Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > disABILITIES!
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-24-2011, 02:38 AM   #1
MissTea
Earning My Ears
 
MissTea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 19

Disney World Park Accommodations for Multiple Disabilities

Hello, first time poster here. While looking up accommodations for Disney World I saw that this was the place to go to look for advice. I have been looking over the boards for a couple week and have learned some, but not many things are applicable to me. I was hoping someone could help me out. Sorry if this turns into a novel. I'll bold important parts.

My birthday gift this year was a trip to Disney while a band I really like is playing in Disney World (What could be better? Birthday, one of my favorite bands, DISNEY WORLD? I'll stop the giddy ramble here.

EDITED: GOT MY GAC, DON'T WHAT THAT MUCH PEROSNAL INFORMATION AROUND.

Short verson: I have severe anxity disorders triggered mostly around crowds and germs, arthritis, plantar facitis (walkers wont help) muscular issues and twitches, and low vision making an ECV not the best idea and no one to push me in a wheelchair.
(I'm editing this from my phone, excuse the typos, they will be fixed on the computer)


What can I do? Where do I inquire about accommodations? What do I need to "prove" my disability? What can they do to help me? What accommodations do you think I may be qualified for?

I am very scared about this whole process because frankly, I know people have taken advantage of disability accommodations and I don't look disabled. I am young, thin (thanks to some of my disorders) and just look normal and healthy. I have always been an "I'm not disabled! I won't take advantage of that." kind of person so I have always tried to come off as "normal" and after an awful year of illness I have learned that I can't do that anymore. So I think I will need some kind of proof because I'll probably look like I'm trying to rip them off. I mean even when I read it back I'm like "Would anyone believe someone my age is that messed up?"

What do they do with people with these disabilities in Disney

I have a note from a Psychologist about some (but not all) of my mental disabilities and hope to get one about my physical and visual ones from my doctor, but that appointment is 2 days before I leave. Will this be useful? Any ideas of wording or suggestions I should talk to my doctor about?

Sorry for the novel and the crazy amount of questions. I don't want this trip to be miserable again and like I said I am new to this "asking for help" thing.

Anything information or tips are helpful.

Last edited by MissTea; 10-29-2011 at 03:57 AM.
MissTea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 07:17 AM   #2
peemagg
We are doing the AKL tri-fecta
You will find us wrapped up in them at night and on the weekends
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,965

First of all welcome to the boards!!!

There are 2 things that would help you the most and make your trip more enjoyable. One thing would be to get a Guest Assistance Card for your vision and mental issues. The other thing would be a wheelchair or ECV to help with the physical problems.

Have you read the sticky at the top of this forum about DisAbilities? If not there is a lot of useful information in there. Another thing you might want to get is the book "PassPorter's Open Mouse". It is a great reference book on all things Disney for people with different issues.

You won't need a note from your doctor. The CM's are not allowed to read it. When you go to Guest Services, you need to explain like you did here about you conditions, not the diagnosis's. The CM will then give you a card with the stamps that they think will be most helpful to you. If you find that those stamps are not helping though after a while, go back and explain what is and isn't working for you. They will reissue you another card.

Don't worry about others. Just go have fun on your birthday! I have been several times to Disney and have had nothing but helpful people around me. Never have I found someone who was being mean and nasty. Just go have fun!
peemagg is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 10-24-2011, 10:24 AM   #3
Nanajo1
DIS Veteran
 
Nanajo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Rutland MA,OKW, BWV
Posts: 2,837

Welcome and Congratulations on your birthday. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice here. I think you did a very good job explaining your issues. As peemagg said a GAC would help you with waiting in line and getting appropriate seating for your vision problems.. Fast Pass will help as well. The stickys at the top will answer many of your questions and concerns but continue to ask them.
Good luck and have a great trip.
__________________
Nanajo DVC 8/98 2 2 =
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Offsite 5/78,CR 11/85,BWV 3/99,OKW 11/99, BWV 3/01,OKW 11/01, BWV 3/02, BWV 1/03, OKW 11/03, BWV 2/04, BWV 11/04, BWV 2/05, OKW 11/05, BWV 2/06, AKL 11/06, BWV 11/06, BWV 02/07,OKW 11/07, BWV 02/08, BWV 11/08, BWV 02/09, BWV 11/09,VWL 01/10,OKW 02/10,BWV 11/10, AKV 11/10,BLT 03/11,OKW 03/11,BWV 11/11,AKL 02/12,BWV 03/12, BWV 11/12,OKW 02/13,AKL 03/13, BWV 11/13,OKW 11/13, OKW 02/14,AKLK 03/14, OKW 10/14,BWV 10/14
[url=http://distickers.com/ticker/][img]http://distickers.com/ticker/tickers/1l5laeked1k6rb
Nanajo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 10:57 AM   #4
MissTea
Earning My Ears
 
MissTea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanajo1 View Post
Welcome and Congratulations on your birthday. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice here. I think you did a very good job explaining your issues. As peemagg said a GAC would help you with waiting in line and getting appropriate seating for your vision problems.. Fast Pass will help as well. The stickys at the top will answer many of your questions and concerns but continue to ask them.
Good luck and have a great trip.
Thank you for your welcomes and birthday wishes!
I tried reading that thread and had a very hard time understanding it what to do. Seeing that I doubt I will be in a Wheelchair/ECV and I'm not a parent of a child or a child myself I was just really confused as to what to do and what these cards are ect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peemagg View Post
First of all welcome to the boards!!!

