Guests with apparent disabilities utilizing wheelchairs or scooters have mobility issues or visible impairments that are specifically addressed, but other disabilities are not as obvious to public observation or the average onlooker.
For guests with non-apparent disabilities, Walt Disney World has excellent accommodations. There are services available for those guests with invisible disabilities. Disney’s plan helps guests with cognitive, visual or hearing challenges maximize their enjoyment.
The first step in making the Disney experience magical is to have a plan. Disney does, but you need to too. Awareness of opportunities is essential.
Today, we’re going to take a look at helpful strategies for particular disabilities so you can make a plan prior to your arrival!
Guests with cognitive, visual, or hearing disabilities should register for the Disability Access Services at Guest Relations located in all four theme parks. Disney’s Disability Access Services (DAS) should be part of any invisible disability program. On arrival at the theme park, go to Guest Relations. Identify the disability to the Cast Member. They will take a photo of the guest and complete registration.
Disney can assist guests with autism, ADHD, and limited intellectual abilities.
First, purchase your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line outside of the park entrances. Start your day off right.
For guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue, the DAS can decrease time spent waiting in a queue significantly. In utilizing this program at the selected attractions, the guest can schedule a return time to begin that ride. The wait time is comparable to the current queue wait. This allows time for other experiences instead of waiting in that line. When that activity is complete, the guest can repeat the process for the next desired attraction.
DAS can be combined with FastPass+ (which should also be made in advance) and Rider Switch to maximize enjoyment and minimize waiting time.
Disney also provides Companion Rest Rooms, which are larger and more private facilities, throughout the parks. It is a good idea to prepare the guest who needs assistance for the suddenness of automatic toilet flushing sounds.
Guests with vision problems, including blindness to poor visual acuity treated with corrective lenses, can enjoy the theme parks with special available services. Be sure to sign up for Disability Access Services and then utilize the services for visual disabilities.
Handheld assistance devices are available at Guest Relations at all four theme parks to provide supplemental audio by describing visual elements such as actions, settings and scenic changes. Braille Guidebooks, printed in large text if needed, and portable tactile maps representing building boundaries, walkways, and landmarks in the theme parks are also available from Guest Relations. These feature descriptions of the attractions, restaurants, and stores. All of these things are available with a fully refundable $25 daily deposit.
Stationary Braille maps with large print may help identify First Aid, restrooms and Guest Relations. Braille menus are available in table-service restaurants. These helpful items are, of course, complementary.
Register for Disability Access Service then take advantage of the services for hearing impaired guests.
At specific theme park attractions, Assistive Listening handheld devices amplify sound through headphones or an induction loop. Handheld Devices are recommended for guests with mild to moderate hearing loss. These devices are available at all theme park Guest Relations for a fully refundable $25 daily deposit.
Handheld Captioning is a portable captioning system which displays on-screen text in locations at select theaters and attractions. It is available at Guest Relations for a fully refundable $25 daily deposit.
Video Captioning is present in many pre-show and exhibit areas designated by “CC” symbol. Video Captioning can also be activated by using the Disney Handheld Device.
Sign language interpretation for guests is available at specific live theme park shows. The schedule is updated weekly. Get the schedule at Guest Relations when you arrive at the park. In general: Disney’s Animal Kingdom has interpreters Tuesday and Sat, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Sunday and Wednesday, Epcot on Fridays, and Magic Kingdom on Monday and Thursday.
This basic information can get you started to help individuals with an invisible disability enjoy a magical experience.
Does Disney do a good job at accommodating non-apparent disabilities?