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Accessibility Archives - Special Mouse - Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs
Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs

Special Mouse Podcast

Posts Tagged 'Accessibility'

Is Disney’s DAS “fair?” (Part One) – 080

 

The Magic is for Everyone!

Guest Maureen Deal from AutismAtTheParks.com joins Kathy to discuss whether or not Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS) accommodation is “fair” and, if so, to whom?

We have discussed the change in Disney’s system of accommodation for guests with disabilities from the GAC to the DAS at length in previous episodes. Today we begin a dialogue, not about the effectiveness of the current system, but rather whether or not the current system is fair. This is in response to recent posts on social media from travel agents specializing in Disney vacation-planning who expressed frustration regarding some of their clients’ response to the current system. Unlike the previous system of accommodation, the DAS does not provide accellerated access to attractions for guests with disabilities.

It should be noted that Maureen and I are speaking as parents of children on the severe end of the Autism Spectrum. Naturally, this has affected our own experiences and our personal opinions. Opinions of Special Mouse listeners regarding this question were requested and permission to share was granted.

Some points covered in this episode are:

Accommodations for Disney Park guests with special needs are now provided based upon specific criteria and many people “fall through the cracks.” Guests with challenges related to mobility/endurance are advised to rent a wheelchair or scooter if they do not already have one and the alternate entrance accommodation is provided if a queue is not wheelchair-accessible. Guests who find it difficult to wait in a standard queue environment due to cognitive/sensory issues are offered the DAS, which provides not accellerated access, but a “virtual wait” (Details regarding services for guests with disabilities can be found on Disney’s official website.)

 

What is “fair?” Is “fair” the same as “equal?”

Equal vs Fair

 

Was the DAS created to be fair for Disney park guests with disabilities or fair for “all of our guests?” (Meaning, the guests who do not require accommodations for disabilities.)

We discuss society’s attitudes toward people with disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities. Has the GAC/DAS issue fostered an “us against them” mentality between typical guests and guests with disabilities and their families? Do guests with disabilities feel “entitlement?” Are guests without disabilities insensitive to the needs of others? Is accommodating the needs of the disabled fine and dandy UNTIL it is perceived to impact the non-disabled guest experience?

Does one size fit all when it comes to accommodations for special needs? (DAS or Mobility Device.) After all, that one glass slipper didn’t fit every foot!

Special Accommodations for Specific Circumstances

DAS, with its virtual wait, will accommodate many of our Guests with disabilities. We recognize, however, that our Guests with disabilities have varying needs, and we will continue to work individually with our Guests to provide assistance. In unique situations, our Guest Relations staff will discuss special accommodations for persons who are concerned DAS doesn’t meet their needs (e.g., those whose disability limits the duration of their visit to the park or limits their choice of attractions).

Are guests’ individual needs taken into account when additional accommodations are requested as promised by Disney in October of 2013? Or is additional accommodation “one-size-fits-all” as well? (Individual attraction re-admission pass (essentially one additional FastPass) that must be requested daily and on an individual basis.)

Oliver

Does anxiety and stress related to the DAS system (huge change for a population that finds change extremely difficult, anxiety related to fear of not being granted the DAS or that the DAS will not meet a family member’s needs, inconsistency among Disney Cast Members in provision of DAS accommodation, etc.) have a negative effect on the special-needs family’s vacation experience?

We reference Special Mouse Episode 50: Disney DAS Card Survey Results to note that about half of respondents said the DAS accommodation met their family’s needs while the other half said it did not. Again, does one size fit all in this situation?

Listener comments included in this episode:

Bruce Sherman: Those with mobility issues like myself, the answer to our issue is not a wheelchair. Too many queues can only handle a wheelchair, especially in the Magic Kingdom. So to say, hey you dont need DAS, use a wheelchair, is telling us, no, you cant ride this attraction.

Helen Thomas: Now we have used DAS I can see how to some it will work well and to others it may not solve the issues they have. Last time we were here we had the Guest Assistance Card. We used it like the DAS anyway as we had no issue with coming back after the standby time. We did see some people abusing the system and this did rankle with us as the pass was an assistance tool, not so you can jump queues. The DAS is working well for us and making our trip easier and less stressful and it fits in with our reasons we need it, but I can imagine that it will not work for some people with sensory issues or who have a particular ride that they will only go on, and struggle with having to wait. I don’t think you can please all the people all of the time plus sadly, there are people out there who will abuse things and ruin them for the rest.

