posted in Mom Stories
I’ve been to Disney World in Florida more than a dozen times and am ever humbled when I see a child, obviously dealing with a disability or disease, dressed as Cinderella and snuggled up to Mickey. Never am I more surrounded by these families than when I’m visiting the happiest place on earth. Call me a sucker, but it really is magical where even those dealing with the worst can forget for a little bit and just enjoy.
No doubt as a response to those affluent mommies hiring disabled tour guides to save time waiting in line, Disney has updated their guest assistance policy. Instead of rolling up to an attraction and getting on as soon as possible, the holder of the new disability card and his or her immediate family are given a time to return and then loaded much like those who hold a FastPass. Let me tell you why that makes me sad.
Those dealing with disabilities are sometimes on a tight schedule. Medications have to be given at certain times, eating is done on a time clock, and endurance isn’t that great. Let’s say we arrive at an attraction and are asked to return an hour later. There’s no guarantee that the disabled family member I’m accompanying will be able to make it back.
During my dad’s final trip to Disney World he could barely walk more than few steps. Why would someone in such a physically challenged state embark on a walking and standing-intensive vacation? Because he wanted to enjoy the parks through the eyes of his grandchildren. Plus, from our previous trips, we knew that Disney World was among the most accommodating environments for someone in his condition.
Our mornings started later than usual and our afternoons were cut short due to his need to rest. We had this golden chunk of time in the late morning/early afternoon when he was able to join us. If we had to go from attraction to attraction collecting return times, then cycle back through them to actually ride, our precious hours together would have been even less. So much so that I’m not even sure we would have made the journey. That was our last trip together. He died three months later and the memories we made are so special.
I’m not the only one with this type of story. I also know I’m not the only one with this reaction to Disney’s new policy. It makes me truly sad how the egregious behavior of some will ruin it for those who deserve a little more pixie dust during their time on Disney properties.
If you happen to be there with your family member who requires a disability card and you see me standing in that 90 minute Peter Pan’s Flight line (by the way, why is that one always so long despite the ride being short and continuously moving?), flag me down. You can have my spot.
What do you think of Disney’s revised guest assistance policy?
Photo credit: Flickr
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