Saturday, August 01, 2009

Why I Love Disney World Part 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I really do love Disney World. I have to admit that I have never understood people who are fanatical about Disney. I couldn't imagine why people would go back year after year after year. Well, I am not a fanatic, but I must say that my opinion has definitely changed. I have always been a beach person, but if we make a yearly vacation as a family, I am 99% sure we will be going back to Disney World. It was that great. Seriously. What made it soooo great? Other than the food, which was HUGE for us, the Guest Assistance Card and Stroller=Wheelchair sticker was WONDERFUL.

What is the guest assistance card?

The guest assistance card is the best thing that every happened to special needs individuals at Disney World. To obtain one, have your doctor write a note on his or her letterhead stating that your child is disabled as a result of XYZ (autism for us) and that he or she will need some extra assistance at Disney World. When you arrive at the first park go to guest assistance, right inside the gate and show your letter. They will give you a guest assistance card that is good for all of your days at all of the parks. It will be used for your party--up to 6 people. What does the pass do for you? It makes life much more bearable. When you get to a ride or to a character meet and greet, show the card to the attendant, and they will send you through the handicap accessible entrance. It translates into a more quiet experience and faster wait time for each experience. Our longest wait was 20 minutes and that was because a cast member forgot to come get us to see Tinkerbell. Not bad by any standard. Because of this, our kids actually got to ride some rides. Otherwise, they would have never been able to take the lines and the noise and the LONG waits. We would have waited the 3o-60 minutes only to have them meltdown before even getting on a ride or seeing Tink. LIFE SAVER!

Stroller=Wheelchair Sticker

The next very important thing is the stroller=wheelchair sticker. Now our kids can walk just fine, so you may wonder why we would need this sticker. A lady that I know suggested we request this pass (didn't have to, was offered) because of her personal experience. When she went to guest assistance, the cast member also offered this sticker for her to use for her autistic son. She told the cast member--"Well, I feel bad using that because he can walk. He just has Autism". The cast member gave a very compassionate and SO Disney response. She said "Your child is at a disadvantage every day. When he is at Disney World, let him have an advantage for a change". With that statement tucked away in my memory bank, we took that delightful red sticker and made great use of it!
At Disney World you will see stroller parking everywhere because you can not take strollers in line for rides. For our kids this would be a bad deal because we needed to keep them calm and contained and the stroller helps with that. They feel secure in their own space. So, the attendant at guest services offered us this sticker. I wasn't sure why we'd need it, but it had been recommended to me, so I went with it. SO glad I did. When we got the rides, we not only went in the handicap accessible entrance, we also took our strollers with us. This really helped the kids remain calm and allowed us to make sure no one ran off. We also got to take our stroller into restaurants and other places where they are normally forbidden.

So there you have it. 2 more (VERY BIG) reasons WE LOVE DISNEY WORLD!


Liz said...

Oh! Thank you again for another awesome Disney post! I literally have tears in my eyes as I am writing this because I am so encouraged that we CAN do Disney! Our boys are runners and need the stroller or Choo Choo to keep them contained and help them to feel safe so that sticker will be HUGE for us! I am so excited! Thank you again for your post!

Tracey said...

What a great post! I am so glad you had your passes so your time at Disney was pleasant!! That is just awesome!

jillian said...

as a current disney cast member, i just had to drop in and say that i'm glad to hear that this made such a difference in your visit!