Including You: A Disability Rights Arkansas Podcast

Unpacking Accessible Travel Tips: Part 1

June 28, 2023 Disability Rights Arkansas Season 1 Episode 6
Including You: A Disability Rights Arkansas Podcast
Unpacking Accessible Travel Tips: Part 1
Including You: A Disability Rights AR Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

Summer has officially kicked off, and for a lot of people, that means travel. We don’t want that to intimidate anyone. Today our guests will share not just tips but real-world experiences from their travels, good and bad. 

Guests: 

  • Mollie Hernandez, Advocate
  • Jen Goodwin, Staff Attorney

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Lani Jennings-Hall:

At Disability Rights Arkansas, we are focused on guidance for people with disabilities on how to navigate your rights, things that help with your everyday life, and how to navigate the complex systems of how to get the support you need. I'm your host, Lani Jennings-Hall. In this podcast, Including You, we bring that information directly to you the listener on things like accessibility questions, career and care, and even the nuances of love life with a disability. Everyone has the right to know their rights, everyone, including you. And summer has officially kicked off for a lot of people. That means travel, and we don't want that to intimidate anyone. I'm joined by Jen Goodwin, DRA staff attorney.

Jen Goodwin:

yes, I will be more than happy to share a couple stories that have happened to me over the years.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

And Mollie Hernandez, an advocate here at DRA.

Mollie Hernandez:

Be loud and proud about your disability, let them know what you need, because you just can't assume that the accommodation is there and that it's going to meet your needs.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Both travel extraordinaires are here to share not just tips, but real world experiences from their travels, both the good and the bad. Thank you guys for joining me today here on including you. Guys, thank you so much for joining me today on including you. I'm so excited to have you guys on the podcast. So Jen, do you want to tell us just a little bit about yourself today?

Jen Goodwin:

Sure. My name is Jen Goodwin and I have a spinal cord injury. So I'm actually quadriplegic that happened when I was 25. So interestingly enough for this topic, I actually had done extensive traveling pre-injury. And so the differences between before my injury and after my injury are very, very different and experiences for sure. Before injury, I traveled and done study abroad in Australia and been all over the country traveling for work by myself so independently, and then now I require people to go with me on most trips and just trying to navigate airplanes and trains in new cities and all the different forms of transportation as a wheelchair user, as a power wheelchair user, I should add, because that does add an extra layer in there has been eye opening and a challenge. And I'm 15 years out from injury. And I'm still learning new tips and tricks. So hopefully something that we've experienced can help someone out there that can answer a question that you may have.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Yes, thank you, Jen. I'm so glad to have you on. I'm glad you pointed out you haven't stopped traveling, you traveled before injury and post injury and you're still finding new tips keep going. We're also joined here today by Mollie Hernandez. Mollie, do you want to give us a little bit about your background?

Mollie Hernandez:

Sure. My name is Mollie Hernandez, and I am blind due to a degenerative retinal condition. So I like Jen, kind of a lifelong traveler. But there were many years when I was low vision as opposed to blind. And it's sometimes wondering, okay, how do I accommodate this? Is it okay for me to ask for accommodation? Am I disabled enough situation and a lot of times having to kind of defend my need for accommodations when traveling because my disability wasn't very visible for a while. So there's that I also travel with a seeing eye dog, Boomer. So I have those experiences as well traveling with my guide dog. I'm a mom of two, and they're teenagers now. They're 15 and 17. And they don't remember me not being blind. So I have traveled with small children on it to teenagers as a blind parent. So that kind of adds another dynamic and level of fun to the picture when we travel. So yeah, Jen and I are so excited to get to do this topic for disability rights. And I think we'd like to let our bosses know that if they need some more extensive research into this topic, we're all in you know, we're happy to go anywhere to better inform our listeners.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Yeah, anything for work, right? Anything to just to be serious.

