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Disney World accomodations for T1D

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by JaxDad, Jan 11, 2012.

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  1. JaxDad

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    Some theme parks make special accommodations for diabetics, e.g. Six Flags lets you get a "boarding time" and you don't have to wait in the line.

    Does anyone know if Disney has a similar program?

    If so, have you used it? Do you have a contact number?

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
  2. misscaitp

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    At Disney world it is called a Guest Assistance Card (GAC). I got it because I am on medication that a lot of sun exposure effects the effiency. So I went to I think it's called guest services at the Magic Kingdom (though you can get it anywhere) and I was given a card that said when waiting in line I need a shaded place. The GAC is not used to get to the front on the line, even those in wheelchairs have to wait for some time.

    I did find that the MK was more GAC friendly, I barely had to wait in line there. But it's also important to take advantage of the FastPass.
     
  3. suz

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    If you search the boards for Disney, GAC you will find a ton of posts about it. It can be a hot topic, but each to their own opinions. We used it, and it was awesome :)
     
  4. JaxDad

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    Thanks. I'll look into that.
     
  5. selketine

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    This was a topic on the Q&A at CWD and was answered by Laura B. who is plans the big Friends for Life conferences down in Orlando every summer - and every other year they are at WDW - she has a son with type 1:

    http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/dteam/2006-03/d_0d_dqa.htm

    I also find City Hall in the Magic Kingdom to be the best place to ask for a GAC.

    A good touring plan with fast passes is your best bet for avoiding crowds. Even with a GAC - touring with the crowds in the heat can be exhausting. I highly recommend this website for touring info: http://www.easywdw.com There are touring plans, recommended days for what parks and a forum there but you may have to spend some time finding it all. The website is free and fantastically well-written and funny.;)
     
  6. Beach bum

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    Some theme parks make special accommodations for diabetics, e.g. Six Flags lets you get a "boarding time" and you don't have to wait in the line.

    Does anyone know if Disney has a similar program?
    Yes, it doesn't allow you to go to the front of the line, but through the HC entrance where it is shaded. There will still be a bit of a wait, but it's much cooler.

    If so, have you used it? Yes, we got a guest assistance card, but it turned out we didn't need it. We had an instance a few years ago where we were waiting in line, it was hot, and my daughter went low and almost fainted. We had to leave the line (get out of sun) to treat and sit for a while and then got back in line again later.

    Do you have a contact number? There is no number. You go to guest services upon arrival and request a guest assistance card. Phrase your request very carefully, as it will make or break your getting it. Don't say "we want the pass the will keep us from waiting in line." We said that our daughter has diabetes, and while she is normally perfectly healthy, there are times when waiting in line can be too much if it is hot or her blood sugars aren't exactly in range. They challenged me, stating that we could use fast pass, and I agreed, that we would use fast pass whenever possible (which we did), but there were some rides that didn't have fp and that's where the problems can occur. It wasn't until I said to the guy "listen, I would trade diabetes in a second so that my kid could stand in a hot line like everyone else." That put things into perspective and I got one. I told the man, trust me, we won't use this unless we absolutely have to.

    We found that a good plan, timing (ie. getting there for early mornings and going on popular rides during parades) along with fast pass allowed us to avoid using the GAC.

    FYI, this is a really hot topic here, you'll get many opinions on this.
     
  7. JaxDad

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    Thanks again. I'm not sure why this would be a hot topic, it's not like I'm trying to "use" diabetes as a get out of line free card, like being T1D is a perk or something.

    At six flags, they give you a pass to get on the ride in the approximate time that the wait would be had you started in the back. Then you go and sit in the designated shady spot, and then "jump to the front" when it's your turn. So in effect, you're waiting just as long as anyone else.

    If a mod wants to close this that's fine. I think I've gotten direction to all the info I need.

    Thanks again to all!!
    Jim
     
  8. McKenna'smom

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    We just spent a week at WDW in October. We didn't even bother with the GAC. We took advantage of fast passes. To be honest, 99% of the queues at WDW are shaded or inside. Waiting didn't become an issue.

