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Park passes for disabilities

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by danismom79, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. danismom79

    danismom79 Approved members

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    Ok, here it is.

    I wanted to post a thread where people can share their actual experiences with using passes (or other resources or tools - for conciseness, I'll use 'pass') reserved for people with disabilities - theme park, national park, any park or recreational/leisure/vacation spot. Please also post if you have info on a pass but haven't used it yourself. Summer's coming up, and I think this could be helpful.

    For the purposes of this post, type 1 diabetes qualifies as a disability. If you don't think so, this is not the place to say it. I also don't care whether you would use a pass or not.

    This post serves 2 main purposes:

    1. To clear up misconceptions about what these passes actually do; and
    2. To disseminate information to people who might not have known these even exist.

    On to the format, just to try to keep things organized:

    1. Name of the place
    2. Name of the pass (and link to the specific page, if available)
    3. How/where you acquired the pass
    4. What this pass gave you access to/allowed you to do that you couldn't have without it*
    5. If applicable, how this pass kept your child safe (there were safety concerns expressed earlier)

    If you don't want to answer for yourself out of fear of judgment (don't know if fear is the right word), please respond in general terms (e.g., one would acquire the pass at the customer service desk). Since this is open to both those who've used one, and also those who haven't but know of one, we won't know which category you fall into.

    Thank you.

    *Please don't offer advice on how someone could have done such-and-such without a pass. If there are rules against it, let's assume it could not have been done without the pass.
     
  2. ToddsMom

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    BUMP ... I would be interested in any replies.:eek:
     
  3. frizzyrazzy

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    I'm going to try to follow the format as much as I can:
    1) Disney
    2) Guest Assistance Card
    3) n/a
    4) could be obtained for waiting in shady areas rather than in open queues, could possible be used for a smaller child to use a stroller while waiting in line rather than parking the stroller.
    5) can't really answer that as we haven't used it.

    Here is the most comprehensive info on Disney's Guest Assistance Card. I have taken this from the disboards.com which has a fabulous forum dedicated to all things Disney with disabilities. I encourage people to really read there - lots of fabulous people there with all different various sorts of abilities with lots of info to share.

    http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=10237514&postcount=6

    it's too long to past here, but it's a good thing to read and explains everything.
     
  4. Lindy

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    I'll bite! :D

    1. Disney (Florida) - which one is that? ;)
    2. GAC - Guest Assistance Card
    3. FFL Conference
    4. Depending on the ride... allowed us to move forward in the line, not have to wait in the heat/sun
    5. We were fairly new to the big D - so perhaps it was our inexperience or maybe it really was the heat, insulin heating up in the sun etc... But, Cooper was running in the 500's... I had the Frio packs, supplies etc... thought I was so prepared, but the big D reared it's ugly head and there were times Cooper was fairly miserable. The GAC allowed us to keep those neat little strollers close to us on certain rides, or they would move us ahead to the air conditioned part and we could wait there,, and in some cases we moved up to near the front of the line and would wait 15min rather than 45 minutes. We had some really bad days for D and quickly learned that we weren't going to be able to do a lot of what we had planned regardless of the GAC... so we opted to keep the kids cool at the hotel and went the the water parks. The weather was EXTREMELY HOT and still to this not sure if that was what the problem was.... we have never seen such temps here and have not had the problem since. I wish FFL could be a different time of year, because I'm not sure we would go again in the summer. Battling D in that environment, for a young one was difficult!

    The GAC proved to be key for us in allowing us to see anything at all in the parks... we spent a lot of money for the trip and with a few accomodations we salvaged what we could. Having our D supplies, cold water, strollers with us for some lines were essential and would not have been safe otherwise with the numbers we were running in the heat!

    Hope that helps!
     
  5. MReinhardt

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    My answers in Blue and a few other colors too.

     
  6. KatieJane'smom

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    Thank you for this thread. It's very helpful.
     
