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Sept. 17, 2022

#85 Universal and Disney theme park passes with Simmons

#85 Universal and Disney theme park passes with Simmons

There aren't many perks when it comes to type 1 diabetes but being able to get a pass at theme parks to greatly minimize the amount of time you spend waiting in lines is one of them! Today's episode is all about the Disney DAS pass and the Universal Studios attraction assistance pass: how to get them, how they work and things to keep in mind. My guest today is Simmons Hanson, my cousin-in-law and the wife of a T1D who was diagnosed in his mid-thirties. As always, remember to check out the links below for episodes, products and resources mentioned throughout, Enjoy!

Learn More about Disney's DAS Pass

Learn More about Universal's Attraction Assistance Pass

Frio Packs to keep you insulin cool at theme parks or any day spent outside in the heat!

Previous episode #35 on the Disney DAS Pass 

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Transcript

Katie:

Hey everybody. This is episode 85 of the sugar mamas podcast. And today we are talking about the Disney DS pass and the universal studio's attraction assistance pass. I know I've done an episode before on the Disney pass. That was episode 35. If you wanna take a listen. But a lot has changed with that pass since that episode was published. So I thought it was time for an update and it just so happens that I have a family member who is connected to the world of type one who just took her family a five to Disney over spring break this past year. Her name is Simmons. So today I get to chat with Simmons all about the Disney DS pass and their experience on their trip. After Simmons and I chat, I'm going to come on just by myself and tell you guys about our experience with getting the universal attraction assistance pass and just what it was like to use, that there are definitely similar, but there are also some major differences. As always be sure to check out the show notes when you're done listening, I will put a link to both the Disney and universal page on where you can learn more about these passes and read all the fine print. And I will also put a link to any other episodes or products that are mentioned throughout the show. All right, you guys let's get started. You're listening to the sugar mamas podcast, a show designed for moms and caregivers of type one diabetics here. You'll find a community of like-minded people who are striving daily to keep their kids safe, happy, and healthy in the ever-changing world of type one. I'm your host and fellow T one D mom, Katie Roseboro. Before we get started. I need you to know that nothing you hear on the sugar mamas podcast should be considered medical advice. Please be safe, be smart, and always consult your physician before making changes to the way you manage type one diabetes. Thanks. Okay. My friends, before we start the show, we have an exciting announcement from Stacy Sims

host

Katie:

of the diabetes connections podcast, Stacy has put together something very special for type one moms in her community, which is in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. Let's take a quick listen, and then get back to the show.

Stacey Simms:

What's one thing you need as a mom of a child with type one, it's time to yourself. I know, go ahead and laugh, but there really is a way to treat yourself to some time away with other moms who get it. I'm Stacy Sims and my son was diagnosed with type one almost 16 years ago, just before he turned two. Since then I have attended dozens of diabetes, conferences and meetups, and now I've taken the best stuff from those. And created something brand new. I'm calling it mom's night out and we're gonna have lots of diabetes technology for you to see and learn about stress relieving, social time, where you can meet other moms, just like us and speakers who will leave us feeling energized and ready to face the challenges of parenting a child with T one D. Katie's gonna hook you up with all the info, but head on over to diabetes. Dash connections.com to get started. Mom's night out is happening in January in Charlotte, North Carolina. I hope to see you there. I can't wait.

Katie:

Thanks so much, Stacy, if you're interested in signing up for that event, or you want to find out more information. Check out the link that I will leave in the show notes. All right, you guys let's get back to the show. Hey everybody. I am here with Simmons Hanson today and Simmons and I are actually family members. We are, are we cousins? In-law is that what we are?

Simmons:

I think, so that sounds about right. Good.

Katie:

Yeah, let's go with that. Simmons is my husband's cousin. And we go on vacation with him every other year for a week in the summertime, we go to a place called trip island, or at least we have in the past this is an off year for us. We went to trip last summer. And so we are not doing that this year, which makes me sad. But

Simmons:

a great week of vacation with y'all's.

Katie:

Oh, my gosh. It's, it's so much fun. It's so much fun. So I'm really excited to be talking with Simmons today. I won't spoil at Simmons. I'll let you introduce yourself and tell us your connection to type one diabetes.

Simmons:

Sure. My name is Simmons Hansen, and I live in Washington, DC with my husband and my three kids. And my husband grew up with a dad and brother. That have type one diabetes. And so ever since I've known and we met in college, so we've been around it for a long time. And then about five years ago, Matt, we got the flu over Christmas and then a couple weeks later Matt had lost about 15 pounds and was super thirsty all the time and was going to the bathroom all the time. And so we, he knew the signs and had. Suspicion of what was happening. And so we called my dad who was an endocrinologist and talked to him and he said, oh, we'll just go to CVS and get a finger pricker and find out what your blood sugar is. And so we did that one afternoon and at the same time we picked up a pregnancy test and realized that we were pregnant and diabetic on the same day.

