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Attraction Access Pass

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Lakeman, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Lakeman

    Lakeman Approved members

    Nov 10, 2010
    So I have been looking at the pros and the cons of getting an Attraction Access Pass at Great America. Last year it was called the Equal Access Pass. Basically it's the same thing.

    A few years ago my daughter used a pen and not a pump. We found that when we went to the park they wanted us to leave her bag with all her supplies in a bin next to each ride. Well there was no way I was going to leave these life saving supplies unattended and in the heat where they could get stolen or just go bad. We learned that we could leave the insulin at the first aid station so it was refrigerated and safe then we would just carry the carbs and meter and phone with us. It wasn't long before we discovered that if we were in a line for 75 minutes that we would have to wait to correct highs and make special trips (often all the way across the park) to get insulin for meals, etc. We don't get A1Cs in the high sixes by waiting to correct. In fact I work very hard to be prompt with corrections and getting up multiple times at night to make sure that we are not missing opportunities to lower highs.

    Looking on line I read that various parks had passes that were quite popular with people with diabetes. Most everyone was positive about it but a few people made claims that children with diabetes are not disabled and should not get the pass. So yes, I can see the controversy. After some careful consideration I decided that it did make sense for us to get the pass. It allowed her to wait for a ride without sacrificing her best treatment options. According to what I have since read Type 1 is officially categorized as a disability and at a park the interpretation of the ADA is the same as my thinking: pwd have a right to wait in line without jeopardizing their treatment. That all seemed to make sense and with the pass we were waiting the same amount of time as everyone else just not in the line. In theory anyway, on some rides they told us to come back in a far shorter amount of time and on others the wait was longer.

    This year I have two kids who use insulin and both of them are on pumps. Now we never have to leave a line to dose. We carry carbs with us and almost always have enough because with two kids they share. Other than the heat possibly ruining the insulin we are set. When in the sun they can just turn away so the pump is shaded. And if it does go bad the back-up is at the first aid station.

    So this year I told the kids that we did not need to get the passes since they are both on pumps. Additionally, this year the park requires a doctors note which would be no big deal except that at our last visit the diabetes educator spontaneously said that diabetes is not a disability (factually wrong but I understand the sentiment. It's clearly not the same kind of disability as losing the use of one's legs but it does involve the loss of use of a pancreas and that does significantly change one's life). It did not occur to me to ask for a note but if I had thought of it I certainly would have felt guilted at that moment.

    So I certainly see pros and cons to getting a pass and I also see justification to get one but reasons not to. I don't want to start any arguments and really think every point of view has merit on this issue. But I also could use some feedback. What do people think? Do I cave to the kids and get the passes? Do I get the note from the doctor and wait to get a pass only if we can't use a pump for some reason? Do we decide that we just don't qualify or that it is just not right for us?
  2. Nancy in VA

    Nancy in VA Approved members

    Jul 16, 2007
    Emma has been to Disney probably a half-dozen times since she was diagnosed and we've never gotten a pass. Even when she was in a stroller, we didn't have any special need that equated we have special access to any rides. It's been hot, it's been cold, she's been high, she's been low, she's even been stuck on a roller coaster for nearly 20 minutes and it would never have struck me to get a pass.
  3. kim5798

    kim5798 Approved members

    May 7, 2009
    I can see how it would be helpful especially if you were not able to carry your insulin with you at all times. We have been to various parks over the years with syringes/pens and with pump & never got one. I think it is going to depend on the family situation & the age of the child makes a difference too.

    As far as someone saying it is not a disability, I say baloney!!
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    You already made the decision not to get the pass this year and it was the right one. You don't need it. Stick to your decision.

