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Posts Tagged 'Disney Disability Access Service Card'

Walt Disney World with Type 1 Diabetes – 056

Everything you need to know about vacationing at Walt Disney World with Insulin-dependent Diabetes!

This father and son share more than fun - they both live with Type 1 Diabetes!

This father and son share more than fun – they both live with Type 1 Diabetes!

 

Hello and Welcome! A very Happy and Healthy New Year to you!

The podcast went on a bit of an unplanned hiatus during the holidays, but I’m back now with plans for lots of exciting topics in the New Year. Today we’ll be talking with my friend, Robyn Adams about vacationing at the WDW Resort with Type 1, that’s insulin-dependent, diabetes.

But before we jump into that discussion, I’d like to give a shout-out to several members of the Special Mouse Podcast community who will be participating in next weekend’s WDW Marathon events: Best of luck to Kerry Kingdon and Michael Greer who will be “rolling with the magic,” looking to earn some of that coveted runDisney bling. They’ve both promised to appear on the show later this month to give us first-hand accounts of their experiences.

If you’re new to the show, please visit our home base at specialmouse.com for contact information as well as our community blog. And if you have a question or a suggestion for a future show topic, please drop me a line at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com.

Walt Disney always said, “We keep moving forward,” so here we go!

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Tip of the Week:

This week’s tip concerns making a wheelchair-accessible reservation at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review. Hoop-Dee-Doo is a vaudeville-style dinner show and all-you-care-to-eat dinner at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

A member of our private Facebook discussion group asks:

“I am wondering if anyone can help me figure this out.We would like to make an ADR (advance dining reservation) at the Hoop De Doo Musical Revue. We will be on the dining plan and our daughter is in a wheelchair.   I understand that there are 3 different seating sections, with tiered pricing. I also know that there are 3 different show times.  (That is correct!)

I’ve read that only section 1 is wheelchair accessible, but that only sections 2 & 3 are accepted on the dining plan, for the 1st & 2nd show times and that Show #3 – the latest show time – opens all 3 sections to dining plan participants.

My question is, does anyone have experience making an ADR on the dining plan, for an earlier seating, for a party with a wheelchair? If we have to sit in Section 2 on the DDP, but have to sit in Section 1 if we have a wheelchair, what do we do?  Thanks in advance, etc.”

Well, that certainly does sound confusing!

Luckily, several group members who have had experience making this kind of dining reservation were able to jump in and answer this question for our listener!

 

According to Hoop-Dee-Doo’s ticketing office there is seating on the last row of the main floor (Section One) that is accessible for wheelchairs and, when booked as such, is considered category 2. Thus, it meets the requirements of the Disney Dining Plan AND Accessibility laws at no additional cost to the diner.

Some guests have even reported they had this policy waived and once they checked in were shown to tables closer to the stage. Naturally, this would depend upon availability.

Many thanks to Tracy, Sue, Dede and Rae for their valuable input! Now, bring on the strawberry shortcake!

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Feature Interview: Walt Disney World with Type 1 Diabetes:

How an insulin pump works

How an insulin pump works

Some of the topics we discussed are:

  • The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
  • The role of insulin in the body’s metabolism.
  • Need to balance FOOD/ACTIVITY/INSULIN while on your Disney Vacation.
  • Pre-trip planning tips for people with diabetes.
  • Diabetic packing tips (SEE BELOW)
  • How an insulin pump works.
  • Air travel and thrill ride concerns with an insulin pump.
  • Importance of more frequent blood sugar testing.
  • Utilizing First Aid Stations
  • Requesting the DAS accommodation for Type 1 Diabetes
  • Robyn’s Diabetic “Mousketeer” Trips
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs

Robyn’s Diabetic Packing Tips:

*DOUBLE amount of testing strips, syringes, pump supplies, alcohol swabs, pens, lancets, EXTRA bottles of insulin (both types if you are on 2) – even if you are pumping, always bring an extra set of syringes and a bottle of the slower acting insulin (i.e. Lantus). You never know if you will experience pump failure. You may want to order a “vacation” pump.

*Glucogon

*Pumpers – don’t forget your caps for your port sites while swimming.