    The secret with WDW is to check often and take plenty of snacks with you. We really didn't have any troubles with lows, but we had snacks with us just in case.

    Unfortunately, WDW, while great with other dietary needs, does not provide carb counts so you are on your own.
     
  9. Beach bum

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    I wish Disney would do something like this. I don't mind the wait, it's the waiting in the sun/heat that really has an impact on my child.
     
  10. Christopher

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    This thread doesn't need to be closed because (so far) the responses have been appropriate and helpful.

    In the past this has been a hot topic because some people don't see why someone with diabetes can't stand in a line like everyone else. Because they might go low? Just give them carbs in line. Because they might go high? Just give them insulin in line (push a few buttons on a pump or a quick shot in arm). And, as Wendy pointed out, WDW (and many other parks) have a Fast Pass option, which anyone can use.
     
  11. Ndiggs

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    When we went last Feb, our Daughter was still in a stroller most of the time, so one thing we had Disney do was tag our stroller as a wheelchair. We did this because we kept extra supplies in the stroller (besides the stuff I had right on me like a meter and fast acting carbs). The reason for this with little ones is Disney does what is called "stroller management" where you park your stroller is large lots and they move them around to keep the lot full and the entrance to it open, which means insulin could quickly end up in direct hot Florida sun, not a good thing even in a cooler bag. With that tag, it went right in the ride lines with us, and was kept in a cool shaded spot till we got off at the end. Just extra piece of mind really. We did use the handicap entrances for some rides, but we still waited basically the same time to ride as anyone else.

    I 2nd the fast pass system too gets you to be able to do more in a day, with some control of your schedule. However you do miss some cool stuff in the fast pass lines (like the Yeti Meusume on Everest) but well worth it!
     
  12. Lisa - Aidan's mom

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    We were just there in September for the first time. The security check point searches everyone's bags/backpacks. I had a special sticker on my purse that said something like "medical alert" because I had needles in it.

    We didn't even look into special accomodations for my son; he did fine. Definitely take advantage of the Fast Passes for the rides so you don't waste time in line. Have fun!
     
  13. Beach bum

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    I think another thing to keep in mind is when you are going.
    For example, we were in CA in April and it was 90 degrees, and that's where the challenges for us came in. Another time we were in FL in December and it was really comfortable. We didn't even bother with the GAC on that trip. If you're going during the off season, I would say, try it one day without and see what happens. Crowds might be light, weather comfortable and you may not even need the pass.

    I think what you need to do is step back and consider what works best for your child...and to have a great time!
     
  14. AnjelTeacher

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    We are also planning a trip to WDW, though we are going the 1st week of December when its a lot cooler, though they can still get warm. Since we have a large party going we are booking through Triple AAA and they have had some great advice for us. They will make sure we have a room with a refrigerator just in case our insulin needs to be in the refrigerator. They have also talked to Disney and they will make sure we can bring in all the snacks and supplies we will need without any hassle. We book our dinners in advance and will be using the meal plans and they said if you call the restaurant in advance you can get a carb count for their meals, if the carb counts are unavailable talk to the chef when you get to the restaurant and they will work with you so you know what the numbers will be. They also said we can ask at the places we will be eating lunch and they can assist us also with numbers. :)

    We will definitely keep in mind the fastpass as I think that will be a huge thing to use for certain rides.
     
  15. jcanolson

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    Good luck getting those carb counts;). We were just there in December and could get no carb info. Also, be careful of the food police chefs when you have "diabetes" on your reservations. They take that to mean that your child shouldn't have sugar. The last time we had the "diabetes" designation on on reservations, my child got a bowl of fruit with a candle for her birthday at Cinderella's Royal Table, and we literally had to argue for her to get dessert at several other places. We don't mention it anymore.
    Don't want to scare you. Just be aware, and be willing to stand up to some of the chefs. We love the chefs. We now deal with Celiac and multiple food allergies, and they are awesome....just not so much with T1d.
     
