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Old 05-01-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
luvs2travl
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GAC - one time use?

Last Aug, we attended my DS5's absolute favorite show in DHS- LIghts Motors Actions Stunt Show (he loves the addition of Lightening McQueen). He is deathly afraid of heights. He will not climb stairs with see-through steps. There was no one in the entire handicapped row - the length of the grandstand, so we sat in the first row, designated handicapped. The CM came over asked us if we had a GAC card. We said no, but explained our son's needs. Being that there was no one in the entire row, we were allowed to stay there. We would of absolutely left had we of taken away seating from someone who needed to sit in that section.

Well, as we were the only family (4) in that row, the Same CM asked us for our GAC twice! It was quite funny. Then a man sitting behind us began saying "handicapped seats" over and over. Implying we should not be in those seats. I finally turned around and explained our situation to him and assured him the CM gave us permission to sit there. However, he was very annoyed with us!

To avoid this situation this summer, would it be possible to request the GAC for this specific situation only? I do not need the card for anything but this show. My DS will not sit higher than the first row in grandstands - we've tried at fairs but he has a fear.

I truly appreciate any guidance you can offer.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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A GAC is for people with "invisible" disabilities. While your son's fear is real, I don't think it is a diagnosis of a disability. I think your best bet is to approach a CM and explain your situation and hope for some pixie dust.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geek+nerd View Post
A GAC is for people with "invisible" disabilities. While your son's fear is real, I don't think it is a diagnosis of a disability. I think your best bet is to approach a CM and explain your situation and hope for some pixie dust.
So the way we handled it was correct?
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:23 PM   #4
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So the way we handled it was correct?
You can certainly ask at Guest Relations about a GAC, but I think the way you handled it was just fine. If the section in which you were sitting is the area with cut-out spots for wheelchairs, they will make anyone (GAC or not) move from such seats if a person with a wheelchair needs it. When crowded, the person with a wheelchair plus 1 other is allowed to sit there, other members of their party are requested to sit behind them or elsewhere. So, you were allowed to sit there because there was nobody requiring those spots. I don't think there is a GAC that will allow a person not using a wheelchair/ECV to occupy those seats if someone else truly needs them. Would your son be able to do 1 step up to the next row?

I'm glad it worked out for your family!
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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People get a GAC for various types of social anxieties and personal space needs... that is not any different from getting a GAC for a legitimate debilitating fear. The fear not being under the cover of some other title does not make it less real or less of a need. I would ask at guest relations how they suggest handling it.
But if you do end up with a GAC, it probably isn't going to stop a jerk who wants to pick on you from doing so. It is much easier to judge you than to be compassionate.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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People get a GAC for various types of social anxieties and personal space needs... that is not any different from getting a GAC for a legitimate debilitating fear. The fear not being under the cover of some other title does not make it less real or less of a need. I would ask at guest relations how they suggest handling it.
But if you do end up with a GAC, it probably isn't going to stop a jerk who wants to pick on you from doing so. It is much easier to judge you than to be compassionate.
I agree - for the OP's son, sitting there is not a preference it is a need, just like someone with social anxiety might have a need for a quieter place to wait. I'd suggest asking Guest Services about a GAC - remember, just because you have a GAC, doesn't mean you need to use it, so don't worry about the fact that you might only use it for one specific situation.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Just tell GS that he needs to avoid stairs.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistysue
People get a GAC for various types of social anxieties and personal space needs... that is not any different from getting a GAC for a legitimate debilitating fear. The fear not being under the cover of some other title does not make it less real or less of a need. I would ask at guest relations how they suggest handling it.
But if you do end up with a GAC, it probably isn't going to stop a jerk who wants to pick on you from doing so. It is much easier to judge you than to be compassionate.
Exactly!!!
They aren't allowed to. 'Make you prove a disability' and he has a REAL fear! I would tell GS that he has a fear of heights esp in the area of staircases. If the first CM doesn't 'work' with you, ask for their supervisor.
Your son is entitled to enjoy this attraction as much as the next person and that isn't an unreasonable accommodation.
And to the person who said that row is for people is WC/ECVs only...not totally true. There are others allowed there even when its busy (depends on their 'need')...and it comes back to first come, first served... Just like Fantasmic.
OP, Good Luck!!
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:37 PM   #9
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I suggest going to GAC and speaking to Guest Services. There may be other times in Disney where he must walk up or down stairs with open backs in the queues or in the exits. I use a wheelchair, so I can tell you little about the stairs since I am routed around them, but there is a difference between a fear and a phobia.

