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  1. My heart is pounding… My chest hurts… I am so ANGRY that you and you beautiful son gad to go through this. I do not know what to do!!! I have 4 sons, two with autism, and this is the ONLY place we go to. It’s the only place where we see that sparkle in their eyes. I do not know what we’re going to do now because we have been there so often that my Dylan has a routine with which rides we go on in sequence and we can not break that. I am so scared!! Thank you so much for taking the time to inform us on how this new policy affects us.thank goodness we did not get a year pass. Now we’re pretty much have to try out the parks to see whether the kids could tolerate the new system. God help us all!!

  2. Why did you leave Pirates? Seriously.

    Stop protecting the World and apologizing for having your son. He is who he is and if others have issues then THEY need to get out of their ‘protected’ little World and see whats really going on.

    Please do not pull him out of line. Let them experience the new magic.

  3. YOU are not alone! My day was a complete nightmare and my heart breaks for the kids that are now unable to visit Disney! Our kids LOVE Disney – unfortunately I don’t think the developmentally disabled fit the “Disney Magic’ model.

  4. Well, after discussing the new DAS last week with guest services, I went in today to discuss my physical limitations with them and see about getting the new card. As I had stated earlier, I didn’t feel it was great for me as I would still be waiting the stand by time but get to find a place to sit while I wait. ( I have RA and a good deal of joint damage , especially in the joints of my feet and knees) anyway, the very pleasant young woman in guest relations told me that the DAS was not for mobility problems ( I usually take a sit break every 30 min or so, so standing in lines longer than that doesn’t happen. We just skip the ride and there are several rides that we haven done in years for that reason) My only options are to get there early enough to get a fast pass, skip the ride, or be in a wheelchair. This is somewhat disappointing as I have had to be on crutches and in a wheelchair before and undoubtedly will be in the future (Lord willing, not permanently). However, I hate it, it draws undue attention, my teenage daughter is many times the only one with me to push me, you are eye level with everyone’s booties and its difficult to talk to anyone in your group. Not to mention that I try hard to pace things myself so that I don’t have to be in a wheelchair. The only thing that I can’t pace is the length of time standing in a ride queue :(. I have even asked if I can bring a small folding camp foot stool and sit in line but was told that its not allowed as any obtructions in the line are fire hazards 🙁

    • When you go back, explain these issues and how they affect your ability to wait in line. If the CM doesn’t understand, then please ask to speak to a manager. I encountered a similar problem with an entry-level CM who did not understand those of us with mobility issues did not have all our problems magically solved by wheels. The manager understood far better and I did get a DAS card.

      Only issue I can see for you is that you may have to get in the habit of sending your family to get those return times for you. All that zigzagging around back and forth to an attraction may put you past your stamina level with the RA. (I have JRA with a lot of joint contractures so I know what sorts of issues you have with prolonged standing/walking.I’m just so much more limited I need a power wheelchair to do anything outside.)

  5. I’m so sorry for Logan. This was the year I plan on taking my son with autism. I’m very sadden by the most wonderful place in world is turning to the worst for the kids with Autism. Like Logan my son high function, but very inpatient. He doesn’t understand the wait in line theme. He would have had at least three meltdown if he went to Disney. He has been begging to go to Disney but I do I explain to child who is eight that he can’t get on ride without waiting in crowd. If Walt was alive today he would have died from heart attack because Disneyland had become the most unfriendly place in world. This is one Autism mom that we make sure everyone I know to boycott Disneyland and Disney products! I’m so ashamed of disneyland