    FYI- we went to multiple amusement parks in the years prior to Danielle getting a pump and we never got (or needed) a pass.
  5. rgcainmd

    rgcainmd Approved members

    Feb 6, 2014
    Speaking from a personal perspective, I'd get the pass. With T1D (even on a pump), there is no way to anticipate the plethora of things that can go wrong for no good reason. The way I look at it, you should take fair advantage of any accommodations that are available. You could always get the pass, keep it on hand, and then choose not to use it. I'm a firm believer in "Better safe than sorry."
  6. Caldercup

    Caldercup Approved members

    Oct 8, 2008
    Some times, front-line workers of the park don't understand that you need to bring in a cooler, or quick carbs, or need a pat down rather than going through metal detectors. Having the doctor's note and/or the pass negates all those conversations.

    For peace of mind, I get the pass.

    For most parks now, passes don't give you front-of-the-line access. They just list the accommodations you need.
  7. Megnyc

    Megnyc Approved members

    Nov 8, 2012
    I personally tend to think it is a bit ridiculous that people argue that kids with type 1 can do anything and then get and use passes at amusement parks (so kids can do anything and play any sport except stand in line at Disney?). I guess I would get the note and then get the pass if you find you need it. I have no issue with the use of the pass if you actually find you need it but the idea that it is a must have for a type 1 kid seems a bit excessive to me.
  8. mwstock

    mwstock Approved members

    Apr 24, 2014
    By the definition, our children qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the ADA they talk about "reasonable" accommodation. The question is if you will assert that legal right. Maybe you feel that it is necessary for your child to obtain the attraction access pass at Six Flags? I do agree with Meg, that we tell our children in one breath that they can do anything, but in the other breath ask for special treatment and accommodation. Maybe you can bring in the necessary diabetes supplies and fast acting carbs (glucose tablets) without requesting the attraction access pass. As long as security does not harass you, and is reasonable to care for the medical need. I agree with others that is better to be prepared and safe than sorry. We all have different comfort levels. There are some things that are non-negotiable (glucose tablets, glucagon, meter and insulin either through shots and/or pump). I will gladly show the inside of the diabetes pack. At one point I got a letter from our medical team stating the items which my son needed on him at all times. It is a personal choice, just like filling a 504 plan with the school or requesting FMLA from work for time out for medical appointments and sick days. I was at the pool with my two sons the other day, and one of the little boys they were swimming with, sat up on the side of the pool, and said, "I need to sit for a moment, I have asthma", and returned to the pool within five seconds. Little did he know my son had type 1, and had a 42 BG later that night from all the swimming. I treated him with glucose tablets, and he jumped back in the pool within a few minutes after treating the low. I am not saying it is not a serious health condition. It does require a lot of work, for you to do your homework and come prepared. I try not to draw attention to it, I treat the low and/or high and move on. I don't hide it either. I guess you just have to find that balance. You can get in a bad spot in a hurry and need to be prepared for those.

    Here is the language from the ADA website:
    Disability means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

    (1) The phrase physical or mental impairment means –
    (i) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine;
    (ii) Any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities;
    (iii) The phrase physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism;
  9. susanlindstrom16

    susanlindstrom16 Approved members

    Nov 29, 2012
    I agree with this. As others have said, and in light of another recent thread concerning amusement parks, not every employee is going to be aware of your child's needs, and it only takes one ignorant one to leave a sour note on what should be a fun day. If getting a pass is easy enough to just have in your back pocket in case anyone questions you having supplies, then why not get one. These places aren't cheap, so I say do whatever you need to do for peace of mind that you guys will have an enjoyable day.

    Now, do I think that means that kids with diabetes need to go to the front of the line? No, that's ridiculous. But if the kid is running in the 300s after a pizza lunch and has to leave the line to pee, it would be nice if they could get their spot back without incident. I really don't see it as teaching your kids that they have a disability, if that's what people are concerned about. Our kids aren't stupid, they know that they have challenges. I'm not sure what kind of "special treatment" these passes provide, but I just can't see how getting one is somehow going to send a larger message that your child isn't capable of getting what they want out of life.
  10. jenm999

    jenm999 Approved members

    Apr 30, 2014
    My sentiments exactly. (We need a "like" button)
  11. Caldercup

    Caldercup Approved members

    Oct 8, 2008

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