Yes, we are expected to have to deal with our fears and phobias all the time, but some of us have accommodations at Disney to help with those fear and phobias all the time.

There is no reason not to ask Guest Services, and if they do not help, them talk to the CMs at the show. It is amazing what the CMs can do sometimes to make your trip magical.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:50 PM   #10
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Just tell GS that he needs to avoid stairs.
Then they may want to take him up the elevator at the stunt show. With a fear of heights, that would be just as bad.

I would just be very specific about explaining the problem. I'm sure they will find a way to help you.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashbb View Post
I agree - for the OP's son, sitting there is not a preference it is a need, just like someone with social anxiety might have a need for a quieter place to wait. I'd suggest asking Guest Services about a GAC - remember, just because you have a GAC, doesn't mean you need to use it, so don't worry about the fact that you might only use it for one specific situation.
My MIL has the same fear; she is OK going up, but can't sit where she will look down or go down stairs or escalators. For Lights, Motors, Action, she sat in the 2nd or third row because she could handle that. She didn't ask a CM - as far as I know, you would only need to ask if you are sitting in the handicapped designated area.

There is more information about GACs in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread. You can find it near the top of this board or follow the link in my signature.

As this poster mentioned, just having it doesn't mean you have to use it.

The 2 places I can think of that might be an issue with open stairs are Lights, Motors, Action Stunt show and Festival of the Lion King. On both, you enter on ground floor and could sit up one row from the floor without bing in handicapped seating.
I have not been to Lights, Motors, Action in more than a year, but at that time, not ll of the font row was designated handicapped, just the far left section.

For both, you may get better meeting of your child's needs just explaining what his issue is, as you already did.
Even with a GAC, the message on it is not very specific, so, there would still be some explaining. And, having one would not stop situations you encountered with other guests not thinking you should sit there.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:23 AM   #12
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Is it a fear of heights...or is it a balance issue?
Due to Chiari, I have balance issues, and I rely on my eyes to maintain my balance. Open stairs, because I can see thru them, throw my balance off. Stadium seating does, too.
My ds also has balance issues, but we don't know why. (His mri showed no Chiari.) He doesn't like heights either. He could not catch a ball when he was younger, due to the balance issue.
So, perhaps, your son has balance issues? Does he have trouble catching a ball?
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:36 AM   #13
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I would just get to the show really early next time to get a spot in one of the first few rows. Problem solved.

Personally I think GAC's are sometimes overused when we can really make our own 'accomodations' for our kids (fastpasses, etc.). If you get there too late and the lower seats are taken....Come back for the next show earlier.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:05 PM   #14
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You could always go to guest services and tell them your story and ask what you should do..they may give you a GAC or they may recommend you get there early and get a low row seat.
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Old 05-04-2013, 09:41 AM   #15
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I would just get to the show really early next time to get a spot in one of the first few rows. Problem solved.

Personally I think GAC's are sometimes overused when we can really make our own 'accomodations' for our kids (fastpasses, etc.). If you get there too late and the lower seats are taken....Come back for the next show earlier.
I don't know about this. My whole life has been rearranged around my son's needs. Often we are unable to plan to make our own accommodations because that would interfere with other accommodations we have made. Does everything in life always have to be harder just because we have a child with a disability? Without a GAC we would probably only see 1/3 of the parks that the average, dis person sees. That doesn't seem like overuse to me. I think that if you need a GAC, Disney wants you to use it. Honestly, it isn't that much of an accommodation to begin with. We still have to give up lots of characters and it doesn't shorten waits at restaurants or anything. Why should people feel guilty about using a GAC? It isn't like they planned to be disabled or have a child with a disability.

People with disabilities work much harder than other people just to tour the park with a GAC. I am not dragging my son back and forth across the park to collect fastpasses or ruining his whole day just to make rope drop. We too use fastpasses when it is reasonable for us to do so, but the point of the GAC is to level the playing field for people with invisible disabilities. We give up a lot of things, and my son has had to adjust to the cruel way the world is the rest of the time. It is nice that Disney offers a way for us to enjoy our vacations like most other vacationers.

Seriously, I feel more guilt and judgment on the disabilities board than I do anywhere else on the board.
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