  6. Okay, very well written and I applaud your honesty. I do not have a child with autism. My daughter is a type 1 diabetic. On our trip this summer I did what I always did and explained the situation. She can’t be stressed. She needs a controlled environment. I need an escape plan for bathroom breaks. Severe lows can happen if the sky turns a different shade of blue. Severe highs happen if somebody looks at her wrong. It’s a very confusing disease for many type 1 diabetics. I was told the ADA deemed type 1 diabetics only needed a GAC with a “Provide shaded area” stamp on it. Well I chose to give it a try. Why not? Maybe the ADA was right. They primarily deal with type 2 which is NOT the same thing but even then, why not trust the professionals? We were at WDW for a 5-day package. After 3 days fighting severe lows and missed opportunities standing in a line for an hour only to have to jump ship for a bathroom break, she had a debilitating low that caused her to faint and scared her so bad, the day was spent in bed. This low actually happened while standing in line for Soarin’ which is an obscenely air conditioned building. “Providing shaded area” not needed. I was so upset. I felt like our vacation was ruined. I was in tears thinking THIS was going to be their “magical” memory. Day 4, I went to guest services and pleaded with her to change my GAC. After 30 minutes, it took me crying for her to stamp it with the alternate entry stamp. This was in JULY!!! My daughters chances of being able to enjoy WDW like she did those last 2 days are gone. This was our first trip back to WDW after her diagnosis in 2010. I was afraid. My friend convinced me to take a chance BECAUSE of the GAC. After finding out about these changes, I’m back to being afraid and have sadly knocked WDW off our list of possible summer vacation spots. I’ve loved WDW since I was a Florida born kid. We live in Texas and these vacations are expensive! (It’s cheap to live here but you can never leave!!) I am an entire other spectrum to this atrocity they’ve decided to bestow upon us. Thank you for describing how this affects you in such a beautiful and well written way. Please know, I’ve often wanted to scream to the heavens of the lack of hygiene. Thank you Logan. My god man, instead of turning people away for needing a legitimate GAC, how about some hygiene check points? I can only hope with all our voices being loud and proactive, Disney will go back to being the magical place we all remember. Keep on trying, and good luck. You are a beautiful family and I’m in love with your traditions. 🙂

  7. I think you should continue to go up in seniority about your pass.

    Sure they changed things. But, you have multiple children, yearly passes because you live in the area.

    If an exception is to be made it should be for families like yours.

  8. My son is 6 and has autism. We went to kings island this year here in ohio, his very first visit. They have the same passes. It was so chaotic. No one knew what was going on and we still waited in lines and you are correct it wasn’t fun for him. He enjoyed the coasters but the wait and then explaining that we have to get off and wait again, because they don’t allow repeats with the pass, was exhausting. Some of the waits even in the kiddie area were at least an hour and a half. There were adults riding without kids on these rides. I didn’t understand that. Anyways point at hand, I do not think these passes are a great thing. Instead they are confusing not just the parents but the employees as well. They have “fast passes” there also which are like another $30/$40 a person. Who can afford that?!? I’m a single mom and already has my hands full. I just wanted a great experience for us and for him to be able to enjoy himself like a child should.

  9. Thank you for your honest review of Disney’s new system. It is exactly what I dreaded it would be. I also read Autism Hippie’s review and my gosh, it sounds like hell on earth. Why on earth would I ever spend $400 on admission alone to go to hell? I read another blog who said it was the best thing ever, more-or-less. She has tons of links to Disney on her blog and *seems* to be heavily sponsored/affiliated with Disney. She receives “swag” and “loot” from Disney, which she blogs about so I think her perceptions/experiences may be skewed, at best. She is also the mother of an autistic child so it upsets me very much that she would try to sell this pretty picture of the new system to the rest of us unassuming special needs families, as none of us have the same Disney “perks” as she clearly does. I am honestly starting to think of Disney as the Devil. It feels like they have the power to do whatever they want and they choose to discriminate and treat our children poorly. They know that it will never work for our kids so in essence, they are locking our kids out of their Magical Experience. Makes me sick! My children will be fine. They have only been to Disneyland once. We used the GAC as both of them have Autism and couldn’t make it in a crowded line (we tried to forego the GAC as the line at Town Hall was extremely long and my girls just couldn’t hack it). If we never go again, they probably won’t miss it (maybe a little but not like some kids I know). They are 3 and 4 years old so they are easily distracted/re-directed. We live a few miles from LEGOLAND, which they love. We have other smaller amusement parks in our areas that will suffice for them. I am sad for the scores of children who LOVE Disney and are used to going and will truly MISS it. I just imagine all of these broken hearts scattered about because they (and their parents) simply cannot handle the new “accommodations”. Reading about how you and Autism Hippie had to run to keep up with your kids made ME exhausted. Unless they reinstate the GAC like before, our family will never set foot on their properties again, which sadly is exactly what I think Disney wants.

