Worlds & Disney & Disabled

Discussion in 'Allstar Cheerleading' started by Mom Jeans, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. cheerforeverever

    cheerforeverever I have my own cheer message board

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    I don't think you all understand how many times the old policy of Guest Assistance cards got abused. Speaking as a former cast member, anything from "I have anxiety issues" to "I am clearly physically or mentally impaired" would get you that card. It is a very wide range that falls under "needing special assistance"' and there isn't a way to deny someone a card if they really forcefully ask for it (no one is going to tell a guest NO You aren't physically/mentally disabled enough....heaven forbid someone draws up some papers saying they are actually in need and you deny them service. Disney is not going to walk into that lawsuit). All of my friends that worked attractions hated that card and are very happy that the policy is getting changed. It is a false pretense that you get to walk right on rides through the exit with that card anyways. It can actually take LONGER riding with guests that need special assistance because you may have to wait for special vehicles to accommodate the guest, the loading point may need to be slowed/stopped to get that guest on and off, you may need to wait for a designated cast member to go over and assist your party, etc etc etc.

    For most guests that actually need and used those guest assistance cards, they will be fine planning out their day just like every other guest. It's really not that hard of a concept, and if you have someone that cannot wait in line or wait to come back, then either ride a different ride, plan to visit at a time where there are not lines (cough, September, cough), etc.......there are ways to figure out what will work for your party if you do the research.

    Example: The parent that researches online, calls Disney Vacation Planners, gets information on how Disney can help make their child's birthday special (and they will be wonderful and magical and helpful and truly try to make your kid's day special)
    vs.
    The parent that shows up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique saying "It's Suzie's birthday so you HAVE TO get her a princess makeover appointment RIGHT NOW" when appointments have been booked for months, there's already 50 kids in there and cast is already shorthanded, but no "YOU RUINED HER BIRTHDAY AND ITS ALL YOUR FAULT"

    Disney will do as much as they can to help guests, but it is not easy work to please every single person out of hundreds of thousands of people that speak 50 million different languages and have 50 million different needs all at the same time every day. Next time you are at Disney and see a cast member, tell them thank you for working (many times 8+ hours, on holidays, in the rain, heat, with enormous crowds).....they will always remember your kindness.
     
  2. Kelli Nicole

    Kelli Nicole I text ACEDAD all the time

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    I cut out your text to save room. I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Disney fan (ok, maybe fanatic or freak are better terms!) I have never had a bad experience in Disney - my husband and I went not long after we got married, wearing the Minnie and Mickey bride and groom ears and we were greeted by so many cast members with simple "Congratulations". The cast members you gave us our Just Married pins were over the top friendly to us. Cast members always are.

    I agree, that the policy has been abused - I've seen it live in Disneyland happen. One minute you see young kids in a wheelchair for reason xyz then an hour later they are running around the park. There needed to be a solution.

    Just like the "emotional support pet" (sorry to anyone who truly needs one!) it is getting crazy with how many people abuse such policies. Can I be the "emotional support human" to my dog who is anxious and nervous? :D
     
  3. cheerforeverever

    cheerforeverever I have my own cheer message board

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    Yeah, the wheelchairs have gotten so bad that families would rent them out instead of strollers because they were cheaper at one point. Stick 2 kids riding the cheaper option (wheelchair) vs. double stroller PLUS you can badger guest relations for a Guest Assistance Card? It was too good to be true.

    And yes you can bring your "emotional support dog" (there are even places for service animals to relieve themselves throughout every park) as long as you don't want to bring your "emotional support" pony on tower of terror and don't understand why Disney can't comply with that request.......:rolleyes:
     
  4. BlockHead

    BlockHead Best Flyer.. on a parent team

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    We have used the GAC several times. My CP was born with a cerebral palsy characteristic which caused her low muscle tone. She could not walk until she was 2 years old. We brought a doctor's note to obtain the GAC while at WDW. We just needed her to be able to use the stroller in line. They gave us the GAC and a "stroller = wheelchair" sticker to put on her stroller. It was a lifesaver for us, as I do not believe that she could have stood for that long. Sometimes it made the line much shorter for us. Other times, I believe that the line was much longer for us. And that was ok with us.

