Dear Walt Disney World,
I never thought I would say goodbye to you, but I have to stop hoping.
I have always loved you and will always remember you fondly, although also with sadness at what might have been.
I visited pre-children, honeymooned with you, brought my first son, then my second. You have given us all magical memories.
And you have carried me through some of the toughest times in life.
Before my son had hip surgery, we had a magical holiday with you, thanks to Make-A-Wish and Give Kids The World. It was the most amazing time. You do so much to support the work being done at Give Kids The World and many families are most grateful to you for it.
It gave us precious memories which carried us through a lengthy and very painful recovery. When he was in a cast from his chest to his ankles and couldn’t get out of bed, we watched the video Daddy had put together from his “wish holiday”. We leafed through photo albums and filled our walls with magical memories.
Two years later, before risky spinal surgery, we just had to bring him again. This time we stayed at the Pop Century and it was, once again, an amazing holiday filled with so many memories.
Adam was bigger this time round and lifting him was a struggle but I was amazed at how accessible the transportation system is and I was simply overwhelmed at some of the wheelchair accessible rides! So much thought has gone into accessibility.
We had a few difficulties with toilet needs but he was not using the toilet properly in 2013 and we had been told to ask at your First Aid rooms to use your changing facilities. Luckily, he was small and we could lift him. Your cast members were, as always, amazing. They were so friendly, taking time to talk to our older son and reminding us to keep hydrated. Truly wonderful people.
The spinal surgery was harder on Adam than we had anticipated and there were weeks where the pain was so bad that he couldn’t get out of bed. Once again, it was watching our holiday videos and looking at photos which carried us through.
During the worst moments we had our memories to look back at, and our future joy to look forward to as we talked about the trips we would take in the years ahead.
It is a beautiful, magical and utterly wonderful place. Words are not enough to describe it.
But now my dreams are being put in a box and hidden away.
I love Disney World. My family love it. I would go every year if I could but I know that we are unlikely to go back.
Not because we don’t want to.
Not because we want to go somewhere else instead.
Not because we will never afford it. (Can’t at the moment, but that has never stopped me dreaming before.)
But, quite simply, because our son can’t “go” in your amazing parks.
My son has worked so very hard to manage his bathroom needs but needs a restroom with a ceiling hoist to lift him from his wheelchair and a changing table to lay him down on to sort his clothes and switch to using his toileting sling. I can’t lift him any more. I hurt my back very badly a year ago and I struggle to even push his wheelchair now.
“Flat Adam” is a few months old now. The real Adam is already bigger than he was when we drew round him.
My older son was taller than me when he turned 12. I think it is likely that Adam will be similar. I am 167cm tall and not growing any more!
He isn’t alone in this need. Statistics in the UK alone suggest that we have over 250,000 people here who utterly rely on these facilities in order to use the bathroom. Imagine that figure worldwide!
Such a simple addition would help.
Your restrooms are already quite large. They just need a hoist and full sized changing table.
I realise that these facilities cost money. As do your regular toilets.
I also realise that they are not common place in America.
But Disney isn’t just any company. It isn’t just any business.
It is a place where magic happens, a place where elephants fly and where dreams come true. A place where you can soar through the skies, travel back in time, look to the future, command a mission to Mars and have breakfast with Winnie the Pooh.
Yet not every person can use the toilet at Walt Disney World.
So very sad when all that is needed is a ceiling hoist and changing table.
In a place of dreams, where anything can happen, can you make Adam’s dreams come true?
I don’t want to have to tell my son that he can never visit the most magical place on earth again.
Saying goodbye to my dreams hurts but that pain is nothing compared to knowing that my son will hurt.
Please help children like Adam to keep their dreams.
Please make a small change to ensure that EVERYONE can visit and use the bathroom safely. For so many people, everyday life is already hard enough. Magical holidays give us memories to help us through the toughest days.
Disney, we need YOU to make this magic happen.
If my son can dream it, surely you can imagineer it?
A deeply saddened mother who just wants to give her child his dreams.
Walt Disney World have been in touch!
It will take time but they are committed to installing hoist assisted toilets in all their parks.
You can read the update HERE!
Further Update, August 2017
Sadly, Disney have no plans to give disabled people full dignity. They are aware that people with the same needs as my son are soiling themselves in their parks and often being laid on a toilet floor, and it appears that they are okay with that continuing.
My Disney Divorce is in motion.