As I scoured the internet for suggestions on how to tackle the crowds and heat of Disney World in July, I read something about Disney making accommodations for guests with special needs. I asked Dave how he would feel about me talking to Guest Services about his recent chemo to see if there was anything they could do for him. He said it was okay with him, but I think that we were both feeling a little sheepish at the idea. I am not sure why but I felt guilty, and it almost seemed opportunistic to throw the word cancer around for personal gain. But I did it anyway. And guess what? The very kind man at Guest Services explained to me that there were four accommodations that they could make. The two that applied to Dave were 1) provide a shaded wait area and 2) guest can use an alternate attraction entrance where available. We didn’t really know what this meant, but I thanked the nice man and we headed off with a guest assistance card. What we learned is that this card allowed us to use the FastPass lane for rides that had one. Instead of waiting up to 70 minutes, we waited only a few. This meant that Dave, who is still having a lot of trouble with his feet from the first line of chemo, was able to do all the rides with the kids without getting too tired or uncomfortable. It also meant that he didn’t have to stand with hundreds of people in his immunocompromised state. It was truly a gift and a blessing. And before I closed my very tired eyes each night, I raised them heavenward and offered up many many words of gratitude – for the kindness of people, for the family time we were enjoying, for the laughter and shared memories, for Dave’s strength and tenacity to enjoy every moment of the trip, even for the daily rain shower which made the temperatures more comfortable.
“Oh my gosh, Mom.” Those are the words Parker whispered to me as we began our journey into the land of the pirates. Her voice was a mix of wonder, excitement and a little bit of fear. I hope that moment stays forever locked in my memory.
I feel like we are the luckiest family around to have had the chance to spend such an incredible week together.