I am sure that you have heard about families hiring people with disabilities to accompany them to Disney so that they could get a Guest Assistance Card* so that they wouldn’t have to wait in lines. It was the greed of these people who needed absolutely no accommodations that made it difficult for those of us who do. And it was those people who caused Disney to reevaluate their policy and stop issuing the passes.
When Q and I spent a day at Disney a few summers ago, we were able to get a guest assistance card. I wasn’t asking to be handed the world, but I did ask for simple accommodations that I knew would help us on that near 100 degree day. I know Q and I know her diabetes. I knew that a day of walking in the heat would cause blood sugars to drop and I knew that standing in long lines in the sun wouldn’t help. I asked if we could be provided a shady area to wait in line. Nothing more.
Many times this meant that we used the Fast Pass entrance, sometimes it meant that we entered through the exit and were placed in line just inside the shade. There were many times that we didn’t even use the pass or that the line was already shady (like Dumbo).
I personally feel that we didn’t take advantage of the pass, but used it when needed to help our day go a little more smoothly.
(Note: some people with diabetes don’t ask for a guest assistance pass, but just use the fast pass system.)
There are many times beyond amusement parks such as Disney where you might ask for accommodations for your child with diabetes. This may be as simple as bringing in food or drinks to places where no outside food and drinks are allowed such as stadiums and museums. (By the way, forcing you to purchase their food and not bring in food/drinks for a medical condition is discrimination.) Or it may be like above where you need shortened wait times in lines.
I want to give an example of what I consider a “reasonable accommodation” that we were given. It didn’t really give us anything special, but it made our day easier.
We had planned a day trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, one of our favorite destinations. Knowing that it would be lunch time when we pulled off the highway and knowing that you can bring your own food, I packed our lunches. When we arrived inside the line was incredibly long. Crazy long.
Q’s blood sugar was dropping and she needed to eat right away.
But you can’t just eat anywhere in a museum.
I approached a staff member and asked if there was a place that my mother could take the kids so that they could sit down and eat. I said that I knew that the cafeteria was within the museum and that we hadn’t yet purchased our tickets. I asked if there was a place before the ticketing where they could sit.
The staff suggested that I stand in line for the tickets while they ushered my mom and kids to the cafeteria where they could begin eating. They were finishing up their lunches by the time I had our tickets in hand. We finished up and enjoyed our day at the museum.
Why do I feel that this accommodation was “reasonable?” Because we weren’t really given anything extra or special. We weren’t sent to the front of the ticket line, rather I stood in queue like everyone else. They provided my mom and kids a place to eat…and nothing else…while I stood in line.
If you find yourself in a situation where there is something that staff can do to help make things run more smoothly, don’t be afraid to ask. I think you’ll find most of the time that people want to be helpful when you make a reasonable request.
*The Guest Assistance Card (GAC) at Disney has been replaced by the Disability Access Service Card (DASC), which as I understand it gives you a return time much like the fast pass system.
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Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.
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