Blog: Cutting in Line at Disneyland Helps Heal My Child

An eye-opening Disney encounter with an ignorant neanderthal.

Happy New Year! I hope you are all embarking on a new year with resolve, happiness and conviction. You can do anything. Don't let New Years resolutions stress you out.

I had to prove I could do anything today. Here's what happened.

My children's birthdays are the same week as Christmas. So this year we took all their birthday money and Christmas presents from our family and friends and became annual passholders at Disneyland Resort. I feel blessed and fortunate that we can do this for our kids.

Tonight we had no extra therapy after school, all my chores were done, and Daddy was home from work early and could stay home with our sick 4-year-old. I kidnapped my 6-year-old for a quick Disney visit. This completely blew his structure and routine, so I knew I was asking for a major meltdown. But I hoped for the best. His first visit to Cars Land in California Adventure a couple weeks ago brought pure joy and excitement, which is rare since he is autistic and non-verbal. 

In our home we watch "Cars" everyday, which is why my son recognizes the area, and if you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. You really and truly feel like you walked into Radiator Springs, "the cutest little town in Carburetor County."

After watching the Pixar Parade we rode a couple of small rides that I knew he would enjoy, and the smiles and joy I saw on his face were just epic. It filled my heart with nothing but joy. Being that my son has developmental challenges and delays I do get a guest assistance pass that basically lets us go into most rides through the exit and get on without waiting in line. It helps my son with the crowds—standing around for a long period of time would completely ruin his time and the time of everyone around us. So I do feel incredibly lucky that Disney sees autism as a disability and provides us with this pass.

As we used our pass to get on a ride with a 30-minute line, there was this guy.

You know this guy.

He had a big mouth. As a mother you want to punch this guy in the throat for being such a jerk. As we got on the ride, he started exclaiming.

Him: "What, is her money better than mine?!"

The Disney cast member: "Sir, they have a special pass that requires him to get special assistance."

The neanderthal: "Yeah, sure, he looks fine, there is nothing wrong, I'm calling B.S. on his mother and Disney."

And then the white hot rage in my belly came forth, but all that came out of my mouth was, "You should probably stop talking now, because I will own you everyday and twice on Sunday because you know not what you speak and you do NOT want me to humiliate your ignorant self in front of all these lovely people."

And the tears welled up in my eyes and I got on the ride with the most precious gift in my life and put my arm around him and felt horrible that there are humans that are so rude and clueless. If you think autism is a picnic and I fake it to get a Disneyland special access pass, you need to be mentally evaluated. Yes, it makes my life easier at Disneyland to have a pass and it helps my kids enjoy their time at Disney much better.

I would give up the access pass in a nanosecond if my kids didn't have Autism. Their lives are so challenging and difficult, forever

  • There will always be the thug and bully that was raised by the jerk in line who will want to pick on them.
  • There will always be the challenge with their motor skills to do things appropriately.
  • There will always be issues with sensory overload, there will always be social skills issues.
  • There will always be this lack of awareness in others. 

This pass turns a crowded, sensory-overloading nightmare into a "Very Happy Place" for my kids. Not the "Happiest Place on Earth" yet, but it really helps. 

If you are a naysayer that believes I'm faking and want to cut in line because it's easy, I'm sorry you are so ignorant, unhappy and angry at the world. Maybe you should look at your own kids who have no issues (except that jerk they have for a parent) and be grateful and happy because your kids:

  • were potty trained at 3 years old
  • go to school and do homework without a yearly meeting with a team of people trying to decide what is best for your kid
  • play on a sports team, or some other socially-involved club
  • have regular play dates and friends
  • sleep through the night at 6 years old
  • cognitively understand you when you say something
  • can dress themselves, and feed themselves... (shall I go on?) 

Until you've walked five feet in my shoes you and your unhappiness and jaw jacking to embarrass someone in public serve no purpose. 

