It's an unfortunate fact of Disney life at this point that the change was needed. Fastpass+ is going to make it easier for all families, special needs or not, to reserve what is essentially front of the line access for some attractions, the new system will make it still manageable for special needs families to experience attractions but not significantly hinder the experience of everyone else.
It is frustrating all the dirty looks we get from people because of the scooter. Because it's not an obvious disability, people just assume she's lazy and not handicapped.
When a group of "regular" patrons suddenly find themselves stuck in a winding queue of people standing right next to a family with an adult with a sensory based meltdown occuring & find that person's behavior less than tolerable or downright dangerous, I wonder if they will be demanding that the person & their family be removed from that line- or rather WILL they be able to even voice a concern to a CM? Will there be one nearby/in sight once in that winding queue? Will this be a dangerous situation for them as well as the person melting down? Sure it is expected socially that a caregiver/family remove themselves & the person melting down from a public situation BUT this is not always possible/feasible ESPECIALLY when faced with a sea of bodies in between you & the exit. A family will be charged with having to either restrain/protect the person melting down or protect those around them in the immediate area from potential lashing out/fall-out effects of the meltdown (think Soarin FastPass Line for example-sure it moves faster than standby, BUT is still lengthy when filled can be a veritable obstacle course for one person with something as simple as a potty emergency, think of the family trying to get out of line with a melted down individual, especially an adult that may prove difficult to restrain physically if need arises.) http://asensorylife.com/sensory-meltdowns.html this link can give you an idea of the wide array of issues that can happen to a sensory based disabled person of any age/size etc. Think about & process what it is I am saying. Be careful in calling for "Change" however "Necessary" you may think it is. In a perfect world, options for sensory based accomodation would be made readily available, but apparently it would prove "Unfair" to the ready-abled who can only imagine themselves using such accomodation & how much their able selves might be able to accomplish given similar accomodation. What they do NOT understand, is that their experiences & response to environment are not the same as the disabled sensory impaired people & while yes an able bodied person could do soo much, the impaired cannot & most likely are only good for a few hours if that of park tolerane before having to go back to their rooms to recover from park stimulations. Here is another link to review & think about that gives a slice of park life for a family with various issues. http://showyourhope.com/2013/09/26/dear-disney/
I almost never print anything out because I try to be "green", but I printed this article out and I sent a link to all the moms in my contacts who love Disney because this is the best explanation ever for why this is all happening and what the issue is.
Disney also could have go the other way and adding more E-ticket rides and closing bad and old rides to change them in new and exiting C and D ticket rides but that cost money. Introducing Magicband also costs money but it adds a lot of stuff beneficial for the Disney company because they separate you from your wallet (but you still can buy stuff), make you reserve things in advance so when you are there and afterwards they can bombard you with stuff to get even more money from you and the list goes on and on.
It's said a company one's know for it's excellent customer service, on top of new and cutting edge ride technology is now just another big company ruled by the dollar and degrading it's guests to customers and see them as piggybanks...
The reason I don't think this is very helpful is because the culture of political correctness in our country means that anyone who has a disabled child becomes a secular saint and is thus infallible...and as a result anyone disagreeing with that parent is just a villain. I've noticed this over and over regarding any discussion about GAC/DAS...because almost everything is couched in very emotional terms, written from an emotional perspective of "You just don't know how hard it is to have a special needs child and I am the mom of a special needs child and we deserve to have extra rides".
I think we need to take the emotion out of all this and look at what the law states and what it requires. Disney, as Robert noted in his article, has been giving preferential access well above what the law requires...and we've reached a point where that was unsustainable for myriad reasons. If the parents of disabled children want to change the law and require preferential as opposed to equal access to things for the disabled, then those people need to lobby Congress to augment existing statute.
It looks to me like Disney allowed this preferential access to continue for as long as it could, but it just could not go on any more. I think everyone should be equal, and special steps need to be taken to make sure that disabled people have equal access...but it needs to stop at "equal" and the emotional "we deserve this because our lives is hard" stuff like on "ShowYourHope" needs to be kept out of rational discussions about compliance with the ADA access laws.
