since all you need to do is to declare the disability to any employees responsible for an area, and how your disability impacts equal access and opportunity, and if they or you have an accommodation that is reasonable accomplishable they must provide it. The GAC is just a convenience and way to enhance privacy and efficiency for both the guest and CMs.
There is a reasonableness caveat, but it is based on both time to implement and the wherewithal to accomplish the accommodation which for a company with the resources of Disney, is almost limitless, so I have never seen them even try to use it as a defense. The typical defense if that is will significantly change the nature of the attraction, which is some cases has validity.
If anyone has first hand experience with being improperly asked to prove a disability or being denied a GAC after self declaration please feel free to email me and I will take if up though the chain of command. Times, where , nature of discussion and who you talked with are important if the process. I will be at WDW in June, and will do a few tests.
bookwormde

SueM in MN
05-06-2012, 07:07 AM
We just got back from WDW last week and we had a good time. But, we did have a melt down at Haunted Mansion due to the changes. We worked to resolve it with the CMs there, but I did go to Guest Services to state that there are some issues with how the GACs are being handled by CMs.

What the Guest Services CM told me during the course of the conversation didn't really set well. She stated that because so many people are having their children "pretend" to have Autism or simply just state their child has ASD in order to "cut lines" they are being a bit more discriminate in the giving of GACs to Guests, sometimes refusing to give them. I informed her I understand that this can be a concern, but that to my knowledge Guest Relations is not allowed to ask for "proof" and that this could lead to quite a firestorm if they weren't careful.

If we had to provide proof we could from several sources including his doctors, Easter Seals, school corporation etc., but I know that it wouldn't sit well with our family to be looked at like we were trying to "get away with something". The GAC makes touring the world much easier and less stressful, and as I am sure most of you would agree, I don't mind waiting longer if it means he is calmer during the day and we have less meltdowns.

I would chalk this up to an inexperienced CM but I also heard it from two other CMs at DHS when we got to talking about my son's GAC and they wanted to see where it was issued.

Has anyone else heard this?
See that's what I thought too, but she just stated that they could just refuse to give one if they didn't "believe the child had Autism".

The other two CMs also stated they had spoken with families refused GACs due to the Guest Relations staff not believing or recognizing the signs of ASD in their kids.

Does anyone have a link to the Title III requirements from the ADA?

On our last trip we went to City Hall at MK to get my son his GAC. The family in front of us was trying to get one for there child and they did not get one. I got very nervous, but I just told them what we needed and why and they gave us one. I think that they may be cutting back on people just walking up and saying my child has xyz and we need a GAC and they are enforcing the need to explain what you need ( or at least I hope that this is what is going on).t the

I would totally provide proof of what needs my sons have - I may actually take a doctor's note just in case I run across a problem getting the GACs. However, it is against the law for them to require proof, so I don't know what justification they are using to deny them to people.
I have actually seen Guest Services staff refuse a GAC to several people over the past few years while I or my family was waiting for other things. I think that most refusals probably fit into the category of the family not being able to/refused to explain their needs. Here are 2 of the cases I personally observed:

Case 1: who said they had a child with “Cerebral Palsy and other needs” who needed a GAC because he could not stand in line.
The CM asked if the child had a wheelchair or if they needed information on renting one. The woman said they child did have his own wheelchair.
The CM offered one of the guide maps for guests with disabilities and said that most lines were accessible and the map listed entrances for those that were not and also listed warnings they would want to be aware of. The woman said that would not do because he was had CP. The CM asked what other needs the child had because of his disability and the woman again stated he had CP. When the CM began to ask again about needs, the woman became belligerent and started yelling at the CM.
They did not have the child with them and said they could not bring him because he was “with other family members” in another part of the park. The CM said that the child needed to be present because it would be issued to him and again offered the special park maps, which the woman refused by throwing them back at the CM, yelling all the way out.
My DH was waiting outside and saw her come out. When I came out, he asked what she was so mad about and said she had told the other waiting members something to the effect of “I told you it would not work.”

Case 2: A family brought in their child who they said had autism. The CM asked what sort of assistance they needed for him and the family said he “could not wait in lines.” The CM asked a number of questions about his needs and the family just kept restating “He has autism.” I have no idea whether or not he actually had autism, just that they could not or would not answer the questions from the CM about his needs.

I have read a number of posts over the years on this board and other boards and also in PMs to me where people said they were denied a GAC. Basically the information they shared came down to them just stating their diagnosis and not being able to explain their needs/disabilities related to their diagnosis.
When I shared the following information, they understood why they did not get a GAC.

The ADA does allow for accommodation to be refused if the person can’t explain what it is that they need. There is also no guarantee that accommodation will be present at all locations (for example, if someone says they need a separate waiting room and there is not one on that attraction).

They won't look at paperwork for a couple of reasons.
they are not medically trained so medical terms in the paperwork don't mean much to them.

if you were sharing something like an IEP, most of the things in there are not relevant to a trip in the park, so it is information, but not neccessarily useful information to them in deciding what you need.
the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) says they can't ask for proof of disability. (More about “proof” in another post coming up). They are allowed to ask what the nature of the disability is (which is different than the diagnosis). Autism and Cerebral Palsy are examples of diagnosis, not disability.
the ADA says that assistance needs to be based on the needs of the person, which is why they ask the questions. Autism is a spectrum and (like all other conditions), the way one person is disabled by it is not the same as another person.

People assume that a GAC is a pass and that all are the same. It really is a communication card to let the CMs know what assistance the guest will need. Not every person with autism is the same, so just saying "autism" doesn't help them to know what that person needs.
For example, many people find that using a stroller in lines is very helpful, even if the child can walk. A stroller used as a wheelchair (or just a wheelchair for an older child) can provide a safe haven from stimulation or a separation from other guests. Some kids with developmental disabilities, like autism, may strike out, grab or hit other people who are within reach if they get overstimulated or upset. A stroller used as a wheelchair can be very helpful in situations like that because the person can be kept far enough away from others that they can't hit. A lot of people who become overstimulated easily will even be traveling around the park with a blanket over their head to further cut down on stimulation.
That would be an example of an accommodation that the questions the CM asks is trying to figure out if the person needs.

People need to think about similar situations to things you will encounter in the parks where you may wait in lines or where you are around a lot of people. Then ask yourself:
1) what does he/she do in those situations?
2) what about those situations is difficult for him/her?
3) what would change the situation to make it easier?

That is basically the information the CMs are trying to find out; there is no requirement under the ADA that assistance be provided if the person is not able to give information about what they need.

I have also seen a situation where someone falsely got a GAC for autism while I was with DD getting a GAC and they were in another line. The child was in a stroller and doing stereotypical behavior that most people would view as autistic. I won’t say all the things the mother said (for reasons that people without disabilities do read boards like this for hints on how to claim to have a disability). She did say he could not speak and seldom interacted with people, but enjoyed his time in Disney. They finished while I was in line and my only thoughts were wondering if they had visited this board for hints.
When I came out, DH and other members of my party asked what that family had gotten, because the mom and son were very happy when they came out (they were wearing distinctive clothing, so I know it was the same one). DH said they boy ran up to the dad, said “We got one!” and jumped up to give Dad a high five. The mom said “It worked”.
We saw that same family multiple times during the day and saw the boy doing “autistic behavior” when they had to show the GAC, but acting like a typical boy his age at other times. I am not making a judgement here about someone I saw acting “typically” at some times, who was actually disabled. I had heard the mother tell the CM that he could not speak and seldom interacted with others, but that did not match his behavior.

I do not make any judgments on people’s needs, based on small slices of time. We have had that judgement made on DD, based on someone seeing her out of her wheelchair and I know enough to understand that people with invisible disabilities often have nothing to see.
However, in this case, it was many times over the course of a day not small slices of time and the behavior did not at all match what the mother told CMs it was.
So, yes, there are people who fake disabilities to get something that they perceive is a benefit. CMs should not be making snide comments or being “snotty” though just because they are frustrated with a system that allows abuse.
We don't usually get a GAC (DD uses a wheelchair) but were offered one last time to help with something specific for a couple of rides. We only used it a handful of times. At Soarin, the CM did check the name and asked who it was, he then asked me where the card was issued. But then he handed it right back and there wasn't a problem. I would assume he was verifying that the person whose name was on the card was actually the one using it...maybe the asking where we got it was to be sure we weren't "borrowing" the card from someone else??

Anyway, it seems like if you can explain your needs clearly (rather than just your diagnosis), the GAC process is more likely to be a smooth one.

Mary
We have also had the experience of being asked which of us was the person using the card. We have also been asked if she will be riding. There are people who ‘borrow’ the card or use it for attractions where the person is not riding (the GAC is to meet the needs of the person who will be doing the attraction).

SueM in MN
05-06-2012, 08:55 AM
In the past Disney did give wheelchair users superior access and after a lot of abuse in the 80s-90s(just a guess on my part) things were tightened up and now wheelchairs seem to get about equal access with some better and some worse. It's not as nice as getting front of the line access wheelchair users used to get but it's still better than most other places in the "real world". I can see Disney trying to do something similar with the ASD GAC. If people abuse it they have to stop the abuse somehow and providing equal access instead of superior is one way to do that.

I know you guys are in a tough situation and I don't know what a good solution is. Hopefully something will be done that all sides can live with.
It was actually not because of abuse, but because of the ADA.
Attractions that were designed and built before the mid to late 1980s were built with 2 things in mind:
1) Efficiency in delivering a consistent flow of guests to the loading area to keep the attraction operating at full capacity. For rides, this included delivering a single file line of guests to the boarding area.

2) Efficiency in unloading and removing those guests from the attraction after the experience was finished.

In many cases, this meant lines that were not handicapped accessible, from the standpoint of not being wheelchair accessible or having impediments to other guests with disabilities (including anyone who had difficulty with stairs or moving walkways). So, people who needed accommodation were pulled out of line (which often included waiting at the exit or actually entering the exit).
The ADA said that guests with disabilities had to be handled in the main flow/mainstream as much as possible. Changes were made as attractions were built or renovated to accomplish this.

From what I've heard equal access cannot be denied and you cannot ask for proof for equal access. But for superior access you can ask for proof. For example a handicapped parking permit requires proof.

So what type of access is needed/desired for an ASD GAC? If all you want is to go into the normal line then that's equal access, legally equal but not end result equal. Being given a little card for a time to return and then being escorted past the line would be equal access with pretty much equal results. But being allowed to use the fastpass line without a fastpass or to otherwise bypass the line isn't equal access.

Bill is correct in this. Proof can be required for things that are superior access or things of value that are provided for guests with disabilities, but not for the general public without disabilities.

Some examples:

Kids on Wish trips can get a special GAC stamp that does let them skip lines. This is part of their Wish and they do need doctor’s documentation to get the Wish trip granted. The GAC is given during their trip orientation or with paperwork from the Wish granting organization. So, in a round about way, they are providing proof of disability. If WDW chose to provide that same kind of access for people with certain disabilities, they could require proof because that ‘expedited access’ is something of value.
Discounts on admission: some places do give discounts on admission and are allowed to require proof since this is a thing of value not available to guests without disabilities. An example of this is the US National Park system has a discount and they can and do require proof.
Paratransit: This is special bus/transportation service provided for people with disabilities who are not able to use regular public transportation because of their disability. It does require a process very similar to handicapped parking permits. Despite the name, it is available for other disabilities, not just people using wheelchairs. Some people with disabilities have no problem using regular public transportation and would not qualify for this.

As for what accommodation is offered, there are specific things for wheelchair access because there are some specific things in terms of space that all wheelchair users need.
For other guests, there are not as specific of guidelines.
Chapter 10 in the 2010 ADA Standards for Access are the newest standards and has a lot of specific requirements, as far as architectural requirements and clear spaces.
http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#c10

There are also standards in there regarding heights of things, signage and protrusions into travel paths that are helpful not only for guests with wheelchairs, but also for people (for example) who are blind or have low vision so that they don’t run into things that jut out more than 3 inches from the wall into their path, so that drinking fountains and counters are at consistent heights.
This is the 2002 Accessibility Guidelines for Recreational Facilities:
http://www.access-board.gov/recreation/final.htm
Here is the link to Title III of the ADA:
http://www.ada.gov/taman3.html

This is a very interesting read and it could be argued that Disney is in violation of several of the sections, even before they started this new denying guests GACs.........
Looking at this, they absolutely cannot deny a guest a GAC because they don't think the guest has a disability based on what I am reading throughout this. There is no doubt about the language of the law, so stand up for your rights.
They can’t ask for proof of disability, but can ask for information about what accommodations are needed and the ADA does not require them to provide assistance if the person does not provide information about what they need.

A lot of that document has to do with ‘full and complete enjoyment” i.e., they can’t force people to miss certain attractions or parts of attractions based on their disability.
For example, the recent changes to allow guests with wheelchairs to access the stretching room at Haunted Mansion in MK were to come into compliance with this. Before the recent changes, these guests were prevented from entering the stretching room if they used a wheelchair or other mobility device.

Another example that would be in violation of the ADA, Universal had a movie experience where the entire floor of the theater moved in relation to the movies. Guests with mobility devices were not allowed to transfer into a regular seat and experience the movement. They were required to park in a small part of the theater which did not move. I don’t know if they still have this, but I remember how bummed out and bored my DD was sitting in the non-moving area and watching everyone else have fun. It would not be a violation to have a non-moving area that guests (with or without wheelchairs) can choose to go to if they do not want to experience the movement.

For ASD, it would be under Mental Disability and large portions of Section 3 would cover that modifications that are easily achievable would need to be made to accomodate this, in the case of Disneyland/Disney World, a reasonable accommodation is the GAC, providing that it is handled properly.

But I don't see anything in this that says Disney must provide an alternate entrance or a quiet waiting area if someone's disability would need that. Getting a GAC and then not giving an alternate entrance/waiting area would mean that basically your GAC is useless.

There are all sorts of rules for wheelchair access but very few rules for ASD types of disabilities. Disney has been giving a lot of accommodations that are fantastic but may not be required by law.

I've always felt that Disney goes above and beyond the law for wheelchair access. It's the probably the most accessible place I've ever visited and that includes most hospitals. I suspect it's similar for the ASD crowd.
I agree. The ADA requires that the accommodation given meets the needs related to a disability, not that it gives any advantage or any specific method of accommodation.
An alternate entrance or waiting area is only one way of doing so and not the only one.
Other ways might include giving a handwritten Fastpass or for a time equal to the regular wait time. This allows the person to find their own appropriate waiting place.
In ruling after ruling, it is demonstrated that the intent is that persons will disabilities have as equivalent access to accommodations (hotels, shows, rides or any other "public" event). This includes that the experience be as similar as practical to that for non disabled individuals.
That is part of why families and groups are not allowed to be split up beyond what would occur typically.
As for ASD individuals who cannot manage the high density, long duration lines, Disney must provide reasonable accommodations such as an alternate waiting area or electronic means to enter the attractions without waiting in line at a time no later than what would exist for non disabled individuals.
There are also clear rulings that even at older attractions that are grandfathered, that if the waiting area or system is modified in any significant way that, that entrance access must meet ADA even if the actual attraction is still grandfathered.
Different divisions at the parks sometimes make changes without vetting though the disabilities group (such as the double stacking busses issue we have last year), my guess is that this is what happened in with requiring more that "self declaration" for a GAC. The funny thing is that you do not need a GAC to get accommodations anywhere at WDW, since all you need to do is to declare the disability to any employees responsible for an area, and how your disability impacts equal access and opportunity, and if they or you have an accommodation that is reasonable accomplishable they must provide it. The GAC is just a convenience and way to enhance privacy and efficiency for both the guest and CMs.
There is a reasonableness caveat, but it is based on both time to implement and the wherewithal to accomplish the accommodation which for a company with the resources of Disney, is almost limitless, so I have never seen them even try to use it as a defense. The typical defense if that is will significantly change the nature of the attraction, which is some cases has validity.
If anyone has first hand experience with being improperly asked to prove a disability or being denied a GAC after self declaration please feel free to email me and I will take if up though the chain of command. Times, where , nature of discussion and who you talked with are important if the process. I will be at WDW in June, and will do a few tests.
bookwormde
most of the difficulties I have seen/heard about have had to do with people self declaring a condition, not their disability or difficulty with how the disability affects access.
If the accommodation asked for is superior access, not equivalent, guests can be asked for proof.

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 09:00 AM
First up; AMEN to Sue's post. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt etc. etc.

As some might remember, last trip was the first I felt the need to complain about the blatent arrogant abuse of the GAC and any and all CM's having positions to assist those with needs but weed out those needing to go another directs kept their mouth shut. Did nothing, other than complain to fellow CM's and some obviously deciding not standing up and following the rules would be preferable to getting a hand full -and possibly worse- yet again when enforcing. Combined with the fact that the actual checking of the GAC has become almost non-excisting on the more recent trips I've been on made me decide it was long overdue to complain. Livid does not even begin to describe my sentiment.

Let's just say by filing that complaint I ran into a great CM at guest service. Had the pleasure of talking to quite a few CM's at different positions about this -many recognized me by then and would chat daily anyway and when I get so passionate about something I will spill it within no time ;) -. Just like Sue I'm always very carefull what I post both in public, in private and talk about IRL. I thought I knew quite a bit about abuse and ways it was being done. Let's just suffice to say I've learned dozens more ways I could never have imagined, one even worse than the other. Ways that are difficult to crack down on. Ways obviously very much in the spotlight. Ways that the only way to really crack down while still being able to help out those with a true need at said moment indeed is to ask further. Ask more questions, read body language etc.

And yes, I can sadly state that it is too common a practice to abuse. :crazy2: I've seen "how to....." and "I've played the system in this way........." show up a surprising amount of times on international boards for my syndrome. A syndrome that is supposed to be........ rare. A syndrome that does NOT require a GAC simply because it doesn't always comes with needs that require a GAC. I've gotten unwanted PM's allover the internet about this when posting on a public part about WDW trips. Or others boosting about getting a GAC for need A which would come down to needing to use the GAC 5 times in a week, but using it whenever and whereever, resulting in dozens of time a day.

Like Bill said before, I'll just stick with what I know. Odds are greatly against it, but sure enough in 2010 I was waiting at GS while another guest was in front of me and rather..... vocal. So anybody could enjoy it all. :rolleyes: Almost fel out of my chair to "enjoy the show". Statement of having the same syndrome and because of that not being able to wait in line. Other guests would be too high risk and any touch would result in luxation. In itself something that could be a fact for some with the syndrome. But the CM asked further; ok, you're asking for no waiting, but how would that deal with getting to the rides and shows, using our transportation? That was not a problem. What about the rides, the CM wanted to know, most will make sudden movements, if guest was so fragile, would they appreciate info which rides made movements? No, again no problem, going further to ask if he/she would now get to not wait in line for Space Mountain. Like that, I've seen more situations in which my syndrome was mentioned but the claims totally did not make sense.

By then I had to pick up my eyes, almost falling out of their socket. If one is indeed so sensitive to unexpected movement causing dislocations, there is no way something like a rollercoaster with it's huge forces would not cause dislocations that are much more high risk. Let alone that one would have to have found a way to deal with crowds in daily life anyway, since being bumped into still isn't that weird outside WDW. The CM was very patient, asking further with each claim guest made, but it simply did not add up. Not to the CM, not to me, wouldn't to anybody with proper knowledge and even lack thereof of this syndrome but with a bit of common sense. They left with the known pamflets with accessibility info and no GAC.

All I can say is that after what I've seen happen over the years, read about, being told about, it is time Disney takes more of a stand. It's the only way to keep it doable for all involved; those with a true need, CM's and all other guests. Let them ask questions. Let them check stuff. Esp. that part is long overdue. It takes no longer that 30 second to a minute to consequently check a GAC, but is a much needed way to sort out certain types of abuse. I personally can only thank them for doing it.

SueM in MN
05-06-2012, 09:41 AM
If you have a complaint or concern, I think it is important for people to let Disney know what your complaint is directly.
There are also sometimes changes made with unintended consequences and WDW won’t know the changes caused problems unless people let them know.