I look forward to challenging and helping my kids get social skills this year and I have a huge tool that will help me. I hope and pray you can smile at us and know how truly happy we are growing and moving forward with the obstacle of autism. By allowing us to "cut in front" of the line you are helping make that lesson possible.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LagunaVahine January 12, 2013 at 05:52 PM
It is a challenge just to raise kids...period! My heart goes out to you & all parents with children living with autism. So sorry you have to deal with a**holes.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 12, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I am 74 yrs old and watch :Cars once a week. I grew up in LA but was born in Okla. Every Summer we went back to Ok via the Mother Road. I have been in many Radiator Springs in my life...No chain Motels all Mom and Pop. Water coolers in Motel rooms, musty odor but clean. First order of business was to jump up and down on the bed to check it out. Most all of them had circular gravel drives around a green lawn and tables and chairs scattered about. some magazines on tables. In 1949 when I was ten, I fell in love with a beautiful girl my age. She fixed her blue eyes on me and I could tell she liked me allot. The only problem was that she was on a page of the magazine. We really never slept very well..we closed our eyes and saw white lines rushing at us. The sound of gravel crunching under tires and the slamming of trunk lids. An errant breeze rattling the venetian blinds in opened windows. The flashing of "heat lightning" as it was called..really just a distant thunder storm. My first tastes of being naughty in a new way. Writing all the bad words I knew and dropping the note out the window in downtowns ...vicious notes like damn, hell, s--t. Lying in the back seat and watching the power lines dip into view through side window..rising now...out of sight, and then the flash of a power pole zipping by.......the lines coming into view.again......the rhythmic thump thump thump of tires passing over road seams...I love Radiator Springs, if only in my dreams...b n
fact checker January 12, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Your reply to this man was excellent. Ignorance is hard to deal with. I'm sure you may have already thought of this but it might help to have a script ready for situations like this. Better to educate the ignorant than make them angrier than they already are. Ignorance must be very uncomfortable because it is usually associated with anger. Here is a suggestion for that script...you could probably write an even better one :). "I am really sorry to cut in front of you. It must seem so unfair for us to make your wait longer. If you knew us better you would know why it is really fair for everyone here to let us go first. Disney was thinking of you and of us when they issued this pass. If you would like to know more about the disability we deal with every single day please google this website (hand him a preprinted card with your favorite autism education site). Most people don't know much about this disability and it is, indeed, hard to see. But believe me, you would see it if you were waiting in line behind us and you might be the first person to insist we go to the head of the line. I hope this helps you understand."
oralia January 12, 2013 at 10:37 PM
What a great idea! Next time we go to an amusement park I'll say my kid has autism and we'll be home free. Thanks for the heads up!
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 12, 2013 at 10:42 PM
This is especially for the Mother of Mother's who wrote of Radiator Springs. This is from my childhood. My dear Wife suffered a stroke and has dementia. She is pretty much confined to a chair or wheel chair.She is a little girl again, pointing out i put more ice in my drink than hers. A Bible verse that keeps me going is this : Whosever hath done it unto one of my little ones, hath done it unto me...I have to laugh sometimes when I whisper: Lord, I am changing your diaper right now. I love her more now than when I married her. Due to limited words in each post, I will move to a fresh slate and tell you my thoughts about things when I was a small child....be back in a sec...
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I told you I would be back. As a little boy, we lived in Glendale, Ca and made Summer trips to Okla via US 66...this was back in the 40's when I perceived things like I am going to describe. I could see faces in almost every thing from clouds to car grills. All of them had expressions ranging from smiles to eating me alive, to crying in anguish.The Mojave Desert was a boon for vendors, and they made sure you realized that if we did not buy their products, we might die. Signs like "DANGER...THREE HUNDRED MILES OF DESERT AHEAD' ...with a skull and cross bones. The wise old sages confided in a secretive voice "We cross the desert at night." There was a procedure for the cars known as a back flush. I did not like the sound of that name. The stage set during the previous Summer when we went through a town at night, and I saw a big two story house on a huge lawned yard, and there was a garish neon sign "Colonic Irrigations:...I asked Mommy what that was, and when she told me, I felt sick to my stomach. Well, I think it was in Barstow that I saw a car backed into a bay and its hood was up. A man, probably a surgeon, was bent over the motor and all sorts of steam and water was flying every where. The grill work was cryiing in anguish, and it was obvious the car was getting an automotive colonic irrigation. I actually prayed for the car. I go back to the horrible person you met. A blessing in disguise... laying up treasure in heaven..vs stoking the fires in hell. b
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 12, 2013 at 11:30 PM
No offense Oralia..but you are a part of what is wrong with this country
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 12, 2013 at 11:40 PM
