Sunday, June 16, 2013

Disney and Diabetes: What Are Your Thoughts About the Disney Guest Assistance Card?

I received this comment today and found it interesting.   From what this person has left under the initial "K", I thought it might be good to open conversation.
Do you or do you not think that people living with type 1 diabetes need to use a Guest Assistance Card?
If you have a moment, please write a comment on this post using the website.  Facebook comments will not link to the blog, so for the sake of conversation, please post all thoughts here. 
From "K"
I think it is terrible that you encourage and train people to get the guest assistance card. You and people like you are the reason they are revamping the program. My father has Type 1 Diabetes and my niece has had it since she was 2. Never in all the years that we have traveled to Disney has either of them asked for or needed a "front of the line" pass. What are doing is deplorable. You need to save the pass for families who actually need it. Disney is cracking down on people like you and I intend you report your website to them. on Walt Disney World And The Mysterious Guest Assistance Card (GAC)


Unknown said...

Wow! I'll admit we use the guest assistance pass 8 years ago when my then 2 year old with T1D & our family was at Disney. We didn't take advantage of it.We used it when necessary for our situation. For water rides, it was necessary to leave supplies in a secure place,so we couldn't risk standing in a 45-60 minute line, only to have to leave because of a low blood sugar & to treat it immediately so we wouldn't have an emergency on the middle of a ride. Disney understood our medical need & gave us the pass. Again our family only used it when necessary. Especially since we came from a northern state & were not used to the high heat while there, it affected her bg's immensely, so it was extremely helpful to have the pass at certain times of the day to avoid an emergency. To report you would be shameful. I think you're doing a service for those that have no idea what is available to them when they're traveling. thank you!!!

Dana said...

Well I have to say that as both a mother and spouse of type one diabetics (that has not yet travelled to Disney) I absolutely welcome the fact that Disney recognizes the seriousness and unpredictability of the condition. Until one has experienced a severe low in the middle of a lineup or the inability to be able to excuse yourself for a drink if you are in an hour long lineup and running extremely high, it is hard to understand. I'm wondering if "k"'s sister or father are unaware that diabetes is considered a disability (internationally). It is not deplorable at all but rather a good deed of an international icon

Dave B said...

Wow, this poster assumes an awful lot about the motives of families with T1 diabetics. I have never used the card for my family as we are still new to Diabetes, but I have every intention of getting it and using it if necessary next time we visit WDW. However, if we don't need it for a given ride, we certainly won't use it just to jump in line.

If "k"'s family doesn't need or want to use the card, good for them. However, I'll be damned if I let him/her judge me for my motives in making a trip to Disney all I can for my daughter and not letting untimely lows or highs endanger my daughter's life simply to keep keep narrow minded people like her happy that I'm not using my daughter's disease as an excuse to line jump.

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

Please note that in the interest of "K" reporting Naturally Sweet Sisters to Walt Disney World, I have decided to use this forum as a way to have an opportunity to help WDW define what it is that we as people living with Type 1 Diabetes need in order to successfully navigate hours in the park without dangerous blood sugar swings, DKA, hypoglycemia, ketones, dehydration and hyperglycemia (just to name a few of the hazards we face). Therefore, I am posting this positive conversation as a permanent link to the sticky page for everyone to read. Our loved ones living with type 1 diabetes have a RIGHT TO MEDICAL ACCOMODATIONS AS STATED IN THE AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT, even at Walt Disney World. One person can make a difference - I choose to make a positive difference by providing helpful information to all families.

Christe said...

I am absolutely floored by K's comments. In contrast, I applaud Disney for recognizing the effects that standing or waiting in a long line can have on a person with Type 1 Diabetes. Disney’s actions has likely saved many Type 1 people from a severe hypoglycemic episode. Perhaps K has never experience a severe low blood sugar episode with her loved ones – especially in a place like Disney! Unfortunately, I have a few times; although never at Disney – we have never been there. Time is critical when a hypoglycemic episode strikes. If K doesn’t want to utilize the fast pass option when they all travel to Disney, he/she certainly doesn’t have to! But why in the world would he/she call out those who utilize the fast pass to keep their loved ones safe? To find the practice of utilizing it deplorable, is absolutely ridiculous. Maybe K should witness a young child having a hypoglycemic episode, and then maybe he/she would understand why the fast pass is worthy for those with Type 1. Disney should be at the top of the leader board for making their guests safe, and allowing them to enjoy their park while keeping them in a safe situation!

Amy W said...

I completely disagree with you, K. On a perfect day, you are right, someone with diabetes would not need a guest assistance pass. However, people with diabetes realize that perfect days don't happen often, especially on vacation in a very hot, humid climate! Even when you follow a strict schedule everyday with no variation, blood sugars will not stay the same from day to day. Hormones, heat. growth, illness all have a part in blood sugars, and those are things that we cannot control!

On our last visit to DisneyWorld we got a guest assistance pass because it was August, and we couldn't leave our insulin cooler sitting in an unattended stroller in the sun. If the insulin gets too hot, it becomes ineffective. No insulin = dangerous. The guest assistance pass allowed us to keep our stroller that had the insulin in it with us in line in the shade, or when we were on a ride it was kept inside the ride area in the shade.

Another issue we encountered while at Disney, was one of our children had higher blood sugars than at home, and had to use the bathroom very often. If he had to stand in the regular line, he would have had to leave and keep going to the back of the line because of the bathroom issue. He would never have gotten on a ride! Thanks to the guest assistance pass, he was able to ride the rides and enjoy his Disney experience.

K, I think that you have made some very judgmental comments without thinking them through. Kids (and adults) with diabetes should be able to experience the magic of Disney World like everyone who never needs to worry about their blood sugars 24/7. The guest assistance pass allows these kids to have a normal experience. (And it doesn't always mean being bumped to the front of the line! I think that depends on the cast member at the ride.)

Disney World is one of my favorite places to visit, and the fact that they are accommodating to all people makes us want to keep going back.Thank you, DisneyWorld, for letting my children experience the "Happiest Place on Earth" which remains happy despite their diabetes!

Anonymous said...

Frankly we couldn't do Disney without the guest assistance card. I have a child with type 1 diabetes who is also heat sensitive. Not only does she get high and lies but she also gets hives. I am glad you shared this information because it has made our family brave enough ti go.

Karen W said...

As someone without family members with T1D I applaud Disney for offering the pass. I would hate to think that someone would spend the time and $$ to go to WDW, only to have their vacation limited by a medical condition. Disney's willingness to offer assistance (as needed) helps everyone to enjoy the experience. Why should kids (and grownups) not allowed to live their lives as normally as possible? Should families have to fight or feel like the center of attention just to enjoy their vacation? If all it takes is a pass, great. I also think it can help out when families who need it meet judgemental idiots, they can show their pass and move on rather than have to argue about having their medical needs met. I think it's great that you've publicized this information, who knows when I or someone I know will need it?

janmom said...

I am new to your blog, having stumbled upon it while looking for packing info for my sons first diabetes resident camp.

I love Disney and we usually go every few years, December 2012 was our first trip since D, and not knowing what we might experience I was glad that Disney offers that option. Thankfully we didn't need it, taking the kids out of school in early December was the best, great weather. That being said I have gone in the summer months and it's horrible even if you don't have a type 1. Thank you Disney for looking out for families who have special needs.

But I did see the 20/20 news story and there are horrible people who cheat the system so possibly this person just buckets all people who might use this guest assistance card together.

Hopefully this person never has to sit with a child with extreme highs or extreme lows, waiting and waiting. Knowing even when you do everything right life can effect their #'s.