Here is a link to the email page for WDW:
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/contact/

For those who want to send a letter or phone call:
Disney Complaints and Comments:
Walt Disney World Guest Communications
P.O. Box 10,040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Disney Guest Relations - 407-824-4321

Put something in the Subject line about disabilities so it gets routed to the correct people to answer your question.
Be as specific as you can regarding:
when it happened? (date and time -or at least general time of day)
where it happened? (at what park and what location at that park. If an attraction, what part of the attraction).
who was there?
what happened?
what the problem was?
what you need?
what was changed, if anything compared to previous times?
what is helpful?
what is not helpful?

intheshadows
05-06-2012, 10:15 AM
I'm a regular visitor to this board, though I never post. I'm also a CM and the mother of a daughter "on the spectrum." So, this particular topic is very personal to me, but I also have to make sure my comments are viewed as "my thoughts only" and nothing really official.

GAC Abuse is rampant these days. Sue's post with those few examples are just a sprinkling of what we see day in and day out. The CMs I work with all agree that when presented with GACs, they feel they are going to be in for a battle. And, we all say that the people who LEGITIMATELY need them will be the people who WON'T argue with you when you can't deliver immediate access or give them a slip to come back in a bit.

Case and point: I was working an attraction when a woman and her child came up with an AE GAC. The AE was currently unavailable due to another guest having a seizure back there and this attraction does not have FP. I did not tell the woman this as it was not part of her business nor ethical for me to divulge the issue of another guest. I told her she could use stand by (20 min wait) or come back in 15 minutes and I would see if the AE was available. She went off on me telling me how her son was autistic and that I was a heartless and soulless person for not allowing them back there RIGHT NOW. All this as she waved the GAC in my face and told me she'd "have my job." Karma got her--a CM at another attraction closely inspected the GAC when she demanded FOTL instead of FP entrance and realized it was fake.

Conversely, after she was done cussing me out, another GAC holder approached. I told her the same thing. She thanked me and said they would be back.

Let me tell you about some other problems that have arisen that are causing more scrutiny of the GAC:

1. The Tour Guide.
There has been at least one case of a person advertising his/her "services" on Craig's List as a "tour guide" for WDW. This person was promising "15 minute or less wait for any group, five people and under." See, the person was an AP holder and had a GAC. The AP Holder was charging people $200 a day ($40 each) to "tour" them through WDW.

2. The Fake GAC.
Since some people have been scanning/photographing these things, and posting them to websites/trip reports/etc, others have been trying to "make" them with photoshop. One thing they forget is how the GAC "feels." Anyone who has had one knows the material is not cheap computer paper. We catch these by asking to "see" the GAC. When I have a guest that doesn't want to hand it over, I become incredibly skeptical.

3. Throw Grannie from the Ride.
Grannie will have a GAC. She and her whole party will be sent through AE for an attraction Grannie would NEVER want to be on. Grannie will be left at the "chicken" exit while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. I have personally had to watch an elderly man who was so confused and scared because he was abandoned by his party! This is why you may be asked, "Are you going to ride this?" when presenting the GAC.

4. Swapperoo.
Family will have more than one child. The child who has the GAC is not tall enough/doesn't want to ride a certain attraction. The parent will give the card to the child/children that do want to ride. This is one reason the GAC holder may be asked their name. The GAC is intended ONLY for the person it is issued to, not the party.

There are other issues, too. I know WDW wants to be fair and I know that the GAC can be a live saver. I like the thought posted in the FAQ that it is "insurance." I wish more people would view it that way instead of the "Golden Ticket" some unscrupulous blogs on the internet bill it as. I also think responsibility falls on the parent to use it with proper manners and not "flaunt" it or make an issue of it. Meaning, when the stand by for Soarin' is 120min, and you're sent through FP, don't yell at the CM when FP is a 15-20 minute wait. The ride has a very slow load--that can't be helped.

I used Soarin' as an example because my child LOVES it. She would ride it all day if she could. But, I give her a two-ride in a row maximum. Other things I do with her to help her trips to the park:

1. I use the Disney Touring Plan App. Sometimes this works better than a FP because it lets her "plan." She's 9 now and she loves to look and see what the waits are and devise a little "plan" of her own.

2. I never take her during Turismo season because of the noise and the fact that most of those kids don't understand personal space. Both of these are big triggers for my DD.

3. I take her BEFORE Christmas week, but not during. Again, too much stimulation.

4. I use the GAC when we need it. I've been teaching her to how show it and say "thank you."

And now back to my regularly scheduled lurking...
:laundy:

Tonka's Skipper
05-06-2012, 10:38 AM
Just MHO..........but it seems here the problem is not Disney trying to deny anyone that rightfully needs a GAC (the way may be in question).

The prolbem is people that don't need a GAC and causing the problems for everyone.

If this problem continues the law is going to be changed making it harder for the folks that really need a GAC.

We need to address the cheaters to solve the problem

AKK

utterrandomness
05-06-2012, 10:45 AM
Just MHO..........but it seems here the problem is not Disney trying to deny anyone that rightfully needs a GAC (the way may be in question).

The prolbem is people that don't need a GAC and causing the problems for everyone.

If this problem continues the law is going to be changed making it harder for the folks that really need a GAC.

We need to address the cheaters to solve the problem

AKK

But, once again, who determines who is cheating and who isn't? Other people's perceptions are hardly the most valid indicator of who does and does not need accommodations, in my experience. You would call people out on being cheaters, but what if they aren't? What if their problems are invisible? What if they don't have a diagnosis? You cannot possibly know if the people who you consider cheaters are actually doing so.

Perhaps I'm over sensitive about this, but I have disabilities that make me the kind of person that gets called out for "faking" on a regular basis, because people think they know everything about disabilities (even people with disabilities do this). I don't often have meltdowns for over stimulation, and for the most part there is nothing visible about me that says I have an autism spectrum disorder, but say that I did get a GAC for an alternate entrance that might be a little quieter. People would consider me a "faker" because they would have seen me in other lines, or because I don't look disabled, or for a hundred other reasons. You might even hear me make a comment to my fiancee about it "working", because that's my sense of humour and I refuse to stop making jokes that strangers shouldn't be listening to anyways. I'm not saying that people don't cheat, because it's clear that they do, but I am saying that calling people out because you perceive them to be cheating is really problematic.

dclfun
05-06-2012, 10:51 AM
GAC's are supposed to be based on needs and not diagnosis. My DD has a mood disorder and sensory issues but isn't on the spectrum. I've never used a GAC for her but it's always been comforting to know that they are there if I decide we need one. Your experience is bothersome to me because I'd hate to decide that we need a GAC and have a CM refuse because she thinks we're making up our needs or because it doesn't fit a pre-conceived notion of what diagnoses should receive a GAC.

I have a feeling that we have no idea just how much abuse there is. Guest Services monitors how many GAC's are given out, what accommodations were given, etc. This became a HUGE problem at Disneyland. I remember when Matt Ouimet was the president there- he spent several days sitting behind the counter at GS and monitoring the GAC's being issued. In the end, he said that "this has GOT to change" and it did. There are many people who would lie if they thought it meant their family would get special treatment. I know someone local here in Florida who says her dd is autistic when she is not, and brags about "flashing her card" to get special accommodations. For those of us who NEED those accommodations its very sad to see them abused. While it's true that they can't ask for proof of disability, something has to give when a high percentage per day of park guests are using GAC's. I think there are a certain amount of GAC's issued that would be deemed within normal range and that lately, that normal range has been greatly exceeded.

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 10:55 AM
But, once again, who determines who is cheating and who isn't? Other people's perceptions are hardly the most valid indicator of who does and does not need accommodations, in my experience. You would call people out on being cheaters, but what if they aren't? What if their problems are invisible? What if they don't have a diagnosis? You cannot possibly know if the people who you consider cheaters are actually doing so.

While this in itself is a proper sentiment, it can not be used as an excuse to let abuse be. As long as I can see (and hear them discuss it afterwards) CM's not refusing a guest that at least does not follow the rules on a GAC out of pure fear of what happens if they speak up? Yeah, there ARE ways of knowing there is abuse.


Tonka; I would even go further than what you said. Not only should we as a society look to others and hold them accountable, we should also as individuals look at ourselves and keep ourselves accountable. Let's take for instance those of us that need a GAC at certain moments and/or rides. There will be many situations where a GAC is a must at one ride but a non issue at another ride. Or like ITS has pointed out; not use a GAC to keep riding over and over again. These are things that also add up and can easily negatively influence the experience of others that do need the GAC for that specific ride and/or haven't gotten the chance to ride once. I'm putting it mildly if I say I've had all kinds of disturbing things wished my way whenever even touching the subject. :rolleyes: Peachy and all, but how would one see things when they are on the other end of the "recieving" part and find they're not able to ride or help is not available because demands are too rampant when that demand isn't made up of just guests actually needing it at said moment/ride or those that are riding the 6th time that day while you are aiming your first ever? A bit of common logic, sense and curtousy goes a long way.

maznorm
05-06-2012, 11:00 AM
This issue is very close to my heart. DD is autistic and would definitely need a GAC for some rides. We have proof so that's no problem but my concern is that just because autism is becoming more and more common it is almost being treated as less of a disability, which is just deplorable. We were thinking that Disney might be one place we can all enjoy as a family. If we can bring ourselves to take her on a plane again but now I feel that we would be viewed as misusing the much needed system just because her disability is less physically obvious ( unless she is mid meltdown). This would undoubtedly change our experience and for the hassle of the flight and all the rest of it, it hardly seems worth it if we were either unable to enjoy it because she gets denied GAC or because we are made to feel unreasonable because we are using something that makes the ride possible for us. No thanks I think we will just stay home.

utterrandomness
05-06-2012, 11:02 AM
While this in itself is a proper sentiment, it can not be used as an excuse to let abuse be. As long as I can see (and hear them discuss it afterwards) CM's not refusing a guest that at least does not follow the rules on a GAC out of pure fear of what happens if they speak up? Yeah, there ARE ways of knowing there is abuse.


Tonka; I would even go further than what you said. Not only should we as a society look to others and hold them accountable, we should also as individuals look at ourselves and keep ourselves accountable. Let's take for instance those of us that need a GAC at certain moments and/or rides. There will be many situations where a GAC is a must at one ride but a non issue at another ride. Or like ITS has pointed out; not use a GAC to keep riding over and over again. These are things that also add up and can easily negatively influence the experience of others that do need the GAC for that specific ride and/or haven't gotten the chance to ride once. I'm putting it mildly if I say I've had all kinds of disturbing things wished my way whenever even touching the subject. :rolleyes: Peachy and all, but how would one see things when they are on the other end of the "recieving" part and find they're not able to ride or help is not available because demands are too rampant when that demand isn't made up of just guests actually needing it at said moment/ride or those that are riding the 6th time that day while you are aiming your first ever? A bit of common logic, sense and curtousy goes a long way.

It's completely valid to hold yourself accountable, but it is completely invalid to assume that someone is cheating and call them out on it. Maybe you wouldn't mind having it happen once, but if it happened constantly, day in and day out, would you not get frustrated?

The_Alice
05-06-2012, 11:07 AM
Sue, first thank you for taking the time to explain this so thoroughly. Second, thank you as well for the address. I honestly think more information needs to be out there to let Guests who would try something like this know this really isn't a time saver, it's an accommodation for people with needs and can actually extend your wait time in certain circumstances. For example our experience at Haunted Mansion was twice as long as if we simply went in the stand by line.

We never just present ourselves to the Fast Pass entrance, but we go to the CM standing outside the Standby line and ask where we should go and wait to hear instructions. But, if we were directed with a hand written fast pass for say 20 mins later, etc. we would wait elsewhere. I think the perception is out there that this is a "Golden" FOTL pass, which they could change quickly with this XFP system they are testing this week. Imagine if you could line up attractions (my youngest would be in Heaven knowing exactly what came next) and simply present the GAC have it scanned and they tell you either come back at such and such time or to proceed into the attraction like a reservation system? I can see this technology working very well for folks on the Spectrum and their families.

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 11:08 AM
It's completely valid to hold yourself accountable, but it is completely invalid to assume that someone is cheating and call them out on it. Maybe you wouldn't mind having it happen once, but if it happened constantly, day in and day out, would you not get frustrated?

It happens all to often with discussions like this; but where exactly did I say that the guest should speak up? Unless my brain is failing me again, haven't said it anywhere. That is up to WDW at both the GS offices and at the rides at the many checkpoints one goes through. And yes; it is time to speak up and act more. While I can totally get the position of a CM in such a job with nowadays people behaving like animals and CM's getting their portion of daily verbal and emotional abuse, if not physical at some moments, this can not continue. Not for those when needing it, not for the CM's in those positions, for nobody.

And honestly? I got so annoyed with CM's constantly NOT checking my GAC when they should be, that I actually filed a complaint about it at both GS and through snail-mail. (and thanked and praised the 2 CM's that DID) So yeah; check me. Nothing wrong with checking. It will make sure those needing it can keep getting it and it's the only way to weed out as much abuse as possible.

What I do think should happen a lot more; is folks speaking up. It is easy to go onto the internet, but very little times time is taken out to go to GS or write in about things. For me that goes beyond "I was treated right in this way/I was treated wrong in that way". For me that includes informing about things you see as a guest that don't seem right. As long as one does not use specific words and grammar it does not have to be judging a book on it's cover. It can be kept down to something as simple as communicating what you noticed, that it is not up to you to judge but that it might be some workable info. The more signals a company like for instance WDW gets, the better their picture can be. The clearer it can be there might be forms of problems they aren't aware of yet, whether it being abuse or for instance WDW not communicating enough to guests about certain subjects.

Keeping mouths closed, looking away, it only goes so far in a uplifting way. Going to far can become very negative. There is nothing wrong with speaking up in and of itself. The message sometimes isn't the place, time or even valid but that does not mean that speaking up in and of itself will always be negative, judgemental or any of the alike.

kaytieeldr
05-06-2012, 11:20 AM
san diego safari park
they provide a companion with a free ticket.this just seems rife for abuse. Seaworld does it too - or at least offers discounted companion rates. Call me a cynic, but...

universal studios

they provide shuttles to their lower lot for the disabled. just so there's no confusion - these aren't regularly-operating shuttles. They need to be requested; the visitor needs to take an elevator down to the pickup point; and you need to schedule a return time with your driver (not the easiest or most enjoyable touring if you've never been before, or if it's been many years between visits)
they provide accomodations at all rides, shows, shops and restaurants for all forms of diabilities. there are so few actual rides at ush with individual seating that might require special accommodations - especially in comparison to disneyland resort. There may be none, or a couple. Nothing where a ride that normally operates continuously needs to actually stop so someone can get on or off. Disney has a number of these rides.
i think their system is probably the most fair, in general, if the line is under 20 minutes, they simply allow you to use the gate a (aka fotl) access; while the part of this i didn't copy seems fair - akin to disney's standard fastpass - this seems unfair to the people waiting in the regular, less than 20 minute line - in that the visitors needing assistance can get up to a fifteen minute advantage.

the disneyland resort has several issues with accessibility still:

the wait times for those that need assistance (especially that cannot do stairs or need a wheelchair vehicle) often wait longer than everyone else. Darned if they do, darned if they don't. If Disney adds more accessible cars, people will complain because it's taking longer to board - especially the continuous movers. I've been seated at various points in different theaters. Given that I'm using an ECV, its only reasonable that I be considerate of persons seated behind me whose view I'm now blocking - right? And Disneyland has the rocket they can pull off-line - so the guest who can't transfer quickly still gets to ride!
the accesible parking spaces are not within the appropriate distance to the entrance of the parks. Without a complete redesign of the plaza, this is unlikely to change. But Disney provides transportation to as close to the parks as possible. <snip> nor are there enough spaces that do not require the use of the elevator at the parking structure. Some will say that the use of the elevator is accomodation enough; however, since the escalators are often broken to one or more levels, this puts an extra strain on the elevators and prevents the disabled from using them, which then violates sections of the ada. this is a manitenance issue with the escalators and an issue with not enough elevators, let alone fast enough elevators. It's possibly also a vandalism issue or overuse issue. Quick idea - the best way to provide elevator service (at least to the parks) for guests on wheels would be to put all the HP parking on the top level of the garage - so these guests would be the first ones on the elevators. But people will be yelling "discrimination!" Ditto if all the spaces were on level one.
there is no accessible parking for the grand california hotel that i have been able to find and since valet parking costs extra, that is not an alternative [and]
the parking structure at the paradise pier hotel does not have an elevator and there are not enough accessible spaces in their lot. In both cases, I would suggest - ASK. I consider it inconceivable that a hotel built in California in this century doesn't provide handicap parking.

please note that i use southern california as my example, as i do not know how florida's other parks compare to disney.

m

EvangelineG
05-06-2012, 11:21 AM
I am shocked and saddened to read of all the examples of GAC abuse. I actually wish they could ask for proof of disability, like a doctor's note. My sons both have ASD, OCD and high anxiety. Neither of them look at all disabled or "autistic" to the casual observer, and both work very hard to act "normal" when in public. One stims by chewing, but we've been able to channel that into socially acceptable things like gum & straws. The other chews and also paces, so at a place like WDW when you are on your feet most of the day, the pacing can go largely unnoticed. The only thing you might notice is that they both look very serious most of the time, are talking and interacting with their families less than most other kids, and in a prolonged conversation you would likely notice issues with eye contact, reciprocity etc., if you knew what you were looking for, or maybe you would just think they were surly, shy or being evasive. So how is a CM supposed to just look at my sons and judge their needs?

When we got them a GAC on our last trip, I felt like I had to "sell" the CM on their needs. The whole thing felt really uncomfortable, and I was very self conscious worrying if the CM thought I was scamming her. Awful. :sick: I really hate that the liars out there are making things difficult for the people who need help.

We did end up receiving a GAC, but because of how we toured (cooler, quieter time of year, least busy park of the day, rope drop each morning, lots of breaks, avoiding parades and other high density crowd areas and times), we used it very seldom. It was, as the PP said, an insurance policy. I felt better having it in case things started to rapidly go downhill (at which point no one would be questioning their needs or diagnoses, but so much better to avoid getting to that point if at all possible!), and the few times we did use it we needed it, but it felt good to use it as little as possible.

I am just gobsmacked that people would choose to pretend their healthy child was non verbal autistic, or to use and abandon an elderly family member. :sad1: And I really feel for the CM's who are put in the position of having to make what must often be very difficult judgement calls.

buffettgirl
05-06-2012, 11:25 AM
when people have friends who actually report cheating the system or report on trying to get something they really don't need ("because sweet suzy endures enough and she should get a perk now and then") then you KNOW abuse happens. I'm sorry utterrandomness if you don't agree, but abuse happens.

I could send you to thread after thread on diabetes message boards where people INSIST that kids with diabetes get GAC for no other reason than their parents think their life is JUST SO HARD that they need it for no other reason than that. I could point you to some very vocal diabetes advocates who insist that they get FP access on their GAC every single time, for no other reason than diabetes. Yet in other posts and blogs they exclaim now diabetes doesn't get the better of them, how their fully capable teens live life to the fullest, how they travel all over the world, yet somehow they are entitled to a FP GAC. Heck, one time someone posted that they were trying to get handicap parking for their child with diabetes and they wanted to know if that could be used in Disney. ***? THAT is abuse of the system.

And that is just one disease among hundreds. You'll find the same sort of entitlement mentality on other message boards for other diseases.

Abuse happens. People with legitimate needs are accused of faking - just look at the brooha over people with vision needs being allowed to sit in the roped off sections at parade. So yes, I get your point that you never know who has what need yet that by itself leaves the system open for abuse.

But abuse happens. There is no use saying it doesn't. But like a PP said, it's up to all of us to discourage abuse when we hear about it, speak openly about our needs and to try to work to change the system in a way that we (and our children) are able to have their needs met.

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 11:40 AM
I am shocked and saddened to read of all the examples of GAC abuse. I actually wish they could ask for proof of disability, like a doctor's note.

Downside of this also is; a diagnosis says little if anything about actual needs. And even when it comes to needs, we see enough topics on here already about docs that are....... thinking they know it all and/or have all the power (including my GP :sad2: ) and hand out notes for "fotl access". For the most weird reasons where many times even the individual themselves say they're not looking for it as there is no need. So even without looking to abuse, it is offered already in notes. :rolleyes:

My sons both have ASD, OCD and high anxiety. Neither of them look at all disabled or "autistic" to the casual observer, and both work very hard to act "normal" when in public. One stims by chewing, but we've been able to channel that into socially acceptable things like gum & straws. The other chews and also paces, so at a place like WDW when you are on your feet most of the day, the pacing can go largely unnoticed. The only thing you might notice is that they both look very serious most of the time, are talking and interacting with their families less than most other kids, and in a prolonged conversation you would likely notice issues with eye contact, reciprocity etc., if you knew what you were looking for, or maybe you would just think they were surly, shy or being evasive. So how is a CM supposed to just look at my sons and judge their needs?

