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Parisite
05-26-2012, 07:45 PM
My daughter is a young teen (14) who has ADHD. She seems fine most of the time. We are going to WDW in after school lets out in June. We have always gone in January before when it is cooler and lines are shorter. We also used to go with my mother who rented an ECV (she passed away this year). If my daughter doesn't take her meds, I fear how the extremely long waits and heat will affect her by mid-day, since she becomes prone to tantrums when frustrated. If that happens, I "lose" her for the day. If she does take her meds and wear her patch, she gets nauseous and loses her appetite and I won't get her to eat or drink much-needed water to keep her from dehidrating.

I've been reading about GAC's and I don't know if her issues qualify. More importantly, I can't tell from reading the posts what help a GAC might actually provide if she does qualify. She might be embarassed by going to Guest Relations to discuss the matter and I don't want to put her through it if the GAC won't make much of a difference in her ability to enjoy the experience anyway.

Can people share how the GAC helps at specific rides? Haunted Mansion? Soaring? Space Mountain? Splash Mountain? Aerosmith? TSM? etc?

I just want to get some thouhts to decide if I should try to get one or just hope for the best without it? Like others who have posted here, I'll use fastasses whenever possible intead. Thank you.

livndisney
05-26-2012, 08:45 PM
My daughter is a young teen (14) who has ADHD. She seems fine most of the time. We are going to WDW in after school lets out in June. We have always gone in January before when it is cooler and lines are shorter. We also used to go with my mother who rented an ECV (she passed away this year). If my daughter doesn't take her meds, I fear how the extremely long waits and heat will affect her by mid-day, since she becomes prone to tantrums when frustrated. If that happens, I "lose" her for the day. If she does take her meds and wear her patch, she gets nauseous and loses her appetite and I won't get her to eat or drink much-needed water to keep her from dehidrating.

I've been reading about GAC's and I don't know if her issues qualify. More importantly, I can't tell from reading the posts what help a GAC might actually provide if she does qualify. She might be embarassed by going to Guest Relations to discuss the matter and I don't want to put her through it if the GAC won't make much of a difference in her ability to enjoy the experience anyway.

Can people share how the GAC helps at specific rides? Haunted Mansion? Soaring? Space Mountain? Splash Mountain? Aerosmith? TSM? etc?

Sue the moderator has asked that GAC specifics not be shared on this board for several reasons. One of them is GAC's are issues for different needs and may be handled differently at each ride due to crowds staffing etc.

I just want to get some thouhts to decide if I should try to get one or just hope for the best without it? Like others who have posted here, I'll use fastasses whenever possible intead. Thank you.

You should review the sticky information at the start of this board. It will give you some info about GAC. You should know though that the GAC states right out it-it is not intended to shorten wait time. So if your dd needs short lines, use fastpass and a good touring plan.

Parisite
05-26-2012, 09:02 PM
As I said, I will (of course) use fastpasses and a touring plan - I always do.

I fully understand - and have read in many places - that a GAC is not a "jump the line" pass and is not designed to shorten waits.

Perhaps I can't get the information I am seeking here, but all I was trying to understand from people who've had similar experiences is what benefit the GAC card can provide in certain areas.

Because my daughter is old enough to understand why I am going to Guest Relations and can feel embarrassed in these types of situations, I was hoping to NOT risk the situation at all without understanding at least the potential benefits of going through the process of requesting one.

mousesweetie
05-26-2012, 09:09 PM
As I said, I will (of course) use fastpasses and a touring plan - I always do.

I fully understand - and have read in many places - that a GAC is not a "jump the line" pass and is not designed to shorten waits.

Perhaps I can't get the information I am seeking here, but all I was trying to understand from people who've had similar experiences is what benefit the GAC card can provide in certain areas.

Because my daughter is old enough to understand why I am going to Guest Relations and can feel embarrassed in these types of situations, I was hoping to NOT risk the situation at all without understanding at least the potential benefits of going through the process of requesting one.