fast checker...That was far more than ignorance..it was mean , ugly...learning cures real ignorance, only God can cure the ugly of man and his sin.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 13, 2013 at 12:01 AM
PhD Tour guide vs Hiawatha: The PhD led his group on a fact finding tour of a certain location located in Chaco Canyon. He pointed out certain things that had been the HOME. of a native tribe long ago. He picked up a certain stone and explained this was an axe head intended to be used to kill people of other tribes. He took them further up the trail and pointed out what appeared to be a sacrificial site. :"This is where the Navajos tortured their foes..they burned them to death". Going back a thousand years, Hiawatha was hewing stones for the new home he and his sick mother might live in. Nokomis, the chief, came to give the sad news. "Hiawatha, your Mother has died..come now...We are going to light the ceremonial fire for her". The little boy wept as he followed Nakomis to the ceremonial service. Nokomis had helped raise Hiawatha as his father had died from a fall. Hiawatha was filled with all sorts of curiosities..He was always asking "What is that, Nakomis" When it was time for Hiawatha to go to sleep, Nakomis whispered.."Hush, the naked bear shall hear thee>" Now, as things had become all knowing....the PhD told his paying captors, what really happened....Dedicated to Abbot Sakiestowa.
Rebecca Goddard January 13, 2013 at 02:39 AM
I love these posts, even when someone shows their true ugliness to the disabled. Thank you all.
Carl Petersen III January 13, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Rebecca: Just to forewarn you, Disney does not always make those passes available. We have been issued them one week only to be told the next that they cannot issue them if the child will not be harmed by standing on the line. My wife has some apps on the iPods that we use to keep our daughter distracted while we wait. As far as your encounter, if your child's behaviors are anything like my daughters' behaviors, I would have considered getting in line behind him for the entirety of the wait. My guess is that he would have begged you to use the pass. I am used to waiting for an hour hearing "wanna see Tangled" every two minutes. The people around me, not so used to it.
Sherwood January 15, 2013 at 05:09 AM
I have been an annual passholder since the 90's - and have enjoyed Disneyland with my daughter (weekly!) for many, many years. Then I had my son.... with autism. Disneyland is now a different encounter - and a place we rarely see anymore. I have been asked to leave the line (by guests), been stared at, commented to, prayed for, and much more for my son's behavior's and differences. I pay just as much for my pass / ticket as anyone else. My son has hit, spit, pulled hair, yelled, kicked, run away and more. The assistance pass not only helps the person in need of it, but also the other guests. I agree with the comment above to the person complaining... to have them stand in the line with my son or others behind him - and you will wish that we had just gone in the back door out of sight. Sometimes we would last an hour or two, sometimes we'd be leaving within 15 minutes. Disneyland is one amusement park that goes above and beyond in all they do. The assistance pass is helpful for persons in need, and from experience, makes it better for all. It is not easily obtained and should not be abused. Your comment makes me sick Oralia. We have not had passes or gone to D-land, for the past couple years, because it is just not in our daily lives anymore (sniffle, sniffle) but you can be assured, when we do go back - I'll ask for a pass and you'll be glad I did!
Carl Petersen III January 15, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Sherwood 9:09 pm on Monday, January 14, 2013 "Then I had my son.... with autism. Disneyland is now a different encounter - and a place we rarely see anymore." . . If Disneyland is a positive place for your son, please don't let the ignorance of others be the thing that keeps you away.
Carl Petersen III January 15, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Sherwood 9:09 pm on Monday, January 14, 2013 "Your comment makes me sick Oralia." . . Her comment was mild compared to the responses that I received on my blog about some of my experiences: http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com//blog_posts/the-hidden-children
Concerned about Tax dollars January 15, 2013 at 04:14 PM
someday may you be blessed with a child with a disability !
Essie Rabinowitz January 15, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Oralia we live in a society. Act like it.
Lil Marty January 15, 2013 at 04:29 PM
I don't go to Disneyland anymore. I'm not tall enough to go on most rides there except the lil bitty kiddy rides. It's embarassing. People think I'm a creeper. It is kind of cool to cruise down main street on my Rascal. Lil Marty Leisure World
Carl Petersen III January 15, 2013 at 04:42 PM
I know Magic Mountain bases their admission on height. Does Disney give a price break based on height limitations?
Lil Marty January 15, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Here we go with the LIL MARTY HEIGHT JOKES! Yes Carl Peterson the Third, I get half price because I'm only 4'2 (in shoes)! Lil Marty Leisure World
Carl Petersen III January 15, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Lil Marty 8:51 am on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 "Here we go with the LIL MARTY HEIGHT JOKES!" . . I am sorry that you took my question as a joke. You already said that you are unable to enjoy many of the attractions. I was curious if Disney was sensitive to your predicament. My Grandmother used to get upset that she was always charged the same admission price as the rest of us when we visited amusement parks. She enjoyed spending the day with us, but was definitely not participating in all of the activities. Her anger increased as parks decreased their entertainment offerings.
