Re: Pacemaker and GAC

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Majkman, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Majkman

    Majkman Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    90
    I think I'll hang out over here in the disAbilities section, because I know Suw from MN, can be very informative as other moderators, and not get flamed badly for my concerns.

    I am 46 years old and will be making my 45th venture to the Happiest Place on Earth. This April is 42nd anniversary of my open heart surgery. The last 10 years I have been through 4 pacemakers. Of course the rides that I do ride have all the warning signs, and I walk right past them as I have done so for decades.

    The concern that I have is the heat and the long exposure that I may be thru in June. I would like to qualify for a GAC card, but not at the expense of not being able to ride the thrill rides. I'm more concerned about the lengthy lines in the heat.

    I guess I would just go to Guest relations and explain my situations, with the understanding that I've ridden these rides since I was a kid and would like to continue to do so. Would I need a doctor's note? I certainly have proof of the pacemakers.

    The rides are exciting and I've ridden them hundreds of times before, but the thrill rides discourage those with heart ailments, and I can see the representative banning me from those.


    oh, what to do,

    Have a MAGICAL DAY,

    Andy
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. LockShockBarrel

    LockShockBarrel Pudge controls the weather.

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,144
    The warnings are there as just that, warnings. They aren't there as restrictions like height. However it's my understanding that by bordering a ride with a warning against it's advice (neck/back problems, heart trouble, pregnancy) you are in effect saying "I see this warning and choose to go against it, therefore I accept the responsibility of anything that may happen in regards to my medical issues."

    There isn't really a GAC for heat, only an accomedation to wait in a covered line and nearly all of the queues are covered. Most of the sun and heat exposure you will encounter will be between rides and waiting in other lines, such as those for character greetings or food carts. A GAC does not restrict someone from a ride in any way. Someone could get a GAC to avoid stairs but it wouldn't prevent them from riding anything so long as they were able to board the ride vehicle.

    Having the pacemaker does not qualify you for a GAC, just like autism, ADHD, diabetes, etc does not qualify you. It is not based on diagnosis, but on what accomedations you would need. You do not need a doctor's note, you need to be able to explain clearly to a CM an accomedation that would help you. For instance "I had knee surgery" will not explain "I need to avoid stairs and need moving walkways stopped to safely board a ride vehicle".

    I would say based on my experience reading through these boards and my experience in the park that planning and FPs will help you more than anything, that absolutely you can try to get the GAC to help with covered lines but I don't think you'll find you need to use it much, and that (not to sound rude) if you choose to ignore the warnings posted at the rides, it's all on you.
     
  4. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2001
    Messages:
    38,605
    1. They will not ban you from anything. The warnings are warnings, not something stronger.

    2. The only time a person is not allowed on a ride is if they present a danger to other Guests.

    3. You do not need any sort of "proof", including a doctor's note, to get a GAC.

    4. You have to explain your needs and they will issue a GAC that will best suit your needs.

    5. A GAC is not intended to allow you to skip lines, and of course does not affect the distance between attractions.
     
  5. disneylandkitkat

    disneylandkitkat Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    439
    I have a premium anual pass. I go almost every weekend. I have had open heart surgery twice and a stint once. They will give u a stamp with a wheel chair on it. Pretty much u get all of the perks of being in a wheel chair with out actually having one. At disneyland alot of ride are shorter waits but some are longer but have an alternative wait area if you want. At DCA how it is all wheel chair assesible the card doesn't help much there BUT U CAN MENSION IF STAIRS ARE A PROBLEM THEY WILL GIVE U A STAMP THAT WILL HELP IF THE RIDE HAS STAIRS. They will let u ride all the rides. It will not have what ur exact problem is on the card. I ride every ride every weekend noone has ever told me I couldn't ride a certain ride because I have a GAC.
     
  6. dclfun

    dclfun DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,671
    Please do not post what stamp someone *can* get. The OP needs to explain needs, not ask for a particular stamp which may or may not even be available.
     
  7. Majkman

    Majkman Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    90
    Thank you disneylandkitkat for the information. I was initially looking to nsee what, and if there would POSSIBLY be options that MIGHT be given to me by Guest Services that wouldn't restrict my ability to ride the rides I choose to.

    I'm glad someone understands the daily grinds and headaches that are associated with our disabilities.

    For those who don't understand, heart disease is just that....a disability. Eating right, exercising, watching less TV, not riding thrill rides.....none of that will cure it. Certain things can slow the process down, other things, such as extended time in the sun, drinking too much alcohol, seditary lifestyles do contribute to it.

    It's not contagious, you won't catch it by touching a door handle after I do, I can assure you that I won't hurt anybody. I was just looking for information, that if I choose to aid my visit to WDW, would a trip to Guest relations be a waste of time.