Jen Goodwin:

Mollie and I traveled together. So we enter a plane and a power wheelchair and with a service animal and the airline usually has no idea what to do with us at that point.

Mollie Hernandez:

Yes, yes, we have shocked some airlines when we come in mass on our work trips.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Let's start with air travel. So I know you guys have both had some very unique experiences. And Mollie, you kind of hit on it a little bit when you hit on your intro about advocating for yourself. Is this the same trip that you guys took together when you had back to back experience or were these separate ones?

Mollie Hernandez:

This was separate. I was actually flying alone without a guide dog. This was a few years past. In fact, I believe I was traveling to be matched with my guide dog at the time. And so I was traveling alone independently from Arkansas to New Jersey and when you travel with a disability and this is Something we can talk more about, or maybe I'll explain enough now, when you check in, you can explain that you have a disability and that you need an escort to and from the gate someone to assist you in navigating the airport. For our layover, because we live in Little Rock, very few things are direct out of Little Rock. So I did have a change over and I had to wait for my connecting flight. I was waiting for the person to come and assist me to get me from the gate that I was exiting the plane from to my next gate. And they did come and pick me up. But my problem was, I just assumed everyone realized that I was fine. And the person that assisted me that it had a wheelchair for me, which is fine, I don't mind because not everyone is really good at guiding a blind person using sighted guide, which is where you would walk from gate to gate. So I was fine, I was happy to use the wheelchair. And when we got to the final gate where I was supposed to get on my plane, we were kind of out in the waiting area, the person assisting me said you need to stand up now. And I just thought they meant okay, we're not going to drag the wheelchair down the tunnel, they're going to go park it. So I stood up and kind of turned around waiting to grab their arm so they could assist me the rest of the way, then they were gone. I had not properly educated them and advocated for myself saying, Hey, I'm a blind person, I'm going to need some physical assistance all the way to the plane. They were just gone. And I was just kind of there in no man's land. And of course, you can imagine how noisy airports are for me to even try and get my bearings. It was a frightening few seconds very, very long seconds before another passenger can actually came up and said, Are you blind? I just saw what happened. Do you need help? And of course, I was like, yes, please help me. And they guided me all the way to the plane, they actually told the flight attendant what happened and the flight attendant was very kind of came to me later and was like, That's unacceptable. And it was but I won't completely remove the fault for myself for not having properly advocated. So when you need an accommodation, be loud and proud about your disability, let them know what you need, because you just can't assume that the accommodation was there and that it's going to meet your needs. And with those people that do help us from from gate to gate, while this is not at all something you have to do if I get someone who is just stellar, because keep in mind, I'm the girl that was left, you know, alone. If I get someone who's gone above and beyond, I always keep a little cash in my pocket to give just a small tip just to say, hey, thanks this this, this was a good experience. So they're just escorts that get you where you need to go. One more thing that I forgot to say. And this is kind of a little known fact, if I'm flying by myself, of course, right when I check in, I can request an escort. But if whoever is tight has taken me to the airport, most likely my husband, if they have time to wait with me, they can get a gate pass. And they can be the person to escort me directly to my gate and then hand me off at the plane to the flight attendant. And again, you always like to be in familiar hands as long as you can. Because I mean, no one knows me better than my husband on how you know I like to, to be escorted or guided through through an unfamiliar area. So it's kind of a little known fact, it's been, gosh, probably like four years since I've done that that's the last time I think I flew by myself. But it was still a thing then. So anyhow, it's nice to know.

