Disney + Disabilities = Magic!: Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF

Disney + Disabilities = Magic!: Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities

by Carol Reynolds, PassPorter Guidebooks Author
Last modified 11/07/2008
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

We're going to Walt Disney World! These words have become the new American mantra. Walt Disney World is one of the most popular tourist attractions not only in the United States, but in the whole world! And why shouldn't it be? It's magical and wonderful and downright awesome.


Walt Disney World photo

A trip to Walt Disney World can be filled with wonder and excitement even if you have a disability. Walt Disney World has made their resort hotels and theme parks very "user friendly" for people with all types of disabilities. Here are some words of wisdom that will help make your stay with Mickey exciting and full of magic!

Pre-Plan your trip
Get ready to go
You'll have a good time
As you move to and fro

Log onto DisneyWorld.com. This site offers information on everything you want to know about planning your trip. You can locate schedules and times while becoming acquainted with the attractions and shows at each park. You can build customized maps of attractions and shows you personally want to see. You can view each resort, its layout and room arrangements. If you type in "disabilities" to the search engine, you will be sent to a list of the available services and arrangements Disney has to offer.

Order a Walt Disney World Planning DVD from the Disney website and watch it at home. Read some of the numerous Walt Disney World reference and resource books. Most of the books have special sections on guests traveling with disabilities. PassPorter has an entire book devoted to people traveling with special needs: PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World. Another particularly helpful book is: Walt Disney World with Disabilities by Stephen Ashley.

Decide if you need to rent a wheelchair or an ECV. Each park rents this equipment.

Arrange a tentative touring plan for each day. Type up a daily schedule and include: what time you will leave, where you will be going, what you will wear each day.

If you take a plane
You'll fly so high
Be prepared
To touch the sky

If you are flying, and this is someone's first plane trip, prepare them. Read a book about flying for the first time. Take a visit to the airport. Rehearse a trial run: locate all the elevators and escalators, practice going to check-in, see how luggage is taken, walk to security, watch takeoffs and landings, and arrange for wheelchairs for use in the airport.

Mickey wants you to stay
With him every night
He offers you incentives
To make your day just right

Consider staying at a Walt Disney World resort. Disney offers many resort choices and a variety of affordable options. If your schedule allows, try to visit during the value season, which is usually quieter and less busy. If you visit during high season, parks can frequently close when they reach capacity. As a Disney resort guest, you are guaranteed entry.

Moqueca photo
Moqueca

Moqueca

- photo by dlcompton

All of the resorts have special rooms for persons with disabilities. You can also request any other accommodations you may need. Though the resort cannot guarantee you will receive your specified suggestions, they usually make every attempt to accommodate your needs.

Using the Disney transportation system is relaxing and convenient. Options include buses, monorail and boats. Let "Disney do the Driving" works just fine for tired travelers. The whole transportation system is equipped to accommodate wheelchairs.

If you fly, take Disney's Magical Express Service right from the airport. Disney will pick up your luggage, drive you to your resort and deliver your luggage to your room. If you are flying with Disney's partner airlines, you can even check in your luggage and get your boarding passes right at your resort before you leave. Once the Magical Express returns you to the airport, head for security and be on your way. Check the Disney website for the Magical Express Service to see an updated list of participating airlines. If you are not flying with a participating airline, Disney will drop you and your luggage off at the appropriate terminal.

A Guest Assistance card
Will work just right
You'll wait in a convenient place
Every day and night


A very convenient accommodation that Disney has for guests with disabilities is called the Guest Assistance Card. It is designed specifically for persons who need extra assistance -- guests in ECVs or wheelchairs, guests who may not be able to stand for long periods of time, etc. At your first park, stop at Guest Services at the front of the park, and request a Guest Assistance Card. You will receive a 3 x 5 card that is good for the length of your stay and for all members of your party. (You might want to bring a clear plastic sleeve to hold the card, so it doesn't get scrunched during your stay.) When you arrive at an attraction, show your card to the host/hostess, and they will bring your party to the correct queue for your needs. Please note that this card is NOT a FastPass and does not guarantee you a shorter wait, simply a more comfortable wait that accommodates your needs.

Get up early
And move along
Or visit a park
With an evening song


If you stay on Disney grounds, take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. Every morning, one theme park opens one hour early for Resort Guests -- every evening, one park is open three hours later.

If you sleep
And get plenty of rest
You'll have more fun
And be your bes
t

Get plenty of rest. Besides all the walking, everyone will get exhausted just from all the excitement and stimulation they will encounter. Stop in the middle of the day for a swimming or nap break. Return later in the day for a few hours. Get plenty of sleep. When you awake, you will be bright and eager to face another day with a smile. Plan one or two "free" days throughout your trip. These days will help everyone relax and re-energize themselves.

Eat and drink
Good meals every day
So you'll be ready
To have fun and play


Make sure you eat and drink consistently. There are many snack vendors and restaurants located throughout each park that can accommodate most diets and allergies. Start with a good breakfast. Make frequent food and drink breaks throughout the day. Keep a few munchies on hand as you walk around. (Mickey ice cream bars are especially delicious.)

Wear a bright color
And you will see
Every member
Of your party


As a group, wear the same bright color shirt each day - the brighter, the better. Colors like bright turquoise, orange, lime green, red, and sunshine yellow work well. Add that color information on your daily schedule. You will easily spot your group in a crowd, and if someone does get lost, you will know exactly what they are wearing.

Use your cell
Keep it handy
Charge it up
And you'll be dandy


Cell phones are invaluable. Before you go, program everyone's cell number in all the phones. If someone gets lost, they can easily be located. If you don't have a cell phone, buy or rent one. Remember to charge your cell phone every night.

A trip to Disney can be a magical experience. Disability-friendly Disney is ready and willing to meet your needs. With careful planning, your Disney trip will be a memory that will last a lifetime.


Disneyland Downtown Disney Rainforest Cafe photo
Disneyland Downtown Disney Rainforest Cafe

Disneyland Downtown Disney Rainforest Cafe

- photo by dlcompton





TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!
About the Author:
Carol is a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World, She was a nominee for a Disney Teaching Award and is the mother of a young adult with disabilities. She has arranged numerous Walt Disney World trips for family and friends. Carol arranged her latest Disney trip in August 2008 for a group of seven young adults with disabilities and their moms.


Recent Walt Disney World Articles:
Breakfast Choices at Disney Parks - A Disney Dining Review last updated 04-23-2015
Harmony Barber Shop at the Magic Kingdom - A Walt Disney World Park Review last updated 03-19-2015
The 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival - A Walt Disney World Event Review last updated 03-19-2015
Family Fashion - Matching Outfits at Disney - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 03-12-2015
Walt Disney World Theme Park Traditions - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 03-12-2015

More Related Links:
 
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009




Reader Comments:


So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 11/07/2008 - Article #11 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


Should Disney bars and lounges only serve only adults?
by CinderAbby
14 Apr 2015 at 7:57pm
This was a question asked at Allears.net Should Walt Disney World bars and lounges serve only adults? (A Mom and The Magic)...
(click title above to view replies)

New Allergy free menus coming to Disney parks starting April 14th 2015
by CinderAbby
14 Apr 2015 at 2:29pm
New Allergy-Friendly Menus at Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resorts Disney Parks Blog...
(click title above to view replies)

about MDX [do you have to have reservations to set-up My Disney Experience?]
by Chuck&Michelle
9 Apr 2015 at 4:13pm
Do you have to have reservations to set up the MDX account?
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 13407


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.