DAS After Car Accident

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by esilanna, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. esilanna

    esilanna Earning My Ears

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    Long story short, last summer I was in a really bad car accident. Since then, I have problems with PTSD, anxiety, and dissociative issues. I haven't been back to WDW since all of these issues began. I see a therapist regularly who has issues of her own and loves Disney, and she recommended I try the DAS pass. I had never heard of this before, so I've been creeping through the boards trying to read up.

    I will be in Disney in about a week (yay!) and have been there before, so it is familiar territory for me. What I am honestly terrified about though is that crowds, tight spaces, and occasional loud crashes/bangs can bring on panic attacks and it's happened to me recently at concerts and whatnot. I'm really scared about being crammed in a line, crowd, seating area, etc. and start to panic and need to leave. I'm mostly worried about enclosed lines that are inside, like the Splash Mountain queue for example. It is just my partner and myself going, so we can't really create a border around me on lines. I am also scared of even asking for the DAS pass itself because of my anxiety, and I don't want to waste anyone else's time who have greater issues to deal with.

    WDW is my happy place and I'm scared of having a full on freak-out, especially in such a public place. I would really appreciate any and all help regarding the DAS pass, quiet areas, panic attack escape routes, etc. It would really make this experience a thousand times better for me.
     
  2. PatMcDuck

    PatMcDuck DIS Veteran

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    I think you should ask for one. It may help, but it will not help 100%. For example, you would still enter Space Mt on that long dark line, it would just move along quicker (probably and hopefully). It is not going to make it perfectly stress free, but it may be of assistance.
     
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  4. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    I would go to GR and talk to them about your needs and your concerns about being in line. You can even write things down in your own words and just say I have some needs in line I wrote them down because I have a hard time talking out loud can you read this ( or something like this() this not needs to be from you and not your therapist or dr.

    With the DAS you will be given a return time that is equal to the wait time -10 minutes you will then enter the FP line and however long the FP line is is how long you will have to wait ( most of the time it is 10 minutes).

    here are things I do
    I would have the other person you are with stand behind you in lines so this will give you a little space ( I go with a friend all the time and she does this for me and it really does help)

    I also have a backpack that is pretty full of medical things food extra this also helps people not being able to stand so close behind me.

    I got one of the cooling towels and will put it over my head to block out visual stimulation, and sunglasses

    getting out of line can be very hard

    all put more down later but have to go...
     
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  5. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    First of all, congratulations on returning to Disney World after your accident! I fully understand; I was involved in an accident this past January that broke multiple bones on the right side of my body, and I just recently "graduated" from PT!

    So, as of today, I'm staring down the barrel of an impromptu "girls only" (the best kind LOL) trip next month, for the first time since my accident as well. And I get it - there's a part of me that for a long time was worried about some of the same things you are.

    But here's what I realized, and it made me feel so much better: I already *know* Disney World. I know what to expect. I know where the loud sounds can be expected (fireworks, certain rides, shows, etc) and I know how the lines work. I'm not trying anything new this trip - I'm sticking to the tried and true.

    My strategy for loud sounds and sharp noises? Those little foamy in-ear earplugs. They won't block out everything, but they will help with fireworks and other loud, boomy sounds. You could wear them all the time if you decided to, until you see how you do. It may be that because you are in a familiar place, and you know what to expect that you won't need them - but having them in case you do need them might be a good idea.

    Remember that when you go to Guest Relations to talk about your DAS that you don't have to talk about anything other than *how* using it will help you. You don't have to talk about the accident, or your injuries or how you feel. You just have to explain HOW the DAS will help you. You can practice talking about it - maybe role play with your partner! :) We can't give you a "script" or suggested verbiage; that's against the rules here. But do practice explaining HOW it will help. And I want you to remember that we are ALL Guests at WDW, and NO ONE is more important, or has greater issues than anyone else! :)

    Additionally, it's just my adult daughter and I. We were talking today over lunch about how we are going to handle lines; she is going to stand *behind* me, and then I can let people move ahead of me (just a bit, just enough) and create the "bubble" that I have talked about in many posts around here before. The "bubble" will give me just enough personal space that I won't feel like I'm being too enclosed, or that someone could bump one of my injury sites that are still tender. So, first strategy: Have your partner stand *behind* you in lines, then allow the person ahead of you to move forward just a bit, just enough, and create your own personal "bubble"!

