13 Responses

  1. Autumn
    Autumn July 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm | | Reply

    I LOVE this article. It proves to me anyone can make a situation work, while avoiding abusing a system. Thank you for being a shining light in the GAC debacle. :)

  2. Christina
    Christina July 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm | | Reply

    Hey there Mike. I get it, I do. In fact the first year we attended FFL we went to the park before the conference began, before we knew there were GAP. while waiting in line for the Merry-Go-Round my son had an extreme low – like almost seizure low. I was stuck in line with none of our D supplies because they were with daddy. I didn’t anticipate how all the walking and heat was gonna effect my dear boy. I pushed my way out of line to find my hubby but he had wondered off to get some food item with another of our kiddos. I was kicking myself for not having anything on me to help my boy. I alerted the staff near the ride and the staff member called park EMS. Meanwhile my hubby returned and we gave our boy a juice. When EMS showed up they escorted us to guest relations and gave us a GAP.
    We used it the rest of the day but not without feeling guilty. Our boy was fine again. But he was 3 and lines were stressful – what was that gonna do to our boy. We used the pass but never took the front rows of rides. We since have used similar passes at other parks. some passes move us to the front of the line, other passes tell us a time to return based on the current wait time.
    Maybe it isn’t always necessary. Maybe it seems like we are taking advantage of a system but in all fairness I justify it as my kids will live their lives with a decease that requires constant diligence. A decease that in all honestly could do them great harm or end their lives. If skipping lines or experiencing adjusted wait times is a small benefit once or twice a year at various parks then Ill take it. They can decide for themselves what they wish to do as adults. I think taking proper precautions ahead of time is a great life lesson and Im glad to hear your worked it out for what fit you best.
    Taking a family of 5 to a Disney park costs a ton of money and we can’t do it regularly. If having the GAP provides my kids and safe and enjoyable time at the parks than Im willing to use the system that is designed to help families make the best of their visit.
    On even the slowest day at any given Disney park there are roughly 45,000 visitors. If even 1000 of them get GAP that does not equal a great deal and there are likely another 2000 that could truly benefit from GAP. I have heard recently of rich type people hiring disabled persons as family members to abuse the GAP. That saddens me and could potentially ruin it for those of us that will not attend a park without some form of GAP. the cost of admittance is too great to potentially spend a portion of our time trying to fix highs or lows that could have been avoided by not standing in a 2 hour line in the July heat of Orlando.
    As far as the frio packs they are really great for keeping heat sensitive insulin protected but I wasn’t aware that they made them for pumps. It is good to hear that and I might need to look into it for long hikes in the heat (something we have avoided because of the heat sensitive insulin).
    And just for reference – Universal Studios does not offer an effective pass. We shelled out another $400 to buy the express passes because keeping our kids safe is worth more than the $400.
    As a side note – my daughter told me there was an incident with a teen who experienced an extreme and dangerous low while at Disney – the kids were not given GAP that allowed for safer ride admittance initially. After the incident Disney recognized the need and provided the passes. I hope Disney and other parks continue to provide the passes as deemed necessary by those who use them.

  3. Jane
    Jane July 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm | | Reply


    I agree with you for the most part. But everyone’s situation is different. We took our 5 and 11 year old to WDW this summer. It was the first time at the parks since our 11 y.o. was diagnosed 3 years ago. We did not get a GAC. (Experiencing a low in line would be my main motivation for using a GAC. We lucked out and she did not.) We planned well in advance to prevent as many issues as possible. We had good luck as well. We arrived early, daughter turned BASAL rate down 30% each day, husband carried supplies (including Frio packed insulin) in a backpack and drank lots of water.

    We left the parks most days after lunch for NANO (Naps Are Not Optional) and returned later in the evening. We used FastPasses and’s Lines APPs and managed to hit 9 rides, 6 characters, 2 snacks and lunch in 4 hours on our first day. Our longest wait was 45 minutes to see Belle’s Enchanted Castle, while 20 minutes was the norm for any non-FastPass rides.

    We made reservations for half our meals-which means you still wait but eventually do get in. Hollywood and Vine was the most helpful- they sent a chef out to walk my daughter through the line and even offered to make her a meal from scratch despite the fact they serve an amazing buffet with 50 plus items.

    My husband follows a lot of Disney blogs and Podcasts and we utilized the tips offered by many seasoned Disney Park experts to make our trip enjoyable. Our trip was planned months in advance and we avoided busy parks most days. (Most people, traveling with special needs or not, are not as prepared and spend too much time waiting in line.)

    My advice to anyone visiting a theme park with or without special needs is to have a plan and know your limits. I persoanlly would not visit Disney with a child under 5 for a variety of reasons, none of which relate to T1. That is one of my limitations. Would I get a GAC for my daughter if she experienced frequent lows yes? Would I visit Disney without a plan and not make use of FastPasses and Line Apps even if not traveling with my children? No.

