Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dear Mickey;
An Open Letter to Disney World

You do a great job with many disabilities. Maybe you can make the same effort for families with type 1 diabetes.

The thing we need most is counts of carbohydrates in the foods you sell so we can give our kids the amount of insulin they need. We are not crazy Atkins dieters gone wild. It is a Life Safety Issue Mickey.

I spoke with cast member Mark Jones of Walt Disney World Services for Guests with Disabilities. Mark said that he has not heard from guest that diabetes and carb counts is a concern.

Given my experience trying to surface the issue it is no surprise. It took me two years asking who is responsible for disability issues to get through to him. I expect that most folks give up in that time frame.

Here is a quick sample of comments from March 16, '06 on the American Diabetes Association parents forum:

One parent asked:
1) Has anyone visited WDW with their Type 1 child? Any tips? We are *considering* a visit this summer. But yikes, how to do with a 6 yr old with diabetes?
2) Related to question 1. How do you figure out how many carbs are in restaurant meals that you can't find listed in any of the carb guide books?

Another wrote back:
I went to Disney on February this year, 6 months after T1 diagnosis. I was extremely scared dealing with diabetes. Anyway, Disney was very stressful for me but My son loved it.

A third added:
We went to Disney over New Years. Our son is on the pump. Disney is great and very accommodating, but my biggest, really my only, complaint is that they have no carb counts for their food. You can bring in food of course, but at some point you will probably be buying Disney food.

So, on this one day, the idea of going to Disney with a type 1 child brought out the feelings of, “Yikes, Scared, Stressful, no carb counts.”

Some quick facts over 20 million children and adults have diabetes. Of that somewhere between 1 and 2 million are type 1.

One to Two million people who’s family thinks “Yikes, Scared, Stressful, no carb counts” when they consider vacationing at Disney World.

These kids typically do three to five thousand finger sticks, injections and/or infusions a year. That hurts a kid.

Just give us carb counts. It is the right thing to do and you will make more Mickey. Notice the one parent saying they carry in food so they know the carb count? You are loosing food sales Mickey my pal.

What do you say Mickey how about taking some stress, yikes and scared off these families and help make these families Disney Vacation Magic?


Anonymous said...

We just got back from a Feb. 11-18 2008 Disneyworld stay. My son is 10 years old and recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The entire Disney World property is not very friendly to diabetics. There is a choice of A. Diet Coke B. Water or (maybe) C.Light lemonade. I find Disney's efforts with regards to this pathetic and would welcome any dialogue with an interested Disney official to discuss the matter. To have such a poor selection these days is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that the organization "Children with diabetes" would work with Disney to be for diabetic friendly. The organization holds a huge conference every year in August. With this being said, diabetes is not an unseen disability at Disney.

Anonymous said...

I just went to WDW in December 2011 for my 30th birthday. I was diagnosed with Type I one week before leaving for the trip. I survived on peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, and turkey sandwiches while I was there. It was extremely difficult to find food or snacks that I could have. I am very disappointed in Disney for not accommodating more diabetic friendly food choices. It was very hard for me to deal with it, I could not imagine going with a child! Hopefully, Disney will get the hint and try to fix this issue!