Disney World and Down Syndrome - A Winning Combination: Walt Disney World with Special Needs
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For our family, Down Syndrome and Walt Disney World are a winning combination.
About the Author: Phyllis has spent the past 21 years homeschooling her four children. Now that three of them have graduated, she has a little extra spare time and enjoys spending it planning the next trip to Walt Disney World. In January, 2013, she'll again be at the most magical place on earth with all four children, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and two precious grandsons making their first visit!
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I really enjoyed your article even though I do not have a family member with Down Syndrome. I think that this kind of information is great for those of us without first hand experience. Even though we LOVE WDW, the days can be very hectic and we can all lose patience both with our family and with those around us. We all need to remember that when we come across a child who may be refusing to move from his spot in the queue (or other signs of frustration), that there may be circumstances of which we are not aware. We should remember how fortunate we are to be in WDW and try to be a little more patient and understaning of our fellow guests. You may end up making someone's day a little more magical.
Great article. Our 4 year old is also a child with Down Syndrome. Although he too is very well behaved, we had the same concerns as you about how he would handle the parks. We were VERY pleased with Disney Guest relations and the disability card they gave us. For all those who are planning a trip with your disabled child, please don't hesitate to take advantage of this great accommodation. It will allow you easier and faster access to all the rides at the parks for your disabled child and everyone in your family. We even used our own stroller as a wheeled chair ( Disney will give you a red sticker to place on your stroller to indicate it can be used as a wheeled chair.) Our family had the BEST time and guest relations made our trip even better and worry free too!. Disney is a real special place for our special kids and adults. Even in the dead of summer, the Disney Cast Members made sure we were well taken care of. Can't wait till our next trip!!
What a great article, thank you. We have just been to DLP with our son who has a learning disability, speech and motor delay. We took him for his 18th birthday and somehow managed to keep it a secret until we had to get on the train to DLP.
We return to Disney as often as we can as it is somewhere that we all feel comfortable and happy. We didn't use the Guest Assistance Card until our son was 14 as we didn't know about it and had only been at Disney during the quiet times of year but we went to WDW at Christmas thought it would be useful to have as he can get very loud and repetitive with his questions and comments if he has to wait too long in a queue (30 minutes is usually the limit). The cast members at the Disney parks have always been fantastic when they realise that our son has a learning disability.
I was so happy to read about your good experiences with a special needs child at DW. It is wonderful that your son can really appreciate the Magic of Disney through the years, and relive the experiences through the photos.
My adult grandson has recently been confined to a wheelchair, ha has always loved DW. I am hoping to take him soon and am worried about how he will feel confined to a chair while visiting.
Again I loved hearing about your family's happy experiences.
I enjoyed your article on WDW and Down syndrome. My 22 year old daughter (who also has Down syndrome) and I have been going to Disney World since for over 10 years now. WDW is "home" for her. It is the one place she feels so delighted, comfortable and accepted. Although she hasn't had the need for the Guest Assistance Card, Disney has always treated her so well and completely included her (even when she participates in "younger age" activities). I remember Storytime with Belle when all of the little kids (3-5 year olds) were getting picked for the parts and then they came and picked my grown up daughter. The look on her face was priceless. Because Disney is where everyone can be a child at heart. We continue to go, now twice a year, and vacation just wouldn't be the same without Disney. Although she always looks forward to the next trip, I am now unable to tell her when that is because she is unable to focus on anything else due to her excitement (of course I get that way too). So now all trips for her are a surprise and each time she is surprised her reaction is priceless.
It's wonderful to hear about your experiences at Disney World. I grew up visiting Disney each year (and working there as a young adult), and I want my children to grow up with some of their own happy memories of vacations with Disney. We have a child with Down Syndrome, so it's helpful to know that other families with children who have special needs have had good experiences during their visit. Thanks for taking the time to write this up!
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Updated 11-02-2012 - Article #867
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