*Cool/ice/FRIO pack for your insulin if you are taking it into the parks with you. The refrigerator in your room will have a TINY little spot along the top for an ice pack. We have used this spot for years – it works great.

*2 blood glucose meters

*Extra batteries for pumps and meters

*Flashlight for the midnight blood sugar check or download an app for your smart phone

*Fast acting sugar candy/glucose tablets. Bring things that will not melt or crush – i.e. smartees, skittles, starburst, Quick Sticks, glucose tabs, fruit snacks (not gushers or fruit rollups – these get too messy).

*Calorie King book or app for those pesky carbs we have to count!

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You can connect with Robyn Adams on Facebook. She is an authorized Disney Travel Planner with Travel With The Magic.

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Thanks for listening!

Kathy

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Disney DAS Card Survey Results 050

ATPs

 

Maureen from Autism at the Parks  joins Kathy to discuss the results of her informal Disney DAS Card survey, which was performed in September/October of 2014.  Maureen observes that, “The most significant conclusion drawn from the results was that almost half of the respondents are having difficultly using a system that is supposed to be helping them while visiting the parks.”

143 people responded to the survey. Elements of the survey included the following questions:

Demographics (age) of guest requiring the DAS accommodation.

How would you rate the difficulty of obtaining the DAS Card?

Did you receive any accommodations in addition to the DAS Card, such as the Stroller-as-Wheelchair Tag or Re-Ads?

Please indicate how difficult it was to use the DAS Card at the parks.

After we covered the survey results we discussed recommendations to help improve the DAS Card experience while remaining an equitable accommodation for guests with disabilities.

 

Here is the LINK to Maureen’s blog post where you can read about the DAS Card survey in detail.

You can connect with Autism at the Parks on TWITTER, on FACEBOOK, and on PINTEREST.

 

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Mousekeeping:

Congratulations to the following listeners who are advancing to Round 2 of the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search, 2015: James & Lisa Cameron, Didi Marie, Jackie Psarianos, Nora Stevens and Missy Sizemore. We wish you the best of luck! About the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Listener Mark Sumonka shared that his service dog, Bingo, was featured on the Animal Planet TV Special, America’s Cutest: Disney Side Howl-o-ween.

And finally, the announcement you’ve all been waiting for, the winner of the Special Mouse podcast 50th Episode $50 Disney Gift Card Giveaway is — Matt Harbin! Matt is a disabled veteran who uses a wheelchair. He lives in the state of Washington and although Disneyland is his “home” resort, he is planning a trip to Walt Disney World soon. That gift card should come in handy then! Congratulations, Matt, and thanks to all of you who have supported the show throughout the past 50 episodes!

 

~ Kathy

 

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5 Kids + 2 DAS Cards = 1 Magical Walt Disney World Vacation! 045

Walt Disney World with multiple kids and multiple special needs: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Jeanette & Family

Jeanette & Family

Kathy chats with Jeanette, a fellow Jersey Girl (and R.N.) who is probably still unpacking from her family’s late summer vacation at Walt Disney World! She and her husband are the proud parents of: Brandon (13), Madison (9) who has Social Anxiety and OCD, Kate (8), Bree (7) and Brian (5) who has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In this episode, Jeanette gives a trip report from the family’s WDW vacation in August, 2014.

(Intro music to the segment is “Go With the Flow” from Finding Nemo: The Musical, which can be seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.)

The family had a short Universal-based vacation this past December, 2013, and had the opportunity to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) at the Magic Kingdom. At that time, Jeanette feels that the crowds and the inability to utilize FP+ had a negative effect on their experience at the Magic Kingdom, resulting in multiple meltdowns for her two special-needs children. This made her quite apprehensive about their upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. We discussed planning for the August vacation, particularly the use of the new FastPass Plus reservation system and the DAS, Disability Access Service Card, system.

Jeanette was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which she was able to obtain the Disability Access Service Card for her two children. A DAS card for each child gives the family of seven the ability to split up and continue to provide accommodation to their special-needs kids (or, to allow Jeanette the ability to return to the resort with one or more children if they have become overwhelmed and need a break.) She had made a point of contacting Disney’s Disabilities Relations Department and listening to the Special Mouse podcast in advance of her trip in order to familiarize herself with the Disability Access Service Card program.