And OT, where do you get your information on the Magic Bands being 'not so beloved?' I have talked to many, many people who have used the Magic Band and they've had nothing but good things to say about it. Of course Disney-bashers will find something negative in everything Disney does, but Disney's core base have found it to be very convenient and very successful thus far.
This new policy will shut that down,
To avoid double dipping abuse, customer service should scan the ticket to check on whether the patron already utilized Fastpass. Perhaps Fastpass is the actual solution to the problem. Upon Fastpass return, the attendant sends the disabled guest to the correct line.
Fastpass should be the solution. Maybe they should exchange regular scannable tickets to DAS scannable tickets. Thus the Fastpass ticket tells the guests where to line up upon the return time.
Now I will say kids on the spectrum really do not do well with rule changes. I am not sure if I can emphasize that enough. I think some of the push back from people is that they know a storm is coming when they have to deal with this change. It will be epic. I hope everyone can try to understand that when thinking about this and responding to nervous parents. Caregivers- I feel for you, but at least in our case, our daughter can get over these things, but it is challenging. It has always gotten better after the first experience with the rule change, but I would really work with the social stories before you go. At least you're not going up to the ride and leaving, just going to that booth first so maybe talking about that before you go will help. Maybe Disney can give you exact details like where the booths will be so you can really work on the logistics before you get there.
I do think the make a wish kids and those children with profound developmental delays should have more accommodations than other guests so I'm glad the make a wish kids still get the GAC type treatment.
I am hoping the magic band in addition to wider wait areas that accommodate guests with mobility impairment will actually make the standby lines shorter so that things are easier for everyone. Even with that my family will probably always visit at off peak seasons and avoid being in the park from 11-3 which really helps a lot for reducing waiting times.
"Actual example: The wait time for Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey was 90 minutes. The attendant wrote a time for us to return 90 minutes later. For the next 45 minutes, we walked around the park trying to find another ride less than a 30 minute wait time. We were unsuccessful. None of the ride attendants at the other rides could give us a time to return for their ride or let us use the Express Plus entrance because the wait was more than 30 minutes. After an hour of no rides and trying to prevent our son from having a meltdown and possible self-injurious behaviors, we decided it was best to leave the park, which we did. PLEASE REMEMBER – this 30-minute dilemma usually occurs only on days the parks are crowded during the summer, spring break and the holidays."
Can you imagine playing $300 plus for a day at the park only to leave within the first hour having never ridden a single ride? How often does a typical family face this dilemma as compared to a family with a special needs individual?
I have been going to WDW since 1971 and have been on some of the most crowded days in the history of the park and have waited in line (longest was 3 hours). As a child did I whine and complain? Of course. But I never fell to the ground kicking, screaming, biting, and scratching. My parents never felt that they had to leave the park. With my son we have actually left the park having never gotten past a bench on one of the spokes at the end of Main Street. We've also never stayed in the park longer then 3 hours. My son loves Disney and loves going on the rides and how the rides are not too stimulating I do not know maybe it's like how an ADHD individual can't focus on their homework but can play video games for hours. My concern is who is liable when my child (whether he is 8 or 28) injures another guest? He already did this in the 20 minute queue for Toy Story Mania (yes we got to the park real early and ran) when he was 4. Does Disney understand this as a true issue? Do some shopping? My son doesn't want to shop he wants to go on a ride. Do I have to pay when he breaks something because he is having a meltdown? Walk around? Since we can only go during crowded times (school holiday) will he take off? will he injure someone because he wants to go on a ride? Will a nice person try and calm him down only to make the situation worse? I also have to manage his asthma which could be triggered by his meltdowns.
We've always waited if the line is 10 minutes or less but I can't push it any longer and can't push him on his bad days even that long. I am lucky as we have no annual or seasonal pass and we have no reservations that can't be cancelled. No we won't be going to WDW anytime in the foreseeable future and possibly never again. It simply is not an option for the safety of my son, my family, and the guests around us in a queue line. I will deal with the meltdowns at home that will occur when I have to keep saying no we can't go but at least I don't have to worry about others getting hurt. Something that people need to realize is that it's not just for the disabled individual and their family but for those with sensory issues it is also for the safety of those around that individual.
