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From 'legend' to 'dangerous': Mom sparks debate after breastfeeding on Disney ride

Meredith Barnyak was captured on camera breastfeeding her baby while riding the Frozen Ever After ride at Epcot.

Meredith Barnyak, the mom captured in a viral photo, breastfed her baby on a ride at Disney World's Epcot park. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Meredith Barnyak, the mom captured in a viral photo, breastfed her baby on a ride at Disney World's Epcot park. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A mom has sparked a fiery debate on social media after she was caught breastfeeding her baby on a Disney World ride.

Meredith Barnyak — a mother of two from Pittsburgh — was visiting the Orlando, Fla. park earlier in November with her family. That included her kids, Graham, 3 and Poppy, 1, along with her husband, mother and step father, according to Today.

She was riding the Frozen Ever After boat ride at Epcot with her one-year-old when all of a sudden her baby started pulling on her shirt.

"I thought, 'OK, it's dark out. We're all humans. We're all honestly going to enjoy the ride a lot better, and you'll be happier being fed,'" Barnyak told Today, explaining she often breastfed whenever and wherever she needed to.

But mid-way through the ride, she noticed a flash.

"I was like, 'Oh no, I think all these people have a picture of (me) breastfeeding my baby on this ride,'" she said.

Barnyak's cousin, Jo Goddard, runs a lifestyle site named Cup of Jo, and with her permission, Goddard took to Instagram with the photograph.

"My cousin [Meredith Barnyak] being an absolute mom on this Disney ride," Goddard captioned her post made on Nov. 10, along with several heart, gold cup and flexed biceps emojis.

Hundreds of people shared their thoughts on the comments of the post — but not all of them were supportive of Barnyak's move.

"She clearly did this for the sole purpose of attention. These rides are less than a minute. No way was her baby all of a sudden starving after 30 seconds. ... Parents should really put their babies first instead of attention on social media," one person wrote.

"Being an absolute mom? You want attention and credit for this? As if it’s some kind of super hero moment? ... The cries for attention are getting worse," another added.

"Not to be a stick in the mud but this seems...kinda dangerous?? Am I overestimating the thrill level on this ride? The rest of the adults seem to be clinging on pretty tight!" someone questioned.

Others cheered Barnyak on for being a good mother at all possible moments.

"This is what a hero looks like!!!" someone shared.

"Yesss, mama! Feed that baby anywhere, anytime!" penned an Instagram user.

"Love it. Taking care of that baby in every circumstance," another chimed in.

Some even shared their own experiences working at theme parks, noting there were strict rules about who was let onto rides.

"Wait, I used to work at a park... We'd never let an infant on, never mind unstrapped!?!" one person said.

"I’m so confused, I used to work at an amusement park and you couldn’t even bring a purse or backpack on a ride never mind a whole baby??" another added.

According to Disney's website, the Frozen Ever After ride — which opened in June 2016 — is classified under "slow rides" and features "small drops." Moreover, there are no age or height limitations for riders.

"I guess if you look at this picture, it might look like it's an intense ride. But it's a boat ride," Barnyak told Today. "There's no seatbelts. It's a very nice relaxing ride except that the there is a drop that you don't see coming because it's dark. And that's what that photo was taken."

She added she felt her baby was more secure because she was in one place, adding she would never breastfeed on a rollercoaster.

"It was a lot of fun, but that's probably one of the most exhausting vacations I've ever been on," she shared. "Maybe we'll go back when Poppy's three or four to see her experience with it."

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