* * * * * * * * * *

This is all food for thought; we will continue with part two of our discussion next week.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

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Stroller as Wheelchair on Walt Disney World Buses?

Stroller-tag

Photo: chipandco.com

Let’s clear up the confusion surrounding use of the stroller as wheelchair accommodation and safe transit on the Walt Disney World bus system!

The stroller as wheelchair accommodation offered within the theme parks is designed to help children with disabilities and medical conditions to access attractions. Disney says:
“Guests with disabilities—including those with a cognitive disability—who need to remain in a stroller while in an attraction queue should visit the Guest Relations Lobby at the theme parks in order to obtain the appropriate identifying tag.” This accommodation can be used with any stroller, from a top-of-the-line Maclaren to the throwaway umbrella you picked up at Walmart just for the trip.

It can also be used for actual wheelchairs.

Lightweight, folding pediatric wheelchairs are often referred to as strollers – special needs strollers, adaptive strollers or medical strollers. It can be difficult for Cast Members to tell the difference between them and some of the fancy stroller models available today! That is why I typically recommend that parents who utilize pediatric wheelchairs for their children request the stroller-as-wheelchair tag for use in the parks, simply as a convenience. Yes, you know it’s a wheelchair and I know it’s a wheelchair, but who wants to have to explain the difference to Cast Members over and over all day long?

So, you’ve had a fun day at one of the parks and now it’s time to return to your resort via the Disney bus system. Here is where things seem to get a bit fuzzy in people’s minds when it comes to the stroller as wheelchair accommodation at Disney! Strollers must be folded when boarding the Disney buses…

stroller-folded

Photo: touringplans.com

This applies even if you have a stroller as wheelchair tag. Remember, this accommodation is provided for theme park attraction access only. There is no way to safely secure a child in a stroller while on the bus – period.

But hey! What about those special needs strollers we mentioned earlier? Many times I’ve read comments from parents who were annoyed because they were unable to wheel their child onto a bus and allow the child to remain in their stroller. “But, it’s not a stroller, it’s a WHEELCHAIR!” they protest.

True. However, not all pediatric wheelchairs are equipped to be bus transit safe!

Let’s look at one of the most popular suppliers of special needs strollers (folding pediatric wheelchairs) — Convaid.

Convaid makes a variety of wheelchairs; most can be outfitted with an additional transit package:

Transit Option – Required Items:

  • Headrest Extension

  • Trunk Positioning Belt

  • Foot Positioners

  • Four Bright Red Anchors (manufacturer required installation)

According to Convaid, their wheelchairs are only transit safe if they are outfitted with this transit package and are secured in a forward facing position. (For more information, you can download the Convaid Transit brochure HERE.)

This is why not all children in special needs strollers (wheelchairs) are permitted to remain inside them while on the buses — it simply is not safe. And, to insist that the bus driver transport your child in this manner when the chair is not equipped for transit is asking him or her to go against safety standards.

So, if you want to be able to transport your child in his or her special needs wheelchair, make sure that it is equipped with the necessary transit options.

Safe for Transit on Bus-

Thanks for reading!

For more about special needs at all Disney travel locations, listen & subscribe to the Special Mouse podcast.

 

Kathy

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Adventures by Disney Trip Report: Germany Using a Wheelchair – 072

Mike_Greer

 

Willkommen! This week’s feature is truly a special trip report, because although we’ve visited Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and the Disney Cruise Line in past trip reports, today I’m bringing you our first-ever Adventures by Disney report! Our good friend, Mike Greer, is back – this time to tell us all about his 2012 Adventures by Disney trip to Germany. Warning: we talked for a long, long time!

 

adventures-by-disney-europe-germany

Photo: Adventures by Disney

 

You may recall that Mike was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as “brittle bone disease.” Mike uses a wheelchair to get around, so he shares lots of information on the wheelchair accessibility of this particular Adventures by Disney trip itinerary. We also talked about the ways in which he prepared himself physically to push his manual wheelchair over grass and cobblestone roads.

