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Old 07-11-2013, 01:45 AM   #1
BeatingtheOdds
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An honest question about using GAC at Disneyland

I know this is is/can be a controversial topic but I was hoping to get some honest opinions about using a GAC at Disneyland.

My husband and I have been multiple times as a couple and Disneyland has always been a "struggle" for him. He's a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and has never done well around the crowds and loud noises and we usually try and avoid the fireworks when possible. He's a trooper and just get's through it because he knows it's special to me.

This year he has been diagnosed with PTSD and some other medical issues that are a result of having his "cage rattled" a few too many times in combat. We took a trip in January ( just the two of us) and he had a really rough time and even though I know he was trying to be happy for me, it ended up not being the best trip.

We're planning to take our daughter for the first time next month to celebrate her first birthday and I really want to make it a special trip. We're spending a little extra cash to stay at the DL Hotel and I REALLY just want this to be a good memory and be fun for everyone. Before coming on these forums I didn't know about the GAC but now I'm wondering if it might help my husband. I don't really have any experience with it though which is where I'm looking for advice/ experience/opinions.

I think the biggest issue is that he feels a bit panicked when being "trapped" in a line with so many people without an "escape route" if that makes sense. Like, traffic, for instance is a huge trigger. I think, if I understand correctly, with a GAC you're allowed to use an alternate entrance? We definitely don't mind "waiting", I just know it would ease his anxiety a lot not to crammed in a line.

I'm wondering about the process for acquiring a card also if we decide to do that. Do we need to bring his medical notes? If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it!
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:12 AM   #2
luv2sleep
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Sounds like you have good reason to need one. If you ask for cooler places to wait (will be less crowded too) and mention crowd issues you will get a pass that gives you FP and alternate entrance access. You don't need a note from anyone. I thank your family for your husband's service and sacrifice. Have a fun trip.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:37 AM   #3
Freesia123
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There's a disabilities forum that can help you but ill try my best. When you get to disneyland, go to Town Hall and ask about a GAC. You don't need to give all the information about causes, (you can of course but its not necessary, and thru will respect your privacy). Just say, I have major agoraphobia and I need to wait where I'm not closed on if possible. He has to be the one who asks.

It doesn't mean that he will always be able to wait somewhere calmer, but for some rides he will be.

I think the absolute best course of action is to leave the parks during its most crowded in the afternoon and take a break at the hotel. It will be good for your whole family both physically and mentally.

Big hugs to you and your family. I know it effects you all. My dad was injured in duty as a police officer and I know how difficult it is. There are no words for the sacrifice you have all made.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeatingtheOdds View Post
I know this is is/can be a controversial topic but I was hoping to get some honest opinions about using a GAC at Disneyland.

My husband and I have been multiple times as a couple and Disneyland has always been a "struggle" for him. He's a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and has never done well around the crowds and loud noises and we usually try and avoid the fireworks when possible. He's a trooper and just get's through it because he knows it's special to me.

This year he has been diagnosed with PTSD and some other medical issues that are a result of having his "cage rattled" a few too many times in combat. We took a trip in January ( just the two of us) and he had a really rough time and even though I know he was trying to be happy for me, it ended up not being the best trip.

We're planning to take our daughter for the first time next month to celebrate her first birthday and I really want to make it a special trip. We're spending a little extra cash to stay at the DL Hotel and I REALLY just want this to be a good memory and be fun for everyone. Before coming on these forums I didn't know about the GAC but now I'm wondering if it might help my husband. I don't really have any experience with it though which is where I'm looking for advice/ experience/opinions.

I think the biggest issue is that he feels a bit panicked when being "trapped" in a line with so many people without an "escape route" if that makes sense. Like, traffic, for instance is a huge trigger. I think, if I understand correctly, with a GAC you're allowed to use an alternate entrance? We definitely don't mind "waiting", I just know it would ease his anxiety a lot not to crammed in a line.

I'm wondering about the process for acquiring a card also if we decide to do that. Do we need to bring his medical notes? If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it!

Hi there! I'm a DLer who uses a GAC for anxiety issues. Feeling trapped is a trigger for me too.

1. You do not need to bring papers, nor will they help or speed the process. He needs to be able to articulate to Guest Relations what the specific issues are. This does not mean, "I have PTSD" but rather, "Being trapped triggers anxiety attacks and I need a less crowded place to wait with better access to an exit.

2. Yes, alternate exits are an option but be prepared to advocate if their answer is just to stuff you in the Fast Pass line. For example, on Star Tours that still jams you up in the worst part of the queue and since what you want is a less confined space, not a shorter wait, be prepared to ask if entering through the exit is possible- the exit has a nice wide walkway and he would never be penned in.

