Father and Child on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • On Jan 9, 2019
    Michael from MI Asked

    I am planning a surprise trip to Disney with my wife and 2 kids. This will be the kids first trip (nearly 5 and nearly 1-year-old by that point). My son has severe Autism. Does Disney do or offer any special programs for kids with Autism?

    Hi Michael,

    You are going to be in the running for Dad and Husband of the Year for planning such an incredible vacation to surprise your family! I can only imagine the squeals of joy when you let them in on the secret!

    As the mama of a Mouseketeer with autism, I'm happy to let you know that you'll find the Walt Disney World Resort to be a place that is magical for everyone! Yes, there are several services in place for kiddos on the autism spectrum and I'd encourage you to take advantage of them to help your son's trip run as smoothly as possible. I'd especially look into the Disability Access Service to see if this would be helpful for your son. It will allow your family to spend the time you'd usually spend waiting in a traditional queue (where lights, sounds, and crowds can often be overwhelming for kiddos on the spectrum) waiting elsewhere and returning to the FastPass+ line when it is your turn to experience the attraction. To set up this service as well as find assistance for any other concerns you may have, you'll want to visit Guest Relations inside one of the theme parks. 

    I'd also suggest putting together some pictures of the Resort hotel where you'll be staying, attractions you'll be experiencing, and things he may need to know (like what a Cast Member name tag looks like in case he ever needs help). After you surprise your son with the news of your trip, you could share those with him to help him become more familiar with the magic. I also like to bring sensory toys, headphones, and a stuffed animal from home to help my son feel comfortable.

    Thanks so much for visiting us, Michael, and please stop by again with any other Disney planning questions. I hope that you and your family have a truly magical vacation!

    Missy
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Meet the Panelist: Missy, Indiana

Hi!  I'm Missy, a homeschool mom and part-time music teacher from Indiana.  With a husband and five kids, I understand what busy family life is all about and how important it is to get away and create magical moments with your loved ones.  I also believe planning is half the fun, so I'd be honored to help you plan your Walt Disney World Resort vacation! Learn More About Missy

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