The frustration with invisible disabilities comes from people not believing or understanding my condition.
Most of the time when I go to Disneyland I've found their Disabled services helpful and courteous...once they realize that I'm not lying. I understand the challenge that comes with discerning a person with disabilities needs. Disney has gone out of their way to create systems to promote and help every guest have the magical experience.
Last week, I was met with a new change in policy, which I became familiar with following my discussion with Guest Relations.
(The Disability Access Service(DAS) policy now allows some rides to not require a DAS pass if they see a physical impairment like a wheel chair or knee brace.)
After explaining that I'd previously been issued a pass due to my inability to sit, stand, or walk for extended periods of time, explaining how ascities work, and fatigue that also comes along with advanced liver cirrhosis. She asked if I used a wheelchair or cane at home, to which I responded that I have a cane for when I need it. I then reiterated how ascities impairs one's normal functions. and that I've done this before, I've gotten DAS passes to help enjoy the park with my disabilities.At this point it became evident she did not believe me. She said there was a recent change in policy, suggested I use a wheel chair or cane, and continued to explain the rides at which they would allow me to use an alternate service because of a visible impairment. I reiterated my need, unable to explain my point further due to my lack of knowledge as to how the new policy had changed.
To help explain, as someone who doesn't outwardly appear as though I need the assistance, being in a wheelchair or using cane creates a different experience. Some either speak to me like a child, or speak to the person wheeling me around. Those who think I'm gaming the system, will walk up next to me, and talk about me. The more timid assholes just make comments and stare. I have no interest in evoking these reactions; alongside the challenges of navigating Disneyland in a wheelchair when I do not always require it. Which, when a guy like me walks around out of his wheelchair...every stare, ever comment just gets worse. So without a DAS pass, I instead have a choice wherein I can attempt to deal with shorter lines that I can find; or grab a wheelchair be allowed to use the services on a few rides, and sit back and "enjoy" the rides.
I applaud Disney's efforts in helping anyone and everyone have a magical day, but it's distressing and frustrating to be met with outright opposition by staff because of a lack of understanding.