Like the previous poster stated, it would probably benefit you more to go to the parks early, not even bother going to obtain a GAC because it probably wont help you much anyway with her needs, and you wont embarrass her. Get fastpasses and go. If she starts to get antsy, go back to the resort and go to the pool or do other things that keep her busy, etc...then try the parks later in the day when it's less hot and less busy.

Best of luck. Hope you have great trip! :D

livndisney
05-26-2012, 09:14 PM
As I said, I will (of course) use fastpasses and a touring plan - I always do.

I fully understand - and have read in many places - that a GAC is not a "jump the line" pass and is not designed to shorten waits.

Perhaps I can't get the information I am seeking here, but all I was trying to understand from people who've had similar experiences is what benefit the GAC card can provide in certain areas.

Because my daughter is old enough to understand why I am going to Guest Relations and can feel embarrassed in these types of situations, I was hoping to NOT risk the situation at all without understanding at least the potential benefits of going through the process of requesting one.

As I said, you really should take a look at the info in the sticky. Another thing to consider, your DD will need to be there when you ask for a GAC.

Let me ask you this-what do you want the GAC to do for your dd? What are her needs?

LockShockBarrel
05-26-2012, 10:43 PM
I think what you have to keep in mind is with issues like ADHD, an individual's needs can be so different from someone else with the same diagnosis that no matter what you're told, you're actual experience could be worlds different. What works for someone else might not work for you. You might have a totally different experience with how things are handled on trips that are only a few months apart based on crowds and how a ride is staffed.

tinkerbellmamma
05-26-2012, 11:36 PM
I would go get the GAC pass anyway, I had absolutely no problems with the cast members in obtaining one or using it, it actually has made my sons trip a wonderful experience.
I would say if waiting in long lines are a problem then to avoid Soaring since even with a GAC pass the wait was 45-50 minutes so I had to leave the line without getting on the ride but at least the wait was indoors in the air conditioning.

bookwormde
05-27-2012, 06:32 AM
For line issues getting a GAC and knowing that you can have an alternate area to wait where your daughter can be more relaxed will help a lot with accumulated stress. Having some of her favorite distractions for the wait time helps (books, video games etc)Even if you try the lines we find that just kowing that if it does not work the GAC is there helps. The way this accomidation is implemeted is quite variable by both ride aand CM.

Parisite
05-27-2012, 09:20 AM
I don't know how to copy quotes into my reply, but LIVNDISNEY wrote that I have to bring my daughter with me to Guest Relations to request the GAC. I wanted to responded that I understand that. In fact she is old enough and understands everything well enough that any questions the CM might have about her ADHD can best be answered by her rather than me. The key with my daughter is to be able to explain in advance what the GAC is - why it might help - and why she shouldn't be embarrassed to request one. I have read the threads many times and still don't understand what the GAC does.

LIVNDISNEY also asked what the issues and needs are. At school, my daughter wears a Daytrana patch and takes Intuniv. It helps during the day, but also makes her nauseous and kills her appetite. She won't eat or drink. She crashes as soon as she gets home. There's no way to get through a WDW trip in 90 degree weather under those conditions. With her doctor's approval, I am considering keeping her off the patch while we are there. Obviously, that presents other challenges.

The reason I asked about specific attractions is because if there are some where the GAC kept us waiting in quieter locations + some that kept us in air conditioned environments + some that might even shorten the wait somewhat, I would use the GAC + fastpasses to create a touring plan that wouldn't have us in a 45 minute stand-by line for 2 attractions in a row. That would be very helpful. There are some attractions where I think she would actually do better in the stand-by line and others where a quieter area with her Ipod would be best.

As I said, she's very excited about this (middle school graduation) gift but it's the first time the two of us have traveled alone and I'm a bit nervous. That's why I started researching how other families with similar situations have handled the trip and that's how I learned about the GAC.

