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Traveling to Disney with children with Autism

Planning and going to Disney with a child with Autism has new challenges. This past January I traveled to Disney with my husband and nephew with Autism. This trip required more planning to Disney as my nephew is Autistic, he is on the Spectrum.  We have done 3 trips with him, age 7,9 and now 20.  Each has brought about different challenges not just for me but for him.  I wanted this to be the best trip ever!!


It had to be everything he wanted and more.  When we took him at age 7 he pretty much stayed away from most rides and attractions.  At that visit he missed riding on Living with the Land because all he saw was the thunder and lightning and thought that was going to happen the whole ride. His younger brother, who as 5 at the time, buried his head in my belly and cried through the whole first part.  It broke my heart. So once we got out of the storm that the nephew who was still with me saw all the amazing things that Living with the Land has-the animals, the plants, the scenes, and so much more!  When we got off the ride the younger nephew couldn’t stop talking about all the wonderful things he saw and enjoyed.

Fast forward 13 years later and the older nephew wanted to go on that ride.  When we started planning the trip he wasn’t sure about Disney but then he said definitely.  The funny thing is his one must do was Living with the land and it then occurred to me he wanted to be like everyone else (especially his little brother), who had ridden that ride.  He never forgot about not going on that ride, it was important to him to go on it.  This made it important to me.  I am happy to say he went on the Living with the Land and loved it!!!  It made my day, I could make it possible for him.


Another great success was taking him on Soarin”.  I was concerned that he might not like the ride.  That he might feel out of control.  I told him he could always close his eyes.  I told him he was safe and I would be right next to him.  He loved it!!  We got off the ride and I asked him, “what did you think”, his reply “it was great!!”.  That was a huge score for me and probably more for him.  Thank you Disney for this wonderful gift!!

I just wanted to share that with good planning and careful research about what is available, you can take your children with this special challenge to Disney and enjoy.  See this link to Disney about more information to help you: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/cognitive-disabilities-services/

I know it is so important to have the “time outs” or as we call them “down times” when traveling.  it may mean going back to the resort for an afternoon break, it could be going to the first aid and baby care centers to sit in a quiet room.  My nephew used the first aid station at Epcot to take his time out.  It worked magic!!  Here is another helpful Disney link to help you: https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/media/wdpro-assets/help/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/wdw-disability-access-service_2015-04-30.pdf

Planning at Disney is so important, and more so when you have extra challenges to plan for.  You will want a plan B or C or even D.  I want you to know it can happen and you can have a magical time at Disney!!  Remember to plan to have fun.

After all,  Disney is the happiest place on earth, right??

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