  10. Umm, must modify my comment a bit (I need to proof read better ;). I *did* feel the new system would be great for me. I don’t have a problem being in a queue it’s just the length of time standing without possibility of a sit break that I can’t do. I’m more than happy to wait as long as everyone else in standby 🙂

  11. Just an update that persons in wheelchairs DO wait in line at the Haunted Mansion! They are loaded into the Stretch Room last and then taken out a side door once everyone has emptied the room. Only then, after they’ve waited and enjoyed the stretch room, are they taken around to the exit because the loading area is too narrow for wheelchairs. Hope that helps clarify that situation! In some cases it takes them longer to get on the ride than most people!

    -another disabled advocate traveling with a wheelchair 🙂

    • This is true. Those of us with wheeled devices wait at the Exit of Haunted Mansion AFTER progressing through the Standby queues and going to the Stretching Room. Then we’re directed to hang back until the pedestrian crowd clears and taken down a hallway to wait at the exit for a ride stoppage. That’s when the CMs can stop the ride long enough for the wheelies to board.

      There are two transfer doombuggies as well where people who cannot climb into the vehicle can slide into it from the side. Makes the ride accessible for a lot of folks with mobility issues.

      Your wait at the exit is usually another 5-10 minutes extra from what you’d experience if you boarded at the entrance with everyone else. So please explain to Logan that those people in scooters did not get to ride before him. They entered the line after him. And even they entered with him, I guarantee he was on and off the ride before they were even on it.

  12. My biggest disappointment with the new system is how Disney thinks that as long as the person on card doesn’t need to be present to get a return time that solves everything. How does that help someone when it is only them with their disabled child (not everyone is traveling as a family of four)? Even if you are a family of four or more, this new system makes you split up and run all over the park getting return times. Also, these kids aren’t walking around with blinders on, as their family tours the parks. they will see attractions and indicate a desire to ride. How does this new system address THAT situation?? It doesn’t. The GAC allowed us to tour the parks, tend to our daughter’s need and try to sidestep all those little things that crop up out of the blue and result in behaviors without having to jump through hoops to get on a ride.

  13. This new “system” doesn’t solve the alleged problem, and simply penalizes everyone with special needs- as well as forcing them to justify themselves to some CM who may or may not be competent or even aware of the “rules” every time they go. It sucks.

  14. Wow, your son sounds a LOT like mine- we go through the whole these people smell bad/need to take a bath routine in line at disney (previously the fastpass line was an issue to begin with, I cannot imagine what it’s going to be like now though.) We learned our lesson on standby lines last trip when husband thought the standby line at haunted mansion looked small enough to manage so they could hit the interactive queue for once-which they did & had a great time…until they got inside past the stretch room & realized they were doing this without the stroller & needed to avoid the cattle call crush of the loading zone in haunted mansion-by then it was too late & they got caught/swept up in the crush as they had parked the stroller normally used as wheelchair…no bypass hall for them…then as they got up to the loading point, the cm’s loudly declared the ride was CLOSED/BROKEN DOWN & everyone had to leave-& they got crushed in the mass exodus which was the point that my son LOST it…spent the next 3 days in the resort because he decided all rides were unsafe & broken…it was awful…I think the next step if you go back may be to have a very pointed answer for each of rachel’s questions-in writing just in case she wont let you get a word in edgewise- I dont care what they say, waiting with any end of the spectrum is like having a ticking time bomb-functioning level is directly correlated to environment- all it takes is one trigger for a person to lose it entirely & we may or may not be able to keep up with/calm them without injury to self, us or others-I cant believe they dont understand how dangerous this really is for everyone. I STILL am reeling from this past summer & the 3day stint in the room & subsequent unnatural fear of heights/rides/dark that mine developed from the idea that every ride would break down on him (hm was the last straw that day as 3 other rides broke down in succession on them & hm was the fallback of the fallback plan basically) something has got to give & expecting spectrum folk to be flexible is just NOT going to change the fact that its a known trait- they don’t do change-cant do change, wont understand change…consistent is the name of the game & this new supposed system is anything BUT consistent by any means save for consistently unaccomodating for the disabled.

