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Old 01-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #16
Friendly Frog
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Originally Posted by Emagine View Post
I admit that thread not only confused me but made my head hurt...and or spin!

I am not really a fan of the FP return for a GAC. Maybe for some cases certain people may agree or accept. I will not speak for a disability I am uneducated about.

I have 2 boys. Youngest with Aspergers, the other is Autistic but more severe with other issues. We just recieved his Service Dog and he will be going with us in March for the first time. To walk up to a ride that they will actually do and be told to come back hours later will for sure ensure a meltdown. We learned with Splash Mountain the hard way when it broke down.

It is hard to predict how we will be one hour, 2, 5 hours later. Good, great, headed to the room after a bad meltdown. I would rather wait and use the GAC like we have then to walk up to a ride only to tell the boys we can not wait in line for it like we have for 10 years and we have to come back later.

Color me nervous with this one.
I think you have every right to be nervous about the possibility of change that might impact your enjoyment of the park.

It make me nervous that George Kalogridis is coming to WDW. I know that Disneyland was build before ADA and is not as accessable because of that, but it is my opinion that DL has a less positive attitude towards GAC users in general. ( Like no special viewing areas for fireworks at DL.) I do not view George coming as a good thing for GAC users.

I don't think all GAC users have the same needs, for many returning at a set time is fine, while for others this could cause them issues.

Since it is speculation right now, I will speculate. It would not suprise me to see Disney eliminate ALL GAC users from the old fast pass lines ( or do away with the old fast pass lines altogether soon) and allow GAC entry only with the normal amount of fastpast + passes. I expect the only exception would be those on "Wish" trips. ( Which would put the responsibility of certification of need in someone elses court.)

One other thing that has not been mentioned is that sometimes a child/ person has just enough energy to ride 3-4 rides in a day. They might want to ride one ride 3 times and not ride anything else. With fastpass this could be possible to pull. With fastpass + it is not.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mistysue
If you are getting upset by the article you may need to try to step back from the subject a bit. I know that can be hard when it directly effects you, but it's just somebody saying that we factually know there is a problem with GAC abuse. Everybody knows that it happens so there is no need to be in denial. Because there is a problem, we should expect that Disney is going to try to make a solution. They are not saying every person abuses it.

I don't really get the opposition to giving a return time pass. As keeps being said in defense of the GAC, it is not meant to be a fastpass, it is meant to accommodate needs if you can't do the regular line for some reason. So if the regular line has a 15 minute wait and you are going to be mad if you can't load the ride for 15 minutes, maybe you need to rethink how you are using the thing. There are thousands of people in the park that day wishing they had their 15 minutes of line time to grab a drink, check out a shop or take a potty break. It is meant to assure that every guest has equal ability to ride, see shows and enjoy your day, not a pass to gain some super ability to skip 2 hour lines as much as desired. Obviously loading issues affect it's fastpass-like qualities, which I believe is the ONLY reason anybody with a GAC may be entering through the fastpass lane. I think that is an unintended bonus for disabilities that effect a person's ability to be in the standby line but not their ability to get on the ride. I don't think people want to be locked in a private room until their turn, so is there any actual fair answer? One that is fair to EVERY guest?
Everybody "knows" it happens, but how do they know?

Seriously, I get sick of that argument, you cannot possibly know what disabilities someone may or may not have.

The problem with a return time pass is that you have to go there to get it, leave and come back. This can add a lot of extra walking for those that may have limited mobility that may not need a wheelchair or ECV, return time passes might force them to rent one, even though the exercise would do them good, but the extra walking would be too much.

This is why return time passes wouldn't work, but the scanning the pass would.

The only other way return time passes would work is if there was a way to get them before going to the attraction. Either from phone or kiosk. But the extra walking is definitely a problem with return time passes.

The system works fairly well as it stands, they just need to i.d. Everyone using one.

And equal access means equal access, which does mean the wait times should be equal as well. Not shorter, not longer.

As far as being upset by the article, it's because it encourages abuse of the system and makes people think most people using the system are abusing it, which will cause further dirty looks and comments.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:03 PM   #18
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I see the GAC card argument from 2 angles. One from being a former CM who worked at an attraction that utilized FP and as a girl with a younger brother who has Down Syndrome. We have never been to the parks without a GAC card and have always been accommodated. I have no complaints as a guest. I'm not sure how a handwritten FP would work for him, it would depend on his "mood" at the time. I understand how it would seem to "level the playing field" but each special needs child is different and definitely different from a "normal" child. What is easy to explain to a child half his age, he cannot wrap his head around. So telling him we can't ride yet could be no issue at all or it could turn into a meltdown that ruins the day. We would prefer not to risk our vacation!

