The Happiest Place on Earth

Posted by Tyra Randle in Life After Paralysis on January 16, 2023 # Lifestyle

As an official tagline for Disney World, "The Happiest Place on Earth," it starves to live up to that phrase. My trip to Disney World for the first time in a wheelchair was an eye-opener. Epcot was the first park that I visited. Disney offers a DAS Pass for those who are disabled. Or so I thought they did. However, their website didn't say that if your only disability is mobility, you cannot get a pass in an area that was pointed out at first. Honestly, I think that rule is dumb and not fair. Most friends would tell me, "Well Tyra, life isn't fair." But, that's not the point; the point is a disabled wheelchair user like me can't stand. Meaning not only do I have to wait, but I also must transfer from my wheelchair to the ride with an unacceptable assistive device and untrained staff.

Transferring from my chair and getting in and out of the rides was very time-consuming and nerve-racking. On some rides, all eyes were on me as I transferred, making me feel very uncomfortable. Curiosity or amazement could have been why they looked at me like an animal inside a glass cage.

General areas of the park were hectic. People walked without paying attention to the lady rolling by in the wheelchair. As I rolled, some people acted entitled and did not want to move out of the way so I could get through. Honestly, I think Disney needs to make a wheelchair/blind lane in all its parks so we can get through the park without a hassle. It would be much easier to navigate the Disney Park you're visiting.

Transportation to and from the parks was good. This was my first time getting on a bus in my wheelchair. I was so nervous, but it was simple, easy, and painless. Some of the park's restrooms designated for disabled people were so small that it wasn't made for anyone that used an assistive device for mobility. I rarely feel like I'm actually disabled because I still put forth the effort not to. However, I really felt disabled during my trip. From the airport to the hotel, even the Happiest Place on Earth. Should I not live life because I'm in a wheelchair? Should I have to wait on the side and become depressed because I can't have a somewhat normal life? I have concluded that an abled body person made laws that had to do with disabled people. A person with a disability should not be limited to what they have access to and for.

Tyra at disney

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers. Disney focuses on hospitality so much that they have a whole Disney Hospitality Education Program. So why, when it comes to people with a disability that Disney seems to have dropped the ball? Do they consult the disabled community on what can be done to make their experience more magical? I mean, this is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth, right? I don't have enough word space left to write about my hotel experience. Overall, it was good, besides the shower. Why was the shower bench made for a person to put half of their bottom on? If you were to put your whole bottom on the bench, you had to worry about falling. God, forbid you to lean to the side to wash your rear end. You better have a third hand to hold on with because it's almost impossible. The Happiest Place on Earth should be the happiest place for all.

My name is Tyra Randle, and I'm a domestic violence survivor. On January 15 of 2020, I was shot 8 times in my home by my son's father and was left paralyzed. Since then, I have devoted my life to being an advocate for domestic violence survivors as well as the disabled community. Now, as an experienced and esteemed public speaker, Diamond in the Rough aims to deliver education, inspiration and hope to a variety of audiences.

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The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.