Mom With Kids After Run
  • On Apr 27, 2008
    Greg from FL Asked

    HI, we are going to wdw in sept, 08, and we are bringing our 2 boys ages 2 and 3. Our three year old is PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) and he is scared of everything. Do you think character dining is a good idea?

    Disney does an amazing job of accommodating guest with every possible medical issue. Normally I don't even hesitate to recommend Disney as a travel destination for guest with development disorders or autistic spectrum diagnoses. But when you say your son is "afraid of everything" that makes me a bit concerned. Disney World will be full of new experiences: crowds, a new sleep environment, different weather, rides that bump or flash, the list is endless. Is he afraid of the dark, sudden movement, loud noises, or just unfamiliar sights like the characters?

    To make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, I strongly suggest that you take a look at Passporter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World. This book is a comprehensive guide for Disney guests with any type of disability. You will find here detailed descriptions of every hotel/restaurant/ride/attraction and notes about potential pitfalls for guests.

    If you would like to try a character meal with your son, I do have some suggestions.

    - Desensitize him as much as possible at home. If you're concerned about how he might react to the large characters, try to find a similar costumed character at home (maybe at a kid-friendly restaurant or a birthday party.)
    - Schedule the meal late in your trip. Use the earlier part of the trip to meet characters in the parks and to peek in on other character meals. If your son has an adverse reaction, you could always cancel your reservation.
    - Choose your character meal wisely. Chef Mickey's is a huge, raucous venue which could prove overwhelming to anyone. The Cape May Cafe and the Garden Grill are both much smaller and more quiet.
    - Speak with the character handlers at your meal. The characters will always have a nearby assistant (usually wearing a yellow and white shirt). If you have special needs, like a character should only stand a certain distance away, they character handlers may be able to help you make this happen.

    I hope this helps.
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Meet the Panelist: Erin, New York

I have three teenage daughters. We're DVC members obsessed with Disney travel. We've been to Walt Disney World countless times and have visited Disneyland & Disneyland Paris. We've taken several Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise trips. Learn More About Erin

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