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Old 06-28-2007, 12:34 AM   #31
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMom View Post
SueM (and all moderators for that matter)

You have the patience of a saint.
Thanks for your comments.

I have the advantage of time on my side. My DD who is disabled is 22 years old, so I have been dealing with this a long time.
At one time in my life, I did not have the 'patience of a saint' . I probably got less done because I was wanting everything done right now. I know that there are people who come to this board who are where I was that many years ago and I can be patient with them because I understand how it was to be where they are now.
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Old 06-29-2007, 03:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
My DD who is disabled is 22 years old, so I have been dealing with this a long time.
I'm learning on this board everyday. Somehow I got to think your DD is much younger.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:01 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
The DIS Boards were my "happy place" where I could come to share a special place and ways to enjoy that special place with others who maybe thought the 'magic' was out of their reach.
Four summers ago, I injured my leg. It was a serious injury that required a metal plate, eight screws, and a wire to fix. Since I was confined to a wheelchair for a few months while my leg healed, I began to think that it would probably be best if I cancelled my fall Walt Disney World vacation. After all, what fun would I be to my family if they had to push me around in my wheelchair? But a kind Dis’er outed me over here on the disABILITIES! board. Thanks to the wonderful advice (and moral support) that I received, I went through with that vacation and my family had the time of their lives: click here.

I’m posting here because in this hectic world that we live in, most folks don’t hear often enough how they’ve touched the lives of others in very positive ways. I have never forgotten how my life was touched here on the disABILITIES! board by SueM in MN and many other Dis'ers. To all of you, thank you.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:19 AM   #34
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Wow Sue! Great post! It could apply to all of the DIS, not just this section.
I just came to get a question answered, and before I could get to the FAQ, I saw your letter.
Maybe it should be required reading for everyone on the boards?
Hope things are going better for you and that people responded in kindness (I didn't read all the comments, just your letter.).

Now I'm going to go look for the answers I need!
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:12 PM   #35
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Thanks Sue, CheshireFigment and all here

In the world of autism there's a method of getting what you need out of these kids called Positive Behavioral Support (it stems from ABA). It means that you don't deal with the negative, except by finding the positive and reinforcing it. Well it's a little more complicated than that, but that boils it down nicely.

After employing this method successfully with my DS, I've found that it works -- and is appreciated -- with other, neurotypical people (DH, for instance.) What a better world this would be if we could all practice this.

As grandma always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." It was appropriate then, it's appropriate now.

Thanks for all you do, Sue. I think you and CheshireFigment do an awesome job! I've had really great experiences here and if it weren't for the disABILITIES board, my son wouldn't have his wheelchair, we wouldn't have gone back to WDW last January and wouldn't be returning in April.

