When you wish upon a star…

“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

I am a dreamer.
I believe in magic.
And I love all things Disney.

I have taken my younger son to Walt Disney World twice.
Both trips were just before he had major surgery.
And both trips carried us through some really tough times.

In moments of severe pain, we watched our holiday footage to bring back happier memories. During long days of being immobile we would look at our photos and talk about the brilliant trips we would take in the future.

We got through the long days, nights, weeks and months, thanks to Disney memories.

I am so thankful to all the great cast members who helped give us those memories.

But last year I realised that we couldn’t manage another trip as we can no longer safely lift him to the toilet.

But Adam loves Disney and he dreams of going back.

Adam needs a hoist to get him out of his wheelchair and an adult sized changing table to lay down on to sort clothing and switch to his toileting sling before hoisting to the toilet. Others may just need to change pads, but all people deserve to have their toileting needs met in a dignified and safe way.

Something so simple and fixable should not stop disabled people from going to Disney.

With more surgery due, I wanted to give him more magical memories, not face a future where he couldn’t have his dreams come true.

I talked about the need with other parents of disabled children and adults and they all told me that Disney would ignore my request. Some told me that they had already asked but had no reply.

But I didn’t believe that.
I believe in Disney.
I believe that every child is wanted and welcomed there.
I believe because I love Disney every bit as much as my son does.

So I put my heart into writing an open letter, Goodbye Disney Dreams and I sent it to them in October 2016.

Others told me that they were touched by my letter but they didn’t believe that Disney would reply because they were just another business, not the big-hearted place of magic that they advertise as being.

But I believe in Disney magic.
And I believe that dreams come true.
And the reply came swiftly!

By the end of October 2016 they confirmed that they did want to make Disney magical again and that they were committed to installing these facilities.

I was beyond thrilled, as was my son.

Adam was due to have two sizeable surgeries in 2017 and I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, we would get him back to Disney World to make new memories to carry us through.

Sadly, it wasn’t possible.

DisneyOp (16)
As we held the anaesthetic mask to his face we were talking to him about the places he will see when we visit again.

Adam hates the gas mask, but talking about Disney helped calm him and he drifted off to sleep thinking about taking his grandparents to see Mickey Mouse and having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s.

Holiday Photos 2013 PG 032
Adam loves The Contemporary, the hotel where this restaurant is, and he tells everyone that Goofy makes the best scrambled eggs.

We are now two weeks in to the recovery period from this surgery.

It has not been easy on him, or us.

And it isn’t over yet.

He has several more weeks in casts before the metalwork can be removed from his feet and then the real work will start as we try to build up his strength in readiness for more spinal surgery.

The spinal surgery was expected to happen this year but has been postponed till mid 2018. The last time he had spinal surgery it took a whole year for him to get back to his previous abilities and this one is likely to take a similar toll.

Just thinking about it fills me with dread and hurts my whole being.

We really need some Disney Magic before next spring!

In a place where magic happens every day, surely this dream can come true in time?

“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.”

 


This is all that is needed.

Many visitors to Disney World need the same facilities as this boy – a hoist to lift him from his wheelchair and a full sized changing table to lay him on to sort clothing and switch to his toileting sling before hoisting him to the toilet.

If you couldn’t stand to get yourself to the toilet, wouldn’t you hope for a little help too?

Duffy Bear with a hoist and changing table.
This is really all that needs to be added to a family sized restroom. And it will bring so much magic!

Just two pieces of equipment is all it takes to make dreams come true. 

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54 thoughts on “When you wish upon a star…

  1. My son also needs this facility. We went to Disney also when he was light enough to hold. This must be the case for lots of people. Who can we write to – was there a specific person that said that they would help you? Can we write to them too? x

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  2. Disney have the power and money, quite frankly, to install all this equipment. Dreams come true and magic is made here and I’m sure Disney can pull it out of the bag!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am hoping so. I have a boy who already has enough things which hurt him, and Disney not fixing it will break his heart.

