As I’ve said before, Disney really is the place for special needs kids. We had a disability pass, but that was really for my mother-in-law who has a contraption on her leg. Even so, some of the lines were still long as the first few weeks of national summer vacation begin.
Here’s what both kids loved, at Magic Kingdom:
- “it’s a small world”
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Mickey’s Philharmagic, although Simba scared Zoe and that was the end of her watching
- Mad Tea Party (Children with autism do love to spin. Mommies of kids with autism do get vertigo.)
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (featuring my husband as Sully, but he wouldn’t play along)
At Hollywood Studios, my favorite park:
- Star Tours (3 trips on that!)
- Jedi Academy (just to watch)
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros: who doesn’t love Mexico? But my husband lost his awesome Margarita.
- Innoventions: Pop quiz:Guess how many gadgets Zoe played with every single gadget while we were there?
- Test Track
- Turtle Talk with Crush and the whole Seas Pavilion. We sat up front, and Zoe buried her head in my bosom, but she smiled.
Character viewings were pretty good, but we learned that Zoe couldn’t care a whit about princesses if she hasn’t eaten. That said, we did 3 characters dinings: Cape May breakfast (AWESOME buffet!), Ohana (AWESOME family style breakfast, and Norway Princess Lunch in Epcot. (It costs a fortune but you get all 5 major princesses and a photo package.)
I brought Amelia on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™. At night. For my first time. I do believe I scarred my thrillseeker child for life.
- The long walk from the the marina, where Zoe vomited strawberries down my wet swimsuit, back to our room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Another hour of cleaning her, comforting her, letting hubby back in, tending to everyone, etc etc, before I could even shower. Ew.
- The oppressive over 100-degrees-most-day heat, that we’ve never seen in June before. Makes little girls throw up.
For Special Needs:
Ok, here’s what you need to know to make a day at Disney pleasurable:
- Disney Resorts and Parks do have gluten-free food. You can call and do special diets…Disney has NO problem with that. By day two, I was sick, kiddo was sick, hubby was stressed, and too much was going on while we are still new with this diet thing. We gave it up for vacation, but we definitely didn’t have to. Check out Special Dietary Requests for more details.
- There is free valet parking if you have a handicapped tag at Disney resorts.
- You are allowed to bring special food into the parks if you’re on a diet. (I didn’t see any food restrictions, actually, but just know you can if someone asks.)
- Go to Guest Services to get a disability card for the duration of your theme park visits. Disabled guests Fast Pass everything.
- Disney Parks rent scooters and wheelchairs, but only day-by-day. There are services that do a whole week.
- You are not alone. Disney World is a place filled with people and kids with disabilities, and Disney treats our families very well. Yea, I’m gushing. You can say what you want about Disney, but quality service is what they provide.
- Learn the particulars for various disabilities at Disney’s website. You can also download in-depth park guides in PDF format there.
Finally, we took the Disney Resort Tour, and while we’d love to buy a share since we come every year, it’s just possible yet. For next year, we are looking at the short cruise on their new ship, the Disney Dream, finances and life permitting, if Zoe is potty trained and, after a year of kindergarten, can manage it. We shall see.
*Note: We did not do Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. We have in the past and there are some great rides, but even in temperate heat, it’s a bit much on us. With temps this high, we decided to forego it this trip.