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Disney Cast Member Leaves Disabled Guest Disappointed

Hidden disability at Disney
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Cast Members are known for bringing much-needed magic to the vacation experience. Oftentimes, they are the reason the theme park is cherished. However, this doesn’t mean that every interaction is perfect. One Guest with a hidden disability recently detailed an encounter with a Disney Cast Member that disappointed them.

Flight of Passage

Credit: Disney

A Hidden Disability at Disney World

Reddit user u/F1g-N3wt0n1 took to the r/WaltDisneyWorld subreddit to bring attention to an insensitive Cast Member during their trip to Animal Kingdom. The user has neurological issues that are not immediately visible to others. They wear a knee brace due to multiple dislocations and experience significant pain while walking, though they are used to the amount of walking involved at Disney World. However, because of their neurological challenges, they stressed their need to use the Disability Access Service (DAS) at Disney theme parks. DAS is a system that helps individuals with disabilities have equal access to attractions by reducing their wait times.

While waiting in line for the Flight of Passage ride at Animal Kingdom, the user followed the usual procedure of tapping their phone and waiting for the signal to move forward. However, someone behind them made a comment under their breath, suggesting that the DAS passes are being given out more freely nowadays. The user alleged that it was a Disney World Cast Member who said the following:

Wow, they’re getting loose with the DAS passes these days.

Really didn’t need this from a cast member
byu/F1g-N3wt0n inWaltDisneyWorld

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

This comment implied that the person didn’t really need the DAS pass and was perhaps taking advantage of the system. Some responders wondered if a Cast Member actually made the statement and not an ignorant Guest. The original poster clarified that it came from the same voice who checked them in. The employee likely didn’t think they would be overheard because the user wears headphones to help with the same neurological issues.

Same voice as when they said “hi [name]” upon me entering (it shows your name and picture so they can be sure the person using DAS is really you).

edit: they’ve stopped doing the whole “hi/you’re good to go/etc. [name]” thing all the time. When I first started using DAS they did it on every ride, every time. But either something shifted in the training or they got tired of it, because I only hear it maybe 1/10 rides now. But it’s always those who say my name who either take the longest to okay my pass or (in this case) say a comment.

byu/F1g-N3wt0n from discussion

The Redditor said this comment ruined the rest of their day. It bothered them that the person making the comment probably didn’t understand hidden challenges. Despite their efforts to enjoy their day at the Park, this incident had a negative impact on their mood and overall experience.

The person ended their post on the situation by stressing the importance of recognizing that everyone has their own struggles and challenges. They encourage empathy and understanding, reminding people they can never truly know what someone else is going through. The experience affected them so much that they ended up leaving the Park earlier than planned, feeling disheartened by the encounter.

disney world suffers bad policy

Credit: Disney

The Struggle of Living With Hidden Disabilities

This is sadly not an uncommon situation for people living with hidden disabilities. A comment from another user with multiple sclerosis said they avoid Disney World in the summer due to their disability and often get the same looks and comments from people.

I have MS and we used DAS our last trip. It was summer and the heat and humidity made my symptoms so much worse than they normally are. I lift and run and look like I am pretty good shape but during this trip I had to use a cane and go back to the hotel for breaks during the day. It was awful and I swore never to go back in the summer. But I got some of the same looks and comments. MS can be an invisible illness and it sucks. I was diagnosed while in the Army and got medically retired, and the amount of snarky comments I got from senior NCOs and some company cadre was really demoralizing. Not like I asked for this. Tell your wife she is in my prayers and to keep up the good fight!

byu/F1g-N3wt0n from discussion

One responder mentioned their wife dealing with similar comments in her daily life. However, they did note that their family always has a positive experience when utilizing DAS on their Disney trips.

My wife has MS but she does not visibly have any signs besides the fact that she has to live with all of the hidden problems you wouldn’t know unless you were in her body. We’ve used DAS in our disney trips and it’s allowed our kids to be able to enjoy what they can before she has to tap out. People should know better not to make a comment on someone’s situation.

She’s had to deal with comments like this in her daily life like the time some guy at the grocery store asked her what they have to do in order to park in an accessible spot. Her being her shot back at him and said “oh I don’t know, maybe live every day with a debilitating neurological disorder and have your hands and feet feel like ground hamburger”. That shut him up pretty quick.

byu/F1g-N3wt0n from discussion

Having empathy and understanding for others goes a long way in society. Hopefully, this Disney Cast Member educates themselves on the subject so they can do better next time.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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