6 Places I’ll Be Taking My Special Needs Kid Instead of Disneyland

Okay Disney.

My family hears you loud and clear.

We know when we’re not wanted.

Actions speak louder than words and right now, your actions are clearly telling us to GO AWAY and STAY AWAY.

So away we go!

Below, a list of places I’ll happily take my special needs son and the rest of my family, instead of to any one of your parks (that is, untilĀ  Mickey gets his head out of his butt and realizes what an @## he’s being):

1. Escalators: They’re everywhere! And you don’t need a Guest Assistance Card to get on one! There are rarely any lines and my son Andrew loves them. Maybe not as much as he loves going on Big Thunder Mountain with his daddy, but we’ll make it work.

2. Elevators: At the mall. At the hospital. At the fancy hotels near our home or the parking structures by the local courthouse. It doesn’t matter where they are as long as they’re going up and down, over and over and over again.

3. Irvine Park Railroad in Orange, Ca.: The staff is amazing and guess what? Yep! No GAC necessary here either! Last week Andrew wanted to ride one of their John Deere tractor cars they put out for their pumpkin patch season, but he couldn’t operate it on his own. So the two guys running the attraction made it their mission to keep him safe and accommodate him in a way that made sense for his particular needs, instead of forcing him to use an asinine policy that would leave him overlooked and frustrated. Imagine that.

4. The Beach: The ocean may have nothing on Radiator Springs at Disney California Adventure, but for our kid, it’s a close second and last I checked, enjoying the ocean didn’t require checking into a kiosk to obtain a return time on a card while we try to keep our overstimulated and disappointed kid calm and comfortable long enough to watch a few waves. We can enjoy the same view all damn day if we want to while our kid flaps his arms to his heart’s content. Nature for the win!

5. Our neighborhood streets every Monday: It’s Trash Day and that means garbage and recycling trucks are coming through! I know it’s not as glamorous as a Disney parade, but there’s something about watching ginormous trash bins getting lifted into the air that makes Andrew truly happy, which is definitely NOT what he would be if he were at one of your parks right now. Plus, you totally get used to the smell. Sort of.

6. Truck Stops: Sure, they’re creepy and no place for children, but it’s where all the big rigs are and if you know anything about special needs parents, it’s that we’re determined to put a smile on our children’s faces! Which means this mama will soon be hanging out with guys who go by names like Overflow and Thunder and gals who embrace their facial hair. But no matter. We will make do. We’ll just make sure to leave before it gets dark.

Listen Disney. I liked you. I really did. You made this very tired, busy, overwhelmed family happy for a really long time, which is why we were willing to spend our hard-earned money on you.

But until you see the error of your ways, until you realize that this new program you’ve implemented is excluding a significant portion of special needs families like my own, until you figure out a way to DO IT BETTER because you’re DISNEY after all, well, we’re gonna have to break up.

So please stop sending me letters in the mail proclaiming your love for us. Save your postage.


Because actions speak louder than words, and based on your actions Disney, you couldn’t give a crap about our special needs kid or the thousands of kids and adults like him.

But if you ever have a change of heart, look us up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to Google some local truck stops.

10-4 Mickey.

Over and out.







  1. Speaking no offense to anyone, but I think you all need not to jump to conclusions about the new system. I went a lot to Disney World with a friend of mine that has a special needs child. She had the GAC for a very long time. Now, I understand the GAC was the “all powerful” card and helped a lot of people, especially my friend with her daughter. Yes, they have done away with it since people have been known to abuse the card that did not really need the card. However, give Disney a chance.

    I personally went to the parks last week, the day the new system was started. It was not the instantaneous entrance to whatever ride, whenever, but really in the end, it was not as bad as it could have been. It may not be as convenient, but it still helps tremendously over waiting in the regular lines.

    This is how it works: You receive a Disability card with your child’s name and photo on it. You take the card to the ride you want to do, for example, Toy Story. If the wait time is 50 minutes, they write the time you came to the ride, say 11 am, the wait time and your return time. So, your return time would be at 11:40 (they take 10 minutes off the standby wait time). You are free to go do whatever you want and then come back anytime after 11:40 and go right through the fast pass line. NOTE: you can also get regular fast passes too. The caveat is that you can only use the card at one ride at one time. So, once you ride Toy Story, then you are free to go to another ride and use the card again. It takes some more planning regarding activities and rides at the park, but it still allows children that have issues with waiting and long lines a chance to still have a positive experience at the park.

    We ended up having a great day at the park with my friend and her daughter. It took more planning, but in the end still worked.

    So, in the end, don’t knock Disney until you try it. It really is still possible to enjoy and love the parks!

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