The Happiest Place on Earth
I am now officially the parent of an adult child. Cameron has reached the age of majority. And how are we celebrating? Like any star athlete would after winning the championship: We're going to Disney World. (The lack of exclamation mark was not an editorial mistake.) As a matter of fact, as you're reading this, there's a very good chance that Cameron and I are standing in line. And when you finish reading this, we'll be standing in line. And when you come back in a few hours to read this compelling column aloud over the phone to your BFF, we'll be standing in line.
Last week I had lunch with a group of moms from Cameron's school. We were all discussing our Spring Break plans. When my Disney trip came up I received some interesting advice. It wasn't about where to stay or what attractions to hit before the crowds get too bad. The advice was to get a letter from Cameron's doctor stating that he has autism and could not tolerate standing in line, and then take the letter to guest services at Disney. We would be issued a pass to go to the head of all the lines without question. Hmmm ...
I went home and did some online research to find out exactly what documentation I needed in order to be granted this magic pass to the Magic Kingdom. As I was reading firsthand accounts of the accommodations that theme parks offer guests with disabilities, that sound of the needle being ripped from the record went off in my head. Wait a minute! Who has the frustration tolerance issue with waiting in lines? Is it Cameron ... or is it me? Cameron has been to Disney World before and he managed just fine waiting in line with the rest of the guests, thank you very much. Why would I want to take advantage of a company's good will towards guests with disabilities by fudging on what Cameron needs? I know there are plenty of guests that truly need the accommodations offered, but Cameron isn't one of them. I'll stand in the humid, sticky Florida sun with the masses of humanity and see which gets more attention: the growing mound of frizzy hair on my head or the chirping noises and flapping from Cameron.
So, thank you to Disney and other companies that make these accommodations for guests who need them. Policies like this enable families to have dream vacations that would otherwise be a nightmare. I am happy that my family does not need your gracious accommodations. And I promise I will never, ever roll my eyes when someone is escorted to the front of the line. Now, my eyes might roll a smidge if someone in that guest's party is sporting an inappropriate garment, carefully selected to display an inappropriate tattoo. We all have our frustration tolerance issues we need to work on. Luckily Cameron does not need special accommodation to deal with his. As far as my own go, I will work on turning the eye roll into a discreet attempt to avert my eyes.