Katie:

I did not know that

Simmons:

Which was a very exciting day. And then we went to dinner with some friends and I'm sure that we just were deer in the headlights and wonderful dinner company that night So that was our story. That was how we found out. And

Katie:

was that like his last meal? Like when y'all added to dinner, like, did he not obviously care or was he already eating like girl

Simmons:

I mean, he pricked his finger and he, his, I think he was like over three 50 or something like that. And it was a Saturday. So there was we, my dad was like, Don't go to the hospital. They're just gonna give you insulin and keep you there. Just, you've been fine so far. Just wait until Monday and don't eat any carbs. So Matt had, I think a piece of steak and then all Sunday ate avocados and eggs and and then went to the doctor first thing Monday morning and got some insulin. And that was, he made it through, you know, that week. My dad was just gave us advice. For better, for worse, not to go to the hospital and just to a lot of water and if he grew up then go, but otherwise just, he would be fine until Monday. So he since then has done a great job managing his diabetes and is really independent. Obviously doesn't need me to monitor his EXCOM. But it's been quite the journey learning about it. From a care taking perspective, as opposed to just a family member watching it from the outside. But

Katie:

do you do, I mean, obviously I know Matt goes to the doctor or I'm assuming he does, but like how much do you guys consult your dad a lot? I mean, I know he is retired now as an endocrinologist, but do you consult him a lot or do you just kind of leave that up to Matt and his doctor?

Simmons:

In the beginning, when we were just trying to get our feet underneath us, he gave us some advice. But Matt had already he was a big CrossFit fan. So he was very familiar with a low carb lifestyle. And that is. He was already eating that way. And so has continued to eat that way. And that has been, I guess, probably one of his biggest influences more than my dad. But in the beginning, he, my dad helped us sort through,

Katie:

Mm-hmm

Simmons:

know, factors that affect insulin and on the O on the occasion, Matt had to take of, I guess, about a year later, He had to, he had a mommy's wrist injury. And so he had to take some steroids for that. And that does crazy things to your blood sugar. So just occasional spot checking things that were like, wait a minute, how does this do? And Matt's very capable to do his own research and is very tuned in with think like a pancreas and some other resources that he really uses a lot.

Katie:

You guys are actually the people that recommended the book, think like a pancreas to me. And it's funny that you mentioned steroids cuz later this afternoon, I'm recording an episode for that book series with, with think like a pancreas that I'm doing over the summer. And it's the chapter on all the other factors that can affect your blood sugar and steroids is definitely in there. So.

Simmons:

Yeah,

Katie:

Good timing timely for sure. Is, I'm just cur I don't think Matt would care, but maybe he would, I don't know. Let me know later, but is he still on injections or did he ever get on a pump?

Simmons:

No, he's still doing injections. I think he has gone back and forth about pump or no pump for a long time and almost had a pump appointment earlier this year. And just decided that. It's one more, he's going on a big bike trip next week, where he's gonna be, he and a buddy are gonna be biking 200 miles in about four days. So he figured that now was not a great time to figure out the pump situation before this long aerobic exercise is happening. So. G six has been, and he's had the GFA before that that has been his biggest tool, but he is still doing injections. And feels like he understands that system before going on this big trip,

Katie:

mm-hmm can I ask you what it's like to be the wife of somebody with type one diabetes, because, and, and you did not marry into this cuz he did not have type one. When, when y'all got married.

Simmons:

eat giant piece of cake before were

Katie:

Right. And I just, I know there's, I know there's moms listening who have sons with type one, and I'm sure they would love to hear just a little bit from you about what it's like to, to be married to a, a guy with type one

Simmons:

I think that the biggest understanding that we both had since I was pregnant for the third time and he was diabetic for the first time, at the same time we. Just have this understanding of bodies change over the course of our relationship and that his body is, was changing, had changed at that time. And my body was changing with pregnancy. And so I think it was easy to be forgiving and compassionate and graceful about all these body changes because that's what it was. His body was just functioning differently. And I think, you know, every now and then I give him a hug and bump the CGM or something like that. And that always feels like did I bump it too hard or something? But that's, that's really the only thing

Katie:

Mm-hmm

Simmons:

bodies change. And that's, that's where we sort of leave our understanding of how this changed our marriage or changed our relationship.

Katie:

Yeah. Yeah. What what about alarms at night? Do you get woken up a lot?

Simmons:

He's pretty good at managing. So we don't have a lot of alarms. I mean, we didn't, he was diagnosed when he was 35, so he's not dealing with hormone changes or like growth spurts or anything like that. So we don't have that set of factors to negotiate, When the alarms go off, I wake up and he deals with them. Sometimes I hear them before he does. And then I just throw an elbow and wake him up and he goes in the bathroom and closes the door and deals with it. So those are not great night sleeps, but those are pretty few and far between, or if he's like when he started biking, that has effects on the rest of the day. So as soon as he figures out those adjustments, then everything goes back to a full night's.

Katie:

that's good. I always um, my mantra that I repeat to myself after like a really bad night of diabetes alarms, which we, we don't have many of those either now, which I'm very grateful for, but we certainly do have some still, but I'm always like, you know, what, if I could, if I could survive three newborn children, I can survive a bad night. Here and there of sleep. So that is always my, now, if it was every night, I'm sure I would be in some sort of an institution right now, but luckily it's not you know, it's like once every couple weeks we have a real bad night and I'm like, I can, I, I'm gonna be okay. I'm not enjoying this, but I'm gonna be, I'm gonna survive.