Now that I fully understand what it WON'T do, I was hoping to get some better clue as to what it CAN do so I can explain it all properly to her and do out planning. I also find I am much mores successful with my daughter when I can give her full explanations in advance and make her part of the planning process.

livndisney
05-27-2012, 09:38 AM
I don't know how to copy quotes into my reply, but LIVNDISNEY wrote that I have to bring my daughter with me to Guest Relations to request the GAC. I wanted to responded that I understand that. In fact she is old enough and understands everything well enough that any questions the CM might have about her ADHD can best be answered by her rather than me. The key with my daughter is to be able to explain in advance what the GAC is - why it might help - and why she shouldn't be embarrassed to request one. I have read the threads many times and still don't understand what the GAC does.

LIVNDISNEY also asked what the issues and needs are. At school, my daughter wears a Daytrana patch and takes Intuniv. It helps during the day, but also makes her nauseous and kills her appetite. She won't eat or drink. She crashes as soon as she gets home. There's no way to get through a WDW trip in 90 degree weather under those conditions. With her doctor's approval, I am considering keeping her off the patch while we are there. Obviously, that presents other challenges.

The reason I asked about specific attractions is because if there are some where the GAC kept us waiting in quieter locations + some that kept us in air conditioned environments + some that might even shorten the wait somewhat, I would use the GAC + fastpasses to create a touring plan that wouldn't have us in a 45 minute stand-by line for 2 attractions in a row. That would be very helpful. There are some attractions where I think she would actually do better in the stand-by line and others where a quieter area with her Ipod would be best.

As I said, she's very excited about this (middle school graduation) gift but it's the first time the two of us have traveled alone and I'm a bit nervous. That's why I started researching how other families with similar situations have handled the trip and that's how I learned about the GAC.

Now that I fully understand what it WON'T do, I was hoping to get some better clue as to what it CAN do so I can explain it all properly to her and do out planning. I also find I am much mores successful with my daughter when I can give her full explanations in advance and make her part of the planning process.

Once again I will say the Moderator has asked that people not post specific information and suggest you review the sticky. Other than that I am done with this thread-clearly you don't want my help. Hope you have a great trip.

kaytieeldr
05-27-2012, 10:46 AM
OP - for whatever reason, you seem to be ignoring the advice given by several posters to read the FAQ created (and regularly updated) by the disABILITIES Moderator. Nobody can tell you how a GAC works for guests with ADHD because the GAC isn't issued based on diagnoses, it's issued based on needs.

Your daughter's needs are likely different from anyone else's traveling with ADHD. For starters, you probably wouldn't get replies from people whose ADHD child takes the same meds as your daughter in the same dosages and has the same response to those meds.

Please please please read the FAQ http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=10237514&postcount=6

clm10308
05-27-2012, 11:06 AM
I agree that the situation is too individualized for you to get specific answers.

I have 2 kids (16 and 9 now) with ADHD. One Is on Daytra at school, one is not medicated. One has sensory issues as well. We have had several trips to DW at different tims of the year. The most recent was this past Christmas.

We have never gotten/needed a GAC. We just let the kids decide what that want to ride/ wait in one for. That means that they sometimes choose to skip rides rather than wait in line. We often split up and do different rides. My DS likes to spend a lot of time at the playground areas like Tom Sawyer Islad and the Dinosaur playground at AK.

Piper
05-27-2012, 11:49 AM
Since your daughter is old enough to know her needs, she should be old enough to know whether she will be able to wait for whatever wait times are listed on the attraction. She should also recognize when she has "had enough" and is ready to go back to the hotel for a rest.

I have been with a younger teen with ADHD and Aspergers (and again when he was mid teen.) He thoroughly researched the rides through books and you tube. He knew what he wanted to ride and made decisions based on whether [I]he chose[I] to ride or not. Since it was his decision, he handled everything very well--no meltdowns.

buffettgirl
05-27-2012, 12:35 PM
also, something to keep in mind; a GAC isn't a standard "thing". It's not one thing - it's many things, based on the needs of the user. Someone else pointed out in another thread - do an imaginary day in the park - what do you think the challenges will be for your daughter. Then think about if those are things that could be alleviated in some way if the service exists. THEN once you have done that, then you will be ready to know if you should even go to guest services and see about a GAC for you specific accomodations. And those will be the things you will speak to guest services about.