We discussed Jeanette’s impression of their resort, Disney’s Old Key West, including the spaciousness of the accommodations and the quality of the resort and internal bus system.

The recurring theme of the trip report is that, despite the most attentive of planning, the family had a positive and enjoyable experience primarily because the parents adopted the attitude of flexibility and “going with the flow.”

Bree & Brian Jr. chatting with Elsa

Bree & Brian Jr. chatting with Elsa

Thanks, Jeanette, for sharing your trip and your lovely family with us!

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This episode is sponsored by Amy at Up and Up Travel, specializing in helping families with Special Needs and Disabilities plan and create lasting magical memories , and 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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You can connect with Jeanette on Facebook HERE.

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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A Cast Member Conversation About Disability Services – 039

exclusive-stampA Walt Disney World Cast Member chats with Kathy anony-MOUSE-ly about her experiences serving guests both with and without disabilities…

I was thrilled to be able to connect with a current Cast Member to discuss Walt Disney World and Guests with disabilities, both visible and invisible!

Cast Members Only

Some of the topics that came up during our conversation:

  • New Cast Member training regarding working with guests who are differently-abled
  • The role of Guest Relations in distribution of accommodations for guests, such as the Disability Access Service Card (DAS), Alternate Entrance Accommodation and the Stroller-as-Wheelchair Accommodation
  • The role of Attractions Cast Members in providing the above accommodations
  • Whether or not Guests without disabilities should be permitted to sit in areas designated for those with disabilities

You can connect with our guest on Twitter @mainstreetfairy

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This episode of Special Mouse is brought to you by Up and Up Travel, a Disney-dedicated travel agency that specializes in planning vacations for guests with special needs and disabilities.

And by Orlando Scooter Rental, serving Disney World and Universal Orlando – all hotels, resorts & residences.

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Tip of the Week:  In honor of Independence Day here in the U.S.A. this week’s tip concerns the fireworks spectaculars at Walt Disney World!

We’ve talked many times about assisting sensory-sensitive individuals with the use of earplugs, earmuffs, or noise-cancelling headphones during Disney fireworks to dampen the sound.  You can also prepare your child ahead of time by watching (and listening) to the nighttime spectaculars with him/her on YouTube. 

4th-July-Fireworks

Start with the volume on low and gradually increase the volume to just above your child’s tolerance level and repeat the sequence as often as needed. This is called GRADUAL DESENSITIZATION and it’s a good way to help your child become more comfortable with things that are sensory-difficult.

It is important, however, that you are prepared to bail out in case the sensory stimulation during the show is too much for your child. Position yourself close to the park exit, or even just outside the exit, just in case!

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I am encouraging contributions to the Special Mouse Community Blog, Use Your Words. Submissions should be 500-100 words and covering a topic that is relevant to Disney travel with special needs.

>>> Don’t forget to click on the link in the sidebar, upper right, to receive our monthly Special Mouse Community Newsletter! <<<

 

Thanks for listening,

 ~ Kathy

 

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A Walt Disney World DAS (Disability Access Service Card) Trip Report

Here is a DAS (Disability Access Service Card) Trip Report from community member, Sharon R.! Sharon was too shy to be a guest on the podcast, so she decided to share via our Community Blog!

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Sharon Raday

Hi there. Our family went to Walt Disney World the week of 4/25/14 – 5/3/14.  I want to pass along some of our first-time experience using the DAS.

Our Background:

Our 10 year old daughter, Molly, has significant cognitive delays and is nonverbal (no diagnosis). She uses a Dynavox to communicate fairly effectively with us. We are so proud of her! Seemingly unrelated, she also has mild brittle bones, low muscle tone, and somewhat clumsy coordination… nice combo, huh. We also have an 8 year old typically developing son. Our family went to WDW for the first time together in the Spring of 2012, and had a wonderful time. The magic got us hooked for sure! We went back that October, and then I took my son for Star Wars Weekend last May, and then the whole family went back down to WDW last month.

