Disney with a Disability

Disney is committed to helping and working with anyone with a disability, or special needs, so they can experience Disney Magic at its best. Whatever the disability may be, you can be sure that Disney is well-prepared to meet that need and Cast Members are well-trained in providing excellent service. Doing Disney with a Disability is a positive experience as we found out firsthand.

ID Tags and Wristbands:

At each Guest Services counter you can get paper wristbands to write your child’s name and your cell number or any other information you may want to put on such as allergies or medications and so on. This can be especially valuable if you have a child with ADHD, FASD, Autism, or something similar where there is a chance they might find themselves separated from you.  I have only been told this and not actually taken advantage of it.  We do something similar though.

Before entering a Park for the day, we always write my cell number on the children’s forearm. This works!! In fact, it works so well that I tell everyone I come across with small children.  How do I know it works?  With the large crowds it is easy to get separated and in a matter of seconds your child may not be with you any more. This has happened to us, and successfully resolved, twice by our family. 

A word of warning though: Make sure your ringer is on as loud as it can be and you also have vibrate on so you can feel it in case you don’t hear it. Ladies, you can’t feel your phone vibrate in your purse.  Be careful of putting your phone in your back pocket, we use front pockets, as in such crowds it could easily fall out of get stolen.

The noise level is much greater than you think it is. You may not hear your phone.  Make sure it is also on vibrate and where you can feel it when it goes off.

That is what happened to me when we lost our little princess.  I couldn’t hear the ring over the noise level but felt the vibration. We were reunited  within ten minutes after realizing she was gone.

Disability Access Pass

There is a lot to choose from for those doing Disney with disabilities. Whichever Disney Park you are going to, they’ve got you covered. Probably the most used service is “The Pass.” This is referring to the Disneyworld Disability Pass and the Disneyland Disability Pass. The following quote is from the Disney Website:

Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment and accessible experiences for our Guests.  As part of this commitment, Disability Access Service (DAS) is a tool provided at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks to enhance the service we provide to our Guests with disabilities.

For those children who are unable to stand in lines Disney provides Disability Access Service. You cannot register for this prior to your visit but must present the person with this disability at certain locations. The DAS acts very similar to FASTPASS although it is specifically for those with certain disabilities. More information is on the Services for Guests with Disabilities website below.

Things change without warning at Disney as they work to improve their service. Our experience with DAS was slightly different from what we had read, so don’t be surprised if your experience is a bit different than ours. However, the basic workings of it remained the same.

To take advantage of this service you must go to a designated Guest Services area. It is at City Hall at Disneyland.  Ask a Cast Member at the Park where you are. You need to have the person with the disability with you and the Park tickets of each person in your party. (This means your immediate family or group up to five people, not the entire football team.)

They will ask you what it is that you are requesting and then why there is a need. When this was put to me I replied, “Our five-year old is Autistic with ADHD.” Our tickets were scanned into the system and I was given maps of the parks with the specific kiosks that dealt with DAS circled. That was it.  Easy!

To use the pass you present the tickets for your party at one of the DAS kiosks and tell the Cast Member which ride you want to go on. The Cast Member will scan your tickets and give you a return time for your ride.

For example: let’s say you want to go on Peter Pan, a popular ride with long lines often 45 minutes or more. So, if the line time shows 45 minutes, your return time will be in 45 minutes. When you go to the ride, give your tickets to the cast member there who will scan it and then usually take you right to the front although often by a different entry point.  You will need to tell the Cast Member which ticket belongs to the one with the disability as the other tickets are linked to that one.

You can only have one ride at a time queued on your tickets. While you are waiting you can look around or even go on a ride with a short line. While we were waiting for Peter Pan, we went to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, only a five-minute wait which was doable for our little one.

Stroller Parking at Disneyland
Stroller and Wheelchair Rental

Unless you need it while you travel, it is often easier to leave the stroller and/or wheelchair at home. These can be rented at the Parks. In an era where everything is doubling in cost, the cost for stroller and wheelchair rentals remain minimal.