That said, in many cases there are no longer 'quiet' areas to wait, and most of the mainstreamed lines are already in a/c. Often the alternate entry lines are longer and crowded with multiple families in wheelchairs and ecvs . So those alternate waiting locations may not exist anymore and/or will probably be crowded.

SueM in MN
05-27-2012, 12:55 PM
People assume that all GACs are the same and that they will all be handled the same at each attraction each time. This is not the case, which are 2 of the reasons I ask people not to post specifics.
Even at the same attraction, the same person with the same GAC may be handled differently at a different time of the day.

If someone needs consistency, they will get much more consistency by using a touring plan and Fastpasses. Many people (us included) have been able to go to WDW even in busy times like Spring break and have minimal wait times due to knowing what to do when. The most recommended are touringplans.com , easywdw.com and Ridemax.
There are other advantages, like you will be in the least busy part of the least busy park. You can also get smartphone apps, which can help with knowing what the wait times are currently.
Can people share how the GAC helps at specific rides? Haunted Mansion? Soaring? Space Mountain? Splash Mountain? Aerosmith? TSM? etc?
None of those attractions except Splash have alternate waiting areas, so Fastpasses would be your most helpful option there.
TSM has an alternate boarding area for those who need to avoid stairs. Because that boarding area needs to be used by anyone who can't do stairs and they only load one car pod per cycle, the wait can be very long.

Splash Mountain has a waiting area that is also used by guests who need to avoid the stairs. The pull off point for this is just before the line reaches the stairs. They sometimes use the waiting area for guests with other needs, but again the wait can be long.
Haunted Mansion now has 2 waiting lines. One is an interactive 'graveyard' with different things to see and do while you are waiting. The other line bypasses the graveyard and goes directly to the ride. They have also installed a new Fastpass entrance for the 'next generation' Fastpass , which is being tested now ( no one knows how it will work).

SueM in MN
05-27-2012, 01:46 PM
The question of medication - my youngest DD has ADD but is not on medication (also has epilepsy, so on anti seizure meds).
Her cousin has ADHD and the last time he came with us to WDW, some days he took his medication and other days he did not. We could tell for sure the day he did not take it. He was very 'chatty' in lines and had a hard time focusing, even when the wait was short. He decided it was too much stimulation/activity for him to be comfortable without medication. He did not miss after that.

It is good you are planning to discuss with her doctors. They should be able to tweak things to get the most effect with the least side effects.
If she is completely zonked out after a school day, they may also be able to do some modifications for that.

Jonell
05-27-2012, 02:42 PM
If I were you I would try to make rope drop in the mornings and visit as many attractions as possible before the parks get to busy and it gets too hot. This is what my famiy does since my DH is also prone to dehydration during the warmer months. You may also want to return to your resort in the afternoon for rest or pool time. The GAC does not alway provide an alternative waiting area and can often make your waits longer during busy times.

eternaldisneyfan
05-27-2012, 03:37 PM
I would recommend buying instant ice packs to help with the heat. planand prioritize. I wouldn't go off meds abruptly. she will likely feel gross and have amplified symptoms and have trouble. have a great trip!

Mary976
05-27-2012, 05:08 PM
We haven't always gotten a GAC but had one the last time. I know the OP is looking for some concrete examples...and I did have one experience come to mind.

DD likes to ride the same things over and over again. We rode one popular attraction multiple times in one day, including pretty late in evening EMH. On the same attraction, over the course of one day, we experienced a number of different things including an alternate waiting area being offered, a handwritten fastpass to come back later (so we'd be waiting the same amount as the people in standby), and then once they sent us right through fastpass but that was late in the day and the standby line was probably 10 minutes.

