|Josh, Ray and Jess in Magic Kingdom|
Visiting Disney Parks with special needsPlanning a visit to a Disney Park can be overwhelming for a family. But for those families with special needs children or family members, the task of planning a Disney vacation can be downright daunting. From personal experience, we know that while planning a vacation with special needs in mind is difficult, you can do it and have a magical Disney trip.
My wife (Rachel) and I have been to the various Disney parks several times, my wife even more since she grew up in southern California not far from Disneyland. We took our first born child to Disneyland when he was very young, and had a pretty good trip. However, we discovered as he got older that he had Autism Spectrum Disorder. At this time, we had added a daughter to the family, and were worried that we wouldn’t be able to travel again. We wanted to take the family to Walt Disney World, but the thought of planning the trip seemed overwhelming. Rachel and I searched the web, finding bits and pieces of information that would help us ensure our son and our family could have a successful trip to Walt Disney World. With a lot of research and planning, we felt prepared for our trip and booked our vacation.
|Ray, Josh, Chris Reid and Jess enjoying Splash Mountain!|
The cast members are a very helpful resource for your trip. If you need a little extra help, talk to them. They will work with you to see what they can do. They can’t always fill every request, but more often than not they can give you the assistance you require. For us, our son does not do well in some theaters so we may have to leave early. We alert the cast member when we enter the theatre, and most have been able to help us find seats near an exit so we could leave easily if needed.
If you have family members with special needs, you will have to do extra planning to ensure you have what you need for your trip. There are some excellent websites that can help you. Allears.net is a comprehensive website on both Disney Resorts. They also have a section for those with special needs, outlining what you can expect from the parks for different types of special needs (Autism, Pregnancy, Persons of Size, etc.). Another web is Disney for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder at www.wdwautism.com. This is a website created and maintained by my wife and myself. It contains information on the parks and attractions and is geared towards persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It also features basic social stories and picture schedules to help you plan your trip to the park.
Going to Walt Disney World with my son has been a great experience. Disney does an excellent job of making it special for him. If you have someone with special needs in your family and you are considering making the trip, just know that it is possible to do it and you may find some magic on your trip."
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Check out Ray and Rachel's site www.wdwautism.com for information regarding visiting the parks with special needs family members and give their podcast a listen too at www.mousetraveltips.com
Oh! And if you are on twitter, follow Ray at www.twitter.com/raymtt for his great tweets!