  7. Lee

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    1. Name of the place - Hershey Park

    2. Name of the pass (and link to the specific page, if available) - I am not sure

    3. How/where you acquired the pass - Guest Relations - I bought a Doctors Note, but didn't really need it. I had also emailed and spoken directly with them, since a few families had a tough time with it in the past.

    4. What this pass gave you access to/allowed you to do that you couldn't have without it* - I am going to say it allowed us to ride the rides AND have a good time. You could only get 1 time stamp at a time, so it wasn't that it allowed us to ride MORE rides, but it did allow us to get a time, then go a do some other stuff, like the arcade, or lunch, and stuff. Some times were two hrs away, so we rode the smaller rides. Then, when it was our time, we went through the Exit and they let us choose our seats on the next ride - of course Coco always chose the front!!!!!

    The water park - we jsut did one ride, and we had to wait in line, and she had major lows, and all I had on me was a small meter and a few sugary things - it was horrendous - and it was what our entire 2 days would have been like without the pass. It really made a MAJOR difference to us. And I am now happy ( I wasn't then) that we had that line experience, becuase it really does show that we DID need that pass.

    5. If applicable, how this pass kept your child safe (there were safety concerns expressed earlier)

    Well, not standing in a stifling line in the 90 degree weather all day. Being able to be in the shade, eat, go to the bathroom, etc.

    I must say that the Hershey Park pass also served another purpose for my child. She had her hand stamped VIP - some of the lines, when we would get to the front, she would choose where to sit, and the guys would make a big deal of her - like watch out - VIP coming through - watch out for paparazzi, no pictures please! She loved it. She loved the special treatment, she loved the attention, she loved every second of it!

    A week before Hershey, she kept saying she hated having Diabetes, and all the other awful stuff we as parents hate to hear. After the trip, even to today (We went last summer), she raves about the trip. She just told her endo about it the other day!

    I know some kids wouldn't like the extra attention - but I think the fact that they call it VIP and not something else really made her feel special!
     
  8. selketine

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    Not exactly following the format but we have used the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) at Disneyworld.

    When the CWD Friends for Life is held at WDW (like this summer) they usually have cast members on hand to meet with the family and issue the cards during the conference before going to the park

    Laura B. (conference organizer) put this in the FAQ for FFL for getting and using a GAC:

    The Guest Assistance Card is for people who require medical accommodations of some sort while in the Disney parks. In the case of kids with type 1 diabetes, hot temperatures can make insulin (particularly in pump cartridges and tubing) less effective or ineffective, plus the heat can cause highs and lows for kids individually. So, it is important to minimize the time standing in long, hot lines. The Guest Assistance Card is not a carte blanche to the front of the line or the disability entrance. Rather, it addresses the specific need to not wait in the heat. The rule of thumb suggested for CWD families in the park for outdoor attractions, is to use the card if the temperature is over 80 degrees and the line is longer than 30 minutes.

    We have used the card and it is not front of the line access as Laura states, but it has generally made the wait shorter.

    If you obtain the GAC on your personal vacation I suggest getting it at the Magic Kingdom Guest Services as they generally seem more professionally run than in the other parks.
     
