Toy Story Land Woody Entrance
  • On Feb 19, 2020
    Mary from MN Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    We’re thinking about bringing our 7 year old grandson who has special needs—a rare genetic defect that manifests itself on the autism spectrum. My concern is the overwhelming nature of the crowds. Any advice?

    Hi there, Mary!

    Three chEARs to you for being the best grandparent! I truly believe it when I say that Walt Disney World Resort is for everyone. I have a kiddo that is on the spectrum, and once I figured out what worked for him, it truly did become The Most Magical Place on Earth!

    Walt Disney World Resort is really accommodating to all types of needs. You will find the Services for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities page really helpful. I used it as a guide, myself and in it, you will also find an example of Timeline for Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities

    I would encourage you to stop at Guest Relations, located in every Theme Park, when you first enter the parks with your entire party. You can share with a Cast Member there about your concerns of waiting in a traditional queue. If they feel Disability Access Service is the best way to help your grandson enjoy the Parks, they will set up the service for him. This means when you go to an attraction with a wait time, you can get a return time for the attraction. The way it works is, a member of your party will ask the greeting Cast Member at the attraction for the Disability Access Service and they will get it set up for you through your MagicBand or Admission Card. You can also use this in conjunction with the FastPass+ service. 

    An item we have taken that has helped us during our vacations has been a good stroller with a pull down shade. Whenever my kiddo felt overwhelmed, he could take a break with the shade down. Strollers are so helpful, and at 7, their little bodies get exhausted; I encourage you to bring one if you can. Another awesome product for us was the hearing-protection earmuffs. They are headphones you can find online or locally, and ours were under $10. My kiddo likes to use those during fireworks or when it gets too noisy. 

    A great way to take a break during the hustle and bustle at the Parks is to make advance dining reservations at a restaurant where you can sit, unwind, and enjoy a meal together. We have also used the Baby Care Centers for breaks. You will find one in each Park. It’s a convenient, air-conditioned area where he can find a place to relax; the last time we were there, we ended up staying for a while watching Disney cartoons. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, it will be easy for you leave the Parks to take breaks in the middle of the day.

    If you have any more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give Disability Services a call. A Cast Member will be happy to assist you further. 

    Mary, I hope you and your grandson have the most magical time making memories together!

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Meet the Panelist: Aena, Texas

Hi friends! Consider me your own Fairy Godmother, full of helpful tips to make your Walt Disney World Resort vacation magical. I'm Aena, wife to my Prince Charming, mom to future Imagineers, and forever a kid at heart. I call Walt Disney World...I mean, Texas home, and spend my time singing Disney tunes. One of my favorite things to do is to stay on property and explore everything the resorts have to offer. I'd love to help you find the best Instagram-worthy spots for your Walt Disney World Resort vacation! Learn More About Aena

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