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Guests with Special Needs Discuss Magic Kingdom needs some magic in the Vacation Planning forums; My husband had foot surgery four weeks ago. He's feeling fine, but can not put any weight on his right foot yet. We have company coming in three weeks, so ...
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    mini-V's Avatar
    mini-V is offline Home at last near Mickey!
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    Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    My husband had foot surgery four weeks ago. He's feeling fine, but can not put any weight on his right foot yet. We have company coming in three weeks, so we wanted to do some practice runs through the parks using a wheelchair. We had some pleasant experiences in DHS, AK, and EPCOT, but our experience today left us wondering how other families survive MK. In all of the other parks, wheelchair access openings were opened for us. We were directed through special cues and generally were helped by cast members in the smallest ways that really meant a lot. Today, I was really surprised when my husband had to hop into the Doombuggy in HM while the ride and conveyor belt kept moving. He wears a huge black support cast and was using crutches from where we had to leave the wheelchair. He managed OK, but it certainly didn't seem like the safest way for him to board. When we entered Philharmagic, the cast member pointed to the wheelchair access gate. It would have been soooo helpful had she opened it for us.

    The park was busier than we anticipated, but it's far from a really busy attendance time.

    Is today's experience unusual or have you also found that MK isn't as magical for guests with special needs?
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    lilo88's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    My mom had to use a wheelchair once soon after knee surgery and I found MK to be the biggest hassle for people with special needs. But they did stop the doom buggies for her. I hope you have better experiences next time. And I hope his foot gets better really soon!
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    SnwhtNdwrfs's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    We went with my aunt one year and I agree that the CMs were the least helpful at MK. I went up to a CM and asked where the wheelchair entrance is for a ride and she said to look at the map that they gave my aunt. It was frustrating.


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    HauntedGabe's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    I think it is the tone of the park. I think there is the biggest burn out factor for CM's in the MK. Guest Demands for the CM's are high. MK is built poorly for ADA accessibility since it wasn't really a concern when built. They have retro fitted the best they can.

    There are so many wheelchairs and Carts that need to be specially handled that I bet it is as routine for CM's as a stroller. CM's loosing their ADA sensitivity. The other parks were built more with ADA in mind with the design and the CM's are likely not as bombarded with so many special assist needs that they still are sensitive.

    It doesn't excuse the lack of sensitivity though. Sounds like a suggestion for customer service that employees at the MK go through some Smile School sensitivity retraining.

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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    I think you captured the problem quite well. I have a disabled nephew confined to a wheelchair. At the bus pickup at Poly, my sister would have to ask the driver each time to open the rear door so she could get the wheelchair aboard. The dirver could see she had wheelchair and needed the door open, but would not do so until asked. My sister felt the drivers went out of their way to be inconvenient.

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    mini-V's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    I'd like to see all CM's go through a training experience where they actually experience pushing and being pushed in a wheelchair just to see what it's like for guests. I know it's been an eye-opening experience for my family. I do agree with your comment about MK being a high expectation park and that quick burn-out is a concern.

    Quote Originally Posted by HauntedGabe View Post
    I think it is the tone of the park. I think there is the biggest burn out factor for CM's in the MK. Guest Demands for the CM's are high. MK is built poorly for ADA accessibility since it wasn't really a concern when built. They have retro fitted the best they can.

    There are so many wheelchairs and Carts that need to be specially handled that I bet it is as routine for CM's as a stroller. CM's loosing their ADA sensitivity. The other parks were built more with ADA in mind with the design and the CM's are likely not as bombarded with so many special assist needs that they still are sensitive.

    It doesn't excuse the lack of sensitivity though. Sounds like a suggestion for customer service that employees at the MK go through some Smile School sensitivity retraining.
    mini-V What will you celebrate?

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    SnwhtNdwrfs's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    That is a good idea, V! Nothing like being in that situation to understand what needs to be "changed."


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    HauntedGabe's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Kingdom needs some magic

    Quote Originally Posted by mini-V View Post
    I'd like to see all CM's go through a training experience where they actually experience pushing and being pushed in a wheelchair just to see what it's like for guests. I know it's been an eye-opening experience for my family. I do agree with your comment about MK being a high expectation park and that quick burn-out is a concern.
    I would suggest you write an e-mail. Most likely a solution will not be timely enough for your DH temporary situation but you will likely help hundreds that follow. All employees go through the course Traditions when they are new employees. My son joked about the CM's he worked with that were sent back to Smile School when it was deemed they needed a refresher course. Thinking Disney needs to address ADA and the MK a bit more directly. Management might be disconnected from the plight of these guests also.

    The MK for CM's is tough on many levels. Just to arrive at work they must be shuttled from a remote parking lot. My son as a CP, it took him 10 minutes to punch in door to door. His roommate, on MainStreet, took one hour to punch in at the MK and one hour back to housing. 2 hours of unpaid travel. As fun as the MK is for us Guests, I always cut the CM's a bit of extra slack at the MK. While we view all the tunnels and paths as cool mazes, day in and day out it isn't always magical for the CM's. Most CM's rise to the occasion.

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