Your child may be perfectly capable to walk, however, a day at Disney can easily be six to ten miles, or more. We have used strollers for each of our children which made things much more comfortable for them and was probably one of the things helping in keeping meltdowns away. ECV/motor scooters can also be rented for a day or more.

The picture above is the large stroller parking area in Tomorrow Land.  Stroller parking is easy and no one is going to bother your stroller.  The rented strollers have a name card attached to the handle so someone doesn’t take your’s, or you don’t get someone else’s, by mistake.

I was talking to a lady who was on her fifth trip to Disney with strollers.  She said she never had any problems with someone bothering her strollers or the stuff she left in it.  In the picture you can see people have left all kinds of things.  However, I wouldn’t leave anything of much value.

Disney Disability Service

Lots of fantastic information.  Several specific disabilities are covered on these links.  Pay special attention to the link “Guide For Guests With Disabilities.”

Click on the appropriate link for which Disney Parks you are headed to.

Click For DL
Click Here For WDW

Mouse Mail to Disney Disability Services

Click  For Mouse Mail

If unable to access the email link by clicking on Mickey just do a copy and paste into your email:   disability.services@disneyparks.com

Mouse Calls

Sometimes talking to a live person is the best way of finding information.  If Minnie isn’t available, she gets pretty busy, the cast member you connect to will help you with all your questions.

(407) 560-2547

Websites and Other Resources

These links for both Disneyland above and Walt Disney World will give you much more information.  Yes, you are seeing correctly.  The email links are the same for both Disneyland and Disney World.  I just made one for each to help those who don’t read but just quickly skim.

If someone in your party has a disability of any kind, look over these sites. There are excellent brochures with maps for each Disney Park on the web site which you should print out. Those maps have a lot of information . On the web sites above look for the link that says “Guide For Guests With Disabilities.”

Comments

I love reading and responding to your comments.  Please leave a comment.  If there is anything you would like to see here leave that on the comment also.  Thanks you.

 

 

 

 

7 Comments on “Disney with a Disability”

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. This seems like a unique site centered around Disney and family needs. This is different. I have seen a lot of Disney sites and stuff, stuff, stuff; but this is different–quite practical. I know several friends with disabilities, and even the thought of a theme park is overwhelming to them, but after reading a post like this, perhaps some of those feelings can be abated. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you. Disney has done a lot to make sure those with disabilities can enjoy the parks. The contact information at te bottom of the page should get them headed in the right direction.

  2. Hey Chris,

    A great post and very practical. I didn’t know that Disney did this. My aunt has one leg and wants to visit Disney.

    This post came in at the right time!

    Ravi

  3. Hi there!
    Love how you present Disney, like Robert M Doyle said it is quite a change from what is usually seen.
    I find it great that Disney takes this kind of initiative towards people with disabilities. Especially the Pass. I am glad your child could enjoy the park at it’s full potential. I’ll look into this for my own trip. However, I think they could make the service even better by allowing you to sign in over the internet. The stroller is also a welcomed initiative…
    Best

    1. Thanks Craig. Applying over the Internet would make things easier but there is a concern of people taking advantage of the pass. By showing up in person it helps to cut down that possibility. It is still very easy and by getting it in person you can ask questions and should get assistance on knowing where the kiosks are throughout the park where you go to “get in line” for your next ride. Strollers were absolutely a wonderful help for our family with a five and six year old. While they can get around on their own steam, the stroller cost us, I think, $15 for the day and it made for much happier kids.

  4. That was very informative. Thank you. It’s a completely different side to the articles we normally read when preparing to go to Disney and I believe it will make parent with children with disabilities very grateful.

    1. Thank you Gaby. Disney parks are such wonderful places in so many ways. W#alt Disney started Disneyland because he had a dream of a place where families could go. This whole site is all about that dream with the goal to make things easier for those who go.

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