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  3. I’m so sorry you can’t take your son to Disney World yet because of its lack of accessible toileting facilities. I really hope that Disney will install these much-needed facilities soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We associate Disney with magic and an ability to do amazing things. A hoist and a changing table really isn’t much to ask.x

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  4. Such a shame they don’t have the facilities. Do any of the Asian Disney parks have them? They were more recently built, might be worth checking those. Well done for raising awareness and for carrying on fighting. X

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    1. Thank you. The other Disney parks are not quite as far forward as Disney World in Orlando. The Paris one has hardly any wheelchair accessible rides either.

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  5. I’m pretty shocked that disney don’t already have this type of equipment. They aren’t a small local business they are are huge corporation. I hope they pull there finger out so all children can experience the magic of disney.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow this is quite shocking, in this day and age of ‘inclusion’. If there is one thing us special needs parent know what to do it’s how to fight for our kids. You will win this (unnecessary) battle. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Come on Disney! There are so many children (my son included) whose dreams are not coming true, purely because of a lack of hoist and changing bench at your parks. Surely this is not what Walt would have wanted when he dreamed of creating the happiest place on earth!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is heartbreaking isn’t it? Walt created Disney so that parents and children could play together. Inadequate toilets shouldn’t be stopping that for disabled children.

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  8. Reading this has genuinely moved me to tears. I can’t believe somewhere as big and magical as Disney hasn’t got the facilities to make it accessible to everyone! I’m pretty sure they can afford to make the changes needed.
    Please do let me know if there is anything I can do to help – a petition to sign or someone I can contact for you.
    I really hope this is sorted soon and Adam can get back there soon x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      It really is heartbreaking. Adam is such a huge fan of all things Disney. One of his favourite toys is the Disney monorail playset and most days he insists on wearing his T-shirt with the monorail on it, even though it is getting too small for him!

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  9. I really hope Disney get these facilities and soon. It wouldn’t take alot of money for them in the grand scheme of things, after all they are a multi-billion dollar company with hefty profits and spending a very small sum of that profit on installing these facilities in all their parks would ensure the magic of Disney continues for everyone of all abilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Children with disabilities need magic too. As do disabled parents. When you think of Disney, you think of magic. And there is nothing magical about injuring yourself whilst lifting another person to the toilet. Let alone the risk to the person being lifted.

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  10. We are massive Disney fans and have been a few times not having these hoists and changing tables makes are are trip harder than it has to be. Disney please install these pieces of equipment to make our dream holidays easier. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even when you can still lift, the knowledge that you are just one bad lift away from serious injury is a huge worry. x

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  11. My heart goes out to you and your family. What a brave little boy he is! Disney have the finances, the power and more than anything…the REASON to put these facilities in place. Has a petition been stated, anything like that all?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There isn’t a petition, as far as I know. I did not start one because I was filled with hope that Disney would simply understand and want to do all they can to make visits possible and magical for all, but it is getting harder to believe that they will do it.

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    1. Of all places, the slow response of Disney shocks me. Disney means magic, but not being able to access a toilet feels inhumane.

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  12. I find it so distressing tonthinkmDisney don’t have these facilities. I’m certain tournament the only family who are prevented from experiencing the magic. Wishing you all as a family the best for the future xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’d always imagined Disney to be very family-friendly, really quite shocked that they haven’t taken into account the disabled community’s needs. I hope they do make the necessary renovations (which wouldn’t take long for them) and your brave boy gets his dream x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that others have been asking for this facility for years. It is very disappointing that they have not made it a priority.

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  14. I really really do hope that they install what is needed so you can make this trip with your son. It’s really unfair that this is not standard in all disabled toilets and it would be fantastic to see this become regulation in the future. Fingers crossed for some Disney Magic for you all

    Laura x

    Liked by 1 person

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