Faith, hope, trust, and Pixie Dust!

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by KPeveler, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. KPeveler

    KPeveler Moderator Moderator

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    Since we have seen far too many disappointing, upsetting, sad, and even offensive (at times) threads recently centering around disability, scooters, wheelchairs, GACs, and Disney, I thought perhaps we should create a thread of happy, wondering, or once-in-a-lifetime experiences Disney has created for disabled or ill guests be being so accessible and accommodating.

    I know once a CM told a story of a young autistic girl, previously non-verbal, who spoke for the very first time in Turtle Talk with Crush, and the CMs at the attraction cleared out the theatre and allowed the girl a while of speaking with Crush, all by herself, while her mother bawled (happily) at the entrance of the theatre...

    I know all of us here have great stories we could tell of the magic Disney has created for all of us.

    This thread is NOT going to be a debate of Disney policy, it will not be a debate of any kind. I was just hoping to make clear to everyone that while there are negative people and situations out there, Disney is a magical place for us all!

    So, what are your favorite stories of the pixie dust Disney created for you/your child/your family member that could never happen anywhere else?

    Here is mine: Before I required a wheelchair at Disney, I was watching the Dapper Dans sing while standing next to a young girl in a wheelchair on a Make A Wish trip (she was wearing a button). She was wearing a hat, adn did not seem to have hair under it, so my best guess was that she was fighting cancer. Well the Dapper Dans went and kneeled next to her and sang "When you Wish Upon A Star" just for her. Needless to say, she was absolutely glowing (my guess is she was about 6 or 7 years old), and everyone in the crowd was bawling. It was then I realized just how magical Disney could really be! :wizard:

    Again, PLEASE do not make this a commentary on other park's possibly-lacking policies, or what Disney does wrong, or anything negative. I want to have a place to point the next time someone says something negative about disability at disney, and be able to say "look at all those wonderful stories!"
     
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  3. LolaCola

    LolaCola Earning My Ears

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    I love the idea of this thread!:goodvibes

    I don't have any stories to share about visiting Disney though.

    My daughter does love watching the dvds, the re-releases in theaters and she used to love visiting the Disney store here, before it closed.

    I am looking forward to reading what others may share here. :)
     
  4. Talking Hands

    Talking Hands <font color=purple><b>|,,|/</b> DEAF DISNEY LOVER<

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    I think one of my most magical moments at Disney was at Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom. I had gone to watch my daughter's friend perform and I was placed in the section where the interpreters work. I did not know that the show was interpreted. I was so amazed and shocked. I understood every word of the show because of the visual support that the interpreters provided. I hadn't realized that I was missing so much.
    THank you Angela and Vince. You made my day and I realized that I indeed had a hearing loss that I needed to deal with.
     
  5. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    I think this is a great idea!
    I can't post a story right now because of being at work and beingon my iPod with only a little power left. I am looking forward to to reading more and writing a story or two when I get home
     
  6. angelbearmom

    angelbearmom Mouseketeer

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    4 years ago I was at DW with my ds and friend and her dd both of whom were/are in wheelchairs. As soon as we got into DHs (then MGM) a cast member came over and asked if our kids would like to see the characters. She then took us around to each of them; I know this would bring criticism from many but I really appreciated it. My ds has a very limited attention span and needs to be close up to people to notice them. He actually was quite tired of seeing characters by the end. My greatest memory was of him and Jasmine; I have a picture of him reaching out to her. It looks like hes reaching for the front of her dress-he was actually trying to grab her necklace. I also have a pic of him with a lipstick kiss on his cheek. Then during the parade in the afternoon, she yelled out hi to him. He thought that was pretty cool. He's now much more alert and aware so I'm looking forward to seeing him interact with the characters this time. We certainly don't expect the same treatment this time but know our trip will be magical.
     
  7. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

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    On my daughters first trip to Disney, we went to MK. I had no idea how she would react to anything, characters included. I figured if we could make it up Main Street without a tantrum, I would consider it a sucess. We made it all the way to Toontoon and got in line to meet Mickey. I was scared, not knowing what was going to happen. We were the last ones into the room where Mickey was. My DD was watching him, I kept thinking we would have to make a quick exit. All the other families had their turn and left. Mickey looked at my DD, I explained this was her first experience. Mickey knelt down in front of her and held out his hand. My DD took it and just starting RAMBLING on and on (I have no idea what she was saying LOL), but every now and then she would say "Lub Mickey". Everyone in the room was in tears. It was so sweet! She went on for a good 10 minutes(I got the feeling she was complaining about me :rotfl:) and Mickey just sat and listened to her. I tried to head her to the exit, and the CM stopped me. He shut down the room and told me to "take as long as I needed". Mickey gave me a "thumbs up" as well. Other CM's would come into the room and listen for a few minutes and leave with tears in their eyes. Mickey sat and "listened" to her for 45 minutes! She hugged him over and over and said "Thank you Mickey". She looked at me and said "LUB MICKEY", went back for one more hug and she was ready to go.
     