Although Molly can walk, we typically keep her in a wheelchair for long distances, i.e. shopping trips & theme parks, due to endurance/fatigue concerns, especially since her sometimes poor coordination could lead to a fall, which would probably lead to a fracture. As a matter of fact, exactly 5 weeks before our very first trip in 2012, she had a mild fall and fractured her femur! We were unsure of how that would affect so many aspects of our trip. She got her cast off 3 days before departure, and it was a bit rough since we were not to allow her to bear weight on it. Swimming was tough, too. She wasn’t too heavy yet, so she was able to transfer to most ride vehicles by her dad carrying her over. She is not able to go on any of the thrill rides due to our fear of injury.  Keeping her in the wheelchair also helps keep her contained. On the rest of our trips, Molly gets out of her wheelchair to meet with characters, and to transfer to ride vehicles and show seats/ dining seats.

We easily obtained the GAC (Guest Assistance Card) for Molly on that first trip in 2012, and it worked wonderfully for us. Cognitively, there are many concepts that she will probably never grasp, and a long wait in a crowded queue is one of them. (She gets anxious and “grabby” when she becomes impatient, and we would spend a lot of our time reassuring her, “it won’t be much longer… hands down… , no grabbing … do not bite the back of your hand … hey, no smacking!” ) Due to all the buzz within the Disney community around the switch-over to the DAS card, we were very nervous in anticipation of our recent trip, so we did lots of “research” ahead of time. We learned a lot from the experiences of other visitors, and we were prepared with our strategy ahead of time. As it turned out, we got absolutely no pushback in obtaining the DAS card for Molly that first day at Animal Kingdom, and it was very easy to use. There aren’t too many headliners she is able to go on, so we didn’t need to use the card at an abundance of attractions. We used Fastpass+ for the rides our son is able to do with one of us, and we actually requested the rider switch card in many cases, while one of us waited with Molly. That worked well, too.

Our Trip:

We got my daughter her DAS card on Day 1 at Animal Kingdom (AK). Instantly, no issues. With the combination of attraction choices we made, FP+ and rides she simply cannot do physically, we only needed to use the DAS once that day, for Kilimanjaro Safaris. We had a big snag on Day 1 at AK: the Safari FP return line was very long. So after our 60 min DAS return time, we waited another 20+ min in the FP line before we even got to our special boarding area.

We did not request additional accommodations at Disney Hollywood Studios (DHS) on Day 2, nor did we have any issues that day. Using our family touring strategy of choosing low crowd times, picking recommended park days based on various blogs’ advice, and multi-tasking (Dad & son do thrill stuff, while Mom & DAS daughter do tame stuff), the day went fine using DAS return times in combo with FP+.

Without complaining, I relayed our AK experience to a Guest Relations Cast Member at Magic Kingdom (MK) on the morning of Day 3.  The nice CM (I assumed lead, based on his station location & no need to ask anyone permission) added 2 sets of freebie FP’s to all 4 of our MDE/bands for that day, to make up for the Safari experience.  (He said they are aware of that issue with the Safari and are working on it…) He typed and typed in the computer for AGES! He also said, the rest of the week, just let them know at GR that my daughter got some extra help at MK and she could get it again. Great experience with this!

Before leaving his desk, I also asked for a starter return time on the card, which he happily obliged. So we got an “Enchanted Tales with Belle” return time, and headed over. The CM there did not recognize the stamp “CH” and had to ask a coworker about it, who informed him that it was from “City Hall.” The first CM seemed surprised/confused to the point that I figured it was not as popular as I assumed, to ask for a starter return time at MK Guest Relations.