    Indoor lines you can use the same strategy. If the queue is too dark, then you can light the way with your phone or a small flashlight - just try to keep the light in an area where it won't disturb another Guest. We LOVE the PeopleMover, but one of our family members can't ride it because it gets too inky dark for them, but they turn their phone on, and shine it down at their feet, and look at their feet until that part is over. It's not perfect, but it lets them see *something* and it doesn't detract too much from the experience for everyone else.

    The First Aid locations in every park can be your "escape hatch" where you can go to have some quiet. You can even ask to lay down in a dark area, and they will do their best to help you. Make sure you grab a Park map at the entrance of each Park, and then circle where First Aid is, so that you can find it easily if you need to.

    I always carry clean, cotton bandanas (I love the colorful ones!) that are folded up, in a zip-lock bag that has all the air sqooshed out of it. I can fold one to put over my eyes if I need a break, or I can dip it in ice water to cool off. They have lots of uses - mop up sweat, tie up your hair in a ponytail, hold small items tied up in a bundle... Can you tell I used to be a Girl Scout leader? :)

    One of my favorite quiet places at MK is that little side street off of Main Street (to the right, as you walk towards the Castle from the train station). It's so lovely down in there, with all of the potted flowers, and the beautiful architecture! Similarly, in Italy/World Showcase at Epcot, there is a quiet spot on the left as you enter the main pavilion space, behind the first store, where there are some stairs you can sit on, and it's back out of the way. Morocco pavilion has several quiet little spots, not the least of which is the little jewel-box of a museum - and it's air conditioned too! :) At AK, I think it's easier to find little quiet shady areas, I don't worry about it nearly as much. Hollywood Studios is probably the most difficult, but there are still little spots to look for that are a bit off the main thoroughfares. And Guest Relations at each Park usually has benches inside in the AC where you can sit for a minute - if they ask, just let them know you need to take a break in the AC. They won't care, I promise! :) Your partner can also be on the lookout as you move through the parks for little quiet, out of the way spots to come back to if needed. Let your partner help by putting them in charge of this part of your trip! :)

    We have a couple of family members who have anxiety issues, and one of the things that we found that works to help - oddly enough - is a standard dose of Tylenol (or your preferred over the counter pain relief). The therapist who told us about this years ago explained that for some folks, that can help take the edge off. It's not a full-on solution, but it can make a difference. It does for our family; they take their Tylenol when we leave the Resort in the morning, and every 8 hours until we get back to the Resort for the night. :) Obviously, this is something to discuss with a medical professional first; not everyone can take OTC pain meds.

    Last for today, but certainly not least is this idea: You can always rent a standard wheelchair, and use it to help create a personal zone. You can sit it in if you need a place to sit down (remember that there sometimes won't be a place to sit just because you need one, so it might be good to plan ahead) and if you don't need to use it right then, you can push it and it helps create a "buffer" zone (or a bubble!) ahead of you as you walk. A "Rollator" will also do the same thing.

    I know it's feeling kind of scary and stressful right now, but let's both try and think about our happiest times at Disney World - and how we soon will be back there! If you think of a strategy or find something that works for you on your trip, I would love to hear about it too! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  6. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    OK just too add a few things from my first post.

    if sound bothers you earplugs/ earbuds with some music also works great.

    smells can be a great help I have heard orange can reduce stress by 30/35% I have those https://www.amazon.com/Plant-Therap...33252905&sr=8-3&keywords=aromatherapy+inhaler

    aromatherapy inhaler you can not smell them unless they are like 1/4-1/2 inch. from your nose, I bring 2-3 with me orange, peppermint( I get headaches quite often some this one really helps) and then another one. for me this is one of the things that help me the most often times it gives me a few extra minutes in a line or crowded area and that is most of the time all I need.

