However, not all children enjoy everything about Disney World – especially if they have special needs. Some children who have mobility issues can tire easily from all the miles you typically cover in a day at the Disney theme parks. Children who are autistic may become over-stimulated by all the noise and commotion. And any kid – with special needs or not – can easily become cranky is the blazing hot sun and sky-high humidity that Orlando serves up in the summer time.
Here are some tips on how you can help your special needs kids – or really any kids – truly enjoy Disney World.
Plan Your Pace
First, make sure that you have realistic expectations about what you can do at Disney World. Just because you have your Disney World tickets in hand doesn’t mean that you should expect to get in every show, restaurant, and attraction – all in an attempt to “get your money’s worth.” This is especially true if you have visited Disney World in the past without children or without special needs children.
Adjust your expectations. You simply won’t be able to see as much and do as much as you might like. Prepare yourself mentally for this. Expect melt downs and let yourself know that it is OK if you don’t meet all the milestones in your master touring plan. Slow down and enjoy the details.
Take Frequent Breaks
Kids of all kinds can get tired out by Disney World. After all, with 43 square miles of fun it is enough to wear out anybody. Plan times where you stop and rest. This can be especially helpful in the heat of the summer. Take time to sit in the shade or enjoy a leisurely lunch in the air conditioning. Or make plans to head back to your Disney Resort hotel in the mid-day for a nap or a dip in the pool.
If you stay at one of the hotels on the monorail loops – Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – you can get back pretty quickly from either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
Different kids may have different issues with different experiences. Watch your children especially carefully during the first few days of the trip. How do they react when they see characters? Sometimes a five foot tall Mickey Mouse can freak them out. Are they afraid of the dark? This will limit the number of shows and attractions you can take in.
Whatever it is that triggers problems – dark places, loud noises, too much activity – you can adjust your plans to avoid things after you have identified the triggers.
Ask Disney Cast Members
Finally, if you aren’t sure what a certain show, attraction, or restaurant might be like, ask the Disney Cast members nearby. They are specially trained to provide detailed information that can help you make better decisions and better plans on how to spend your time. They can also warn you about unexpected elements that might cause issues – anything from periods of darkness to jerky motions to bright lights.
Remember To Have Fun
By resetting your expectations to plan for a different pace, by taking frequent breaks, by learning what triggers issues with your child, and by asking Disney employees for details, you make better plans and decision to ensure that your children have a great time at Disney World.