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  • Are you disabled enough for Disney?

    Posted by deann-r on May 3, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    Something frustrating to me is having to prove I’m disabled enough to receive services and equipment. It took almost a year of denials and appeals to acquire my Jaco Robotic Arm. That’s just one example of jumping through hoops of many.  

    Now it looks like you’ll have to prove you’re disabled enough to receive a DAS Pass at Disney. In the past individuals with disabilities could obtain Disability Access Service passes to wait in other areas until their turn for a ride. Now they’re changing their process, making it more difficult to receive one and even excluding many disabilities.

    Admittedly I’ve never been to Disney and don’t have the desire to go. However, I do feel like these changes will negatively impact the disabled community who have benefited from this service. For many, the DAS Pass isn’t just a perk, it’s a necessity to be able to escape reality for just a moment and have a little fun.  

    What do you think about these changes? 

    Here is a link to the video where I learned of these upcoming changes:

    susana-m replied 1 month, 3 weeks ago 5 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • mike-huddleston

    May 7, 2024 at 4:23 pm

    Starting this off with an aside: I kind of wish we’d stop doing the hyperbolic article titles, as I feel I’ve wandered down any other SM platform with less ethical practices and standards than we should expect here. That said….

    I seriously detest the whole “I’m disabled, so I’m therefore a victim” mindset. I haven’t been to Disney in over 25 years and have no plans of ever going again. I never used the DAS or whatever it may have been called in previous iterations. It seems Disney is faulty in their decision making process for this while trying to actually reduce the number of DAS Passes available. But categorically removing, by default, physical disabilities, whether visible or invisible, wasn’t a very good way of going about this. Hopefully they will respond to the petitions (I signed it) and tweak this process. I think the automatic pass to anyone and everyone who asked was not very effective, so perhaps some adjustments were needed. The implementation of said changes are not a process improvement, and I’d imagine Disney is or will be smart enough to figure this out. There is nothing in their new DAS Pass policy that says you will not qualify, but that you may need to explain why you need this. No one enjoys waiting in line for hours, so that in and by itself is not justification.

    I’ll give two examples of why this type of thing is a problem. 1. Last time we were at Disney, I was still ambulatory and walking the park was extremely difficult. I fell 3 times due to fatigue, but kept pushing myself. There was another family of 4 who apparently had taken advantage of Disney’s in force policy at the time. They had a scooter. However, I saw them multiple times in the park that day and every time I saw them, someone different in the family was sitting in the scooter. People like this suck and will still be trying to figure out ways to circumvent the new policy. Since no doctor’s note is required, all they will need to say is “I have ADHD” or “I’m on the spectrum”.

    2. Second example, not at Disney. For the 2016 presidential election, I voted in person. I did early voting and was in line and a poll worker came up to me and said, “Sir, you NEED to come to the front of the line.” I said, “I’m good.” He insisted and I continued to decline, so he went and got his supervisor, who also insisted. I said, “If you ask every single person in front of me if it’s okay for me to move in front of them and they ALL agree, I’ll go to the front of the line. In my wheelchair, I’m probably more comfortable than everyone standing here.”

    Point being, there is no right answer. Disney is trying to find a way to make it better for the people who need the DAS Pass. Hopefully, they’ll figure it out. In the meantime, I’m not going to let anyone, here or elsewhere, make me feel like a victim. And that doesn’t mean we don’t need accommodations or help from time to time, but let me determine when that’s right for me.

    • deann-r

      May 8, 2024 at 12:45 pm

      I appreciate your responses. My apologies if you’re not liking my titles. They’re how I’m feeling in the moment and are meant to create discussions around these topics. It’s not my intention to exaggerate a theme for views, I genuinely feel we’re headed down a slippery slope as services are being taken away.

      May I ask more about this “victim mindset” you’ve referenced? I’m having trouble seeing how utilizing benefits and services and voicing concern about these services disappearing is playing the victim. I for one have never considered myself a victim. In my eyes a victim does nothing about injustices and that’s not me.

      It is tough seeing individuals abuse the system. A lot of Disney’s reasoning probably revolved around that. Here’s a consideration, it would be interesting to see if they would earn more revenue if they allowed everyone to have scheduled time slots. It would allow individuals to spend money in other areas of the park while they wait. Of course they would loose the revenue from the program they already offer but I’m sure there’s an additional perk they could come up with.

      • mike-huddleston

        May 9, 2024 at 3:06 pm

        Hey Deann –

        My comment about the titles is within this community of readers here on SMA News Today, we don’t need catchy titles to generate readers or dialogue. I just don’t think it’s necessary and seems to be pervasive at SM sites vying for attention. You already have us here and we are all passionate about SMA and things that affect us.