    I also bring something to do with my hands so I do not look around me at all the people I can focus on what is in my head and the people feet right in front of me when the people feet in front of me overs I move. Some of the things I use for this is silly putty, stress balls ( I normally have a very soft one and a harder one) fidget spinner ( I have one that lights up) flow rings, glow stick and sometimes I will play a game on my phone ( Disney has a new app for a game you can play in line that they came out with on my last trip)

    quiet place- keep your eye out for quite places when you are walking around so you can know where you can go if you need too.

    if all else fails and you are in the middle of an I have to get out of this area and you can not find a quiet place if you see a CM ask then or have your friend they normally can help you find a place ( I have been taken backstage by manager on a number of occasions when I was in a full out meltdown, not saying this will happen to you but nominally CM know where the closest quiet area is and can point you in the right direction) I have also found that just sitting off the side of the walkway ( make sure you are out of the way) and putting up a small umbrella listing to music often give me the space I need to regroup and move on with my day. and this reminds me I often bring a handheld fan to keep cool or to have a breeze for when I go in my cocoon ( use my umbrella when I am sitting. I really do not want to say where my quiet area is because one day they are really good and the next they are really crowded

    like @mamabunny said first aid is great for when you just need to get away and also a wheelchair can give you space if you need it you can use it as a walker going from thing to thing and when you get in line you can sit and have your friend push you.

    I hope some of this helped and you have a great trip.

    and if you end of in a panic attack the CM are great at helping I can not tell you how many I have had at Disney and not one CM said anything mean to me in fact they all have been beyond nice and have know how to hand me ( they do go through training on this and it shows) one CM at the MK saw me on her day off at HS when we where getting on TOT she said that she remembers me from the day before and asked how I was doing she was so nice. any ways the CM are great at disney and they really do go above and beyond when it comes to helping guest ( but you also need to help you self too)
     
  7. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    I usually respond whenever someone posts their concern about bringing their anxiety disorder to WDW. I have had a pretty severe anxiety problem for about 17 years now and have maybe a few observations of mine will help.
    1. For me at least, my anxiety treats WDW very much like a completely different world. It is one of the very few places I feel safe and comfortable in by default. I've had a lot of time to ponder on this and I think the largest reason for this is that most of my anxiety is anti-social. This might not be a very intuitive explanation, but my anxiety comes from interacting with people but at WDW even though there are so many people they are all so very self absorbed that I can let them fade into the back ground. I'm serious. Most of the people in that crowd don't even see me. Just stand still on a sidewalk and within 10 minutes a family with their face in a map will walk right into you. Everyone in that park has leveraged a great sum of time, effort, and money to be there and they simply don't care about me at all; which I find wonderful.
    2. Talk to your doctors about adjusting your medication for the duration of your vacation. In most cases your dose of anxiolytics is titrated to provide you with support against your normal daily load of stressors. They want you to bear up on some of it yourself to develop the ability and ultimately reduce your need for medication over time. And that's a great strategy, but this is a vacation. Just like a sensible diet is a great strategy 350 days out of the year, but you leave that at home when you go on vacation.

