This February I had the opportunity to visit Disney World for a few days without my kids. Because I view everything through the lens of “how would my 4 year old with Autism cope here?” I asked a lot of questions and made many observations while staying at the park. While my son is probably a few years away from being ready to visit, I learned a lot about how to make Disney a fun experience for families with children with Autism.
My Top Ten Tips Are:
1. Create social stories for your child before you go. Ask your friends who have been to Disney for copies of their pictures or use resources like like Disney For Families With Autism for Disney social stories.
2. Schedule your own transportation from the airport to your hotel to avoid long waits.
3. Stay in the park, preferably at Epcot Centre or Animal Kingdom which are a little less busy.
4. Visit during off peak times of the year.
5. Don’t try to do too much on any one day and break up your visits into manageable chunks of time.
6. Be honest with yourself about what your child can handle. Sure you would love him to see the fireworks display up close but if the loud sounds are going to be too much for him find a location to watch from that is further away.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask cast members for help. They are all very accommodating and happy to assist you.
8. Visit the Disney Parks Blog before you go to make sure you are aware of special events that are happening during your visit.
9. Check out the Disney Mom’s Panel if you have any questions before you go. These moms are Disney experts and will give you the straight goods.
10. Manage your expectations. Remember, it isn’t about how much you do, but about having a positive experience with your child.
Remember, there are a lot of families who visit Disney every day who need special accommodations made for them. Check out Wheeling TravelingMom’s Disney World Wheelchair Tips and Food Allergy TravelingMom’s Food Allergy Free at Walt Disney World Resort posts for more great information on how to make your trip a success!
Disclosure: I was hosted by Disney during my visit. The recommendations posted here are 100% my own.