    We no longer need anything like the GAC, as cheer has completely changed her muscle tone. But we were definitely grateful for that card. I hope that this new program is helpful for those who need it. I am sad to see that so many people abused this program.
     
  5. AScheer

    AScheer Slow your roll, Sparkle. Worlds T-Shirt Designer

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    This. I'm sure if this was a thing my dog would need it! lol

    Cut for space. Not necessarily directed at you, but just a general question. For those who are truly in need of this, is it not harder on them to now have to go to the ride, get the pass, and then return later? For someone who is already struggling to move around they now have to double back to a place they've already been? I just hate that because of people that abuse the system, those that truly need it now have it a little harder, or maybe I don't know what I'm talking about and it's not a big deal for them to have to go to the ride twice.
     
  6. garretttt

    garretttt Biggest Fan

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    Lol this was sooo me at UCA except i was actually injured, but i had like 7 people in my group hahaha.
     
  7. Ashley

    Ashley Administrator Staff Member National Champion

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    A guy on my team tore his ACL at worlds a few years ago and did this too. Got a wheelchair from guest relations (which he really did need two days post injury for that amount of time) and was able to cut the lane.
     
  8. cheerforeverever

    cheerforeverever I have my own cheer message board

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    Will it be harder on some families (especially if they are used to a GAC card)? Simple answer. Yes.
    I am sure everyone prefers the old system of walking right up, but that is simply not an option anymore. Essentially though, those that are physically unable to stand in line will be able to manage the new system, as they still do not have to stand in line. They will just not get to skip guests that are already in line anymore (if in fact the queue was shorter for GAC users at that time anyways). When they return at their designated time, cast members will still assist them through to the ride like they always have without trying to go through stand-by queues. Those mentally unable to stand in line will be the more difficult thing to accommodate, as it is tough to get someone such as an autistic child to accept that they have to wait. Parents will have to find some diversions if that is the situation, which can be challenging. It isn't a perfect system, which I am sure will be modified with guest feedback after the first few weeks/months to try and accommodate as much as possible.

    As far as doubling back to the place being an issue, you have some options on what to do there....you can stay right next to the ride and grab a snack, ride something in the same area, enjoy sitting down and chatting in the shade for a bit, look at a shop or cart (there is sure to be one near the ride if not attached), take some family pictures, etc. You don't have to cross the whole park to ride something unless you plan it that way quite frankly (which is poor planning at Disneyworld.....not recommended!)
     
  9. CheerBank

    CheerBank Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    Had many discussions about this with co-worker who has a disabled brother in a wheelchair as well as with a very close friend whose 8 year old is on the high end of the autistic spectrum. Came away with two different perspectives.

    Co-worker said brother (who has cerebral palsy) has seizures when he gets overheated, so they would need to make sure they had extra ice packs with them anytime at Disney. Said she did not see a problem with having to wait and finding things to do until it was their time for the ride as long as they had an assigned time to come back.

    Close friend said at 8 her son could now understand having to wait for the ride (not in line) but at 5 that would have caused an immediate meltdown that would have ruined the day. Their experience at Disney not having to wait coupled with staying on Disney property and taking advantage of the magic hours and getting their super early made their Disney trip completely stress free, not something they often got to enjoy in their everyday lives.

    As I said in an earlier post, shame on those who ruined it for those who really benefited from the card. I've also come to the conclusion that I have no business questioning anyone's feelings about the change in policy because I have never walked in the shoes of someone whose life was truly made better by Disney's previous disability policy.










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  10. mamabear

    mamabear Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    I use the GAC when I am there. I was in two accidents that caused 13 herniations in my back and have had a multiple surgeries and procedures in the last few years. I also carry a state issued card saying that I am permanently disabled. At this point, I am a lot more mobile than I used to be, but I still tire easily especially if I have to stand in one place on concrete or sit for long periods of time.