  16. Ndiggs

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    I spoke to a VP with disney last year after we went about the carb issue, and his response to me was that they do not provide the info as the food delivered to each restaurant can come from up to 5 different suppliers for the same product (ie chicken finger providers a,b,c,d,e) and that depending on what commissary the restaurant got supplied from that day or week it can change the nutrition values by up to 20%, so they chose not to provide them for that reason. Now apparently all the ingredients are the same, but not the nutrition values, which always seemed a little strange to me, but that was his explanation.

    Now the chefs at each restaurant where fantastic about coming out and talking to us about our daughters meals, and went so far as to get us labels off of boxes when he could so we could better estimate by looking up on the manufactures website.
     
  17. Beach bum

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    AAA and they have had some great advice for us. They will make sure we have a room with a refrigerator just in case our insulin needs to be in the refrigerator.
    Most of the hotels are equipped with a fridge which is helpful.

    They have also talked to Disney and they will make sure we can bring in all the snacks and supplies we will need without any hassle.
    Never, ever had a hassle with this.

    We book our dinners in advance and will be using the meal plans and they said if you call the restaurant in advance you can get a carb count for their meals, if the carb counts are unavailable talk to the chef when you get to the restaurant and they will work with you so you know what the numbers will be.

    Good luck on this. Disney is notorious for not being able to provide carb info. They are very sensitive to food allergies, so you know what's in the meal, but just not the nutritional info.


    They also said we can ask at the places we will be eating lunch and they can assist us also with numbers. :)

    Again, good luck.
    I suggest downloading the Calorie King app to your smartphone if you have one, or toting around the book itself. We actually did ok with estimations on food. Even if they can provide you the carb count, I would want to double check their numbers as they are very upfront about saying they don't provide carb counts for food.


    We will definitely keep in mind the fastpass as I think that will be a huge thing to use for certain rides.
    Yep, they are very useful along with a good game plan. Map out what you want to do and when. I always get the Birnbaum book and also visit www.allears.net to find out the latest info.
     
  18. selketine

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    I had a similar - horrible - experience with a Chef at Chef Mickey's of all places - not long after he was dx'd. This is probably the only bad experience I've had at a WDW owned place - that guy was a jerk. He actually refused to give my son ANY dessert - and were were dependent on him to get it cause my son also has severe food allergies. He was still little (3) so he wasn't paying attention - the rest of us took turns eating dessert (it is a buffet) while walking around the restaurant so he wouldn't get upset - then I gave him something I had in the room later. In hindsight I should have complained to his manager but that was our first trip back after his diagnosis.

    I always leave diabetes off my reservations after that. ;)
     
  19. coconne3

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    If you stay in a hotel without refrigerator I've gotten one for no charge because of needing to keep insulin cold. It moved us up to the top of the waiting list
     
  20. Caldercup

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    I'm a moderator over on a popular Disney discussion board (PassPorterboards.com)

    Disney does NOT give out carb counts. You can talk to the chef about portion amounts (how many ouces is that specific restaurant's serving of mashed potatoes, etc.) With that info, you can determine the carb counts using a good book like Calorie King or something similar. If you have a *food allergy/intolerance,* Disney will definitely accomodate that. With our Celiac, we just have it noted on the reservation, and speak to the chef when we go to order. You can contact Disney's Special Dietary Needs group for more info: SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com

    You can bring any foods into the parks as long as 1) they are non-alcoholic and 2) they are not in glass containers or bottles.

    All moderate and deluxe Disney resort rooms have a fridge already in them. If you're in a value room, just have it noted on your reservation that you have a medical need for a fridge. Mention it again at check-in. If, when you get into your room, there's no fridge, just call down to the front desk and ask to have one delivered ASAP. You won't be charged for it since it's for a medical need.

    As for the GAC, mention what accomodations you need to make it manageable. In our case, we wanted an alternate entrance if the line was not "easily escapable." (The Toy Story ride in The Studios is a prime example of a queue that is difficult to get out of easily if a crisis occurs.) My son was, at the time we first went after Dx, in that state where he'd go low incredibly quickly and would pass out. I wanted to be able to get him out to somewhere he could sit down as I got his BGs back up. All other rides, we used the FastPass system, but the GAC was good to have for those odd queues.
     

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