There are 2 things that would help you the most and make your trip more enjoyable. One thing would be to get a Guest Assistance Card for your vision and mental issues. The other thing would be a wheelchair or ECV to help with the physical problems.

Have you read the sticky at the top of this forum about DisAbilities? If not there is a lot of useful information in there. Another thing you might want to get is the book "PassPorter's Open Mouse". It is a great reference book on all things Disney for people with different issues.

You won't need a note from your doctor. The CM's are not allowed to read it. When you go to Guest Services, you need to explain like you did here about you conditions, not the diagnosis's. The CM will then give you a card with the stamps that they think will be most helpful to you. If you find that those stamps are not helping though after a while, go back and explain what is and isn't working for you. They will reissue you another card.

Don't worry about others. Just go have fun on your birthday! I have been several times to Disney and have had nothing but helpful people around me. Never have I found someone who was being mean and nasty. Just go have fun!
Thank you!
As I said above, that sticky really confused me and I couldn't find much that was applicable to me. I really just would like some plain old straight situational answers.

Ok, so that conflicts with what I have heard. I met a lady who had a mentally disabled child (legally, she was about 16/17) and she was physically disabled herself. She said that it's getting really hard to get the Guest Assistance Card for her daughters needs because so many people abused it. This lady said that a simple note would help (not documentation, just something like "my patient has issues with standing in line - signature") because I guess they are turning people away for the pass if they don't believe it. I've heard this from 3 people from where I live and I don't know if I should believe them. So if this is the case, do I just go in and explain my situation and hope they believe it? If the person helping me doesn't do I call for someone, or just accept that they won't help?

I'm sure this is going to sound really dumb. But where is guest services? The only one I have been to is right outside the Magic Kingdom. Are there others or is this the one? I'm going to try and re-read that sticky.

Big question here. Do I need to get a new GAC every day?
...that will be a pain. I really need some step by step help (like I said, shaky situations freak me out)

Maybe I'll try the ECV one day, I know I don't have anyone to push me in a chair. It seems most people have had good experiences with Disney and their ECV, all mine have been dreadful. One day that was really hard on me my mom let me borrow hers (The day before I was in so much pain I curled up on a wall for an hour) and I got some pretty nasty comments from other gusts and one CM. After about 3 hours I was like "I'll suffer! This is rubbish!" and left the park. I guess because I look healthy and don't have a cast on or someone to push me in a chair, people assume I'm a kid going for a fun ride. I received comments like "Imagine if you actually needed that!" I am young, but I look even younger so I think that's why.

I'd like to ignore it. Words hurt.
MissTea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
peemagg
We are doing the AKL tri-fecta
You will find us wrapped up in them at night and on the weekends
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,965

You don't need to get a Guest Assistance Card everyday. It will be issued for length of stay. You can find guest services at any of the parks.

As far as people having a hard time getting a GAC, I have not heard that. They by law can not ask for proof of a disability.

As far as others, just tell them to mind their own business. If you encounter another CM giving you a hard time about your disabilities or making comments, ask for their supervisor right then and there and report them. It is none of their business either as to why a person needs those accommodations or a ECV. It is just their job to try and make those accommodations.
peemagg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
crashbb
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,479

Keep in mind that the GAC is NOT supposed to be used to skip lines or shorten your wait time (except for a few special MAW situations). In fact, the GAC will say on it "NOT DESIGNED TO SHORTEN WAIT TIME" (or something to that effect).

If you don't have the ability to "stand lines whatsoever", the GAC will not be able to cover that - it may provide you with an alternative place to wait and/or an alternative line in which to wait (depends on the ride, time of day, who else is there, etc.)., but it will still mean waiting in some bit of a line.

Many people find that touring plans are most helpful for limiting the length of time in line - by putting you in the least crowded area of the park.

Also, as others have said, the standard accomodation for not being able stand for long periods of time is to get an ECV or wheelchair. Having one, does not mean that you have stay in it all day, but it will give you some place to rest when you need it.
crashbb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 01:07 PM   #7
Mrsjvb
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pasadena MD
Posts: 2,242

Standard Disney response for mobility and stamina issues is to rent a WC or ECV.

there is NOTHING available that will allow you to skip lines or avoid them altogether. Judicious use of fast pass can certainly mitigate long waits in line as well as a good touring plan that can steer you to rides or attractions with shorter wait times. a GAC MIGHT be able to give you an alternate location to wait while the rest of your party goes through the main line but this will not work universally as there are times where there is no alternate site

and that does not even factor in waiting in line at CS restaurants, or being in large crowds in general

a doctor's note is useless as they will not be read or used to issue any GAC.
Mrsjvb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 01:26 PM   #8
clanmcculloch
DIS Veteran
 
clanmcculloch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 5,569

I think a mobility device will help you in a few different ways. It'll help you not only with your pain issues but also it creates a bit of a barrier between you and other people. If you get an ECV with a canopy then it's an even greater barrier between you and other people, though be sure that your twitch isn't something that would make an ECV dangerous to yourself or others before deciding.