Coming from a CM's perspective, GAC cards are the bane of our existence. We had more problems with GAC cards than almost anything. (Besides people missing their fastpass times!) Our attraction's stand-by line was all handicapped accessible so if your teenager was in a wheel chair with a cast, you waited in stand-by. Families hated that. They thought they could beat the system so they take it out on us when they can't. And no, just because another attraction let you through does not mean it's the same everywhere. Different stamps mean different things and we are trained on the procedures for each. We KNOW the system is being abused and know it's ruining it for the ones that need the card. Because GAC card situations were more personal to me than other CMs I worked with, I tended to be more sympathetic and accommodating. I know that disabilities come in all forms and many are not visible. So I never questioned. However, every time I heard it called a fastpass I wanted to scream. And believe me, it's a lot.

I almost wouldn't mind if you had to have some form of proof to obtain a GAC card. If you or your child is anything like my brother, it wouldn't be hard to get a Dr.s note or something related. Look at handicapped parking signs! It's sad we have to come to that but for those that need the GAC card, it would be worth it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:18 PM   #19
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I am going to put my flame suit on and stick my neck out. I don't necessarily think that equal / fair is always the right thing, sometimes it is just the minimum thing. Also sometimes fair is not the same as equal. It is fair if you need it, but not necessarily equal to the person who does not need it.

For example, it is equal for all people get a chair to sit, but I think some people need that chair more than others.

For most in an ECV or wheelchair, or many with GACs, equal wait, return time, normal system access is reasonable. Not everyone gets a GAC and GAC's have different access stamps. The whole point of the GAC is that many people need assistance and can not tour like "normal" for a WIDE variety of reasons. ( I wish and hope that those people do go before me in line! Unfortunately it does not really happen that way.)

Many disabilities do not cooperate with specific time schedules of the fastpass + system. I will glady endure the abusers of the old system so that those with needs can keep the flexibility of the old system that allows them to enjoy the magic of a Disney trip that the rest of us take for granted.

I think there is some abuse, but honestly, I think the abuse is over-stated. I think there are more "able bodied" whiners, than GAC abusers.

Edit: I know it is hard on CM's to see abuse, but if those using a GAC would rather deal with the abusers than see the system change, doesn't that say something about how well the system works for them? Ever notice how seldom a GAC user complains about abusers?

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Old 01-16-2013, 11:23 PM   #20
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I also cringe when people think they are FPs, it causes people to think they are and want to get them, then causes problems for those of us that do need them.

To be honest, if GACs were eliminated, I wouldn't really be able to go to the parks, unless there were a new system in place.

As to George Kalagridi coming, it will most likely actually be a good thing for GAC holders. Disneyland has never had special viewing areas for the fireworks for them, mostly due to a lack of space.

And the only real changes he made here was one retraining the CMs to ask more questions, they were getting a little lax about it, but to also use common sense. If its clear someone has had a pass for a while, don't ask any questions, just renew it for example. To check IDs when renewing the pass, with annual passes counting as an ID in this case. To check park tickets and issue the passes for length of stay or two months in the case of Passholders. And to do more to make sure the person named on the pass is experiencing the attraction.

In other words enforcing the rules that already exist. So, I don't see how that will be a bad thing.

As for the return time for Racers, that was actually a suggestion I made because the FP lines were over two hours long and there would have been no way for me to experience that attraction with that. This way they can space out the wheelchairs and no, it isn't always the length of the stand-by line, sometimes it's longer, sometimes it's shorter, it depends on how many GACs are ahead of you.

So I am not completely opposed to return time passes on a few attractions, but to do it for all of them would not work for many people, myself included.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:49 PM   #21
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I think that the title of this blog is causing much of the discussion/concern as well as some of the content - I mean "let the battle begin"?
I found out abou the blog when I saw a link posted here and agree with the other posters on this thread that there are many problems with it.

First, Disneyland is a much different place than DisneyWorld.
Many of the attractions at Disneyland are NOT accessible thru the regular line.
At WDW, most attractions are.

Second, there is not one ‘thing’ that Guest Assistance Cards do – there are different stamps put on the card to meet the needs of the person. In some cases, it is to wait in a different area. In some cases, it is to use the ‘wheelchair entrance’.
At WDW, that usually means the regular line. There is sometimes a different boarding area, but the bypass that goes there is usually very close to the regular boarding area.
For example, at Buzz Lightyear, the whole line is accessible, but at the boarding area, walking guests make a 180 degree turn to get into their ride car. When guests who can’t board in the regular boarding area get there, they are directed straight ahead down a hallway to the exit to board.

