Disney World cast member rudely refuses accommodation for autistic guest

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Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort pride themselves on accessibility for Cast Members and Guests. Disney parks offer Disabled Access Service (DAS) — allowing guests to virtually wait for rides instead of waiting in line — and nearly all park lines are wheelchair accessible.

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Additionally, wheelchairs and electric transportation vehicles (ECV/scooters) are available for rental directly from Walt Disney World Resort or through third-party services in Orlando, Florida.

Related: TikToker prepares neurodivergent and handicapped visitors for Disneyland rides with a series of videos

However, this Disability Pride Month, some cast members and guests are speaking out about accessibility issues at Disney parks. A cast member was nearly hit by a car in his wheelchair after three of Downtown Disney’s few handicapped parking spots were taken over by a maintenance truck.

Aboard Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Credit: Disney

This week, a Walt Disney World Resort guest spoke on Twitter about the treatment she received at a Disney park. @MickiKMouse is a Universal Orlando team member and a local from Orlando, Florida. Her favorite ride is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and she went to EPCOT to celebrate her birthday on the theme park’s new ride.

Micki is also autistic and has a habit of requesting accommodations to minimize her sensory issues as much as possible at Disney parks. She asked not to participate in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind pre-show because it is too overwhelming, loud and stressful for her. Unfortunately, a coordinating cast member refused to respond to her request:

“We know pre-shows are medically safe. so if you can’t handle the pre-shows, you shouldn’t make the trip” – Joe, the Guardians coordinator for me, an autistic, visibly shaking and trying to skip one (1) room

Micki was visibly upset and tried to explain why she had to skip the pre-show but could handle the roller coaster:

yeah. the latter pre-shows the piece. it’s largely the lights, the stress of the “script”, the sounds, and then the rush in the narrowing hallway. i tried to explain this but i feel like he pinned the lights and assumed that since the ride has lights i should do both

Instead of listening to Micki, the cast member forced her to endure the pre-show and told her to “shut up. [her] eyes for a few seconds” so as not to be overwhelmed:

wait i have another one

“When you enter the second room, just close your eyes for a few seconds. When there is no light, you can open them”

me: rocking, crying, shaking, blocking my ears and closing my eyes for the whole room

Many other Walt Disney World Resort fans and cast members said Micki should have been able to skip the pre-show, as they once did, or ask other guests to do the same. @JenLynn is a Disney Parks Guest Relations cast member who told a guest with epilepsy to ask the cast members of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to skip the pre-show:

me: a gr cm who spoke to a child and his mother about child’s epilepsy and what i think they should avoid and to say that guardians show….good to know that it doesn’t is not likely 🧐

Micki replied that she felt ignored because she was with another young woman and was not visibly disabled:

from what I understand, a lot of people may have overlooked it. maybe because it was just me and another young woman we were overlooked as having a legitimate disability. but i love this ride so much i just wanted to ride and not freak out before

Micki pointed out that while the actor thinks she should be able to handle the pre-show if she can make the rounds, she knows herself best:

I also hyperfix. currently, this ride is my hyperfixation. the 2 minutes I’m on this ride, I feel in control of my surroundings. I’m not in this preshow. the scenario is stressful enough without sensory sensitivity

Micki notes that the handicapped accommodations at Universal Orlando Resort are much better than what Walt Disney World Resort offers. She worked in both parks and explained her needs without making a diagnosis because Cast Members are not allowed to ask:

I would also like to say that as someone with a neurological disability, the accommodations at Universal are far beyond what Disney offers. but I guess I don’t agree with “one size fits all” housing. the CM from Guardians today was incredibly rude to me

I am a former CM, current TM and I use one of the levels offered by the university for my specific concerns. I publish accommodations every day. I felt disrespected. I even explained it on queuing issues, without stating a diagnosis because that’s how it should be.

On Wednesday, Micki said she planned to speak to a guest relations cast member about her experience to prevent it from happening again to another guest.

Have you had any issues with the disabled facilities at Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort?

Please note that the story described in this article is based on the personal experience of visitors to Disney parks. No two guest experiences are the same, and this article does not necessarily reflect Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney park operations.

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