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Author Topic: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!  (Read 3110 times)

mumof2autisticboys

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Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« on: December 06, 2012, 01:55:23 AM »
I have just come back from DLP, (we arrived at the resort on Sunday and got back home today). We stayed in a Disney Hotel and the first and last days were spent travelling, so we had two full days to visit the parks. I have two children with mental health problems and I couldn't take both of them on holiday with me because their behaviour needs one to one attention. I came with a group of other special needs children on one of Disney's coach tour holidays. I had my severely autistic, four year old son with me, and my eldest was at home with his step-father. My youngest son attacks people, self harms and runs off into roads, water etc. I had a special disability buggy for my son, (he is in 7-8 year old clothes and he is very tall and strong). Without a buggy, my son is nigh on impossible to walk! When he is in the buggy he feels secure and safe, so meltdowns are very few and far between. My son is undersensitive to touch and he is not aware when his feet are on the ground. He pushes his big toe under his other toes so he can feel the floor, so he trips up every 4-5 steps. He doesn't like walking because it feels uncomfortable but he is happy to run, (because he can feel the ground hard against his feet when he runs). To keep him calm, I have to plan everything and organise PECS cards and symbols, etc, because he can not cope with change unless I tell him what is going to happen in advance. My son also has global delay and he is only just beginning to talk, so he can not communicate effectively. This leads to massive outbursts of rage where things get broken, people get hurt, or he screams in a high pitched tone for hours and hours on end without stopping. His behaviour is very difficult to cope with, that is why I went on the trip for special needs kids, which is tailored for disabled children... Or so I thought...

On Sunday evening, we arrived and went to the restaurant for dinner where we had to wait. A coach load of special needs kids being made to wait in a long queue for nearly half an hour to be seated is not acceptable! We asked for ground floor rooms and ended up with first floor rooms, so we all had to go down in the one lift in the building. This lift is tiny and only one wheelchair can fit in with one carer at a time. The waiting in a queue to get down to the restaurant took another half hour, and the kids were getting very stressed out! Some of these kids have life limiting conditions and some are very ill/disabled. They have two sets of stairs which lead to the restaurant. All they would need to do to rectify this problem, is to turn one set of steps into slopes! Also, to walk to the park you need to use the lift if you have a disability buggy/wheelchair.

When I got to my room, I discovered that alcohol and snacks were missing from the mini bar. I immediately went to reception to let them know. They said they would sort it out and make a note of non payment against the previous occupants. However, they tried to bill me for this every day I was there and I had to explain over and over again that I hadn't eaten/drank anything! After spending 12 hours on a coach and then having a hearty meal, the last thing I wanted to do when I arrived in my room was to eat any more food. I don't really drink alcohol, so I wasn't bothered about having a drink, (especially at nearly eleven euros per miniature)! Anyway, on Monday we visited the Studio Park and had a lovely time, the shows were great and the staff were mostly very pleasant though some could learn some manners. After having such a nice time, we were really looking forward to visiting the other park the next day, (yesterday). We went back to the hotel and had dinner, then I put my son to bed. Sadly he rolled off the bed and caught the side of his head on the corner of the table. It swelled up instantly and the skin turned white, so I went to reception. They had no first aider in the hotel!!! Instead, I had to push my son to a first aid unit in the Disney Village in the pouring rain, (the buggy does not have a cover and I can not hold an umbrella and push the buggy at the same time). When I got to the Disney village, there were no signs of any description to tell me where to go, so I wandered around aimlessly for a very long time. The first aid unit is at the back of a store with no signs anywhere to let you know it is there. What use is that? We got sorted out and then went back to the hotel. After the walk there, time spent looking for the place, time spent waiting to be seen, time spent walking back and getting dried off, etc, it was half past eleven at night! My son didn't get to sleep until half twelve. Because of his disability, I need to keep in as strict a routine as possible, with set times for set things. It wasn't anyone's fault that my son bumped his head, but with thousands of tourists coming through the Disney Hotel's doors, you'd think there would be a first aider available on site!!

The next day, (yesterday), we woke up feeling very tired but excited. The first ride we went on was the train which encircles the whole of the park. We had a disability pass so we were allowed to go in via the exit, but they asked us to leave the buggy at the bottom of the steps. When we got back from the train ride, the disability buggy was missing. My son went into meltdown and we went to the town hall in the park for advice. They wrote down my contact details and said to come back at 10am to see if it had been handed in. I explained that we were leaving at 7.30 and I couldn't come back. They loaned me a buggy and my son was happy with this, but all of this took well over an hour to sort out and we missed time at the park. Determined not lo let it get us down, we went on three more rides and I tried to make the remaining few hours as fun for him as possible.

