Planning a trip to Disney is a lot of work. But, when you have a family member with special needs, that planning becomes that much more difficult. How do you plan a magical vacation while also making sure the needs of those closest to you are taken care of?
“The new Disability Access Service (DAS) will allow Guests with disabilities at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort to receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. Guests Relations at the front of each park will continue to assist Guests and provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.” – Disney Parks Blog
If you believe that a member of your family will benefit from the Disability Access Service (DAS) Pass, or ever questioned why you were not accepted, I highly suggest checking this post. Sometimes the person you talk to or the phrases you use could make the difference in whether or not you’re approved.
Disney is meant for everyone!
“The important thing is the family. If you can keep the family together — and that’s the backbone of our whole business, catering to families — that’s what we hope to do.” – Walt Disney
There are many different reasons why being an advocate for those with Special Needs means so much to me. But, the biggest reason of them all is my Grandpa.
This past Saturday marked the 2nd anniversary of my Grandpa’s death. It’s still hard to say out loud. At any other time, I try to restrain myself from sharing too much, out of respect for their privacy. But, this time, I feel there’s so much that I want to say.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa. We picked him up from his house once a week to go out to eat and “shoot the breeze.” He came with us to Playgrounds, Amusement Parks, and trips to get ice cream. One year, he even came on our yearly vacation to Massachusetts to visit my dad’s side of the family.
But, there’s also something else about my Grandpa that not everyone knew. He had been blind from the age of 4.
Sure, he needed our help to get groceries, pay bills, and tell him how much change he got back from the cashier (which we did by folding his bills in certain ways so he knew how much he had). But, in every other way, he was just like every other Grandpa. He rewarded us for having a good report card, he played hide-and-seek with us, and we never needed a map or GPS because we had Grandpa to tell us where to go. To be honest, this still impresses me. I still don’t know where I’m going and I can see the street signs.
Obviously, I have a lot of memories of him. And one of these memories is that he loved going to Florida. If he heard a friend of family member was going, he’d find a way of going with them.
So, on my very first trip to Walt Disney World, he came with us. It’s been 30 years and I still remember sitting next to my Grandpa on rides like the Peoplemover and watching the Carousel of Progress and the Hall of Presidents with him. If only my dad had taken a picture of Abraham Lincoln melting on stage. That would have been an awesome picture to place here! We still talk about how funny that was! 🙂
Even at that young age, I realized that Disney truly was meant for everyone. He didn’t need to see the fireworks, the castle, or even Mickey Mouse, to feel the magic. It’s just there. And if he wasn’t proof of that, I don’t know what is.
My Grandpa never utilized the resources out there for the blind because he never felt like he needed them. He learned to read and write in braille. But, as far as seeing eye dogs, handicapped tags in the car, or walking canes went, he didn’t want them. But, he knew that if his circumstances changed, they were all available to him.
Disney realizes that different circumstances require different solutions. This is why the DAS exists. They want to ensure that all of their Guests have a safe, fun, and stress-free time in the Parks.