    I think that the newly implemented rules might work ok. I am hoping that we will still be able to use shorter distance lines if we come back at the designated time. The queues are what does me in (note...I am not saying the waiting, but the endless snaking thru an entrance and taking an extra 1000 steps when I could have just beelined to the front and leaned against the wall for a bit, until it was my turn to board the ride).

    Being able to be sat quickly at a show, or to be protected from being pushed about in a mad masses by staying in an accessible area are key too. I don't want the best seats, but letting me sit safely and not have to negotiate my way slowly thru an aggressive crowd like Fantasmic!

    Disney is going to have to figure out how to rightly protect their regular customers from people abusing the system and honoring the expectations that laws for the disabled state.

    I haven't seen a lot of abuse when I am down there, but I am also much more open to the validity of invisible disabilities. Just because you can;t see it, or because they were moving better the night before, does not mean that they are not in pain today.
     
  11. Kelli Nicole

    Kelli Nicole I text ACEDAD all the time

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    Hmm, I don't know about that so much. Non-disabled (and even some not-so-severe-disabled persons) have the ability to get a 2nd job, yes. But not necessarily a better paying one - that all depends on experience, education etc etc etc etc etc. There are just too many variables to simply say "Joe Schmoe isn't disabled, he can go get another job...that also pays more." I can't change the money I have unless I do something about it - but depending on circumstances, I may not be able to. In that respect, even if I have 1, 2 or even 3-4 jobs...the income I bring home is fixed. There's really no ifs ands or buts about that...it doesn't fluctuate to my needs - it may fluctuate because I'm paid hourly and I took days off, or worked overtime etc. But in no ways do I just have a fluctuating resource of cash as I need it... hence, my income is fixed or limited.
     
  12. 311cheermom

    311cheermom I nugget in the back

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    My son is 14 and has severe intellectual disabilities (he's nonverbal and not toilet trained) and autism. He has not yet visited Disney but we have visited several of the Cedar Fair parks. They too have changed their disability policy to the fast pass type of access. When he was younger, having to to this "get a time and come back" thing would have ruined everyone's day. He simply couldn't comprehend why he had to wait. He would get aggressive to everyone around him. Manageable with a 30 lb 2 year old, not so much with a 90 lb 10 year old. You can imagine how hard it could be for his younger sister, who just wanted to enjoy a day at an amusement park, something that siblings of typical kids take for granted. Lucky for us, back then we would show our special pass and just ride. Now, he has matured, gained a little communication and comprehension, and is able to handle waiting, so the new policy would work ok for us. My heart goes out to the families who will probably not be able to experience Disney due to this policy change.
     
  13. cheer25mom

    cheer25mom Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    If they can make several hours in Disney , going by a ride twice shouldn't be a huge ordeal. The distances aren't that huge and most will use an EVC or other electric vehicle to get around.

    I for one am THRILLED that this policy has been changed. There was way too much abuse, and those who truly needed to use the program were being done a disservice by it. Now, those who truly need them will get the accommodations and because it is no longer unlimited front of the line, the temptation is not there to abuse the system. We are at Disney World a lot and have watched so many people abuse the system at the expense of those who are actually disabled and needed to use it.


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  14. mamabear

    mamabear Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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  15. louxlouxlou

    louxlouxlou Cheer Stalker

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    This is just my opinion from Disneyland Paris - we were in the Town Hall (guest relations) as we were having a private tour and had to wait a while so I saw quite a few disabled people come in to get their passes. I can honestly say I don't think any of them were cheating the system as they had to bring a lot of paperwork to prove that they were disabled "Medical certificate: guests must present an original medical certificate in French or English issued less than 3 months previously, signed and stamped by the doctor and testifying that they have a disability or debilitating illness, or are pregnant." There are also two different types of cards (I don't know if there are in the US?) so that if you are not registered disabled (IE you've broken your leg) you can still enter rides through the special entrances just not cut the queues.