Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be a daunting task. I know! I used to plan them monthly for my family when I was growing up in South Florida. And I’ve seen it change drastically over the years and even participated in beta testing during the 2013 rollout of MyMagic+ which is now the norm. Navigating the system is intimidating for anyone…much less a family traveling with little ones with sensory issues. But never fear! As the mom of two littles with sensory issues, I’m here to help make it look a little less scary.
Disney offers a system for guests with disabilities called the Disability Access System or DAS Pass. Essentially, it works the same as Disney’s FastPass+ where you return to an attraction at a specified time and experience it with a much shorter wait time, normally utilizing the designated FastPass+ queue. If any additional accommodations are needed, simply discuss those with the Cast Member at the front of the attraction and they will further assist you.
How to get a Disability Access System Pass
To obtain a DAS Pass for your party, visit any of the Guest Relations lobby or window locations at any of the 4 Walt Disney World parks or any of the remote Guest Experience team kiosks located throughout the parks. They will ask you what and who the assistance is for and determine whether the pass is a viable option for your family or suggest various other ways you’re able to enjoy your park day.
If you’re granted the access, please note that you must have tickets for all members of your party that you wish to include on your pass (up to 6) and that the guest you are requesting the access for is able and willing to ride any and all attractions utilizing this service as the guest the access is granted to must experience the attraction. Depending on the ticket media you purchase, the access is granted anywhere from up to 14 days to two months if you’re an annual pass holder which requires you to renew it at one of the aforementioned locations every 60 days.
How to use a Disability Access System Pass
To use the access, visit whichever attraction you’d like to experience to obtain a return time, which is equal to the current posted standby wait time. You are only able to have one attraction return time issued and are able to obtain a new one upon completion of that attraction OR by visiting the attraction you’d like to swap it out for and having them delete the previous reservation time and issue you a new one equal to their current posted standby time.
PRO TIP: If you’re visiting a Guest Relations or Experience location to either setup or renew access or add a new guest to your party, ask the CM assisting you for a return time for whichever attraction you’d like to save you from having to make a second stop!
With sensory issues, it’s always a good idea to space out attractions so as to not overwhelm the person experiencing them. A snack break tends to be my go-to move between attractions to ensure everyone stays hydrated and happy.
A quiet spot
Sometimes we need a quiet spot to help calm a meltdown. Did you know that each park has a Baby Care Center? These are great and often quiet places to stop for a bit of a respite from the chaos of the parks! They usually have a TV set up with a Disney movie or channel playing, some toys and even a sink, microwave, and restrooms. These are definitely a spot to keep in mind when a meltdown is imminent or happening to help settle all those overloaded synapses.
Another great tip is to use the My Disney Experience app to pinpoint the places that have meals that your picky sensory-sensitive little one will eat. In my case, it’s chicken nuggets and fries. Bonus if they also offer apple slices or grapes. You can simply search for chicken nuggets and fries or search for the restaurant name and it’ll give you the option to look at the menu.
Use Mobile Ordering
I can’t stress this enough, wherever mobile ordering is an option, use it! It’ll cut down on those moments where you use the crazy stressed out Mom voice.
Mobile ordering is available at select quick service and snack locations via the My Disney Experience app. It’s saved my sanity quite a bit since it was rolled out.
My autistic little guy is an explorer and it’s hard to be in those lines trying to order while getting my debit card while keeping an eye on him while answering the 3 million questions his little brother is asking me. Yes, I do this alone! Mobile ordering has been a godsend. Take full advantage.
Sensory issues can be daunting especially at a place with so much going on at once like Walt Disney World but they aren’t completely impossible to manage. The key is to know their limits, don’t push just because you have an itinerary or spent money to visit. Even if you only manage to do one thing, at least that one thing can be something memorable for the right reasons and that’s the goal; lifelong magical memories for everyone!
If you need help planning your next vacation and want help from a seasoned pro, reach out to Leslie, a member of the Intouch Vacations team who has partnered with World of Walt to make your vacation even more magical! You can reach her at Leslie@intouchvacations.com or follow this link to get a quote!
Have you used Disney’s Disability Access System card?