Things went great that day at MK. We had a special magical moment from a wonderful FP+ iPad CM (sorry, not sure what they are called, the ones with the blue shirts), which was completely unrelated to FP+ or DAS. Later that day, actually in the evening, while chatting with a line CM at Pooh, we saw a blue shirt CM, and chatted him up as well. My husband, really wanted to relay how he had been skeptical, but was pleasantly surprised how well the DAS/FP+ was working for us. (Lest he give Disney all the kudos, I need to also take some credit for excellent touring strategies, but I digress…  So the CM said, you are talking to the right person, thank you for your feedback, and he made some notes in his iPad, about our comments and about our experience with our magical moment earlier that day. The point of this part of the story is to say, that while chatting with him, I let him know that our FP+’s actually ran out, and he added them back on for us, no questions asked. AND, he said the freebie ones normally don’t work for character meets, but he added that ability for us. So we met a few princesses before we called it a night. (P.S. The CM clarified that the earlier CM was a light blue shirt, and he was a dark blue shirt… I did not notice this distinction, but evidently it matters!)

The next morning, at Epcot (Day 4), we had a different experience. At Guest Relations first thing, I relayed what the CM at MK’s GR said, about getting a little extra help, and I got some push back. She said it was probably only one-time help. I said, he typed extensively in the computer about my daughter, at MK, and please look into it, that he basically told us to request the same help the rest of the week. She behaved as though she could not find anything typed about us. I do not know if the MK Cast MemberM created a “file”, or what if anything, he typed about my daughter, but that’s the behavior I received. That the 20 min of time I spent at MK the day before was wasted, lost, no record of it. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I just pushed on about it, about my conversation with the MK Cast Member at GR, and after a few trips into the back, she brought me 8 paper “EPCOT Attraction Re-Entry Passes”, on which she wrote “DAS” across the top. So, we were on our way. As it turned out, the way our day was planned we did not use these. It’s a shame, too, because they were issued on May 1st, and stated “EXPIRES SAT MAY 1, 2014”.

So, our final day was at Magic Kingdom . I dread this part of the story, because I got so much push-back that I cringe thinking back to it. I did not like how I was treated, like I was gaming the system or something.  She said things like: the extra help was most definitely a one-time thing; do not expect it every time; that previous CM could not make that promise to me; etc. (I remembered his name, and relayed it to her, and the others during the week, and no one seemed to be able to relay to me what, if anything, he typed in on Day 3!) This CM brought other CM’s into the conversation to back her up, and even went into the back like 4 times and still came out sating the same thing. I didn’t budge, and pressed on about how [MK CM on Day 3] helped us and what he relayed to us, and finally she relented. My daughter was given 2 yellow slips, you know the “No Strings Attached” slips. I did end up requesting a starter return time, which she cheerfully (?) provided.

So, we had wonderful magical moments all over the place, but this is just to summarize our experience regarding what DAS accommodations we experienced:

Day 1:  we got the DAS for my daughter with no problems, and used it once. Return line was looong.

Day 3:  we got Fastpasses added to our account/magic bands, and a starter return time, at Guest Relations. Later that evening, we had Fastpasses re-added with the Character option added on.

Day 4:  we reluctantly received paper attraction “ re-Ads”, and a small lecture, but did not ask for a starter return time.

Day 5:  we begrudgingly received yellow “No Strings” slips, lots of attitude, and also a starter return time.

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Thanks for your submission to the Community Blog, Sharon!  It appears from everything I’m hearing that at this point in time, Cast Members at Guest Relations are less resistant to distributing Additional Accommodations such as ReAdmission Passes or “Starter” Return Times after the guest has attempted to tour with FastPass+ Reservations and the DAS and returns to Guest Relations sometime later in the day to then ask for additional help.

You are not alone in your experience with inconsistency among Cast Members regarding the distribution of Additional Accommodations.

 

Oliver

 

I certainly hope that your feedback to the “Dark Blue Shirt” Cast Member will find it’s way to Disability Services. It is inconvenient, not to mention unecessarily stressful, for guests with disabilities who are already managing extra challenges to have to return to Guest Relations repeatedly throughout their vacations!

To join our supportive community of Disney lovers on Facebook who either have or care for someone with special needs or disabilities, please contact me — Special Mouse Podcast  — and message me that you wish to be added to the group!  Sign up for our monthly community newsletter and receive my free gift to you: The Special Mouse Guide to Requesting Disney’s DAS.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kathy

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The Special Mouse Guide to Requesting Disney’s DAS Card

help

As host of Special Mouse: Unofficial Disney Parks & Travel for Your Special Needs, I receive many questions from listeners who are worried about requesting Disney’s Disability Access Service Card, or DAS.