I think you need to come to a point of acceptance that you won't be able to do everything. There just aren't accomodations that can help with every single attraction. We get absolutely no accomodations at the majority of shows so either we have to go at really inconvenient times or pay for meal packages that gets us priority seating when available or else we just skip the shows. It just is what it is. Because of your vision issues coupled with mobility issues, you'll be needing one of a very limited set of seats at shows (assuming there is a seat that can accomodate both needs at the same time). If others have already arrived needing one of those limited seats then you just can't be accomodated as the seats have been filled. This means you can't just show up last minute; you need to arrive early enough to get one of these limited seats. If you can't wait in the theatre in your seat while others file in around you then unfortunately there really isn't anything that Disney can do to accomodate this. There are limits to what they can realistically do.

This is where a good touring plan service/site can be helpful. The service/site can help you figure out what attractions and shows are a priority to you (these will be different for everybody) and will help you to build a touring plan that can fit in all of your most important things and when is the best time to get to them and in what order you really want to go to them in order to avoid crowds and waits. You are somebody who would really benefit from this kind of thing. I'm a huge fan of easywdw.

I'm not saying that a GAC won't help and that you won't be accomodated. You just need to really do your homework and know just what kinds of accomodations are realistic and what you can handle and what you can do to help yourself with tools such as a mobility device and touring plans. I can see a GAC being helpful for things like if you're trying to walk through some queues (I'd advise against this but if you choose to) then you can bypass stairs or you may be able to do some of your waiting in a quieter area but you will have to wait. You can definitely lessen your wait by using a good touring plan though.
__________________
Me DH DD(16) DD(14) DSD(32) DSSil (41) DGD (newborn) DSD(30) DGS(4)




Multi-Allergy & Autism Dining Reviews: February 2014 * DL & LA July 2013 * February 2013 * August 2012 * February 2012 * August 2011 * August 2010


February 2014 AKL: me, DH, DD15, DD13 * July 2013 DL offsite (Tropicana): me, DH, DD15, DD12, DSD30, DSSil * February 2013 WDW Poly: me, DH, DD14, DD12
August 2012 WDW FW Cabin & AoA Nemo: me, DH, DD14, DD12, DD12's BFF11 * February 2012 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD14, DD11 * August 2011 WDW YC: me, DH, DD13, DD11
February 2011 WDW Poly CL: me, DH, DD13, DD10, DSD28, DSSil * August 2010 WDW POFQ & Poly CL: me, DH, DD12, DD10 * June 2010 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD12, DD9
December 2009 WDW POFQ: me, DH, DD11, DD9 * February 2009 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD11, DD8 * August 2008 WDW SSR: me, DH, DSD25, DSD24, DD10, DD8
September 2007 WDW Pop: me, DH, DD9, DD7 * April 2002 DLR offsite: me, DH, DSD19, DSD17, DD4, DD1.5 * June 2000 DLR offsite: me(pregnant), DH, DSD17, DSD15, DD2
January 1994 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD11, DSD9 * January 1992 WDW offsite: me, DH, DSD9, DSD7
clanmcculloch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 06:27 PM   #9
LockShockBarrel
Pudge controls the weather.
 
LockShockBarrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Buffalo NY
Posts: 3,089

I agree that you're going to have to do a lot of research and figure out what realistic expectations are. There are some things that you list as issues that are simply unavoidable at Disney. There are lines for things other than rides and shows. Waiting for transportation, bag check, turnstiles, food lines. There are no way around them, and they all can be very crowded. There are always going to be people around you. You can't completely avoid crowds and lines. A GAC will not help you with any of that.

With the pain you say you're in, how do you expect to get around any other way than an ECV or wheelchair? If you can't stand, you'll need one of these no matter what. The rides are not always smooth moving, and you will get bumped and jerked around to varying degrees on a lot of them. Again, there's no way around that. You can avoid some of the rougher rides but depending on the severity of your issues (and if I'm reading correctly, they're pretty severe) you may find this jolting to be too much.

As far as shows go, usually CMs are pretty accomedating with helping you get a seat towards the front so that you can see. I wouldn't be worried about the shows if I were you, I'd be more concerned about dark buildings and lines, because there's quite a few of them.


This next comment is probably going to come across as mean but I'm going to say it because it's the truth. You can't travel through Disney in a magic bubble, and Disney (no matter how magical people believe it to be) can only provide you with so much. I'm not trying to scare you off, and I promise I'm not trying to be mean. You have to go into it with realistic expectations otherwise you're going to be cranky and angry and disappointed when you get there. You have to accept that its going to be a lot of work to deal with everything.
__________________
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...but without water and sugar your lemonade is gonna suck.Shut up Brain or I'll poke you with a Qtip!Legally, it's questionable. Morally, disgusting. Personally, I like it!The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Stab in and thrust upward.

Trip Report Jan 2011: Viva Verde! http://http://www.disboards.com/show...0#post39571060
TRIP REPORT SEPT 2012How do I Flush This? Squared!http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2993886

Feb 2007 Pop Century, Oct 2008 Pop Century, Jan 2011 Old Key West, Sept 12 Pop Century
LockShockBarrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 PM   #10
Piper
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 2,892

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissTea View Post

Ok, so that conflicts with what I have heard. I met a lady who had a mentally disabled child (legally, she was about 16/17) and she was physically disabled herself. She said that it's getting really hard to get the Guest Assistance Card for her daughters needs because so many people abused it. This lady said that a simple note would help (not documentation, just something like "my patient has issues with standing in line - signature") because I guess they are turning people away for the pass if they don't believe it. I've heard this from 3 people from where I live and I don't know if I should believe them. So if this is the case, do I just go in and explain my situation and hope they believe it? If the person helping me doesn't do I call for someone, or just accept that they won't help?