Thanks,

Anne
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Old 10-24-2007, 07:52 AM   #36
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Thanks Sue! What you do is appreciated!
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:38 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimsuenew View Post
Thanks Sue! What you do is appreciated!
not sure if this forum is still being looked at or where the past ones are. last trip Disney 11/07 I got so worn out that I could no longer walk after 3 days of 9 day trip. I don't usually walk, and then definitely not the non-stop craziness that is Disney! I went back to resort and let DH take DD back to the parks. I was devastated. I don't have a true or full "disability" but I could no longer move my legs and hips - they hurt so badly. I went ahead and requested a scooter and got one later that day. I didn't get any GAC card or anything. I was surprised to get in to Indiana Jones earlier without a Fast Pass and felt bad about doing it - that wasn't the intention. When I could, I would try to park and walk. But the scooter was invaluable to me being able to continue to enjoy the parks with my family. I work with folks who have disabilities. I was still embarrassed that I could no longer walk like I thought and that I had to resort to the scooter. I don't usually walk that much in a month, much less in several days. However, had I NOT gotten the scooter, I would have spent the remaining 6 days in bed, unable to enjoy the trip with my family. The scooter allowed me to "save" my legs to get in the long ride lines. I was still in pain at the end of the day but not as much. And, others have "hidden" disabilities people aren't aware of. My dad had MS and looked fine...but he would tire very easily and couldn't handle heat. I want to be able t say I won't need the scooter in Nov but I will probably have it on standby anyway just in case.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:00 AM   #38
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmores View Post
not sure if this forum is still being looked at or where the past ones are.
I'm not sure what you mean here. If you could be more specific, I'll try to help you with the answer. If you are asking what I think you mean, the older threads are still here, you just can't see more than the last few pages.
If you are looking for something older in particular, let us know and we can help you find it.
Quote:
I was surprised to get in to Indiana Jones earlier without a Fast Pass and felt bad about doing it - that wasn't the intention.
Don't feel bad.
For Indiana Jones, that's the way they do things for 3 reasons.
1) There are limited numbers of seating spacces for people using ECVs and wheelchairs, so they need to separate people using them out from the rest of the audience. That way, they can make sure they don't leave more people using assistive devices into the area than there are spaces for.
2) The theater for Indiana Jones holds a huge amount of people and they 'load' them into the theater in a relatively short time. It is safer for the people using wheelchairs/ECVs and for the rest of the audience to 'load' as many of the wheelchairs/ECVs before the rest of the audience comes in.
3) People using ECvs/wheelchairs have specific spots that a CM needs to direct them to. If they can direct a number of people to those spots before letting in the rest of the audience, that frees up some CMs for general audience direction.

Even though many people get a Fastpass for Indiana Jones, it's usually not needed. Most shows we've been in there are still some empty seats when the show begins. That means that all the people with Fastpasses and all the people in the standby line got in to that show. If all the wheelchair/EV spots are filled up, it's possible that someone using a wheelchair or ECV may have to wait for the next show, even though there are many 'regular' seats left.
Also, even though you may have gotten in faster, that just meant you waited inside longer - you still saw the same show at the same time as all the people with Fastpasses for that show saw.

Many of the shows run like that for the same reasons.

If you need an ECV for a trip, it doesn't matter whether you need it for that day or have a permanent disability. You need it, so it's not an 'advantage' to you. It's what you need to be able to go.
In most cases, you either won't get in any earlier with an ECV/wheelchair or if you do get in earlier, it's for some reasons about how that attraction works that are not visible to you (like the ones I mentioned above).
Also, many attractions have queues with a long walk in, no matter if the 'wait' is 5 minutes or 50 minutes. Soarin' and Bug's Life are 2 examples of long queues. It's important to know that so you can make a decision about whether taking the ECV/wheelchair in line will make your wait easier. We are trying to collect that kind of information on this board (the first park FAQs thread is started and is for Epcot). You can also ask the CM at the ride entrance.
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Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:31 PM   #39
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Helpful moderators

I have also found Sue and Cheshire Figment to be very helpful and professional.

I had my eyes opened recently, by the moderators, regaring the ongoing problem of people trying to inappropriately obtain or use GACs. It really is sad. GAC information is clearly a very sensitive issue and is handled very well by the moderators.

Thanks to Disney for working so hard to make accommodations. The G.A.C. is a wonderful solution. I suppose that, human nature being what it is, any system that is devised will have some people trying to exploit or circumvent it. The greater the benefit of cheating, the more people will try to cheat. A trip to WDW is a significant investment of time and resources. The expectations and opportunities are very high when people get there. The deserved popularity of the parks creates crowds, naturally. What all this adds up to is a multitude of highly motivated individuals all wanting to have the same experience at the same time. Those with manners will wait. Others will act almost desperate to get on the next ride and will be resentful of those who "stand in their way" or who use the G.A.C. for accommodation.

This phenomenon is certainly not unique to WDW. If anything, there less rudeness and complaining there (in my experience) than in other crowded venues, such as concert lines and sporting events. Perhaps this is due to the high degree of courtesy, and the positive attitudes of Disney's highly trained Cast Members. Disney wins my "most smiles per staff member" award of any place I have ever been.