      If I were even a little concerned about having an anxiety or panic attack at WDW (and I often have been concerned) I would (and have) get a big bottle of benzos to bring with me. 9 times out of 10, just having a klonopin in my pocket is all the 'lucky feather' I need to get through the day. When just having it with me is not enough, tucking a 1mg kpin under my tongue is enough to get me through most anything.
    3. Getting a DAS can help, but I'm a lot like you on the subject of asking for one. It's a lot of putting yourself on display and feeling very vulnerable. I have a fellow Disney fan friend who says it's easier to go up to guest services alone to request a DAS. This seems counterintuitive but, she says, up there alone there isn't anyone whose opinion of her matters. It's unfortunate that asking for an accommodation for one's disability should cause one to feel self-conscious or ashamed but human emotion is a funny beast. I personally get a lot of emotional support from my wife and value having her close at times like that. To each their own.
    4. I've only taken a DAS once and it honestly didn't help me a great deal. Perhaps owing to my wifes great trip planning skills, there was rarely an attraction we wished to see that we did not have a FP for.
    5. Creating space around you while in line does not require a full entourage. Think about it like this... At least in a single file line, the pressure to crowd you will come entirely from behind you. As the line progresses, the people ahead of you walk away from you. Put your partner behind you in such lines and if necessary, have him/her stand with a hand on each parallel rail. Then put a shoulder's width or two between you and your friend and voilà, you have your bubble.
    6. A couple attractions have 'crowd in' lines or line sections. There are a few tricks for handling these.
      • Haunted Mansion is one such ride.
        • After the queue, guests are directed to mob up to the door and then when let in they are advised to crowd into the room inside. What you want to do (or have your mate do) is approach the person where the orderly line changes over to 'crowd up' or the Cast member at the door to the mansion well before it is your turn to crowd up.
        • Do this between loads of guests so you are not interrupting their flow, HM CMs get cranky. You're going to ask if, when it is your turn to crowd up you can wait to the side and then be let in as the last guest entering the ride, or wait until the following group and be allowed to load first. Give them this 'ask' first then give them a reason. You can say it's an anxiety thing but I've found more than once in this situation that you may get an eye-roll and an "I'm sorry".
        • Tell them you have a vision problem, perhaps a peripheral vision disorder and loading the ride with crowds of people on either side of you tends to get you a bit 'jostled' and you would hate to step on someone's foot or stumble.
        • Usually they will let you load last. This is perfect. You load the room with no one pushing at your back and exit the room the same. At which point everyone queue back up single-file to load into the Doom Buggies. Eventually the next room full of guests will unload into the space behind you, but like before just put your wingman behind you and let the guest ahead of you step forward and away from you.
        • If they agree to load you first in a group, ask to be pointed to the wall of the room that opens. Now tuck yourself into the corner by that wall and put your wingman on guard duty. It's not perfect but it helps.
      • Crowding up seems more common with shows than rides.
        • The goal is to pick a spot in the 'holding area' where you will be most comfortable and get a Cast Member to let to go there. Someplace near the door you will eventually rush through or near the back of the crowd so you can go through the door last. Someplace in the corner you can tuck into while your wingman stands in front to provide a tiny bit of breathing room.
        • Approach the CM early and at a time when they are not directly busy with guests. Even better is to flag down a superfluous CM and explain your need. Not always an extra CM handy but when there is you can often explain the situation to them without the impatience of a CM who's working like mad to keep the guests moving.
    7. If a line is long and you are getting a bit dodgy but think a couple minute breather would help, leave your partner in line and bounce for a few minutes. No one cares. If you are worried about it, just ~get something in your eye~ and have to run briefly to the restroom.
      • Stop the first CM you see on the way out of the line and tell them you have something in your eye and do they know where the nearest bathroom is.
      • Go find a few square feet of sidewalk you can call your own and breath some free air. You can head back in a couple minutes or wait it out.
      • To wait till the last minute
        • have wingman txt you when he/she is a couple minutes from the end of the line.
        • Go to the beginning of the line and tell them you had to quit the line to get something out of your eye but they said you could come right back to the rest of your group. Say that the rest of your group is near the end of the line and what is the best way to get with them. Dismiss any skepticism (there probably will not be any) by saying the CM near your party helped you leave the line and said you could return and you promise you're not trying to jump the line. Everyone will smile and then they'll send you up the fastpass queue to the head of the line where a CM will reunite you with your friend, now near the head of the line.
    8. I recommend taking at least one table service meal each day. Skip the buffets. this will give you an hour or two break where you can just enjoy some space around you. And eat. of course.
    9. The absolute worst part of every day can be the end of it. If you wait until the end of the day, the mass of humanity exiting the parks is staggering. I won't even go into how badly WDW guests perform in basic sidewalk etiquette (another day, another post) but it is all on display during the mass exodus that begins after the fireworks show and throttles up to insanity as the last hour or so of sand falls from the glass. Ugh. It's so bad I've gone poetic.
      • I fully recommend exiting the park ahead of the fireworks.
      • If you drove to the park, your options are limited to whatever gets you from the park entrance to your car.
      • If not, then assess the transportation options to your hotel and decide on whether or not to take an Uber.
        • If you are at MK
          • you can't pick up an Uber at the park but must go to the TTC first.
          • This works, but often the monorail to the TTC is packed solid at this time of day, often with a line. The Ferry boat is another option with similar issues and a seriously huge 'crowd up' area to deal with.
          • What I do is look for the least busy transportation option that will take me to a nearby resort.
            • Coming right out of MK there are little "Launches" that go to the resorts across the lake. These sometimes have very little wait and often are not filled to capacity.
            • The monorail to the resorts is often not packed solid yet.
          • Get yourself to a resort then walk through the lobby to its entrance and call an Uber to you there.
    There you go. Some advice that's practical and (I hope) useful. You'll be okay. You'll have fun. Push yourself just a little. Accept that there will be things you cannot do and, for the time, allow them to 'be' without you. Take care of yourself. And. Don't be afraid to cheat a little if that's what it takes to get what's fair.
     
