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  • On Oct 24, 2022
    Thomas from TN Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We are planning a last minute trip for December 18th to the 22nd. We have an 8 year old with autism and a one year old and want the best experience for them. What do you recommend?

    Hi, there!

     Welcome to planDisney, Thomas. I'm so glad you stopped by! I love that you're planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation this holiday season. It's the most magical time of year to visit the theme parks!

     Let's start by chatting about Disney Resort hotels. If you haven't already booked accommodations, I very much recommend making a reservation at a Disney Resort hotel. As a mom of three, I love the family-friendly convenience that Disney Resort hotels add to our Disney vacation! With complimentary transportation, we can travel between the theme parks and our hotel with ease. Not to mention, the unique theming of Disney Resort hotels keeps us immersed in the magic of Disney storytelling, even after we've left the theme parks! My family spends the most time at Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios, so we prefer Disney Resort hotels with close proximity to one or the other, like Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort. If you'll be traveling on a tight budget, I suggest Disney's Art of Animation Resort! This hotel features Disney Skyliner access, which is super convenient. 

     Once you've settled on accommodations, you'll need to buy your Theme Park Tickets. So as not to overstimulate your 8-year old and not wear out your 1-year old, I recommend purchasing Standard Theme Park Tickets. These tickets allow you to visit one theme park per day. Once you have your Theme Park Tickets, be sure to make your Theme Park Reservations right away. The sooner you make your Theme Park Reservations, the better availability you'll find!

     You may want to consider purchasing tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This special event at Magic Kingdom Park is fa-la-la-la-fabulous! While the event does not begin until 7:00 PM, you can enter Magic Kingdom park as early as 4:00 PM with your event ticket. If you do purchase tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, I encourage you to take it easy the day of the event. Rather than going to a theme park that morning and afternoon, spend the day at your Disney Resort hotel relaxing so that you are all well-rested for an evening of holiday festivities. 

     To accommodate for your 8-year old's unique needs, I encourage you to check out Disability Access Service. This service is designed for Guests who have difficulty with extended wait times in traditional queue environments. With DAS, you can book return times for attractions so that your 8-year old can avoid those long waits. Guests can now pre-register for DAS virtually with a Cast Member. The pre-registration process can be completed as early as 30-days in advance of a park visit, but no less than 2-days ahead of time.  

     Lastly, I recommend using a double stroller for your kiddos. Pixie-dusted adventures in the theme parks require a lot of walking and little legs tire quickly! A stroller seat will also give your 8-year old some personal space to decompress if they're feeling overstimulated. My favorite double stroller for the theme parks is the City Mini Double. While not designed for older children, my sons have sat in a City Mini Double stroller seat as old as 8-years old and they were both perfectly comfortable. 

    I hope this was helpful, Thomas. Please let me know if you have any other planning questions! I'd love to help you plan a magical stay at the Walt Disney World Resort.

thumbnail image for Ashley

Meet the Panelist: Ashley, Pennsylvania

Hi, there! I'm Ashley, and I have been a fan of all-things-Disney for as long as I can remember. My family and I enjoy sprinkling Disney magic into our everyday lives, but we most love making memories together on a Walt Disney World Resort vacation! The unique entertainment, fantastic dining, and incredible attractions completely immerse our family in the magic of Disney storytelling and keep us coming back to "The Most Magical Place on Earth" year after year.  Learn More About Ashley

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