Simmons:

I think the newborn phases really give you perspective on what a good night's sleep can look like and that and also melatonin helps sometimes.

Katie:

Right, right, right. For sure. For sure. Well Simmons, I know I did not have you on today to talk about Matt and his diagnosis, but it's definitely interesting and I'm sure listeners enjoyed hearing a little bit about it, but Simmons and her family just went on a big trip over spring break to Disney world in Orlando. So I, and she texted me before they went. Me about the Disney DS pass, which DS stands for disability access service. And I have, honestly, I've done an episode on this before it was episode 35, but literally like a couple days after I published that episode, like, Disney changed every, almost everything about how, how the past works. So I told her, well, I didn't tell her, actually. I, I told her what I knew. And then after they went, I was, I sneakily asked her if she would like to come on and chat about it. Cuz a lot of people ask about these, you know, there's not a whole lot of perks with type one. So when there is a perk, people, people really wanna know about it. So tell us, would you just explain a little bit, what was the process like to get the DAS passed for Disney?

Simmons:

So you go on their website and if you go to the DAS section on their website, there's a link that you click on to, you have to be logged in to your Disney account. And then you click on the link and you wait for an online meeting with. A Disney person who will grant you the pass and put you in the system as a DAS pass recipient, I guess. And the person with the disability has to be present for that meeting. So I was babysitting the computer and then I had to go run errands. And so Matt babysat the computer and he was the one who. answered the call, I guess. we were next in line when he was there. So he spoke with them. It did keep logging us out. And so we kept logging back in. That was a tricky bit, like we kept getting logged out and didn't know if we were losing our place in the line, but every time we logged back in, I guess we, you know, babysat the computer for about an hour or so total while we waited for someone. And I don't know if that's typical, we were going right before spring break right before Easter. So I'm sure they were very busy. You can only sign up for. Within 30 days of your trip. And online that window closes two days before you arrive. So 30 days through two days before you arrive is when you can do the online thing. The only question they asked Matt was what what disability prevents you from standing in line? And Matt said, Access to food. If I have a low for my blood sugar. And they said, okay. He, I think he said, I'm a type one diabetic. And they said, okay. And they marked his account, his magic band as a da pass recipient or a person with the dash pass. And that was.

Katie:

It doesn't sound like they gave you guys a hard time at all. Um, that's great. I, I was really hoping that cuz I was reading online about it and it says you'll have to have like a video chat with a cast member. And I was really hoping that it was gonna be like a character. I was really hoping that NA was gonna have to talk to like Donald duck or Mickey mouse or something like that. But it wasn't a, just a regular.

Simmons:

I think they call cast members like anyone who works there is a cast member. So I, I think I'm not sure that the person who he spoke with was dressed up in any costumes.

Katie:

I hope he would've mentioned that if that

Simmons:

we were fully expected. Matt had his kit ready to like show his medications and like pull his sleeve up to show his CGM and stuff. And they, he didn't have to do any of that, so

Katie:

No, he didn't have to present his case. Matt, Matt's an attorney. So I'm sure he was very well prepared. He was ready to stand up.

Simmons:

yes.

Katie:

Okay. Well, that's good. So after that, was it just connected to your magic bands or the app? Or did you have to go get a physical pass once you were inside the park?

Simmons:

So right away, you get to pick, once you have, once you've been granted this status, you get to pick right away, two rides in each park that you can preschedule. Arrival times so right away. And Matt was not very prepared for this, cuz we didn't know this was really happening. You give your three rides in each park and there's a list on their website that you can pick from where you get pre-selected arrival, windows hour, long arrival windows. So we had arrival windows planned out for. Peter pan in the magic kingdom. So they told, and they told, cause we knew we wanted to do that one. And I maybe the haunted mansion, I think and they gave us arrival windows for those, which was great. Cuz then you sort of can sort of plan your day a little bit, but the best part about the DAS pass is that once you're those preselected times are two per park and that. Done before you arrive, but once you get to the park and you badge in with the magic bands you can virtually line up at any ride in that park. So we walked into the magic kingdom on the first day and we could scroll through and select seven dwarf mind train. And by the time we got to the park, there was a 70 minute wait. We could ride some other rides that we rode Aeriel right nearby. And then we could get in line, go straight to the lightning lane instead of waiting in the long line. that's a, that was a perk that we didn't really realize when we got the pass, but was key to our success

Katie:

Did you think you just had the access to the two rides and that was.

Simmons:

Well, we didn't really, we knew that we could go through and select a, sort of a virtual weight line, but we didn't really understand what that meant in practice when we were there. And it made a really big difference for, we didn't wait in hardly any lines because. We could just scroll through the list, see which one had a short wait time virtually stand in line. By the time we got there, we could just kind of walk right in. And then as soon as you badge in, Matt had to Matt use his magic band first. And as soon as you magic band in, you can get out your phone and scroll through the list and go stand in line virtually for another ride. So really we were riding rides back to back to back, which was.

Katie:

man. That's awesome. And I'm, I'm assuming the crowds were probably pretty big because you were there at a busy time spring break.

