For children who have sensory processing issues, a family vacation to Walt Disney World might be overwhelming. Imagine saving for months or years and getting to the Most Magical Place on Earth and your child is completely thrown off and won’t participate in any of the fun.

However, with a little bit of research and hopefully a little bit of help from this article, you’ll be better prepared when taking your family to Walt Disney World. Here are some Tips for Taking Children With Sensory Processing Issues to WDW.

Check the Crowd Calendars

There are many websites available that offer crowd prediction calendars that can tell you what crowds should be like during your trip. Some are free, some are available for a small fee. If your child is overwhelmed by crowds, this is a very helpful tool to look into when planning your trip. I use these calendars to help plan trips fro clients, many of which who are parents of children with sensory processing issues, and they help tremendously.

Check the crowd levels before you book.

Check the crowd levels before you book.

Prepare Your Child for the Attractions

Only you know what is best for your child and you probably have a very good idea of what he or she can handle or can’t handle. But, when it comes to the attractions in Walt Disney World, you just might have no idea. My best suggestion is to go sign onto YouTube with your child and take a look at the on-ride, point of view ride-throughs of the attractions. These will give you and your child a very good idea of what to expect and help you figure out exactly which attractions you should avoid on your next trip. These videos can be an extremely valuable tool to help your family lessen the meltdowns you may experience while on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Ask a Cast Member what surprises may appear in an attraction.

Ask a Cast Member what surprises may appear in an attraction.

Find Out Where to Go for Shows and Parades

Many of the shows and parades in Walt Disney World have elements that may be problems for children with sensory issues. Loud noises, darkness, interactive elements like things touching your skin, and other things might turn a fun day in the theme park to a very frustrating day for your child in a hurry. Your best bet here is to ask Cast Members where the best spots to sit or stand are to lessen the effects of these elements. That way, you and your family may not have to skip the experience altogether.

Bring Headphones or Sunglasses

If your child does have sensitivities to loud noises, feel free to bring in any headphones, earplugs, or anything you may use at home to help lessen the volume of these sounds. As I mentioned earlier, many WDW attractions have loud and sudden noises and the headphones or earplugs may really help your child enjoy these experiences a lot more. If your child has any kind of sensitivity to light, Central Florida and the Disney Theme Parks can be very, very bright places with the sunshine, lights and strobe lights of many attractions, and the fireworks and nighttime shows. Sunglasses will really help cut down on the brightness and may make your child’s time in the parks a lot easier to tolerate.

Don't forget sun glasses.

Don’t forget sunglasses.

Explain Touch Sensitivities to Character Attendants

Many children with sensitivity processing issues do not enjoy being touched. Therefore, the hugs, high fives, and hand-holding that many characters will partake in will just not work for these children. If your child fits into that group, please feel free to talk to a Character Attendant while the rest of your party is waiting in line. They will explain to the character when it is your turn for your meet & greet that your child has a sensitivity to touch and the character will instead offer a wave or something else that will put your child more at ease.

Talk with the Attendant about character experiences.

Talk with the Attendant about character experiences.

Walt Disney World is a fantastic place for all children and the cast members will generally do their absolute to accommodate the needs of your children. Please be sure to stop by Guest Services at the front of each park to talk to a cast member about your individual child’s needs and they may be able to help you with some sort of specific assistance. Every single guest that walks through the turnstiles is entitled to the absolute same magical experience so hopefully these tips will help make your next visit even more magical!

Have you ever taken someone with sensory processing issues to Disney World?  Tips?

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