Autistic Children in the Parks - Page 2
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  1. #16
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    I agree the GAC was very helpful, my daughter is now 7 and she will be 8 next year when we go to DLR. The first 3 times when we took her it was a bit difficult because it was hard for her to wait in line. And now when I mention going to Disneyland to her she gets so excited!!!
    Disney addict for life

  2. #17
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    I'm pretty sure while the GAC allows guests with disabilities a more comfortable waiting experience, it doesn't allow them to "skip the line". Even if it did, it is sad that some guests would take advantage of this program, as it's obviously intended for the comfort of all of the guests.

    Also, Disney_Lover is correct. It is against the law to require proof of disability. This is federal law (ADA). That being said, I'd still keep a copy of the child's medical records handy in case there is any need (forbid) for medical care while on the trip. Most parents of children with disabilities (or adults) already do this.

    My child doesn't have a disability, but I've worked with Autistic children in the past and I'd agree, finding a quiet and not crowded places in the park to help them decompress is a great way help them manage.
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
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  3. #18
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    This may be a dumb question but what does GAC stand for. We have been to WDW before with our kids and one of our sons is diagnosed as globally delayed and along the spectrum of autistic. He is high functioning and to look at him one would never know this. He was very tentative about large crowded areas on our last visits. This would have been very helpful. Any info on how to get one would be greatly appreciated.

  4. #19
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by PaDisneyDad View Post
    This may be a dumb question but what does GAC stand for. We have been to WDW before with our kids and one of our sons is diagnosed as globally delayed and along the spectrum of autistic. He is high functioning and to look at him one would never know this. He was very tentative about large crowded areas on our last visits. This would have been very helpful. Any info on how to get one would be greatly appreciated.
    GAC = Guest Assistance Card.

    You can get one by speaking with Guest Services at any of the parks. All you have to do is ask.

    The cards will allow you to have a more comfortable wait while in the longer lines (generally through special entrances or the fast pass line) and will inform cast members of your childs condition without you having to say anything. They are trained how to handle different disabilities to help make every guest leave happy and improve everyone's experience.

    Hope this helps!
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
    A.D. (After Daughter)
    2010 - 2 weeks @ CBR
    2011 - 3 in DC, 14 @ CBR
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    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  5. #20
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    May 2012
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    Anytime we have used the GAC (DS is on the spectrum) the whole family (me, DH, and 4 kiddos) have been able to use the FastPass line or other alternative line (for example,POC takes guests through a backstage area through a door close to the loading area). This may be due to a lack of quiet waiting areas for every attraction.

    But however Disney chooses to administer it, the GAC is a godsend for those who need it!

    Quote Originally Posted by PaDisneyDad
    This may be a dumb question but what does GAC stand for. We have been to WDW before with our kids and one of our sons is diagnosed as globally delayed and along the spectrum of autistic. He is high functioning and to look at him one would never know this. He was very tentative about large crowded areas on our last visits. This would have been very helpful. Any info on how to get one would be greatly appreciated.
    All you have to do is go to guest services at any of the parks and request one. While they cannot request documentation of disability I am always sure to carry a letter from our doctor, just in case. It is good in any park for the length of your trip.

    All you have to do is show it to the CM at the attraction and they will direct you to the appropriate line ( generally the FastPass line).

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by DinaDAngel; 07-11-2012 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Claudine
    "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

  6. #21
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    I agree englanddg, the GAC is a great help when needed. And yes some people do abuse the option to be able to get that assistance. Last year when we went to DLR, we were waiting in the POTC line across from Club 33, and there was a 7-8 person family who had a younger girl sitting in the wheel chair and then all of a sudden the little girl got up out of the wheel chair to chase her sister or whoever she was. It was clearly obvious that the wheel chair and the GAC the mother was holding wasn't honestly obtained....well from what I saw. We had a GAC for both my daughter and cousin, my daughter has mild autism and my cousin has degenerative disc disorder but had surgery 1 1/2 years prior. And even if we have a GAC we only used it when either on of them really needed it.
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  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DinaDAngel View Post
    Anytime we have used the GAC (DS is on the spectrum) the whole family (me, DH, and 4 kiddos) have been able to use the FastPass line or other alternative line (for example,POC takes guests through a backstage area through a door close to the loading area). This may be due to a lack of quiet waiting areas for every attraction.

    But however Disney chooses to administer it, the GAC is a godsend for those who need it!



    All you have to do is go to guest services at any of the parks and request one. While they cannot request documentation of disability I am always sure to carry a letter from our doctor, just in case. It is good in any park for the length of your trip.