When we got them a GAC on our last trip, I felt like I had to "sell" the CM on their needs. The whole thing felt really uncomfortable, and I was very self conscious worrying if the CM thought I was scamming her. Awful. :sick: I really hate that the liars out there are making things difficult for the people who need help.


Don't hit me over the head until you hear me out. Not playing the "it's all in your head" game, but would you think that your own sentiment might be of influence? It can easily influence communication on both how you communicate to the CM and how you interprete the CM's words. When worrying about something, it's easier to hear something that can come across a negative way more easily. A human thing, but can be a real pain in the you-know-what.

Next time perhaps it helps to look at it in another way? They are not trying to deny you anything. They are looking to find out as much as possible about each boys needs. On the one hand this can result in helping them in the best way possible on the other hand it reduces abuse where possible. Which of itself is another great help to both your boys. No need to fear when needs are there. Even more so since you have done the parks before. Explain their needs, use an example of how in the past something turned into a problem and how the GAC made a difference on situation such-and-so on another trip. Ask questions you have got, as even after many trips sometimes they are there. Actually your genuinity is gold. Abuse and fake is mostly about learning something and repeat it. There lies the difference for you also. Heck, go crazy, why NOT mention your worry? DO! By all means. It just shows what is in your mind and emotion anyway. Paints a picture of how the guests and families are and what is important for them. And not in the least bit; only when the CM knows about your worry can they address them.

Let's go out on a huge limb here and say you find things are changed. Different stamps. Oops; stress!!!!!!!! When communicatin your worry, this gives the CM room to go into it. Explain why different stamps. Turns out in this example they have gotten different stamps, word it differently, are strickter but for your boys it doesn't change things that the bottomline experience is negatively impacted. Or you still have some questions; they can go into it some more.

After having spent quite some time in GS and talking to quite a few CM's about this, I have found many of them have a great sense of knowledge what to look for. Esp. when it comes to something as common (to them) like ASD, anxiety etc. But also when it comes to signs of abuse. My syndrome is very rare, it's hard to find a doc who knows anything about it. Let alone explain it to any CM. And you know what? They know what to look for because their training is proper enough for that.

I can understand the sentiment but the biggest help for yourself I think would be in drawing strength from the fact that you know the needs, know they are there and that asking questions is not done to deny them but to optimize something that hopefully benefits the boys for centuries to come. :hug:

bookwormde
05-06-2012, 11:47 AM
most of the difficulties I have seen/heard about have had to do with people self declaring a condition, not their disability or difficulty with how the disability affects access.
If the accommodation asked for is superior access, not equivalent, guests can be asked for proof.
Yes it is not that you have a disability, but the impact it has on your ability for equal access that is the "gate keeping" trigger for accommodations.

If a guest ask for superior access then yes they can be asked and in whole the accommodation is not typically covered under ADA except in a few specific situations. If the business chooses to supply superior access for the business's convenience, then no they cannot ask since the person had only requested equal accommodations.


A good example of this is the way universal handles their disability pass. Even though it is preferential, since they decided to use a preexisting convenient structure, and offer no other they are still not allowed to ask for "proof"

There will always be cheats as long as the system is in any way perceived as preferential at any time, but it has also been ruled that this does not give any right to require proof no matter how rampant it is. I keep hoping they will go to "slow pass" system that just gives you a pass to reenter the line near the entrance or enter through the FP entrance at the time shown on the current regular line wait time. There is still some potential for abuse, but much less than what is perceived now. With the changes during the past year, I can nto think of any line that has not been changed significantly since 1993, so all lines should now offer some type of alternate waiting and entry accommodation.

bookwormde

ttintagel
05-06-2012, 12:03 PM
It's better to have a dozen people get GAC's when they don;t need them, than to have one person not get one when he really does. There's no such thing as an abuse-proof system. All a crackdown does is make a few self-righteous people feel better.

Willow1213
05-06-2012, 12:26 PM
Last year when we traveled to WDW the CM at guest services simply did not understand what I was asking for when I went to City Hall and requested a GAC for my husband. He cannot climb stairs due to a knee condition. Pretty straightforward. She proceeded to explain that there was only one attraction at Magic Kingdom that had stairs (Swiss Family Robinson) which is not true. That is the only attraction that has UNAVOIDABLE stairs. There are plenty of attractions that have flights of stairs in the regular and/or Fastpass queues. It took a manager for her to really understand what I was asking for. Even then it seemed they only gave it to us since we stated we had been given one previously.

What really bugs me is how VAGUE the passes are.

The first time we used GAC was at Disneyland and the stamp was VERY simple, a set of stairs with a circle and cross around it. Plainly explains NO STAIRS. Sometimes we would be sent through the FP queue, other times there was a separate W/C entrance. I was shocked that at WDW that was interpreted as Alternate Entrance which does not always meet the need. There's simply no reason for that. I think if they made the GAC more specific they would reduce the abuse. The no stairs designation is simply one idea, as I''m sure there are plenty others.

We are traveling back to WDW in 4 weeks and I certainly hope that they don't deny us because of my husband's very invisible disorder. I will make sure to bring the previous GAC just in case.

Tonka's Skipper
05-06-2012, 12:42 PM
But, once again, who determines who is cheating and who isn't? Other people's perceptions are hardly the most valid indicator of who does and does not need accommodations, in my experience. You would call people out on being cheaters, but what if they aren't? What if their problems are invisible? What if they don't have a diagnosis? You cannot possibly know if the people who you consider cheaters are actually doing so.

Perhaps I'm over sensitive about this, but I have disabilities that make me the kind of person that gets called out for "faking" on a regular basis, because people think they know everything about disabilities (even people with disabilities do this). I don't often have meltdowns for over stimulation, and for the most part there is nothing visible about me that says I have an autism spectrum disorder, but say that I did get a GAC for an alternate entrance that might be a little quieter. People would consider me a "faker" because they would have seen me in other lines, or because I don't look disabled, or for a hundred other reasons. You might even hear me make a comment to my fiancee about it "working", because that's my sense of humour and I refuse to stop making jokes that strangers shouldn't be listening to anyways. I'm not saying that people don't cheat, because it's clear that they do, but I am saying that calling people out because you perceive them to be cheating is really problematic.




That is my point.we need to find a way to stop the cheaters..........My question was how to address will this be done?

Having people carry some type of proof from a goverment office?.doctor?.etc?. Is that what is needed?

To me and my family issues ........that is not a problem......we have no problem with it.

Should this be the way the law should be changed???

I am asking here.........if the problem gets to out of hand things could be changed for the worse!


AKK

ttintagel
05-06-2012, 12:53 PM
That is my point.we need to find a way to stop the cheaters.........

You can't. And being so focused on it isn't productive.

And they can't possibly be as large a percentage of the GAC population as they're being made out to be.

Tonka's Skipper
05-06-2012, 01:19 PM
You can't. And being so focused on it isn't productive.

And they can't possibly be as large a percentage of the GAC population as they're being made out to be.




I beg to differ.......it can be handled and changed......Do you have a link to show that is not such a large part of the GAC population?...just say it is or is not doesnt prove anything.

I see folk here that are very senitive to other folks doing the nasty looks and comment thing. This is mostly due to the cheaters..........stop the cheating and it will reduce the nasty looks and comments. Thus making the senitive folks feel better!

Why not......

The system now says....you go to get a GAC and you do not need to say what your health or mobility issues are.....great........You only have to say you need the following accomodations......A.B.C.....


Why not have a card from a proper authority........goverment..doctor etc.

The card say something like:

This person has a health or modility issue that reqiures the following accommadation..A......B..........C......


This seems a simple solution


any other ideas?


AKK

buffettgirl
05-06-2012, 01:20 PM
You can't. And being so focused on it isn't productive.

And they can't possibly be as large a percentage of the GAC population as they're being made out to be.

obviously there is no way to find this out for a fact, because it's not like they can say "hey, are you cheating the GAC system?" :rotfl2:

But when people abuse any system it makes it harder for everyone who is actually not abusing the system. not just disney. I don't think that it's unproductive for people to speak up and to shine a light on the fact that as a group we can't condone it. I also don't agree with the assessment that it's better for 3 people who don't need it, get it, than 1 who does, doesn't. Turning a blind eye to the situation does nothing.

I don't know what the answer is. I really don't. But all you have to do is google and you'll see that the info is out there for abuse, and see that many are abusing it.

A Mickeyfan
05-06-2012, 01:43 PM
Personally, I would not mind if one had to have a real doctor's note for a GAC or even a wheelchair/ECV. It would cut down on abuse and the rentals of wheelchairs or ECV's for those that just want to just sit when they felt like it.

My son is 25 and my nephew is 24. My son is Bipolar and OCD, my nephew is ADHD. My sister and I never once got a GAC for either of them. I use to take my 3 children to the theme parks most of the time alone, just me, with 3 children and not use a GAC, in fact, I don't even think they had them back in the 80's did they? I know there weren't fast pass's back then either.. Did I have to deal with melt downs.. sure I did. When they got out of hand, I left the line. :confused3 I dealt with the issues there, the same way I would deal with them when we went out to eat, or when we were at the movies or when we were at the mall.. I am not saying that those children with those issues shouldn't have a GAC card, I am saying you are lucky to have them and there should be no reason to have an issue with providing documentation if needed.

As of now, no one needs to provide any documentation to get a GAC card, but from my experiences using it for myself now due to my low vision, it seems I am being "questioned" by CM's at mainly just the HM as to why I must go a certain way. If this is the case, let me bring my documentation from my doc and it might provide a better explanation than I can. Sometimes they don't seem to understand what my reason is. They "see" I am not blind, therefore they "think" I can see just fine. So while you do not have to have documentation to obtain a GAC, you are allowed to get questioned by CM's at attractions and denied equal (and safety issues) access ??? and that just blows my mind.. where does the ADA stand on this issue.. hmmm states you don't need to show proof, but cannot be denied??? Disney says you don't need the proof and yet they still deny you.... :confused3

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 01:45 PM
obviously there is no way to find this out for a fact, because it's not like they can say "hey, are you cheating the GAC system?" :rotfl2:

But when people abuse any system it makes it harder for everyone who is actually not abusing the system. not just disney. I don't think that it's unproductive for people to speak up and to shine a light on the fact that as a group we can't condone it. I also don't agree with the assessment that it's better for 3 people who don't need it, get it, than 1 who does, doesn't. Turning a blind eye to the situation does nothing.

Totally agree, except one thing; that last part. It does something; it makes things worse by keeping silent. As you already kinda said, with the unproductive part. :)

Some might chuck it down to a long run, false sentiment or whatever, but for me this topic has close connections to the meaning of dates of this week to my country. Yesterday we celebrated the country being liberated from WW2. The eve before that we remembered all those that have fallen in WW2 and any war situation since. Very sobering days.

As some might know, I'm Dutch. Part of our dark bit of history during WW2 was our way of thinking and acting. Don't see anything, don't hear anything and just follow whatever the Nazis would come up with and keep your head down and only worry about yourself. It started small enough, administrating all of the Jews. We all know how WW2 would end up. Because of how we as a Dutch nation -both individuals and gouvernment workers- acted the Nazis were able to murder a higher percentage of Jews, gypsies, gay, resistance workers and indeed; disabled than in countries where that "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing" motto was not the norm. One huge lesson to be learned, not just by us Dutch. Each and every day again. Society is not others being responsible. Me deciding to hear, see and say nothing is me also ducking my responsibility.

While today we are "only" talking about making and keeping something as luxerious as a visit to WDW possible to as many people as possible, the same lessons can be applied. Not speaking up is always worse then speaking up in a reasonable, respectfull way. Not speaking up will not make a problem disappear but it will give it room to grow. To become a poison eventually. We see things happen, hear things, know things. Those things can be used as a huge strength in a positive way. Not speaking out of fear, it's a much more scary option for me.

Sorry to drag such a heavy topic into this, but it's been on my mind for over a week. Seeing some patterns, differences and lessons that can be learned from that when it comes to how disabled are viewed and what their role in society is in general and more specific; how the group itself influences that, roles that can be had etc. This topic being opened I guess was the last drop for me posting it in showing a bit of where my sentiment on this comes from. *getting of my soapbox now* :blush:

Tonka's Skipper
05-06-2012, 01:51 PM
Totally agree, except one thing; that last part. It does something; it makes things worse by keeping silent. As you already kinda said, with the unproductive part. :)

Some might chuck it down to a long run, false sentiment or whatever, but for me this topic has close connections to the meaning of dates of this week to my country. Yesterday we celebrated the country being liberated from WW2. The eve before that we remembered all those that have fallen in WW2 and any war situation since. Very sobering days.

As some might know, I'm Dutch. Part of our dark bit of history during WW2 was our way of thinking and acting. Don't see anything, don't hear anything and just follow whatever the Nazis would come up with and keep your head down and only worry about yourself. It started small enough, administrating all of the Jews. We all know how WW2 would end up. Because of how we as a Dutch nation -both individuals and gouvernment workers- acted the Nazis were able to murder a higher percentage of Jews, gypsies, gay, resistance workers and indeed; disabled than in countries where that "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing" motto was not the norm. One huge lesson to be learned, not just by us Dutch. Each and every day again. Society is not others being responsible. Me deciding to hear, see and say nothing is me also ducking my responsibility.

While today we are "only" talking about making and keeping something as luxerious as a visit to WDW possible to as many people as possible, the same lessons can be applied. Not speaking up is always worse then speaking up in a reasonable, respectfull way. Not speaking up will not make a problem disappear but it will give it room to grow. To become a poison eventually. We see things happen, hear things, know things. Those things can be used as a huge strength in a positive way. Not speaking out of fear, it's a much more scary option for me.

Sorry to drag such a heavy topic into this, but it's been on my mind for over a week. Seeing some patterns, differences and lessons that can be learned from that when it comes to how disabled are viewed and what their role in society is in general and more specific; how the group itself influences that, roles that can be had etc. This topic being opened I guess was the last drop for me posting it in showing a bit of where my sentiment on this comes from. *getting of my soapbox now* :blush:

Well Said Sir!

AKK

goofieslonglostsis
05-06-2012, 01:52 PM
Well Said Sir!

AKK

Grin, I'm Goofs sister so that would make me female. ;)

A Mickeyfan
05-06-2012, 01:53 PM
obviously there is no way to find this out for a fact, because it's not like they can say "hey, are you cheating the GAC system?" :rotfl2:

But when people abuse any system it makes it harder for everyone who is actually not abusing the system. not just disney. I don't think that it's unproductive for people to speak up and to shine a light on the fact that as a group we can't condone it. I also don't agree with the assessment that it's better for 3 people who don't need it, get it, than 1 who does, doesn't. Turning a blind eye to the situation does nothing.

I don't know what the answer is. I really don't. But all you have to do is google and you'll see that the info is out there for abuse, and see that many are abusing it.
I totally agree! why allow 3 that do not need it for the 1 that does :confused3 That not only is condoning abuse, it is also making it worse for those that need it. For every 3 people not needing it, those are 3 more wheelchairs/ECV's they may have been available for someone who did need it, or 3 less people that your child would have had to wait behind while your child was having a melt down.. and you were praying the line would go faster... it would if those 3 weren't there :confused3 and in your case & mine.. that would be 3 less people standing/sitting in the viewing area where we could go to see the parade or fireworks as we might not have another option :confused3 So, yes, you are totally correct, why should we condone the 3 who abuse to allow the 1 who needs. I say require documentation and it will solve a lot of issues. Anyone who is really not for this may have something to hide.. at least that is how I view it. If you are not ashamed to ask for the GAC, you should not be ashamed to provide the medical reason why.

canopynut66
05-06-2012, 02:20 PM
We just got back from WDW last week and we had a good time. But, we did have a melt down at Haunted Mansion due to the changes. We worked to resolve it with the CMs there, but I did go to Guest Services to state that there are some issues with how the GACs are being handled by CMs.

What the Guest Services CM told me during the course of the conversation didn't really set well. She stated that because so many people are having their children "pretend" to have Autism or simply just state their child has ASD in order to "cut lines" they are being a bit more discriminate in the giving of GACs to Guests, sometimes refusing to give them. I informed her I understand that this can be a concern, but that to my knowledge Guest Relations is not allowed to ask for "proof" and that this could lead to quite a firestorm if they weren't careful.

If we had to provide proof we could from several sources including his doctors, Easter Seals, school corporation etc., but I know that it wouldn't sit well with our family to be looked at like we were trying to "get away with something". The GAC makes touring the world much easier and less stressful, and as I am sure most of you would agree, I don't mind waiting longer if it means he is calmer during the day and we have less meltdowns.

I would chalk this up to an inexperienced CM but I also heard it from two other CMs at DHS when we got to talking about my son's GAC and they wanted to see where it was issued.

Has anyone else heard this?


I have to be on a EVC from time off buses to all over the parks until we go home and back to the wheelchair and we have went to GR gotten a medical pass and they never ask a thing. we had all info with us but they did not require that. You just got a poor CM as we have never had a problem. when that happens need to ask for CM manager or GR Manager on the spot. as some are better trained than others on this.:coffee:

BillSears
05-06-2012, 03:02 PM
I have to be on a EVC from time off buses to all over the parks until we go home and back to the wheelchair and we have went to GR gotten a medical pass and they never ask a thing. we had all info with us but they did not require that. You just got a poor CM as we have never had a problem. when that happens need to ask for CM manager or GR Manager on the spot. as some are better trained than others on this.:coffee:

Just curious...what are your needs for a GAC? Different needs may get different responses. I assume there is some sort of problem other than the mobility problems which are solved by using an ECV so the mobility problems would not require a GAC.

A Mickeyfan
05-06-2012, 03:22 PM
I have to be on a EVC from time off buses to all over the parks until we go home and back to the wheelchair and we have went to GR gotten a medical pass and they never ask a thing. we had all info with us but they did not require that. You just got a poor CM as we have never had a problem. when that happens need to ask for CM manager or GR Manager on the spot. as some are better trained than others on this.:coffee:

see the thing I find with over @ the HM, if you are in a wheelchair, they normally do not give you a hard time, it is when you aren't. I know I don't require a chair, my issues are vision and they just don't understand that I cannot see in the dark at that attraction to walk with everyone else going on the standard line from start to finish... being pushed and shoved in the dark room with no bars or handles to hold onto, then going into the stretching room again with nothing to hold onto.. then into the area that goes from a 10 lane highway to a 1 lane with bottle neck and again pushing and shoving with nothing to hold onto...:confused3 I have no problems waiting on the outside line.. even in the dark it is ok, they have a rope for me to hold...;) It all starts once inside... ::yes::

christymarie
05-06-2012, 04:10 PM
We have two children on the spectrum with full diagnosis and an Autism service dog to boot so we don't usually have trouble getting a GAC, LOL. I will admit we were questioned much more when I took my higher functioning child in with me and left the dog and the other child outside with my husband. When she started to ask me about issues I had my son bring in my husband and other son, as soon as she saw our $4,000 wheelchair, service dog and my son doing his full fledged autism show we got our GACs immediately.

I'm perfectly fine producing documentation. I carry certification for our service dog as well as our children just in case. It really doesn't bother me and I'd rather have someone ask me than think that we are trying to scam the system. We are able to go to Disney because of the GAC. There is no way we would be able to without it. The boys are just not high functioning enough. I will be happy to jump through any hoops to keep the GAC.

A Mickeyfan
05-06-2012, 06:01 PM
We have two children on the spectrum with full diagnosis and an Autism service dog to boot so we don't usually have trouble getting a GAC, LOL. I will admit we were questioned much more when I took my higher functioning child in with me and left the dog and the other child outside with my husband. When she started to ask me about issues I had my son bring in my husband and other son, as soon as she saw our $4,000 wheelchair, service dog and my son doing his full fledged autism show we got our GACs immediately.

I'm perfectly fine producing documentation. I carry certification for our service dog as well as our children just in case. It really doesn't bother me and I'd rather have someone ask me than think that we are trying to scam the system. We are able to go to Disney because of the GAC. There is no way we would be able to without it. The boys are just not high functioning enough. I will be happy to jump through any hoops to keep the GAC.

that is exactly how I feel.. I will give you what ever you ask me to.. please ask me.. and I will provide. :goodvibes
Naturally when you go in to ask, you think you are doing the right thing by leaving everyone else outside, but not so. I attribute that to the abuse. While we here all know it happens, no one wants to admit it.