Simmons:

Yes, the lightning, the regular lines were upwards of like a hundred, 10 minutes, 50 minutes, 35 minutes for like a short was a short one. And we would just walk right in with have a 10 minute wait in the lightning lane because of the, because of the gas pass.

Katie:

Yeah. I wanted to ask you, I know you guys are a family of five, but did you go with anybody else? Like, was your party bigger than five or.

Simmons:

It was just the five of us. And my four year old is didn't wanna ride all the rides. And we just stayed together as a family. We didn't use the child swap program because we knew we just wanted to all to stay together.

Katie:

she can ride the mind train she's tall enough.

Simmons:

She could have, she could ride mind, train, she could ride everything. We made a fatal mistake that we rode the barnstormer first, or that was one of maybe our third ride. And the kids had never ridden the roller coaster before. So we got off the barnstormer and all three kids were firmly against riding any more roller coasters. They were. That was unacceptable. That was too much. We tilted to the side. That was not okay. So we did not ride any more roller coasters in the magic kingdom, unfortunately.

Katie:

Oh, I'm sorry. We have made a similar fatal mistake. We went to Dollywood. This was sorry. I was, I lost track of time in my brain. This was right before I was, I couldn't remember if it was right before or right after Sarah had been diagnosed, but it was right before Sarah was diagnosed. We went to Dollywood in Tennessee and I don't think any of our kids had been on anything bigger than the barn Stormer or maybe thunder mountain, which those are, you know, those are, can be scary if that's your first rollercoaster and you're a little kid, but we really wanted to introduce them to upside down roller coasters loop, do roller roller coasters. And the first one that we. Came upon in the park was one of the older ones. So those are like, you know, those are like a pretty rickety but it was good because you really could not see this roller coaster. It was like hidden behind trees in a big building. And we just kind of flat out, lied to the kids. We didn't lie. They didn't say are there loopy loops? And we said, no, there are not. They said, are there loopy loops? And we were like, we don't think so, but we're not sure

Simmons:

Unclear.

Katie:

It's unclear. And we went on that ride. Nolan loved it. Timothy and Sarah were in tears by the time it was over and we could not get them on another rollercoaster, which is a shame because a lot of the other roller coasters are so smooth and they don't really like Jostle you around and everything. So we're still paying for our mistakes. We went to islands of adventure a couple weeks ago and. No one was still loving the big roller coasters, but we could not get Sarah and Timothy on, on anything that went upside down. They're totally game. If it doesn't go upside down,

Simmons:

Well, we had some, we rode a couple more rides and by the time we got to slinky dog dash at Hollywood studios, we. Made him do it. We had to bribe Alden, but it was worth it. He did it, he was proud of himself at the end, but we definitely bribed to make sure that we would get to ride. At least one rollercoaster felt like couldn't without.

Katie:

Yeah, we're such good parents bribing our kids, lying to our children. It's okay. It's fine. They're gonna look upon these times fondly. I'm sure. What, so I'm assuming once you had the pass set up for, it was just good for all the parks. You didn't have to like go back in and renew it or anything like that.

Simmons:

No. I mean, Disney is all in the app now, so everything was connected. Our hotel, our gas pass our food ordering. I mean, all of that was in the app and that made it really easy to stay organized and and stay focused.

Katie:

Yeah. So I'm, you guys stayed together. So this probably wasn't an issue, but I'm assuming like when you got to the line and you like banded in, like, did they ask you? Like, are you Matt? Or, you know, did they ask Matt? Like, are you Matt? Did Matt have to be present?

Simmons:

he had to go first. So when you go in a lightning lane, they have the magic band sensors on the side and Matt had to go first and the attendant would say, hi, Matt. And then the rest of us would go would badge after that.

Katie:

Okay. Cuz that uni universal, it's a little different. They just give you like a paper card that you're carrying around and they like initial it and sign it, which I'm sure that will change. Cuz that was kind of a pain. Them I'm sure. But they would ask every time, like who's Sarah, cuz Sarah's name was on the, the pass. And so we, we presented Sarah and which, you know, Nolan was bummed. He's like, can we use, Sarah's pass to go on some of these big roller coasters? And I'm like, Sarah has to ride the ride. So, you know, daddy can take Sarah and Timothy and do some other stuff while you and I wait in the line or, you know, somebody else waits in line with you. Yeah, Sarah had to be present. What about Matt's like medical bag? Did he did they have a place for him to put it or was he, did he just keep it onto on his body? Like in a Fanny pack or something?

Simmons:

Yeah, he ha he carries it in a Fanny pack in general. Anyway, so he just carried his Fanny pack and we took a stroller with us since we've had a four and a half year old. And so most of the time it was in there, he, we were. There on really hot days. So he thought it was really beneficial to have those insulin chillers.

Katie:

the free O packs mm-hmm Yeah.

Simmons:

and so we carried those around and, and the insulin was totally fine as long as we kept it in the shade. And in those packs,

Katie:

All right. And so I think you already answered this, but you could only have one pending return time at a time, right? Like you couldn't go get four different times to come back and then wait, virtually you had to use one before you got another one.