    All you have to do is show it to the CM at the attraction and they will direct you to the appropriate line ( generally the FastPass line).

    I hope this helps.
    We have gone numerous times and always take our GAC from our previous visit and exchange it for a current one. GS is great about it. Our son does amazing thanks to the GAC and because of all the flexibility, we even bought in to DVC!
    Hope this extra little bit helps!!
    We go in 102 days and can not wait!!!!

    Last edited by Winkster; 07-13-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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  8. #23
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by disneymama2000 View Post
    I agree englanddg, the GAC is a great help when needed. And yes some people do abuse the option to be able to get that assistance. Last year when we went to DLR, we were waiting in the POTC line across from Club 33, and there was a 7-8 person family who had a younger girl sitting in the wheel chair and then all of a sudden the little girl got up out of the wheel chair to chase her sister or whoever she was. It was clearly obvious that the wheel chair and the GAC the mother was holding wasn't honestly obtained....well from what I saw. We had a GAC for both my daughter and cousin, my daughter has mild autism and my cousin has degenerative disc disorder but had surgery 1 1/2 years prior. And even if we have a GAC we only used it when either on of them really needed it.
    But just because someone got up for a second, does not mean that they don't need a wheelchair. You really can't tell just from looking
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  9. #24
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    I agree Joanna, but the girl that was in the wheelchair ran around generously enough and was active enough to not need the wheelchair. Besides when we all exited the ride the girl was walking and their belongings were in the wheelchair. Either way it is what it was, I'm just saying that there are people out there that really don't need the GAC. For all we know they could just get the wheelchair to obtain the GAC.
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  10. #25
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by disneymama2000 View Post
    I agree Joanna, but the girl that was in the wheelchair ran around generously enough and was active enough to not need the wheelchair. Besides when we all exited the ride the girl was walking and their belongings were in the wheelchair. Either way it is what it was, I'm just saying that there are people out there that really don't need the GAC. For all we know they could just get the wheelchair to obtain the GAC.
    It's one of those things I can't judge, and therefore don't. People cheat systems, and there is no way to stop them.

    What's that old saying? Something about having the will to change what I can and the good sense not to worry about changing what I can't?
    B.C. (Before Child) '82, '87 - '95, 2004
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    2013 - 3 @ DLR | Contemporary, DCL Fantasy, POFQ
    2015 - 2 in DC, 3 @ Uni Portofino, 3 @ AKL, DCL Fantasy, 4 @ AoA

  11. #26
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    Yes I agree..great quote!!
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  12. #27
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    Quote Originally Posted by disneymama2000 View Post
    I agree Joanna, but the girl that was in the wheelchair ran around generously enough and was active enough to not need the wheelchair. Besides when we all exited the ride the girl was walking and their belongings were in the wheelchair. Either way it is what it was, I'm just saying that there are people out there that really don't need the GAC. For all we know they could just get the wheelchair to obtain the GAC.
    Yes, I'm sure there are people that "cheat". However, I won't judge anyone because I'm happy that I'm healthy and can do without a chair (plus, there is always karma).

    Plus, wheelchairs don't always go with GACs. And most attraction lines are mainstreamed, so wheelchairs alone go in the same line as everyone else
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  13. #28
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    I agree karma comes around..and definitely no judging from my end at all.
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  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Doodlemommy3
    I am not sure how other people have faired, but we have a ds who will be 4 in almost 3 weeks, has been to wdw 6 times and has autism spectrum disorder. our first two trips were a little rough, but after a little advice from a local mom in a similar situation I found out about the GAC. If you have a child like mine that is on the spectrum with sensory integration disorder, I highly recomend looking into it. WDW has become a part of our son's therapy. I don't think we would be able to do it or enjoy it if not for the GAC... I believe it to hold a little magic of it's own.
    The only thing that I ask and suggest is that you have your notes from your doctors on hand, just in case a CM asks when issuing the card, they are tightening the policy ( thank goodness) because people do take advantage.
    What is GAC

  15. #30
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    Re: Autistic Children in the Parks

    GAC is a Guest Assistance Card. Basically a card that tells CMs that a guest has a non-evident disability for which accomodations should be made, specifically with regard to queues and waiting areas.

    The GAC is a godsend for those who need it!
    All you have to do is go to guest services at any of the parks and request one. While they by law cannot request documentation of disability I am always sure to carry a letter from our doctor, just in case. It is good in any park for the length of your trip.

    All you have to do is show it to the CM at the attraction and they will direct you to the appropriate line ( generally the FastPass line).

    I hope this helps.
    Claudine
    "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

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