I made the mistake earlier of naively disclosing too much information about how my Give Kids the World G.A.C. worked. First of all, I did not understand that each G.A.C. is unique. Secondly, I did not realize that dishonest folks might use the information to get at G.A.C. under false pretenses.

A thank you to Sue and Cheshire Figment for explaining this to me.

It is my desire to help people planning Wish Trips to WDW find information that will assist them. The planning time is often short for these trips, as dates for travel may not be confirmed more than 2-3 months in advance. This causes the parents to be a bit "frantic" in information gathering. For this reason, I have included links in my signature to help people find such information.

Bill
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:38 PM   #40
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Thank you for all that you do for this board. I stumbled across this board today, as I was researching access issues for my son on a trip we are planning for next June. This board is invaluable and I appreicaite all the unpaid time and effort you put into this board.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:48 PM   #41
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by connolly14620 View Post
Thank you for all that you do for this board. I stumbled across this board today, as I was researching access issues for my son on a trip we are planning for next June. This board is invaluable and I appreicaite all the unpaid time and effort you put into this board.
thank you
What a nice thing to say from such a new poster
Welcome to our corner of the boards!
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Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:05 AM   #42
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Sue, I'm new to the board but appreciate what you are doing. It must take a lot of your time to scan the messages and add the neccessary information or to bump up an older thread. I'm sorry when people are less than kind or even more those who use your information for their own selfish reasons. Some people are like that and will never change. Please do not let them ruin the good thing you do. Karen
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:38 PM   #43
SueM in MN
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I POSTED THIS ON A THREAD BEFORE I CLOSED IT AND THOUGHT IT PROBABLY BELONGED HERE TOO:

Even if one guest posts, "I was just at WDW and this is what happened".........
that doesn't mean the same thing will happen to each guest, or even that it would have happened just that way if the poster had gone on that attraction later in the same trip.

CMs have different methods/tools available at each attractions in order to give accommodation. Exactly WHAT tools are used are going to depend on the needs of the person with the GAC, what is available at that attraction and also on things that are not visible to the guest - like how many people with special needs are already waiting, what the general wait time is, the staffing levels, the space available for waiting.
That can mean that same guest can go to the same attraction
on the same day
with the same needs
and the same GAC
and be treated differently on a second ride on that attraction than the first time.

Actually using the Fastpass system as it is set up for guests to use will give consistent results; using a GAC will not.

That is one of the reasons people on this board caution against expectations. When people read "I had a GAC and I did xxxxxxx", they expect the same experience, even if their situation is different or the conditions are different when they go. (There is more information about this on the disABILITIES FAQs thread in the post about GACs).

Most of the regular posters on this board (me included) have been to WDW many times and have seen/experienced the different ways of dealing with the same GAC themselves. That's one of the reasons we are 'cautious' about telling people exactly what to expect - it changes and people often post "I expected xxxxxxx, but yyyyyy happened".
So, we tell people to expect that yyyyyyy (or even zzzzzz) might happen instead of what they expect. That is the point where some guests post, "But, I used a GAC on my trip and xxxxxxxx did happen" and kind of imply that would be/should be what happens every time, since that was what happened to them.
We're just saying that what some people experience and think is the rule is actually the exception, rather than the rule.

As another example, on our last trip in October, lines were short. At Buzz Lightyear, DD entered the regular 'stand-by' line with her wheelchair. The CM at the Fastpass entrance motiioned us to come over and told us to use the Fastpass line, giving us a handwritten Fastpass to give the CM collecting Fastpasses.
We also received the same 'treatment' on some other attractions during that same trip.
If this was our first trip, I may have come back and posted on the DIS Boards that using a wheelchair 'allowed' us to use the Fastpass lines. I would have probably thought that was what was the rule about what was 'supposed' to happen. I would not realize that was the exception rather than the rule.