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  8. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

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    I just wanted to say WOW - that's such a great post. I don't ever remember seeing it before but it's worth adding to the stickie for this board in my opinion.

    I don't have the same issue but I had a head (brain injury) from a bicycle accident a few years ago and I had some of the same issues - although not with the anxiety so much but just the constant barrage of stimulation and trying to focus on doing one thing (hard to explain). I found Disney to be one place I can really enjoy because I was so very familiar with it before the accident that there wasn't so much learning curve of figuring out something new. I also rent an ECV (really bad knees - was bad before the accident and that didn't help!) - and that actually has worked well for me too since I can go some place out of the way and park the scooter and just sit and hang out... watch the crowds go by, etc. One place that is fun to sit is in the MK back near Gaston's Tavern where he comes out to greet people. His interactions with guests can be very amusing.

    Perhaps renting a WC (if OP has someone to push) would also give her some space - sometimes the queuing area for WC's is quieter I've found since it's away from the crowds. I'm not sure driving an ECV would be a good idea but it's always possible to rent a WC and use it when you need it and park it when you don't. I often park my ECV when my knees are feeling ok - and use it for longer distances.

    I totally agree with booking TS meals - as much as you can. It takes away so much stress of having to line up and then find a seat. Some QS place like the Pinocchio Village Haus in the MK - is the stuff of nightmares when it's crowded. It's always good to eat at "off times" for QS if you can (early or late lunch).
     
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  9. esilanna

    esilanna Earning My Ears

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    I can’t express enough gratitude for these replies. As excited as I am for this trip, I’ve also been a ball of anxiety about it as well and these answers are already helping tremendously.
    I think I may try the DAS pass, but I’m not sure if it will be a huge help. I think it would feel better for me to have it than to not. I’m more comfortable having my partner go up with me especially because they keep me centered.
    And it’s very true that most people there don’t care at all about everyone else. I guess I’ve never really thought of it like that. I’m going to try to remind myself of that while I’m there, that literally no one cares what I’m doing. Hopefully that itself can take the edge off a bit. Much of my anxiety is general, but much of it is anti-social as well.
    I’m going to familiarize myself with the first aid stations, I’ve been to WDW like 15 times but never felt the need to go in there. Looks like times are changing, haha. As for the wheelchair, I feel like it would draw attention to myself and I’d like to avoid that as much as possible. I’ve had my own experiences in the parks around people who judge others in WCs or ECVs because they don’t “look injured”, and I don’t think my anxiety can handle that criticism or confrontation even when I know the scope of my own problems.

    Again, I really appreciate all of the help. I was really anxious about even posting this thread, and your understanding means the world.
     
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  10. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    If you get to Gr and can not talk do not know what to say your friend can talk for you so you might want to go over what your concerns are with your friend before getting to Disney

    Also please do not feel you have to say you have a disability that you do not have in order to get something ( this is wrong on so many levels and it hurts those that have this disability) if you have problem accessing a ride let the CM know your concerns and they will help you ( i skip the stretching room at the HM and go through the exit every time I go to the HM and my disability is similar to yours )

    If you need a wheelchair get one. I go with a friend that used an ECV she Hs to walk sit so often I use the ECV in line. I am healthy in 30 and someone last week thought I was in high school so I look young no one had said a word when I use the ECV. if someone does say something you can do what another one of my friends say when she looked at someone that made a comment to her about her using a wheelchair she looled at them for a few seconds kind of confused and say well you do not look stupid so I guess we both hide outlet disability quite well. But really no one will care.

