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Old 12-11-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
mama2ellie
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GAC question

A friend of mine recommended getting a GAC for my daughter with sensory issues. She has issues with dark places, loud noises, and movie theater type settings (like the waiting area before seeing Mickey Mouse). Would a GAC help with this?
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mama2ellie View Post
A friend of mine recommended getting a GAC for my daughter with sensory issues. She has issues with dark places, loud noises, and movie theater type settings (like the waiting area before seeing Mickey Mouse). Would a GAC help with this?
I don't see how it could. It would not eliminate dark, noises or waiting in theater type settings. You will have to make provisions for her.....a small flashlight......noise reducing headphones......and perhaps distractions for her while waiting (a favorite game, lovey or fidget.)

Or you might just choose to not go on those attractions. You can meet characters at a lot of different restaurants, and there is a lot to do without going on rides that would make your daughter uncomfortable.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:03 PM   #3
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You are going to want to check out many of the items Piper mentioned - if she has trouble with the waiting areas, she will have many of the same issues with shows and attractions.

Besides what Piper wrote, check post 6 in the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which is all about Guest Assistance Cards. Many attractions have a less crowded place to wait, but it is no less loud or busy because it is just a section of the regular queue.
You can find that thread near the top of this board or follow the link in my signature.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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I would suggest going and talking to Guest Services (I think the ones at Magic Kingdom tend to be the most helpful!) and seeing what THEY suggest. They are the only ones who can decide if your daughter qualifies for a GAC and what accomodations they can make to help make your trip smoother.
The only thing I would caution you on...If a flashlight would be a problem with her shining it in dark rides or shows where it could interfere with others guests' experiences of the attraction, I might think twice about that one if I were the parent...but only you know your daughter. If she would be good about turning it off and keeping it off at the appropriate times and it helps then Great!
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:49 PM   #5
mama2ellie
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We avoid dark attractions. Occasionally we get caught by surprise. It is more the dark lines and theater type settings that are an issue.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:08 PM   #6
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We avoid dark attractions. Occasionally we get caught by surprise. It is more the dark lines and theater type settings that are an issue.
What are the attractions that you want to see?
Maybe we can help you with which attractions have what.

It would also help if you could be more specific about what you mean about 'theater type setting' or what about them is an issue for your daughter.

And many of the dark lines lead to dark attractions - that's where knowing what attractions you want to see would be helpful.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:19 PM   #7
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We were recently in Disneyland. We went through Mickey's house, and the final stop before seeing him is a barn-like area that shows cartoons. I remember it at the old character area at WDW. She flipped out about the "movie" being too loud and dark. The line was very short, but if it was a typical WDW line, she would not have been able to wait.

Test Track's line used to be very loud and was difficult for her with the banging of the test instruments. We plan to send one of us (parents) in to see how loud it is now.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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I too have issues with areas that are too loud (though my problem is bright as opposed to dark) - I can tell you from experience in both WDW and DL with a GAC that there is very little that can be done to alter those areas.

I would go in with the idea that the GAC will not help much (and if it does, wonderful!), and have other ideas. Noise cancelling headphones, a small red flashlight (this does not affect the eyes of those around you too much) or a glow stick, something bright with headphones to focus on (like videos on a phone or something)...

I send people in to "check things out" for me, and there are many things that I just cannot ride at certain times. I alternate the ones with lots of stimulation (space mountain) with ones I am ok with (Philharmagic).

Hope this helps some.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #9
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For my daughter, the GAC helped immensely. Being able to wait in less crowded areas (and in some cases quieter areas) helped her to deal with the sensory overload that comes with such a sensory intensive environment.

Over multiple visits, she has gotten much better at expressing when it's just too much and we have to leave a given attraction (or park).

One suggestion I have is to stop a cast member and ask about if the attraction contains any particular things that you know triggers a reaction in your child, keeping in mind that most CMs are not familiar with sensory issues (but they will do their best to help). The only time we were misled about an attraction was Mickey's Phillharmagic which I would expressly not recommend to a child with sensory problems. And also ask about the best place to position yourselves on the attraction in case you need to exit quickly with them.

Our daughter loves Disney and with each trip she seems to open herself up to new experiences that she avoided before. She really blossoms each time and the progress carries over to when we are back home. I hope you and your child enjoy your trip!
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:08 AM   #10
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Definitely get a GAC because it will help. If you have a problem with a particular queue like the one visiting Mickey, talk to the CM at the attraction. There were a few queues my son doesn't like (dark and noisy) and he does not like to wait in super crowded lines because it makes him panicky. So, when we visited characters that I knew he couldn't handle the line, we talked to the CM and the rest of the kids got in the regular line. When they got to the character (usually with Dad), he (and I) went in the exit. Even if you don't have other kids getting into line, one parent could do it. It is definitely worth talking to the CMs at the attractions and having the GAC. Of course there is no guarantee that they will let you do it, and it could depend on the crowds, particular CM etc, but we had no problems finding a way to accommodate his needs. (It didn't cut out the waiting, but it made it possible for him to do it!)
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mom2six View Post
Definitely get a GAC because it will help. If you have a problem with a particular queue like the one visiting Mickey, talk to the CM at the attraction. There were a few queues my son doesn't like (dark and noisy) and he does not like to wait in super crowded lines because it makes him panicky. So, when we visited characters that I knew he couldn't handle the line, we talked to the CM and the rest of the kids got in the regular line. When they got to the character (usually with Dad), he (and I) went in the exit. Even if you don't have other kids getting into line, one parent could do it. It is definitely worth talking to the CMs at the attractions and having the GAC. Of course there is no guarantee that they will let you do it, and it could depend on the crowds, particular CM etc, but we had no problems finding a way to accommodate his needs. (It didn't cut out the waiting, but it made it possible for him to do it!)
Keep in mind that the GAC does state it is not intended for use at character meet & greets. That said, people here have reported being accommodated at character greets. It may depend on the location, the crowds, and the specific CMs working the greet that day. Don't expect to be accommodated at a character meet & greet, but you can certainly ask.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by lanejudy View Post
Keep in mind that the GAC does state it is not intended for use at character meet & greets. That said, people here have reported being accommodated at character greets. It may depend on the location, the crowds, and the specific CMs working the greet that day. Don't expect to be accommodated at a character meet & greet, but you can certainly ask.

Enjoy your vacation!
As I said, they may not do it each time. However, when I did talk to the CMs about letting my son wait at the exit while the other children went through the line, they wanted to take a look at his GAC first. I think the key here is that we did not try to bypass the line - someone waited in the line until it was our turn. Also, we didn't do it at the Mickey M&G, so I don't know what they would say there.
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