One of the reasons there is so much confusion, anxiety, and apprehension surrounding the DAS is that there have been numerous conflicting reports from guests about their experiences with the DAS since it was hastily implemented in October, 2013.  Another is that the overall system for accommodating guests with disabilities at the Disney Parks in the U.S. has been a work-in-progress over the past several months.  Disney officials have been noticeably tight-lipped about specifying the full range of accommodations that can be provided, as well as when and why certain additional accommodations are not always “available.” 

When it comes to obtaining the DAS and subsequent access to attractions at the Disney Parks, the burden of responsibility now falls squarely on the guest who is requesting the accommodation.  That is why I have created a guide that will assist you with navigating the DAS process more effectively and, hopefully, with a lot less stress!

You can get this valuable guide absolutely FREE by subscribing to the Special Mouse monthly newsletter.  Don’t worry — I haven’t time to spam your inbox with daily information!

You will find the sign-up widget in the sidebar, RIGHT >>>>>>>>

I hope you enjoy your newsletter AND your Guide to Requesting Disney’s DAS Card!

Note:  The Guide contains images, so please check your “promotion” or  “bulk” folder! Also, the guides are mailed out in batches on the hour, so you will receive it within the hour of your request!

 

~ Kathy

 

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Beta Testing the DAS Card with Fast Pass+ at Walt Disney World

Florida resident and WDW annual passholder Mark Vitek discusses his family’s first experience using Disney’s Disabilities Access Service Card (DAS) with the My Magic Plus FastPass reservation system. Mark and his wife have a 14-yr old son who has Autism. Overall, they had a positive experience at the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park.

This episode is sponsored by Amy from Up and Up Travel

Walt Disney World Disability Relations holds a weekly DAS committee meeting and they use that meeting to plan for the future of the program. They review all guest communications and discuss them at these meetings. Send your email to WDW.Guest.Communications@disneyworld.com; address it to Disability Relations in the subject line. Specify that it for a DAS concern and give them a phone number so that they can call. It sometimes takes 2-3 weeks, but someone from Disability Relations will call you to discuss your concerns. The Cast Member that called Mark spent about an hour on the phone with Mark.

“Additional accommodations are the same as they were always meant to be.” Mark says.  “They are on a guest-by-guest, day-by-day and Park-by-Park basis. The only change is that there will be no notes in guest files anymore “guaranteeing” a certain accommodation. It all depends on how busy any Park is on any given day, how many attractions that Park has available and how much those accommodations are needed by that particular Guest. And she stressed that no Cast Member should ever be saying that there is nothing they can do, and if you hear that, ask to speak to a Manager immediately, as there is always something they can do. It might be re-ads, and they are allowed to give up to 3 sets at a time. Or it may be as simple as giving you your first return time while at the GR desk if the Park isn’t busy. How she put it to me is to simply state that you are using your FastPass and using your DAS but it just isn’t enough and you’d like just something extra to help with your day.”

You can connect with Mark on Twitter @DisFanMark. Please visit Mark and Jen’s blog, Wishes and Pixie Dust.

The Special Mouse Tip of the Week is for guests recovering from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic, lifelong disease that requires continuous and lifelong treatment. It can be tempting to take a break from a program of recovery while on vacation.

It is important to plan ahead. Bring your recovery literature; the books come in travel-size.

Continue with your meetings. You’re not traveling to some remote desert island! Meetings are available locally in both the Orlando, FL and Anaheim, CA areas.  Research the locations, dates and times of meetings before your trip. There are several apps you can purchase for your phone to help you locate them. I Googled “Apps to locate Alcoholics Anonymous meetings” and several popped up. One example is available in both iTunes and in Google Play for android Devices: Steps Away-Locate Worldwide 12 Step Meetings. There are also local resources that can help you find meetings and hotlines. For the WDW area, look up Central Florida Intergroup. In the DL area, Orange County AA.

