Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Disney Debacle

Generally, I try to stay out of the media-fueled dispute part of the world and its workings.  But after reading ANOTHER article on the Disney Guest Assistance Pass debacle, having a trip planned for the spring, I let the frustration with the tone of these articles get the better of me.  So here you go.  But first, enjoy this awesome shot of Ryan, on his last day of being a one year old, at the Magic Kingdom.

The first time I heard that Disney was going to do away with its guest assistance passes, I panicked.  Honestly, I hoped and prayed that it was just a nasty rumor, and that our trip in the spring with the band wouldn't be completely ruined.  I wasn't just hoping though... I was angry.  Really angry.

Some folks took it upon themselves to cheat the system.  Whether it was to get their kids to the front of the line so they could ride more rides or on the end of making a quick buck from selling a black market pass, they cheated.  With no regard for the rest of the world, especially the people who need these things to enjoy the park, they cheated.  As a result, the guest assistance passes have been replaced by something I've read is similar to the FastPass system, which we would have used anyway.

The whole time I'm reading and panicking I'm thinking these parents are just like me.  Assuming that they're thankful that they can take their kids to Disney once.  That they weren't sure they could ever afford it, and have either saved and scrimped or have a husband with a job that takes him there.

Before I go on, it is unfair.  It is horribly unfair that people thought it was okay to take advantage of kids like Ryan and the passes that allow him to more easily enjoy the parks.  It's not right.  I'm still angry about that. From the way I've heard the old guest assistance thing worked, it would have made Disney WAY easier for us.  Or would it?

The more I read the latest article I saw on Facebook about it, I started noticing something.  Most of the people they quoted are people whose families go to Disney regularly... at least once a year, if not once or TWICE a month.

Wait, what?

That got me thinking about what I was really panicking about.  Please hear me... I'm not knocking those parents.   If I lived that close and could afford it, we might do the same thing.  And it's still unfair, and I'm sorry for those folks.  I get it.  One lady was talking about how the wait in line frustrated her child, who reacted to waiting much like Ryan will likely react.  The difference?  He's gone twice a month as a reward for goodness knows how long.  It's his routine.

There's the difference.  The old guest assistance program is not routine for Ryan.

I was looking at these articles, letting them color our family's ability and projecting what they say onto our even anticipating our trip this spring. I was panicking, seeing words like "impossible" and "miserable" and statements like "Where has the magic gone?"

I refuse to panic any longer.

Instead, I'll call Disney and see what we're really looking at in the way of assistance.  I'll forget that there used to be something else, because for our purposes, we're starting with a clean slate.  This kid went to Disney once, with a different band, for his second birthday.  He doesn't remember waiting in lines, or having to let mommy ride the Rock N' Rollercoaster then Daddy.  He likely doesn't remember waiting in the searing heat for the band to march around the corner at the Magic Kingdom.  He also likely doesn't remember riding the teacups or watching fireworks.

For our purposes, I'll be thankful that we never used a guest assistance pass, so that the difference won't be a factor.

I'll be thankful that we get to go.  To just be there.  Because the lines aren't the part that will pose a problem.

I'm not sure Ryan will get on a ride.  I'm not sure he'll want to.  We're talking about a kid who won't go to the top of the playplace at Burger King, y'all.  I'm concerned about not losing him.  About keeping him out of the lake at Epcot.  For him to enjoy the parks, we will have to throw out our expectation of what going to Disney should be like and go into this with an open mind and heart and find out what it's like for him.  No guest assistance program can do that for us.

He's not interested in meeting Mickey.  He may, like he did when he was two, enjoy the fountains more than the rides.  And that may be the magic for him!  And that is more than ok... it's as it should be.  His brother and sister would like to meet Mickey and Minnie, and Jake and Izzy, but they'll wait in line like they're supposed to.  Or they'll decide it's not that important and go do something else.  And if they don't get to do that one thing, it won't be the end of the world, or the trip.

I can guarantee a few things.

Ryan will melt down at some point every day.  Maybe a few times.

There will be people who stare, point, and make comments, making us feel like a freak show more than a regular ol' family.

There will be times I question my sanity at bringing us to such an environment.

But I can also guarantee that there will be people who are kind and helpful, who smile instead of glare, and who treat us like people instead of a freak show.

I can guarantee there will be times when the kids' delight at such an amazing place will bring tears of joy to their Mama and Daddy's eyes.

I can guarantee there will be times when I question why I worried.

The days at Disney will be a challenge.  I know this, because I know the challenge of going to the grocery store and the city park and the zoo and the children's museum.  But just like I don't call Walmart and complain because their line was too long and my child had a hard time waiting, and just like I don't call Target and insist that they change their Thomas display because it's too enticing and caused Ryan to melt down when it was time to leave, I won't... unless there's bodily harm or something horribly illegal... blast Disney for changing the guest assistance program.

Just like every other day, the world is an unfair and changing place.  If a corporation like Disney wants to make a place that's happier, cleaner, and more fun than the rest of the world, great.  If we want to attempt to enjoy it, great.  But make no mistake... my happiness, and my family's happiness even in a trip to Disney... is not up to Disney.

What happened is unfair, and it stinks.  Most unfair stuff does stink.  Since there's no escaping the unfair, why not defy it by finding happy anyway?

I know it'll be a challenge, and that's okay.  The thing is, just going to the store is a challenge.  There's nothing medically life-threatening about taking Ryan without the old system.  It's all about who he is and whether or not he'll enjoy it or hate it.  And that has more to do with my attitude than decisions made by a corporation.  Hard to swallow sometimes, but true.

Yes, I would have liked a shot at Disney with the old system.  But from where I sit, just the opportunity to go and walk around and soak it in is worthy of gratitude.

Thanks be to God for the opportunity to walk around in the "happiest place on earth" and for the gumption to give it a shot, whatever may happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...