Mission: Disabled/Handicapped
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Texas
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    Mickey Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    As a special education teacher and a sibling of a child who special needs, I am very excited to combine my loves into a “job” (helping people with special needs and DISNEY)!

    This thread is all about the ways that Disney has made it easy to enjoy your Disney vacation with children and adults with special needs. I will also list some ways that parents can prepare their child for their Disney vacation.

    I will begin with the ways Disney can help you. The most important thing for you to do when you get to Disney (whether it is Disney World or Disneyland) is to go by Guest Services and request a Guest Assistance Card (GAC).

    The GAC will allow the child and up to five other members of your party access to alternate queues where available. This can help children who cannot wait in long lines. We have found it to be one of the best aids Disney offers. It help you enjoy the park not just because you are riding more rides, but because your child is not having problems and you can enjoy more show and rides.

    Another thing Disney offers is accommodations for guests with mobility, hearing, and visual impairments, along with information about sensitivity to light and service animals. For specific information about what is offered for each disability, please visit:
    Guests with Disabilities | Walt Disney World Resort

    There you will find specific information about each service/device.
    All transportation to the parks is accessible to people with disabilities. For specifics about the transportation, please visit:
    Rooms for Guests with Disabilities | Walt Disney World Resort

    Lastly, Disney offers special accommodation for people with disabilities at the resorts. These include:

    • Bathrooms–Wider bathroom doors, roll-in showers, shower benches, hand-held shower heads, accessible vanities, portable commodes, bathroom rails

    •Bed Accessories—Bed rails, lower beds. rubber bed pads, open frame beds

    • Room Communication Kits—Door knock and phone alerts, bed shaker alarm, Text Typewriter (TTY), strobe light fire alarm, phone amplifier

    Other Features—Buses with wheelchair lifts, refrigerators (may include an extra charge), Closed Captioned television, and Braille on signage and elevators.

    This information was found at Rooms for Guests with Rooms for Guests with Disabilities | Walt Disney World Resort

    Once you get to the parks, you can pick up a disabilities guide. Below is a digital copy of each guide:

    Magic Kingdom
    Epcot
    Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    Disney’s Animal Kingdom

    There are many things you can do to help prepare your child for you Disney vacation. One of my favorites is “Social Stories.” For those of you who are not familiar with these, they are stories with pictures that help the child understand what is going to happen so they are prepared for the new stuff. A story could be:

    “On Monday June 18, (picture of the calendar with the date circled), mommy, (picture of mommy), daddy (picture of daddy), and James (picture of James) will drive to the airport (picture of the car) and fly to Disney World (picture of a plane and then Disney World entrance). Once we get to the Disney World airport (picture of airport), we will take a bus (picture of the Magical Express bus) to our hotel (picture of the resort).”

    This story will get you to the resort, then from there you will have other stories about going to each park. It is also a good idea to have stories about what will happen if a ride is not open, dealing with crowds, being safe, staying close to mom and dad, etc. These will help you ward off tantrums because of a change.

    For these stories to be successful, you need to start reading them to the child a few weeks before your trip (the exact time period will depend on the child’s disability). Once you get to the resort, it is a good idea to go over some of them every morning before you go to the parks.

    It is also a good plan to know where you want to go on each day. I am not saying what rides you want to do in order, I am saying, “we want to go to Magic Kingdom on Monday, Epcot on Tuesday, etc. They can also help you prepare your child before getting to the parks.

    Now for at the parks…
    You need to make sure you take breaks and listen to your kids. If your child says he/she needs a break, find a bench and take one right away or maybe even go back to your resort and take a longer break.

    I know this is a lot of information, but I want you to know all you need to know. Here is the disclaimer, THESE TIPS WILL NOT HELP EVERYONE. There will be some people who try these tips and still have some difficulties. These tips are ones that I have given to other people and that I know have worked with many children.

    I hope this helps many of our members. I am always available for specific questions. If you ever need my help planning a great vacation for someone with special needs, do not hesitate to ask.
    Last edited by Disney_Lover; 01-04-2012 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Update Information
    2015-Beach Club, 2013-Old Key West & Vero Beach, 2011- Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village, 2009- Boardwalk, 2007- Saratoga Springs, 2006- Hilton Head, 2006- School Trip, 2004- Wilderness Lodge & Ft. Wilderness, 2003-Disneyland, 2001- Boardwalk, 2001- Vero Beach, 2000-Dixie Landings (Join DVC) 2000- Vero Beach, 1997- Dixie Landings

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wonderland & the Pacific NW of USA
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    271
    Thank you so much for sharing this helpful information!
    ~Fairy wishes & sparkling dreams Rebecca
    "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." ~Albert Einstein

    "If you can DREAM it, you can DO it." ~Walt Disney

    Port Orleans French Quarter December 2011Boardwalk Autumn 2013

  3. #3
    My husband has multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed 8 yrs ago and does well. We have been very lucky, however we went to Disney World last year and after the first day he was having trouble. He is a very strong person and never asks for help. I think this type of pass would help him enjoy Disney more. Last year I had to take the kids to the park myself sometimes because he could not handle standing in line for hours. He even had to miss some rides waiting for us on a bench outside. Do we need to get a note from his Dr. with his diagnosis to obtain a guest assist. card?
    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    Texas
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    Re: Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    You don't have to have any documentation.