Lil Marty January 15, 2013 at 07:32 PM
I'm kidding Carl Peterson the third, I have a sense of humor even though I'm a little person. Sensitive? Are you kidding me? Disneyland isn't an "all you can eat buffett" where they charge you by height and weight! Kind of s stupid question, don't you think? Lil Marty just shaking his head Leisure World
Bigfoot Dave January 15, 2013 at 09:19 PM
I'm glad they don't charge for height. They probably would charge me double cause I'm so tall. It would end up costing me $100 to go.
Becky Honkington January 15, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Well aren't you a sweetheart? Welcome to the Temecula Patch. You will fit right in.
Carl Petersen III January 15, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Bigfoot Dave 1:19 pm on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 "They probably would charge me double cause I'm so tall. It would end up costing me $100 to go." . . I can tell that it has been a while since you have been to Disneyland.
Ericsgrandma January 16, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Shame on you Oralia - you definitely need a reality check.
Julie Kukreja January 16, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Have you counted your blessings? One, you have two children to love unconditionally. Two, you have a husband that can stay home while you sneak out for a fun day. Three, you have season passes. Four, you have a fast pass. Five, to be able to take extra income and use it on season passes means as a responsible parent and homeowner/renter, that you are not living pay check to pay check. Hopefully you have retirement savings on the works, you have college funds, and emergency funds to help your family in case of emergency to be able to use those funds for season passes. These are huge blessings. I'm not saying anything wrong with how you spend money but I'm saying you have blessings to count like we all do. How did you pass these blessings on to others? You could have asked the cast member if this man could join you. They would have let him. Disney prides themselves with guest service. You would have gotten to know each other better and you could have been an advocate for your son's disability. This man would have had a better understanding and next time would be more patient. You would have also brightened his day by helping him get a fast pass for once. There were so many other choices you could have expressed to show your blessings. To say it was an eye opener on how rude people can be even at Disney is so ignorant as you acted the same way. Our society is so self centered and this sense of entitlement is ridiculous.
Julie Kukreja January 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I have a problem with this article. It just shows two ignorant people not one. It's not about a woman with a child with disability. It's about the fact that someone, Disney, recognizes that they have the power, like us all, to help make someone's life a little bit easier. Her behavior wasn't role model and she had the power to pay it forward and missed her opportunity. We don't know this guy. Maybe there's something in his life he just wishes was a little bit easier? Maybe he struggles with his boss or relationships? He probably wishes someone would just recognize it and help him. This was his cry for help. Not to just skip line at Disney. It's not about that. Seems like that was the final straw as it was for her as they both blew up. Now it's just about her getting cheers for putting someone else down. So not a role model for her child or any. Her best response should have been: Sir, it sounds like you're having a rotten day. I sincerely hope you find some sort of happiness so you can enjoy your day at the happiest place on earth. Bless others, kill them with kindness and you'll live a richer life and make someone else's day better. Pay it forward!
S.A.P. January 16, 2013 at 07:55 PM
IMO, Oralia is a troll account. Read her other posts. No one could be that ignorant.
Rebecca Goddard January 17, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Hi Julie, You clearly don't know my story if you don't think I have counted my blessings. You can check out my story on www.therealmomsofoc.com. I have survived cancer, 2 children with autism, and the loss of a parent in a very short time, there were many struggles losing jobs etc. We are coming out of a valley, and have 2 children that are challenged, and the mother grizzly came out in me, I apologize to you for my shortcomings. Perhaps given this situation where you were attacked in a large crowd you may have behaved perfectly.
Katrina M January 17, 2013 at 12:32 AM
fact checker, I don't know how to reply to Robert's comment on your post, so I'm just commenting on this thread. Dear Robert, there was nothing EVIL about what that man said. People are in such a rush to get all up in arms and offended over things... The guy said "Why do they get to cut in line?", then "He looks fine, I'm calling B.S." People lie and manipulate all the time to get the things they want. So if you're waiting in line for half an hour, see a perfectly healthy looking kid cutting in front of your anxious child by claiming to have a disability, you might question it too. How many people steal money from the government, or don't use their benefits how they are supposed to?? People shouldn't be berated for asking why their child won't get their turn on a ride they've been waiting for. "Sensitivity" is one thing, but nowadays it's freaking ridiculous. I'm not saying the guy wasn't a bit of a d***, but seriously. Crying and a whole post because a guy dared to ask why his kid doesn't get his turn? Autism is HORRIBLE, and I have tons of respect for the people who deal with it. But it doesn't make you somehow better than everybody who doesn't automatically understand. There are plenty of horrible things that we don't think about or understand. Doesn't make us horrible people.


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