Jen Goodwin:

So with flying as a motor user, Mollie mentioned before about going through security. So for me whenever I go through security obviously can't stand up and go through the metal detectors. So I get a full on pat downs. So TSA and I become very familiar with each other. On that trip, they're required to tell me exactly what they're going to do. Every single time that they do it. I know their song and dance, but they have to do it to check that off their list. So it's a full pat down of both myself and my chair. They tried to get me to also give them all of my luggage so that they can I don't know why they hand dig through all of my luggage if I bring it through with me. But usually I will just hand that to my family and let them bring it through security for me so that it can just go through the rollers just like everybody else's so that it's not getting dug through rot out in the open with everyone. So I recommend that and the other thing is actually when I board the plane so I take my power chair down to the gate and onto the ramp but I can't take it onto the plane with me so they bring it's called an aisle chair because the aisles are only about 20 inches long or wide there and so it looks like a furniture dolly with a seat on it. So usually I let my family lifts me over but they are required to have somebody that can help you with that as well if you're on transfer over to the seat and so they lift me and put me over on the seat and then there's straps like buckles that criss cross across my chest down to my waist. And then they also go around my knees area to to hold my legs where they're supposed to be. And then they literally just took me backwards and we'll move on to the plane, as if it's a furniture dolly. With the priority seating, they usually sit me on the front row unless that's first class. And then they'll move me back to you know, whatever class I paid for, and sit on the front row there so that I had the bulkhead seating to be able to have extra room as needed for the transfer and all of that sort of stuff. That was a fun experience. Just a fun. Funny thing that happened to me at one point if they took me backwards, and they were hitting my hips on every armrests down the aisle. And so I asked the lady, I said, Oh, that hurts, you know, because she kept hitting me. And she said, Yeah, your hips are a little wide. Well, thank you for that you've made a girl feel really good today. Appreciate that. So. And while I'm the first person on the plane, I'm always the last person off of the plane. So it's usually a long experience. But I get to know the flight attendants really well, they're usually given extra snacks to my kids and hanging out and we just have a good time. So if you're open minded and willing to be pleasant, and you'll get some fun experiences with that. And then also I get a transport at times, again, I travel with two kids. So my family is often busy trying to get them navigated. And if I don't have my power chair at the gate, we have a tight layover, then I will just take one of the chairs from the airport. And with those, they're not self propelled, you have to have someone push you. And so sometimes I've gotten people who are just happy go lucky and cruising along, and my name is being called overhead. And I tell them to step on it, they've got hurry. And then other times I have people who are like, maybe coming through there, bull dozing people in the airport, so it's always fun to see what kind of adventures it's gonna be.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

No, that's a great point. And I do want to hit just a second on the Air Carrier Access Act. So I don't know exactly what year, Jen do you happen to know what your that was introduced? By chance?

Jen Goodwin:

I don't.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

So it does state that all domestic and international flights that have the US as the destination or origination point are required to provide necessary accommodations to people with disabilities to ensure safe travel. Now, in saying that, not all planes have the same accommodations, but you got to know you got to know to advocate for yourself. Not all air travel experiences are bad as Mollie hit, you just have to advocate for yourself, but you need to be aware ahead of time and have some expectations.

Jen Goodwin:

