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Parents of special needs kids outraged by Disney's policy change

Posted by Kristi Palma  September 25, 2013 10:38 AM

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Many parents of children with special needs are not happy about Disney changing its policy for disabled visitors.

Mom blogger and autism advocate Jess Wilson wrote about it this week on The Huffington Post in this post entitled, "Taken for a Ride." She blogs on "A Diary of a Mom."

And because of her public stance on the issue, Disney reached out to Wilson, causing fellow parents of special needs children to post more than 200 comments on Wilson's "Diary of a Mom" Facebook wall. But more on that later.

The current system, in which a special card allows disabled children to cut the line, is being banished because of reported abuse. It was reported in May that wealthy moms were hiring disabled tour guides to cut lines at Disney World.

Starting Oct. 9, families with disabled children will be issued tickets with a return time that is similar to the FastPass system available to all families, reports The Associated Press.

Find out more in this WPMI video:

Wilson, whose daughter is autistic, told her more than 15,000 followers on Facebook yesterday that Disney had gotten in touch. Here is what she posted:

So, um, Disney reached out. They'd like to discuss the specifics of the disability program changes and "get my take on it." So, yeah, we're talking tomorrow.

Special needs parents responded with force last night, sharing their private struggles with their children and thanking her for representing their community to Disney. As of this writing, almost 2,000 people liked her post and 225 parents commented on it.

Here is a sampling of some of the comments parents made to Jess:

"Please please tell them that our children don't do 'see that ride? we get to go on it later!' Please tell them our children don't do 'waiting,'" writes Monique.

"Why not allow parents to provide proper documentation?" writes Becky.

"Our inability to predict how and when my son is going to need a sensory break is what will make the new policy detrimental for us," writes Angelita.

"This new system is going to make the whole Disney experience much more difficult for families with special needs," writes Shiri.

No word yet on the outcome of Wilson's conversation with Disney.

What do you think of the policy change?

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Welcome to Parent Buzz, where you can read about and discuss the hot parenting issues of the day, find family-friendly events in Boston and beyond, and get parenting tidbits and tips.

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Kristi Palma, Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.

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