But then, someone stole the 2nd buggy we had borrowed and they wanted to charge us seventy euros!! My son was in a right state by this point, and started screaming, "not again, not again!" We had to wait for another two hours until they had organised another buggy! By this time my son was self harming and attacking people as they walked past us. People were very rude to us as they walked past, because he looks like a normal 7-8 year old child, they expect him to act his age. They don't know he's four with a mental age of a toddler, they just see this bad parent who can't control their naughty child! By this time I was crying too. The staff in the shop were lovely and they did their best to get things organised, but there were hold ups at the town hall apparently. We finally got another buggy and we managed to go on another three rides before we were kicked out of the park. We had priority passes, so we should have been able to queue jump, but we ended up having to make appointments and then we had to wait until the alloted time, (even when there were no people waiting for a turn on the rides)!! Trying to explain this concept to a mentally disabled child, is really really difficult. My son had tantrum after tantrum all the way around the park, so we couldn't get anything done. We were both utterly miserable. My son was rocking, humming, pulling his hair out and crying for his buggy. We only got to go on a handful of rides and then the park was closing and we were asked to leave.

I decided that we should cut our losses and leave before everyone left the park at the same time, (when the castle light show had finished). So we went back to the town hall with the borrowed buggy, but the buggy hadn't been handed in. I asked what the procedure was for theft in France because I didn't know. Very rudely, they said it was "tough" and "what do you expect us to do about it!" When I tried to explain that the buggy cost hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pounds and I only had it because I'd got it through a grant. Three women who work in the town hall, all began laughed in my face, taunting me for making a big deal about it. They kept saying, "It's just a buggy!" It's not just a buggy though! That disability buggy was my son's life-line, without it he will not even be able to leave the houe to go for a walk! That buggy stopped him from attacking himself, others and smashing up shops and windows, etc. These women stood there laughing about it for a couple of minutes whilst talking to eachother in French and staring at me, sharing a private joke obviously aimed at me. I felt like we were being picked upon, it was horrible!! I asked if I could use the buggy to get my son back to the hotel and they said yes, but only for seventy euros because I could not bring it back to them the next morning and the hotel wouldn't bring it back. I tried to explain that my son is disabled and walking him was very difficult but they laughed at me again, saying "we understand you're disabled!" I was so angry but I couldn't do anything about it, because I was on my own with a disabled child and no friends or family to support me. I stormed out of the town hall in tears. My son screamed and collapsed on the floor and refused to walk. It took a good couple of hours for us to get back to the hotel. I later found out that there are services that run from the park to the hotel. Why didn't the three receptionists tell me? Oh, I forgot, they were too busy laughing at the disabled kid and it's irrate mother! To give you an example of how hard it is to walk my son... A ten minute walk from Cafe Mickey to the hotel, took us one hour and forty minutes!!! The staff were useless and they offered no help at all, it was disgusting! Walking back to the hotel via the massive lake which has no safety rails up at all, was frightening. My son is so strong that he can easily escape me and he kept trying to get into the freezing water. I pulled a muscle on the inside of my right thigh and pulled my shoulder and neck on my right side too. By the time I'd got back to the hotel, I felt like I'd been wrestling with a professional wrestler. I was very sore and very upset. All because they wanted seventy euros and I didn't have the money to pay for it! I had spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds there and they begrudge me a ten minute buggy walk. They had all my details, it's not like I could have done a runner with it or anything!

At the hotel, the staff seemed genuinely upset by all of this. They got a translator in for me and organised transport to take me to the police station to log a report about the theft. The staff couldn't do enough for me, they gave us vouchers for a free pin and a couple of hot drinks and they were really lovely. Just having a bit of sympathy and understanding was wonderful, after the reaction I'd got from the town hall! At the police station, they told me that they fill out forms for property and buggys stolen from Disneyland, often several times per day! By the time I'd got all of the reporting sorted out, it was very late and my son was very stressed out. He kept asking where his buggy was and all I could say was, "it's gone sweetheart!" I couldn't explain it and he wouldn't have been able to understand it even if I had. He spent hours crying himself to sleep and when he woke up, the first thing he asked for was his buggy and he began to cry again!! He cried for hours in the morning, and he was so upset that he threw up all over himself and me and our belongings, not long after we had set off on the coach. The driver had changed the setting off time from the planned time of 9am to 7.30am. We needed our belongings in the coach by 6.30am, which meant getting up at 5am, after the night we'd had and with us not getting asleep until 1.30/2am, we were pretty shattered! On the way home, the coach didn't stop for five hours and my son had to sit in a draft, naked except for a nappy, because the driver wanted to get back early! Another child wet himself and he too was naked, except for a fleece. Everyone was complaining about it and one of the parents whose child was permanantly attached to a machine, did not have anough time to charge the life support feeding system before we left. I couldn't even use my coat to cover my son up when he was naked, because it was covered in vomit. I wanted to wash him off, but the coach driver said the sink wasn't appropriate for washing vomit off us!! We had to baby wipe ourselves down and it wasn't enough, the smell in the coach was awful!

