As a former Cast Member, I've said it a million times: if you need special assistance at Disney Parks, don't be afraid to ask for it. Go to Guest Relations, explain your symptoms or needs and enjoy your vacation. Disney will explain how they can help.
Do you know what they say about doctors? They make the worst patients. I guess the same can be said for Cast Members - or former Cast Members in my case.
I've said it before on this blog and I'll gladly say it again: I live with a pretty severe case of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. I was diagnosed in 2006. My symptoms include frequent diarrhea, regular pain, blood loss, weakness, etc. I take more pills than you can imagine and I go for regular infusion treatments. I do not talk about this a lot, but I'm getting better at that. As you can imagine, the symptoms aren't fun to talk about and are incredibly embarrassing.
Like most inflammatory diseases, I have flare ups which exacerbate my symptoms. However when I'm in what I consider "remission" I still have symptoms. I'm still having bowel movements at least six times per day and I deal with severe urgency even when I'm well. Worse than the physical conditions are the psychological ones. Fear of not getting to a bathroom in time is a daily battle.
This past March during my trip to Disneyland I was in what I consider a state of remission. It was a somewhat stressful trip in that I did not know the locations of the restrooms like the back of my hand, like I do at Walt Disney World. In addition, I did not know how far I was from the front of an attraction or the length of new rides. I was both physically and emotionally struggling.
Several times throughout the trip I left a line to use the bathroom. Most of the time my husband would wait in line for me and let other guests pass him while he waited for me. Other times, I had a difficult time getting back in line because the Disneyland lines are significantly more narrow. There was a lot of guilt associated with this pattern and I truly worked myself into a panic several times.
On our last day at the Disneyland Hotel, we were sitting by the pool and I turned to my husband and said, "I think it's about time that I come to terms with my limitations. I think it's time for me to consider DAS." DAS is Disney Parks Disability Access Service. I am, by no means, looking to skirt lines or ask for special treatment. I would simply like to use my time waiting in line sitting near a restroom.
My husband simply looked at me and said, "I've been waiting for you to come to that conclusion. I'm glad you've decided to help yourself."
He's right. The next time I go to a Disney Park, I'm going to help myself have an enjoyable time, free of panic. I'm going to ask the knowledgeable Disney Cast Members how I can take advantage of the services available.