Disney advice

My daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1.
We are planning on going to Disney in February, any advice as I heard we can get a pass to get on rides quicker? PLEASE share your advice or tips on our upcoming trip, nervous!
Thank you

@wiggleworm Hello Lisa, and welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum!

Autoimmune diabetes is considered a disability and might possibly qualify the Disney program. BUT I highly suggest that you do not train your daughter to use diabetes as a crutch to live life. By doing this, even by just making the suggestion, is adding fuel to the myth that diabetics are inferior.

Living life with diabetes is not always easy, I’m in the later part of my seventh decades living with diabetes, and your daughter will need to take care of herself now if she wants to live more than a couple of years and be productive.

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I second what @Dennis said. If you’re asking because you want to get through the line quickly for fear she might go low, there are other things you can do, that are pretty standard for us Type 1s: take some snacks and drinks such as crackers and juice in a backpack. We typically keep some sort of fast acting carbs on hand in case they are needed, and if going to Disney I would probably pack my own lunch rather than wait in line to spend a small fortune on food (save that for other things!).
Check with her doctor about adjusting her insulin dosage or using activity mode in her pump if she is on one, to counterbalance the extra exercise she will be getting while exploring the park. Activity mode may need to start before and last for some time afterwards - how much, is something you should discuss with her doctor.
I don’t know Disney’s policies but there are people with mobility limitations who may truly need or benefit from priority in line. Diabetes does not have to be one of those, and making it so could make your daughter self conscious - or more self conscious about it. As time goes on she will learn to incorporate diabetes into her life rather than having it stand out.
Diabetes is about recognizing when we need to take action, and doing what needs to be done. In my nearly 60 years with diabetes there have only been a handful of times that I’ve needed assistance handling a low. But if a low is serious enough it’s good to keep Glucagon on hand. Traditionally it has come in a solution that is mixed and given by injection, but there is now an inhaled version called Baqsimi that would be less intimidating for most people to administer. Glucagon is given if a person is not able to take something in orally - I call it the treatment of last resort. You may well be able to avoid needing it by keeping an eye on her numbers, keeping snacks and fast acting carbs on you, and taking snack breaks as necessary. Allow for some down time while her numbers are building back up and for a little while afterwards. She’ll look just like any kid in the park having a snack and taking a break…
Have fun!

If you need a mobility aid like a wheelchair or a cane and standing in line is physically difficult for you, they will let you into the disability line, which is much shorter. But they’ve really had to cut back on what they’ll do for people because of how much the system was being abused. They were really good about it. If you had a disability, they’d not only let you skip the line but give you extra courtesy treatment and keep you with your family so everyone got to skip the line together.

But then some disabled people started hiring themselves out as park guides specifically for that reason. You’d pay someone in a wheelchair to go around the park with you and claim that you were family or a caregiver or whatever and then you’d get to skip all the lines.

Because of practices like that, Disney has had to cut back on how much they’re willing to accommodate disabled people.

So, yes, like Dennis said, being diabetic is a disability. But it’s not one that impacts your mobility, so it’s not one that requires the kind of accessibility that lets you skip lines. Claiming otherwise is bad for you, but it’s also bad for the disability community as a whole. The more people claim special privileges that they don’t need, the harder it becomes for the people who do need those privileges to get them.

Keep in mind that “Mobility Handicapped” and “Disabled” ARE NOT one and the same.

And relating to this, as Paul-Gabriel @WearsHats said, Disney has become aware of the abuses several years ago and changed the procedures - yes a person in a wheeled chair is admitted through a “special” access point, but not before persons currently in the non-handicapped line are admitted.

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Yes, exactly. There are different kinds of disabilities which require different kinds of accessibility and accommodation. There are plenty of disabilities which do not impact your mobility or your ability to stand in line.

Thank you all for the feedback. I am NOT looking for shortcuts or handouts, we tell our daughter she is independent and strong. I was looking for options if available. I was hoping for more tips, like places to eat, etc. and NOT negative comments.

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Sorry, but the wording of your question suggested you were looking for ways to avoid the lines.
I just suggest being prepared for eventualities - packing plenty of snacks and even your own meals; and maybe even keeping extra insulin supplies in a couple of different places (on a couple of different people) in case anything gets lost. If she wears a CGM you might want to use an adhesive patch for extra protection, even if she doesn’t normally need one.


Hi Lisa @wiggleworm! No one here was being negative. This forum is specific to advice/tips about managing the world with type 1 diabetes. All of your responses revolved around that aspect of your trip. I think a Disney mother’s group on Facebook would be a better fit for your informational needs. :slightly_smiling_face:

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hello @wiggleworm and welcome to the forum. you are welcome here and this is a safe place to ask questions and have open dialog in dealing with (having and or treating) Type 1 diabetes. There are thousands of years of experience here, but none of us are professional and so we usually share to what we have done that works for us. Type 1 is a disease where you have to be the doctor and make the decisions on a day-by-day or even hour-by-hour basis.

Disney would be an environment with excitement (stress hormones) and a lot of activity. There are good chances your child will experience high and low blood sugars at different times, during your trip. In my opinion, you will likely have to test quite a bit more than usual (between meals and probably every so often), to monitor blood sugar. I recommend taking enough supplies with you (testing, insulin pens or syringes, or pump supplies, and your supplies depend entirely on your daughter’s current needs) in order to be able to give insulin. Also, to treat lows, a supply of fast carbohydrates such as glucose tabs, gummies, etc. and some mixed carb options such as power bars, granola, etc.) You can’t depend on restaurants or food courts so having snack options on your person would seem to me to be the right setup. if it’s hot in Orlando, staying hydrated is also very important.

When I go to water parks, I get a locker and put my cell phone (the device that my CGM talks to) and my pump as well as all the testing stuff I can’t carry on the water rides.

travel in general can be stressful - I fly 1x a month for work and use a backpack to carry on all my critical supplies when I go to the airport. Im assuming that Disney may be an airplane ride away for you.

eating at restaurants is always a struggle for me because there is very little carbohydrate information at restaurants. Knowing that a slice of bread is 18 grams, and a big slice is 30 and a bagel or huge roll is closer to 50grams would be helpful. Calorie King has an extensive database for common foods and you can use it as a a starting point for guesstimating carbs for restaurants.

don’t get too stressed out if she has a very high blood sugar, the activity and using insulin will keep her ok but if you are very new, a plan for very high blood sugar should be discussed with her doctor.

good luck on your trip and have fun.

if you have a specific concern, a direct question with as much detail as possible will get you the best results. cheers!

Sorry I misunderstood.

I’ve been to Disney as a diabetic many times. It’s great. A lot of walking and a lot of good food options make for a good combination. You can burn calories and get your metabolism going, and then you can eat a balanced meal to keep from going low.

Generally speaking, I try to think of what I want to do first and then figure out how to do it safely as a diabetic second. You always need to keep the latter in mind, but don’t let it rule your life. You can do just about anything if you plan for it.

Standard rules apply. Have emergency food and insulin with you. Watch for signs of abnormal blood sugar. Be mindful of what you eat.

What sort of things are you looking for? Have you been to Disney before? What do you need to know? What are you nervous about?