Mike covers the Germany vacation in depth:

  • Their accessible airport “adventure” in Frankfurt!
  • Their stay at HOTEL SCHLOSS WALDECK, an 11th-century castle-turned-resort, perched high above the Edersee.
  • Touring the charming town of Waldeck, including archery, beer-tasting, and a scenic ferry ride on Lake Edersee.
  • Touring the lavish LÖWENBURG CASTLE.
  • Visiting the famous STEIFF BEAR MUSEUM. The company’s founder, Margaret Steiff, invented the teddy bear.
  • Pretzel-Making at STRIFFLER BAKERY, the oldest bakery in Rothenburg.
  • A lamp-lit walk with the night watchman in Rothenburg.
  • Their visit to the snowy-white NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE — an inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland ® Park.
  • A scenic ride on the “ROMANTIC ROAD” to Munich.
  • And much more.
adventures-by-disney-europe-germany-neuschwanstein-castle

Photo: Adventures by Disney

 

If you would like more information about Adventures by Disney, including a complete list of destinations worldwide, please visit the official website, adventuresbydisney.com.

Tip of the Week:

Summer afternoons at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida are notoriously hot, humid, crowded and often rainy. My first recommendation is that your return to your resort for an afternoon break or swim, but if you want to stay in the parks, plan to see indoor shows or smaller attractions. Don’t try to fight the crowds at the popular ones and don’t plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.

Here are some great summer afternoon choices that typically do not require the use of a FastPass+ reservation:

Magic Kingdom: The Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, Country Bears Jamboree, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

Epcot – Future World: Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Innoventions, and the aquarium exhibits at The Seas pavilion.

Epcot – World Showcase: The American Adventure and the movies in the Canada, France and China pavilions.

Animal Kingdom: It’s Tough to be a Bug, Finding Nemo: the Musical, and the indoor activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Disney Studios: One Man’s Dream, MuppetVision 3D and the Magic of Disney Animation.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Mousellaneous:

I’ve received several emails and Facebook messages from folks who missed the Kickstarter, but are interested in obtaining Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide. The book is still a work-in-progress, but if you would like an email notification when it becomes available on Amazon, please visit specialmouse.com/book and sign up!

Thank you for listening!

Kathy

 

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Teen with Cerebral Palsy is Rolling with the Disney Magic! 071

DOW Logo

Today’s feature guest is Andrew Prince from Ohio.  Andrew is a contributing writer of Disney on Wheels for the WDWRadio blog.  He was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. (Cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. It can also impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.)

Andrew is an experienced wheelchair traveler and has been to both US Disney parks, several D23 events and is a DCL gold castaway member!

A.Prince

Andrew’s Disney travels began with a trip to Walt Disney World in 2003, where he met his first “crush,” Mary Poppins! Since then, he and his Disney-loving family have traveled and cruised extensively with Disney. He hopes that his blog will encourage others with cerebral palsy or other mobility challenges to pursue Disney travel on wheels!

First trip to WDW Oct 2003 Mary Poppins!

If you would like to contact him feel free to e-mail him at arprince@bex.net or look him up on Facebook and on Twitter.  Disney on Wheels itself can be accessed on Facebook here,  or you can join the Disney on Wheels Facebook Group.  The archives on WDWRadio can be accessed here.

First trip to WDW family with Mickey!

 

Tip of the Week:

This week’s tip concerns the use of Disney’s DAS (Disability Access Service) system. The DAS is used in conjunction with the FastPass system to reserve ride times for certain popular attractions. Unfortunately, theme park attractions do break down from time to time and it is particularly frustrating when they do so during your ride reservation window! What do you do when you are given a DAS return time only to discover that the attraction has broken down? This happened to our family twice on our recent WDW vacation, once at Epcot’s Test Track and once on Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.