Simmons:

That's right. the two that you pre-selected were just there, but then the ones that you got while you were in the park, that was just sort of like a virtual standing in line. Those you could only have one at a time. So as soon as you badged in with one on it's a small world, you could sign up for something else nearby. And that's how we sort of went through the magic kingdom. while we were getting the, getting on the boat and riding the ride, we were virtually standing in line somewhere else. So that made a really big difference.

Katie:

man. That's awesome. So what other ways like that I haven't thought of or asked you about, was it beneficial? Can you think of any other things that it was helpful to have this past?

Simmons:

the two pre-selected times made it helped us plan our day a little bit. So that was helpful. But also we also didn't hit those times in some cases. So we just went afterwards and. That was fine too. I think we ended up going to Peter pan at four 30 instead of between three and four. And that was fine.

Katie:

They still let you in the lightning.

Simmons:

They still let us in the lightning lane. We maximized our time because we had the past, we, I think counted up 14 rides in the magic kingdom. So we were just really full and busy and got to see everything we wanted to see. We did not end up having to use the genie pass genie plus pass or purchase any lightning lanes. So it also saved us money cuz those. Purchasing the lightning lanes and purchasing gen plus was, is, can get expensive for a family of five. And so we saved money on those costs because we could just stay in line virtually even for the really long ones, the top rides in each park. That made a really big difference in price.

Katie:

I, what about like, let's say you get on mind train or whatever. Wait, did they ride mind? Train after they oh, okay. Okay.

Simmons:

Then could cancel standing in line there and in your time. And we just went somewhere, fell that moment.

Katie:

right. Okay. So let me, let me change the ride then. So small world, like after you checked in there with your, your pass, could you. Check in again or get another virtual wait time for the same ride or were you only like allowed one time per ride?

Simmons:

I don't know, we didn't try that. We wanted to try lots of different rides. So there, we didn't write anything twice.

Katie:

Okay. You are, you're not like my family. We rode Hari's motor bike adventure at universal four or five times. We were like, that was awesome. Do it again. So we'd get another

Simmons:

We almost, we almost did an Epcot and then had a falling apart moment. So we didn't make it back around the lake.

Katie:

okay. So fun. I, my favorite I feel like not, not saying that you, this, this is Matt, but every time will and I go to Disney together. I just, I just love to watch the family fights, like, you know, like, oh my gosh, the, and just the meltdowns, like, you know it, you know, what is, when it's your kid is, it's not funny at all, like at all, but when it. When it's somebody's other's family, you know, it's just, all you can do is like chuckle and, I feel like a lot of divorces probably start at Disney world or theme parks.

Simmons:

just wanna give the moms like a thumbs up. Like you're doing great. Keep going. You've got it. This too. Shall pass. You'll be.

Katie:

gonna be okay. How'd you get, did you have to leave Epcot with a screaming child or how'd you get out?

Simmons:

A food, a snack. Yeah, of course. somebody was hungry or tired. And so we had to pause and have a CPE or something in, in France,

Katie:

Yeah.

Simmons:

just around the lake to we were aiming for, so around the world go around at that and which was a great ride, but then we just didn't we needed a snack or so.

Katie:

I mean, if food, if food can't fix. I don't know at can't, you know, you're doomed pretty much. Okay. You said you did not use child swap, which I honestly, it's been a while since I've been to Disney. I mean, before the pandemic happened, so, I mean, it's been at least four years, I'd say, and I know we have used the child swap before. That's where if you like, have a a little little kid and they're, they can't ride a ride cuz they're not big enough. Or they just don't want to ride a ride like. You as one parent can go on the ride with your other kids that can ride it or want to ride it while you're, you know, other significant other weights with the, the other kid. And then once you get off, the other parent can get back on the ride with the other kids that want to and can ride it and, and they can do it again. And they don't have to wait. Like they don't have to stand in the regular line. They. Just hop right on the ride, basically. So for anybody listening, who's wondering how that might work with the DAAs pass. I mean, assuming it'd probably be super easy, you would just tell them once you band in, like, Hey, we have this pass, but also we need to do child swaps. I have no doubt that Disney probably would not give you a hard time about that, but.

Simmons:

No, they were, they were pretty. Everything's they're tracking everything obviously with the magic band. So I have no doubt that they could make that happen.

Katie:

I'm kind of wondering if this is like the future of theme parks in general. Not, not just for people that have a disability, although I hope they still provide accommodations in some way for those people. Cuz it's, it truly is so helpful. Like honestly, before we went to universal, I, I kind of a little bit felt like we were like cheating the system. Like, I don't know, there was something about me that just felt bad and who knows why, but but really after our day there. I think it would've been really challenging to have to wait in those hour and a half long rides in the heat. It, it would've been a lot. I mean, we did have to adjust insulin several times. We had to treat several lows highs. It, it would've been. Made for a little bit more of a miserable experience. So, and, and medically challenging experience too. So I was super grateful, but I, I feel like in the future, like for instance, when we went to volcano bay, the universal water park, we didn't even bother to kind of inquire into whether or not they had. Accommodations for anybody with disabilities because they have what's called the it's. Well, you, you know, it's called the virtual line at volcano bay and they give every single person that has a ticket, a band, kinda like a magic band type thing. And same thing. You can get a virtual time to come back and while you're waiting, you can go to other rides. And that's for everybody that enters the park. So I'm kind of wondering, and I, when we were at the other two parks, you know universal studios and islands of adventure. We saw signs up that said like, you may notice that this ride is being tested for the virtual line experience. So I'm kind of wondering if that's coming in the future for, for everybody. I