.
I have never known of anyone being turned away from Guest Services because they weren't believed. I can't remember a single person reporting that on this board.


The person who told you that a note from your doctor would help was wrong. You need to be able to tell the Guest Services what your issues are---not your diagnoses. The people who answered you above were correct. There is NO front of the line pass, no way to skip lines, no place to sit down in line....and often you will wait longer with a GAC than without one. When I went with my extended family, I brought my own ECV. One or two people would go with me and the rest were together. Often the other group finished a ride way before I did (although I was always in the front of our group.) A couple of times the teenagers rode twice in the same time it took me to ride once!

Going in an uncrowded time, using a good touring plan, utilizing fast pass and using either a WC or ECV for mobility is probably your best way to go.
Piper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 06:48 PM   #11
bouncycat
DIS Veteran
 
bouncycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: San Diego CA
Posts: 3,066

A bunch of good points on here. I have a GAC, and it doesn't get rid of the people....trust me on that one!! There's ALWAYS people around you, you can't avoid that at all. Go during a slower time of the year, except, I'm not sure when that is anymore LOL And eat at places avoiding the peak times, like lunch at 11, dinner at 5, and that'll cut down on the people in those places. The GAC will NOT help with the food lines, the turnstile lines, none of that. It does help with getting to an alternate waiting area on some rides, usually you sit in the back for shows, but if you require up front viewing, the CM's will probably accomodate you. As for the pain, I take hydrocodone while at the parks, it doesn't make me loopy or anything, and I'm young, with a relatively invisible issue of Muscular Dystrophy. I can walk, if we're there for only a couple of hours, if we're there longer, I have a manual chair. I get looks, but don't really care. I have yet to encounter a person who says something. Any aids I use, I do make my own, like my leg braces are painted, my wheelchair has pads that I made with Disney fabric, and my cane is a water type blue pattern. Stuff like that helps me, cause people don't look down at my legs, and frown, they wonder about them. I get LOTS of complements on them as well. They're bright orange, with black stripes, and personally signed by Tigger. So, go, have fun, there are rides to avoid with pain, Dinosaur in AK, Stitch in MK, sometimes Space Mtn can hurt me, and thunder also, it depends on how I feel that day, when I've taken my meds, and if I'm walking or not. The GAC has been a God send, and has helped me quite a bit. I even go more often, because it does help that much. Enjoy, and if you have any questions, you can PM me!! I'll be glad to tell you my stories, I'm at the parks 2-3 times a week!
__________________
Christie Proud Coast Guard Chief's Wife!!
Who said turning 40 has to be a bad thing?? http://www.disboards.com/showthread....9#post47171449

bouncycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2011, 09:16 PM   #12
Escape2Disney
Friendly Neighborhood Disney Fanatic!
 
Escape2Disney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,516

One thing you can do in advance to help with your crowd issues is to make reservations for sit-down meals. Here's what I did at DLR to help with my daughter's fear of crowds:

- I made advanced reservations for 2 sit-down meals a day.
- When I made those reservations, I told the CM on the phone that my daughter had a fear of crowded spaces. She was able to note that on the reservations so that, if possible, we'd be seated in a less-populated part of the restaurant.
- When I arrived at the restaurant, I confirmed with the CM the request to be in less populated areas of the restaurant. If that wasn't possible, she had us FACING empty space (ex. in the corner).

I started doing that 10 years ago, and the notes still seem to be associated with our name/phone number. I'm asked each time if I still need that accomodation.

I haven't been to WDW yet (going next year), so someone will have to chime in as to whether or not this works in the florida parks.
__________________
Escape2Disney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2011, 02:12 AM   #13
MissTea
Earning My Ears
 
MissTea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 19

Thank you all for your replies!


Quote:
Originally Posted by peemagg View Post
You don't need to get a Guest Assistance Card everyday. It will be issued for length of stay. You can find guest services at any of the parks.

As far as people having a hard time getting a GAC, I have not heard that. They by law can not ask for proof of a disability.

As far as others, just tell them to mind their own business. If you encounter another CM giving you a hard time about your disabilities or making comments, ask for their supervisor right then and there and report them. It is none of their business either as to why a person needs those accommodations or a ECV. It is just their job to try and make those accommodations.
Ok, that's good to know. Thank you. I could not deal with having to ask every day! So, can I go work on getting a GAC right when I get to Florida or do I have to wait until my first day in the park?

Oh trust me, I told someone when the CM gave me some not so nice comments. He looked young, possibly just some jerk kid tired at the end of a shift. I'll gauge my pain when I get there I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crashbb View Post
Keep in mind that the GAC is NOT supposed to be used to skip lines or shorten your wait time (except for a few special MAW situations). In fact, the GAC will say on it "NOT DESIGNED TO SHORTEN WAIT TIME" (or something to that effect).