  8. pilgrimr

    pilgrimr Mouseketeer

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    Our magical moment was about 2 years ago. We went with our DS(4 at time) is moderately autistic and DD (age 2). We were waiting in line for the Character connection at Epcot. We told the CM at the entrance that our son was autistic to explain his actions (He loves the mouth and eys of the characters) and that it takes a while to get him to smile to the camera. When we went in she told the other cm the situation and stopped the line behind us. All of the characters and cm where told quitely the situation. They all played with DS and DD. We also did not feel pressure to move to the next character. The kids really enjoyed it and at one point Chip and Dale were wrestling with DS.

    We did not expect or demand the special treatment, so it was very nice that they treated my son that way. That was our first trip as our family and since then we have become Disney Fans to the extent that we just joined DVC. We know that at WDW our children will have a good time and we don't have to worry about it.
     
  9. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

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    One of the nicest things we experienced was at the castle. We were waiting to be seated and the saxophone quartet was playing Disney tunes. Christian loves music, so he was flapping and waggling his head, looking most handicapped. Cinderella came out and all the kidlets ran over to see her. We kept Christian with us because...well, he drools and shrieks and sometimes other people get turned off.

    When all the kids were gone, Cinderella walked over and just quietly sat down next to Christian. He couldn't look at her, but he would cut his eyes at her occasionally. She spoke to him softly, but did not try to touch him. In a few minutes, Christian reached over and stroked her satiny-gloved hand. Then he leaned his head over on her shoulder, still not looking at her. And she let him sit that way, Christian rubbing her arm, his head on her shoulder, for at least 10 minutes until he was ready to move on. There was not a dry eye in the house.:wizard:
     
  10. swimlib

    swimlib Mouseketeer

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    My favorite magical moment was when on an especially hot day about 15 years ago, when Splash Mtn first opened. my mom and I took my sister on it, and we weren't really sure if she would like the ride. After the big drop, my sister would not stop laughing and smiling.

    When we reached the part where you get off, the CMs asked if we enjoyed the ride and my sister looked at one of them in the eye (which is close to a miracle with the head shaking) and smiled broadly.Without another word, the CMs just sent us around again. That was one of the nicest moments we have ever had.
     
  11. mgilmer

    mgilmer <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    I swore I would not tear up today but you all made me a liar after reading this thread.
     
  12. monkeysmamma

    monkeysmamma Earning My Ears

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    We used our stroller as a wheelchair for my 4 year old on our last trip. He has autism and an immune disease that tires him out quite easily. He positively loved the Buzz Lightyear ride, and we probably rode it 10 times or more each day we were at MK. As we'd veer off the line for the wheelchair boarding, he'd start kicking his legs and waving his arms. Once when we got to the boading area, he bounced out of the stroller. The CM looked surprised, and I almost cried. He was sooo excited.

    We've been back from WDW for almost 2 months. In that time we've learned DS probably has a degenerative neuromuscular disorder. He's lost a lot of strength, and the neurologist has ordered a wheelchair for him. He's tired all the time and losing skills. It's devastating, and I thank God we did the trip. I think that was the last time I saw him so energized and happy. That mental picture of him bounding out of the stroller loops through my head everyday.
     
  13. khomer504

    khomer504 Mouseketeer DVC Gold

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    Oh my goodness, I just started reading this thread and I'm already balling. What a fabulous experience! I have nothing to share, as we are taking our first family trip next month... but it gives me such joy and hope to read these amazing stories. Thank you so much for sharing!

    I'm off to read the rest... and probably cry a lot more!

    Karen
     
  14. Bill_Lin

    Bill_Lin Grateful to God

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    Kpeveler, you did a great thing starting this thread. There is so much MORE positive than negative about WDW and disabilities.

    Those of us who are wish trippers (Wish Trippers Unite! thread) are trying to find more ways to say big thank yous to Disney and all the CMs for what they do for us.
    :wizard:
    Bill
     
  15. SereneOne

    SereneOne DIS Veteran

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    I have a couple to share, but right now I have a couple tears streaming down my face, I am so moved. Thank you all for sharing what makes Disney truly magical. :hug:
     
  16. OneLittleSpark

    OneLittleSpark A Michaelmusophobia Sufferer (please don't hate me

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    Thank you K!! This is a wonderful idea for a thread, and has made me both :goodvibes and :sad: (in a good way) at the same time!