  9. Jacque471

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    1. Name of the place - Disneyland and California Adventure
    2. Name of the pass (and link to the specific page, if available) - Guest Assistance Card (GAC)
    3. How/where you acquired the pass - In Disneyland at City Hall and at CA Adv at Guest Services, both of which are to the left after you enter the park. CA Adventure usually has the shorter line. They will only issue the pass up to a max of 7 days. If you will be there after that you need a new pass, which can easily be obtained by presenting your old pass. They just restamp/copy the info to a new one. It is in the name of the child and valid for up to 6 people. When you get the pass, you tell them how many people are in your party and they stamp that on the pass. They also have other stamps and in our case, we have a stamp that shows the stroller is equivalent to a wheelchair.
    4. What this pass gave you access to/allowed you to do that you couldn't have without it* We enter rides with long lines through the wheelchair entrance and if we choose can push the stroller (since it is classified as a wheelchair) all of the way down to the loading area of the ride. We don't always do this, as it depends on the ride. Basically it has eliminated the need to wait in extensively long lines and also allows us to use the wheelchair seating that is offered for parades, fireworks and shows. We used it for a parade for the first time last week and it was nice to have a secured area so we could decide at the last minute to attend the parade instead of having to wait early to get a decent spot so Logan could see.
    5. If applicable, how this pass kept your child safe (there were safety concerns expressed earlier) Logan seems to run really high at Disneyland all day long and then drop really low later in the night despite our best efforts, so we find it extremely helpful to have our stroller with us nearly everywhere or within quick reach in case we need something. I leave the Glucagon in a backpack with other back up supplies in the stroller so I wouldn't have it on "a ride" but having it nearby for when we get off make me feel better. It also allows us to keep his dexcom receiver on the back of the stroller all of the way down to the ride entrance and then we just take it with us when we go on the ride. IMO that leaves less room for the potential of losing it or having it damaged. Really, I think the biggest impact for us has been on not having to wait quite as long in lines. Even with the pass some lines can be quite long for the alternate entrance, so there is still a wait, but it is usually shorter than the regular lines, so that helps immensely.
     
  10. Wendy12571

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    Park: Disney World
    Name of card: Guest assistance card
    where we got the card: We obtained this card at city hall. This was after since my sister was awaiting double knee replacement. We went on the Buzz light year ride and the operator was like do you have a card. We were like no. Well I will let you on this time but get one. We waited till we were leaving for the afternoon stopped by city hall. We explained the situation. The man laughed as he handed me the card. He said you really don't need this, with the wheelchair. I said I know but the guy was really annoyed with us.
    What this allowed us to do. I personally did not use and would not have used D on this trip for the card. It allowed us to go in the fast pass entrance of most of the lines and not deal with cranky ride operators.
     
  11. krstn9@yahoo.com

    krstn9@yahoo.com Approved members

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    Accomodations

    Disneyland - Anaheim
    Guest Assistance - Was told that we could not get any type of accomodations unless we needed a wheelchair (exact words).
    This was about a year ago. We will be going again in November and hope that things have changed.
     
  12. MyAngelEmma

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    We are headed to SeaWorld Orlando bright and early in the AM. This will be our 3rd trip since dx and we will be requesting the Guest Assistance pass once again. I will post more about our experience with the pass when we get back next week. :)
     
  13. Twinklet

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    1. Name of the place Disneyland and CA Adventure in Anaheim. Just returned tonight!

    2. Name of the pass (and link to the specific page, if available) Guest Assistance Card

    3. How/where you acquired the pass City Hall, on Main Street near the entrance

    4. What this pass gave you access to/allowed you to do that you couldn't have without it* We could either go to the front of the line or use the Fast Pass line for entrance to rides.

    5. If applicable, how this pass kept your child safe (there were safety concerns expressed earlier)
    We were at the parks for 3 days. The first day, we decided not to request it. The weather was cool, Emily is typically in good control, we have a CGMS and have pretty much figured out what we need to do for extra activity and such. Well---all that went to pot immediately! For some reason, she was stubbornly high for 2 days prior to our arrival (growing? mensus? excitement? who knows?) and we were working hard dealing with that. During the first day at the park, her numbers were so unpredictable we felt like we did the first month after diagnosis! She went way high, then dropped like a rock. The final straw was she nearly passed out on a ride after we waited an hour. Her BG literally went into freefall as the ride started and she was screaming that she couldn't feel her legs (her typical very low symptom). I was desperately trying to get a juice, the ride was very dark and there was no way to check her actual BG at that time.