        As far as the victimization or victim mindset, to me, it’s not sitting around and doing nothing, because you’re obviously active, engaged, and doing something, raising awareness and writing thought provoking articles, and I appreciate that. But to me, there seems to be a theme or mindset in general of people seeking opportunities to be victims of some act. I’m referencing the disability community here because of this site, but I also find that in the population in general. And even then, it’s not that people are doing nothing, but coming across as a victim or the target of some action/inaction. Even your comment of a “slippery slope as services are being taken away” hints at that. The video you linked in the article was fine, but she came across in several parts of that video as shedding crocodile tears. Perhaps that was some of my comment.

        A few weeks ago, there was another article about a service being taken away and at the very least implying it was targeting the disability community. I think you wrote that one as well, “Are we going backward when it comes to access”. I just fundamentally do not agree with that because I don’t think every decision that affects us was a deliberate attack on our community. A restaurant removing curbside service that only offered it to keep some business during COVID is taking away a service that was in place for EVERYONE, not just this community. Sure, raise your voice and see if a compromise can be agreed upon, but that doesn’t mean it was an afront to the disability community. There is no reality to me where this implies access is going backward.

        That said, I am a strong advocate for our community. Significant progress has been made – no doubt – but MORE is definitely needed. I will be the voice for those without one or needs theirs amplified. I will be your strongest supporter and ally, but when people who are not the target of some action inappropriately place themselves in the victim crosshairs, I take exception to that. Someone wants to remove curb cutouts, take out access to buildings, remove elevators, add obstacles, I’ll cut them off at the knees – with vengeance. Making something a little less convenient for everyone, not just those in our community, does not mean we are the target of their actions.

        Disney felt some changes were needed. They will figure this out.

        I hope this provides a little more context to where I was coming from?

  • aimee

    May 9, 2024 at 2:39 pm

    Hi! I’m a mom of a 13-year-old with SMA. Our family just got back from Disney so I thought I’d share my 2 cents! When we got there my mother in law was concerned that we hadn’t requested the DAS pass and made a few comments about it. So throughout the trip I wondered if I should have looked into it more. (My daughter also has autism so she probably would have met the requirements if I’d played that card). I think maybe the reason for the change is that the queues are for the most part wheelchair accessible whereas in the past maybe they weren’t so much?

    I will say that I appreciated so much how well trained the employees were in handling wheelchair access on the rides. Several rides we went on were ones where there was a ride vehicle with wheelchair access, and for the ones we had to transfer into, there was a separate area to do that and a transfer device. They were a well oiled machine and nobody acted patronizing or “othering” towards us. The app clearly outlines which rides require transfers. The shows all had separate wheelchair entry areas and we were usually seated first.

    Disney overall is very frustrating in how they’re doing their fast pass system. You used to be able to get 3 fast passes per day included with admission, now you have to pay separately, and not all rides are included. The one day we paid for it was a complete waste. The system is complicated and confusing. I believe with the DAS pass you get 3 rides per day, but you still have to wait in a queue. So yes, that would have been nice to have, but I don’t think that we necessarily “needed” it. It seems like it might be in place more for individuals who have a hard time waiting in line due to behavioral differences.

    I agree that Disney as a whole needs to make some major changes! But when we were there I did feel like the environment was very inclusive and welcoming.

    • mike-huddleston

      May 9, 2024 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks for these comments, Aimee. Glad to hear that the current Disney experience and their treatment of those in our community was mostly positive. They’ll get this DAS pass figured out and hopefully it will be a better overall experience.

    • deann-r

      May 14, 2024 at 8:58 am

      Thanks for your reply @aimee . I’m glad you had a great time. Sounds like you’ve gone on multiple occasions. Any tips for those of us who have never been?

      • yuri

        May 14, 2024 at 2:16 pm

        Hi Deann. This is a little off-topic, but how did you get your Jaco Robotic Arm? Are you US-based? For a few years, I tried to talk about it with different PTs and OTs. One of them was actually from Canada, where this product has been developed and manufactured, and nobody ever heard about it, not even talking about understanding what it is and how to obtain one. I am in Ohio, Greater Cleveland area.

      • deann-r

        May 15, 2024 at 10:26 am

        @yuri To get the ball rolling on getting the Jaco I contacted Ron Borgschulte from Partners in Medicine [email protected] He was a tremendous help in getting a demo set up, letting me know what funding options were available and guiding me through the process.

      • yuri

        May 15, 2024 at 10:42 am

        Thank you so much! This is a breakthrough. 🙏

  • susana-m

    May 30, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    I believe the reason they are changing their access policy has to do with people taking advantage of the system. It became common knowledge that wealthy families would invite people with disabilities, pay their expenses while the entire family would reap the benefits of the fast access pass.

    As usual, the fix is more problematic than the problem.

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