If you don't have the ability to "stand lines whatsoever", the GAC will not be able to cover that - it may provide you with an alternative place to wait and/or an alternative line in which to wait (depends on the ride, time of day, who else is there, etc.)., but it will still mean waiting in some bit of a line.

Many people find that touring plans are most helpful for limiting the length of time in line - by putting you in the least crowded area of the park.

Also, as others have said, the standard accomodation for not being able stand for long periods of time is to get an ECV or wheelchair. Having one, does not mean that you have stay in it all day, but it will give you some place to rest when you need it.
Alternative is OK with me. I know that I have seen many people say it took longer but the area made it easier on them. Skipping lines wasn't really my "goal" because part of me would feel guilty. I just know that some rides I'm like "I just can't stand here, I'll wait the time...just not here!"

True. I planned on just doing what I do in my day-to-day life, walking and then sitting on a bench and "soaking up the magic" so to speak, while I rest a bit. Resting doesn't really help, but I'll do it. I'm still stubborn about my pains, I fight it as much as I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LockShockBarrel View Post
I agree that you're going to have to do a lot of research and figure out what realistic expectations are. There are some things that you list as issues that are simply unavoidable at Disney. There are lines for things other than rides and shows. Waiting for transportation, bag check, turnstiles, food lines. There are no way around them, and they all can be very crowded. There are always going to be people around you. You can't completely avoid crowds and lines. A GAC will not help you with any of that.

With the pain you say you're in, how do you expect to get around any other way than an ECV or wheelchair? If you can't stand, you'll need one of these no matter what. The rides are not always smooth moving, and you will get bumped and jerked around to varying degrees on a lot of them. Again, there's no way around that. You can avoid some of the rougher rides but depending on the severity of your issues (and if I'm reading correctly, they're pretty severe) you may find this jolting to be too much.

As far as shows go, usually CMs are pretty accomedating with helping you get a seat towards the front so that you can see. I wouldn't be worried about the shows if I were you, I'd be more concerned about dark buildings and lines, because there's quite a few of them.


This next comment is probably going to come across as mean but I'm going to say it because it's the truth. You can't travel through Disney in a magic bubble, and Disney (no matter how magical people believe it to be) can only provide you with so much. I'm not trying to scare you off, and I promise I'm not trying to be mean. You have to go into it with realistic expectations otherwise you're going to be cranky and angry and disappointed when you get there. You have to accept that its going to be a lot of work to deal with everything.
Oh I understand that. I go into the parks later in the day anyway and normally the wait isn't too bad and I can deal with that. For the food, one I'm not a big eater other than meals do to stomach issues (yeah, MORE issues) and I have friends/family who are more than understanding and will probably just sit me down at a table and bring me my snack & soda. I can handle tables, as long as they aren't smooshed together, and I haven't had that issue in Disney. I have reservations and/or plans for Dinner.

Well, I know it's going to be hard and painful. I can stand/walk, but it's a challenge. Like I stated above, I'll just take lots of breaks. I planned this trip/hotel so I could leave the park and rest in my room in the late afternoon (when my pain peaks no matter what I have done) maybe get lunch at the hotel and have it be relaxed. When I get there I might regret my decision of no EVC and end up ordering one.
I'm not much of a ride person. Although movement in "vehicles" has never really upset me too much. I know I can't do the "bad" rollercosters. That's fine with me, I hate drops!

Well as long as the shows are ok. Last time when in a dark building in line I just kind of watched the shoes person infront of me haha. It worked out. If my friends pull through, I won't be alone for most of the trip so I should be ok walking in the dark if they get infront of me.


Oh don't worry, that didn't sound mean at all. This is the internet, you don't know my personality and I might sound like I need a "reality check" ... I know I won't have every little detail perfect, I'll just try to get the best I can. Before my disability went into "overdrive" I was pretty hardcore!
These days with my pain some days I may be able to go for hours walking and some I may struggle getting to the gate.
My mental stuff is kind of spotty. Slow moving lines INSIDE freak me out, slow moving lines outside are somewhat ok (for anxiety), drink lids freak me out, public transit is no problem. It's OCD it makes no sense and is really hard to describe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piper View Post
I have never known of anyone being turned away from Guest Services because they weren't believed. I can't remember a single person reporting that on this board.


The person who told you that a note from your doctor would help was wrong. You need to be able to tell the Guest Services what your issues are---not your diagnoses. The people who answered you above were correct. There is NO front of the line pass, no way to skip lines, no place to sit down in line....and often you will wait longer with a GAC than without one. When I went with my extended family, I brought my own ECV. One or two people would go with me and the rest were together. Often the other group finished a ride way before I did (although I was always in the front of our group.) A couple of times the teenagers rode twice in the same time it took me to ride once!

Going in an uncrowded time, using a good touring plan, utilizing fast pass and using either a WC or ECV for mobility is probably your best way to go.
Well that's a load off my mind. I bet that lady was just crazy and trying to scare people off. I didn't know her personally, she had a few Disney pins and my mom made a comment asking her if she was a Disney World fan, then she went on this rant about her daughter. The other 2 people I heard this from where also not friends and possibly faking.

Alright, I'll probably write up a "script" on the plane then to make sure I don't forget anything.

I don't know what kind of pass my friend had, but her Cousin is autistic and the whole family literally passed all the lines. So to say they don't exist isn't really true from what I have personally seen. I just don't think I'm eligible.

