WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A family visiting Legoland Florida said its son was pulled off a ride because of his insulin pump.
Bianca Geyerhahn and her family planned the trip to the Central Florida theme park to celebrate her son Rhys' seventh birthday.
The family member flew to Florida from New York over Memorial Day weekend. She said they arrived at the theme park late in the afternoon because of flight delays and only had a few hours to enjoy the attractions before the park closed.
Geyerhahn said her son and her 10-year-old daughter got on Mia's Riding Adventure, which the park's disability guide describes as an "extreme attraction targeted towards teenagers and adults with sudden stops, drops, and fast moving rotation."
The mother said a park employee pulled her son off the ride.
"The woman was like, 'He can't ride. He has this fanny pack.' I'm, like, 'It's not a fanny pack. It's an insulin pump,'" Geyerhahn said.
Geyerhahn said her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in September. She said the pump is smaller than a phone and is attached to his body. The device sits in a pouch that connects to a belt.
"I was trying to explain to them without much success that it's a medical device and we can't just take it off. It's something he has to have on," she said.
Geyerhahn said the family members spoke to several employees, who eventually told them to hide her son's pump. She said staff gave the family fast passes to get on the rides quickly before the park closed.
She said her son was upset and embarrassed.
"He had to hide something that I'm trying to teach him not to be ashamed of," Geyerhahn said. "I know there's no malice on the part of the employees at Legoland, but the fact that they had never heard of this is kind of shocking to me, considering they work in a park with kids."
A Legoland Florida spokesperson told News 6 the issue wasn't Rhys' insulin pump, but the pouch it is in. He called it a "loose article" and a safety concern on the rides.
According to the park's disability guide, "loose articles and attire are defined as any item that is not securely attached to the rider" and must be removed and stored either in pockets or provided cubbies before guests can ride. Items include "hats, nonprescription sunglasses, cameras or recording devices of any type even if it is attached to the guest, items of clothing tied around waist/body, bags or purses of any type or any size, cell phones and accessories, headphones, selfie sticks, fanny packs, lanyards, child leashes/harnesses, and fanny packs," the disability guide stated.
Geyerhahn believes the park should educate staff about insulin pumps and thinks the situation could have been handled better.
"I think they should understand it isn't an impediment to riding rides or doing anything," she said. "I want to make sure this never happens to another little kid again. I think he was humiliated and made to feel ashamed of his disability."
Legoland Florida sent News 6 the following statement:
"The safety of our guests and employees will always be our highest priority. We have many different types of rides that require their own unique safety restraints and protocols. Every situation is unique. We always encourage guests with special circumstances to reach out before their trip to see what accommodations can be made. We're sorry to hear about this experience. We've contacted the family and want to ensure that as a park, we are inclusive of everyone. We will take this feedback into account as we grow as a resort built for all kids."