Yes, I will be more than happy to share a couple of stories that have happened to me over the years. So first of all, I do want to back up, you know, Molly mentioned that you should mention your disability and what your needs are whenever you get to the gate. But I want to add that it should actually start before that. I actually just booked flights for my family. And I should also add, by the way that I travel with two small children myself now. So I have a two year old and a seven year old. So that certainly adds an extra layer in there, we're traveling. And again, they look at me a little sideways. So whenever I come through the gates, but that's okay, we always make it work. But whenever I booked my travel, there's a place to click a button that allows you to open up the accessible travel questions. And one of the things that it says is, are you a Wheelchair user? And so I click Yes on that. And then it opens up more questions. So it asked if I'm going to need aisle assistance. And I'll explain more about that in just a second. And then ask if I'm going to need to borrow a chair or if I'm bringing my own it ask it's if it's a power chair or a manual chair, and then what kind of batteries I use, because that will determine where they need to be stored on the plane. And if they have to be removed from the plane or from the chair before flying. So those are some of the big questions. I know that they do have questions on there as far as if you are blind as well. And if you'll be traveling with a service animal, so I just saw those last night. So that is something that when you book your travel, you should do that at that point. But don't think that it's just going to get done. As Mollie said, When you get to check in at the airport, go ahead and make sure that they have all of your needs out there. So there'll be prepared and then also, when I get to the gate, I make sure that the gate agent knows everything too, because I've just traveled enough to know that this information gets lost in translation a lot and as many people that I can talk to, the easier my travel is going to be for me and my family. So we always try to do that to be proactive every step of the way. But we'll tell you what happened with the Air Carriers Access Act at one point. Part of what the Air Carriers Access Act, the ACAA says is that you can travel with medical equipment for free, and so I always have medical supplies that I have to have for my disability to be able to live and function whenever I go on trips. And it's more than what your average person needs whenever they go on a trip. And so like, I might need a shower chair or something like that, well, those things should travel for free. And on this particular trip actually called ahead of time through the disability guest services through the particular airline that I was traveling with just to follow their policy, I wanted to make sure that I knew what their policy was, so that there wouldn't be any hitches in the plan. So I got to the airport, I had the law on my side, and I had their company policy on my side. But I did not have a gate agent on my side. So the check in person told me that I will be charged for those bags. So I will tell you, one of the caveats is in that bag, it can only be medical equipment. So you can't pack your clothes, can't pack your shoes, whatever else in the same bag with your medical supplies. So you're still responsible for any of those bag charges that might be there. But any bag that is strictly dedicated to medical should be able to fly for free with you. And so I told them that whenever I checked in because I checked on the policy, I knew what my rights were. And they still tried to charge me for the bag. And so in Little Rock, I stood at the gate forever waiting on the girl to check me in our guests check in booth to get checked in for my flight. And she insisted on calling management, she sat on hold forever. And then finally one of the guys that was standing there was like, move over. Because I looked at him and I don't normally do this. But I pulled out my disability attorneys card to let him know that I probably didn't know what the law was. And I didn't want to be a disability rights attorney today, I wanted to be a passenger on an airplane today. But my hat goes with me wherever I go. So I will be whatever I need to be today. So, he saw that he told the girl to move aside, he was gonna get me checked in on my plane, it was gonna take care of my bags for me. And she's like, No, no, I'll do it. And he said, No, you missed your opportunity. I'm taking care of this girl, and she's going to be flying on her way. And so I really appreciated that well on my flight home from Sacramento, I went through the same ordeal telling them at the gate that you know, I needed to be able to carry my medical bag home. And that girl stopped and told me no. I told her what their policy was told her what the law was she called her manager over. And the quote from the manager that day was, "well, when they know the law, we have to follow it." And I just laughed when she said, because that summed up so much that's wrong in this country. And so it was really, it was just funny to me at that point. So that goes to tell you that know your rights, know the law before you travel.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

And pushing back too, because it wasn't like your first and second attempt, you just had to keep advocating and keep pushing for it.

Jen Goodwin:

Yes. And just because we know our rights and the laws does not mean that the employees there do, though they should.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

DOT statistics from 2021 reported, This is a huge number, 33,631 disability related complaints, and over half of those complaints reported related to failure to provide adequate assistance to travelers using a wheelchair.

Jen Goodwin:

Wow.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I mean, that's just,that's ridiculous. There are some perks though, you guys have talked about the pre boarding you are first on so make sure as as she had mentioned when you are getting your tickets, and everything that you do correctly fill that out so that you can board correctly. That it will be important.