Because Cast Members are unable to determine how long an attraction will be out of service, they are unable to provide DAS return times while the attraction is out of service. (This is because DAS return times are based upon current standby wait times.) We discovered that CMs were unable to delete or edit our DAS return times using their handheld devices. Instead, we were directed to choose another attraction and visit the FastPass return kiosk at the new attraction to make a brand-new DAS reservation. (FastPass holders would need to do the same thing; visit a FP kiosk and make changes.)

This is one more reason why it is important to prepare the person with cognitive, psychological or developmental disabilities for the possibility of ride breakdown and a change of plans!

Mousekeeping:

Thanks and shout-outs on-air for supporters of Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide on Kickstarter!

I will be a guest on the Big Fat Panda Show later this month! Check out this fantastic youtube channel by my friend, John Saccheri. (I’ll share the link when the show goes “live!”)

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

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Disney DAS Card Changes: DAS only a RUMOR, Folks!

rumorsI checked into Facebook this morning and was dismayed to find talk swirling over a proposed change to the DAS (Disability Access Service) Card at Walt Disney World. It wasn’t the vague details of said change that bothered me, so much as the effect it was having on people. Apprehension, anxiety and speculation do not sit well on an empty stomach.

Better put the kettle on!

Ah, rumors. Or as one member stated, “Drama, drama!” with a wink. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t keep our ears to the ground when the rumor mill begins to rumble and the wheel begins to turn. Many of us, myself included, recall when the original story about the end of the GAC (Guest Assistance Card) “broke” ahead of the official announcement in September, 2013. I didn’t believe it at the time, but that one turned out to be 100% true.

What bothers me most about rumors is that people who are already under a lot of stress can become quite anxious and worried as speculations build and spread; while for others, each rumor serves to open up old wounds, resulting in postings full of resentment and bitterness. I don’t like to see people getting angry and upset, especially if what they are getting upset about has not yet been confirmed!

Okay, let’s back it up a bit. What started all this, anyway?

Someone shared a screen shot of  a friend’s Facebook post. A Florida resident who is a Walt Disney World AP (Annual Pass) holder, this woman went to Guest Services this morning to renew her DAS Card. Afterwards she posted:

Don’t know what is happening but the DAS Program after 4/30 is changing and CM [Cast Member] said it’s either going to a band program or going away completely but AP FL residents normally get a 2 month card and we’ve been informed that it’s changing so they can’t write them longer than 4/30. Guessing the recent lawsuits and rulings are either causing changes or cancellation of the DAS for everyone. We shall see how it changes and how it effects our ability to do the parks but may be last year we have APs if we find it too hard to manage the parks and the stress and the pain to our bodies.

Okay, can you spot the problem here? There is one piece of “truth” in this post but it is sandwiched between subjectivity and speculation on the part of this guest. Here is what I see to be “truth”:

She went to Guest Services to renew her Florida Resident Annual Passholder DAS Card and was told that it could not be extended past 4/30. That was her experience. The rest is ALL speculation and hearsay!

Don’t know what is happening but the DAS Program after 4/30 is changing and CM said it’s either going to a band program or going away completely.

No, you don’t know what is happening and apparently, neither does the Cast Member. (Which is it, going to a band program or going away??)

Guessing the recent lawsuits and rulings are either causing changes or cancellation of the DAS for everyone.

Yes, my dear, this is only your guess. But thank you for scaring everyone by projecting your own anxieties onto what’s happening!

Sharing is caring, however, I’m not so sure it was very prudent to share  “as is” without editing the more inflammatory statements. But let’s not yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater! And please, friends, take everything you read/hear with a grain of salt. There’s enough DAS Card anxiety going around already — I’m pretty sure it’s getting it’s own ICD-9  diagnosis code soon!

What do I think is happening? I have an idea, but don’t take my word for it.

What I do know is that my family will be vacationing at Walt Disney World in May and that we plan to request the DAS Card. If there has been any change to the system, I will let you know.

Until then, I’m not going to get my undies in a bundle!

~ Kathy

Just-The-Facts-Maam

 

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WDW Attraction Vehicle & Seating Guide – Animal Kingdom – 064

Part 4 of a discussion with Erin Foster about accessibility and sensory concerns of attraction vehicles and seating at the Walt Disney World theme parks. Today we visit Animal Kingdom!

