Many parents wonder if you can go to Disney World with special needs children. Our Autism expert is here to tell you, “Yes, of course, you can!”
Is a trip to Disney a dream, a wish your heart makes? Does having a special needs child in the house have you considering setting this dream aside for a while? You don’t have to. With a little planning, Disney can be an absolutely wonderful vacation for the entire family! Here are just a few things to consider before meeting “the Mouse.”
One thing that keeps bringing folks back to Disney year after year is the sensory-filled environment, which can be precisely what causes so many meltdowns for kids with any form of Sensory Processing Disorder. (BTW, most children on the autism spectrum do have some degree of SPD.) But, don’t let this stop you.
Did you know that many families report that their children stretch themselves on vacation? Even overcoming old obstacles after a meeting with an adored princess, seeing their favorite characters in a parade, or trying new foods? It’s true!
So here are a few of my tips for taking a trip to Disney World with special needs children.
How To Successfully Visit Disney World with Special Needs Children
1.) Take stock of your child’s sensory world before you buy those tickets.
What causes the most stress? Loud or unexpected sounds? Textures? Dim or bright lighting? Crowds? Animatronic figures? (Some kids love ‘em, some are agitated by them.) Plan rides and shows accordingly, making your ultimate decision after careful consideration.
2.) How does your child handle crowds?
Vacation dates aren’t always flexible, but if crowds are of concern, try your best to visit off season. If that is not an option, research days and times each park is least crowded, and go from there.
3.) Read up on rides and shows ahead of time.
We’ve all heard of 3D, but have you heard of 4D? These are 3D shows and rides that incorporate a 4th element, be it air blowing or water spritzing unexpectedly on the audience, to even seats moving unexpectedly. For sensory-seeking kids, these are absolutely fantastic! For those on the opposite end of the sensory spectrum, these can be rather overwhelming. (Think: “A Bug’s Life” at Animal Kingdom, “Toy Story Mania” at Hollywood Studios, and “Philharmagic” at the Magic Kingdom.)
4.) Don’t forget to eat!
It is super easy to lose track of time when there is so much to do, isn’t it? But eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is imperative. We have a saying in our family that when we get hungry, we get cranky. Although we joke about it, the truth is keeping your kids (and spouse!) satiated will help everyone have a better experience.
5.) End the day on a happy note!
Leave before everyone is exhausted, choosing to take the time to relax and freshen up in your hotel. Most have swimming pools, which is a fantastic way for kids to wind down. A good night’s rest will ensure the next day starts as happily as the first!
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments section!
Thanks for Reading,
Did you like this post about Disney World with special needs children? Then, try these posts too:
- 5 first time disney world tips to help you save time on lines
- 7 fun educational experiences for kids at legoland florida
- 5 tips for special needs travel
- what are the different types of special education classrooms?