• On Jul 28, 2019
    Claire from Antrim Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Tips for travelling with a child with autism

    Hi, Claire!  Thanks for bringing your question to the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    One of the things that I love the most about the Walt Disney World Resort is that they go above and beyond to make the magic accessible to everyone.  The Walt Disney World Resort has a variety of Services for Guests with Disabilities that can help meet guests' needs.  My son has autism, and he loves vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resort.  When we visit with my son, we utilize Disability Access Service (DAS).  This service is intended for guests whose disability prevents them from waiting in a traditional queue environment.  One of the best pieces of advice that I can offer to anyone thinking about a Walt Disney World Resort vacation is to plan ahead and do your resEARch.  This is especially true for families visiting with a child who has autism.  While every individual on the autism spectrum is different, I would be happy to share some strategies that have worked with my own son. 

    My son likes to have a schedule and know what to expect.  Before our first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, I spent a lot of time on the Walt Disney World website familiarizing myself with the attractions and entertainment offerings to get an idea of what my son might enjoy.  I then sat down with him and showed him pictures and videos so that he would have an idea of what to expect.  You can find some great Walt Disney World Resort videos here on the Disney Parks Moms Panel site, on this Disney vacation planning page, and even on YouTube.  If your child tends to be a picky eater or has any dietary concerns, you can also take a look at menus for the various Walt Disney World Resort dining locations as well.  When you pack for your trip, be sure to bring along any type of sensory or comfort items that your child might wish to have.  Earplugs or headphones can be a great tool if your kiddo is sensitive to noise.  During your vacation, be sure to take breaks as needed; the First Aid Centers are a great place for this.

    As you prepare for your visit, you may find this guide for guests with cognitive disabilities helpful.  Once you arrive at one of the Walt Disney World theme parks, be sure to stop by Guest Relations to speak to a Cast Member to see if Disability Access Service or any other accommodations would be right for your child.  If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 
    Wishing you a magical Walt Disney World Resort vacation!
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Meet the Panelist: Samantha, Pennsylvania

Hello! I'm Samantha, a wife and mom of two from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  There is nothing I love more than making magical vacation memories with my family, and Walt Disney World Resort is our home away from home.  For years, I have helped my friends and family plan their Walt Disney World Resort vacations, and now I have the opportunity to help even more people as a planDisney panelist.  I cannot wait to help you plan the vacation of your dreams! Learn More About Samantha

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