    I of course started my original post by stating I wasn't looking to start a flame, but there are those who feel the need to have their opinions heard whether it answers the questions or not. Too bad.:sad2:
     
  8. utterrandomness

    utterrandomness Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    163
    I don't think people were trying to flame you, or to say that heart disease isn't a disability, they were merely stating that you do not need a diagnosis to get a GAC, you just need to tell them what you need.

    I'm glad that you found this board to be a helpful place.
     
  9. deegack

    deegack DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2,071
    exactly, I read all the replies and none of them seem in anyway a flame, just an explanation of how the process works. I mean DD has CP but just saying that to a CM won't tell them what her needs are. They are different for every person.
     
  10. LockShockBarrel

    LockShockBarrel Pudge controls the weather.

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,144
    I did not flame you or insinuate that you don't have a disability. I explained how the process worked, and most of it was information you can find in the GAC FAQs. I don't appreciate you implying that I don't "get it".
     
  11. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Messages:
    3,157
    I also don't see any flaming. People are just tyring to help you understand what guest services is going to say when you get there. You say you are more concerned with lengthy lines in the heat, and people are just asking - what are you going to do the other 90% of your day when you're walking to and from rides, going to and from buses, etc etc. The line time is only a fraction of time spent in the park and there is no GAC that will prevent you from being in the heat all the rest of the day.

    Take a peek at sue's sticky note at the top of this forum and then read post #6 for everything you need to know about a GAC. :)
     
  12. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2001
    Messages:
    21,235
    Do a daydream, pretending you are touring through the park normally, minding your own business.

    At what time or place would you expect you would have trouble* continuing on?

    This is when you think of the need for a Guest Assistance Card. The card will be stamped or marked so CM's looking at the card can direct you or assist you in getting around the specific trouble. Such as stairs.

    CMs may not stop you from riding at all simply because of your GAC.

    * If the trouble is running out of energy or stamina while walking, Guest Relations will suggest that you get a wheelchair as the first remedy. Simply having a wheelchair does not require having a GAC. With rare exceptions, no remedies are entertained or granted when the trouble is having to defer to a later time your getting on a ride because there are other guests waiting.
     
  13. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Reserving the right to make jokes out of typos - b

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    37,690
    Very respectfully, not having a particular disability doesn't mean people don't understand it, don't believe it's a genuine disability, or don't empathize with the disabled person.

    Especially on THIS forum.

    As others have said, Guest Assistance Cards are stamped based on the assignee's needs, not diagnosis or condition. Different people with pacemakers likely have different needs.

    But there's no GAC that will shorten the distance between attractions or lessen the amount of time you spend out in the heat and sun getting from one ride or show to another. It's interesting that Disneyland apparently does things a certain way, but you're not going there. It makes more sense to take advice from Walt Disney World regulars :).
     
  14. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 1999
    Messages:
    30,216
    To clarify 2 things:

    GAC CARD STAMPS:
    The reason it was advised not to ask for a specific card is that describing your needs will help the CM issung the card know what you need and give you something that will help to meet them. Asking for a "wheelchair card" at WDW is going to let you avoid stairs, but since most attractions are wheelchair accessible thru the regular queue, it will not shorten your distance or even necessarily keep you in a cooler or less sunny spot.

    Using a wheelchair entrance is not a "perk" as an earlier poster called it. Wheelchair entrances are there because the regular line is not wheelchair accessible in some way, so there is a different way in for guests to get around that. At Disneyland, many of the attractions were not built with accessibility in mind and there was not much space, so many attractions have regular entrances that are not accessible and there was not space to make them accessible.
    DCA was built with accessible lines (called Mainstream Lines) , which was why the poster who wrote about that stamp said it "doesn't help much there."

    WDW has the blessing of space, so even at MK and Epcot, where not all attractions were originally built to be accessible thru the main line, most were changed to become accessible.
    MOST attractions at all of the WDW parks have Mainstream lines. This means the ones that don't have Mainstream lines may actually have a longer wait because anyone with mobility devices has no choice - they have to use that area because the regular way is not accessible.
    And, where there is an impediment, such as stairs, in most cases, guests wait in the regular line. The 'pull off point' for guests to get around it is just before the impediment or just before boarding, not going in the exit or an alternative entrance.
    In some cases, the wheelchair access will go around something that matters to you, such as stairs. In other cases, it won't matter to you because the point of the wheelchair access is to get a mobility device to the unload side of a track.

    DISABILITIES:
    This may muddy the waters more, but please hang on until the end and it should be clearer.
    A heart condition is not a disability.
    Neither is Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Asthma, COPD, Cancer, Autism, Diabetes or any other condition or disease anyone can name.