I have read that on here, I guess if the wait time is somewhat reasonable or I have a fastpass and the line moves I don't have to show them my GAC? Normally I go on rides when some show that I have seen is going on and the lines are really short.

Well, I guess the fact that my mother who is a person who always told me to fight, fight, fight and not use a wheelchair tells me I need one...maybe I really do. That seems to be the general opinion on here as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bouncycat View Post
A bunch of good points on here. I have a GAC, and it doesn't get rid of the people....trust me on that one!! There's ALWAYS people around you, you can't avoid that at all. Go during a slower time of the year, except, I'm not sure when that is anymore LOL And eat at places avoiding the peak times, like lunch at 11, dinner at 5, and that'll cut down on the people in those places. The GAC will NOT help with the food lines, the turnstile lines, none of that. It does help with getting to an alternate waiting area on some rides, usually you sit in the back for shows, but if you require up front viewing, the CM's will probably accomodate you. As for the pain, I take hydrocodone while at the parks, it doesn't make me loopy or anything, and I'm young, with a relatively invisible issue of Muscular Dystrophy. I can walk, if we're there for only a couple of hours, if we're there longer, I have a manual chair. I get looks, but don't really care. I have yet to encounter a person who says something. Any aids I use, I do make my own, like my leg braces are painted, my wheelchair has pads that I made with Disney fabric, and my cane is a water type blue pattern. Stuff like that helps me, cause people don't look down at my legs, and frown, they wonder about them. I get LOTS of complements on them as well. They're bright orange, with black stripes, and personally signed by Tigger. So, go, have fun, there are rides to avoid with pain, Dinosaur in AK, Stitch in MK, sometimes Space Mtn can hurt me, and thunder also, it depends on how I feel that day, when I've taken my meds, and if I'm walking or not. The GAC has been a God send, and has helped me quite a bit. I even go more often, because it does help that much. Enjoy, and if you have any questions, you can PM me!! I'll be glad to tell you my stories, I'm at the parks 2-3 times a week!
Thanks for the tips.

I'm not going to be unrealistic about this, I know I can't have the park to myself haha. It's a park. Some situations are more stressful. I know I will be skipping most of the parades because those stress me out (and people like to stand on the back/floor of your EVC as well. Jerks. I'm not a step stool!) I have reservations for dinner and plan lunch outside the parks.

I hope they help with the vision. I can walk enough to get up close for sure. I'd rather groan for a minute and have an hour of sitting entertainment that I can enjoy than have no vision! Plus, I have never done any of those rides. I'm more of a "gawker" in Disney. I don't like many rides, I'm a big fan of shows.

Aw that sounds so cute! That's an idea! Tigger is awesome!

Unfortunately, I don't have any meds powerful enough right now. I have been on a trial and error, mostly error. I'm really sensitive to medication.
What I have right now really doesn't feel like much more than a double dose of Tylenol. I see my doctor tomorrow, I'll see what she has to say. My trip is way to close to try something really strong now.

Thanks! I'm going to send you a message now.
I'm sorry about your pains by the way I know someone with that...wow. Glad you can enjoy Disney!
MissTea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2011, 09:53 AM   #14
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

 
SueM in MN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 30,659
DISboards Moderator

If you found the FAQs thread on this board confusing and overwhelming, you may not want to buy the Passporter Open Mouse Book that was suggested in a previous post. It is a very long book and can be quite overwhelming.

As for your questions about Guest Assistance Cards, I think you may not have made it as far in the disABILITIES FAQs thread as post 6, which is about GACs. Most of your questions would be answered there. If you did look there and have suggestions on how to make it less confusing to you, please say something. I do edit the items in the FAQs thread as I get suggestions.
I am copying some of the specific items from that thread that answer your questions. I also bolded some of the information:

Can I write ahead of time and get a GAC? Where do I request one?
No, you can't write or call ahead to get one.
To request one, go to Guest Relations at a Theme Park and talk to the CM there about your problems and needs.
If you are requesting the GAC for someone else (like your child, for example), that person does need to be with you when a GAC is requested, even if they can't talk. The GAC is actually issued in the name of the person with a disability. That person does need to be present when the GAC is requested and when it is used.
Most people go to Guest Relations in the parks to request a GAC, but you can also go to the Guest Relations area located at the park, but outside of the gates.
GACs are not available at Downtown Disney or at your resort; you need to be at a place with park Guest Relations CMs (the people at Downtown Disney and the resorts are not park Guest Relations CMs).

Where can I find Guest Relations?
Each park has a Guest Relations location inside and outside of the park that will be open during park hours. You do need to go thru the security bag checkpoint to get to the outside of the park Guest Relations, but you don't need to go thru the turnstiles to actually enter the park. Even though they may not sound easy to find, once you are actually in the park area, they are pretty obvious if you are looking for them. They are in the 'wall' of the buildings that make up the outside wall of the park.

At MK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the right when you face the front of the park after you go thru the bag check point. The inside of the park Guest Relations is on the left in City Hall after you pass under the train station.

At Epcot, look for the exit from the monorail. It's pretty much straight across from that on the right side of the park entrance. The bag check is closer to the left side of the park entrance, so after you go thru the bag check, go right past the ticket booths and you will find it. The inside the park Guest Relations is to the left, after you pass Spaceship Earth.