Simmons:

we loved the magic band and the app. And in general, we hadn't been to a theme park in years. And the kids had never been, so it was our first experience with some of that technology and it was so helpful. It to help map manage. Like, I need a snack before I go on this ride or things like that. It just made a really big difference in our experience with his planning needs and our sort of standing in line. Would've been really hard. And we really enjoyed the whole magic band experience and app experience

Katie:

I know Matt's usually eats pretty low carb, but did you have the last lady I talked to at a, did an episode with on Disney, she was saying that one of the hard things was that there's no, like carb counts on anything at any of the restaurants, you know, that aren't like already prepackaged and she found that to be really challenging. So I wonder if that has changed at all. Did you guys find carb counts on anything like in the restaurants, like

Simmons:

No, there was, there were no car counts on, on anything. We were, we were surprised at the food. I mean, they're feeding a massive amount of people, but we were surprised at some of that. There were very few low carb options or low carb alternatives you know, a bunless, I mean, a bunless burger or something like that. And that, that was surprising for us. And I think Matt was even high the whole time, cuz everything was pretty carby.

Katie:

Even the burgers were made out of carbs. I just make 'em out of smashed up potatoes, probably well, did you guys have a good time? Just, you mean, you already said you did, but like, you know, you guys are a big family. Your kids are a little bit younger than mine, and that's a big trip to get, to take everybody to Disney for a whole week. So just, what was your overall experience?

Simmons:

We had such a fun time the whole, the whole time. And. It was not a vacation. It's a family trip as we had discussed that difference before. But the kids made so many memories and still talk about things that we did there. And we just had such a nice family time, just the five of us there. It was a really special week for everybody. And we, we loved it.

Katie:

I miss Disney so much. I love Disney. I have. So I grew up going so often when I was younger. So there's a lot of nostalgia there. And especially at the magic kingdom the other parks, I don't, I'm not nearly as familiar with, but I miss it. And I've definitely, I, I know I told you last year that I wanted to go this year and then we finished all the Harry Potter books and I was like, well, we'll go to universal instead.

Simmons:

we'll be back down that way. Once we finish the Harry Potter books.

Katie:

Are y'all reading him right now or listening to him?

Simmons:

Alden's read one and a half. And so we've got a few more to go and, but the S chaplain, Libby haven't delved in into them yet, they're still a bit young for some of the scary stuff.

Katie:

Yeah. It gets real dark real quick, honestly. it gets real dark real quick. I had only read the first. Two and a half books when we started listening to all the audio books. And actually you were the one that gave me the idea to listen to the audio books. Cause you said you guys listened to him in the car growing up. And it was so great with the guy that does all the different voices. And so now we've finished all the books and Timothy's teacher is reading the first book to his class and it's just so funny cuz he is like, mom, it's awful. She doesn't do any of the voices. like Timothy. She is. This guy was like a paid professional actor. Like

Simmons:

Yes. Yeah, that was our con that was before podcast. We didn't have podcasts. We just had audio books, you know, back in the day. And so that's what we listened to. Every, every long car trip, we would rack up some books.

Katie:

we're listen. Now we're listening to the series of unfortunate events series. It's a good it's it's been fun. And my, I can, we can do it well. Not that not that it's torture, but like my kids love a series that also has a movie or a TV show connected to it. And, you know, Netflix has the series of unfortunate events, TV show out. So we read a book or listen to a book and then we watch the show. It's a good time. Well, anything else? Anything else we didn't chat about Disney that you think would be important for the parent of a type one diabetic or just the spouse or caregiver of a type one diabetic. That's going to Disney. Anything else?

Simmons:

I think bringing your own snacks there and being aware of the. Menus at the restaurants would be really helpful. And especially if you're treating lows, the, the, we still have to wait for a lot of food. So if you are expecting to get some dull whip to fix a low real quick, that might not be your best option, but having the fact that there's no carb counts on anything did make it hard. And Bring that snacks.

Katie:

Oh, we had lots of snacks. Lots of snacks for sure. Okay. Well, thank you so much Simmons. Oh, I, I did wanna know, and this has nothing to do with type one, but your G did your girls wear princess dresses in the park? Cuz I can see them totally wearing princess dresses.

Simmons:

I truly underestimated the amount of small children that would be dressed up and honestly, adults that would be dressed up. And so we were sorely unprepared for that level. And we just wore regular clothes that were not Disney themed or Disney relevant. I just didn't even think about that going into it. And I was more consu concerned with our footwear and ordered. Teen pairs of shoes for Libby because she, but none of them were correct. And so Libby ended up wearing leather high tops. When it was 90 degrees outside, we, they did not wear their princess dresses to the.

