Special Needs At Disney

Special Needs At Disney

We all know that Walt Disney World is engineered to move troupes of people through its corridors and to its attractions, shops, and restaurants. However, some people have special needs at Disney World or preferences that don’t necessarily conform to this group dynamic while on their vacation. In many cases, far from this being a hindrance, it may work to their advantage. In this article, we talk about some ways that folks who don’t fit any old cookie cutter have found to make their experience a fun one.

Flying Solo

Single people, whether unmarried or simply unfettered, do visit Disney World. There are many unexpected bonuses to visiting theme parks solo. For one thing, there is no negotiation to be done when making all the detailed planning decisions like what kind of car to rent or what time the flight(s) must be booked to accommodate everyone in the group’s tastes or scheduling needs.

Likewise, a lady or a guy who is ‘flying solo’ can head straight to the attractions that they want to experience the most, without waiting for anyone to take a potty break, getting lost, or lingering on in any area of the park that they don’t necessarily find too interesting. Also, single riders can zip through lines like a roadrunner when compared to the three-toed-sloth that better characterizes a touring group.
People who may be in town for a reason other than entertainment and just want to check out the park for a day or two may find that they never feel too alone while visiting. Of course there is the Disney staff and characters that are happy to interact with all visitors. Additionally, there are the other singles, couples and groups visiting the parks that are fun to shoot the breeze with. At Epcot, for example, the World Showcase features lots of dining options that are community-based. At the Germany Pavilion’s Somerfest restaurant, guests are seated at long picnic-bench like tables where conversation is lively (and inevitable) as strangers become temporary friends. Similarly at Japan’s Yakitori House, guests who sit at the sushi bar are often very cozily arranged, so here too conversation is easy and fun to strike up.

Disney has a lot of experience in dealing with special needs.
Disney has a lot of experience in dealing with special needs.

Perhaps the most important thing about flying solo at the Disney Parks as opposed to jetting off to climb mountains in Nepal or scuba dive Belize by oneself is that the atmosphere is one of safety and friendliness.  It provides an adventure to another world while still being secure.

Getting Ball and Chained

Many couples who have a lasting affinity for all things Disney decide to get married at one of the parks. With lots of advance notice, this can be done without a lot of hassle, but like any wedding the bill can be big. It’s almost five thousand dollars for a wedding party of up to ten guests at some locations, eighteen at others. All wedding packages require a four-night stay at one of the Disney Resort Hotels. What a couple gets for their five grand is a cake and bouquet, fancy schmancy limousine ride to and from, professional wedding planners, and a musician for the ceremony. What they don’t get is the freedom to invite extra guests at the last minute; that is, without stepping up their wedding package to the twelve-to-twenty thousand dollar range. The great state of Florida also has some particular laws that apply to marriage that are worth knowing well before planning really gets under way (for instance, Floridians are required to undergo a premarital counseling session lasting four hours).  So be sure to plan ahead and save up.

Super Sizing

For those who shop in the plus size sections, there are some special considerations to be made. Fortunately, Disney World is set up to handle guests of all different capabilities and dimensions. For people of size, some suggestions that others have made thanks to long experience “in the field” can be really helpful. For starters, the parks are absolutely vast. While bench seating is ample, there is still going to be a considerable amount of walking to do every day. Considering the aggressive stance on scheduling that it takes to make a really effective plan of attack at any of the Disney Parks, it’s a safe bet that comfortable shoes and breathable clothing go a long way toward helping parkgoers maintain their energy level throughout the day. Visitors shouldn’t be just getting to know the pair of shoes they bring; a well-worn, comfortable pair is of much more use to them.

Making use of sample ride cars can be a very helpful way to get to know a ride before actually riding it.  You can be sure that you area able to get into and out of the ride vehicle comfortably and without pressure or embarrassment. These are a fun and conducive means of previewing the ride that Disney has put in place not just for us plus sizers, but for moms with kids, seniors, people with health issues, and the like.

Visiting While in Expectation of One’s Own Magical Miracle

Expectant mothers visiting the park are cautioned to avoid certain rides and are not allowed on others. Fortunately, this information is clearly posted both at the rides and online, so there is no guesswork involved. At the end of the day, more attractions are open to pregnant people than are not. A notable exception is the water parks, where almost everything is verboten. Waterslides are not good for junior! However, the Shark Reef, by far one of the best attractions at any area water park, is open to moms with a bun in the oven.

A Little More Magic in the Golden Years

People with kids that are just barely too old for strollers know that it’s a good idea to check one out anyway, because by the end of the grueling multi-mile hike that comprises a typical day at Disney World, junior will be too tuckered out to move under his or her own power. Many seniors take the same route, renting a push wheelchair for the day and recruiting an able-bodied friend (or friends) to help provide the steam for the engine. Seniors also benefit from a much less constrained schedule, so they can visit in off-peak seasons more easily than people chained to a nine-to-five job.