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July 1, 2000


Question from Livonia, Michigan , USA:

I am traveling to Walt Disney World. My daughter, age 11, is newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The problem I am having is with Disney is that no one can give me any answers as to our scheduled insulin times and the dinner reservation along with the wait that is usually involved. You are not always seated on time. This poses a big problem for us. I am also travelling with my niece and mother. Has anyone else out there had this much trouble with Disney? you would think that they have a special needs program. I won’t sit down to eat when my daughter has just finished with a carb intake that does not allow her to eat with the rest of us. I’m a little disappointed with the answers that Disney is giving me.


From: DTeam Staff

I would urge you to have some consultations with your diabetes team. They should be able to give you some strategies to handle going to Disney. Many of our patients visit Disney every year without problems. Like all popular restaurants, making reservations and knowing if they will be on time or not, is difficult. But this should be your responsibility, not that of Disney. If you are feeling uncomfortable with how to go about making such adjustments, your diabetes team can likely help you with this as well. I think you will do fine once you are there and having a good time.

Additional comments from Laura Billetdeaux, coordinator of the Children with Diabetes Orlando 2000 event:

I have two suggestions. First, when you place the meal reservation (they call it Priority Seating and are quick to tell you that doesn’t necessarily mean you can have your table at that time) let the person know that your child is diabetic and needs to eat at a certain time. When you get to the restaurant (regardless of whether or not you have a reservation) make sure that you tell the host that your child has insulin dependent diabetes and needs to eat now. If there is a little wait, in my experience they’ll give you something to munch on or some juice. Other times, they may seat your family ahead of the line because of your medical necessity. They don’t advertise this at all, but they do try to be accommodating. That’s my experience (we spent 10 days there a month after my 8 year old son was diagnosed).

Second, contact Marvin Smith, Director of Community Relations at Magic Kingdom ([email protected]). He is familiar with Children With Diabetes and has been most accommodating for our group. He may be able to provide additional assistance to you.

Disney does have sharps containers located throughout the parks at their various medical sites. It is a good (clean) place to do injections, blood glucose tests, etc. Air conditioned, too.