Jan 9, 2011

More milestones

What a grand day! (Written 12/23 but somehow didn't get published ... glad I found this today so you could all see it anyway.) 

Kids are out of school.  Weather is perfect.  Why not go to Busch Gardens, Tampa?  We have annual passes so it won't even cost us anything but a few drinks.  (We pack and bring out lunch and snacks.)

The kids have gotten big enough to actually enjoy riding the rides.  I sit with Manny and watch them.  (Amazing to watch them grow up!)

But today, we got to put Manny on a ride!  Due to his brace, he was strong enough to sit up, unassisted.  We put him on the train.  (He LOVES trains... says 'Choo Choo' when he sees one.)  Kaley sat beside him, just in case.  And he LOVED it!

That is ... until the ride ended.  He cried.   Real tears.

We got him off, back in line.  Back on train.  Again ... WHEEE!  Train stopped.  CRY.

By the third time, he figured it out and didn't cry when it stopped.

Then it was time for the carousel.  You should have seen his eyes widen as the horse went up and down.  Love, loved it!

Then it was off to the kid section.  I was so excited because there were so many rides he was going to get to do!  Finally!! After all these times of just watching, now he could join in since he is strong enough.

But the ride operators said no.


Because he wasn't wearing shoes.


Uh ... Shoes don't fit on his feet.  (One of the reasons for the necessary serial casting, in fact, he SHOULD have been in casts but his feet were too swollen last time so they gave him 3 days off). 
I asked if disabled children had the same rules as everyone else?  Yes. 
He doesn't even OWN shoes.  Too bad.

I was disgusted.  Furious, I sat down.  The baby was fine.  He had no clue I was going to try to put him on a ride so he wasn't missing out.  I was livid.  Not at those employees, they were just following company policy.  But angry at the company policy.

I started thinking of all the kids I know who wouldn't be able to ride those rides due to those stupid rules.  I know of a little girl who just had her foot amputated.  She couldn't ride.  Or other kids with club feet.  Etc.

I was drafting the letter in my head to corporate.

Dan (who had been on big kid rides with the older ones) saw my face and came to see what was going on (truthfully, probably checking it wasn't HIM in the doghouse! LOL).  I told him.

A little later, he went to a different ride operator and explained the situation, that I was going to write management, etc.  And he told Dan that there was actually a waiver at Guest Relations we could get for a disabled child.  Well GREAT!  I started feeling better knowing that Busch Gardens, did indeed, have a clue in their heads.  (Those 3 ride operators I talked to need to have some training though as I point blank asked if there was a way a handicapped child could get a waiver and they all said no.)

So ... this guy let Manny ride one more ride.  But Dan jumped on before I could get his back brace on.  And wouldn't you know it?

He rode it without the help of the brace!!!  He didn't need it.  He sat so proudly.  He giggled.  I giggled.   I even caught the ride operator smiling at Manny's cuteness.

Can't believe how many milestones this baby is hitting.  He's amazing.  Our God is HUGE!


  1. YAY! Glad there was a waiver, If not I was gonna say throw a FIT! lol Glad Manny had a good day. Cant figure out how Jeremiah will ride at a normal place but praying to be able to afford gas, hotel and food, to take him to Morgan's Wonderland in San Antonio. Have you heard about it? It is a SPECIAL NEEDS AMUSEMENT PARK! Kids in Wheelchair's can ride rides, and there is a whole sensory buidling and everything. I can't wait to someday go! Disney is a dream of MINE and for my kids but already worried how Jeremiah will be a part of that.

    Glad you got it to work for Manny :)

  2. If you run into a problem like that again, ask them to call for a Supervisor or Manager. As you noted, the operators are just following the rules they know, but the Supervisor should at the very least be able to get you that waiver, if not do even more to help.

    I speak from experience as the Supervisor/Manager; my kids don't run into this kind of situation all that often, so even though it is covered in training, I don't know that all of them would remember what the options were.