A Disney trip can be magical when “Doing Disney” with Autism, as our special Guest Penny of Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland tells us!
Please welcome our very special Guest, Penny from Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland, as she shares her family’s experience visiting Walt Disney World with a child with Autism.
It’s no surprise that my family loves Walt Disney World. We have been so may times that it is like our second home. This always amazes people when they discover that we have a child with Autism. People think that Autism would preclude children from Disney. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have taught Logan to stand in line, to take turns, and to navigate crowds at theme parks. He learned what to do if he got separated from us. Autism in Walt Disney World just requires some advance prep done by the adults to be successful.
First thing is to pick as non-busy a day as possible to go. Check out the Walt Disney World calendar for the least busy days. We found that Tuesday – Thursday are the usually far less crowded than the other days. Do not go during a holiday unless you are going to a special event like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. As a matter of fact, the special events are far less crowded than a regular day during holiday season.
Once you’ve arrived, make Guest Services your first stop for the Disability Access Pass. This will make planning the rides easier for your child. If you haven’t already made FastPass+ reservations, do that now.
You can bring in food to the parks so we pack a backpack with some important items:
1. Favorite snacks or food he is guaranteed to eat.
2. A cloth to dampen to help keep him cool.
3. Some sort of electronic device with charging cord to keep him occupied while we wait in line for the rides.
4. A shirt to change into if he sweats through it as he hates to wear wet clothes.
5. Headphones or ear plugs to keep the noise to a minimum.
How to have a magical #Disney trip when visiting with a child with Autism, with Special Guest @AutismlandPenny.
For our family what has worked in the past is for everyone to pick their favorite ride for the park we are in. This encourages teamwork as everyone knows that they will be able to ride at least one preferred ride. Our caveat is that the whole family does not need to ride it. Madison LOVES Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but Logan gets motion sick. She gets to ride with one parent while the other stays with Logan. At this point, we find a shady spot to hang out where he gets a snack, a drink, and his electronic device.
My final piece of advice would be do not overschedule it. Don’t wait until your child is in sensory overoad to leave to take a break. Sometimes we retreat to a quiet space in the car or call it a day when we see the unraveling begin. You absolutely want to end the day on a positive memory. Don’t think of anything other than that. Not how much money it costs or get into the trap of wanting to do everything in one day. Your child’s well being is more important than anything at Disney. Leave with good memories that will last you a lifetime.
Thank you, Penny, for sharing your wisdom and for offering some very helpful advice on “Doing Disney” with a child with Autism. You certainly can make some very magical memories with your family if you keep these tips in mind! If you’d like to see more of Penny’s Crazy Adventures in Autismland, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
©2017 Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, your Disney homeschool resource, with Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland.
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