Family outside Grand Floridian Entrance; LGBTQ; White car; brothers; two fathers; Mickey Balloons
  • On Jan 13, 2024
    Robin from KY Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    My nephew has autism. We want him and his Mom to have the best trip possible. Any recommendations?

    Hi there, Robin. I'm so happy you found your way back to us at planDisney to ask your question.

    So firstly, I want to take a second to say what an amazing Aunt you are! The best and most important way to have the best trip possible is to plan...and that's exactly what you're doing. As a teacher, I often work with the autism population, and while that's not the same as having a nephew or child with autism, it does give me a little bit of perspective about how to help them and their families have the most magical trip ever! 

    The good news is that the Walt Disney World Resort is one of the most accommodating and inclusive environments your nephew and his family can visit. My first recommendation is to look into the Disability Access Service, sometimes referred to as DAS for short. Guests can schedule a call between 2 to 30 days before their arrival date to determine qualification and reserve up to 2 experiences per day (subject to availability). Then, when they arrive at the resort, they can continue to make reservations for experiences, one at a time, throughout the day. These reservations will allow them to wait in a different location for the attraction other than the standard standby queue.

    While the theme parks can become crowded, it's important to note that there are some tucked-away places that you can escape to that usually offer a quieter, more relaxing environment. For example, taking the raft to Tom Sawyer Island can be a nice little respite in Magic Kingdom Park. There are places to run around and get some energy out but also sit and relax. In Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, the Discovery Island Trails can provide a nice space to walk around and be surrounded by nature. And don't be fooled by the name, the Baby Care Centers in each of the theme parks can usually be utilized as a quiet place to rest and cool down.

    Also, don't be afraid to take a break from the parks in general in the middle of the day. If you're in Magic Kingdom Park, take the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail to one of the nearby hotels. While you won't be able to use their pools if you are not staying there, you can certainly walk around their grounds and eat at their restaurants. And since most Guests will be in the parks during the day, they are usually less crowded! Plus, you can use resort transportation to get back to your own Disney Resorts Collection Hotel to rest in the room, swim at your resort hotel pool, and reenergize for the evening if you still want more time in the parks.

    If your nephew is bothered by loud sounds, it may be important for him to bring noise-cancelling or noise-reducing headphones. And in general, if he has specific items that bring him comfort while out and about in his hometown, as long as they are allowed in the parks according to the Walt Disney World Resort Property Rules, I would recommend bringing them with you. For example, some of my students have sensory items that calm them down and provide comfort, technology that keeps them occupied while at restaurants or waiting, etc. If possible, bring these items with you.

    Robin, be sure to check out all the information on the website related to the services for autism and cognitive disabilities. If you have any other questions, please reach out to me directly and I'd be happy to help.

    To all who come to this happy place: welcome,
thumbnail image for Matt

Meet the Panelist: Matt, New Jersey

Well hello there! I'm Matt and I'm a Disney-loving husband, teacher, and uncle from New Jersey. You can often find me tasting my way around an EPCOT festival, rope-dropping Magic Kingdom Park, or conquering all of the Disney Mountains. I can't wait to help you reach out and find your happily ever after on your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation! Learn More About Matt

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