Fitness Magazine

Disney and Disabilities

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

Nothing to proveDisney has just announced a change to their policy regarding guests with disabilities.  In the past, a guest with a disability and their family could go to the front of the line, that policy has now changed so that guests with disabilities will receive a pass with a time to enter so that they don’t have to wait online.

Some say that this change happened because of abuse of the policy.  Other say that the number of disabled people makes it untenable [TW for OMG Deatfatz language.]  This idea quickly led to a ton of people complaining that it was all fat people’s fault because too many fat people were requiring accommodations.  I don’t know if this is based in reality but let’s just pretend that it is.

First of all, let’s be clear that Disney does not require any proof of disability and I think that’s the best possible idea.  The concepts  of “able-bodied” or “disabled” are flexible based on circumstances.  Someone in a wheelchair might have no problem waiting for 2 hours in a line, whereas someone with Autism may find it unbearable. Someone may have no problems walking around on a day to day basis, but be unable to walk the miles required to get around Disney.  In the case of Disney, a person is required to be able to travel long distances and stand in long lines, some of which are at an incline, in the heat.

If someone isn’t able to do that, for whatever reason, then they have a disability in that space and I think that they should get reasonable accommodations with absolutely no shame or blame or drama.  Whether it’s a scooter, a place in line that’s guaranteed, a folding chair to carry around, food that doesn’t contain something to which they are allergic, etc.  I’m for places being as accessible as possible to the largest number of people, and if that means that I wait in line a little longer or navigate a path that includes people who are walking and rolling then that’s absolutely fine.

Based on the comments I read, most people seem to agree with me about this, except when it comes to fat people, who they seem to think don’t deserve basic accommodations.  One comment I read was from a woman who claimed that her father had arthritis and had therefore “earned” a scooter while “it would do some good” for the fat woman in front of her to have to walk.

First of all, obviously it’s inappropriate to assume that because someone is fat and disabled, then their disability is caused by their fat.  It’s also not appropriate to assume that a person’s size is their “fault” and is changeable.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say a fat person’s size is their fault, is changeable and is causing their disability.  So the fuck what?   If they are heading to Disney World they should get shame-free reasonable accommodations. Maybe that woman’s dad has arthritis because of sports injuries, or because he did 100 skydives or who knows what – I still think that guy should get a scooter.

The idea that people with disabilities should have to prove that their disability isn’t their fault is horrifying.   So if someone was hit by a drunk driver they deserve a wheelchair but if they got distracted and hit a tree they should…what…crawl around?  If someone injured themselves because they fell down icy stairs is that an accident or is it their fault because they shouldn’t have been walking down icy stairs?  If someone’s disability could be cured by a risky procedure that fails the vast majority of the time, are they obligated to try that procedure or they don’t get reasonable accommodations? Who is the Disability Decider?

Nobody is the Disability Decider because the whole idea is bullshit.  If someone is at Disney World (or wherever) today with a disability, it shouldn’t matter whether the disability is their fault, and they should be given reasonable accommodations for where they are today – not where someone thinks they could or should be. No shame, no blame, no drama.

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