A lot of people report what they experience without understanding it.
First example: my family includes a child using a wheelchair who has multiple disabilities and can’t walk. We were in the regular line at Mission Space, and after getting deeper into the building, we were right behind a person who was using an ECV. She started talking to us, then showed us her GAC and said we should get one for our DD because she had used it and “I got right into this line without waiting at all.”
Well, so did we. The standby line we were in had a 10 minute posted wait and we basically walked right in.
We saw the same woman multiple times at Epcot that day and at other parks during our trip. She made multiple comments to us about how glad she was to see we had gotten a GAC and how it was saving do much time. ONLY THING is – we had not used a GAC on any of those times. The standby waits were short and what she took as a short wait because of the GAC was just a short wait. PERIOD.

Second example: I’ve seen threads where people posted they used a special door or line to get into a show (like Mickey’s Philharmagic , Tiki Birds, Monsters, Inc). They reported they went past other guests who were waiting and went to the front of the line. The parts they did not understand was that they were getting into the same show as those other guests and WHY they were waiting there (because there are limited numbers of wheelchair spots or limited numbers of guests with special needs allowed in at one time).
So, again, they thought they had an advantage they really did not have and almost all of their posts about how the GAC gave them ‘Front of the Line’ access were things like that where their perception was not fact.

Third example: I have seen people reports that they got into the ‘special line’ at Small World and because the line is shorter, they felt they did not wait as long as they would have otherwise. Well, that line may be less people, but our experience is that the wait is usually longer. In fact, on one of our last trips, my husband got in that line with DD while I was doing something else. I know when they got in line because he texted me. I was going to join them later, but that area was crowded and I could not get thru, so I got in the regular line. They ended up being loaded a few boats ahead of me (if I remember right, 3 boats). I had waited 20 minutes before boarding. They had already been in line 25 minutes before I got into line, so they waited a bit less than 25 minutes longer than me.

Someone posted either that they were asking at Jungle Cruise where to park the wheelchair and were directed to go into a wheelchair entrance, which bypassed part of the lines. How this ride works is that there is a parking area for wheelchairs and ECVs to the left of the regular line and boarding area. Guests who are able to walk in the line are usually ‘inserted’ back into the regular line at that point. They might think they got ahead, but there were guests who were moving ahead in line while they were waiting for the CM to instruct them, moving the wheelchair/ECV, etc, so by the time they actually get into the line, they will usually be close to where they would have been otherwise ( we know because we have watched). People like my DD, who can’t walk, don’t get on right away. We have to wait for the special wheelchair boat. Some wait in their wheelchair in the same area where we do, but don’t board right away on the next boat that comes.

We usually are aware of what the wait in the standby line is and when there is a separate boarding area for users with disabilities, we often se people who were in line just ahead of us getting off while we are still waiting at the exit to board.
People who have really been watching how their wait relates to the wait in the regular line often find their wait might be less about 25 % of the time, longer 25% of the time and the same 50%.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:58 PM   #22
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Thank you for posting that, I wish that the author of the blog would at least edit it, perhaps you can encourage this?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post
...Disneyland has never had special viewing areas for the fireworks for them, mostly due to a lack of space..
While I can understand everything you said and can agree with the most of the logic, I absolutely disagree with the not space for fireworks viewing statement.

If there is space for average people, or space for VIP's, there is space for wheelchair viewing. All it takes is a rope, If all the space is not filled at 10 mins before show time you open the area to anyone. What is does take is the decision that it is important enough to assign someone to set it up and monitor it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:14 AM   #24
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While I can understand everything you said and can agree with the most of the logic, I absolutely disagree with the not space for fireworks viewing statement.

If there is space for average people, or space for VIP's, there is space for wheelchair viewing. All it takes is a rope, If all the space is not filled at 10 mins before show time you open the area to anyone. What is does take is the decision that it is important enough to assign someone to set it up and monitor it.
The VIP viewing is on the Main Street train station, which is not accessible. They do sometimes have an overflow in the hub, but that wouldn't work for those in wheelchairs, as it is standing in front there. The sides of the hub are used for exiting in an emergency, in front of the hub is not accessible with people siting and since they now put a walkway in front if there, it would be obstructed as well. Pretty much all of Main Street would have similar issues.

So, the question becomes where to put it? My opinion is to make the Main Street station accessible, which could be done with some minimal modifications. They could replace one of the souvenir shop kiosks with a lift, probably wouldn't even take the full space for example. Then they could use that space for wheelchair viewing.

But my point remains that it wasn't George Kalagridi's doing, he has actually done quite a bit to help those of us who truly do need GACs. Yes, there have have been some pains along the way, but he is extremely responsive to comments from the public. He also has a very hands on approach to running the parks, which should be interesting at Disney World.

