Navigating Disney with Sensory Needs!

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Disney World is the Happiest Place on Earth but can also be the most stimulating as well.  All the colors, noises, lights and interactions can be overwhelming for even the average person, imagine experiencing it through the eyes of a neurodiverse kid. So I had a mission. A mission to help my child and every kiddo like mine AND their families enjoy Disney World just like their neurotypical peers. There is such JOY in travel and adventure but not always for children and adults with cognitive disabilities. There ARE ways to have an incredible trip and planning is key.

Below are my Top 4 MUST’s for Navigating Disney!

  1. Watch Point of View Videos.  I know a lot of people love the element of surprise when riding a ride or experiencing something new.  Children that are neurodiverse are just the opposite. The more you can remove the anxiety of the UNKNOWN, the better the experience. You can view point of view videos for every single ride in Walt Disney World. So grab an iPad, a soft blanket and snuggle in to experience each ride in the comfort of your own home well in advance of your trip. Your child will tell you truthfully which ride they will and will NOT be riding.  
  2. Take Breaks. If you are reading this and are NOT a Florida resident, I get it, you want to maximize the time in the parks for the cost you paid. Here me out, scheduling breaks is essential to a smooth and sensory friendly experience.  Maybe these include finding the “quiet” spots in the parks, or heading back to your hotel to swim or rest in quiet.  No matter the age of the child, downtime is necessary.
  3. Bring Sensory Tools!  Not a hammer and nails, but stock your bag with essential sensory tools!  My number one and always recommended is noise canceling headphones (they don’t have to be fancy Bose either, snag on Amazon!).  They are a MUST for a sensory kiddo! Use them during a parade, on a ride, and if you chose to view fireworks they are a mandatory in my book.  Even create your own quiet place when you put them on.  Also in my toolbox would be a fidget toy/activity, your child’s approved snacks, temporary cell phone tattoo if your child is prone to run and a fan, jacket or blanket to accommodate for weather.  Find more ideas HERE!
  4. Disability Access Service (DAS) Pass or Genie +.  If you or your child’s diagnosis is applicable to receive this service, definitely take advantage. You will receive a return time (waiting the same as those in line, just outside the ride area) and come back to the Genie + line at your designated time! Head to our website for more information on the DAS Pass! If you do not qualify, using the new Genie + (former FastPass) system is worth every penny.

I’m a HUGE Disney fan because I know I can let my kids be themselves AND create a trip they will remember with JOY. They love to visit the parks, and they know the above tips create a fun, sensory friendly adventure. Head to our website www.sensorykidsguide.com, to find sensory ratings, POV videos for rides, best quiet spots, navigating DAS Pass and Genie + and more tips on Disney adventures. Enjoy everything the Disney parks have to offer with a sensory friendly plan!

 

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