Please feel free to PM me. I'm leaving tomorrow for our DL trip but I'd be happy to answer questions if you have them.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:16 PM   #5
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The GAC card is designed to help guest with issues have the best experience possible.. We have used the GAC for my mother at WDW a number of times. She cant stand in the heat for long periods of time.. Last year when she went she was 5 month after her 3rd heart surgery.. The CM are very nice when you show them the card...No need to show dr notes or anything (but Im sure they saw her medical braclet)..No questions asked.. They will ask you for how many days and write the dates on the card...Do not hestitate one bit to use it or get one...

Hope you have a wonderful time!
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
Kauinohea
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While I don't personally have experience with use of GAC, I have family friends who have following Knee surgery etc. the process was very smooth. I hope all works out for your family....I admire both your husband for his dedication and service to our country and you, for taking all steps to ensure he has as comfortable and joyful a trip as the rest of your family! Have a great trip
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:51 PM   #7
hootey
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Go to city/town hall in DL as soon as you get in the parks and get a GAC card! Previous posters have stated what to expect. The CMs in Guest Relations are great! and will do everything they can to help you with your visit. Staying at the DLH can be a big help as well. Be sure to inquire about all the amenities you get being a DLH guest. Early Entry, character meet & greets, park souvineer delivery to hotel, as well as the hot tubs & pool area. Trader Sams and Tangorah Terrace are inexpensive great places to eat. Goofies can be a lot of fun as well. especially for the character meals!
Thanks to you and your husband for everything!
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
Mjmdiva
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My friends need a GAC for their son. They have found the CM's friendlier on the DCA side and go there to get the GAC.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:09 PM   #9
Malcon10t
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Originally Posted by Mjmdiva View Post
My friends need a GAC for their son. They have found the CM's friendlier on the DCA side and go there to get the GAC.
Strange since it is the same CMs, one day they may be assigned to City Hall, the next the Chamber of Commerce, then to one of the information boards...

Lines are usually shorter in DCA though.

Be aware, due to the abuse shown on the Today show by a few people, there is a major overhaul in the works. He may not be able to get one in the near future.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcon10t View Post
Strange since it is the same CMs, one day they may be assigned to City Hall, the next the Chamber of Commerce, then to one of the information boards...

Lines are usually shorter in DCA though.

Be aware, due to the abuse shown on the Today show by a few people, there is a major overhaul in the works. He may not be able to get one in the near future.
I thought there was limitations with AP holders getting prolonged ones? I hope it doesn't change for everyone.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:15 PM   #11
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I thought there was limitations with AP holders getting prolonged ones? I hope it doesn't change for everyone.
No, what I have been told by friends in City Hall is it will be a big change. It sounds like it will be more like Knotts.
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:32 PM   #12
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No, what I have been told by friends in City Hall is it will be a big change. It sounds like it will be more like Knotts.
What does that mean? I haven't been to Knotts since before I became a mom
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Malcon10t View Post
No, what I have been told by friends in City Hall is it will be a big change. It sounds like it will be more like Knotts.
What does that mean? I haven't been to Knotts since before I became a mom
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Malcon10t View Post
No, what I have been told by friends in City Hall is it will be a big change. It sounds like it will be more like Knotts.
Last time I used a GAC card at Knott's is was for a group of four. Basically if your party was 2 or less you could use the alternate entrance. Once your party was larger than that, your party waited in the standard queue and when they got to the ride loading area you joined them via the alternate entrance.

I'm not advocating this method. But it does get a little upsetting when you see a party of more than 6 using a GAC card. And using a CAG card for basically a front of the line pass is an abuse. I'm not belittling the VET from the original post. My disability is also military service connected. But how do you weed out the 'social anxiety' need for a GAC with those who just want that perennial FP.

A few years ago the DLR just flat out stopped issuing GAC cards because of the abuse. I just hope they don't go there again.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:07 PM   #15
luv2sleep
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Last time I used a GAC card at Knott's is was for a group of four. Basically if your party was 2 or less you could use the alternate entrance. Once your party was larger than that, your party waited in the standard queue and when they got to the ride loading area you joined them via the alternate entrance.

I'm not advocating this method. But it does get a little upsetting when you see a party of more than 6 using a GAC card. And using a CAG card for basically a front of the line pass is an abuse. I'm not belittling the VET from the original post. My disability is also military service connected. But how do you weed out the 'social anxiety' need for a GAC with those who just want that perennial FP.

A few years ago the DLR just flat out stopped issuing GAC cards because of the abuse. I just hope they don't go there again.
For a large party that doesn't help with the super long waits that are difficult for some. I guess to get the person with the disability through the ride faster (and avoid a meltdown like with ASD kids) the family would have to split up.
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