The ADA states you don't have to show proof, so what is happening now is word got out that hey... Disney will give people this card and etc...etc... or Disney rents chairs and you can skip lines (yes I know that is not true, but all don't know that) and the next thing you know, there are people scamming the system..

It is just like the ones who are putting their 4 year old in the stroller stating they are 2 and a half.. Disney doesn't ask for their birth certificate... or the 11 year old who is still only 8 and a half.. again because they don't ask for the birth certificate... there are rotten apples that spoil the batch.... so for me, I will provide what ever you want if it helps cut down on "theft" or scamming the system. ::yes::

However, in the meantime, if I do have a GAC, please look at it and read it.. don't just grill me @ an attraction then deny me...:confused3, let me show you my proof (that you are not suppose to ask for but grill me anyway :confused3) so you will let me move on...

mamacass
05-06-2012, 07:43 PM
It really breaks my heart to think of a parent teaching their child to act as if they are on the spectrum just so they could get a GAC. How low can you get? It really is deplorable.

We've used the GAC on our last two trips and it really was a godsend. We are planning a trip this Christmas and I like so many other posters am starting to worry that we won't be able to get one. My son will be turning 18 soon, and although his issues are the same as when he was ten, will his age be a factor in being able to use a GAC on this trip?

intheshadows
05-06-2012, 07:54 PM
Mamacass:
Age is never a factor in considerations for receiving a GAC.
I hope you and your son have a wonderful trip!

:cool1:

ttintagel
05-06-2012, 08:36 PM
I totally agree! why allow 3 that do not need it for the 1 that does :confused3 That not only is condoning abuse, it is also making it worse for those that need it. For every 3 people not needing it, those are 3 more wheelchairs/ECV's they may have been available for someone who did need it, or 3 less people that your child would have had to wait behind while your child was having a melt down.. and you were praying the line would go faster... it would if those 3 weren't there :confused3 and in your case & mine.. that would be 3 less people standing/sitting in the viewing area where we could go to see the parade or fireworks as we might not have another option :confused3 So, yes, you are totally correct, why should we condone the 3 who abuse to allow the 1 who needs. I say require documentation and it will solve a lot of issues. Anyone who is really not for this may have something to hide.. at least that is how I view it. If you are not ashamed to ask for the GAC, you should not be ashamed to provide the medical reason why.

It's not about condoning. It's about living in the real world. Sure, in some ideal fantasy universe you wouldn't have to choose between denying people with real needs and letting a couple of people who don't slip through. But I don't see any point in not being practical. If Disney has to take on enough extra staff to make the choice unnecessary, the cost of our vacations is going to go up even more.

ttintagel
05-06-2012, 08:43 PM
I beg to differ.......it can be handled and changed......Do you have a link to show that is not such a large part of the GAC population?...just say it is or is not doesnt prove anything.

Of course not, just as you don't have a link to show it IS. It just makes sense; going to the trouble of faking a disability to get a card which doesn't provide much real benefit to someone who truly doesn't need it doesn't pass the most cursory cost/benefit analysis. If somebody is THAT determined, not even the most draconian "papers, please" mentality is going to stop him. And I prefer to assume the best of most people until proven otherwise; the world's a dark and unfriendly place otherwise.

Keith13
05-06-2012, 08:57 PM
We are going in November. My son is high functioning but can't wait long. 15 to 20 min max. We got a GAC at Disneyland a couple years ago and it was great. We didnt abuse it. Just used it when there were really long waits or couldnt get a FP. If I can't get a GAC at DW it will cut down on the rides we will be able to go on. It will just cause meltdown after meltdown.

ireland_nicole
05-06-2012, 09:32 PM
The thing is, if someone is twisted enough to encourage their child to "act autistic" what would keep them from forging a doctors note? I for one don't mind having a note, we use one when flying to explain our kids needs especially when flying overseas but I do have a concern about being at GS and having a CM telling me my son doesn't "look" like he needs a gac. We work really hard to not use it more than necessary, but because of his disabilities can usually only be in the parks about 2-3hours a a time. I wouldn't take him in June but he's a huge star wars nut and wanted to see some of SWW for his birthday. Now I'm almost regretting the decision to being him.

PatsMom
05-06-2012, 09:40 PM
I am at Disney now - my first trip confined to a wheelchair. I can transfer and have limited mobility. I can't do steps but I can walk on level surfaces for a bit. I have a very visible walking boot on my right foot. That is just the beginning of my medical issues right now, but it is what has put me in the chair finally! I do not have a GAC because I have no need that the GAC would help. I just need an entrance to a ride. The CM's have been awesome so far. Very helpful in telling me where to go to enter the queue or show. But we have a touring plan and we use fastpass. We've been here many times so that makes it much easier than it would be for a new person. And I have my personal chair.

I have always had a lot of respect for parents of special needs children. My four year old niece has Angelman's Syndrome - she is non-ambulatory and non-verbal. But she is a total sweetheart most of the time - the sunniest child you will ever meet. We haven't brought her to Disney but we are hoping to do so after she turns six or so since the specialists say that is when Angelman's children begin to have more normal sleep patterns. Right now she sleeps about 4 hours a night and if you take her out of her routine she won't sleep at all. And that can go on for weeks. The doctors say it is normal for her condition.

We try to teach her to wait but the concept just doesn't exist to her. We have taken her to smaller parks near our home.

I have spent time typing this just so people will understand how ticked off I was at Fantasmic tonight. I love that Disney is so accommodating to special needs kids. I've seen the "stroller as a wheelchair" tag and never questioned it. Tonight I sat in the wheelchair row at Fantasmic. My daughter and husband sat in front of me. Next to me were two little boys, two or three years old, in strollers with tags. They had about 10 people with them I think! A couple of siblings, parents (who lived locally from their conversation) and grandparents and an aunt visiting from out of town. Had nothing to do but listen to them talk while we waited so I know quite a bit about them. Including the fact that the mother got the stroller tags because it was "convenient". She didn't want to make the kids walk or carry them. She told her mother that she just goes to guest services and tells them she needs it. She said they rarely ask why but if they do, she says the kids are autistic and need the strollers to feel safe.

So abuse exists, I saw it today. And is sincerely hope that it won't cause Disney to change their system unless they can come up with a good alternative. The kids who really need the accommodations really need them! To punish them because of some selfish adults would not be a kind thing in my opinion.

Ask for what you need, and if you don't need it, pretend it doesn't exist!

Tonka's Skipper
05-07-2012, 07:51 AM
It's not about condoning. It's about living in the real world. Sure, in some ideal fantasy universe you wouldn't have to choose between denying people with real needs and letting a couple of people who don't slip through. But I don't see any point in not being practical. If Disney has to take on enough extra staff to make the choice unnecessary, the cost of our vacations is going to go up even more.




The real world is what we make of it. To sit back and just do nothing will only make things worse for everyone.

The more cheaters think they can get away with stuff,the more who will cheat and cause everyone else more problems.

Sorry, I choose not to sit in the dark but to light a BLOW TORCH and find a solution to help everyone! There is always a solution to somthing this simply and I think I posted a pretty good one a while back in this thread.


Based on the posts.....many seem to agree it needs to be addressed and solved.


AKK

mistysue
05-07-2012, 08:02 AM
Unfortunately, even asking for a doctor's note or a diagnosis isn't going to help anything. Like PP's have alluded to, having a condition does not in any way tell you what a person's needs are. If they ask for a doctor's note, then people are going to be complaining about all the high functioning kids. Or the people with a diagnosis that is usually mild, but have a need are going to have some real trouble.

My daughter has worse meltdowns than many autistic kids and requires more assistance, yet doesn't even have a diagnosis... so if she has a meltdown it shouldn't matter? Yet if somebody has a title it does? One of our million worries about this upcoming trip is what is going to happen with her not having a stroller to go to for the first time. She is just now getting too big to pick up and walk off with when she can't handle things and we haven't had something like a GAC before but it's being considered. The reality is without it we may be stuck in a hotel room for 90% of our trip. But you might not notice right away when you meet her and nobody knows what is going on with her. Other people abusing the system shouldn't mean I get to pay for Disney and not actually go.

A GAC has to be issued for needs, not for people with a medical title. Unfortunately, needs are often subjective and hard to prove so they have to believe you.

Hannathy
05-07-2012, 08:11 AM
We are going in November. My son is high functioning but can't wait long. 15 to 20 min max. We got a GAC at Disneyland a couple years ago and it was great. We didnt abuse it. Just used it when there were really long waits or couldnt get a FP. If I can't get a GAC at DW it will cut down on the rides we will be able to go on. It will just cause meltdown after meltdown.

But I thought that wasn't what a GAC was for? I thought it wasn't to be used to shorten waits?

This is why it gets abused. Like wheelchairs used to do.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 08:24 AM
they might as well just start allowing all strollers in lines - what's the big deal with this? Just reconfigure the holding areas and all people to take them in lines if they want. Stroller as a wheelchair seems like it's the new thing.

And unless shorter wait times was the actual benefit people wouldn't use it. So you know it's happening -people are asking for GAC to get shorter waits and they're getting them.

mistysue
05-07-2012, 09:31 AM
they might as well just start allowing all strollers in lines - what's the big deal with this? Just reconfigure the holding areas and all people to take them in lines if they want. Stroller as a wheelchair seems like it's the new thing.

And unless shorter wait times was the actual benefit people wouldn't use it. So you know it's happening -people are asking for GAC to get shorter waits and they're getting them.

Now that strollers are more regularly being used as a sort of "child containment device" it would be a nice idea.

Re: wait times- if using the regular line means you might have to keep leaving and re-trying, you eventually require that perk of not having to re-wait. Unfortunately the solution to abuse of this would likely be sending people through the line, making them have a problem- then giving them a pass to get back. Now it couldn't be abused, but there are some serious moral issues there.
In my particular case, I am worried about waiting an hour in a line, having to rush out of there, then never being able to ride unless we re-do the whole hour +. If I could wait an hour, rush out to keep DD somewhere safer for a few, then redo my wait minus the hour- I would find that perfect. Maybe the advanced line systems are really being setup to be able to do things like that. (like your meat counter ticket, it holds your place, you just have to be there when your place is called)

Nik's Mom
05-07-2012, 09:42 AM
I wish all of these people who are faking things to get a GAC, could see what it's really like to live in our shoes.

How disgusting must you be that you would encourage your child to lie like that?

EvangelineG
05-07-2012, 10:13 AM
Downside of this also is; a diagnosis says little if anything about actual needs. And even when it comes to needs, we see enough topics on here already about docs that are....... thinking they know it all and/or have all the power (including my GP :sad2: ) and hand out notes for "fotl access". For the most weird reasons where many times even the individual themselves say they're not looking for it as there is no need. So even without looking to abuse, it is offered already in notes. :rolleyes:



Don't hit me over the head until you hear me out. Not playing the "it's all in your head" game, but would you think that your own sentiment might be of influence? It can easily influence communication on both how you communicate to the CM and how you interprete the CM's words. When worrying about something, it's easier to hear something that can come across a negative way more easily. A human thing, but can be a real pain in the you-know-what.

Next time perhaps it helps to look at it in another way? They are not trying to deny you anything. They are looking to find out as much as possible about each boys needs. On the one hand this can result in helping them in the best way possible on the other hand it reduces abuse where possible. Which of itself is another great help to both your boys. No need to fear when needs are there. Even more so since you have done the parks before. Explain their needs, use an example of how in the past something turned into a problem and how the GAC made a difference on situation such-and-so on another trip. Ask questions you have got, as even after many trips sometimes they are there. Actually your genuinity is gold. Abuse and fake is mostly about learning something and repeat it. There lies the difference for you also. Heck, go crazy, why NOT mention your worry? DO! By all means. It just shows what is in your mind and emotion anyway. Paints a picture of how the guests and families are and what is important for them. And not in the least bit; only when the CM knows about your worry can they address them.

Let's go out on a huge limb here and say you find things are changed. Different stamps. Oops; stress!!!!!!!! When communicatin your worry, this gives the CM room to go into it. Explain why different stamps. Turns out in this example they have gotten different stamps, word it differently, are strickter but for your boys it doesn't change things that the bottomline experience is negatively impacted. Or you still have some questions; they can go into it some more.

After having spent quite some time in GS and talking to quite a few CM's about this, I have found many of them have a great sense of knowledge what to look for. Esp. when it comes to something as common (to them) like ASD, anxiety etc. But also when it comes to signs of abuse. My syndrome is very rare, it's hard to find a doc who knows anything about it. Let alone explain it to any CM. And you know what? They know what to look for because their training is proper enough for that.

I can understand the sentiment but the biggest help for yourself I think would be in drawing strength from the fact that you know the needs, know they are there and that asking questions is not done to deny them but to optimize something that hopefully benefits the boys for centuries to come. :hug:


You're right about diagnoses not necessarily illustrating needs as they relate to touring the parks, and the possibility of Dr.s participating in abuse of the system or disseminating inaccurate info about FOTL passes etc. I am just saying that for my family it would be easier and less stressful to be able to produce documentation than to rely on having to convince a stranger of my sons' needs in a few minutes on a busy day when my own anxiety is very high, when my sons appear perfectly normal. Did I also mention that my sons' are completely mortified by anyone discussing their disabilities/needs and so refuse to come anywhere near the counter? :rolleyes: But that's a whole separate issue, and it's all a moot point anyway, because although we always do have Dr.s notes for travel it is my understanding that WDW can't read them anyway.

No urge to throw anything! ;) I actually completely agree with you that my worry influenced my ability to communicate effectively with the CM, but I know I wasn't imagining the CM's hesitancy to hand over the GAC. She wasn't asking questions. I was fumbling to explain my sons' needs in terms that wouldn't completely freak my sons out, and describing our previous experience using GAC at DL. When I got to the end of my spiel she made a comment to the effect of me seeming to know a lot about this (as in GAC's), and I was confused since I'd just finished telling her about previously using the GAC. She wasn't really listening, and she was suspicious. We did receive the GAC in the end, and all was well, but I would be lying if I said it was in any way a comfortable experience. Do I blame the CM? Not at all, especially after reading about all the instances of abuse. They have to be discerning. Am I dreading requesting a GAC for our next trip? Absolutely. Especially after reading this thread.

As far as CM's training for recognizing ASD & anxiety, I'm sure it is very good, and the first time we requested a GAC at DL we didn't encounter a hint of suspicion. But at that point my sons were both wearing pairs of enormous hunting orange ear defenders, one was crying, one was pacing furiously and both looked like they were being led to the guillotine not to the happiest place on earth! When I say that at this age and stage there are absolutely no outward signs of ASD that can be observed within a few minutes of meeting my sons, I really mean it. Which means the CM either has to believe me or not. Which means since they can't accept documentation from a mental health professional, that it comes down to my "salesmanship" of having needs warranting assistance -hence my discomfort.

I liked your advice though. Thank you for it. Hopefully my genuineness will come through, and maybe I could even get one of my sons (or both) on board for actually approaching the counter and participating in the discussion (dare to dream!), because that would make it a million times easier.

SueM in MN
05-07-2012, 10:18 AM
It really breaks my heart to think of a parent teaching their child to act as if they are on the spectrum just so they could get a GAC. How low can you get? It really is deplorable.

We've used the GAC on our last two trips and it really was a godsend. We are planning a trip this Christmas and I like so many other posters am starting to worry that we won't be able to get one. My son will be turning 18 soon, and although his issues are the same as when he was ten, will his age be a factor in being able to use a GAC on this trip?
Honor systems only work when the majority of people are honorable.

It is probably in pretty small numbers, but people can get pretty low.

About 10 years ago, I had heard from some DIS friends who were CMs that there was actually a ‘black market’ in Make a Wish pins. Someone had gotten one, scanned it and then made copies to sell at street stalls on International Drive.
At that point, many people with MAW pins were given front of the line treatment and/or other special things with just the pin. There were also debated on this board where people whose child had taken a MAW trip felt that since they had one, they could use it for ALL future trips (which was never the intent). CMs were supposed to look at the paperwork, but most just looked at the pin.
We actually saw a few times when people were caught (mostly groups of teens who could not produce the paperwork that went along with the pins they had).

Since then, they changed the process, the actual GAC is what is most important and they have made it clear to people that the Wish trip is a once in a lifetime special thing.
Mamacass:
Age is never a factor in considerations for receiving a GAC.
I hope you and your son have a wonderful trip!

:cool1:
::yes::
GACs are not just for children.
The thing is, if someone is twisted enough to encourage their child to "act autistic" what would keep them from forging a doctors note? I for one don't mind having a note, we use one when flying to explain our kids needs especially when flying overseas but I do have a concern about being at GS and having a CM telling me my son doesn't "look" like he needs a gac. We work really hard to not use it more than necessary, but because of his disabilities can usually only be in the parks about 2-3hours a a time. I wouldn't take him in June but he's a huge star wars nut and wanted to see some of SWW for his birthday. Now I'm almost regretting the decision to being him.
As I posted before, the great majority of people I have heard of having problems were not able to state their needs (and many were asking for some kind of expedited access). Be prepared to explain his needs and you should do fine.
Yes it is not that you have a disability, but the impact it has on your ability for equal access that is the "gate keeping" trigger for accommodations.

If a guest ask for superior access then yes they can be asked and in whole the accommodation is not typically covered under ADA except in a few specific situations. If the business chooses to supply superior access for the business's convenience, then no they cannot ask since the person had only requested equal accommodations.


A good example of this is the way universal handles their disability pass. Even though it is preferential, since they decided to use a preexisting convenient structure, and offer no other they are still not allowed to ask for "proof"

There will always be cheats as long as the system is in any way perceived as preferential at any time, but it has also been ruled that this does not give any right to require proof no matter how rampant it is. I keep hoping they will go to "slow pass" system that just gives you a pass to reenter the line near the entrance or enter through the FP entrance at the time shown on the current regular line wait time. There is still some potential for abuse, but much less than what is perceived now. With the changes during the past year, I can nto think of any line that has not been changed significantly since 1993, so all lines should now offer some type of alternate waiting and entry accommodation.

bookwormde
Unless Universal has changed since I last spoke with a Guest Relations person there who is a DIS poster, they do have more than one type of access to meet needs related to waiting/waiting area, not just the one you mentioned.

No one on this thread is suggesting roving bands of vigilante guests trying to ferret out ‘cheaters’. At least, I hope not.
There is no way to determine that (other than if someone is blatant about it, as in the examples that I and some other people mentioned - especially where people were perfectly frank telling others they ‘cheated'). We’ve had people watch DD sit on a bench and decide she just had a wheelchair to get to the front of lines - we didn’t just see their faces, we heard their comments. They saw a child sitting on a bench and saw no disability. They did not see us lift her onto the bench and arrange her so she could sit there.
I don’t want anyone else to experience that ‘punch to the gut’ feeling.

I also do not personally want to go to a world where ‘proof’ is needed for everything. As was already pointed out, most people who are willing to lie about a disability are also willing to go to the extra step and make a fake doctor’s letter). And, back when this board first started and lots of people were getting letters to take to Guest Relations, there were quite a few people who posted that they had to make a doctor’s appointment to get a letter (or the doctor charged to write the letter - which is not to say that doctors should not - there is some expense to the doctor for the letter). And, some have said “show a handicapped parking permit” - well, there are many people who need a handicapped parking permit to park or qualify for handicapped parking, but don’t need any assistance in the park.
So, requiring a letter/proof will not stop abuse - it will just inconvenience those who are disabled and trying to do what they need to do.

There is a perception that guests with wheelchairs or using GACs do not wait, but the perception is usually not the reality. People have posted that they got into certain things without waiting by using the ‘wheelchair entrance.’ But, when you actually look at what they are talking about, it is things like shows with alternate waiting areas where they got into the same show they would have if they walked in.
People also don’t look at what the wait in the regular line is. One time at Mission Space, we got into the regular line (which is accessible) with a 5 minute posted wait. As we got further into the attraction, we ended up behind a woman using an ECV. She looked at DD and then showed us her GAC and said we should "get one of these. I got right on this ride with it without waiting.”
Well, we got in after her, but caught up with her because the wait was so short.
We have also been by people in lines like Small World where they were saying it was so great to get right on - when the people who had entered the regular line right before us were already on a long time ago and we were still waiting.
So, there is a perception of a shorter wait to many people just because they are out of the ‘regular’ line.