    I can't really think of any specific stories off the top of my head, but one of the millions of reasons I love Disney so much, is that when I'm there, I can forget about the Fibro for a while. The sunshine and happiness eases the pain, and the wonderful accessibility of the place means I don't have to think about the wheelchair as much - I can just go where I want and know I'll be able get the wheelchair there!

    Ooh! Thought of a story!! When my mother and I were there in September, we met a lovely family while waiting for the light parade. They were a couple taking their Autistic niece (about 5 years old) to WDW, to give her mother some R&R time back home. Apparently they take her once or twice a year, and every time she went, she passed some wonderful milestone (as I know a lot of others here have reported, too). Anyway, while we were waiting, she was very quiet and reserved, entertaining herself by drawing in a notebook. She did eye up the decorations on my wheelchair, but didn't interact with me about them.
    As soon as the parade started, though, she lit up more than the floats! She was bouncing in her stroller, waving at all of the characters, pointing them out to her Aunt and Uncle. The characters played right up to this, with almost all of them waving right at her or blowing kisses. A lot of the walking characters came up to her, and she let them ruffle her hair or shake her hand. I found myself watching her, almost as much as I was the parade! It was as though she was suddenly a different child from the quiet, reticent little girl she had been, before the parade started. It was a lovely reminder that magic really does exist, and that they really do hand-craft it in Disney! :goodvibes
     
  17. Ppufi

    Ppufi Care Bear at Heart

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    One of my magical experiences was when I went to the Character Connection in EPCOT. While I was standing in line with my mum and sister, a CM came over and talked to us. He noticed my MAW and GKTW buttons, and immediately brought us to the front of the line. He stopped everyone else from coming in and pulled my sister and I into the center of the room and posed us with all the characters together. Then, we got to see the characters one at a time. It was truly magical to be fawned over by the characters.

    all the characters we saw we wonderful to me.
     
  18. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    All I can say so far is :thumbsup2 :goodvibes :) :lovestruc :cutie: :cloud9: :hug: :cheer2: :flower3:

    My youngest DD who has disabilities is 23 and has been to WDW at least once for every year of her life (sometimes twice!). We've had many magical moments over the years and it's hard to pick one to post - I'll pick an early one and let other people post some more stories before I post another.

    We went to WDW for the first time when my youngest DD was 11 months old. She was a cute baby with dimples and smiles for everyone - enticing strangers to come just to interact with her. In a place filled with small children, that was a pretty special skill!
    People consistently said how cute she was (which was nice) and guessed her correct age, but usually asked how premature she had been (which was not nice and really made me think, since she had been a tiny girl at birth, but was actually 2 weeks late).
    Our second trip, when youngest DD was about 32 months old was a low point in my life.
    Between the 2 trips, we had gotten a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy with so much spasticity that at her first orthopedic evaluation, the doctor wanted to perform surgery right away (at 20 months) because her hips were so tight he was sure the muscles would pull the leg bones out of her hip sockets. That just about scared us out of our wits.:scared1:
    Luckily, later in the team meeting that day, we saw the neurologist who read his notes and called him back in to see DD, who at that time was hypotonic (loose like a rag doll). Both doctors said they had never seen a child with so much variation in muscle tone before. Because of that sort of thing, no one could give us a very good idea of what the future would bring.
    The neurologist thought that DD was probably 'normal' in her cognitive development, but we had Early Childhood teachers who kept working on things DD had mastered months before. They gave us a very different picture of what the future might be.

    As we set out on our 2nd trip to WDW, we had:
    • acquired a wheelchair that weighed quite a bit more than the tiny little girl who sat in it.
    • come to the realization that if DD spoke, she would probably be very difficult to understand because of how her CP affected the muscles of her mouth, tongue and throat.
    • been told to find a new provider by the family day care provider who had taken care of DD since she was 4 months old (she said she didn't want to "get attached to DD and then maybe she would die" - to be fair, she had a DD with Cystic Fibrosis and was very overwhelmed with her care).
    • gotten negative reports from the Early Childhood teachers (although it was hard to take them seriously when they spent their time chasing my crawling DD around, trying to get her to grab a washcloth off a toy and go "Ohh" when she regularly crawled over to a cabinet in the kitchen, opened the door and looked over the pictures on the packages of cookies and crackers before deciding which one to tear open for the food inside).
    • been taught a list of stretching and flexibility exercises by her OT and PT (who were great). We had to somehow fit those into our day of touring

    Our first day was MK and we expected wonderful things there. During our first trip at 11 months, DD was a good baby, quiet, smiley and observant. We figured at 2 1/2 she would love MK with all the music and colors and activity.:banana:

