Thursday, July 31, 2008

Capper-Friendly Comic Con

First, let me explain the term "cappers." I heard a wheelchair bound woman use it once, talking about handicap accessible parking, calling it "capper parking" and referring to herself as a capper. I liked the simplicity and "coolness" of it.

Last weekend we all went to the San Diego Comic Con. The last time we went was 2 years ago, when Soren was 2 going on 3. While we knew about his disabilities, he was merely in a typical stroller, not a wheelchair. We had gone through the Registration Line like everyone else, is always long and annoying. Back then, we didn't even look for any sort of disabled help. I guess we weren't as immersed in special needs as we are now.

So when we went to register Friday morning, we gave ourselves a full hour to stand in line. As we headed to the Con, there were swarms of people. We actually passed the Disabled Services and kept walking, figuring we would go there if we needed something later. But when we tried to follow the able-bodied crowd to registration (which is up a LONG escalator), we were quickly directed back to Disabled Services. There we found the Land of the Comic Con Disabled. We gave them the staff our information and they went upstairs and got our passes. While we waited, we visited and chatted with other disabled folks. Within 20 minutes (probably less) we had our passes. They explained that if we wanted to go to panels, there were special places for wheelchairs and gave us little cards to put on our chairs so we could sit with Soren.

So we were ready to go. The only problem was, we still had 40 minutes to kill before the Con opened! If we'd only known! When the Con doors did open, they had the disabled folks get a "rolling" start before the able-bodied folks stampeded in.

We then went to get into a Powerpuff Girls panel. There was a HUGE line. I thought we were doomed. Then I remembered the special needs special spots. We were quickly brought in and they found a place where Soren and all of us could watch together. (I must admit, I did feel a bit guilty about this. I mean, all those folks were standing in line! For the next panels, I went alone and showed up early.)

It's rare that I find people with disabilities needs really catered to. I was really surprised and impressed by how the staff at Comic Con accommodated all of the cappers.



The McCues said...

Have to say that Disneyland was very accommodating when we recently visited the park. Just register at the Disneyland City Hall upon your first entrance to the park and get your pass good for a group of 6 to go into the accessible entrance. A few rides had full chair access while others were transfer access. The folks there had no problem having our group of 9 even take advantage of the pass.

Soren Patrick Rogers said...

I totally agree, Jim. We have been to Disneyland many times with Soren and had lots of success. In fact Moira is rather spoiled by doing the park this way and is now baffled when she has to get in line!

charlotte said...

That's encouraging news to hear about Comic Con being so accommodating and accessible! D's brother was too ill to attend with us again this year, but if he is able to make it next year, it will be a definite factor.

BTW: A comic book artist friend who is in a wheelchair (and was up for an Eisner Award! :) told us when we saw him at the Con that the biggest problem for him there is getting through the crowds, because people don't see him. They never look down and notice him there, politely trying to move himself along. So he has no real choice but to aggressively/rudely push his way through and just hope people have the sense to step out of his way!

I guess the Comic Con experience is a little different if you're there in a wheelchair by yourself vs. with friends/ family.