My DD was quite small when the ADA was passed. We lived in a world where access for any disability was not to be taken for granted. We went into restaurants where we could not get in with DD’s wheelchair and theaters and museums where we carried her wheelchair up a long flight of stairs.
We had to ask people to move their chairs out of the path so we could get to the bathroom, but found that the door was too narrow to get her tiny wheelchair even into the bathroom. When we could get in, often there was no handicapped stall or the stall was too small for a wheelchair, so we parked her wheelchair in the doorway and used the bathroom basically “in public view’.
We heard people say ‘people like that don’t swim’ when all we asked was whether there was an accessible place where DD could be changed into her swimsuit.
We went to WDW when nothing was accessible in the ‘normal’ way and everything was special access. It didn’t make us feel special; it made us feel weird and I applaud WDW in trying to make things as accessible in the Mainstream as possible.

These are my thoughts about what to do:

I do think that guests with disabilities need to be aware that they will and should be questioned about what their needs are when they request a GAC. You can’t just go in and say “I have xxxx” because, as has already been mentioned, that does not tell what the needs are (and, as some people have mentioned, their doctors don’t actually know what they have, so they don’t have a “label".If that is looked at as begging for a GAC, that is what it will feel like. The main reason of the questions is to find out what the person actually needs (which is in compliance with the ADA - not an unusual or cruel ‘hoop’ to pass thru).

Guests with disabilities also need to be aware that they may be questioned at attractions about what they need, even when they present a GAC. GACs are general, not specific and not every attraction has the same things available. The CMs do need to know some specifics - for example, can someone using an ECV or wheelchair get out to board? How far can they walk? Can they walk? If there is a moving walkway, does a guest with a disability need it slowed or stopped? (not only guests with mobility needs, but people with mental or developmental disabilities, vision related disabilities).
In many case, you can’t just hand a GAC to the CM and have them instantly know what is needed (especially things like vision, where “low vision” may mean very different things, depending on the person’s exact difficulties or “front of theater seating” may not be the best seat for that person’s needs, depending on how that theater is set up and how far up the stage is).

Guests with disabilities need to be aware that CMs at entrances to attractions may/should look at the GAC carefully, ask them which of the people is the person named on the GAC and whether that person is riding. This is to prevent things like “granny dumping’, which is actually abuse of ‘granny’.

When a GAC is issued, guests should have an explanation on how to use it (i.e. That they should present it to the CM at the entrance to the queue, that not all accommodations are available at each attraction, that even the accommodation that is ‘normally’ available may be temporarily unavailable, that it is not designed to shorten waits and may lead to additional waits, that no accommodations may be available if the regular wait is 15 minutes or less - THOSE THINGS ARE PRINTED ON THE GAC, but I think many people do not read them).
They have started stamping GACs at some parks to say they are not used for character and ‘celebrity’ appearances/greetings. That is good that it is stamped right on it so there is no misunderstanding.

I would make sure that things like using granny (or anyone else) to get on attractions she is not going to ride does not end in a ride and does end up in confiscation of the GAC and possibly ejection from the park. I had heard of it even before reading it earlier in this thread.

SueM in MN
05-07-2012, 10:43 AM
As long as I’m thinking, my wish list would include things like a kiosk in Guest Relations where people could search the park for things that are an issue for them.
For a few examples:

For those with visual difficulties, what is the view from the front row seats? In many cases the front seats put guests chin at stage level and seats a few rows back would work better. Seats in row 3 or somewhere else might work better for those guests.
For those with concerns about darkness, what is the light level? For example, we rode Imagination yesterday. The boarding area is bright, but the unload area is dimly lit (not sure why)? That might be nice to know ahead of time for someone with difficulty seeing in dimly lit situations.
For those who have difficulty walking or need to transfer, how high is the step into or out of the ride car? What is the ride car like? Is there a wheelchair or ADA car?
For those who have difficulty with moving walkways, are there any?
For those with difficulty walking, if they choose to walk in line, how far is the distance?
Is there an alternate waiting area and what is it like (I know for Turtle Talk at Epcot, people have looked at us enviously when we got led out of the regular waiting line because they think we are going into the next show. We are going into the same show as they are, but we are waiting in a bare, fairly small room with other guests who need to enter before the crowd does).


This could all be on the website ahead of time an interactive kiosk at the park where people could choose to look or not and could choose to print out information that is pertinent to them (in large type if they need or even in braille). if it was on the website ahead of time, people could put it into a format which works for them (for example on files that their smart phone could read out loud to them or as prerecorded audio files).

I tried to fill that gap in knowledge with what I have posted in the disABILITIES FAQs thread and also with pictures I have posted in wdwinfo.com photo site (and collected from others who have shared photos with me over the years).

goofieslonglostsis
05-07-2012, 10:45 AM
they might as well just start allowing all strollers in lines - what's the big deal with this? Just reconfigure the holding areas and all people to take them in lines if they want. Stroller as a wheelchair seems like it's the new thing.

Simple; strollers take up a lot more space. Read; less guests being able to wait in the same line. WDW explodes so many youngsters there are. As we all know from the regular part of here, having a 6 year old or older use a stroller because they might get tired is happening. So maaaaaaaany strollers. Look at any strollerpark and it's mindboggling. Imagine those in line. Disaster before you even hit the loading and unloading area. Can you imagine having to store and move those strollers? Parents taking time to strap Johny and Suzie into place, blocking the whole ride unload area.

And let's assume there were ever to be a need to evacuate asap. Can you imagine the danger of all those strollers there? It's simply not safe or workable to have all strollers in there if there is no need.

And unless shorter wait times was the actual benefit people wouldn't use it. So you know it's happening -people are asking for GAC to get shorter waits and they're getting them.

Agree waittime is a factor. And I'm a firm believer that for those few rides where a wait does get shortened a GAC will be used and at those rides where it adds to a waittime, they "magically" will not be used when abusing a GAC.




Evangeline; sounds like you ran into a CM that has a lot of room to grow in performing their job or has gone a bit overboard after a briefing about being more aware? Doesn't sound like the general 'standard' so to say. Sorry about that.

But please do not dread!!! So far haven't seen anything that warrents dreading. It will be a big load on your shoulders for a long time. Very very likely for nothing, which is a huge shame for ever feeling it. Worst case scenario you run into an uninformed, grumpy, powerhungry CM with the worst case of PMS that goes "NO". OK, bad situation. Time to have you heart sink 3 levels. That's bad enough right there, you could desperately do without all those fear beforehand that also weighed on you. Stand for what you know, take a breath and ask for a manager. Not as it should be, devastating moment to have your heart drop at that spot but it will be lifted. Am as sure of it as I am of knowing where my right toe is. Well, more actually. But honestly; I can't remember a topic on here where anybody posted about a true need and not getting a GAC. Some things going wrong, poor communications, problems at a certain ride, read it all but never being denied a GAC with a true need. Keep that in mind, that is a very helpfull security blanket. :hug:

goofieslonglostsis
05-07-2012, 10:49 AM
As long as I’m thinking, my wish list would include things like a kiosk in Guest Relations where people could search the park for things that are an issue for them.
For a few examples:

For those with visual difficulties, what is the view from the front row seats? In many cases the front seats put guests chin at stage level and seats a few rows back would work better. Seats in row 3 or somewhere else might work better for those guests.
For those with concerns about darkness, what is the light level? For example, we rode Imagination yesterday. The boarding area is bright, but the unload area is dimly lit (not sure why)? That might be nice to know ahead of time for someone with difficulty seeing in dimly lit situations.
For those who have difficulty walking or need to transfer, how high is the step into or out of the ride car? What is the ride car like? Is there a wheelchair or ADA car?
For those who have difficulty with moving walkways, are there any?
For those with difficulty walking, if they choose to walk in line, how far is the distance?
Is there an alternate waiting area and what is it like (I know for Turtle Talk at Epcot, people have looked at us enviously when we got led out of the regular waiting line because they think we are going into the next show. We are going into the same show as they are, but we are waiting in a bare, fairly small room with other guests who need to enter before the crowd does).


This could all be on the website ahead of time an interactive kiosk at the park where people could choose to look or not and could choose to print out information that is pertinent to them (in large type if they need or even in braille). if it was on the website ahead of time, people could put it into a format which works for them (for example on files that their smart phone could read out loud to them or as prerecorded audio files).

I tried to fill that gap in knowledge with what I have posted in the disABILITIES FAQs thread and also with pictures I have posted in wdwinfo.com photo site (and collected from others who have shared photos with me over the years).

Knowing your "style" you will have long since already informed Disney about this wish. Totally second it! Would also wish for an app to be added. Not replace seeing how an app is not a proper option for all but it being mobile could be a huge comfort factor and boost for such a GREAT piece of needed service to be used by as many as possible.


Oh, :idea: and if we're at it; add it to the information page on the tv. Doubt many watch it, but if we're going to do it let's do it right.

cjallen
05-07-2012, 11:29 AM
We just got back from WDW last week and we had a good time. But, we did have a melt down at Haunted Mansion due to the changes. We worked to resolve it with the CMs there, but I did go to Guest Services to state that there are some issues with how the GACs are being handled by CMs.

What the Guest Services CM told me during the course of the conversation didn't really set well. She stated that because so many people are having their children "pretend" to have Autism or simply just state their child has ASD in order to "cut lines" they are being a bit more discriminate in the giving of GACs to Guests, sometimes refusing to give them. I informed her I understand that this can be a concern, but that to my knowledge Guest Relations is not allowed to ask for "proof" and that this could lead to quite a firestorm if they weren't careful.

If we had to provide proof we could from several sources including his doctors, Easter Seals, school corporation etc., but I know that it wouldn't sit well with our family to be looked at like we were trying to "get away with something". The GAC makes touring the world much easier and less stressful, and as I am sure most of you would agree, I don't mind waiting longer if it means he is calmer during the day and we have less meltdowns.

I would chalk this up to an inexperienced CM but I also heard it from two other CMs at DHS when we got to talking about my son's GAC and they wanted to see where it was issued.

Has anyone else heard this?

We had a similar issue with The Haunted Mansion as the Castmember denied my wife access because the red-card had a smudge on the date created by the castmember who completed it, she accused my wife of tampering with the dates. This happened over the holidays, just after Christmas Day and we were highly offended. The Attraction Manager came out and appologized, went to Guest Services and had a new pristine version created to avoid any further confusion. We had arrived on the 17th and had ridden it a couple times prior with no issues. The manager told us the CM was doing her job and they had tightened restrictions on all rides due to the extremely high volume of visitors but this was our 8th Christmas vacation to WDW and had never had any similar issues prior to this, we too chalk it up to inexperienced CM and an overzealous interpretation of the rules.

aiminator
05-07-2012, 11:34 AM
Guests with disabilities need to be aware that CMs at entrances to attractions may/should look at the GAC carefully, ask them which of the people is the person named on the GAC and whether that person is riding. This is to prevent things like “granny dumping’, which is actually abuse of ‘granny’.

I would make sure that things like using granny (or anyone else) to get on attractions she is not going to ride does not end in a ride and does end up in confiscation of the GAC and possibly ejection from the park. I had heard of it even before reading it earlier in this thread.

I visited WDW as a child in the late 80s and I experienced the granny dumping first hand. A friend of the family had rented a wheelchair for their relative - who could walk but sometimes required a rest. When granny was walking they would take turns in the wheelchair and use it to get to the front of the line. As a child I remember thinking that it was wrong. Nice example to set for our youth...

It sickens me that people would abuse the system. And it is unfortunate that those that have a need for GAC are denied or questioned because they don't look like they fit the part. In an ideal world people not requiring GAC would wait in the regular line and not try to beat the system but unfortunately there are creepy people out there that think they deserve to cut the line.

Every guest pays to go to Disney and everyone should have an equal chance to experience Disney - and if an individual has a disability that will prevent them from that experience they should be granted an alternate plan to enjoy the experience aka with the help of GAC - it is not right that people pretend to have a disability just to get what they view as a "privilege" From what I have read GAC doesn't guarantee front of the line access but a quiet area away from the line so not to trigger a meltdown, etc.

cjallen
05-07-2012, 11:38 AM
I am at Disney now - my first trip confined to a wheelchair. I can transfer and have limited mobility. I can't do steps but I can walk on level surfaces for a bit. I have a very visible walking boot on my right foot. That is just the beginning of my medical issues right now, but it is what has put me in the chair finally! I do not have a GAC because I have no need that the GAC would help. I just need an entrance to a ride. The CM's have been awesome so far. Very helpful in telling me where to go to enter the queue or show. But we have a touring plan and we use fastpass. We've been here many times so that makes it much easier than it would be for a new person. And I have my personal chair.

I have always had a lot of respect for parents of special needs children. My four year old niece has Angelman's Syndrome - she is non-ambulatory and non-verbal. But she is a total sweetheart most of the time - the sunniest child you will ever meet. We haven't brought her to Disney but we are hoping to do so after she turns six or so since the specialists say that is when Angelman's children begin to have more normal sleep patterns. Right now she sleeps about 4 hours a night and if you take her out of her routine she won't sleep at all. And that can go on for weeks. The doctors say it is normal for her condition.

We try to teach her to wait but the concept just doesn't exist to her. We have taken her to smaller parks near our home.

I have spent time typing this just so people will understand how ticked off I was at Fantasmic tonight. I love that Disney is so accommodating to special needs kids. I've seen the "stroller as a wheelchair" tag and never questioned it. Tonight I sat in the wheelchair row at Fantasmic. My daughter and husband sat in front of me. Next to me were two little boys, two or three years old, in strollers with tags. They had about 10 people with them I think! A couple of siblings, parents (who lived locally from their conversation) and grandparents and an aunt visiting from out of town. Had nothing to do but listen to them talk while we waited so I know quite a bit about them. Including the fact that the mother got the stroller tags because it was "convenient". She didn't want to make the kids walk or carry them. She told her mother that she just goes to guest services and tells them she needs it. She said they rarely ask why but if they do, she says the kids are autistic and need the strollers to feel safe.

So abuse exists, I saw it today. And is sincerely hope that it won't cause Disney to change their system unless they can come up with a good alternative. The kids who really need the accommodations really need them! To punish them because of some selfish adults would not be a kind thing in my opinion.

Ask for what you need, and if you don't need it, pretend it doesn't exist!

We quit taking the time to see Fantasmic due to constant issues including not allowing our family to sit with my wife and I, the cast members always want my family of four to split up for the shows, the only accessible "seats" are nearly in the rear of the amitheater and we are almost always made to feel as if we are asking for something special to be seated together. I greatly understand the limited availability of accessible seating in the amiptheater, but separating families in a family oriented theme park is unacceptable. We have been forced to separate in other shows such as the Flights of Wonder, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular to name a few but Fantasmic is the only one that the cast members were consistantly overzealous.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 12:27 PM
This could all be on the website ahead of time an interactive kiosk at the park where people could choose to look or not and could choose to print out information that is pertinent to them (in large type if they need or even in braille). if it was on the website ahead of time, people could put it into a format which works for them (for example on files that their smart phone could read out loud to them or as prerecorded audio files).


this would be so easy for them to implement. Or like someone else mentioned, an app. I mean, it's just such a basic easy thing.

Simple; strollers take up a lot more space. Read; less guests being able to wait in the same line. WDW explodes so many youngsters there are. As we all know from the regular part of here, having a 6 year old or older use a stroller because they might get tired is happening. So maaaaaaaany strollers. Look at any strollerpark and it's mindboggling. Imagine those in line. Disaster before you even hit the loading and unloading area. Can you imagine having to store and move those strollers? Parents taking time to strap Johny and Suzie into place, blocking the whole ride unload area.

And let's assume there were ever to be a need to evacuate asap. Can you imagine the danger of all those strollers there? It's simply not safe or workable to have all strollers in there if there is no need.


I was thinking more along the lines of since the regular lines are now mostly all mainstreamed and that there are plenty of ECVs and W/C already in the lines (and I'd venture to guess that in an emergency an stroller could be maneuvered quicker than an ECV) that if the lines were to be moved a bit back from the attraction, with stroller parking up near the end of the line, rather than the beginning of the line, that that would be a start. If you could park your stroller near the end there would be no need for stroller as a w/c tags unless there was some other need.

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 01:26 PM
Sorry if I'm covering already covered I have had time to read all the responses in this thread.

We were there in December and had trouble with Guest relations. My daughter is not on the Autism Spectrum, but has a different "disability" that was rendered not enough of a disability to get a GAC. My daughter is deaf and wears a cochlear implant on one ear and a bone conduction hearing aid on the other.

We would be happy to wait in any line they provide, but the way they have the lines set up underneath the metal pavillion covers is a sound nightmare. The person in guest relations suggested she just take off her devices to wait in line. So for half of her day she would be without sound and communication. How fun or right is that?

Guest relations staff need to be better trained.

bookwormde
05-07-2012, 01:57 PM
Thanks Sue,

We were at universal last summer and that was all they offered us and we were not comfortable with "better than equivalent" accommodation so we did without, so I will have to see what else if available that I do not know about. Thanks for the heads up.

bookwormde

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 02:00 PM
Sorry if I'm covering already covered I have had time to read all the responses in this thread.

We were there in December and had trouble with Guest relations. My daughter is not on the Autism Spectrum, but has a different "disability" that was rendered not enough of a disability to get a GAC. My daughter is deaf and wears a cochlear implant on one ear and a bone conduction hearing aid on the other.

We would be happy to wait in any line they provide, but the way they have the lines set up underneath the metal pavillion covers is a sound nightmare. The person in guest relations suggested she just take off her devices to wait in line. So for half of her day she would be without sound and communication. How fun or right is that?

Guest relations staff need to be better trained.

Were you specific in what you needed? Guest Assistance isn't there to judge whether or not a disability is "enough" but to help you with what you need for your daughter. Taking off hearing devices isn't an option. However, in many cases there simply aren't any other lines available. So in this case it could simply be that they can't provide anything.

(the following isn't related to the above poster, so don't take it that way, I just am posting this now rather than start a new post)

I think when it all comes down to it, Disney's hands are a bit tied. ADA disallows them asking what the disability is and disallows documentation. However, Disney also doesn't state that a GAC is only for people with a disability. They say it's for people with a need. So who is the judge of what is a need?

To a PP who says her child has no diagnosis yet takes temper tantrums if the wait is longer than 15 min, well, show me any kid at disney who likes to wait longer than 15 min. Does this qualify as a legitimate need? Does Guest Services get to decide? Who gets to make this determination? What happens if the alternate entry wait area is longer than 15 min? The PP suggested that since she's paid her money she's entitled to get on rides. Yeah, me too. What is a need and what is simply a child that doesn't like to wait in line? Is simply not liking lines also a need? I'm travelling this summer with my 6 year old nephew who bounces off the walls and I'm sure he'll be a super joy in line. Should his parents ask for a GAC to avoid lines so that they don't have to deal with the inconvenience of a child who can't sit still? Is this a need? What about when my daughter was little and she literally hyperventilated at the sight of men with beards (who knows why). Should alternate entry have been provided so that perhaps we could avoid most situations where men with beards might be present? What if men with beards were also in the alternate waiting areas? Is this a real need? Would this qualify for a GAC?

So either Disney has to say GAC process is for those with documented disabilities or the whole discussion on who deserves them and who doesn't, needs to simply end. Since the first can't happen, then the second is the only outcome.

You think you have need.
You express that need to guest services
You get a GAC stamped with your need.
No one here (or anywhere else) can comment on it.

End of story.

crashbb
05-07-2012, 02:25 PM
Sorry if I'm covering already covered I have had time to read all the responses in this thread.

We were there in December and had trouble with Guest relations. My daughter is not on the Autism Spectrum, but has a different "disability" that was rendered not enough of a disability to get a GAC. My daughter is deaf and wears a cochlear implant on one ear and a bone conduction hearing aid on the other.

We would be happy to wait in any line they provide, but the way they have the lines set up underneath the metal pavillion covers is a sound nightmare. The person in guest relations suggested she just take off her devices to wait in line. So for half of her day she would be without sound and communication. How fun or right is that?

Guest relations staff need to be better trained.

What accomodation would have helped you?

goofieslonglostsis
05-07-2012, 02:32 PM
What accomodation would have helped you?

Hey, don't steal my questions will you!? ;) No seriously, this was what I was about to post. Educate me, what would be needed within the options that can be done?