At DHS and AK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the left as you face the park entrance. This is after going thru the bag check, but before going thru the turnstiles.
At both parks, the inside the park Guest Relations is also to the left, soon after you pass thru the
turnstiles.

Do certain diagnoses qualify for a GAC?
No.
Having any specific diagnosis doesn't qualify or not qualify someone for a GAC; there is no list of "appropriate" diagnoses for a GAC. Also, the CMs do not have medical training, so a specific diagnosis does not really mean much to them.
The GAC is based on needs that the person has related to a disability, not what their diagnosis is.

The diagnosis is not really that important because people with the same diagnosis can have very different needs.
The GAC is given based on needs and the accommodations that meet those needs. This is not a Disney rule, this is the way that the ADA is written. According to the ADA, accommodations are not given based on the diagnosis or specific disability; they are given based on needs that are related to a disability.

Do I need a letter from the doctor?
No.
You don't need a doctor's letter and the CM is likely to not want to look at it because the letters are often not very helpful to the CM. Some people DO feel more confident asking for a GAC if they have a letter, but a letter is not required. According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) you can not be required to provide proof of a disability.
You can choose to show proof, but can't be required. If you do have a letter, it should reflect your needs/problems related to your disability, not your diagnosis.
(For example, a letter that says "My patient has xxxxxx and can't wait in lines. Please extend every possible consideration." is not helpful.)
A doctor’s prescription has no legal ‘standing’ and will not be honored, since WDW is not a medical facility.


How do I figure out what the needs are?
Think about what sorts of things happen in a day at the park and how they would affect the person with a disability.
  • [*]Does the person need a quieter place to wait or a place away from other people as much as possible? A GAC might be helpful with that, although not all attractions have those things. The ‘quieter places’ are often a roped or chained off area to the side of the regular waiting area, often not a separate are. There are usually no seats in the areas, but they are wheelchair accessible.
  • Some children might need to bring a stroller in line; either because they can't or won't walk in line or to give a 'safe haven' where they would not be so close to other people. A GAC could allow the stroller to be brought into lines and be treated just like a wheelchair.
  • Does the person need a place to lie down once in a while to rest or just an air conditioned place? First Aid in any park has cots for lying down; no need for a GAC to do that.
  • Is the person on medication or have a condition that may cause overheating or problems with being in the sun or heat? If so, a GAC might help with that (although most lines are shaded and many lines are indoors, so a GAC would not do a lot). A GAC may say that the person can wait out of the sun when the “queue is in the sun for a prolonged period of time.” Since most queues are shaded, this need is usually met without a GAC.
  • Does the person with an invisible disability need extra time getting into/out of ride vehicles for those rides with moving walkways? Do they need to avoid stair. If so, a GAC might help someone who can walk by allowing boarding at the wheelchair boarding spot for those attractions. (NOTE: Wheelchair/ECV users board at the exit for those moving walkway rides without needing a GAC, but they usually wait in the regular line with everyone else until close to the regular boarding area).

I have problems with standing in line or with walking. Why did WDW suggest a wheelchair of ECV (motorized scooter)?
Disney calls these "Stamina or Endurance Concerns" and the official response is to suggest a wheelchair or ECV.
If the person has problems with standing in line or with walking, a wheelchair/ECV would be a better solution than a GAC. A trip to WDW includes a lot more walking than just what you do in line. Even with a GAC, there may be no place to sit while in line and the distance walked is not usually less with a GAC than without one.
Most of the lines where you will actually standing still for long periods are the lines for shows and movies. Because those 'load' large numbers of people at a time, people have to stand waiting for the next show to 'load'. Having a Fastpass or a GAC won't change that - if each show is 14 minutes, you are going to be somewhere for 14 minutes. In many shows, much of the time in that place will be a preshow area.

Do I need to get one for each park?
You can request a GAC at any of the theme parks. You DO NOT need a GAC for each park and the GAC is usually issued to be valid for your whole vacation.
The GAC issued at one park is valid at all parks, but the theme park GACs are not used at the water parks.


If i have a GAC does that mean I go to the front of all the lines?
No.
The only people who go to the front of lines are children with serious, life-threatening conditions who are on WISH trips.
The GAC is not meant to be a pass that gives immediate access.
In fact, in around 2000, they renamed it to Card because when it was called a Pass, people thought it mean front of the line access. It says right on the card that it will not provide immediate access (won't shorten or eliminate waits in line).


Are there different levels of GACs?
There are not different levels of GACs, just different stamps that Guest Services can add to the GAC to tell the CMs at attractions what assistance the guest needs.
Because what is stamped on the GAC is based on needs, not all GACs say the same thing.

Here are examples of some of the things that might be stamped on the GAC:
  • a less crowded place to wait - although not all attractions have a less crowded or quieter place to wait. You still may be waiting with a quite a few people with special needs. At Nemo at Epcot in the Living Seas, there is a waiting room where guests with special needs wait. We have been there when we were the only group in the room, but also when there were over 30 people in the room.
  • a place out of the sun (for those times when the line is in the sun for a prolonged period of time). At WDW, this was helpful when the parks were new because there was not much shade. Since then, the trees have grown and many lines that were in full sun now have roofs over the entire line.
  • using a stroller as a wheelchair - covered in more detail above.
  • avoiding stairs - there are a few attractions with stairs in the line. See post 11 of this thread for a list of attractions at WDW which have stairs.
  • You don't need to remember or ask for these specific stamps. Just be ready to explain your needs/problems. The CM will determine what stamp(s) would best fit those needs.

