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Monday, May 2, 2016

Disney Does Disability Right



Before embarking on our cruise, I worried about how I’d be able to get around on the ship. With a bad back, I’m not able to walk far without pain. I checked with our travel agent about bringing my rolling walker aboard. No problem. Without my asking, he registered us for a handicap stateroom. 

WOW.

The stateroom aboard our first cruise back in 2008 was tiny—barely room to get between the end of the bed and the cabinets. On this cruise, we had LOTS of room. An automatic door stayed open more than long enough to get inside with a walker, wheelchair, or scooter. Same with leaving. In fact, it was almost too long for me. Not complaining, mind you. I was concerned that our room was at the very back of the ship. Next stop the ocean. But with my walker, I was able to get from aft to forward with little problem. Maneuvering down narrow corridors was a challenge, but gracious guests made sure I had room—and didn’t run over their feet.

The bathroom was huge. No threshold shower with a bench and plenty of grab bars, a high toilet (again with grab bars), and plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair or scooter.

Our luxurious room had a drop-down bunk and the sofa converted into a single bed (same as the other staterooms). One evening, we took the grandkiddies so daughter and SIL could have a “date” night. After grandson and Hubs finished a detective adventure (requiring walking from one end of the ship to the other on multiple decks) and granddaughter and I watched a musical performance, the kids slept in our room with plenty of room to spare. Note the towel monkey. Loved the different ones each night.
I was so fortunate that Disney Cruise Line made accommodations for the handicapped. Beyond that was the courtesy of the staff. I can’t tell you the number of times a staff member offered assistance, especially in the buffet line for breakfast and lunch. “May I help you?” or “May I carry your plate?” etc. I know, smiling service is a Disney trademark. The courtesy of the guests was a bigger surprise. Many times Hubs and I waited for an elevator, only to find it almost full. So we’d say we’ll wait for the next one. Gentlemen, true gentlemen would say “we can make room. C’mon, folks, move back.” Some even got off with their kids to make room. I saw this happen to others in wheelchairs or on scooters. Maybe the Disney staff kindness rubbed off or maybe there still are considerate people.

Too often, we see rude people—shopping, at tourist venues, on the street. The vast majority of passengers on our cruise not only had good manners but were truly kind.

As much as I wish I didn’t have a disability, I am truly grateful that it didn’t keep me from having a wonderful time on the cruise.

23 comments:

  1. So glad you had a good time! My parents ran into that kind of courtesy when my father started to have trouble getting around. It really does the heart good to know that there are people who are kind even when they're not paid to be that way!

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    1. You are so right, Patty. Kindness is wonderful.

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  2. Looks like you had a lovely time.

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  3. Hi, Diane
    great, really great post. I know what you're dealing with, walker wise and 'difficult' bathrooms as I spent most of 2015 walking with a cane when I should have bit the bullet and gone to a walker due to a severely arthritic hip. Thank God for surgery--I'm ready to dance after less than 3 months!
    Hope things improve for you. If not, isn't it great to be around caring, kind individuals such as those you encountered on the cruise. Thanks for honoring them with your comments.
    Best
    Veronica Lynch

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    1. Veronica, I'm so glad surgery helped you. Dance away! Thanks for your last sentence. That was so sweet.

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  4. So glad you had a good time! And thanks for sharing this positive experience with us.

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  5. So glad you had a wonderful time and such accommodating travel guides/agents/personnel!

    Enjoyed the post.
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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    1. Our travel agent was great! Thanks, Pam.

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  6. That's wonderful, Diane. We see so much nastiness on the news and in the media, it's great to read about your great experience.

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    1. You are so right, Leah. It's wonderful to experience such kindness.

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  7. Kindness begets kindness. You truly found the 'kind' of cruise you deserve Diane. So glad you had a great time.

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    1. Thanks, Sheena-kay. It was a great cruise.

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  8. Enjoyed your post - glad you enjoyed your cruise!

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  9. Oh wow, it's so heartwarming to hear about the kind people you encountered. Your room was amazing! I'm so glad you had such a great time. I'm sorry about your back. My sister suffers from chronic, debilitating back pain, and it's so difficult to do the normal things most people take for granted. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Alicia. Sympathy for your sister. I hate that I can't do "normal" things. Try my best and try to enjoy what I can do. I still can't believe our room.

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  10. Sounds divine! Will check out Disney for future cruises. Enjoy!!

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    1. Do check out Disney. A bit more expensive (I'm told) than other cruises but well worth it. If noise bothers you, this might not be a good fit. KIds make noise. Didn't bother me, but Hubs was adjusting to hearing aids. Not good.

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  11. Wow! This sounds lovely! I've only ever heard great things about Disney cruises. I'm glad you had such a lovely trip. :)

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie. Disney does have a great reputation. I'd go again. Might have to drag Hubs, though. lol

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  12. I have a bad back too. I don't need a walker, yet, but I am disabled because I can't do much without being in pain just like you. It's nice to know that Disney takes care of their disabled clients.

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