Katie:

Okay. I mean, I'm a little disappointed in that, cause I could totally see Sally chapel rock and a Disney princess dress in the park. Or something, maybe she would be dressed up as like Ray from star wars. I'm not sure, but you know, I just, I could see her going all in, but I'm glad y'all had a good time. you know, maybe next time you're like in this y'all flew, obviously, did you. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna say next time you drive by us on your way to Disney. Stop in and say hi, but, but yeah, no, not if you're flying. Never mind. Yeah. All right. Well, thanks again. Tell the family I said hi, and hopefully I will chat with you soon.

Simmons:

All right, Bye.

Katie:

Okay, well, that is it for my conversation with Simmons Simmons. Thank you again so much for coming on. I always love your insight on really just life in general, but in this particular situation on the Disney DAS pass. Now I wanna tell you guys a little bit about our experience with getting the universal pass. This is called an attraction assistance pass again. I'll put a link in the show notes to Universal's page on this pass. But I had been given a heads up before I even called to try to get this pass that this was a challenging one, that they were gonna give me a hard time, that they always give parents of type one diabetics, a hard time about getting this pass. And here's what you needed to say. So I called guest services. I knew that I was gonna have to be firm and make my case to get this pass. I told them about Sarah's medical condition and why she would have trouble standing in lines for long periods of time. And I was met with some pretty rude customer service. Uh, the person on the other line basically told me that type one diabetes didn't count as a disability and was not a good enough reason to issue me a pass. So of course I argued. Back and forth with this person for a little bit, but it just became clear that they were not gonna give me a pass. So I decided to hang up and write an email because personally, I feel like it's always better to have things in writing. If at first you don't succeed, send an email. That's my motto. So I wanted to read you the email that I sent them. it was very polite, but also very firm. I just laid out what happened. And again, why we would need this pass. I've also been told that making sure you mention that you might have to get out of line at some point in time to treat a high blood sugar or a low blood sugar, or use the restroom because of type one diabetes. Make sure you mention that at some point in time, you might have to get out of line to manage. The condition. Okay. Here's the email I said, hello. My name is Katie Roseboro and my family will be at universal Orlando this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with plans to do the two parks Friday and Saturday. And the volcano bay water park on Sunday, we are Florida residents and are staying in one of your resorts and are super excited as we haven't been to an Orlando theme park since before the pandemic. Unfortunately I called guest services this morning to request an attraction assistance pass from my family of five and was greeted with some rather rude customer service. My 10 year old daughter has type one diabetes, which is classified as a disability and heavily protected under the Americans with disabilities act as well as section 5 0 4 of the rehabilitation act, the medication she takes to manage this disease. And quite frankly, stay alive. In parenthesis I put insulin can cause her blood sugar to drop rapidly, especially in the heat and with increased activity. Just last night, when she was laying down in bed in an air conditioned home, she dropped from 110 to 40. In a matter of 10 minutes, it can happen quick and actions must be taken immediately to prevent passing out a seizure or possibly even worse. Thus while we will be doing everything possible to ensure that this does not happen. We are concerned that she will have to wait in long lines in the heat while at the park. Also she will have to carry her medical bag with her at all times containing her supplies and her phone, which allows us to monitor her blood sugar at all times. Thus, we will need access to a medical locker at the start of the ride. I tried explaining this to the man on the phone, but he basically said that that does not count and they can just provide her with a wheelchair if she has trouble waiting in long. As the mother of a child with a chronic medical condition that requires 24 7 attention. And who just wants a moment of normalcy in life that is not acceptable. I am writing you again. To ask for the attraction assistance pass for my family of five. For the two days, we will be at islands of adventure and universal studios. How can I go about securing this? I understand that I can use the virtual line at volcano bay. So that is a nice feature. Thank you. Kind regards, Katie. Roseboro. Guys guess what you wouldn't believe it, but they emailed me back pretty quickly and said, oh my goodness, miss Roseboro. We are so very sorry that you had that experience. We would love to issue you a pass. Here is the reference number for your pass. Take this number to guest services. When you enter the park on your first day and they will get you set up with a pass. Again, we are so sorry. That's not exactly what they said, but you get the point. Again, guys, put that junk in writing, then nobody can say that you never said that because you did and you have the email to prove. Okay. So once we got over that hurdle and we actually got issued the attractions assistance pass, it was really a lovely experience. Um, we did obviously have to carry Sarah's medical bag with us at all times. And when we would get to the very front of the line, like right before we would get on a ride. They had a section off to the side with lockers that you could enter a code and store your stuff safely in there while you were on the ride. And I mean, let's be honest. Most of these rides are like, not longer than a minute, maybe two at the very most. So I wasn't overly worried that we were gonna actually need the supplies while we were on the ride. If Sarah was like dipping a little bit low before we got on the ride, I would just have her eat, you know, a few pieces of candy. I will say that several people throughout the park, when we would go to get in line said, ma'am, you can't take that bag with you. You have to put it in a locker. And I, all I had to say was this is a medical supply bag. And they were like, oh, well, in that case come with me. And they would take us to the lockers. This has nothing to do with the attractions assistance pass, but you guys make sure you are staying hydrated at these theme parks, especially if you are in the center of Florida, it is so hot. Even in December, you can be sweating bullets, make sure you're type one diabetic