Also, be aware that the "alternate area" at some attractions will leave you with a LONGER wait. Small World is often a walk on, but DD uses a wheelchair so we have to go to the alternate entrance. Sometimes people with GACs will be sent there to wait, I guess because it is less crowded, but the wait can be a lot longer to actually get on the ride.

I will say that the touringplans.com site has always worked well for us...there are many plans out there but that one has a new app with an "optimize" feature, so you can customize your plan and tell the app if your child only wants to ride Buzz Lightyear 10 times. I know a lot of people here recommend heading to the park early in the AM, which will definitely give you shorter lines. That being said, we follow more of what DD calls the "vampire" touring plan so we keep her out of the sun. We'll sleep in super late, hit a pool maybe, and then go to the way late EMH.

Good luck with your trip,
Mary

Beccabunny
05-28-2012, 03:01 PM
Is the handwritten fastpass something new?

BillSears
05-28-2012, 03:15 PM
Is the handwritten fastpass something new?

I'd say it's been around 8-10 years(maybe longer) but it's not always used. I remember being given a handwritten Fastpass in about 2004 for Living With the Land. The wheelchair access is through the Fastpass line and I was given a Fastpass with the return time of the Standby line time.

It's not used often for wheelchair users because most of the lines are mainstreamed. But I have run into it for some non-mainstreamed lines.

Beccabunny
05-28-2012, 05:07 PM
It's something we've never encountered. This is something that could be very difficult for my daughter, who has autism. She needs to know what to expect. If we approach an attraction and she is expecting to ride, and then is told to come back later, that's going to be a problem. We can't just tell her maybe she'll ride, maybe she'll get a hand-written fastpass and have to come back. Perhaps this has never happened to us because of the particular GAC that she has been issued, but with talk of changes to the GAC I am concerned.

SueM in MN
05-28-2012, 07:17 PM
It's something we've never encountered. This is something that could be very difficult for my daughter, who has autism. She needs to know what to expect. If we approach an attraction and she is expecting to ride, and then is told to come back later, that's going to be a problem. We can't just tell her maybe she'll ride, maybe she'll get a hand-written fastpass and have to come back. Perhaps this has never happened to us because of the particular GAC that she has been issued, but with talk of changes to the GAC I am concerned.
I have heard of it with all different GAC stamps and it has happened to us several times.
It could always come up if the access path you would be using is either too full, unavailable or requires more staff than are currently available. That is why many people prefer to use Fastpasses and touring plans as much as possible - it is so much more consistent.

Beccabunny
05-28-2012, 08:55 PM
Yes, we like to use Fastpass when possible. It's easy for one person in the group to run ahead and get them. When Fastpass isn't an option, the GAC we have been getting works very well, and I would hate to see that change. We use it less than in earlier years, but would not be able to go to WDW without it.

Mrs.Malone
05-28-2012, 10:26 PM
Yes, we like to use Fastpass when possible. It's easy for one person in the group to run ahead and get them. When Fastpass isn't an option, the GAC we have been getting works very well, and I would hate to see that change. We use it less than in earlier years, but would not be able to go to WDW without it.

I have an ASD child and I understand this issue.
Since what you're accustomed to is being directed to an alternate waiting area (I assume--since GAC doesn't give FOTL access correct?) could you not just explain to DD that the alternate waiting area is outside the ride instead of inside? Giving the handwritten Fastpass is really the same as offering an alternate waiting area. I think this explanation would probably satisfy my child.

SueM in MN
05-28-2012, 11:29 PM
I have an ASD child and I understand this issue.
Since what you're accustomed to is being directed to an alternate waiting area (I assume--since GAC doesn't give FOTL access correct?) could you not just explain to DD that the alternate waiting area is outside the ride instead of inside? Giving the handwritten Fastpass is really the same as offering an alternate waiting area. I think this explanation would probably satisfy my child.
:thumbsup2
I like that answer. It would appeal to my somewhat legalistic nephew who is an Aspie.