Buffetgirl; ah that's the way you see it. Can see where you are coming from. :) Definately would be a huge decrease for the stroller as wheelchair tag, but I doubt it can be done IRL. If I picture any of the stroller parkings in place, how huge they are. Combine that with such a large space at the end of a line but also accessible enough for guests to get their own stroller after riding -and no long distances, crowded line out etc.- I can see 2 concearns. One is safety with having such a blockage so close by and the second, bigger one; should be easily reached from both "end" of the line and after reading equals sneakoptions for those wanting to cheat the line. With all those strollers it would be (almost) undoable for a CM to keep an eye out, know who has to go which way etc. Might be me being pessimistic, but lines and people are not a combination that by now I expect the best off. :guilty:

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 02:59 PM
The only way they could accomodate would be to provide a different area to wait. I would have been happy waiting in a different area until it was our turn and then getting on the ride. But that was not an option.

We ended up getting a GAC. As another person at guest services agreed that taking off her devices was not a good option. Without her devices my daughter couldn't hear a fire engine roaring down the street so I really didn't think that was an acceptable option. If there had been an emergency at Disney and I wasn't right by her side there could have been a real problem.

Just because a person does not have a "physical" reason why waiting in lines is difficult does not mean they don't have a real reason to have a GAC. I saw a lot of judgement at Disney from parents who thought other families should not have the passes and some probably should not have, but in reality no one really knows exactly what is happening in another family and with another child.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 03:04 PM
The only way they could accomodate would be to provide a different area to wait. I would have been happy waiting in a different area until it was our turn and then getting on the ride. But that was not an option.

We ended up getting a GAC. As another person at guest services agreed that taking off her devices was not a good option. Without her devices my daughter couldn't hear a fire engine roaring down the street so I really didn't think that was an acceptable option. If there had been an emergency at Disney and I wasn't right by her side there could have been a real problem.

Just because a person does not have a "physical" reason why waiting in lines is difficult does not mean they don't have a real reason to have a GAC. I saw a lot of judgement at Disney from parents who thought other families should not have the passes and some probably should not have, but in reality no one really knows exactly what is happening in another family and with another child.


But each ride does not have a another place to wait. So I don't understand how a GAC would help you?

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 03:16 PM
But each ride does not have a another place to wait. So I don't understand how a GAC would help you?

The exit ramp where where they usually had us wait. Sometimes we di get on earlier than if we had been in the main line, other times not. As I said, I didn't mind waiting, we just needed a better area to wait.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 03:19 PM
The exit ramp where where they usually had us wait. Sometimes we di get on earlier than if we had been in the main line, other times not. As I said, I didn't mind waiting, we just needed a better area to wait.

Waiting at the exit is not always an option. And I still don't understand how that would help you since a lot of the time the exit is under the same roof.

ladyjubilee
05-07-2012, 03:27 PM
They had about 10 people with them I think! A couple of siblings, parents (who lived locally from their conversation) and grandparents and an aunt visiting from out of town. Had nothing to do but listen to them talk while we waited so I know quite a bit about them. Including the fact that the mother got the stroller tags because it was "convenient". She didn't want to make the kids walk or carry them. She told her mother that she just goes to guest services and tells them she needs it. She said they rarely ask why but if they do, she says the kids are autistic and need the strollers to feel safe.


I guess this just goes to show that one person's accomodation is another's abuse. My son has autism/PDD-NOS. In current politically correct terms he fall into the "most severely impacted" range. We use a stroller for behavior management and last year we were offered the "Stroller as Wheelchair" tag by a very wise GS. I didn't even know the accomodation was available--and it made difference between us being able to stay in the park, and having to leave. I've had to carry my son in big parks--it ain't fun, though partially that is because he literally collapses when he over heats. It is very convenient. Making him walk in large places? Well, I'm all for kids taking responsibility and as a foster parent I've had over 8 kids. Let me tell you its different. Beyound how tired he gets from toe walking, beyond the extra distance involved in spinning every few steps there's the distractions--the leaves that have to be rubbed between his fingers and flown in the wind, the pebble, even the asphalt which needs to be rubbed and stroked...and you're probabling thinking tell him to stop. Sure, but the reality is that he can't just stop and WDW is exciting, so all those behaviors increase 1000%. Plus that doesn't even consider meltdowns, not tantrums but pure meltdowns. The stroller gets us past all that and gives him a place to "be". And, since he is non-verbal it means I don't have to worry quite so much about him getting separated from my during a crowd surge.

ETA: The stroller also helps transition. Getting off of a ride is VERY difficult. True, its hard for any child---but most children have an inherent filter where they don't bit, scratch, pinch, hit--at least not to the point of real damage. Or head bang, or pluck their eyes. Being able to transition to the stroller continues the propriospective (or however its spelled) input which can blur the line of the transition which makes it manageable.

Sooo, I could well see myself talking to my mom awaiting a parade as my seemingly calm 8 year old jumps up and down or spins his R2 about how convienent the Stroller as Wheelchair tag is, and how much it really made things so much easier since I didn't have to carry him (which is what I do when we're at concerts, but that's only for a few hours, not at whole day). I sort of doubt I would have to tell my mom (my son's grandmother), "You know, since son has autism I needed to use the stroller...."


I guess my question though is about the CM not reading the doctor's letter. Last time, the GS at least said he was making a copy (on my request) and put a number on the copy and on the little tag we put on my son--my assumption was that it was being put some place. With the changes, can they still do this? My big fear is that we could somehow get separated and since he is non-verbal no one would know about his medical needs.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 03:27 PM
I think everyone needs to remember "reasonable".

It is almost daily we see on this board "my child has xxx, and cannot wait in line" or "I need to sit in line, but don't want a wheelchair, ecv or rollator".

I hate to say it, but even some people with disabilities have the wrong idea what a GAC is and what it can and can't do. It is not a magical solution. As guests we really don't get to "pick" how WDW meets our needs.

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 03:51 PM
Waiting at the exit is not always an option. And I still don't understand how that would help you since a lot of the time the exit is under the same roof.

Not always. Take the Dumbo ride. Or the Tea Cups etc.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 03:54 PM
I think everyone needs to remember "reasonable".

It is almost daily we see on this board "my child has xxx, and cannot wait in line" or "I need to sit in line, but don't want a wheelchair, ecv or rollator".

I hate to say it, but even some people with disabilities have the wrong idea what a GAC is and what it can and can't do. It is not a magical solution. As guests we really don't get to "pick" how WDW meets our needs.

yes, you summed up very succinctly what I was trying to say a few posts back.
What is a reasonable need? What isn't?

livndisney
05-07-2012, 04:07 PM
Not always. Take the Dumbo ride. Or the Tea Cups etc.

You will note I said "not always". The exit to the Tea Cup ride is under a roof. And the Dumbo ride has recently been moved so I am not sure if it is under a roof.

Mama Who
05-07-2012, 05:03 PM
It really breaks my heart to think of a parent teaching their child to act as if they are on the spectrum just so they could get a GAC. How low can you get? It really is deplorable.

We've used the GAC on our last two trips and it really was a godsend. We are planning a trip this Christmas and I like so many other posters am starting to worry that we won't be able to get one. My son will be turning 18 soon, and although his issues are the same as when he was ten, will his age be a factor in being able to use a GAC on this trip?

I am 37 and got a (needed) GAC for myself without any fuss or drama. GAC is a tool for people with disabilities, not just children.

GraceLuvsWDW
05-07-2012, 05:29 PM
So, is the consensus here to take our prior GAC and a Dr's note? If we aren't going to the Dr before we go, can I just bring my dd's diagnostic paperwork with her diagnosis on it?

My dd has a "hidden disability" (Asperger's). We won't be using the GAC for rides (we have too many in our group) but will need it in case of meltdown. We had an "episode" in the Splash queue last year and having the GAC was an easy, fast way to just flash the CM's letting them know what was "going on". They escorted us to a private place and stayed nearby to see if we needed further help (medical attention as she thrashed into the wall and concrete ground).

I also want to state that there is more to a GAC card than lines---my dd won't ride certain rides unless she is in a certain place in the boat/car/etc. (problems created by her rigidity and anxiety). When asking for a certain placement it helps to flash a GAC-explaining that we're not just being picky. We wait longer but it's worth it.

natfrac
05-07-2012, 05:44 PM
My husband suffered a stroke a few years back, which has made touring WDW a bit more difficult. It's like he no longer has any coping mechanisms. Much like a child, he's prone to meltdowns, freaks out in lines, etc. We tried to get a GAC and were denied. Consequently, we had to skip a lot after he completely "went off" on an undeserving CM. I wrote to Disney afterward and expressed my concern for our next trip. I told the CM at Guest Services and Disney that we're not looking for a front of the line pass, but we were hoping he could join me at the front of the queue when I got there. The response I received from Disney was a brush-off. It's very frustrating.

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 05:50 PM
You will note I said "not always". The exit to the Tea Cup ride is under a roof. And the Dumbo ride has recently been moved so I am not sure if it is under a roof.

Yes, the exit to the tea cups is under a roof, but a roof without hundreds of bodies and voices making the sound level unbearable for my child. We still had to wait for rides, but just not as long in certain circumstances, which also helped. Waiting in a unbearable noisy environment for ten minutes as opposed to an hour can make all the difference.

GraceLuvsWDW
05-07-2012, 05:53 PM
Yes, the exit to the tea cups is under a roof, but a roof without hundreds of bodies and voices making the sound level unbearable for my child. We still had to wait for rides, but just not as long in certain circumstances, which also helped. Waiting in a unbearable noisy environment for ten minutes as opposed to an hour can make all the difference.

Have you thought about noise cancelling headphones for just when you are in noisy places?

dntd
05-07-2012, 05:54 PM
Last year when I went to disney only some ride CM's were a bit snotty, some even asked if my DD's wheelchair was truly a wheelchair ( it's a convaid). I used fast passes when we could and other rides we were taken from the line by the CM's and escorted to another entrance. In the 8 days we were at disney we rode all the rides we could and saw a lot of shows thanks to the help of the CM. This summer's trip to seaworld/buschgardens and universal scaresme as we are going as a group of 7, my DD uses a wheel chair due to MD and weakened muscles and my niece who is 5 has autism,adhd and sensory issues.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 05:56 PM
So, is the consensus here to take our prior GAC and a Dr's note? If we aren't going to the Dr before we go, can I just bring my dd's diagnostic paperwork with her diagnosis on it?

My dd has a "hidden disability" (Asperger's). We won't be using the GAC for rides (we have too many in our group) but will need it in case of meltdown. We had an "episode" in the Splash queue last year and having the GAC was an easy, fast way to just flash the CM's letting them know what was "going on". They escorted us to a private place and stayed nearby to see if we needed further help (medical attention as she thrashed into the wall and concrete ground).

I also want to state that there is more to a GAC card than lines---my dd won't ride certain rides unless she is in a certain place in the boat/car/etc. (problems created by her rigidity and anxiety). When asking for a certain placement it helps to flash a GAC-explaining that we're not just being picky. We wait longer but it's worth it.

I don't think that's the consensus at all, nor will the guest services people read your note.

However, explaining exactly what you said here, IS what guest services needs to know. I think, explaining it exactly how you just did, would get your needs appropriately met.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 05:56 PM
My husband suffered a stroke a few years back, which has made touring WDW a bit more difficult. It's like he no longer has any coping mechanisms. Much like a child, he's prone to meltdowns, freaks out in lines, etc. We tried to get a GAC and were denied. Consequently, we had to skip a lot after he completely "went off" on an undeserving CM. I wrote to Disney afterward and expressed my concern for our next trip. I told the CM at Guest Services and Disney that we're not looking for a front of the line pass, but we were hoping he could join me at the front of the queue when I got there. The response I received from Disney was a brush-off. It's very frustrating.

There is not a way at most attractions for someone to "join you" at the front of the line. For your husband to get to you, he would have had to go through all the people in line. If he "went off" on a undeserving CM, how would he have handled the comments of other guests waiting in line?

cinderella73
05-07-2012, 06:01 PM
When we went to get our GAC last year I did get a nasty CM who saw our SD who was wearing appropiate gear. I was told its not for skipping lines in a snotty tone . I stated politly that yes of course I knew that. I had his papers , shot records and other medical papers in case needed as well.

Funny thing is we only go in off season to begin with. The week following Labor Day . The alternate entrance is sometimes longer than the ride lines because you have to wait. Regular lines are literally walk on . So its never something we want to do. A GAC for line skipping would make no sense.

Most cms didnt give us a choice with the dog anyway and as soon as they saw us guided us to a alternate entrance anyway.

I am hoping this trip I wont encounter the same attitude. I understand the increasing scrutiny. I get it. But no should be made to feel as if they are cheating the system.

I know at a place like Philhar magic where people are crowded into a room the alternate entrance is really important. Not to mention there are a lot of small kids that are scared of my dog being in line with them. While he is trained and never interacts with others , plenty of other people either do not see him and step on him accidently or do not like dogs. Especially the case with some of the international travelers .

Oh I forgot but one time as we were heading into line for IASW the cast member guided us to the wheelchair entrance. She said she didnt want the dogs paws getting hurt in line by others. The line was literally walk on , but through the wheelchair entrance we waited 20 minutes. They were very nice though and we didnt mind. They knew he was a medical alert not mobility dog but brought around this cute boat that I guess they use for wheelchairs to make it easier for the dog. They wanted him to be comfortable they said. lol They told us to ride twice if we wanted. I thought that was very nice of them. So thankfully there still are really nice castmembers.

Just hate how it boils my blood so bad to be treated as if I am trying to skip lines. Going with a positive attitude though this year. Hopefully it will all go well. Thankfully its still much more good than bad. But it is important that we all contact guest relations when we have a bad ( and great) encounter.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 06:04 PM
Yes, the exit to the tea cups is under a roof, but a roof without hundreds of bodies and voices making the sound level unbearable for my child. We still had to wait for rides, but just not as long in certain circumstances, which also helped. Waiting in a unbearable noisy environment for ten minutes as opposed to an hour can make all the difference.

:confused3 It is the same roof. The ride and the line are under the same roof. It is the same noise level. (I have a child with noise issues)

If the noise is an issue, what assistance are you providing for your child? Can she turn down the devices? Would headphones help?

livndisney
05-07-2012, 06:20 PM
"I guess this just goes to show that one person's accomodation is another's abuse."


I have to agree with this statement from the pp.

As I posted a little bit ago, some people have the wrong idea about the GAC and what it can do.

We have seen people in GS "explaining how they read on the internet about a pass so they would not have to wait in line". When the CM asks what the "need" is, one lady actually said "I need to not wait in line".

No matter how hard some try to sugar coat it, the simple truth is a GAC is not intended to shorten wait time. It is written right on the card.

a1tinkfans
05-07-2012, 06:46 PM
there are users and abusers in all walks of life. :headache:
As one who has used a GAC in the past, when needed, it irritates me that those that "need" help may shy away from asking for help, rather than be subjected to "challenges" by cast members, at guest services or at attractions. Thats disturbing and no one should be made to feel they need to "prove" a disability/need any more than clearly explaining what the need is and hoping that they can be accommodated as best as they can.
I think that if a GAC was presented and I was made to feel "attacked or grossly uncomfortable" by Any cm, Id be sure to get the time/location and name from their tag and I would definitely comment/write about my experience so that no one else would have to experience the same thing.
We all know that some disabilities are not always "seen." I hope that Disney as a whole handles this situation with the respect it deserves, as I have experienced in the past.

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 07:11 PM
Have you thought about noise cancelling headphones for just when you are in noisy places?

I wish. Anna was born with one normal sized ear and one small closed ear. On her ear with microtia (small closed ear) she wears a bone conduction hearing aid that is not condusive to head phones, hats, hoods etc.

To livndisney:

It is the same roof, but away from all the people, at least for us, the noise level went down. Sorry you didn't have that same experience.

What assistance do I offer my child? (kind of a rude question but I'll still answer) If it gets too noisy she has to take off her aids and try to rely on reading lips. There are different programs on an implant that are suppose to be better in noise, but we have not had much success using them. We also tried to get the the parks before it was too busy and we didn't always ride on things that were super busy and noisy, but the tea cups were hands down her favorite ride. I would never go during a super busy season because I know it would just be too much for her.

My child has much more than a noise issue as you called it. My child is deaf. She wears two differnt kinds of implanted devices which allow her to hear. It is very difficult for her to filter out external noise. Wearing her devices is a blessing, but in certain situations it can be like she is being bonbarded with noise all going directly into her implant. For Disney to expect her to remove her implant and aid to be able to wait in line for long periods of time is unreasonable. The way they have the lines set up is not a good one for people who wear hearing devices.

I know the passes are not to avoid lines, not sure if you were tyring to imply that we were abusing the system. We used the pass to help make the wait manageable, yes we sometimes waited less time, but we always had to wait. The GAC card provides for an alternate entrance, which usually, is not so loud of an area away from so many people.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 07:39 PM
To livndisney:

It is the same roof, but away from all the people, at least for us, the noise level went down. Sorry you didn't have that same experience.

What assistance do I offer my child? (kind of a rude question but I'll still answer) If it gets too noisy she has to take off her aids and try to rely on reading lips. There are different programs on an implant that are suppose to be better in noise, but we have not had much success using them. We also tried to get the the parks before it was too busy and we didn't always ride on things that were super busy and noisy, but the tea cups were hands down her favorite ride. I would never go during a super busy season because I know it would just be too much for her.

My child has much more than a noise issue as you called it. My child is deaf. She wears two differnt kinds of implanted devices which allow her to hear. It is very difficult for her to filter out external noise. Wearing her devices is a blessing, but in certain situations it can be like she is being bonbarded with noise all going directly into her implant. For Disney to expect her to remove her implant and aid to be able to wait in line for long periods of time is unreasonable. The way they have the lines set up is not a good one for people who wear hearing devices.

I know the passes are not to avoid lines, not sure if you were tyring to imply that we were abusing the system. We used the pass to help make the wait manageable, yes we sometimes waited less time, but we always had to wait. The GAC card provides for an alternate entrance, which usually, is not so loud of an area away from so many people.

Since you posted to me, I will reply.

I am sorry you felt that asking what assistance you provide for your child was rude. This is a discussion board. We are parents of children with disabilities. Sometimes what one parent does may help another child, hence my so called "rude" question.

The "noise issue" statement I made was about MY child.

I am well aware of microtia.

As far as the rest of your post, I will keep my opinion to myself as it is clear your intent in your posts.

Have a Disney Day.

PatsMom
05-07-2012, 08:11 PM
I guess this just goes to show that one person's accomodation is another's abuse. My son has autism/PDD-NOS. In current politically correct terms he fall into the "most severely impacted" range. We use a stroller for behavior management and last year we were offered the "Stroller as Wheelchair" tag by a very wise GS. I didn't even know the accomodation was available--and it made difference between us being able to stay in the park, and having to leave.


I must not have expressed myself well when I mentioned the woman with the children in the stroller. Her p0oint was that the children were not autistic - she just said they were in order to get the stroller as wheelchair tags. I apologize if I was unclear and it upset you. My point was that people who abuse the system are endangering the ability of those like you to have access to it. I could do nothing about this woman but vent about it. But as someone who is looking at taking a special needs child who may need an alternate waiting area in the future, I will hate to see the option gone because people abuse it.

I take people at face value generally. Unless I overhear you bragging about cheating the system I am going to assume you (and that is the generic you not aimed at anyone) have a need for that tag on your stroller. But this discussion was about whether or not there is abuse. Clearly there is - I saw it myself. And those kids and their families will be the ones hurt if the abusers cause the end of the option.

sarahkate60120
05-07-2012, 08:17 PM
Since you posted to me, I will reply.

I am sorry you felt that asking what assistance you provide for your child was rude. This is a discussion board. We are parents of children with disabilities. Sometimes what one parent does may help another child, hence my so called "rude" question.

The "noise issue" statement I made was about MY child.

I am well aware of microtia.

As far as the rest of your post, I will keep my opinion to myself as it is clear your intent in your posts.

Have a Disney Day.

I responded to you in that manner because every time I posted anything all I got back from you was rude snippy remarks. So you may think my post was not nice, but your posts were not at all helpful to me. All you seemed to be doing was to call out me on my decisions.

PatsMom
05-07-2012, 08:22 PM
We quit taking the time to see Fantasmic due to constant issues including not allowing our family to sit with my wife and I, the cast members always want my family of four to split up for the shows, the only accessible "seats" are nearly in the rear of the amitheater and we are almost always made to feel as if we are asking for something special to be seated together. I greatly understand the limited availability of accessible seating in the amiptheater, but separating families in a family oriented theme park is unacceptable. We have been forced to separate in other shows such as the Flights of Wonder, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular to name a few but Fantasmic is the only one that the cast members were consistantly overzealous.