    We went immediately to City Hall and told them her symptoms and such and they issued her a pass with no problems. Ironically, her BG was much more stable after we received the pass. :rolleyes:

    Regarding safety: I don't know how to answer that. We got it because of unstable BG's that first day and the inability to adequately control them. When we were at a place where we knew she was in a "safe" BG range, we knew we could take on a more exciting ride (which tends to make her drop like a rock) at that time. Being able to go to the front of the line was very helpful in that regard. If we had to wait in the 60-90 minute lines, she may be heading for a low at that point.
    We also didn't use the pass for every ride, and didn't use it when we didn't need to. I don't know if we'll request one next time (this was our first time using one), but I am VERY grateful we were able to get one this week. It helped all of us have a more pleasant visit, despite the erratic BG's the first day.
     
  14. trisha

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    We were a week into being dx'd and had a trip already planned to go visit family in TX. We went to Six Flags over Texas. Got a medical pass at the Customer Relations Desk at Six Flags and it enables us to go to the front of the lines on MOST rides. Our CDE in the hospital told us about the pass. Having the DX so new, I had no idea what to expect from D and how my son's body was reacting. I was thankful for the pass. Would I request one again....you betcha.
     
  15. fredntan2

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    1Kings Dominion
    2They don't recognize D being a disability or either they don't recognize any disabilities. The parks were recently bought out a couple of years ago and I think the changes came after the buy out.

    1Busch Gardens
    2VIP? bracelet. got it inside park right after ticket area at guest relations. she got bracelet and everyone in group(think up to 6) used exit area to get on next ride.
    3. with out it we would wait in line-and depending on high or low have to exit to treat low/exit to treat high-ie go to bathroom. then have to get back in line.
    the people at busch gardens were excellent. when they saw you at the exit, they were super nice, smile, didn't have attitude and get you on next ride. you were treated like royalty. BG's has top notch customer service.

    compared to kings dominion in years when they did have disability card-it waslike night and day.
     
  16. iluvmhp

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    Disney World -Guest Assistance Card - used as a fast pass at all rides that have fast pass entrance. Other rides we wait in line or use wheelchair entrance.

    Busch Gardens - Guest Assistance - used in Quick Que line or if really busy. They issue a return time. For example, the roller coaster wait time is 90 minutes they write a pass to return in an hour and a half. This is very very useful as we have to take her pump off for those rides and put it in a locker. No way to take it off and stand in line for 90 minutes!!!
     
  17. Beach bum

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    We were one of those families. So glad they were more accomodating. We had such a horrible experience, we went in July, it was terribly hot, after having to get out of line 2x's to treat, we chucked it and went to the water park.

    Anyone have any info on Dollywood? I emailed them and they said just go up to the handicapped entrance of rides and we would be let in. No questions asked, no pass needed...is this true?
     
  18. CAGrandma

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    Disney World in Florida
    Got the Guest Assistance Pass (which covered the child with Type 1 and our whole party) at the Town Hall, just past the front gates. Have gone there 4 times and never had any problem getting the pass.
    Wherever there was the "Fast Pass" option that we could reasonably use, we used that. Otherwise we used the GAP which usually meant walking into the handicapped/wheelchair access line and which reduced the wait time from hours to minutes. Love the pass!
    How it kept our boy (we went when he was 4, 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 yrs old) safe -
    1. We could test and treat without having to deal with the "we've been in this line for an hour and if we have to get out of line to deal with diabetes we will have wasted an hour" pressure.
    2. Less standing in line in the hot sun which affects BG readings.
    3. Because of #2, less time during the day spent focusing on diabetes and more on having fun. Diabetes "didn't matter", and didn't spoil the day.
    4. Psychological advantage of knowing that sometimes there are small things that help balance things out - diabetes sucks, but having the pass means going on lots more rides. Would still trade with any of those people in the long, long lines if it meant no more diabetes, but...
     
  19. BCmom

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    We will be going Oct.4 (we booked before Dx) and I can't even think about how I will manage it just now.... it is so beyond my real of experience...
    I would appreciate any other tips and tricks you may have about visiting Disneyland (anaheim) with D.
    I have been encouraged to check out getting a GAC just in case....
    But any other tips.... would be greatly appreciated.
     
  20. enchanteddj

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    Bump

    *bump*

    This is a great thread! BCMOM.. How did your trip go?
     

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