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Old 09-30-2012, 12:58 AM   #1
mom2rj
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Going, going.............

I wanted to share some info with all your faithful readers. GACS are indeed going to be phased out. The timeline is fuzzy, but according to 2 castmembers in higher castles than those in Fantasyland, they won't be around forever.
All new attractions and many older ones have been designed or re tooled to allow wheelchairs. Additionally, these lines are, for the most part, in the shade and often cooled. Now the Disney geeks have gone one step further and every new attraction has some type of interactive activities added. If you don't mind the plethora of germs, enjoy these (some very clever) ways to pass the time.
We, the general public, may need to be more aware of our health needs, and alter our touring patterns. I learned this the hard way last month. I can no longer tour in the heat of day in August. We had to switch everything around, skip a few favored attractions, tour in the evenings only, and learn that it wasn't the end of the world! (pun intended) I think it may come to a place where some of us will need to make shorter visits to the parks, or travel during a different time of year. I believe that Disney has been very patient to overcome all of our various ailments and DXs to make the parks accessible. Then there has always been the issue of those who have no disability and have often been the nastiest with CMs. The bottom line is that Disney World may not be for everyone. There, I said it!! I'm not interested in an argument or a bunch of criticism, but I am interested in making the World more accessible to all.
I have met with people who could make changes in the way things are done, and sent many suggestions that WDW remove all wheelchairs from the front of the parks. Give them to 1st Aid. They usually aren't very busy, and I think some fakers would not be willing to take that chance with someone medical. Also, I think by the time some of the folks got to 1st Aid, they will have already been captured by the magic and blow right on by. Anyone want to start a letter writing campaign???
Anyway, lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng post I know, but maybe we can make WDW better by continuing to network together.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:05 AM   #2
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There are still items that will not be addressed without GACs, so I seriously doubt they would do away with them all together. There will most likely be some changes to them, such as requiring I.D. at every attraction and/or going to a system where the scan your GAC at each attraction and you not being able to use it again for the length of the standby line. But from what the executive offices in charge of disability services, they are NOT going to eliminate them. I would think that they would be in the know above all else, as these are the decision makers that I have been talking with.

They are also legally required to provide equal access, eliminating GACs would eliminate equal access for many disabilities. I would not suggest starting a letter writing campaign unless there is an official announcement made. Disney World (as any place with public access) is for everyone under the law and equal does mean equal access, meaning wait times should be the same (not longer or shorter), must be able to get on and off the attraction, etc.

I don't think having first aid rent the wheelchairs would be a good idea as people may not be able to walk that far to rent one. I do think that having first aid give out GACs could be a good move to reduce abuse though.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:09 AM   #3
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GACs were ahead of their time when initiated and are now "dated", but I to expect them to be phased out over time as better technology is brought in. I see virtual waiting lines using RFID, which will eliminate most of the uses of GAC except for limited mobility access, which is being addressed as attractions are being updated. Stroller as a wheelchair tags will likely remain until all CMs have RFID reading devices.

It well be one of those win/win situations where disability needs will advance everyone's enjoyment of the parks (unless you enjoy standing in lines). I can see similar advancements with bus scheduling and loading.

As far as WDW not providing accommodations for the broadest array of disabilities, there will not be a backslide there.

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2rj View Post

I have met with people who could make changes in the way things are done, and sent many suggestions that WDW remove all wheelchairs from the front of the parks. Give them to 1st Aid. They usually aren't very busy, and I think some fakers would not be willing to take that chance with someone medical. Also, I think by the time some of the folks got to 1st Aid, they will have already been captured by the magic and blow right on by. Anyone want to start a letter writing campaign???
There is no law (that I can find anyways) that says only the "disabled" get to use wheelchairs. It's a common misconception for a lot of people, that accessible devices are the exclusive property of the "disabled". If someone wants to use a wheelchair, then they have the right to use one. Or to use crutches, an ECV, a sling, an eyepatch, etc. If there is some 'benefit' given to using these devices at WDW, then WDW is in violation of the ADA. (See section 12182(b)(1)(A)(ii)).
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmeck View Post
There is no law (that I can find anyways) that says only the "disabled" get to use wheelchairs. It's a common misconception for a lot of people, that accessible devices are the exclusive property of the "disabled". If someone wants to use a wheelchair, then they have the right to use one. Or to use crutches, an ECV, a sling, an eyepatch, etc. If there is some 'benefit' given to using these devices at WDW, then WDW is in violation of the ADA. (See section 12182(b)(1)(A)(ii)).
There is no "benefit" from using the devices. However, there are some who do not need the device but get them denying someone who does need it equal access. I worked with someone who's daughter sprained her ankle and decided after that every time they go to WDW they now get a wheelchair so they get wheelchair seating for shows. Their sitting in wheelchair seating takes away the equal access that my 2 daughters that are paraplegics need to access the show.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2rj
I have met with people who could make changes in the way things are done, and sent many suggestions that WDW remove all wheelchairs from the front of the parks. Give them to 1st Aid. They usually aren't very busy, and I think some fakers would not be willing to take that chance with someone medical. Also, I think by the time some of the folks got to 1st Aid, they will have already been captured by the magic and blow right on by. Anyone want to start a letter writing campaign???
Please tell me you're not serious? First aid in most of the parks is somewhere in the middle of the park. Moving wheelchair rental won't deter the few takers at all, but it will punish the many guests who really need mobility assistance devices.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaytieeldr
Please tell me you're not serious? First aid in most of the parks is somewhere in the middle of the park. Moving wheelchair rental won't deter the few takers at all, but it will punish the many guests who really need mobility assistance devices.
First aid is not always in the center of the park. At HS, it is right after the turnstiles on the left.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #8
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I will write more later, but for now.