    I see you are staying at AKL that hotel is so relaxing I got to stay there for a few night and it was so cool I hope you have a savanna view and sit out on the bocany and watch the animals
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  11. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    If you do decide to try requesting DAS, you will need to explain (briefly) your concerns and issues with waiting in the regular lines to a CM at Guest Relations.
    This thread gives more info about the DAS request process and how it works. Only the first post is pertinent. The rest was from before and just after DAS was started.
    https://www.disboards.com/threads/w...15-digital-das-on-tickets-magicbands.3178976/

    For leaving the park at night or after any parade, etc where a lot of people are leaving at the same time, my advice is to not try to leave right even it’s over. Stay put and let the crowd pass you. When you see the crowd thinning going by you, wait a few more minutes, then leave. Even 10 minutes csn mean the difference between going out in a heavy, slow moving crowd and a leisurely walk out with few people.
    It also makes a difference with transportation - by waiting, we are often on a bus where has no one to stand. If we rushed out right away, the bus would probably be as full as possible with people waiting for the next bus.
    You don’t have to worry about missing a bus and getting stranded at a park - buses run for several hours after closing.

    Another few suggestions -
    For parades at MK, the castle hub is most crowded, followed by Main Street. As people leave the park, they all will be crossing thru that area. And, people who saw the parade there, but are going back into other areas of the park also add to the congestion.
    It’s much less crowded in Frontierland and since no one has to cross the area to get out, it’s much less congested.

    MK fireworks are visible all over, but most guests want to be in the castle hub or Main Street to see to lower elements and castle parts. If you just want to see the fireworks, the area behind the castle gives a pretty good view of the fireworks themselves.

    If you plan NOT to watch the parade, plan to be in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland before the parade starts. That way, you can travel freely between Fantasyland, New Fantasyland and Tomorrowland without worrying about trying to cross the parade path or getting caught in the crowds.

    For Illuminations at Epcot, the biggest crowds are at the entrance to World Showcase from Future World and also near the exit from Epcot to the Epcot area resorts. There are good viewing spots all over World Showcase that will be less crowded.
     
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  12. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    Well I dont deliver the same spiel every time someone says anxiety disorder. I try to put together some practical techniques to help dial that anxiety down. Things I know work. Things I do every trip.

    I'm not mobility challenged at all. But it so happens two dear friends are and I'm the tech guy working up their mobility rig. From time to time I s pop and a few hours in the park on one of my power chair builds and it's TRUE, sometimes you get people making eyes at you. Oddly enough, putting an 8 dollar ankle support with the blue foam and silvery metal makes all that go away.

    Without calling this commentors history explaining anxiety disorder to strangers, it is my experience that anxiety issues are not easily explained, nor are accommodation requests made succinctly to a CM that is quick to understand and grant your needs.

    My view is this. Figure out what the bare minimum to make enjoying an attraction possible. Is this a strategy on your part or something you need help with from a CM? Is it the kind of accommodation other people with other disabilities are getting? Cast members care about your problem as a secondary issue only. Primary is always getting people through the line.

    Asking to stand off to the side while most of a crowd loads into HM or the little mermaid musical is a totally reasonable request. Lots of people get this treatment. But having to explain why you want to do this, on the fly, to a rushed cast member is a lot to ask so.eone who chokes talking to strangers. Telling the CM instead that you have a peripheral vision disorder, nothing horrible but you'd hate to trip on the way in, could I please hold back and load last?

    See what happens...
    1. You enjoy an attraction without displacing or disconveniencing anyone. Your explanation is much easier to grasp and your requested assistance is easy and quick to provide; keeping time available for that CM to deal with othe normal and special assistance guests.
    2. A cast member learns a trick for dealing with the partially sighted that they may not have known or at least put into practice before. Many partially sighted dont realize this can make the attraction easier on them and now there's one more CM who will be willing to go this route when that next half blind kid shows up. Everyone wins.
    To be clear, no one should be recieving park staff in order to get something you are not due. A lady friend has a bio implant related to going to the bathroom. With her chair she sometimes cannot maneuver the device within a normal handicap stall.

    Everyone has a right to pee when they need to so I suggest using a companion toilet. Perfect. In she goes, out she comes in no time flat and with little wait usually. And then one day a group start following us around and harrangueing her each time she went to the bathroom. At one point I would go in with her and just hum to myself while she did her business. The fiction worked better than any factual explanation.
     

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