Not sitting together is another issue with a wheelchair that many don't think about. At Fantasmic, I was sitting kind of by myself with my husband and daughter several feet over on the bench in front of me - probably why I had so much time to listen to the woman bragging about getting wheelchair tags by saying her two healthy kids were autistic. If I wasn't listening, I wouldn't have thought anything of it - none of my business. We've also been split up at a couple of other shows - my husband sat by himself and my daughter and I sat together. But that has been rare since it isn't crowded right now. But I could see the potential for it happening at many locations. I figure it is just the way it is. If I had a young child I might feel different, but we are all adults.

mistysue
05-07-2012, 08:50 PM
To a PP who says her child has no diagnosis yet takes temper tantrums if the wait is longer than 15 min, well, show me any kid at disney who likes to wait longer than 15 min. Does this qualify as a legitimate need? Does Guest Services get to decide? Who gets to make this determination? What happens if the alternate entry wait area is longer than 15 min? The PP suggested that since she's paid her money she's entitled to get on rides. Yeah, me too. What is a need and what is simply a child that doesn't like to wait in line? Is simply not liking lines also a need? I'm travelling this summer with my 6 year old nephew who bounces off the walls and I'm sure he'll be a super joy in line. Should his parents ask for a GAC to avoid lines so that they don't have to deal with the inconvenience of a child who can't sit still? Is this a need? What about when my daughter was little and she literally hyperventilated at the sight of men with beards (who knows why). Should alternate entry have been provided so that perhaps we could avoid most situations where men with beards might be present? What if men with beards were also in the alternate waiting areas? Is this a real need? Would this qualify for a GAC?

So either Disney has to say GAC process is for those with documented disabilities or the whole discussion on who deserves them and who doesn't, needs to simply end. Since the first can't happen, then the second is the only outcome.

End of story.

I think you are trying to comment on what I said, but mixing it with other information? I just want to clarify for you that I was mentioning my 9 year old, who has been in therapy since she was 2 because "something was wrong" and STILL nobody can figure out what it is. I am not talking about a temper tantrum from 15 minutes of waiting. When she is ok she is fine. When something sets her off, it is not an issue of a spoiled child or just having a bad time, NOBODY knows what to do with her. We have been to therapists, she has had all sorts of tests and evaluations but she can not just settle down like a regular person. It is like something you would see in an ASD child, but she is not on the spectrum. Whatever it is effects her ability to learn. (behaviors as well as information) She is already held back a year in school, and is still behind enough that she spends half of her day in the classroom with the severely disabled children because she can't handle the work in the main classroom. We've been spending anywhere between 1-3 hours a night on her homework since pre-K.
There are many ASD/Aspergers/ADHD children who are much better off than her, and when there is an issue for them their parents can say "they have ____" and they get an exception to societal rules. I get public criticism for being a bad parent even if I try to say what's going on, because she doesn't fit criteria for a known condition. 30 years ago somebody with ASD didn't get a diagnosis but they didn't have less need than somebody with ASD today- they just didn't have a doctor's note, a support group and a clear way of stating what was going on. Her issues are well documented, but seeing as how it is all related to her emotional/cognitive development, not a current epidemic, and no known physical issue her doctor is not even involved. He referred us to the schools and they keep evaluating and testing. I can't bring a doctor's note because as far as her doctor is concerned she doesn't have a problem he can write about. I am concerned that we would pay to go to Disney and literally spend the entire trip in the room with her because every time we try to go on rides it is just too much. I don't expect that to happen, but it would be nice to know that if she had a really bad episode we would be able to get an exception, rather than old no specifically because her problem does not involve a physician. That is unfair in extremes that dwarf my concern of a person without needs skipping a line.

I am not meaning to have a talk about whether she has needs beyond normal. She does. But we don't have a way to say why. Trying to limit something like a GAC to people who have a common enough disability to get a diagnosis makes no sense. It simultaneously leaves out people with real needs and includes people who have mild symptoms and function with ease as if they did not have the disability.

The way things are now, if I was suddenly only dealing with a normal tantrum from 15 minutes of waiting or her bouncing off the walls I would be ecstatic. I do think asking for a GAC for normal childhood behaviors is overkill. I just wanted to be clear that was not at all what I was referring to.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 08:58 PM
Not sitting together is another issue with a wheelchair that many don't think about. At Fantasmic, I was sitting kind of by myself with my husband and daughter several feet over on the bench in front of me - probably why I had so much time to listen to the woman bragging about getting wheelchair tags by saying her two healthy kids were autistic. If I wasn't listening, I wouldn't have thought anything of it - none of my business. We've also been split up at a couple of other shows - my husband sat by himself and my daughter and I sat together. But that has been rare since it isn't crowded right now. But I could see the potential for it happening at many locations. I figure it is just the way it is. If I had a young child I might feel different, but we are all adults.

Fantasmic is a challenge at best! The whole sitting together is a huge deal. I know the CM's try and limit wheelchairs/ecvs to the chair user and a companion due to the limited space. Depending on when they arrive the rest of the family can usually sit a row or two ahead.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 09:09 PM
oh no, I'm sorry, I just meant yours as an example of how hard it is to tell the difference for the CMs at Guest Services. I didn't mean to imply yours was not a real need. Sorry. :) Yes, I can see that I poorly worded that part about being entitled to get on rides, etc. I was trying to toss out hypothetical situations as to what someone might say as as response to what you said, "yeah, I spent money on this vacation too and why does your kid get something mine doesn't get? I expect to get what I paid for!!" (haven't we all seen posts with those words used?????) And how a CM has to make this determination in a very short time as to what is real and what isn't , and yet, it's never ever that clear.

What you typed out - that's what CMs don't see, and can't see, and can't ask for. Nor would they understand it. Your whole history with your child.

so, yes, I was using your situation as an example, combining it with other posts and information, but didn't mean to make any statement about the specific needs of your child. I apologize for that.

kirstenb1
05-07-2012, 09:16 PM
I think you are trying to comment on what I said, but mixing it with other information? I just want to clarify for you that I was mentioning my 9 year old, who has been in therapy since she was 2 because "something was wrong" and STILL nobody can figure out what it is. I am not talking about a temper tantrum from 15 minutes of waiting. When she is ok she is fine. When something sets her off, it is not an issue of a spoiled child or just having a bad time, NOBODY knows what to do with her. We have been to therapists, she has had all sorts of tests and evaluations but she can not just settle down like a regular person. It is like something you would see in an ASD child, but she is not on the spectrum. Whatever it is effects her ability to learn. (behaviors as well as information) She is already held back a year in school, and is still behind enough that she spends half of her day in the classroom with the severely disabled children because she can't handle the work in the main classroom. We've been spending anywhere between 1-3 hours a night on her homework since pre-K.
There are many ASD/Aspergers/ADHD children who are much better off than her, and when there is an issue for them their parents can say "they have ____" and they get an exception to societal rules. I get public criticism for being a bad parent even if I try to say what's going on, because she doesn't fit criteria for a known condition. 30 years ago somebody with ASD didn't get a diagnosis but they didn't have less need than somebody with ASD today- they just didn't have a doctor's note, a support group and a clear way of stating what was going on. Her issues are well documented, but seeing as how it is all related to her emotional/cognitive development, not a current epidemic, and no known physical issue her doctor is not even involved. He referred us to the schools and they keep evaluating and testing. I can't bring a doctor's note because as far as her doctor is concerned she doesn't have a problem he can write about. I am concerned that we would pay to go to Disney and literally spend the entire trip in the room with her because every time we try to go on rides it is just too much. I don't expect that to happen, but it would be nice to know that if she had a really bad episode we would be able to get an exception, rather than old no specifically because her problem does not involve a physician. That is unfair in extremes that dwarf my concern of a person without needs skipping a line.

I am not meaning to have a talk about whether she has needs beyond normal. She does. But we don't have a way to say why. Trying to limit something like a GAC to people who have a common enough disability to get a diagnosis makes no sense. It simultaneously leaves out people with real needs and includes people who have mild symptoms and function with ease as if they did not have the disability.

The way things are now, if I was suddenly only dealing with a normal tantrum from 15 minutes of waiting or her bouncing off the walls I would be ecstatic. I do think asking for a GAC for normal childhood behaviors is overkill. I just wanted to be clear that was not at all what I was referring to.

Does your dd have sensory issues? It sounds like she's having an extreme sensory issue? I am not trying to be glib. Our dd was dx'd with ASD at 20 mths, but she really doesn't fit in some ways. However, she does have sensory issues. Each time I ask a therapist, teacher, or aide if she's like another kid they've worked with, the answer is no. We're still flying blind!:hug:

mistysue
05-07-2012, 09:23 PM
Yes, we've all seen posts like that... which is why I figured you probably were reading through and my post got jumbled with another. I wasn't offended, but wanted to make clear I wasn't grasping for straws with a reason for a GAC. (an "I swear I'm not one of those" moment)

I never expect people to know the needs of my child, especially online. Half the time I don't even know.

I've been excited about how they are updating the ride lines with entertainment and little nooks because I think that will help both with impatient people and for those who have some unseen needs involving spaces. Row after row of people herding back and forth between poles is taxing on anybody, there are many individuals for whom that is just asking for trouble.

buffettgirl
05-07-2012, 09:28 PM
Does your dd have sensory issues? It sounds like she's having an extreme sensory issue? I am not trying to be glib. Our dd was dx'd with ASD at 20 mths, but she really doesn't fit in some ways. However, she does have sensory issues. Each time I ask a therapist, teacher, or aide if she's like another kid they've worked with, the answer is no. We're still flying blind!:hug:

here's my 2 cents on that - my son has not been "normal" since day one (whatever normal is, but as a mother I knew something wasn't right). over the years various things have come up medically which were treated, but also emotionally which were not because they had no place, and finally after getting a dx through genetic testing of something random, weird, and very rare did all the pieces FINALLY make sense. It was like getting the final piece of the map that had been missing and then there it was, the final map to the treasure that is my son, laid out in front of me. Finally. Yes, it totally sucks to have a final dx, but it finally makes sense.

so trust that mom gut

(sorry for going OT. )

mistysue
05-07-2012, 09:37 PM
Does your dd have sensory issues? It sounds like she's having an extreme sensory issue? I am not trying to be glib. Our dd was dx'd with ASD at 20 mths, but she really doesn't fit in some ways. However, she does have sensory issues. Each time I ask a therapist, teacher, or aide if she's like another kid they've worked with, the answer is no. We're still flying blind!:hug:

We do know that it is not Autism of Asperger's. I don't think she has a sensory problem, but I'm not closed to the idea... One of her little quirks is that nobody can figure out what sets her off. She is just perfectly happy, then panicky, violent and usually extremely sad. With my older son suddenly developing a number of food allergies and intolerances I've been reading about that so of course I suspect maybe it's a food issue. At least it's worth testing (why not rule more out?)
She seems to be unique to everybody too. One of the fun ones is that most people, when learning a skill, will gradually get better. She will suddenly jump forward, then regress for a few months. Then jump forward and regress for a while. It makes no sense whatsoever. I felt like I was crazy before she got to Kindergarten, but now I at least have the comfort that every year her teacher sits me down, shows me what seems to be happening and asks if this is what we see because she's never seen this before. (4th such conference was a few weeks ago)

SueM in MN
05-07-2012, 10:01 PM
We quit taking the time to see Fantasmic due to constant issues including not allowing our family to sit with my wife and I, the cast members always want my family of four to split up for the shows, the only accessible "seats" are nearly in the rear of the amitheater and we are almost always made to feel as if we are asking for something special to be seated together. I greatly understand the limited availability of accessible seating in the amiptheater, but separating families in a family oriented theme park is unacceptable. We have been forced to separate in other shows such as the Flights of Wonder, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular to name a few but Fantasmic is the only one that the cast members were consistantly overzealous.
The way the wheelchair spots in the Fantasmic amphitheater are set up, there are 2 wheelchair spots next to each other, then 2 companion seats, then 2 more wheelchair spots, repeating over and over. So, there is only one seat for someone to sit next to each wheelchair.
When it works out correctly, the rest of each party sits in the row or 2 directly in front of the person with a wheelchair - and it has happened to us that way each time. But, they do also use those rows for guests without wheelchairs/ECVs who need to sit close to the top. Some of them are people who have parked their wheelchair or ECV to ‘conserve’ the spots for those who are not able to transfer. Some are families with a person with disabilities who may need to leave early (such as, panic situations or children with autism whose parents are not sure how they will tolerate the show).

When the show first began, there were a lot fewer wheelchair/ECV spots and long benches for the rest of the party to sit together. But, they frequently ran out of wheelchair spots and guests who wanted to see the show could not (even though there were plenty of spots for people who could walk in/did not need any special accommodations).
The amphitheater was renovated to make more wheelchair/ECV seating, but even with that, it is possible to still run out of spots. When we went in October 2009, there were 3 in our party and we got there about 50 minutes before the show was to begin. We got the next to last seat for someone who could not transfer to a bench. If there had been no wheelchair parking spots left, we would have needed to skip the show since DD is not able to sit out of her wheelchair.

So, the ‘price’ of more wheelchair spots was less people being able to sit in a row with their family. We actually prefer the ‘sit in front’ option because the old ‘in a row’ way meant that everyone in our party could really only converse with the people right next to them anyway. But, I understand it can be a drag when your family is separated.

Sorry if I'm covering already covered I have had time to read all the responses in this thread.

We were there in December and had trouble with Guest relations. My daughter is not on the Autism Spectrum, but has a different "disability" that was rendered not enough of a disability to get a GAC. My daughter is deaf and wears a cochlear implant on one ear and a bone conduction hearing aid on the other.

We would be happy to wait in any line they provide, but the way they have the lines set up underneath the metal pavillion covers is a sound nightmare. The person in guest relations suggested she just take off her devices to wait in line. So for half of her day she would be without sound and communication. How fun or right is that?

Guest relations staff need to be better trained.
You may also want to look into touring plans like. Even if you don’t follow the plan and just use the plan to choose the least busy park for the day, it will be very helpful.
2 of the common touring plans are easywdw.com and touringplans.com

A touring plan can help you to be in the least busy part of the least busy park. That will help with waits in line and also general noise (less people = less noise). Many people on this board have found that using a touring plan helps a lot more than a GAC because they can usually plan things in a way that they never have to wait for more than 10 minutes and often walk right in. This can happen even during busy times like Spring break and Christmas.

We have done this during Spring break ourselves and were basically able to see everything in Fantasyland, plus Haunted Mansion, Pirates and Splash Mountain before noon without waiting more than 15 minutes for anything.

There may still be some lines where she needs to take her aids out/turn them off because the noise level is very high from the music and effects in the line. I don’t know what Test Track will be like after it is renovated, but it was very noisy with a lot of pounding, banging type noises.
I guess this just goes to show that one person's accomodation is another's abuse. My son has autism/PDD-NOS. In current politically correct terms he fall into the "most severely impacted" range. We use a stroller for behavior management and last year we were offered the "Stroller as Wheelchair" tag by a very wise GS. I didn't even know the accomodation was available--and it made difference between us being able to stay in the park, and having to leave. I've had to carry my son in big parks--it ain't fun, though partially that is because he literally collapses when he over heats. It is very convenient. Making him walk in large places? Well, I'm all for kids taking responsibility and as a foster parent I've had over 8 kids. Let me tell you its different. Beyound how tired he gets from toe walking, beyond the extra distance involved in spinning every few steps there's the distractions--the leaves that have to be rubbed between his fingers and flown in the wind, the pebble, even the asphalt which needs to be rubbed and stroked...and you're probabling thinking tell him to stop. Sure, but the reality is that he can't just stop and WDW is exciting, so all those behaviors increase 1000%. Plus that doesn't even consider meltdowns, not tantrums but pure meltdowns. The stroller gets us past all that and gives him a place to "be". And, since he is non-verbal it means I don't have to worry quite so much about him getting separated from my during a crowd surge.

ETA: The stroller also helps transition. Getting off of a ride is VERY difficult. True, its hard for any child---but most children have an inherent filter where they don't bit, scratch, pinch, hit--at least not to the point of real damage. Or head bang, or pluck their eyes. Being able to transition to the stroller continues the propriospective (or however its spelled) input which can blur the line of the transition which makes it manageable.

Sooo, I could well see myself talking to my mom awaiting a parade as my seemingly calm 8 year old jumps up and down or spins his R2 about how convienent the Stroller as Wheelchair tag is, and how much it really made things so much easier since I didn't have to carry him (which is what I do when we're at concerts, but that's only for a few hours, not at whole day). I sort of doubt I would have to tell my mom (my son's grandmother), "You know, since son has autism I needed to use the stroller...."


I guess my question though is about the CM not reading the doctor's letter. Last time, the GS at least said he was making a copy (on my request) and put a number on the copy and on the little tag we put on my son--my assumption was that it was being put some place. With the changes, can they still do this? My big fear is that we could somehow get separated and since he is non-verbal no one would know about his medical needs.
The original poster you were replying to came back and posted a response, but I wanted to point out that no one is saying children with a need should not use a stroller as a wheelchair.
You misunderstood the original poster . She was talking about someone she overheard who said her children had NO disability, but she was choosing to claim they has one so she could use a stroller because it was convenient.
My husband suffered a stroke a few years back, which has made touring WDW a bit more difficult. It's like he no longer has any coping mechanisms. Much like a child, he's prone to meltdowns, freaks out in lines, etc. We tried to get a GAC and were denied. Consequently, we had to skip a lot after he completely "went off" on an undeserving CM. I wrote to Disney afterward and expressed my concern for our next trip. I told the CM at Guest Services and Disney that we're not looking for a front of the line pass, but we were hoping he could join me at the front of the queue when I got there. The response I received from Disney was a brush-off. It's very frustrating.
You will also want to look into touring plans like I mentioned above to another poster. Doing that would help a lot with shortening your time waiting and the number of people you would be exposed to.
As another poster mentioned, in most lines there is not a way to have someone wait to the side and meet up with other members of the party when they get to the front. That may be why you got what you felt was a ‘brush off’.

Even if he can walk, you may also want to look at a wheelchair for him. Many people with autism use a wheelchair or a stroller to provide a safe place and haven for them. It can help keep the person calmer and provide a buffer between that person and other people.
Last year when I went to disney only some ride CM's were a bit snotty, some even asked if my DD's wheelchair was truly a wheelchair ( it's a convaid). I used fast passes when we could and other rides we were taken from the line by the CM's and escorted to another entrance. In the 8 days we were at disney we rode all the rides we could and saw a lot of shows thanks to the help of the CM. This summer's trip to seaworld/buschgardens and universal scaresme as we are going as a group of 7, my DD uses a wheel chair due to MD and weakened muscles and my niece who is 5 has autism,adhd and sensory issues.
They usually give a large, bright tag that identifies a stroller as being used as a wheelchair. If you did not have one of those, you will want to get one on your next trip. Even though your child’s Convaid wheelchair looks like a wheelchair to you, to someone who is not familiar with it, it can look a lot like a stroller (which was why they were probably asking).
It was actually a lot easier when my DD was little. It was unusual to see a stroller that a child older than 3 or 4 could fit into, so any that was larger was pretty much recognized as a stroller type wheelchair. And, the wheelchairs and special needs strollers looked pretty “medical”. They have been designed to be more mainstream, which means they look more like regular strollers.
I don't think that's the consensus at all, nor will the guest services people read your note.

However, explaining exactly what you said here, IS what guest services needs to know. I think, explaining it exactly how you just did, would get your needs appropriately met.
If it makes you feel better, you can bring a note, but as buffettgirl noted, Guest Services are very unlikely to look at it.

SueM in MN
05-07-2012, 10:08 PM
Yes, we've all seen posts like that... which is why I figured you probably were reading through and my post got jumbled with another. I wasn't offended, but wanted to make clear I wasn't grasping for straws with a reason for a GAC. (an "I swear I'm not one of those" moment)

I never expect people to know the needs of my child, especially online. Half the time I don't even know.

I've been excited about how they are updating the ride lines with entertainment and little nooks because I think that will help both with impatient people and for those who have some unseen needs involving spaces. Row after row of people herding back and forth between poles is taxing on anybody, there are many individuals for whom that is just asking for trouble.
I think the little nooks are going to be great.
But, they can bring up several other problems.
For Haunted Mansion, I think they need a bit more signing to tell people what the 2 different lines are (the right side goes directly to the line leading to the ride, the left side goes to the interactive graveyard). What I have seen in the graveyard is that people tend to just walk along the graveyard path, staying in line and getting impatient if someone ahead of them keeps ‘playing’.