We break down  all of the Attractions and Shows by:

– Seating capacity per row

– Seating capacity per attraction vehicle

– Wheelchair accessibility

– ECV or Scooter accessibility

-Stroller accessibility

– Seating surface

– Safety restraints

– Boarding procedure

– Height requirement

– Sensory issues: sights, sounds, smells, motion

You can read Erin’s original blog Here.

 

We also touched on The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 2015, which Erin co-authored with Len Testa and Laurel Stewart.

UG DCL

 

Tip of the Week:

Today’s tip is in response to a listener question about the Kids Clubs on Disney Cruise ships. Jennifer asks,

“On a cruise if my daughter wants to be in the kid’s club, which I’m sure she will, if she is suppose to get certain meds at certain times will I have to go there and do it? Can I leave the meds with the cast members in there to give to her at those times? How does this work? She is on meds 4 times a day.”

Answer:  Unfortunately, Disney Cruise Line Kids Club counselors are not permitted to administer medications to children due to liability reasons. You will need to either (1) schedule your daughter’s visits around her medication schedule or (2) stop in and give her the medications yourself. You will be given a “sea phone” so that you can communicate with counselors while your daughter is playing in the activity center. For more information about DCL Kids Clubs you can visit the DCL website.

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Thank you to all who voted for Special Mouse in the 10th Annual NMX People’s Choice Podcast Awards! Results will be announced mid-April.

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Please check out our new affiliate, Mom-Approved Costumes! Sensory-friendly, machine washable Disney dress-up clothes.

You will be given a savings coupon code and Special Mouse will earn a small commission if you make your purchases using the link in the sidebar, right >>>>>>>>>

It’s a fun and easy way to help support the show!

 

Thanks for listening,

 

Kathy

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Please vote daily for Special Mouse!

PodcastAwardsLogo

 

Hello, this is Kathy Kelly, your Special Mouse podcast host.

profile pic

I’m thrilled to announce that Special Mouse has been nominated for a 2014 Podcast Award at PodcastAwards.com! Woo-Hoo!

There are twenty-two podcast categories, each containing ten shows. Incredibly, ours is the only one of 220 podcasts nominated that is devoted to the interests of people with special needs and disabilities.

Starting today, Tuesday, March 3rd you can vote daily and I’m asking you to please cast your votes for Accessibility, Inclusion and Acceptance by voting for Special Mouse in the Travel category. Let’s tell the world that “The Magic is for EVERYONE!!”

Please visit PodcastAwards.com and vote for SPECIAL MOUSE in the Travel category, which is located on the lower right corner of the slate of categories. You can vote once per day, EVERY day, until the voting period ends, and your daily votes are necessary and important to help the show.

Also, please be sure to include your name and a valid email address, as your vote will likely need to be verified by clicking on an email you receive from the Podcast Awards.

Thank you for your support; I appreciate you more than you could ever know!

~ Kathy

don't forget vote

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Listener Q and A and a Toy Story Midway Mania Monologue 049

Kathy answers questions about Magic Bands and resort room accessibility, RFID technology and insulin pumps, piped-in odors in attractions and COPD, and more. Toy Story Midway Mania Testing and the DAS

TSMM

Questions and Answers:

Q. From Bruce: Going solo to Walt Disney World with a scooter, I always have problems entering my room. First: using my Magic Band to open the door. All the readers are above the handle. Am I the only person who has problems doing mickey to mickey while sitting in the scooter? Next: trying to get my scooter into the room past the door. Disney does have special handicap rooms. Do you think it would be useful to install an auxiliary Magic Band reader that will automatically open the door for you?

A. I think this would make a lot of sense, Bruce! Currently the accessible rooms use the same Magic Band readers as all the other rooms. You are not alone, Bruce! Several members of the Special Mouse community group mentioned having difficulty with wrist flexibility which makes it difficult to open their doors using the Magic Band.

Michael says he found that turning the Mickey ears around so they are facing palm down improves the ability to make the contact with the sensor.