  4. anonymous
    anonymous July 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm | | Reply

    It saddens me to think that parents are teaching their children to use their diabetes as an excuse for preferential treatment. The only thing my mom taught me is that I could do anything as a diabetic – it might just be a little harder than it is for the average joe.

  5. Joanne
    Joanne July 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm | | Reply

    @anon – that’s a little judgemental. My daughter cannot go to a theme park without one. It’s not just harder, it’s pretty much impossible. If you care to read another viewpoint on it, you can read my post on my blog. Maybe then you can appreciate that there is no shame in asking for help.

  6. Kirsten
    Kirsten July 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm | | Reply

    I agree that we should not teach our kids that d is a way to get out of things but as a parent of a 5yo ( diagnosed at 22 months) and a 2yo diabetic neither of whom can tell when they are low and whom suffer from heat intolerance in planning my trip next year too a conference and the boys to WDW we will be using the pass. I have also heard that there are people asking for a pass then selling it to another kid not in need which is wrong. yes there are abuses happening but just because a pass is accessible don’t assume a parent chooses to use the pass for the wrong reasons, many of us even with planning will need a pass, it’s just too hard for some d parents to expect our kids to do the work themselves

  7. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver July 31, 2013 at 4:29 am | | Reply

    You mixed in two issues- we are clearly being mistreated by TSA thus the TSA Care program as come about. In fact, I have stopped flying as much as possible.

  8. Proud Parents
    Proud Parents July 31, 2013 at 11:41 am | | Reply

    Your comparison of a young child who opts to lie to completely get out of a task is not comparable to a child that wants to go to a theme park and stay healthy while doing so.

    Obviously I dislike the article. It assumes that all diabetics that go into WDW and get a GAC are lying. Not true. Diabetes is different person to person and that difference is caused by several factors. I think it is up to each person to decide for themselves what accommodations they need or do not need to remain healthy. This article is similar to someone in a wheelchair who just completed a marathon and then hints that any other person in a wheelchair who is unable to complete the marathon is basically lying.

    According to the US SSA Disability Requirments 109.08 Any type of diabetes mellitus in a child who requires daily insulin and has not attained age 6. Consider under a disability until the attainment of age 6.

    We guess you may be quite shocked to know that many families in lower income brackets get disability benefits for their CWD. This is not so in this household, but I have no problem with that program. I believe that it is legitimate. I honestly feel the age limit could and should be increased from the age of 6.

    Why then would it matter if a family struggling to keep a young T1 healthy and out of danger would choose to ask for an accommodation at a theme park?

    In this household we pay our way all the way around. There are no “handouts” or lying going on. We are teaching our children to reach for what they want and if they need and desire accommodation then ask for it. Whatever keeps them healthy.

  9. Irritated
    Irritated July 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm | | Reply

    What I get from this post is that you are a superior human being because you, armed with your Frio pack, are willing to stand in the sun to go on a ride. I can’t exactly decipher any other significant meaning from this post, other than the typical D’Mine judgmental BS. I also believe that Disney passes and TSA cares are two entirely different issues so not too sure why you brought that into it. Sorry to be harsh, but it’s the same story post after post. I used to come to this blog for diabetes new and updates and all I see now a lack of objectivity and pure rudeness (as evidenced by Mike’s response to “Proud Parents’” comment).

  10. Caroline Yeager, M.D.
    Caroline Yeager, M.D. August 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm | | Reply

    The real problem with passes is the abuse of the passes by the “wealthy.” Apparently, it is quite common to get these passes just because you don’t want to stand in line because you fell entitled to bypass ordinary folk. There are even services that get you these passes for a fee, including hiring a disabled person to accompany your party to do so. This has been in the news lately, and has become a big deal, as it should.

    As for me, in the case of those with DM, that is entirely a personal call.

  11. Julia
    Julia August 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm | | Reply

    Hey Amy, how about getting a PARENT of a CWD write a post on this issue? I’m getting a little tired of adult Type 1 Males opining on the subject of how to parent Type 1 children. Or adult Type 1 females for that matter. I do not have Type 1. I parent a Type 1 child. Two very different animals, my friends. Yes, I have seen this debate on cwd website as well as heated debates of whether to test at night. Thankfully, I no longer see the debate of whether to test at night. The non-testers were parents from children diagnosed many years ago when night testing wasn’t recommended. We did not use the guest pass the first time we went to Disney because we did not know it was available. We would never have repeated the experience had we not heard of the guest pass. In the Florida heat, the long lines were a nightmare. Blood sugars ridiculously high. Young children need accommodations, IMO. The older teens may not.

    1. AmyT
      AmyT August 29, 2013 at 11:33 am | | Reply

      Yes, Julia – we did that! Please see the recent guest post by super D-Mom Meri Schumacher here:

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