Janeen Herskovitz is the mother of an autistic boy who is outraged that her kid will no longer be able to "go right ont he ride, without having to wait in a long line. Riding Space Mountain EIGHT TIMES in a row, without having to get out of the seat is fun for [her autistic son]":
Riding Space Mountain EIGHT times in a row is a PERK, not an accommodation. It's also why Disney's changes are so very, very necessary!
I was at Cedar Point about 6 years ago. On several of the days we were there, there was a large group of disabled people with their attendants. I would estimate that there were several hundred people in the park in this group. The disabilities ranged from low level (high functioning down syndrome) to severe physical and mental. I saw a lot of these individuals in lines - the regular lines - for the rides. They all waited in the regular lines.
As an aside, there were a lot of these disabled individuals that I saw in line for the roller coasters. Given the seemingly fragile condition of some of the people, I was stunned that their attendants would take them on these rides that knock you around, and the CP would allow them to ride. In fact, one ride had to be shut down after one individual rode and became incapacitated on the ride. The paramedics came for that person. It seemed to me there was little regard for the physical safety of these individuals (on the part of CP and the caregivers).
Going to the ride and then leaving to come back later is not an option. We can't go back to Disney... SO, I'm glad I waited to book our next trip when rumors of a change in policy started circulating!
The good news is that for the price of going to Disney for 5 days we can go to Rome for a week.
"The wait time for Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey was 90 minutes. The attendant wrote a time for us to return 90 minutes later. For the next 45 minutes, we walked around the park trying to find another ride less than a 30 minute wait time. We were unsuccessful. None of the ride attendants at the other rides could give us a time to return for their ride or let us use the Express Plus entrance because the wait was more than 30 minutes. After an hour of no rides and trying to prevent our son from having a meltdown and possible self-injurious behaviors, we decided it was best to leave the park" - I'm not sure what else you wanted. You were getting equal access, even preferred access, since you didn't have to wait in line. Expecting to bypass other patrons who were waiting as expected would be preferential treatment. Like others in a variety of situations (small children, seniors, etc.) if the current park situation (busy) doesn't allow for your personal needs, then go at a different time.
"He doesn't want to use a wheelchair and wants to keep mobile for as long as his body will let him" - Since a system or device (wheelchair) exists to help in his situation, his personal desire not to use one does not negate that he can use one and use the lines like the rest of the patrons.
Last year, my son (6 yrs old) had waited patiently in line to meet Belle. When we finally got to the front, this woman came running up, waving her GAC and stating that this card gets her no wait. When told the line was closed and they could not help her, she got rude and loud to the CM who let her go ahead of us.
Belle had already exceeded her onstage time by the time these people were done with all their pictures. My son was the one who got short changed.
You should not get special access b/c you eat too much and too much crap. I know people have a zillion excuses for why they are obese, but it is b/c you eat too much horrifically bad-for-you food. Even if you cannot exercise, you still choose what you put in your mouth. The numbers of people that suffer from some actual metabolic disease are infinitesimal. As a child of someone who is morbidly obese, I have heard every excuse in the book. It is bad food (and lots of it all the time), and no exercise (a person who could engage in some activities).
1. "Riding Space Mountain eight times in a row, without having to get out of the seat, is fun for him." GACs do not and never have worked like that.
2. "We cannot “go get something to eat” in the overpriced restaurants, because most of our money is spent on expensive therapies, which include therapies to ensure my husband and I can stay married and to help our neuro-typical daughter adjust to being “the kid with the weird brother.”" Disney food is pricey, but not THAT pricey, especially since a kid's meal will easily feed one kid or two adults. Plus no one ever enforces the rule about not bringing food into the park.
3. "And where can I find one of those “low wait-time attractions?” Is that in the same section as the affordable meals? I believe that’s the place referred to as Never Land." Apparently the Carousel of Progress, the TTA Peoplemover, the teacups, the carousel, IASM*, the Country Bears, the Tiki Room, Pirates*, and the Swiss Family Treehouse don't exist in her world?
*IASM and Pirates will get above a thirty minute wait at the busiest times of year. The other rides won't.
Someone is just trying to stir up trouble.