Speaking of other people's children. What is the deal with your security checks? To get into the park, you have to put your bag through a machine which supposedly scans your bags. But you then walk through a doorway without being scanned yourself, (only your bags are scanned)! So technically you could walk in with anything you like, but you can't put it in your bag! One of the people who sat with me on the coach has a son who is fed through a tube in his stomach. Every three hours, milk is automatically pumped into his stomach because he can not swallow. He has to wear this all the time. When they got to the security check pount, the security guards couldn't speak a word of English. They could clearly see a large group of special kids, but they chose to interregate us. They squeezed all of my son's lunch, though I protested and tried to explain that he is autistic, so he will only eat very particular colours and textures, etc. Feeding him in the park was very difficult so we took his particular food. The security guard mashed it up so my son had no lunch that afternoon! Worst still, (and this is even more disgraceful), the child with the stomach pump attached to him, nearly had the pump ripped out of his stomach!!! The security guard snatched the bag from the wheelchair and tried to put it on the belt that drives the bags through the machine. The poor mother was screaming and wrestling with this man, with him trying to pull it away! She tried to explain that if he pulled the bag away her son's stomach would be pulled out and he would need immediate emergency surgery to prevent him from dying! The two of them were arguing for some time, but luckily this mum had her brother with her, and he stopped the guards from ripping the bag away completely. They had to wait for a very long time until someone who could speak English was available to translate and they let them keep the bag on the wheelchair. I understand that if you go to a foreign country then you should learn the language, but this is Disney and it's meant to be multi-national!! By the way, this mother has a pair of long scissors in her bag to cut the tubes with and it went through the machine with no problems and no questions! It makes me wonder what on earth they could be scanning for, or even if it does anything at all? Taking in a large pair of scissors via a security scanner doesnt't fill you with confidence!

I had planned to bring my eldest son to DLP next year, but after the stealing, the cost, and the awful treatment, I'll stick to the the UK instead. Now I have no disability buggy and it took me nearly two years to get the one I had. I have no idea how long it will take to get another one, so it looks like we'll be stuck in the house again!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »



polar vixen

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 07:59:38 PM »
Hi, I am so sorry to hear of your terrible holiday.  What a dissappointment it must have been for you both.  We  have 2 autistic children, 7 and 3, the 7 year old being in a wheelchair for much the same reason as yours.  Becuase of his routine etc we've stopped relying on anybody else because we always find outselves let down (coach companies, arranged trips etc.) and travel ourselves.  We went a sep 2011, and in nov 2012, and found much the same thing, the staff in our first visit were fantastic everywhere, as helpfulas could be, this time the staff in the studios were great, polite, helpful, ab. great, the parks however a completely different story they weren't as friendly and just didn't seem bothered about helping you out.  
When there in sep, the cast members were all so good with kids and friendly and patient you got the impression they really enjoyed thier job, this time, they were just there cos they got paid, even just with little things, refusal to swop badges  'cos they didn't want to' or one of them wanted a particular badge of my sons which was his favourite and he wouldn't swop for a different one.  Their attitude in general was really dissappointing, and I know what you mean about having to stand for ages in a queue for disabled!
That said, there are ways we've found of getting around problems, taking a light weight bike lock for wheelchair/pushchair so you can fasten it to railings, arranging our own travel, maybe eurostar could be an option where it takes you direct to disneyland and gives coach transfers between hotels? I'm not sure when you went, but if your school is accomodating going during the week term time ( you'd need to check french holidays too) everything is soooo much quieter which i think contributes to the staff being happier aswell.  As for meals, again if you have a private booking you'd probably have less of a wait.  We try to eat about an hour and a half before or after normal mealtime, e.g. having tea at 5pm, esp with a resvation you get straight in and it's fairly quiet.  we also found that by making the bookings at home before we went we could mkae requests like a table in the corner, or with a bench etc. so we knew we'd be in a section where there was less goingon.  If you do decide to go again I hope some of these help you.
hugs, polar vixen
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

mumof2autisticboys

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 11:03:07 PM »
That's really good advice, thank you xx
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Boxy