Lastly, nothing beats keeping in contact with your existing support system. Have phone numbers and email addresses for your sponsors and fellow group members. Tell them in advance that you are going on vacation and arrange to connect with someone at the end of each day. This will help you to keep yourself accountable for your actions.

Between meetings, literature and calls to sponsors you can remain focused on your recovery while on your Disney vacation.

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I’d love to chat with you on social media! Special Mouse is on Twitter @SpecialMousePod and on Facebook: Special Mouse Podcast. If you’d like to join our Community Group on Facebook, kindly leave a message on the Special Mouse page and I will contact you!

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

 

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Accessible Rooms and Other Room Accommodations at Disney Resort Hotels

Amy Hughes from Up and Up Travel joins Kathy to discuss the special accommodations for guests with special needs and disabilities that are available at Disney Resort hotels and how to go about requesting them.

All Disney resort hotels have some rooms with special equipment and facilities that are available upon request. It is important to include all special and/or unusual requests when making your reservation.

Accommodations available:

A.   All Disney resort hotel rooms are nonsmoking and provide mini- refrigerators.

B.   Newer resorts or those recently refurbished tend to have better accommodations.

C.   ALL accessible rooms provide the following:

 Bathrooms

  • Wider bathroom doors
  • Bathroom handrails
  • Roll-in showers
  • Shower benches
  • Handheld shower head
  • Accessible vanities
  • Portable Commodes
  • Raised Toilet Seat with Grab Bars

Bedrooms

  • Bed boards and bed rails
  • Adjustable beds, lower beds, and rubber bed pads
  • Open-frame beds (most accessible rooms have King beds and only sleep two)
  • Low-level peepholes in doors
  • Close-captioned televisions
  • Both upper and lower door locks on balcony doors
  • Pack ‘n Play portable cribs (request at booking & at check-in)
  • Room Communication Kits w/ door knock and phone alerts, bed shaker alarm, Text Typewriter (TTY), strobe light fire alarm, and phone amplifier
  • Sharps containers can be requested from Housekeeping
  • For those w/ allergies and/or asthma, Housekeeping will provide special room cleanings on request and will use cleaning agents that are less harsh.

   Some (not all) accessible rooms may have the following:

  • Electrical switches 48” (1.2 meters) above the floor
  • Touch switch lamps
  • Vanity open below the sink
  • Lower countertops/cabinets
  • Countertop microwave (DVC resorts)
  • Low threshold at balcony

Available on request at some deluxe resorts:

  • Rollaway beds
  • Down pillows
  • Heating pads
  • International electrical adapter
  • Electrical outlet covers

 Making Special Reservations

  1. The use of a Travel Agent who has experience working with guests w/ special needs is highly recommended.
  2. Select the “Accessible Rooms” checkbox when you book your vacation online to view available accessible rooms.
  3. More common special requests (near bus stop, first floor, quiet area) can be made online, or, via phone. Request they be noted on your reservation and remember to state that your request is due to medical reasons (mobility, developmental disabilities/sensory issues, etc.)
  4. If you have unusual or complex requests, call the Special Reservations Department directly. At Walt Disney World the number is 407-939-1936 and at Disneyland the number is 714-520-5045.

Additional Tips

  1. Four to five days prior to arrival, call your hotel and ask to speak to the front desk. Ask for the room assignment Cast Member. Go over the accommodations you requested and confirm their availability.
  2. The earlier in the day you arrive, the better your chances of being accommodated. Check in as soon as you arrive, even if it is before the “official” check-in time.
  3. Keep all correspondence you have about room requests and bring a copy with you to check-in.
  4. Sometimes offsite accommodations can be larger and more cost-effective, especially attractive if using your own transportation or have multiple members in your party using mobility devices.
  5. Whatever you decide, advance planning is the key to success!

Connect with Amy Hughes at UpandUpTravel.com where you will find her informative blog, WDW Dreamin’. Or, connect via Facebook or Twitter.

The Special Mouse Tip of the Week: Disney’s Disability Access Service Card

Listener Teryl Figgens expressed anxiety about requesting the DAS on her family’s next Walt Disney World vacation. Both she and her daughter have the need for accommodations so they can access attractions, but, they do not always want to ride the same rides at the same time. She questions whether Guest Relations will give her family two separate DAS cards. The answer is YES!

