Friday, January 15, 2010

Disney with Special Needs

If you are anything like me, the first thing you think of when you think of a family vacation, is vacationing at Disney World. But when you are traveling with a special needs child, these thoughts are not as easy to make a reality. Your thoughts turn to: Do they have special accommodations for him? What if he is having a bad day? How do we combat those 90 minute wait lines? How will he handle everything from the rides to the character greetings? Well, with the proper planning everything can go even more smoothly than you could imagine.

First things first, take advantage of Disney's Guest Assistance Pass. These are available at the guest relations stations in the front of the parks and at City Hall in the Magic Kingdom. A cast member is always ready to assist you and all you need is a note from your child's doctor outlining your child's condition. Once you arrive at the guest relations location, hand the cast member the note from your child's doctor and they will give you your GAP. There are several good points with this pass. The cast member will ask you how many days you will be visiting the perks because the pass transfers to each park. So, there is no need to get a new pass at the beginning of each day. The card is about the size of an index card and will need to be viewed by a cast member at each attraction. The pass IS NOT a skip the line ticket. This pass just makes the wait easier for your child, whether it is by means of entry to the attraction by a separate entrance, or waiting in a special holding area. The pass works for your child and up to four other people in your party.

Now it's time to have fun! Once you arrive at the entrance of your first attraction, its time to try out your pass. First, show the cast member your pass. They will, depending on the length of the general admission line, point you in the direction you need to go. The pass works VERY well on most shows and attractions. The character experiences are a bit different. These are at the sole discretion of the character handlers. They ultimately make the decision on whether or not to accept the pass. In most instances they do, however be prepared in case they don't. When it comes to the parks, the guest assistance pass has the best results at the Magic Kingdom. It is by far the most accommodating of the four parks.

This is going to be the first step in having a successful trip with your special needs child. This will also be one of the biggest stress relievers that you will have! Once you know that this is handled the next biggest tip is planning, planning, planning. Be prepared with your child. Know both your expectations and your limitations. Know your parks, know your hours and special events, and make any possible dining reservations. Bottom line, special needs or not, Disney World is the best vacation destination. You have all of this valuable information, so go..... have fun and make some amazing memories!!!

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