    Boy, were we wrong.:sad2:
    She hated everything.
    Snow White's Scary Adventures scared my oldest DD, so of course, youngest DD was scared too.
    She didn't like the motion of things like Dumbo.
    She didn't like the drop in Pirates (although she didn't mind the dark). She didn't like the music and spent the ride with her thumb in her mouth to comfort herself (something we saw a lot of).
    The worst was at Small World, where she not only had her thumb in her mouth, but also somehow arranged her arms so that she could cover her eyes and ears at the same time as she sucked her thumb - plus, she twirled her hair in her fingers. (Although, I had to admire the mastery of her fine motor deficits it took for her to do that!):laughing:
    I felt very depressed, thinking my DD did not even have the attention needed for the short things aimed at entertaining children - how would she get along in life?
    We left MK feeling low and expected the same for our visit to Epcot. In fact, we expected worse, because Epcot had much longer rides, aimed at older kids and adults.

    But, we were soooooo wrong.:)

    Our first ride was Spaceship Earth and she not only didn't suck her thumb, she paid attention to what was happening in the ride. It seemed like the ride car turning to face each scene, with the rest of the surroundings dark was much easier for her than the
    constant and varying STIMULATION of the MK was.
    When we got to the 'top' of the globe at Spaceship Earth and the song, Tomorrow's Child began, I started bawling :sad1: (this version has the song, but the pictures and narration are from the next version of the attraction).

    It seemed like everything about that song was being sung just for me. The music was beautiful and the words were hopeful. That song made me feel like there was a bright future for my youngest DD that had not been there the day before.

    Over and over that day at Epcot, we saw glimpses of the potential DD had. The child who did not have the attention for the short things at MK was thoroughly enjoying the long attractions at Ecpot.
    Many of the attractions that gave us hope that day are gone, only entries on pages like WaltDatedWorld. and on old youtube videos.
    Most of the things we saw that day that gave us such hope no longer exist:
    Even now, as I am watching youtube videos to find ones to post, youngest DD is listening in the other room, occasionally laughing or signing something to me.
    We left our second trip to WDW with precious little sparks of hope and imagination.
    I have bittersweet memories of our second WDW trip; the euphoria and hope of that trip were replaced with not so positive progress, but progress nevertheless. Our DD's present is not as bright as her future looked on that long ago trip, but she has surpassed a lot of the bad prognosis we were given. She is most of the time happy, knows what she wants and although she doesn't have spoken language, she uses her 'body language' in very ingenious and effective ways.
    Sometimes our world gets us down and we really, REALLY,REALLY need our dose of Disney Magic.:wizard:

    That's why we keep going back.
     
  19. angelbearmom

    angelbearmom Mouseketeer

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    I've already shared about my ds visit to DW a few years ago but would now like to share my experience with dd. We went to DL 10 years ago with MAW. DD was severely disabled, mostly blind and supposedly unaware of her surroundings as she had almost no brain. When we first talked about getting her a wish her original pediatrician had said she'd get nothing out of it, get sick and no one would want to treat her. We later got a new ped and one of the first things I asked him was if he'd support her going to DL. He knew that I knew that yes she could get sick but she might not. I'd done a bit of traveling with her and found that she was often jumpy on the first day of a trip. So we scheduled nothing for our first day. Well, there was no jumpiness what so ever and the minute she saw the DL sign she lit up (supposedly blind child) and was as happy as could be every minute we were there. She knew exactly where she was. My best memory of the trip was a private meeting with Mickey. We'd been out late to see Fantasmic the night before and dd was mad at having been woken up. MM was trying to get her to smile and she refused. He then took off the brakes on her wc and started dancing with her in her chair. She finally gave him a huge smile.

    Our trip was truly magical. She died almost exactly 2 years later
     
  20. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    :hug:
     
  21. Bill_Lin

    Bill_Lin Grateful to God

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    For more pixie dust, read my TR, but I want to say this. Our Princess was born with a virulent form of cancer that had killed her half-sister and at least one person in every generation of her maternal line. She advance to stage 4 cancer before her many surgeries and chemo. But there is good news.

    Our little Sugar Baby is still living the magic of her Wish Trip last September. She got to fulfill her dream of meeting Cinderella by having brunch in the Castle, thanks to CM Jeff who made the last minuter arrangements THAT day. She was so thrilled with all of the love and support and red carpet treatment by CMs in all 4 parks. She got to do all the rides on her list, and believed in ALL the magic 100%. She danced in the Lion King Festival.

    About 2 weeks after we got back we got the news that she was 100% cancer free and officially in remission. This may sound weird but I believe that the Pixie Dust of CMs helps heal. Think about that for a moment.


    Thank you is far too little to say.:wizard:
     

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