Jen Goodwin:

So when I go to board, I make sure this one I tell them actually at the gate that I will need pre boarding. And so sometimes it makes other travelers a little mad if they've paid to be first on the plane or whatever. But I'm usually the very first person and everyone in my party comes with me, too, because I need their help I need their assistance. And my two small children need to be sitting with me, they can't be separated from me on the plane. And so that process is pretty involved as well. I always take my power chair to the gate if I'm flying with a power chair instead of a manual. And usually I asked to speak to the person who's going to be transporting my chair, because this is a $20,000 wheelchair that weighs 400 pounds. And I need it to work for me whenever I get to wherever I'm going. So I want to talk to as many people as possible to make sure that they know how to handle this chair appropriately and laying it on its side or picking it up by its seating base is not the way to handle it because it's been broken probably six times by the airlines in the times that I've flown and usually it's the tilt on it that gets broken and that's something that I really need. I use it in and out all day every day for pressure relief and positioning in my chair. So I end up stuck on a vacation or work trip or whatever without a function that I really need because they don't get fixed that quickly either. So I always also I have a sheet that I've typed up that has my name and phone number on it. And it has specific instructions for how to turn the chair on how to put it in a manual mode. And then I'll also tell them how to recline the seat back so that it will fit under the plane without having to be flipped on its side. And so I usually do it on a bright neon yellow piece of paper and have it rubber banded in a large gallon sized plastic baggie so that it's not going to get wet. So I'm gonna get damaged. And it's going to be seen plus I talked to the first guy who's going to be taking it and actually putting it on. And usually I feel like when they meet me, and they have a person in mind, for who that chair belongs to, they're going to be more likely to handle it appropriately. But on the other side of the landing, it's going to be different people. So they don't have that luxury. That's why they have a note that tells them exactly what to do. And they're the ones that have to give me the bad news when they damage it. So hopefully, they're pretty careful with it as well. And honestly, since I've been doing that it has really cut down on the number of times that my chair has been damaged. But I also always watch out the window. And I've gotten to see how it's handled on numerous occasions. And it is dumbfounding. Sometimes, like well, there goes my tilt as the band flipped on its side and put up a conveyor belt. So good times. But one more fun story that I have to share is I was on a plane, we were taxiing down the runway, and overhead comes the pilot who tells us that we are going back for an important piece of equipment that has been left behind. And I jokingly said to my family, Oh, I wonder if they forgot my chair. And the flight attendant said, Yep, it's your chair. Set me back to the insurance to get my chair and have it loaded on. I'm just so glad that we weren't in the air when that happened. Because if I got to the other side with no chair and landing, that would have been a nightmare. But I'm also proud that the pilot recognizes the importance of that and was willing to taxi back and get my legs essentially for me to bring in that plane.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Question If they hadn't had caught it. And like if you had been in the air, like are they supposed to do something to provide you some form of wheelchair?

Jen Goodwin:

So what has happened in the past whenever they've broken my chair, and I assume that it would be the same if they just completely misplaced or forgot it would be that they would call a rental company and have them come to the airport and bring an incomparable power chair there for me to use. But depending on where you are and what time you get in, that's going to determine if those things were available. So I honestly just hope and pray that that never happens. Because even when I've borrowed chairs, places, it's like driving someone else's car that it takes a little bit to get used to a different chair. And so it's always you know, learning curve for sure.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Mollie, I want to pass over to you as well. Because I know you've taken Boomer you're seeing eye dog on trips with do you want to talk a little bit about service animals in the airport?

Jen Goodwin:

Absolutely. So according to the air carrier access act, dogs are the only animals that are considered service animals and the airport or the airline can require a couple of different forms from you. And like Jen said, when you are booking your flight, you can and should inform them that you are bringing a dog, there are two different forms and there are samples that you can see online and then of course, you can actually access the actual forms to have them. One is just to certify that your dog is vaccinated, it is trained that it does not have a tendency for aggression, and that you do will keep your dog under your control at all times that it will be attached to a leash or a tether at all times. The second form is another one it's a little different and it's kind of where you attests that your dog can go long periods of time without needing to relieve themselves that they wouldn't be prone to an accident on an airline. However, they're animals, you know, accidents can happen and I do advise take a little doggie emergency kit have some Clorox wipes and some paper towels, you know anything that you might need. Most airports these days do have doggie relief areas within the secured area so that you don't actually have to go back out of the airport to find physical green space. And in truth, most of these dogs can go very long periods of times if necessary without having to relieve themselves and we do take steps to reduce food reduce water a little bit, kind of like we do as people you know to avoid having to go too much. So there are steps to take other things with traveling with a guide dog. When you have an escort through the airport, you do need to alert them to things like you want to use elevators even if they're Are escalators or moving walkways available, those can risk your dogs toes, we have trained to do those things when necessary with our dogs, if there are alternatives, use the alternatives, it's better. Let's talk a little bit about going through security. What I tell everyone is when I get rushed is when I'm most likely to get hurt, I'm gonna get distracted from the signals that Boomer is trying to give me on navigating security, it just always feels very, very rushed, and not so much by the TSA personnel, but just by the other travelers. So it's another time to fully advocate for yourself with a guide dog, and it's never appropriate for them to say, Let me hold your dog and you go through, you know, what I do is, I changed my dog's leash up to a long leash, which gives me about three feet to work with, I'll make him sit. And I'll just hold the leash while I've walked through the metal detector. And then I'll call him to me holding the leash. So typically, there's a TSA agent at the other end of the metal detector to kind of direct me because I'm not working the dog at that time, I'm just heeling him, you know, helping, you know, just hanging on to them as we go through these things. And then what they'll do is after Boomer comes through, they'll do kind of a physical pat down of him just kind of checking his harness and things, making sure that there's nothing hidden underneath this harness. So it's one of those things, again, advocate for yourself, most of the personnel is really, really good. And I always feel like they're actually excited to get a moment to interact with the dog up close and personal. It depends, you know, I always offer do you need the harness off, I can take the harness off, you know, we've got that down to an art, it only takes a few seconds, but there are people with some some mobility issues, and it might be a bigger deal. So share them, you know, it's okay to touch my dog, it's fine. And that's kind of how you get through security. But again, just don't get in a hurry, always let people know, this, this is your time, you know, you've got a system, don't, don't let them mess with your system. So I'll come through first, then I'll bring my dog or however you were trained at your own school. Then when we do get to our gate, and it's time to board, I do pre board for people that need assistance. So once we get in at do take the dogs harness off boomers, a big dog, he's almost 80 pounds, and he's just a big lanky guy. So I take his harness off to make sure that he's comfortable. And then I sit him down, facing me, and then make him lay down and then I'll kind of push his little bottom up underneath the seat in front of me where other people might still a carry on bag. That's where Boomer goes. And I always let their flight attendant know to kind of be careful with the harness. I mean, they're they're fairly durable. But if someone's doing heavy baggage on top and stuff like Jen, if if something happened to that harness and don't have a way to communicate with my dog, air communication goes through that harness handle that pull that I get from him. So if that harness is broken, that's a problem. So I always try and make people aware, you know, please make sure that the harness is stored safely. I keep a few things for Boomer on the plane with me. They they feel the pressure changes just like we do in our ears. If I noticed him starting to do that head shake, like you would think a dog would do with an ear infection or something. I give them a couple of dog cookies or something just to you know, help them swallow and pop those ears. When the flight attendants come by and offer drinks, they usually get a cup of ice for the dog or save some of mine so that he has a little something to wet his mouth. He can't really drink, but just something for him to chomp on that most times. In fact, truly, every time Boomer just sleeps the whole way he's very, very well behaved. He is attached to me at all times. So yes, I've put the harness away but he is always on leash the dog always needs to be under my control. Flight Attendants dote on him. So I know as much as we say what goes wrong. There are so many people that are very helpful and very knowledgeable. So in fact, I actually one of my guide dogs. We didn't realize at the time that he was he was coming down with with an illness called Addison's disease but he got sick on a plane through and the flight attendant was lovely she was like it's no big deal it happened right at the end of the flight she was like we have a cleaning crew Don't Don't worry about it at all. I mean, I was it's that mom instinct it was like oh my gosh look what my kid did but you know it's a dog and they were so sweet. So no matter how you prepare things may go sideways but it's it's alright you know, if you start stressing while you travel that transfers to your service animals so so keep it cool make it enjoyable because don't remember that for subsequent trips have been Boomer gets excited when we travel and he gets excited when he sees the suitcases come out in the house. So just remember your your stress and anxiety does transfer. So, you know, it's, it's not always a fun thing to travel, especially that airline because a lot of stuff is out of your control. But it's something that we all need to do just to be a part of our community. It's important.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

You had mentioned that sometimes you bring in a little emergency bag for Boomer, oryou kind of suggested it? Is that one of the types of bags that would fly free or is it only medical equipment.

Jen Goodwin:

So his harness, things like that would qualify as medical equipment, I've never really had to push it that much. But to my understanding if I wanted to bring a small carry on that included his dog food for the trip, and feeding bowls, things like that, that would qualify for my little emergency pack that I keep it's just something small in a ziplock that I throw in a backpack. But if I needed to be gone an extended amount of time, I think it's arguable. I haven't actually checked what the Air Carrier Access Act says or the airline's policy on it. But I certainly think it's arguable I have been known to go over my whatever it is 40 pound 50 pound limit with baggage and sweet talk that check in person and say okay, I'm really sorry. But there's dog food in there. That's sure it's the dog food that made me go over and you know, they're kind. So because dog food is heavy, but usually it's my return trip and souvenirs that make me go over. But also a dog crate something like that would be counted as medical equipment for a service animal.

Mollie Hernandez:

Absolutely. Yes.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

I know I've specifically heard about your your trips to Disney with Boomer. Do you just want to maybe give a final anecdote about some fun travel with Boomer.

Jen Goodwin:

Boomer has made his maiden voyage to Disney during the pandemic in fact, and a shout out to Disney for their accessibility, especially for the blind and your dog gets into the park. There are even certain rides that you can take with your dog, you do need an Access Pass and ease of access, which makes it a little easier to board and get off of certain rides. There's that's for some of the rides that are a little scarier than it wouldn't be appropriate to make a dog ride. You can do what's called a rider swap, which means I would hold my dog and part of my party would take the ride and then they would come out hold my dog and then I would ride with other people in my party or my kids like it when there's not a lot of crowds. And basically they get to run twice in a row. If we do right or slop. There's also options where you can leave your service animal in a crate right there where you would get on the ride. And that has worked out well for me to just putting him in the crate just for the duration of the rides. There's always an attendant there talking with him keeping him company, they have some dog cookies, they ask if it's okay to give. So those things go great at Disney. Just make sure to get that access pass. I can tell you on one of my very first trips to Disney taking my first guide dog we were going through and my kids were little we had that big double stroller that you could rent at Disney at the time. And my son was four and we were walking through the crowd and I had my guide dog. My husband had the stroller. And as we met someone, this lady looked at my dog and she was like, oh my goodness, what a beautiful service animal. My son, he turned around and he said that is not a circus animal. He's a seeing eye dog. So he had never heard service animal before and thought it was a circus animal. He made sure to educate so our household Even my kids know how to advocate for the guide dog.

Lani Jennings-Hall:

That's fantastic. Thank you Jen and Mollie, and thank you listeners. Now as you can tell there's so much to cover when talking about traveling, make sure to tune into our next episode. The second part of this conversation as we talk about booking hotels, Airbnb's, tackling beach and much more. You don't want to miss it. At Disability Rights Arkansas, we envision an Arkansas where people with disabilities are equal members in their communities and can dictact their lives through self determination. And as made clear in this podcast, we can't create that change without bringing self advocates to the table. If you're interested in more information, make sure to subscribe to this podcast and visit our website. And don't forget to leave a five star rating and a review