Read what is in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread.
The information in there is about the principles of accommodation and almost all of it would still be valid if GACs went away tomorrow.

There are elements in the ADA that require:

1) the Mainstream to be as accessible as possible, so that most guests with disabilities (whatever the disability) can be handled in the same way as other guests as much as possible.

2) needs related to a disabilty be accommodated if it is possible to do so. There is no requirement of HOW they would be accommodated and the ADA does not require EVERY possible need be accommodated. They are also not required to provide 'perfect' accommodation or whatever the person asks for.

3) no uneccessary roadblocks or hurdles be put up that people with disabiliites need to mount in order to get accommodation.

4) people with disabilities can be asked what their needs are, but can't be required, in most cases, to provide proof of their disability.

5) people with disabilities can be asked for proof of their disabilty/needs to get addittional greater access to things like access to closer parking spots (handicapped parking).


And to address some things brought up by the OP, at WDW:
Except for a few attractions where guests need to be able to walk to experience, ALL lines are wheelchair accessible to the point of boarding.
Just look in the disABILITIES FAQs thread for a list of where the 'mobility entrance' is. In most cases, it says "Enter through the Standard Queue".
For those older attractions where the line is not accessible (Small World, for example), the wait in the accessible line is often quite a bit longer.

There is no GAC required to enter a line with a wheelchair.

Since the regular line is already accessible, guests with wheelchairs waiting in those lines are at no 'advantage' compared to other guests.
So, forcing everyone to go to First Aid to rent a wheelchair is not reasonable. It would uneccessarily inconvenience guests who need to rent a wheelchair just to other guests feel 'better' because some have an opinion that many people using wheelchairs are 'abusing' them.

Besides, although there may be a perception that First Aid is not busy, they are an emergency access point, so it would not make sense to bog them down with things (like renting out wheelchairs or giving out GACs) that would keep them from doing their actual purpose.

LAST POINTS-
Other than architectural guidance and guidelines for the size of access areas for ride cars, there is almost nothing in the ADA that says exactly how accommodations will be provided and what will be provided.
There is no requirement for shorter lines - and in fact, many guests with disabilities already take advantage of things like touring plans, planning apps and Fastpass to meet their needs.

That said, GACs are just TOOLS for COMMUNICATION. They are used as a way to communicate to Cast Members at attractions a little bit about the needs of guests with disabilities. That does not mean guests don't have to explain their needs somewhat to Cast Members at individual attractions.

Could they do away with GACs? Yes, certainly.

Could they completely stop offering any accommodation? No. The ADA requires necessary accommodation that can be reasonably provided.

Could they come up with better way to provide accommodations and communication? Yes, certainly.

Do I think they will come up ith some changes to how guests with disabilities are handled? Yes.
There is no information on exactly how, but they will need to follow the ADA.

PLEASE DO NOT get into letter writing campaigns based on rumors.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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First aid is not always in the center of the park. At HS, it is right after the turnstiles on the left.
Yes, I know that - hence, the use of the word "most".

Magic Kingdom: well into the park, far end of Main Street, set back behind the already set back Crystal Palace.
Animal Kingdom: just before the bridge into Africa
Epcot: far side of Odyssey, between Future World and World Showcase.

Those distances won't affect people using mobility devices because they think it's advantageous, but it'll hurt the people who really need them.

Last edited by kaytieeldr; 09-30-2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: I remembered!
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:57 AM   #10
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:53 PM   #11
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I have had issues with CMs not even looking at my GAC because I ride a scooter. They have no clue as to WHY I need the GAC. All they see is the scooter, and assume that's the only issue I have. I had a GAC long before I had a scooter.

I fear that doing away with the GAC entirely will hurt me. I cannot move quickly, & I do need a lot of understanding when boarding & exiting a ride. I cannot hurry up as I was told to do at a few attractions. I wish I could!

Not having a GAC will present me as an uncooperative fool. I was belittled so badly at Small World because I could not park the ECV & walk down the ramp. I cannot. Eventually, they got a wheelchair for me to switch to, but it took over a half hour after we reached the front of the line. The CM kept telling me that all I had to do was get off the ECV & hold on the bar walking downhill. Oh, how I wish I could! I also cannot step into a boat. We waited for the wheelchair boat, but again was treated rudely by this one particular CM. Yes, I got her name & reported it to Guest Relations.

Some people really need the GAC to avoid situations like this. We also need CMs who will READ the GAC.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:56 PM   #12
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I have the same problem here. My GAC is stamped for access and front car/row for shows.

I've had a few CMs point me down the regular route as the attraction is mainstreamed but then no one around to help me find a seat i can see from.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:08 PM   #13
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Jellifer, thanks for posting. At least I know now that I wasn't being singled out because they didn't like my face or whatever!
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:23 PM   #14
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For some reason Disney feels handicapped people are just fine sitting in the back. It's easier I'm sure to just have all the scooters along the back wall (Mickey's Philharmagic) but my daughter is very short and can't see from her wheelchair. I wish Disney would consider this on a case by case basis and allow alternate viewing areas
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
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There is no "benefit" from using the devices. However, there are some who do not need the device but get them denying someone who does need it equal access. I worked with someone who's daughter sprained her ankle and decided after that every time they go to WDW they now get a wheelchair so they get wheelchair seating for shows. Their sitting in wheelchair seating takes away the equal access that my 2 daughters that are paraplegics need to access the show.
Equal access means that the seating is available, not that everyone is guaranteed a spot. Ablebodied people get turned away when a venue is full too. So, you have been given access, you just have to wait your turn, like everyone else.
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