    They are all conditions that can CAUSE or RESULT in disability that limits life activities, but just having the condition does not necessarily mean there are any disabilities connected with it. That is not just me saying it, that is how the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is written.
    For any condition, there are ranges. Some people with heart disease have no disability and get thru their regular life without problems.
    That's me. I do have a heart condition which causes my heart rate to accelerate to a high level and I get short of breath with certain activity; basically climbing more than one flight of stairs or going up a long, steep ramp. Those things are easy to avoid, so I do to have any disability.
    When I was pregnant, with the extra stress of pregnancy, I was not able to walk 100 feet without problem, despite being on medication to try to help the symptoms. So during pregnancy, I did have a disability related to heart disease.

    My youngest daughter has Cerebral Palsy.
    One of her doctors when she was little also had CP. In his case, it caused weakness in one leg, that he dealt with by using a brace on that leg. His CP did not affect his ability to function, so he did not consider it a disability.
    In my DD's case, her CP causes some muscles to be very tight and others to be very loose. As a result of that, she can't walk, stand up or sit without support. As another result, she can't speak and needs assistance with fine motors skills like eating. Those are some of the disabilities associated with her CP.

    This is not to say that any condition or disease doesn't exist, is not serious or doesn't cause disabilities. Just that, pretty much whatever condition someone mentions can be anywhere on that spectrum from no disability associated with it to severe disability. Just mentioning the condition does not say what the disability or needs are, so there is a lot of room for misundestanding and people may not get their needs met.
     
  15. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2000
    Messages:
    2,889

    :thumbsup2 Exactly! I have had most of the same "conditions" for most or all of my life. Sure, I had "bad days," but for the most part I was very active. As I have aged (and added a few new challenges due to degeneration and a stroke,) things have changed for me. I can no longer walk further than 30 feet, stand for more than 5 minutes, etc. I, too, have a congenital heart condition (2 valves in the heart don't quite function correctly and I have some "backwash" that can cause shortness of breath and fatigue.) I coped with it better in my younger days :lmao: but now I use wheels in my everyday life!

    Just telling a CM what conditions I have would be of no use. Telling what I need in order to have a "good" day is what I do to get the help I need!
     
  16. I Love Pluto

    I Love Pluto DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>I guess that make

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,986
    I do agree with the last few statements. I have had the same disabilities for my entire life. I have only needed a GAC for them for the last 5 years.

    I especially like the advice given by seashoreCM. Do a mental walk through the park. What is difficult for you? That's what you need a GAC for. :thumbsup2
     
  17. disneylandkitkat

    disneylandkitkat Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    439
    It seems like alot of people think u are walking though the park like a normal person. With heart dissease I sit on a bench in the shade go on a ride most of the time sit while in the line. Get off the ride have to sit some more then walk to the train go around a couple time finnally go on another ride then start the process again with heart problems ur not walking around the park going on ride after ride. I do agree with the op people can be so rude.
     
  18. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    7,040
    I must say, I have never read anything so succinct and easy to understand. I dont' think I've ever heard anything explained so perfectly.
     
  19. smidgy

    smidgy dimples

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    7,040
    people are not rude. they are trying to help us. they are explaining what exactly a GAC is.

    they are saying that a person needs to go to guest services and communicate to the CM exactly what it is they need that may be different from what the ordinary guest experiences.

    the poster who tried (in a rather unique way, I might add) to help out by saying "do a daydream, pretend you are touring through the park normally. what do you need?
    was only trying to help...
    hubby and I were talking just yesterday about whether or not we will get a GAC for his low vision. and we talked about each ride and/or attraction, and what it would or would not do for us.
    seashoreCM was not insinuating that you are walking throught the park like a normal person. she meant to imagine walking through the park,like normal FOR YOU, and think: what do YOU need?
    the people on the disabilites board are very helpful.
     
  20. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Reserving the right to make jokes out of typos - b

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    37,690
    Nobody's being rude. People are being factual. It's regrettable that you see rudeness where there's none.

    The entire Disneyland Resort is about the same size as Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Magic Kingdom is 23% larger than Disneyland.

    • Everything is more spread out.
    • There's more walking between attractions.
    • Few, if any, queues require waiting out in the heat/sun.
    • While a GAC with a place to sit and wait might help the OP once he's at the attraction and based on his needs, it's not going to help him get between the attractions.
    • Getting between the attractions is more stressful and requires more stamina than waiting in the lines.
    • Disney's advice regarding stamina issues is for the affected person to use a wheelchair or ECV - and I guarantee this will not compel the CMs to ban the OP from riding.
     
  21. Isabel57

    Isabel57 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    [​IMG]Would I need a doctor's note? I certainly have proof of the pacemakers.
     

Share This Page