Beccabunny
05-29-2012, 07:06 AM
I have an ASD child and I understand this issue.
Since what you're accustomed to is being directed to an alternate waiting area (I assume--since GAC doesn't give FOTL access correct?) could you not just explain to DD that the alternate waiting area is outside the ride instead of inside? Giving the handwritten Fastpass is really the same as offering an alternate waiting area. I think this explanation would probably satisfy my child.

Well, given the Fastpass is more of a "come back later" than an alternate waiting area, then no, this would not work. I know how she thinks. If she's expecting to be on an attraction, and then is told she has to come back later, it's confusing. What we have now works for her individual needs. I don't know how changing that is going to stop abuse.

LockShockBarrel
05-29-2012, 11:39 AM
Personally I think Disney does a lot for guests with disablities and issues. More than any other theme park I've been to. Perhaps what needs to be remembered is that as much as they do on an individual basis, they are never...ever...going to be to please everyone. It's not "we'll figure out how to deal with everyone's issues, then deal with the other guests" It's the opposite. If people say that all these accomedations don't work, maybe it's time to reconsider going to Disney.

Beccabunny
05-29-2012, 11:53 AM
Personally I think Disney does a lot for guests with disablities and issues. More than any other theme park I've been to. Perhaps what needs to be remembered is that as much as they do on an individual basis, they are never...ever...going to be to please everyone. It's not "we'll figure out how to deal with everyone's issues, then deal with the other guests" It's the opposite. If people say that all these accomedations don't work, maybe it's time to reconsider going to Disney.

The accommodations my daughter gets do work for her. That's why we go. We're not complaining about the accommodations. It's losing the accommodations that concerns me. Obviously it's not a concern to you, because as you say, "it's the opposite."

Mrs.Malone
05-29-2012, 12:22 PM
:)

lanejudy
05-29-2012, 12:33 PM
The accommodations my daughter gets do work for her. That's why we go. We're not complaining about the accommodations. It's losing the accommodations that concerns me. Obviously it's not a concern to you, because as you say, "it's the opposite." Hmmm, what's the opposite of "normal" (your word)?

Beccabunny, I think the important thing to remember here is that the same GAC can be handled in different ways at the same attraction - and always has been. Your experience has never involved receiving a hand-written fastpass - however that has always been an accomodation that you COULD have been given. It depends on particular circumstances OF THE ATTRACTION, not necssarily of the guest. If providing a hand-written fastpass is the accomodation that is offered, you will need to have a "Plan B" to explain to your DD that the "wait" is on the bench or having a snack or a walk around before getting in line. I understand completely the need to manage expectations - we deal with the same thing. However, there are little times in life that even the expected doesn't work as we thought and we as parents sometimes have to be quick-thinking to turn a possible negative reaction (tantrum that she can't enter the ride RIGHT NOW) into a positive reactiion (oh wow, look, they will let us go get a snack before getting into line and we'll wait less! - the wait may or may not be less, but if presented to your child that way it could prevent meltdown).

There is no GAC that guarantees you will be allowed access to the ride - what if the ride is completely down at the moment - you can't just tell the CM "well my child expects to ride now so let us in line." A hand-written fastpass is similar, though you do have the alternative option to use stand-by if the handwritten fastpass is unacceptable.

Beccabunny
05-29-2012, 02:14 PM
Beccabunny, I think the important thing to remember here is that the same GAC can be handled in different ways at the same attraction - and always has been. Your experience has never involved receiving a hand-written fastpass - however that has always been an accomodation that you COULD have been given. It depends on particular circumstances OF THE ATTRACTION, not necssarily of the guest. If providing a hand-written fastpass is the accomodation that is offered, you will need to have a "Plan B" to explain to your DD that the "wait" is on the bench or having a snack or a walk around before getting in line. I understand completely the need to manage expectations - we deal with the same thing. However, there are little times in life that even the expected doesn't work as we thought and we as parents sometimes have to be quick-thinking to turn a possible negative reaction (tantrum that she can't enter the ride RIGHT NOW) into a positive reactiion (oh wow, look, they will let us go get a snack before getting into line and we'll wait less! - the wait may or may not be less, but if presented to your child that way it could prevent meltdown).

