Fairy Godmother . . . I need your help!
By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the issue our family is taking with Disney regarding their new policy on people with disabilities and I’m afraid after a conversation that I had two days ago with a representative speaking on behalf of Meg Crofton, President Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, a remedy to this situation might just require a wave of your magic wand.
You probably remember us quite well Fairy Godmother, but just in case I thought I’d jog your memory. We’re that family of six that received the rare blessing of two children with Down syndrome — the ones that look forward to visiting your kingdom more than any other place on earth. We’re also the family that requires special accommodations in order to make our experience there accessible and enjoyable. The family that needs preferential seating at shows because our son was born with bilateral cataracts and still struggles to see. The ones who need to wait until the last minute to unload from our strollers before boarding a ride, because our children are prone to run away. We’re the family whose children want to try new rides and attractions, but are often scared of the unknown or unexpected and can have melt downs at any given moment. We’re the ones that struggle in crowds and have a hard time understanding the idea of waiting in a line for even a few minutes. Surely, you remember that we’re the family that has a hard time sticking to a schedule and needs lots of flexibility because our children’s needs are ever changing. And if all of that doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe you remember how we’re the family that lights up like Christmas morning when given the chance to interact with you and your friends in a place so magical that we’re able to escape our daily struggles and just enjoy being with our precious children.
Perhaps you’re having a hard time distinguishing our family from the millions of others families that could describe themselves the exact same way. Many of them have been following this situation and together we’re all hoping for a resolution that will allow our families to continue visiting you with the same accommodations you extended to us before this new policy went into effect.
Sadly, after the 45-minute conversation I had two days ago with April, Ms. Crofton’s representative, I’m losing hope. Above everything else April said, the thing that saddened me the most was her mention of “a paradigm shift” that is taking place at Disney. She said Disney is currently focused on making “better guest flow for all of their guests” and that the new Disability Access Service card will be a “better way to accomplish this”.
After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked April if Ms. Crofton or one of her colleagues would like to join our family for a day at Disney to see how that new “paradigm shift” is working out for their guests — to get to know a family like ours and watch us as we spend the day struggling to manage expectations. I’m still waiting for a response.
I know you’re a very busy lady, Fairy Godmother, and there are certainly people out there that need your attention more than I do, but I believe granting this wish would send an important message to people everywhere that Disney gets families with special needs and values their presence in their parks.
Or perhaps Disney feels the price of being so accommodating to families with special needs is not worth the cost of combating the negative publicity surrounding it. Now that’s a paradigm shift I thought Disney would never make.
Wishing upon a star,