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March 1, 2004


Question from Brooklyn, New York, USA:

We are planning a trip to Disney World next week and I remember reading in one of my magazines that, if a person in your party has diabetes then the entire party can skip to the beginning of the line. Is this true to your knowledge?


This absolutely is not true. Walt Disney World in Florida, specifically The Magic Kingdom, has quite a good system for distributing Guest Assistance Cards, which are passes that are given to families who have special needs. Individual families come to City Hall in Magic Kingdom, describe their situation, and, based upon the situation, are given a Guest Assistance Card that allows them very specific accommodations based upon their disability or challenge. So, someone with a visual challenge might need a different accommodation from someone with a broken leg, or someone with type 1 diabetes, or someone with autism.

A person with type 1 diabetes will need to be out of the hot sun and heat as much as possible, to preserve the insulin and keep blood glucose levels as stable as possible. On a cool day in the park, however, a Guest Assistance Card probably is not necessary, unless there are other circumstances warranting special accommodations. On a very warm day, it might mean that you wait some place air conditioned. And yes, you still wait. Or, it might mean that you get directed to the Fast Pass line. Or, they may let your family go through a special entrance. The accommodation they make for your family at a specific ride or attraction is totally at the discretion of the person running the attraction, and they will follow the directions on the Guest Assistance Card, which is why it’s good to have a very specific discussion at City Hall about what you really need.

So, to reiterate, having type 1 diabetes does not mean that a family goes to the head of the line. It does allow you to request a Guest Assistance Card for the accommodations that are needed for safety in the heat.