  15. Let’s address some points:
    “we had the guest assistance pass to ride his favorite rides as many times as he liked” – I’m sorry, but just because you have a certain trouble or hardship in your life does not entitle you to immediately ride whatever you like as many times in a row as you like. That is not fair to everyone else that would like to ride. And everyone has troubles and hardships. Emotional, physical, job-related, etc. You have conditioned your child to expect this, due to previous faults in the system. You should now condition them not to expect this. There’s a whole lot of things that you don’t let him do, now this needs to become one of them.

    “After filling out that info on her iPad, she asked if cast members should address me or Logan when talking. In disbelief, I answered the question” – Why disbelief? It sounds like a courteous measure to be sure that Cast Members know who to discuss accommodations with. Some persons may not be able to communicate with a CM.

    “After exiting the ride , we were met by no less than 3 scooters and their families waiting to board at the exit. I was quite aghast that my kid would be required to wait in line which was difficult for him but they were allowed immediate access.” – So, you are upset that others had different accommodations than you that you perceived as “better”? That’s pretty rude. Is this a contest of who is more disabled? Well, you’ve been told how it works.

    “all while shooting down every suggestion I had about how to make the pass better. I ask her what she suggests we do while we wait .” – Sounds like you are the one who shot down every suggestion on how to make your experience better. As to what to do while you wait? There’s an entire theme park around you. Shop, eat, people watch, walk a loop around frontierland, go through the treehouse. What you wanted was an immediate access pass, and that is the only thing you see as a solution. Frankly, if you are unable to do some waiting, then perhaps a theme park is not the best venue for you to visit. It’s a fact of life that everyone waits for things in a theme park.

    But immediate access isn’t available any more, and I’m sorry. There were just too many people using and abusing it (separate things). When every other person has some kind of disability that “needs” immediate access, then nobody gets it. This implementation is a fair solution, and navigating the park will take some planning, just like everyone else has to do. Disney doesn’t hate you and they don’t hate your son. They are trying to create a system that will work for many without trampling on everyone.

    • Yes, let’s address some points:

      First, I don’t condition my son to anything. I condition my dog but but not my son. Now that we have established that point, have you ever met a child with autism. Their brains are wired differently from yours and mine therefore they do not process things in the same way. To completely change the system to such an extreme is a huge overload to him. Yes, we will have to adjust but not to the system as it is. There has to be some changes in order to make it work. No dancing around that.

      The disbelief was in her complete dismissal in what I was tell her and moving on to something else. I had no problem with the question. I had a problem with her ignoring my description of his needs.

      Upon exit, my problem was not that they were getting to ride with a different disability. It was the fact that if my kid who can’t wait due to actual sensory issues is expected to wait then those with mobile disabilities should have to as well. I have since learned that they in fact do wait and the new DAS system is not designed for them. I guarantee you there are more fat and lazy people abusing the wheelchair system than there are pretending to have autism.

      Again, do you have any clue about autism? This is not a brain function that they have to move on to something else while they wait. Every parent with a child with autism wishes their child would transition better. Hence the need for visual schedules, cues and prefacing every activity . It’s a fact of autism life. yes, some waiting is to be expected anywhere. But if my child can’t wait in line due to sensory issues with the crowd, and smells then I expect them to do something to help him with that . I spend thousands of dollars a year on these annual passes and I expect it to work for everyone. As a business, I expect Disney to make reasonable accomodations or I will take my business elsewhere.

      This system is an overreaction to a problem. It is punishing those who had nothing to do with the abuse Disney suffered with the old system. They need to correct it or autism families will not be able to enjoy the parks. With autism now 1 in 88, that’s a lot of families to exclude.

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