Definition of a Disability: Feedback Friday

I swear, I find Feedback Friday topics every place I turn! Last week we vacationed in Florida and took the kids to Disney for several days. While standing in line for several rides I began to notice a similar theme in the wheelchair lines, and many people discussing it.

About 80% of the people in the the shortened wheelchair access lines happened to be morbidly obese. I heard many families express frustration as they stood in line waiting patiently with their children for rides, only to see an obese adult in a wheelchair speed right to the front of the line, jump right up, and board the ride.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines "disability" as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of [an] individual." It should be noted that many physical disabilities result from obesity that may require a wheelchair. Also the NCDDR released a study indicating, often, people with disabilities are more vulnerable to obesity.

The conversations I overheard all began to take on the same tone.

It's Feedback Friday...

Is obesity a disability that requires a trip to the front of a line?

Can a person in a wheelchair wait like the rest of the people in line?


  1. I have never seen so many people in my life on those motorized scooters as I did in my week at Disney. I didn't see them on the rides-just around the park.Many of them seemed to be new drivers too and were a little out of control-we had multiple near misses.

    It doesn't seem like waiting in line in a wheel chair would be a hardship, although after watching how some of them drove those things, I wouldn't want one behind me in line.

    I think the policy has to either be wheelchairs get a trip to the head of the line or not, but you can't make a policy based on why they are in the wheelchair.

  2. I'm a little confused - if they are so obese, how do they fit on most of the rides? I'm not trying to sound judgmental, but a lot of those rides are limited for this reason.
    I also struggle with society's definition of "disability" these days. I have a bro-in-law who recently found a way to get on disability.....yes, I said FOUND a way. It angers me. Our world today is so backwards in most things.
    Anyways, I agree with Trophy Wife - you can't make a policy based on why they are in a wheelchair.

  3. I don't think there should be a separate line. Why can't the regular line be wheelchair accessible? I think if a person can withstand the ride, they can withstand the line. I do understand for some disabilities this would not work. Last summer we ran into a family at our local amusement park with an autistic child who LOVED the roller coasters. Expecting her to wait in line would not have been a good idea and I didn't see anyone complain about her jumping ahead in line. However, I don't think every disability requires a jump to the head of the line. Obesity would most certainly be one of them. Not that I want to be the person who makes the call between who gets to go ahead and who doesn't. Tough one this week!

  4. *Takes a deep breath* I have such a hard time with this, mostly because my cousin is severely obese and acts like it's her god given right to utilize anything that might benefit her because of her size. She actually brags about how at theme parks she gets to skip the line because she uses the wheelchair! Last year at Cedar Point she squeezed in to a ride and ended up popping her knee out of place. She was up in arms that it was their fault and I am honestly surprised she didn't try to sue them. This is the same woman who went "trick or treating" with her children this past year driving a motorized scooter while eating chili. The scooter was her MIL's who actually has a health condition. I was appalled. There is a serious obesity problem that needs to be addressed in this country and until it does I think there are always going to be people like my cousin who abuse the system, claiming they have a "disability."

  5. 1. I don't think you can determine what a person's disability is by looking at them.

    2. If you have a disability line for one type, then you have to have it for all types, and refer back to no. 1.

  6. No amusement park wants to be accused of discriminating against the obese. That's why they allow this behavior to go on. And it is frustrating.

    Like many said, there are people out there with true disabilities and who deserve to go to the front of the line. But I have a hard time allowing it for some (excuse my language) overweight person who is smoking while carrying an oxygen tank. I don't want them running into me in line with their wheelchairs either though. So I think a separate line is fine, but a method that is not favoritism towards either line.

    Obesity does happen. But sometimes these people do it to themselves, and I don't think the end result should be special treatment for them.

    This is also why airlines don't want to charge for two seats for someone who can't fit in one.

  7. As a spouse of a paraplegic I agree with the suggestion above to make all the lines accessible. It's really lonely to be set aside to a separate line or different entrance to a restaurant. It can be very uncomfortable to have to go through the kitchen to get into the restaurant, or have to ring a bell at the accessible entrance to call someone to unlock the handicap door. If there isn't any barriers most disabled can wait in line with the rest. Great subject! Thanks

  8. Sorry, "aren't any barriers". Need to proofread better.

  9. I think that, like so many things in our society, there are always people who'll take advantage. There are children who deserve to get that special place in line...it's probably impossible to weed out the people just trying to work the system.

  10. I used to love your blog most days but due to the last few Feedback Fridays I'm going to have to unfollow... I often find them really judgmental and mean spirited. That's not why I followed your blog in the first place.

  11. I just started following your blog and I love Feedback Friday! Keep it going and much success to you ;)

  12. I disagree with Lo. The "Feedback Friday" posts are not mean spirited.

    Jen has always done a great job of sharing information in a neutral manner and letting her readers share their opinions. It's a blog, so Lo can unfollow if she likes, but I think she's in the minority.

  13. I don't see why they should get on a ride quicker because it's probably easier for them to wait than it is to all the children standing for ages. I will however so someone can be obese because of their condition. I have CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) before I got the disease I was 8 stone, now I way 12 stone. This increase has been down to my condition, the fatigue etc.

  14. Why are we so concerned with everyone else? They might get there before I do...They might get more than I do...They don't deserve to be here or have that. You can see where I am going with this. Obese people are typically people in some kind of emotional pain. We are so accepting of other kinds of pain and what people need. Why are we so hard on obese people? We can all fake nice but kindness is an investment. How is it really affecting your life?

  15. Chiming in just to say that I love Feedback Fridays. The topics are so versitile!


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