Well, Bruce, in my opinion, it really doesn’t make sense not to position the sensor for the person in the w/c or scooter a bit lower in the accessible rooms. Doesn’t make sense not to position the sensor for the person in the w/c or scooter. It assumes dependence: that the person seated always has a travel companion that will open the door for them if needed. Sounds like a good feedback item to communicate during the Customer Satisfaction surveys that Disney is so fond of using!

As to having difficulty riding your scooter through the door when you are alone, there are plenty of others who share your problem. Gale mentions that she regularly struggles unless there is another person to hold the door open due to the automatic closing mechanism. She says, “I think there should maybe be some sort of sensor where the door will not close as long as something is blocking it…like a person or scooter or even the luggage cart.”

Sue has stayed often at WDW with her daughter who uses a wheelchair and she reports that guests can call Engineering and get the automatic door closer disabled while you are staying in an accessible room, but warns that the door is still heavy, and you have to make sure it closes behind you. Stephen clarifies that only guests staying in accessible rooms have the option of disabling the automatic door closing device.

 

Q: Jennifer asks, “What kind of additional accommodations does Guest Services offer? I am taking my son with Autism to WDW for the first time in November so all of this info is very helpful.”

A: Jennifer, upon request, the two most common accommodations that are being provided to some guests on the Autism Spectrum, in addition to the DAS (Disability Access Service Card) are:

(1) Paper FastPasses good for only one-park-one-day for a particular attraction if your child obsesses about riding more than once in a row and

(2) Your first return time being written on your DAS card by the CM at Guest Relations for the attraction of your choice. This second one is offered less commonly than the first. The distribution of any additional accommodations are determined at the discretion of the CM at Guest Relations and are not guaranteed; it is generally believed they are available based upon supply and demand.
If you have questions about requesting Disney’s DAS Card, please visit specialmouse.com and visit either the blog or the podcast page. In the sidebars you will find out how to have The Special Mouse Guide to Requesting Disney’s DAS Card sent directly to you via email.
This next question came in via Twitter as a response to the latest post on the Special Mouse blog. (Yes, we have a blog!) The post in question is “Princesses with Pumps: Touring WDW with an Insulin Pump.”

Q: Morgan wants to know if guests have had any issues with RFID interfering with their blood sugar monitoring devices while at Walt DisneyWorld.

A. Morgan, this question has come up a lot since Disney implemented the Magic Band technology in the theme parks and resorts. MagicBands use Radio Frequency technology to allow you to touch to enter your Disney Resort hotel room and the Walt Disney World parks, make purchases at select locations, and access the FastPass+ attractions and shows you’ve selected.
RFID technology has been used for some time in credit cards, in highway toll paying such as EZPass or SunPass, in some video game controllers so if you haven’t had a problem with these, chances are you will not have a problem at Disney. HOWEVER,

It should be noted that the MagicBand packaging does include a few medical notices, particularly for guests using implanted pacemakers or defibrillators. If you use these or any other medical device such as an insulin pump, neurostimulator, or hearing aid, you’re encouraged to seek medical counsel about RFID interaction with your medical device.

Unrelated to the RFID, there have been a few reports on DisBoards of guests having some problems with insulin pumps malfunctioning on rides that use strong magnetic fields such as Rock and Roller Coaster and Tomorrowland Transit Authority. (There have also been many reports of people having no problems at all), but it would not be unreasonable to consider disconnecting the pump or turning it off when going on these kinds of rides.

Please remember that each model of insulin pump is different so I agree that the most sensible thing to do is to check with the manufacturer of your device directly.

 

Q: Whitney asks: I’ve read on a couple of different sites that some of the rides have smells pumped into them. Are these smells super strong, or are they just kind of faint hints of smell? My grandmother has COPD and will have coughing fits if she’s trapped in an area with really strong smells, like Bath and Body Works, for example. Do you think these rides will be bothersome to her?

A: There are indeed Rides/Attractions With Purposely Piped-In Scents, some pleasant and some unpleasant:

Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Magic Kingdom, you can smell the pie during the “Be our Guest” sequence.
Soarin’, Epcot. Smell the pine forests and orange groves of California.
Spaceship Earth, Epcot. Oddly enough, many people enjoy the smell of Rome burning (myself included.)