For the interactive line at Pooh, some kids are having so much fun playing that their parents are having trouble getting them to move along. (SO possibly a need for some new social stories for kids with difficulty making transitions).

But, they will be a lot better than the ‘people herding’.

dntd
05-07-2012, 10:37 PM
They usually give a large, bright tag that identifies a stroller as being used as a wheelchair. If you did not have one of those, you will want to get one on your next trip. Even though your child’s Convaid wheelchair looks like a wheelchair to you, to someone who is not familiar with it, it can look a lot like a stroller (which was why they were probably asking).
It was actually a lot easier when my DD was little. It was unusual to see a stroller that a child older than 3 or 4 could fit into, so any that was larger was pretty much recognized as a stroller type wheelchair. And, the wheelchairs and special needs strollers looked pretty “medical”. They have been designed to be more mainstream, which means they look more like regular strollers.

We did have a tag but it didn't seem to matter much. I learned the hard way the first time I went to Disney with my DD, using the bus system was hard without a GAC and a sleepy child with low muscle tone! Last year she slept again for the bus ride!

chloelovesdisney
05-07-2012, 10:52 PM
I just returned from WDW and had the stroller tagged as a wheelchair and a GAC for that purpose. I was told specifically by GS that it did not apply to the buses, only to the parks. Were you allowed to keep your child in the stroller on the bus? It would have made a huge difference for me if that was allowed.

livndisney
05-07-2012, 10:57 PM
I just returned from WDW and had the stroller tagged as a wheelchair and a GAC for that purpose. I was told specifically by GS that it did not apply to the buses, only to the parks. Were you allowed to keep your child in the stroller on the bus? It would have made a huge difference for me if that was allowed.

Your child was not allowed to remain in the stroller on the bus for their own safety. Most "regular" strollers are not made with tiedowns. It is a DOT reg that strollers must be folded to board a bus.

utterrandomness
05-07-2012, 11:11 PM
Your child was not allowed to remain in the stroller on the bus for their own safety. Most "regular" strollers are not made with tiedowns. It is a DOT reg that strollers must be folded to board a bus.

I wish that was the law here in Canada. A lot of my problem with getting bus seats has to do with strollers using the priority seats. The norm is that strollers trump people not in wheelchairs who need the seats.

Talking Hands
05-07-2012, 11:15 PM
I just returned from WDW and had the stroller tagged as a wheelchair and a GAC for that purpose. I was told specifically by GS that it did not apply to the buses, only to the parks. Were you allowed to keep your child in the stroller on the bus? It would have made a huge difference for me if that was allowed.
Strollers as a general rule cannot be used as a wheelchair on buses. There are a few medical needs strollers that are ok for bus use and were made to be tied down.

justtobeme2
05-07-2012, 11:28 PM
All this GAC CM stuff is making me embarrassed to ask for a GAC card when we go in Sept. I don't look particularly unhealthy but I do have issues. I use a ECV (4 back surgeries) and I have something really stupid that I have had my whole life since I was 4.

When I went to Dis last time I just asked for a GAC for mobility issue. Don't remember using it but a few times and usually had to wait longer than main line due to it being off peak time but that is fine by me. I thought that GAC card covered everything as far as AE was concerned. I couldn't ride a few rides because the CM wanted me to ride my ECV through the line (TSM). We tried and I had to make every person behind me move so I could get out of that line. It was awful.

I have stress induced vase o vagel syncope (sp) and if I get the feeling of claustrophobia or too hot or pain (not all pain but I can't choose) or scared (panic attack), I will pass out and hit the floor and convulse. This is stupid and it doesn't scare me (other than the falling part, many goose eggs and cuts) because I know I am going to wake up and be OK, and honestly it doesn't hurt being "out" either but I know it's not good for me and scares the heck out of people around me.

I am embarrassed asking for a GAC card and if the CM treats me like I am lying I'll just die. I FEEL the need to explain WHY (willing to provide proof also)but I know they don't want to hear it (rules)....what to do, what to do?

As I've gotten older (50) I can tell when it's starting usually and know to lay down to prevent injury but hard to do in a queue.

I hate that so many people are cheating that they are making others like me feel bad for asking for one.

Mom2six
05-08-2012, 01:19 AM
All this GAC CM stuff is making me embarrassed to ask for a GAC card when we go in Sept. I don't look particularly unhealthy but I do have issues. I use a ECV (4 back surgeries) and I have something really stupid that I have had my whole life since I was 4.

When I went to Dis last time I just asked for a GAC for mobility issue. Don't remember using it but a few times and usually had to wait longer than main line due to it being off peak time but that is fine by me. I thought that GAC card covered everything as far as AE was concerned. I couldn't ride a few rides because the CM wanted me to ride my ECV through the line (TSM). We tried and I had to make every person behind me move so I could get out of that line. It was awful.

I have stress induced vase o vagel syncope (sp) and if I get the feeling of claustrophobia or too hot or pain (not all pain but I can't choose) or scared (panic attack), I will pass out and hit the floor and convulse. This is stupid and it doesn't scare me (other than the falling part, many goose eggs and cuts) because I know I am going to wake up and be OK, and honestly it doesn't hurt being "out" either but I know it's not good for me and scares the heck out of people around me.

I am embarrassed asking for a GAC card and if the CM treats me like I am lying I'll just die. I FEEL the need to explain WHY (willing to provide proof also)but I know they don't want to hear it (rules)....what to do, what to do?

As I've gotten older (50) I can tell when it's starting usually and know to lay down to prevent injury but hard to do in a queue.

I hate that so many people are cheating that they are making others like me feel bad for asking for one.

Don't be embarrassed to ask for GAC. They are made for people who need them, and it is the ones who don't need them that should be embarrassed. Just tell the CM what your needs are - I don't think they can legally deny you if they have that accommodation. They can't give it to some people with needs and not to others with those needs because that would be discrimination. So go in, tell them your needs, and if there is any rudeness, complain to a manager. But really, if you know your needs and state them clearly, I doubt they will be anything but pleasant. :)

bookwormde
05-08-2012, 05:25 AM
One thing to remember is that GAC is just a tool and methodology the WDW uses to assist individuals with disabilities and to comply with ADA.
Just because there is not standard GAC method to accommodate you at an attraction, does to mean that WDW is somehow not required to. Well trained or creative CMs almost always find a way to help, even if it is not a perfect solution. I think all that any of us would be asking for is some level of understating and concern, and the CMs be creative or at least open to solutions that meets the needs. There is no one size fits all and never will be.

SueM in MN
05-08-2012, 07:55 AM
Your child was not allowed to remain in the stroller on the bus for their own safety. Most "regular" strollers are not made with tiedowns. It is a DOT reg that strollers must be folded to board a bus.
That is correct.
It is not safe to use the tiedown system on a stroller that was not designed for transport.
NO regular strollers are designed for transport and only some special needs strollers are. The special needs strollers that are ‘transport ready’ are designed to have loops welded or bolted onto sturdy parts of the frame. They are also designed so that if they fold, they would not fold in a dangerous way to someone riding in it during an accident.

The frame of strollers that are not designed for transport can bend or pull apart just from the tension of the tiedown straps. They have big metal hooks that attach to the mobility device and the straps are then tightened so they are tight. Without being tight, the stroller will just tip over during turns, etc. (even something as big and heavy as an ECV can tip if not tied down well).
I do know of several people who got the bus driver to tie their stroller down, which bent the stroller and meant they could not use it for the rest of their trip.

Even with the wheelchairs that are designed more like strollers, I would check very carefully to find sturdy metal parts of the wheelchair frame that are welded together and do not move. Some (especially those with tilt capability), do not have any frame areas that hooks could be safely attached to.
All this GAC CM stuff is making me embarrassed to ask for a GAC card when we go in Sept. I don't look particularly unhealthy but I do have issues. I use a ECV (4 back surgeries) and I have something really stupid that I have had my whole life since I was 4.

When I went to Dis last time I just asked for a GAC for mobility issue. Don't remember using it but a few times and usually had to wait longer than main line due to it being off peak time but that is fine by me. I thought that GAC card covered everything as far as AE was concerned. I couldn't ride a few rides because the CM wanted me to ride my ECV through the line (TSM). We tried and I had to make every person behind me move so I could get out of that line. It was awful.

I have stress induced vase o vagel syncope (sp) and if I get the feeling of claustrophobia or too hot or pain (not all pain but I can't choose) or scared (panic attack), I will pass out and hit the floor and convulse. This is stupid and it doesn't scare me (other than the falling part, many goose eggs and cuts) because I know I am going to wake up and be OK, and honestly it doesn't hurt being "out" either but I know it's not good for me and scares the heck out of people around me.

I am embarrassed asking for a GAC card and if the CM treats me like I am lying I'll just die. I FEEL the need to explain WHY (willing to provide proof also)but I know they don't want to hear it (rules)....what to do, what to do?

As I've gotten older (50) I can tell when it's starting usually and know to lay down to prevent injury but hard to do in a queue.

I hate that so many people are cheating that they are making others like me feel bad for asking for one.
You may also want to look into the touring plans that I mentioned in an earlier post. That would help you to shorten your waits in line and could help in many ways more than a GAC would. Using Fastpasses also is very helpful.

Also, some attractions do have wheelchairs available if someone wants to switch from an ECV to a wheelchair or feels they are not able to walk the whole line. Explain that you have anxiety attacks related to the stress of maneuvering the ECV in line and ask at the entrance whether they have a wheelchair you can transfer to.
The important thing is to be polite, confident and clear about what you need.
Don't be embarrassed to ask for GAC. They are made for people who need them, and it is the ones who don't need them that should be embarrassed. Just tell the CM what your needs are - I don't think they can legally deny you if they have that accommodation. They can't give it to some people with needs and not to others with those needs because that would be discrimination. So go in, tell them your needs, and if there is any rudeness, complain to a manager. But really, if you know your needs and state them clearly, I doubt they will be anything but pleasant. :)
A lot is perception. If people feel they will be embarrassed, ridiculed or made uncomfortable before they go in, many will feel that way when they come out, even if the CM is very nice and helpful.
It may help to look at it like security screening at the airport. Some people feel
it is a tremendous hassle or, even worse, demeaning or a violation of their space (or even stronger terms). People who look at it that way will feel that is how the experience is.
e look at it as a necessary piece to get what we need (getting on the airplane). We give as much assistance and information as possible about DD (she can’t talk, she can understand. She can’t stand, she will try to help you by leaning forward if she can) to get it done as soon as possible.

The ADA does not require accommodation for every need - some people have needs that there is no accommodation for. The clearer you can be about what you need, the better chance they may be able to find something to fit. For many people, a significant amount of stress comes from worrying about what the accommodation offered for an attraction may be. That can change because of things you can’t see - like staffing, emergencies or the accommodation not being available.
But, be aware that in some cases, the best assistance is going to come from things like using touring plans and Fastpass, which will shorten your wait in line and will ensure the least number of people at an attraction. It is also consistent - because it is Mainstream, it is unlikely to change.

justtobeme2
05-08-2012, 10:26 AM
Thanks all for your input. I will try to ask for what I need. I totally understand that Disney nor any establishment may not for whatever reason be able to offer everything I need. That's part of having a disability. I don't stress over having to miss out on some things as long as if what they do have works for me I am able to utilize it.

Last time we used Ridemaxx and that really helped. I am going to do that again. We will skip lots of things just because I can't ride them but the things I can ride I hope I can get a GAC just so I can get to the ride without and issue. lol trust me the people behind should want me to be able to utilize one also because if I "go out" they'll have a even longer wait..lol...

Some crazy times:
I have "gone out" when I took a drink of soda and it went down wrong and hurt, down I went. I woke up once from what must have been a heck of a dream (didn't remember it) got to the bathroom splashed water on my face, barely made it to the chair and woke up not sure how much later (definitely not asleep). In a line that took a long time at WM I left everything and made it as far as the bench up front then ....bloop! Funny after I come to I am much calmer and relaxed,well I am weak. Doc said it's from the BP drop. The thing is no one would ever know this about me unless they see it so I am one of those "hidden" disabilities.

I'm going to ask for a GAC, I am...if they don't give me one, we'll do the best I can! Still a bit nervous about asking though. Dishonest people ruin lots of things. I do believe you reap what you sow though so one day when they need something like this they'll understand.

Nik's Mom
05-08-2012, 12:06 PM
Thanks all for your input. I will try to ask for what I need. I totally understand that Disney nor any establishment may not for whatever reason be able to offer everything I need. That's part of having a disability. I don't stress over having to miss out on some things as long as if what they do have works for me I am able to utilize it.

Last time we used Ridemaxx and that really helped. I am going to do that again. We will skip lots of things just because I can't ride them but the things I can ride I hope I can get a GAC just so I can get to the ride without and issue. lol trust me the people behind should want me to be able to utilize one also because if I "go out" they'll have a even longer wait..lol...

Some crazy times:
I have "gone out" when I took a drink of soda and it went down wrong and hurt, down I went. I woke up once from what must have been a heck of a dream (didn't remember it) got to the bathroom splashed water on my face, barely made it to the chair and woke up not sure how much later (definitely not asleep). In a line that took a long time at WM I left everything and made it as far as the bench up front then ....bloop! Funny after I come to I am much calmer and relaxed,well I am weak. Doc said it's from the BP drop. The thing is no one would ever know this about me unless they see it so I am one of those "hidden" disabilities.

I'm going to ask for a GAC, I am...if they don't give me one, we'll do the best I can! Still a bit nervous about asking though. Dishonest people ruin lots of things. I do believe you reap what you sow though so one day when they need something like this they'll understand.

I was really nervous about asking for a GAC for the first time. My sons were recently diagnosed, so it was all so new to me, and I was afraid to ask for what my boys needed. That first time, it was a bad experience. But it was because I did not articulate what my boys needs were. When we went on a future trip, I was more confident in explaining my needs, and it was probably very obvious that there was something wrong with my boys. One was scared and covering his ears and the other was nervously rocking back and forth. That cm was very kind. He really explained the GAC process and it was smooth sailing from there. Just be clear about what you need and you will be fine.:)

dntd
05-08-2012, 12:58 PM
Your child was not allowed to remain in the stroller on the bus for their own safety. Most "regular" strollers are not made with tiedowns. It is a DOT reg that strollers must be folded to board a bus.

I was forced to fold the stroller before getting on the bus, I asked if I could sit then fold it as I was alone and I was tole no. Her other stroller is transport ready and has tie downs which we used this time.

sarahkate60120
05-08-2012, 01:46 PM
It's better to have a dozen people get GAC's when they don;t need them, than to have one person not get one when he really does. There's no such thing as an abuse-proof system. All a crackdown does is make a few self-righteous people feel better.

Totally agree!

utterrandomness
05-08-2012, 01:52 PM
Totally agree!

Me too. If they start cracking down on the people they think are faking, who is going to lose out? The people who really need them.

livndisney
05-08-2012, 02:43 PM
I was forced to fold the stroller before getting on the bus, I asked if I could sit then fold it as I was alone and I was tole no. Her other stroller is transport ready and has tie downs which we used this time.

That is correct, the stroller must be folded to board the bus.

goofieslonglostsis
05-08-2012, 03:10 PM
We do know that it is not Autism of Asperger's. I don't think she has a sensory problem, but I'm not closed to the idea... One of her little quirks is that nobody can figure out what sets her off. She is just perfectly happy, then panicky, violent and usually extremely sad. With my older son suddenly developing a number of food allergies and intolerances I've been reading about that so of course I suspect maybe it's a food issue. At least it's worth testing (why not rule more out?)
She seems to be unique to everybody too. One of the fun ones is that most people, when learning a skill, will gradually get better. She will suddenly jump forward, then regress for a few months. Then jump forward and regress for a while. It makes no sense whatsoever. I felt like I was crazy before she got to Kindergarten, but now I at least have the comfort that every year her teacher sits me down, shows me what seems to be happening and asks if this is what we see because she's never seen this before. (4th such conference was a few weeks ago)

As anyone ever considered you might not be looking at one thing, but perhaps 2 or more that might be blending or for instance overlapping?

If we go back over 32 years, my mom gave birth to a girl. That girl was what the GP called "it's a special child, a special one indeed". And that was simply it. Some -many- weird stuff going on, some noticable others "just" not the norm. Ranging from physical stuff (or as I simply came to the conclusion of being WorldClumbs and finding it a norm that things hurt) to emotional and behavioural. Esp. the latter wasn't always easy for anybody. I could go off at moments, nobody could predict. Sometimes we knew it would be a "trigger" but not why, other times it seemed to be totally out of nowhere.

Not until I was 20 did we know we were actually looking for anything! I was 24 before my GP had a lightbulb moment and decided to suspect a certain type of syndrome. Turns out not the right one, but right group and sure enough about a year later it was clear. OK, so the diagnoses was there. We knew what it was, something called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. OK, so you learn about it. It has so many aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah-moments. Why would I sit so weird as a baby, why move the way I did or refuse to do something? Why all the accidents?

But still; one person with a manual nobody knows where to find it or how to read it. Years go on. It's clear that with the eds came along something called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Simply put; my autonomic nervous system gives out at moments when it shouldn't. Some expected, some totally not. It explained more, including some behavioural but again; not all.

Forward to 2007. I run into yet another OT for yet another chairfitting, my first powerchair. She noticed something nobody noticed before. My senses are out of whack. Sure enough; sensory integration scr*wed up enough to out itself in problems like overreacting of emotions at times and momentarily "loosing all control" because of out of whack. Mostly overstimulation, but still not all can be linked to "ah, that triggered it". It's a mix of some caused by the eds and some of it being a problem of itsown that would be there with or without eds. To make it more interesting; both make eachother worse.

The latter was most difficult to find as I would keep hushhush about the emotional and behavioural stuff out of shame. And with only outing the physical effects that doesn't make it easier. It was almost literally out there like a stamp on my head. But, when not looking for a stamp on a head but elsewhere you will not see such a big stamp. The eds? It's still too little known in medical professionals and can take decades to diagnose, if at all. In at least 3 generations, I was the first to be diagnosed and the other three were found back because of me (hereditary). While very scarsely known, I was and am a textbook case of eds. Would be missed by hundreds of medical professionals. Not until I myself was faced with the wake up of multiple things going on it started to make more sense. Within no time we could place some other stuff also, thanks to some other secundairy diagnoses that can come along with the eds. Still, I don't always know why and what, esp. when it comes to what makes my head go "snap".

While "in the dark" about there being a cause for those moments I would appear to have periods of better and worse times. Why? Because I would try to be as "should be" and it would burst. Because other times physical problems worsening would also lower my tolerance level and more of those puzzle pieces that now make it logic but totally "lost the manual and let's try and fly a plane while at 30.000 feet without training" until I started to be able to make the links.


If not already done, the one message I want to sent you is to keep a totally open focus. Sometimes you are the "oddball out" that hits the jackpot against all odds. If al the logical odds come up empty handed, try the oddball. Perhaps there are multiple things going on. Perhaps it simply is impossible to make any sense (even if that is going to be that "package such and such is called this and will many times be impossible to find sense into why") as medical science is not there yet. Or she has not reached the age yet where that last all important puzzle piece comes available.

Hopefully you will find more answers rather soon than later. But never feel alone. I know it can be overwhelming at moments but you are NOT alone. For instance, did you know that of "just" those with chronic pain the majority will not find a diagnosis? We all know how common pain is. Let alone if we count up all those dealing with other physical, mental and whatever problem that might not fit current labels or simply haven't come across it (yet).

Having done years without the label (and that still comes without a manual and many more questions, like many labels do), I can say it is not an absolute black place. In the end finding quality of life is the most important. For each that will be different and it comes in the smallest to the biggest forms. Acceptance is a huge part of that. For/from oneself but also within the close community of loved ones. Building upon that, learning how to stay focussed on that and not let outside stop you in your tracks. If she has the skills and is aware of how others sometimes can react; for her obviously. But not in the least also for you. You're surviving and deserve living again. I know how far out there it can sound, but I am a firm believer that living is possible for all when that quality of life is back again. Anyway, I'm starting to yep way to much. Just started posted to tip about keeping an open eye to sometimes there being more than one "culprit".

Good luck!

SueM in MN
05-08-2012, 04:11 PM
I'm going to close this thread at this time because I feel it has run its course.