To finish off my Disney Travels mini-series, I give you Disney Part Three! In this post you’ll hear all about our morning in Disney Springs, and our journey home. If you haven’t seen parts one and two and want to follow my Disney journey sequentially, read those first! Part one covers my journey to Disney and day in Magic Kingdom. Part two covers my Epcot adventures!
Saturday morning upon waking up, we started packing everything we wouldn’t be needing for the day. Once everything was together, we split up: one group took all of our bags to be checked in for the Magical Express, and the rest of us went to breakfast at Saratoga Spring’s counter service restaurant. They special made me an awesome breakfast (again, allergies). We sort of took over one section of the restaurant, as you can see below, but there was plenty of space elsewhere, so it’s okay. We had a big group.
After breakfast, we caught the boat to Disney Springs. We shopped around, I was disappointed in the Tsum Tsum’s they had available, and everyone tried to put their drinks in my chair which resulted in two spilling on me – true story. I picked up a couple things from the World of Disney store, including a key chain, some earrings, a sticky note pad, and a giant Eeyore stuffed animal.
Now. I haven’t been to Disney Springs since it was in transition from Downtown Disney back in 2012. Five years later much had changed! Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to explore before our lunch reservation at Paridiso 37.
Unfortunately, our table was awkwardly placed and some people did have trouble walking past my wheelchair. This was only a minor inconvenience – more for those walking by than for me because I wasn’t the one going anywhere! I was as close to the table as I could get, so nothing could be done.
Regardless, lunch was great and so was the view! My dessert was pretty fabulous as well.. I really love sorbet, and it was my dessert at every meal on this trip! After lunch we wandered for a bit before heading back to the hotel to catch the Magical Express to the airport.
As our journey home began I was beyond exhausted, and it was starting to show. I was no longer able to get out of my chair, which made going through security interesting. They wheeled me through the sensors and patted me down. It took a bit longer than we thought it should have, and the security people argued for a bit, but eventually we were on our way.
When we reached our gate I got the tag on my wheelchair and okayed for pre-boarding. Then we split up to grab some dinner. I went to Chipotle again for a burrito bowl, surprise surprise. Ani was wheeling me around, asking for directions because she couldn’t see over my head. It may have been the cutest thing ever. After I ordered my burrito bowl, the cashier gave me free chips. Maybe he felt sorry for me for being in a wheelchair. I’m not sure why I got them. I was jus
t happy to get free chips! However, that wasn’t about to make up for what happened next.
Brace yourselves, because this is about to get ugly.
They announced pre-boarding and my mom wheeled me over to designated area. It was quite crowded, but wheelchair users board first. People started giving us grief as we were trying to get through. We made it to the area where I noticed the other wheelchair users were elderly passengers using the airport provided chairs. Okay cool, that meant these people could walk and were just using the chairs in the airport – not something that I discredit in any way I know how helpful these things are! But I was the only passenger with my own chair, and I couldn’t walk. I would be the first to board; or so I thought.
They asked us “Can she walk?” and my mom told them that I couldn’t. I was honestly just trying to stay conscious and was in a lot of pain. Then the wheelchair users were lined up. Although I had been at the front with the workers I somehow ended up behind all of the others, despite being the only passenger who could not walk and the only passenger with my own wheelchair – which would need to be stowed beneath the cabin. When we said something about how I wasn’t going to be able to get past all of these people who were suddenly in front of us, a worker made a crack about “age before beauty.”
As if this wasn’t bad enough, there was suddenly a commotion in front of us.
A man I would say in his forties was complaining that I would be allowed to board ahead of him. He said that he had purchased a pre-boarding pass and that I had not been waiting at the gate the whole time as he had. While he was correct that I had not been at the front near the desks near the noise and commotion, I had been there. Back in the corner, where it was quieter, so the noise wouldn’t be as overwhelming. I was wearing my noise canceling headphones and 40 decible ear plugs underneath those to try and keep my symptoms from worsening.
But this man did not care, all he cared was that he had let the old people go in front of him, and he was not about to let a teenager board before him.
When we tried to argue with him the airport staff shut us down, and said to just let him board. These people really did not understand that I could not walk!
A worker wheeled me down the ramp and my mom walked beside me. Both of my hips were out of place (something I experience as a result of hypermobility) and I had no idea how far I was going to need to go before I could sit down. They wheeled me into the plane to the start of the aisle upon my mom’s insistence. She went and placed our stuff in the closest row of seats and then came back for me. After bending down and draping my arms around her, she lifted me out of my chair. As we started to move tears began sliding down my cheeks.
I had to walk six rows back. My hips were visibly out of place, and every eye was on me. I hope those passengers – both the able bodied man who believed that it was more important for him to board before me and the elderly who said nothing when my mom was arguing with the workers telling them that I couldn’t walk, saw how much pain I was in. My mom told me later that some of them looked absolutely horrified.
This entire experience is just another instance of my age being used to invalidate my disability.
When we reached the row my mom basically laid me down on the seats, as we attempted to get my hips into a better position. I was crying in pain, and when a flight attendant asked what was wrong my mother told her that I really cannot walk and that they should have listened to us in the first place.
The flight itself was okay, and when we landed my mom and I were the last ones off the plane. The flight attendants brought my chair in as far as possible to help make things a bit easier. I guess my grand entrance made an impact on them. We headed out to the baggage claim and made our way home, and that concludes my Disney adventures!