Some of the unpleasant piped-in smells are found at:
Stitch’s Great Escape, Magic Kingdom. Stitch belches chili dog, in your face.
Journey into Imagination, Epcot. Figment as a Skunk!
It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Animal Kingdom. The stink bug IS stinky!

Whitney, I think that the key phrase in your question is “if she’s trapped in an area,” which I take it to mean “a confined space” might these smells be bothersome and cause her to cough.

Let’s look at the examples from that perspective:

On Spaceship Earth and Journey into Imagination, you are in a ride vehicle that moves you quickly through the smells, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed. On the other hand, when you experience Mickey’s Philharmagic, ITTBAB and Stitch you are pretty much stuck in one place and must wait for the odor – whether pleasant or unpleasant – to dissipate. (It may SEEM like you’re moving through those orange groves on Soarin’, but the scented spray actually comes from your own seat, which is fixed.)

In general, these artificial odors are harmless. But there is no one “right” answer to this question. For example, one of the members in our FB group says that HE uses 3 inhalers, nasal spray and an antihistamine daily … and none of the smells used by Disney bother him. But Whitney, he is not your grandmother! If your grandmother is particularly sensitive to smells, and feels they may aggregate her medical condition, common sense should tell her to sit those attractions out.

Sometimes the artificial smells don’t necessarily cause breathing difficulties, they are just downright unpleasant! One of our group members writes,

“I am very sensitive to smells even when most people don’t notice them. I don’t go on Journey Into Imagination, Stitch or any 3D/4D movies. I think those are the only attractions that add smells. The biggest problem that I notice with smells are the lobbies of the resorts (especially noticeable at the Grand Floridian and Contemporary) and all of the restrooms in the parks. They pump smells into those areas especially and sometimes they can be very strong. At times I need to leave or rush through these areas quickly to avoid feeling sick..”

Good to know; sometimes it’s just trial-and-error when it comes to figuring out what will bother you sensory-wise.
Whitney, please tweet me and let me know how things turned out! I wish you and your grandmother a pixie-dusted Disney vacation full of magical memories!
And, if YOU have any comments or questions about Disney travel with special needs, I would LOVE to hear them! You can Tweet me, Kathy, @SpecialMousePod or send an e-mail to specialmousepodcast@gmail.com. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you!

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Special “Thank You” to friend of the show, Michael Carrasco, for his recurring donation. I appreciate your support!

If you would like to show your support for Special Mouse, please visit the DONATE page. Thanks!

 

~ Kathy

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Cruising with OI and a Wheelchair on the Disney Cruise Line – 047

Mike_Greer

Mike Greer uses a wheelchair because of mobility issues related to Osteogenesis Imperfecta. He joins Kathy to discuss his experiences cruising with the Disney Cruise Line.

Mike, who hails from Ontario, Canada, has sailed on three of the four Disney Cruise ships to the Bahamas and both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Some of the things we talk about are:

  • Pre-Cruise Planning
  • Boarding and Check-in
  • Accessible Staterooms
  • Safety Check
  • Accessibility around the ship/ship’s activities
  • Dining
  • Bahamas Itinerary/Accessibility of Port Adventures
  • Disney’s Castaway Cay Island
  • Accessibility of Shore Excursions on Castaway Cay
  • General thoughts about cruising with the Disney Cruise Line

Connect with Mike on Twitter and on Facebook.

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This episode is sponsored by by Scooter Vacationsthe only Orlando scooter rental company to provide concise weight ratings to ensure a 12-15 hour theme park ride time at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando or Sea World.

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Our Tip of the Week comes from community member, Diane Leibold: “September is the best time of year to go to Walt Disney World. Less crowded and much easier on our special kids!”

(She really means it; her family is vacationing at Walt Disney World right now!)

I agree, Diane, and thanks for the tip! Our family’s first Walt Disney World vacation was in early September, 2003. And although we still had to battle the summertime heat, the crowd level was delightful. If your children are young enough so that missing a week of school isn’t detrimental, then do it! September at Walt Disney World is great.

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Join our awesome PRIVATE Facebook group by posting a request HERE. This is a friendly, safe place for listeners of the podcast to connect and share their thoughts on Disney travel with special needs and disabilities.

 

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

 

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