There is no GAC that guarantees you will be allowed access to the ride - what if the ride is completely down at the moment - you can't just tell the CM "well my child expects to ride now so let us in line." A hand-written fastpass is similar, though you do have the alternative option to use stand-by if the handwritten fastpass is unacceptable.

I never have and never would demand to be let in a line immediately. Why would you even say something like that? I merely said that the accommodations we have work for us. My objection is to the suggestion by some on these boards that changes should be made, NOT to improve access, but to take away accommodations because some people think the disabled are getting some kind of unfair advantage.

I know more than many people would ever care to know about preparing for the unexpected. Still, I'm open to useful, concrete suggestions. Do you have any? Talking about the "little things in life" and the need to be "quick-thinking" just comes across as a parenting lecture and sounds condescending. I could have ignored it but for the implication that I would DEMAND immediate access to a line.

I'm not sure why you assumed my daughter has tantrums and meltdowns. Because she has autism? One child's autism is not another's. I think it's this "one size fits all" mentality that is the issue here, but you really shouldn't make assumptions. My daughter's autism is the least of her problems. We're dealing with several serious medical conditions, and the alternate entrance accommodation is only one of several accommodations that are afforded by the GAC she is issued on each trip. If alternate entrance is taken away, it's not going to improve access for anyone else, and there will still be whiners demanding all of her other accommodations are taken away as well.

lanejudy
05-29-2012, 03:09 PM
Beccabunny, I apologize if what I wrote sounded condescending or a parenting lecture, I certainly didn't mean that. I attempted to clarify that a handwritten fastpass is and has been an accommodation and how to possibly explain the need for such to the person wtih a GAC. Your prior posts had implied that a handwritten fastpass would not be an acceptable accommodation for you because your daughter "needs to know what to expect" and "come back later" is too confusing and would not work.

It's something we've never encountered. This is something that could be very difficult for my daughter, who has autism. She needs to know what to expect. If we approach an attraction and she is expecting to ride, and then is told to come back later, that's going to be a problem. We can't just tell her maybe she'll ride, maybe she'll get a hand-written fastpass and have to come back. Perhaps this has never happened to us because of the particular GAC that she has been issued, but with talk of changes to the GAC I am concerned.

Well, given the Fastpass is more of a "come back later" than an alternate waiting area, then no, this would not work. I know how she thinks. If she's expecting to be on an attraction, and then is told she has to come back later, it's confusing. What we have now works for her individual needs. I don't know how changing that is going to stop abuse.

By those statements it sounds like you expect access to be immediate (I didn't say ride immediately, but access to the attraction wait area or line). I merely pointed out that a handwritten fastpass has been an acceptable accommodation (by Disney's standards) for many years - it's not new or a change. You may not ever encounter it, but you may. Circumstances at any given attraction change fluidly throughout the day, and a handwritten fastpass may in fact be the accommodation you are given at some point in your journeys through WDW. If the alternate entrance, alternate wait area or any other accommodation you "typically" receive is not readily available to you and your family at the moment, the handwritten fastpass is the accommodation to wait elsewhere and return at a time when they can better accommodate you.

I never stated nor implied that a specific accommodation would be "taken away," just that it might not be available a the specific moment a guest needing such accommodation arrives at an attraction - therefore the handwritten fastpass. I also have not stated or implied that ANY accommodation your daughter - or anyone else on this board - has received previously should be "taken away." I support you and your family's access to GAC for whatever accommodations Disney is able to provide to assist you and make your vacation a pleasant experience. It has certainly helped my family so I understand how it is important to you. Again, I apologize if my prior post was mis-contrued.