The DAS card is issued on an individual, rather than a family or group, basis. One important requirement for use of a DAS card is that the guest for whom the card was requested (and whose picture is on the card) MUST be present to ride the attraction when the card is presented. Teryl must communicate to the Cast Members at Guest Relations that both she and her daughter have their own special needs that require accommodation AND that their party frequently splits in order to access different attractions.

Please submit questions, comments or your own tips to Kathy at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com or via Twitter @SpecialMousePod. Like our Facebook page, Special Mouse Podcast and get regular updates on topics of interest to the Special Needs Disney-loving community!

Keep your eyes on our social media for an announcement this week about our new CHAT ROOM feature on specialmouse.com.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

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Disney’s Disability Access Service Card: Reality Check, 2014

 
– A New Year for Special Mouse: Community Facebook Group and a new LIVE Chat Room!
– Listener Appreciation and Shout-Outs.
– Kathy makes plans for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, 2015.
– First-ever Food Allergy and Celiac Convention coming to Walt Disney World in November, 2014.
– Good, Bad AND Ugly: Special Mouse listeners share their experiences using Disney’s DAS (Disability Access Service) card.
 
Mentioned in this episode: Celebrate Awareness Official website of Food Allergy and Celiac Convention
Music: “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. (Performed by Idina Menzel)

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Tips for WDW and the DCL with Visual Impairment

In this Listener Tea Party episode Kathy is joined by Lisa, an adult with visual impairment and Shannon, the mother of a child with multiple challenges including visual impairment, to discuss tips and tricks for managing these issues while at Walt Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line. Included is advice on requesting the DAS, or Disabilities Access Service Card, while at Walt Disney World.

Connect with Lisa on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER.

Connect with Shannon on FACEBOOK or via EMAIL at shannon@wdwguru.com.

Don’t forget to enter our THANKSGIVAWAY!!

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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A Walt Disney World/Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Special Trip Report!

Thirty-year veteran of the Walt Disney World Resort, Justin Jett, gives a report of his most recent trip. Topics discussed include touring in a power wheelchair, accessibility of his resort room, the Disability Access Service card (DAS), Magic Bands, FastPass Plus and of course, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Justin shares tips for touring with Cerebral Palsy and the sensory issues associated with High-Functioning Autism.

You can connect with Justin on Facebook and on YouTube

Thank you, Dis-Pod-Review! Podcast Spotlight: Special Mouse

 

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Resource Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder: Review and Discussion – 019

Maureen Deal from Autism at the Parks joins Kathy for a lively review of the Walt Disney World Resort’s NEW Resource Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For more information about touring the Disney Parks with Autism, visit Autism at the Parks.

Here is a link to the Autism Speaks interview mentioned: Autism Speaks Disney Guest Assistance Card Controversy.

Here is a link to a post about the DAS Autism Social Story video I created with John Saccheri at BigFatPanda.com: There is Something New at the Disney Parks!

We also discussed PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line.

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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Disability Access Service Card Roundtable, Part 2: Rollout Day

In this Listener Tea Party episode, Kathy and her guests discuss the pros and cons of their guest experiences during the DAS rollout on 10/09/13 at the Walt Disney World Resort. Today’s guests are Maureen Deal (Autism at the Parks), Scarlett Litton (WDW News Today) and Aunesty Janssen (Temporary Tourist).

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Disability Access Service Card: A Round Table Discussion

In this Listener Tea Party episode, a panel of Disney Parks guests with special needs discuss how they anticipate the new Disability Access Service program will affect their park experiences and how they plan to adapt.

My Tea Party Guests:

Tracy Brooks –  Facebook , Twitter

Debi Dame –  Orlando Informer

Maureen Deal –  Autism at the Parks , Orlando InformerFacebook , Twitter

Stu Haasis Facebook , Twitter

Amy Hughes WDW Dreamin’ , Facebook , Twitter

Gordon LaGrow Cruise Directions , Facebook , Twitter 

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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