    2015-Beach Club, 2013-Old Key West & Vero Beach, 2011- Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village, 2009- Boardwalk, 2007- Saratoga Springs, 2006- Hilton Head, 2006- School Trip, 2004- Wilderness Lodge & Ft. Wilderness, 2003-Disneyland, 2001- Boardwalk, 2001- Vero Beach, 2000-Dixie Landings (Join DVC) 2000- Vero Beach, 1997- Dixie Landings

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Missouri
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    1,263

    Re: Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    With my back after surgery and being that standing for long periods is sometimes to much for me how do I go about getting this card?
    Life is not measured by the breaths we take, But by the moments that take our breaths away!

    If you can dream it, You can do it!

  6. #6
    I am disabled and in a wheelchair all the time, going to Disney is great for disabled, transport on the buses no problem, I do get a GAC card from guest relations but find I rarely have to use it, Disney are so good to me that is why we have made 24 trips to WDW from the UK.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2009
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    Texas
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    Mickey Re: Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneymommyx2 View Post
    With my back after surgery and being that standing for long periods is sometimes to much for me how do I go about getting this card?
    All you have to do is go to Guest Relations at your resort at any of the parks and tell them that you recently had back surgery and need a GAC so you don't have to stand for a long period of time in line.

    You might also consider a wheelchair is standing is an issue for you.

    2015-Beach Club, 2013-Old Key West & Vero Beach, 2011- Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village, 2009- Boardwalk, 2007- Saratoga Springs, 2006- Hilton Head, 2006- School Trip, 2004- Wilderness Lodge & Ft. Wilderness, 2003-Disneyland, 2001- Boardwalk, 2001- Vero Beach, 2000-Dixie Landings (Join DVC) 2000- Vero Beach, 1997- Dixie Landings

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    492

    Re: Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    Thanks so much for sharing this information. The GAC was a Godsend for our autistic son. It makes our time in Disney so much easier. The only downside were people who got snarky who couldn't understand why we were getting something they weren't because my son's disability isn't evident. To whom I politely noted that I would be glad to stand in the longest line in the park without a complaint if my child didn't need the GAC.
    Claudine
    "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

  9. #9
    We are renting a condo for our family for a weeks stay in Orlando. My 21 year old son is in a wheelchair. We need to know if there is a good place to rent or have someone donate a high back shower chair for the week. Any suggestions are welcome.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Miami Fl
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    Maybe You can try Craigslist Orlando? Best of luck TO you
    Last edited by Freshee61; 05-27-2012 at 09:12 PM.
    Frying pans! Who knew, right!?

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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by NANAR
    We are renting a condo for our family for a weeks stay in Orlando. My 21 year old son is in a wheelchair. We need to know if there is a good place to rent or have someone donate a high back shower chair for the week. Any suggestions are welcome.
    That is a great idea!! It costs 75 to rent one for a week and I found several for sale do $20. Afterwards I'll donate to a charity.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    42
    I also have MS and going to Disney in August is our only option this year. I read in the monthly MS magazine how wonderful WDW is for guests with disabilities. Although I was told I wouldn't need it, I ha my doctor write a note for me for any accommodations I may need.
    We are a party of 10 on our trip (3 of them kids) do you know if the GAC will accommodate all of us?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NJ, USA
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    492

    Re: Mission: Disabled/Handicapped

    Generally the GAC accomodates six people, that's the most we've ever used it for. However, I have heard from others on TD that it has been used for more so perhaps Guest Services can make exceptions if asked to. It can't hurt.
    Claudine
    "All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    WASHINGTON
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    I am going in 6 days I have a couple ???? For someone if they can answer them for me..... My son is 16 he has had seizures in the past n taking meds for them,also gets lost ALOT of the time... Should I check in with cs to let them know???? Just to be sure if they find him wandering around I am taking steps on my part but we might turn around and where is he....any options anyone has...

    Quote Originally Posted by RETTA
    I am going in 6 days I have a couple ???? For someone if they can answer them for me..... My son is 16 he has had seizures in the past n taking meds for them,also gets lost ALOT of the time... Should I check in with cs to let them know???? Just to be sure if they find him wandering around I am taking steps on my part but we might turn around and where is he....any options anyone has...
    Disneyland!!!!!
    Last edited by RETTA; 06-11-2012 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  15. #15
    Myself and my brother will be visiting next month, he has anxiety issues around large crowds and due to other issues has problems standing for a long time, would we need to bring any documentation to obtain a pass as its not outwardly visible and I really want to make it the best time possible for him?

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