clanmcculloch
05-29-2012, 03:46 PM
Beccabunny, I think that this is a case where you have to learn to be flexible with how you manage your DD. You know that the hand written FP is a known accomodation. Be prepared. Explain to your DD ahead of time that sometimes the waiting is done outside of the ride queues and that you'll know this is happening becuase they'll give you a special FP that tells you what time your wait will be over. Make sure to explain it to her as just a different place to wait. Think of this as just another thing to prepare for. How would she handle it if an attraction she was anticipating was shut down (happened to us on numerous occasions)? It's very important to have a plan for what to do if what you expect to happen, doesn't. This can make the difference between your child just being disappointed yet rolling with the punches vs having a total meltdown. I'm saying this from the voice of experience. My DD has to be prepared for things to not go exactly as planned or we're guaranteed meltdowns. Hopefully the alternate waiting areas will still be available but be prepared for other accomodations because they DO happen.

ladyjubilee
05-29-2012, 05:01 PM
I think part of the issue is that having a specific diagnosis in common does not mean the disability is "common".

I know it's not meant as parenting instruction, but the assumption is being made that ALL children with autism function on the same level. To be specific, the assumption is being made that ALL children with autism are capable of 1) understanding language (even in high stress situations) and 2) having a concept of time. Maybe just telling some children about snacks and return times and managing expectations works, but its not a simple solution for every child.

Sure, in life there are things you just have to deal with, and no company can make accomodations for every child/person.....but it just seems like its very easy to dismiss and minimize accomodation concerns when the need is cognitive. Or quite frankly, why those concerns should be met with (unhelpful) parenting advice and suggestions that seeking an accomodation for a cognitive disability is somehow trying to game the system just doesn't make sense to me. Being concerned that a child will have disability induced difficulty turning back from a ride is not the same as demanding immediate access.

A return Fastpass wouldn't work for my son--He wouldn't understand that we stopped the forward process and went back. Snacks, coming back later etc wouldn't be the issue. The starting a process then not finishing the process would be the problem. And throwing all the words in the world at him wouldn't make a bit of difference--because the words wouldn't mean anything to him when he's aggitated. And I also get the feeling that we're all using "meltdown" differently. Doesn't mean we expect immediate access, but it does mean that accomodation doesn't accomodate HIS disability.

kaytieeldr
05-29-2012, 10:16 PM
ladyjubilee and BeccaBunny, it's truly regrettable that you're reading the responses in this thread as dismissive or condescending, or as parenting advice or that anyone thinks anyone else here is trying to game the system, or that you think the posters on this forum (of all places) don't understand the autism spectrum. On the other hand, it probably wouldn't hurt to point out BeccaBunny didn't mention autism until page three - but I digress.

Many of the posters on this forum have children or spouses on the spectrum. Even those who don't, understand more about autism thanks to those who live with it, and share. Anyway, posters aren't trying to give parenting advice - they're trying to give park touring advice. Truly, the absolute best advice - and it seems to be getting ignored - is
Arrive early
Use FastPass
Get a good park touring plan and follow it
That combination seems like it would work better than any GAC, because the accommodation can - as has been repeated - change from visit to visit, even on a single day. Combining a good touring plan with FastPass enables the parent to prepare the person with autism what to expect, better than any GAC could.

And sometimes, despite all the preparation you do, things don't work the way you want or expect. Because the accommodation could be handled differently depending on different conditions at any attraction different times/days, if a guest is going to get uncontrollably agitated when faced with the unexpected, it's possible a theme park vacation might not be the best option.

LockShockBarrel
05-29-2012, 10:38 PM
My point was Disney could easily go into the "one size fits all" type accomedation, and they don't. They usually have several different things available based on your needs. In the case where they do they're best to do something for you based on what they're able to do and/or you're given multiple options and you still say "this just won't work", then it doesn't work. Not everyone is ever going to be happy and it's only realistic to know that going in. Woohoo for you that you've been able to get through things up to this point, but things can change and it's ignorant to just dismiss that possibility.

Teaching your child that things change and it's ok is the best thing you can do. Its hard to do and it probably will be a long journey to get to that point but it's not fair to ANY kid to teach them "this is the way things are and always will be" when it comes to something out of your control. But I'm "the opposite" so what I say doesn't matter pirate: