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Is Disneyland Anti-Disability?

30 June 2017

Memorial Day at Disneyland (2013).
Those of you who followed my short lived Vlog might remember my review of the beautiful Disneyland winter holidays experience in 2015 thanks to the Disney Public Relations Team.  Fast forward a year and a half and I have submitted three requests to Disney to review Disneyland's accessibility for walkers, wheelchairs and those of us who have troubles with standing long due to auto-immune diseases such as Fibromyalgia. Each time I have been denied without explanation. I have replied immediately asking for an explanation but alas those replies have been ignored by Disney's Public Relation Team.

So, it got me thinking that perhaps Disney has something against the disabled and that was why I was denied. Why else would I be denied after being accepted just a year earlier with practically the same statistics (and walking)?
Dapper Day 2013.
You wouldn't think so with the Mouse's dedication to making Disneyland "The Happiest Place on Earth" (for everyone). However, stranger things have happened. I performed numerous internet searches over the last year and a half that I have been trying to get approved by the PR team. Personally my research interest has changed as my disabilities have changed: from 'simply' having Fibromyalgia and not being able to stand for long periods of time in queues to needing to use a walker to needing to use a wheelchair.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found several message board postings on the topic and several blog posts about the Disability Access Service Card. But there was NOTHING on Disneyland's website about either disease or any similar diseases. And lets not forget all the lawsuits Disney faces over their treatment of Autistic children.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with a walker, I found fewer message board postings and no blog posts on the topic. And the only thing a search on their website for "walker" brings up is: FAQ: Permitted Items. Ouch! I even emailed Disney Public Relations to ask about how guests with walkers are supposed to get around and if there were limitations on what attractions they could go on, etc. Guess what? I NEVER heard back from Disney. And this was an email I sent twice!

Finally, when I needed my wheelchair, I did another search online. On Disneyland's website, I searched their Services For Guests With Mobility Disabilities page (under Guest Services) and found only information on which rides were accessible and by which means (i.e. ambulatory, transfer from wheelchair/ECV or wheelchair/ECV accessible) and details on the disabled parking options at the resort. But what about information on restaurant seating availability, parade/fireworks watching areas, etc.?

A Google search led me to even more confusing reviews... One blog (10 down on the first page of results) briefly mentioned the Access Service Card, guide maps and the attraction access categories. Another lady (#4 down on the first page) briefly covered the details found on Disneyland's website and offered four tips for Disneyland Resort hotels but that was all. And lastly, on TripAdvisor there were two reviews from 2012 and 2013. The 2012 reviewer was helpful in describing how hard it is for wheelchair users to navigate the queues at California Adventure without banging into the chain ropes. She also explained the craziness at Splash Mountain where single riders were picked before disabled guests which was interesting and good to know! The 2013 reviewer was short and to the point saying that the parks were "not set up very well for wheelchair bound persons."

An interesting article on TIME's website entitled "Does Disneyland Discriminate Against the Disabled?" caught my attention. A lady who needed a Segway vs a wheelchair/ECV was denied by Disney and her case made its way to the federal appeals court.

Ariel's Grotto, 2013.
So what now? After 3 requests for tickets to review Disneyland's accessibility being rejected for no given reason, several e-mails requesting information about guests using walkers/canes, guests who cannot stand for long lengths of time in queues (eg. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cervical Stenosis) and guests with wheelchairs not being answered, I have to wonder does Disneyland have something against the disabled community? And as a last point, when was the last time you saw a cast member at Disneyland or Walt Disney World using a wheelchair or walker? Yes, there was the lady in a wheelchair who was part of the Aladdin stage show. But what about cast members working restaurants, retail shops and/or attractions?

I hope this is just a random experience and everyone else who has requested tickets and/or asked questions about disabilities has been accepted and received responses. If I ever can make it to the parks with my disabilities, I will be sure to let you guys know how it goes! Until then, 

Shame on You, Twitter!

28 June 2017

In a country where we have "freedom of speech", Twitter has chosen that they gets to decide which ideologies they want to support and promote.

For those of you who are not sure what "Freedom of Speech" means, according to Wikipedia:
Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship.

Twitter's mission statement:
To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Recently, Live Action (a pro-life organization) wanted to pay Twitter to run an ad and were denied, calling them "offensive" and "Inflammatory" and told them they needed to delete their tweets!

See what Lila Rose had to say to Fox News' Tucker Carlson:

No matter your view points, you have to agree to Freedom of Speech is one of our fundamental rights as Americans. And when companies like Twitter violate that freedom by choosing sides (Hillary Clinton vs. WikiLeaks and now Live Action vs. Planned Parenthood) they are crossing a slippery and dangerous line!!


Island Packers: Whale Watching (PICTURES)

27 June 2017

Hi guys!
I'm back with a HUGE post of photos from my incredible whale watching tour courtesy of Island Packers.

We've covered the logistics, their fabulous accessibility accommodations onboard and now lets look at the gorgeous marine life and the beautiful Pacific Ocean that you'll be seeing on your own whale watching tour!

Because there are so many photos, please continue here...

Whale Watching: Accessible Review

25 June 2017

Ladies and gents, have I got a treat for you! Last Sunday, I had the privilege of going out on Island Packers' 65' power catamaran for some once in a lifetime whale watching.

Being that I am currently using a wheelchair when getting around, I did some digging around online but alas there was zilch to be found about other people's accessible experiences whether with Island Packers or their competitor, Condor Express.

And I am very happy to share that the experience with Island Packers was A class from start to finish!

Upon arrival, at the Ventura harbor, we found ample handicap parking on either side of the Island Packers' facilities (even after several other boats had set sail earlier that day). Making our way inside, we were greeted by a colorful and welcoming gift shop well stocked with hats, clothing, and trinkets and a main desk where travelers could check in for their day's adventure.

At the main desk, the young lady (Leah) who helped us immediately noticed my wheelchair and told us that she would radio the crew and let them know so they could let me onboard early. How nice! I had not expected such a helpful bit of kindness but it would definitely be very much welcomed.

Later while my dad and I were enjoying the view and waiting for boarding to start, the same young lady approached us and introduced us to the volunteer who was at the front of the queue. Again, such great and attentive service!!

A short while later, the volunteer beckoned us forth, introduced us to a kind gentleman from the crew and we were soon wheeling down the gangway. **Advisement: The gangway is wheelchair accessible but still can be quite tricky and steep so it would be best to have a companion assist you slowly down the ramp. The volunteers and crew were at all times very accommodating and offering their assistance too.**

Once we had made our way to the beautiful catamaran, Island Explorer, we met a couple members of the crew, Andrea and Captain Lee, who were very accommodating and friendly helping me get onboard and recommending where best to sit for the journey. They suggested I sit outside on one of the stern's middle benches for the best view of the water and marine life. There are also inside seating that might be preferable for some with coverage from the elements but I noticed those indoor views were often obstructed by people standing on the sides of the boat.

So if you are like me and will not be able to maneuver around the boat with the majority of the day guests, I would happily suggest sitting on one of the benches and letting a crew member tie up your wheelchair (or walker) on the railings.

The benches can be unforgiving and if you aren't able to get up and stretch, I'd suggest bringing a seating pad and/or lumbar support pad.

And it is helpful that the two washrooms (one is wheelchair accessible) are just feet away from the bench.

Again, I cannot recommend Island Packers' whale watching tours and their excellent crew and volunteers enough! Everyone was so helpful getting me on and off the boat and I was grateful to a couple of their naturalist volunteers who made a point of coming up to me and pointing out different things I could see from the boat's stern.

I tried reaching out to their Santa Barbara competitor, Condor Express, about their accessibility but have only had stealth silence so I cannot even think of them as a competitor.

If you are looking for an accessible whale watching tour out of Southern California, Island Packers gets two huge thumbs up!!

For more specifics about Island Packers' whale watching tours, check out my previous post here.

Photos from my tour will be coming soon!!

Until then, Joy x

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Cherryl and Island Packers for the complimentary tickets. All photos and opinions are my own.

eShakti: Petite Perfection!

17 June 2017

Good morning, fellow fashionistas!

June 2015, I had the pleasure of reviewing a dress from online retailer, eShakti, and was pleased as punch to follow up with a 2nd review this June as well.

Now that we know that eShakti does a great job of customizing clothing sizes 0-36W exactly to your own physical measurements, I wanted to see how they did in customizing the length of dresses for petite ladies such as myself (5'1").
Anyone who is petite will agree that it is almost impossible to find a dress that falls just right at our feet. And good news, ladies! The online fashion house does a great job of creating long summery dresses that won't have to be hemmed nor will you be tripping over them time and again.

Unfortunately, the dress I am wearing (day sky print) is not in stock anymore. That is one of the problems with eShakti, in that fabrics seem to run out quickly and rarely are replenished.

Thankfully, eShakti is constantly introducing new patterns and outfits that you can customize to your own desire. For this dress in particular, I changed the deep v neck to a regular v neck for modesty.

I have so many favorites among the new print dresses that I cannot even begin to share a choice two. So take a peek yourself!

Enjoy! And be sure to grab the $25 gift coupon and free shipping codes for new customers!!

xx Joy

Disclaimer: Thanks to eShakti for the complimentary sample. All photographs and opinions are my own.

Summer Fun: Whale Watching!

12 June 2017

(c) Island Packers.
Summer is here in 8 short days... And there are so many incredible and exciting ways to enjoy the summer holidays with your friends and family.

One that I am super excited about is...

Whale Watching !!!
(c) Island Packers.
I have personally never done this before but l am looking forward to taking my dad on an ISLAND PACKERS CRUISE out of the Ventura Harbor this Sunday for Father's Day, their first summer whale watching excursion.

Island Packers Cruises' summer whale watching tours are six hours on the water (remember, the channel can sometimes be rough). They depart from the Ventura Harbor on a 65' power catamaran.

The boats and dock ramp (at Ventura Harbor) are handicap accessible.

I look forward to having a full detailed accounting about my trip this coming Sunday (18 June) next week.  In the meanwhile, check out their website to see the various tours they offer (including a 4th of July fireworks trip).

(c) Island Packers.
See below for some helpful pre-trip policies from the website:
All Trips
  • Food Service is available on the boat. Cash or credit cards are accepted
  • Wear low heel rubber soled shoes with good tread. (No high heels)
  • Dress casually and in layers of clothing for cold and/or warm weather. Sunscreen is suggested.
  • Bring a warm jacket/coat and hat.  A lightweight raincoat is suggested for sea spray in the winter.
  • Cameras and binoculars are great to bring along.
  • Check with your doctor for appropriate sea sickness medication if you feel it necessary.
Non Landing Wildlife and Whale Watching Trips
  • You may bring lunch, snack and non-alcoholic beverages for your time aboard.
  • Please no glass containers for everyone's safety.

ACCESSIBILITY: The Ventura Harbor is handicap accessible with ramps as is their 64' power catamaran (summer whale watching tours). FYI -- the Oxnard Harbor is NOT handicap accessible.**

Until next time!
Joy x

Zulilly: Feeling Patriotic?

07 June 2017

Hello friends!
Can you believe it is already June?? Where does the time go?

Today, in preparation for the summer holidays including 4th of July, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite new tunics from Zulily favorite "Simply Couture".

American Flag Sidetail Tunic.


A fluttering hem creates alluring movement, while a lightweight cotton blend keeps you cool.

Side Note: This item runs large. I usually wear a medium but found the small worked just fine.

The tunic is available in plus sizes for $29.99 (as of 7 June 2017).

The regular sized tunic is currently not available but save it to your wishlist and you never know if it'll reappear at any time. In the meanwhile, check out Simply Couture's feminine and romantic current outfits on Zulily.

I currently have the "pink lace pleated tunic" (but in white) and absolutely adore it.

What do you think of patriotic clothing?
xo Joy

Afternoon Tea: Tranquility Tea Room

01 June 2017

An afternoon spent at Thousand Oaks' Tranquility Tea Room is sure to be a pleasurable one for all involving fragrant tea, delicious edibles and enchanting themed teas. For my birthday in April, my friend L graciously invited me out for tea at the local tea room and I eagerly accepted. You could hardly say no to girl time and a spot of tea.💜

Tranquility Tea Room hosts five themed teas each year in addition to an annual Mother's Day tea. I have previously enjoyed their "Once Upon a Tea" and "The Wizard of Oz" menus. They also have a "Tinkerbelle Tea", "Mad Hatter's Tea Party", and "Christmas Tea Party".

Each themed tea has different decor, featured tea flavors in keeping with the theme, and five unique tea sandwiches with fillings that represent the party's theme.

At this particular occasion, we were there for the "Once Upon a Tea" and each table was decorated to represent a different fairy tale such as: Rapunzel (our table for 2), Sleeping Beauty and Beauty & The Beast.

There are 6 different tea options for purchase (ranging from $16.95 - $28.95 per person) and they offer a $2 off coupon online for their premium Deluxe Tea.

Should you have a dietary need, there are: a Gluten Free Deluxe Tea, an option to substitute 3 sandwiches for a Quiche Lorraine ($5.00), or you could substitute several sandwiches for a salad ($4.50 - $9.00).

My main complaint is that the Deluxe Tea only offers ONE scone whereas most tea rooms offer two scones with their premium tea offerings. And considering how scrumptious the fruit scone was, there would have been no complaint had there been a second one. Also, there was no option given between a fruit scone and a plain one.

Each attendee may choose a personal pot of tea that will be refilled as many times as you like during your visit by the charming servers. I noticed the "Ode to Joy" tea on the list and given that it was my name I had to give it a try. And I was not disappointed in the least.

Should you like your chosen tea or want a fun keepsake, the tea room also offers a mini shop in the front room with scone mixes, bags of loose-leaf tea, tea scrunchies, and more.

At our tea, the sandwiches were all good with fresh bread but my personal favorite had to be the "Caramel-Apple Brie with Pecans on Potato". Thankfully, this is a popular sandwich that is offered at several other of the themed teas. Of the dainty desserts, I loved the creamy lemon tart. And the fact that Tranquility Tea Room uses fresh roses and flowers in their decor adds a special touch.

Two thumbs up to our young male server who was attentive, helpful with taking photos, and eagerly shared tidbits about the different tea pots and his favorite tea choices. He also let us know that there were extra scones for sale that we eagerly purchased.

A local favorite is that the tea room is filled with fanciful hats, gloves, tiaras, and boas! You can of course bring your own hats and/or fascinators (as I did) but there is always fun especially with a large group of ladies to dress up and snap dozens of fun photos that will surely grace your Facebook and/or Instagram feeds.

Since the tea room can only seat 32 ladies (and gentlemen), reservations are a must. The tea room needs at least 24-hour advanced notice.

Reservations (windows of 2 hours) are available:
Monday - Saturday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

For reservations call: 805-418-9939. If you need any children teas, gluten free teas, and/or special requests please be sure to let them know when you make reservations.

Tranquility Tea Room also offers catering and tea-to-go options if you cannot make it to the tea room yourself. In particular, as someone who is currently using a wheelchair, I cannot make it up the stairs to the tea room either in the front room or back room (6 stairs), I am interested in testing out the tea-to-go option soon and will be sure to share all with you, my fair readers and friends.

The tea room is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible but they do offer a wheelchair catering discount.

Tranquility Tea Room
Address: 2527 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Driving Directions:

Exit Hampshire North from the 101
Left on Thousand Oaks Boulevard
Right on 2nd Street "N.Oak View Dr"
Use 2nd driveway on the right
They are Located Upstairs ***There is no elevator

I hope you have enjoyed my review of Thousand Oaks' Tranquility Tea Room. If you are in the area, be sure to look them up and perhaps you too can enjoy a couple hours over tea.

The current tea is: Mad Hatter's Tea Party (June - August).

And be sure to mark your calendars for my other favorite, Wizard of Oz Tea (September - November). You can see some photos from my 'giving thanks' tea party in the front room below.

Until next time,
Joy x

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