What happens when I use the GAC? How do I use it?

if the line is short or you don't think you need assistance at that attraction, you don't need to use the GAC. Just get into the line.
Many people handle the GAC like an insurance card, not necessarily needed or used all the time, but there for when it's necessary.
To use the GAC, show the GAC card to the first CM you see at the attraction. That CM will direct you.

Is it treated exactly the same each time and/or at each attraction?

No. Even on the same attraction, the GAC is not always handled the same each time.
Exactly what happens depends on how busy it is, how many other people with special needs are there at the time and staffing.

Some times you may be sent thru the regular standby line, ocassionally another access; Occasionally the person with the GAC and a member of their party will be given an alternate place to wait while the rest of the party goes thru the standby line - and then meet up with them when they get to the front. Sometimes you might be given a slip and told you can come back at the time written on the slip (usually equal to the standby time); very ocassionally, you might be taken right in. It depends on what they call "attraction considerations" (which is basically the things I listed in the second sentence).

What happens will also depend on the stamps on your GAC. For example, if the GAC is for a place to out of the sun, you will be routed to the regular line if the sun is not a problem when you arrive at the attraction.

If you come back later, you may be handled differently. Even on the same attraction on the same day. People sometimes think that means one of the CMs did something 'wrong'. What it usually means is that conditions were not the same both times.

What can I do to avoid or shorten our wait for attractions?
Fastpass is a good way to avoid waits in line. You don't have to be present to get a fastpass, you can send one member of your party ahead with all the park passes to get fastpasses. When you report back to the ride at your fastpass return time, your wait will be 15 minutes or less.
Link to DIS site page about Fastpass and how to use them
Also, even using a GAC or Fastpasses, if you know where NOT to be can be VERY helpful; maybe even more helpful than the GAC. Getting into attractions with accommodations is only part of the solution. If you are at a busy park, it is busy everywhere, which means longer waits for things like eating and using the bathrooms. The more people there are, the more difficult it becomes just to get around and to avoid all the general 'busy-ness' of the parks. That 'busy-ness' can be just as difficult for many people to deal with. Many people have reported good luck with www.easywdw.com, TourGuide Mike, or Ridemax, using their advice to avoid waiting for more than a few minute. Those sites have hints on tour planning to avoid busy areas.
There are also Smartphone apps (like for iPhone or Android phones) that include things like current waiting times for attractions in the park. One good one is put out by a company called Undercover Tourist.
__________________
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
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
SueM in MN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2011, 10:04 AM   #15
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

 
SueM in MN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 30,659
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Oh yes, More. I'm visually impaired (mostly at night) but because my visual issue is somewhat rare (and caused by things like injury, malnutrition, medication reactions ect) and can cause rapid decline in vision, but then depending on what caused it can be fixed. My license doesn't state I have a visual impairment because when I got my license I didn't. I have a rather low prescription because the higher ones made me disoriented and didn't do much for me, my glasses are mostly to prevent glare. I really get no help with my distance vision. This is a problem if I wanted to go see (ex.) fantasmic. Even with my glasses that show would be just one big color blur. Even during the day it's bad, I couldn't watch a stage show from a far distance.
With the vision problems you describe, an ECV would not be a good choice.
To use one safely, you need to be able to see well so that you can avoid situations like people coming suddenly into your path. You need to be prepared to stop or move out of the way suddenly.
Also, in some cases, you will be going thru narrow lines with bars on both sides of you or bars on one side and a wall on the other. You need to be able to see well (not just one big color blur) to avoid running into things.

Many people find that using an ECV adds another level of stress because the driver needs to be watching and continually reacting to what other people are doing.
I would suggest that, given the vision and anxiety issues you described, a wheelchair would be a much better option for you.

I HAVE been in Guest Relations and seen someone turned down for a Guest Assistance Card several times. In one case, it was someone who had a letter that basically said “My patient can’t wait in lines.” In the other case, the person did not have a letter.
In both cases, the person was not able to give the CM in Guest Relations any information about their needs.

Here is a picture of a quieter waiting area for a show. If you are using a wheelchair, you will be automatically waiting in these areas because they are the wheelchair accessible waiting area.
Guests who do not have a wheelchair or ECV would need a GAC to use these areas.

This particular show is Laugh Floor at MK. The ‘regular’ line is on the left of the picture and will be filled with people before the show starts. The ‘less crowded’ waiting area is to the right and is about 3 1/2 feet wide. It will have guests with wheelchairs and those with other special needs. Depending on how many others with special needs are attending the show, the area may be quite full or quite empty. The advantage to waiting there is that you have a wall on one side, so no one can get close there and parties do tend to not get too close to the group in front of them.
The time waited will be the same as if you were in the ‘regular’ line.

Here is another example, at Circle of Life movie at Epcot in The Land.

The ‘regular’ waiting area is toward the left of the picture and the handicapped waiting area is to the right.
__________________
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
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

Last edited by SueM in MN; 10-25-2011 at 10:21 AM.
SueM in MN is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.