So, I don't see this as a bad move for Disney World and GACs, but it could be a positive one.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:48 AM   #25
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The VIP viewing is on the Main Street train station, which is not accessible. They do sometimes have an overflow in the hub, but that wouldn't work for those in wheelchairs, as it is standing in front there. The sides of the hub are used for exiting in an emergency, in front of the hub is not accessible with people siting and since they now put a walkway in front if there, it would be obstructed as well. Pretty much all of Main Street would have similar issues.

So, the question becomes where to put it? My opinion is to make the Main Street station accessible, which could be done with some minimal modifications. They could replace one of the souvenir shop kiosks with a lift, probably wouldn't even take the full space for example. Then they could use that space for wheelchair viewing.

But my point remains that it wasn't George Kalagridi's doing, he has actually done quite a bit to help those of us who truly do need GACs. Yes, there have have been some pains along the way, but he is extremely responsive to comments from the public. He also has a very hands on approach to running the parks, which should be interesting at Disney World.

So, I don't see this as a bad move for Disney World and GACs, but it could be a positive one.
You seem to have a better understanding of the person than I do. Certainly what you have said sounds very positive! My comments were mostly because of my personal experience at DL a few years back. ( first and only visit) I viewed the Halloween show in an area in front of the castle that could have been roped off and had a view, but instead there was no place that was not just a sea of butts, very disappointing and different than WDW. Also it seemed that the cast members had a very different attitude towards ECV users than WDW has. (enough said) I guess I attributed the cast member attitude to the park leadership. Not sure why the difference now but this is getting off topic. I fell much better about Mr. Kalagridi's coming now, thank you.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:39 AM   #26
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A lightbulb went on when I read the post above ^^ about the handicapped license plates / holders.

In order to receive one, you need to have the application signed by a doctor before you take it / send it to the DMV.

How is the DMV not violating the law by asking for a doctor's signature, but Disney would be violating the law by asking for a doctor's note?

I don't get it??

I'd have no problem bringing a note. I'd have no problem with putting a picture on the GAC card. That way, it would keep people from handing it out to every member of their party, just to ride the ride faster.

Which has never happened to us during 2 visits! I don't get that either? We've never been ushered to the front of the line with our GAC card. Maybe one of the problems is that some CMs know how to use them and some don't?
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:09 AM   #27
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I was really surprised that this thread was started by a moderator considering the title. I's like they are encouraging people to argue.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #28
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Honestly, I think the butthurt able-bodied people complaining about the wait at Radiator Springs Racers are overlooking the obvious.

It's a relatively slow-loading attraction.
It's new and extremely popular.

There are absolutely GOING to be long waits. No way around it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by hsmamainva View Post
A lightbulb went on when I read the post above ^^ about the handicapped license plates / holders.

In order to receive one, you need to have the application signed by a doctor before you take it / send it to the DMV.

How is the DMV not violating the law by asking for a doctor's signature, but Disney would be violating the law by asking for a doctor's note?

I don't get it??

I'd have no problem bringing a note. I'd have no problem with putting a picture on the GAC card. That way, it would keep people from handing it out to every member of their party, just to ride the ride faster.

Which has never happened to us during 2 visits! I don't get that either? We've never been ushered to the front of the line with our GAC card. Maybe one of the problems is that some CMs know how to use them and some don't?
The reason the DMV is not breaking the law, is you are getting a benefit not available to others, I.e. closer parking, not having to pay at parking meters, not having time limits (I.e. 30 minutes or less) enforced.

GACs are to provide those who can't us the regular queues for various reasons with equal access, not providing an additional benefit. This is why they can't ask for proof.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:02 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by hsmamainva View Post
A lightbulb went on when I read the post above ^^ about the handicapped license plates / holders.

In order to receive one, you need to have the application signed by a doctor before you take it / send it to the DMV.

How is the DMV not violating the law by asking for a doctor's signature, but Disney would be violating the law by asking for a doctor's note?

I don't get it??

I'd have no problem bringing a note. I'd have no problem with putting a picture on the GAC card. That way, it would keep people from handing it out to every member of their party, just to ride the ride faster.

Which has never happened to us during 2 visits! I don't get that either? We've never been ushered to the front of the line with our GAC card. Maybe one of the problems is that some CMs know how to use them and some don't?
Completely agree. There are other examples where a doctor's note is required. Is MAW breaking the law by requiring a Doctor to sign off? The airlines require a doctor's note in order to bring oxygen.

We would happily bring a doctor's note as well. It wouldn't be perfect, but would surely reduce some of the abuse.
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