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 09:38:16 AM »
I have just read your account of your stay which was very sad and traumatic for you and your son especially that your specially adapted buggy was stolen . I wish you well and hope that as you obtained a  police report of your theft that you can get some compensation for your loss from your travel insurance.
I do understand that you would not wish to return and I would probably feel the same if I had been in your situation. May I suggest that you send a copy of your account to Disneyland Paris as they need to know how  badly you were treated during your stay  and perhaps explain themselves for ruining  your holiday.
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never2old

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 09:56:35 AM »
I am appalled by the way you and your son were treated. It's not acceptable!! Particularly the CM at City Hall, I'm sorry but if you work in Guest Relations, you need to be able to relate to your guests!! You should really send them a complaint email or letter (dlp.communication.visiteurs@disney.com). They won't be able to do anything thats of any real help for you, but hopefully they can do something about the people they put in their City Hall... Make sure you mention when (day and time) you went there.

It's also shocking that they don't have any first aid in the hotel?!?!?! What is that about??? Again, not acceptable.

I'm so sorry about how your trip turned out :(
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mumof2autisticboys

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 10:44:01 AM »
Thanks for the email address, I will get onto them and let you know what happens!  :D
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SwipatronSparks

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 11:01:44 AM »
what an awful trip you had :( , it sounds like it was a complete nightmare right from the get go, get your complaint email sent, like never2old said im sure there isnt really anything disney can do to make up for such an awful time, but hopefully your complaint will help ensure that no one else gets such dreadful treatment.
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geekyjo

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 11:48:19 AM »
I definitely agree about sending the email - if you tell them exactly what you told us, I'm positive they will get back to you. If not, keep trying! I have had problems in the past and I have found that persevering with the emails until you get a satisfactory response is the best thing to do.

I'm sure that the people in charge at DLP would be appalled to know what had happened, and would definitely not condone the kind of treatment you experienced, especially at City Hall! I am really glad you had some help in the hotel - despite the lack of first aider - and that they were able to sympathise with you.

As much as I love it, navigating around DLP in crowds can be stressful at the best of times, so I can't imagine how tough it was for you to struggle with your son when he was so distressed :( I'm really sorry you had such a disappointing experience there!
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Rafael

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 01:29:00 PM »
I agree with the others. You have to let them know how bad it was. Disney has to do something about those people at City Hall.
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nathalie

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2012, 03:45:40 PM »
Oh my ... No trip to the happiest place on earth should end like that  :o

Also agree, you should definatly send them an e-mail!

Also, I have read many more complaints about certain people working at City Hall ...
Don't they get taught some people skills??
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Ravenseye

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 06:53:53 PM »
As a carer sympathetic to 'special needs' I found that account very hard to read as it just got more upsetting as I read on. I'm sorry that it was such a disappointing trip. I agree that you should, without reservation, relay your account to Disney themselves. They need to know of an experience like that and i'm hoping they offer you some kind of 'compensation'.
Keep us updated.
hugs,
Martine.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
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Aurora1

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 10:17:57 PM »
This just makes me speechless... hard to believe that people can react the way you described it! That is just no way to treat someone.
I agree, let them know about your expieriences, tell them what you told us!
I hope you`ll get a chair for your son again
Aurora1
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mumof2autisticboys

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2012, 12:24:25 AM »
Thank you for your support! Reading all of your kind comments is really heartwarming, I imagine the town hall could do with people like you working there instead!!  :thumbs:
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SwipatronSparks

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2012, 12:10:13 PM »
Quote from: "mumof2autisticboys"
Thank you for your support! Reading all of your kind comments is really heartwarming, I imagine the town hall could do with people like you working there instead!!  :thumbs:


 one day.... when i finish uni....  [-o<
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
past trips to DLRP ~2001~2001~2002~2003~2005~2005~2006~2008~2011~2013 -
DLH, SL, NPBC, Dream Castle, Explorers, Kyraid,


upcoming trips....
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SoundSoldier

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Re: Disgusting treatment that left me and my son in tears!
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2012, 09:31:28 PM »
ooh, I feel so sorry for you and what happend to you.

I can't imagine how difficult it must been caring for your kids and this holiday made this not better for both of you.

as early said by someone else, try to complain to disney maybe they can give you a compensation. I really hope that special buggy will come back :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

 

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