and you stay hydrated that will help keep blood sugars a little bit more steady than they may be. Otherwise. Really just the whole body works better when you're hydrated. So keep that in. So, this is how the pass works at universal. It's a paper card that may have changed since we went there in may, cuz it's now September, but it's like a thick piece of card stock that you carry around with you. It has Sarah's name on it and the dates that you're gonna be at the park and the reference number. So if you come up to a ride And the line is 30 minutes or less, then they immediately let you into the express lane. So you still have a little bit of a weight, but it's definitely nowhere near what you would have to wait if you were just in the regular line. However, if you get to a ride and the line is more than 30 minutes, you will get a time to return on the card that they gave you. So they will initial it. And they'll write the time that you can come back to get on the ride or get right into the express lane. no return time that we were given was more than an hour long. So an hour from the time that you presented them with the card, that was the longest, you would have to wait to come back to the ride and ride it. So in the meantime, while you're waiting, you could just hop on other rides with lines that weren't as long. Sarah did have to be present when we would present this pass. And she obviously would have to be riding the ride that we were getting the pass for, something important to note with the universal pass is that you can only have one return time working at a time. So. For those of you that have been to universal, um, you know, that Haggard's motorbike ride is super popular. So if we went the line is always like an hour and a half long or more. So if you went up to that line and got a return time, You couldn't then go to another ride and get another return time for a different ride. So you would just have to find rides that had shorter lines, or maybe take a break and eat some lunch or get some water, go to the bathroom, whatever you wanna do, look in some gift shops. Um, but you could not have more than one return time active at a time. But once you went on the ride, once you came back to Hagar's motorbike and rode the roller coaster, then you could get another return time for a different ride, or you could get a return time for the same ride. There wasn't a limit to the number of times you could get a return time for a particular attraction. You could ride Haggard's motorbike all day long. If you wanted to, you would just have to keep getting return times. You can use it for both parks, not the water park, but you can use it for both universal studios and islands of adventure. The water park has something totally different. So if you wanna look into the accommodations for that talk to guest services, when you call them or put it in an email, but the water park is a little different, cuz they already have like a virtual. Wait time system in place where you get a band and you like scan in to the water slide and you get a return time to come back. So I didn't really push for anything, any accommodations at the water park. Cause I felt like that system was already good enough to meet our needs. I will say that at the bottom of the pass, it says there's a limit of six in a party on the pass. We only had five in our party, so I didn't really have to fight that, but I'm pretty sure that the Disney one also says that there's a limit of six or so on the pass, but I know at least with Disney, that if you talk to them, and you have a party that's bigger than six people. They will make an exception. So just keep that in mind. I don't know if universal is gonna be that kind, but maybe we definitely turned down Sarah's insulin for the day. Um, we just knew that with the heat and all the walking, she was not gonna need nearly as much basal insulin running. And also not nearly as much Bowlus insulin for meals and snacks, then she would normally if she were at school or just hanging out at home. So we definitely decreased her insulin needs for the day. I honestly don't remember by how much, but it was a decrease for sure. And the only thing I really wanna say, other than that, about our day at the theme park was, just keep an eye out for rebound highs. After you have had the insulin turn down all day long because for us, and I know everybody's different, but for us, if we are in a situation where we have to turn insulin down, for whatever reason, if we're at a theme park all day or we're hiking, or maybe Sarah's been swimming, if we have to turn insulin down, as soon as the activity is over or for in this instance, as soon as the day at the theme park was over, if we don't turn Sarah's insulin back up to where it is normally. and usually bolus for some of the basal insulin that she missed, then she will immediately start to climb. So keep an eye out for that. I don't know that one's like, so mind boggling to me that she's been walking all day long. It's like her body just finally has a chance to rest and process all the carbs that she's been eating all day and up. She goes so. We've seen that happen in several situations. And we always have to, uh, turn the insulin back up right away and give her a bolus usually for some of the basal insulin that she's missed. But again, everybody's different. That might not be the pattern that you see, but that was definitely the pattern that we saw. All right. You guys, that is it for our episode today. Again, there are not many perks when it comes to type one diabetes, but being able to get a pass at theme parks that will allow you to greatly minimize the time you spend waiting in line is a huge perk in my opinion. So take advantage of it, pull out that diabetes card and use it with pride. No shame in that game. Make sure you check out those show notes. Remember, I will leave links to the Disney page and the universal page. I will also leave a link to those Frio insulin packs that Simmons mentioned, uh, that Matt likes to use to keep his insulin cool for a theme park day or maybe a beach day. And I will leave a link to the other episode I did on the Disney D a S pass. We talked about more than just the Disney D as pass in that one. So it definitely would be worth a listen, even though a lot has changed about the Disney pass since then. All right. You guys, I hope you have an absolutely fabulous week. I hope diabetes is well behaved for you. We've had a pretty good week here. diabetes has been nice to us this week, so that's always a good feeling. We have our next endocrinology checkup, not next week, but the week after that. So I'm hoping for good things. Since we've now been on the Omnipod five system for about two months, I promise I'm gonna do an update on how that has been going for us soon, a whole episode on it. I promise. All right. But until then stay calm and Boless on. Bye.