The report would be the truth as far as reporting our experience, but it would not be the whole truth because there are things that I know as an experienced WDW visitor that someone on a first trip with a guest using a wheelchair would not know/notice.
In these case, both the Fastpass and the regular line were short. Because the regular line has more twists and turns, it would be more difficult for us to get thru it with a wheelchair; not a problem when the line is moving slowly, but actually slows down the line when guests are walking thru quickly. So, in that situation, it's better for the attraction when the CM sent us to use the Fastpass line.
The same thing happens with GACs sometimes. The way the CM chooses to give accomodation may look like an advantage for the person with the GAC, when it's actually to WDW's benefit to handle it that way.
And, in this case (as well as for most shows, even when it's busy) using the Fastpass line did not really get us in more quickly; it just was more convenient for both us and the CMs.

Someone posted recently in a trip report that they used a GAC and were able to use the Fastpass line instead of waiting in 'hour long lines' to see Indiana Jones. The accomodation needed was to be able to sit in front rows of shows because of a vision problem. Because of their needs, there had to be some way to separate that guest's party out from the other guests. The way the CM's did it was to use the Fastpass line so they were in a smaller group and were allowed in before the majority of guests before all the close seats were gone.
They saw using the GAC as an advantage and felt kind of embarrassed using it, but they didn't realize that their initial assessment (that people wait for hours in line for Indiana Jones) was not correct.

The last point I want to make is that a GAC only helps with attractions, and even then maybe not with all attractions. If the park is busy, it's going to be busy all over, not just in lines/attractions. That general 'busyness' in the parks can be even more overwhelming to many people than waiting in lines.
It is a much bigger 'advantage' to know what is busy and when, so that you can go when it's more quiet. With a few exceptions, attractions have slow times when your wait in the regular line is only a few minutes (Soarin' and Toy Story Mania are exceptions because they are popular and fairly new). Going to MK at opening usually means being able to go on most attractions with waits of less than 15 minutes. Going mid day might mean a wait of 45 minutes - 1 hour for some attractions. All parks have situations like this and a good touring plan can minimize or eliminate the need to use a GAC.

Many people like to use www.easywdw.com www.touringplans.com or Tour Guide Mike website
You don't need to follow the touring plan exactly, but just knowing where to go and when to go there can help tremendously. This can be especially important in places and ways a GAC can't help - like just getting around between attractions.
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Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

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Old 12-12-2008, 08:41 PM   #44
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I would like to chime in a bit here. This winter I am working at Indiana Jones while Typhoon Lagoon is being rebuilt.

The theater at Indy has seating for about 1,900 people. There are 24 spaces for wheelchair/ECV seating, 20 at the back of the theater (top row) and 4 in the first row on the extreme (theater) right side. All of these spaces have reserved seating next to them and also in the next-to-top row.

It is not unusual for people who are in wheelchairs or ECVs tell us they can transfer, and they park inside the entrance to the theater on either side and are escorted to handicap seating.

Once the 24 wheelchair/ECV space are taken we cannot accept any more wheelchairs into the show unless the people can transfer.

For people with GACs, we will look at what the GAC has on it and take what action we can. If a person comes in only a few minutes before show time, and we are crowded, even having a GAC may not help if all the seats are taken.

So, as Sue said, everything depends not only on what is stamped on the GAC but also what is actually available at the time a person wants to go to the ride or show.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:05 PM   #45
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Cheshire Figment and SueM in MN, there is no way I can express how much this forum has helped me. Both of you are a wealth of information that the DIS is extremely lucky to have.

The first time I went to WDW was Feb. 2006 with my DBF Bill (he has Cerebral Palsy and is in a motorized wheelchair), and my son. This was before I found the DIS, it was a wonderful vacation, but overwhelming, and I wasn't sure what he could or could not do. He had been before and knew a lot of things, but I felt clueless.

I found the DIS in July of 2006 and it opened up a new world to me. I still read on the disabilities board every day.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and helping us.
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