Friday, July 27, 2007

Opinions Please

As the date of our departure to Disney World approaches (a week from Tuesday evening), I have been seriously pondering something.

Having no particular interest in surly, exhausted Patrick, nor in carrying my linebacker-built brother to the nearest First Aid station, I lobbied long and hard for at least renting him a wheelchair -- Florida in August is going to suck, climate wise, and thyroid medication or no, he's going to have Issues.

Eventually, we (my mom and I) decided that having our own would be much easier, if a bit more expensive in the outset.  So it's all folded up and ready to go in the garage; it just needs a bungee cord to make sure it stays folded in the luggage compartment.

Which brings me to my dilemma.

In all the years he's been going to Disneyland, the expectation of Patrick (begun by my parents and reinforced by me as he got older) is that he is expected to follow the rules there like any other kid.  Disneyland, I believe, is directly responsible for his patience with lines and crowds (unlike his girlfriend, Chaline).  He is expected to order himself, to walk by himself (I hate seeing adults with disabilities holding someone's hand unless it's an expression of affection), and wait in line just like everybody else, because he can.

He even knows where the companion restrooms are, in the unlikely event that he needs assistance in the restroom.  While CA law allows an attendant of the opposite gender to accompany a person with disabilities into their restroom, he has never been comfortable with this, and is far too old to do the reverse.

Y'see, over the years, it's become more and more common to see groups of kids (usually teenagers) rent a wheelchair which they rotate amongst themselves, so as to use the accessible queue.  Disneyland has responded over the years by enlarging the regular queue, so that most people using wheelchairs must (get to, as some lines are amusing themselves) wait in line with everybody else.

It irks me to see people taking advantage of the (greatly appreciated) strides Disney has made in accessibility.  We've had unfailingly positive experiences with cast members, but I worry that that will change as people grow more resentful of people without visible disabilities using accessible queue areas.

Where am I going with this?

Simple.  

I'm having a dilemma about what to prepare Patrick for.

Should I tell him he'll be able to ride around the park but still be expected to stand in line (if it's indoors -- we're already getting a Guest Assistance Card that says he doesn't have to stand in line in the heat and sun)?

Should I tell him that he'll be able to ride around and use the accessible queue at certain times of day (e.g. until the sun goes down)?

Should I ignore my own sense of he-should-do-what-he-can and simplify everything (and possible cut down our time in lines substantially) and just tell him that if there's an accessible queue, we'll use it?

Any other ideas?  I'm inclined to go with option 2, myself, but that might be needlessly complicated.

1 comment:

Mz. Cat said...

Number 2 sounds good. During the hottest time of the day use the access, if you are there in the cooler (or so called cooler) FL mornings and evenings, let him walk. This maybe a grand time for a life lesson. I know complicated as it maybe, someday you or your mom may not be there to assist him. Better to start understanding now, isnt that we try to teach daily?