My BIGGEST Personal Dream Came True

Disney MP 2016

The Disney Parks Moms Panel is an official Disney online forum where Disney travel enthusiasts with first-hand knowledge answer returning and potential Guests questions regarding Disney Parks planning. The advice and tips presented to Guests is unparalleled with the abundant depth of knowledge from first-hand experience. Panelists represent various Disney Parks destination specialties around the globe, such as Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, runDisney and ESPN Wide World of Sports. As well, panelists are well versed with Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa and Adventures by Disney. Best of all, most panelists have a rich tapestry of combined destination experiences, as well as knowledge of travel with special needs family members, and multiple languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French.

After eight years of applications, (which typically begin in September), progressing through three rounds, and a telephone interview, I was invited for a coveted spot representing the Walt Disney World Resort Specialty! I couldn’t be more grateful and pleased for this important opportunity in assisting returning and potential Disney Parks Guests with their vacation planning. This year for me will be one that I cherish every single moment of answering questions and helping people create life-long, unforgettable memories with their visits to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you’re interested in applying, check the Disney Parks Blog for official application announcements late August or early September.

My Disney Parks experience begins with over 30 visits as a Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guest at over 12 of their resort hotels and Disney Vacation Club Villas. I have celebrated each of my children’s birthdays, except 5 at Walt Disney World Resort and with Disney Cruise Line. I have stayed and played at Disneyland Resort in California and at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawai’i. As well, I have sailed with Disney Cruise Line fleet wide on the Caribbean, and Mediterranean itineraries as a Platinum Castaway Club member with over 11 sailings.

That’s how much I love anything related to Disney! I would be honoured to assist you with your upcoming or potential Disney Parks vacation, just look for Jacqueline P. from Ontario over at the Disney Parks Moms Panel representing Walt Disney World Resort.

Jackie Acropolis

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The Walt Disney Company Reaches into the Future

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

When it comes to innovations, The Walt Disney Company is at the forefront. Just one visit to their many theme parks around the world will demonstrate this. Striving to move forward and to constantly evolve is their focus.

Recently, the Disney Parks in California and Florida unveiled their latest piece of technology affording even more convenience for their guests. The MagicBand, a waterproof wristband, will free you from carrying money, tickets, identification and room cards. It works on Radio Frequency technology and easily touches touch points, sensors throughout the resort. This little wristband, when linked through “My Disney Experience” allows full access to plans and all reservations at the Disney Parks. To get the full benefit of the MagicBand, staying on Disney Parks property is ultimate experience in logistical planning and convenience.

The way to begin this magical experience is to register with “My Disney Experience” the Disney planning website including everything from booking a trip right down to dining reservations. The website allows you to compare from the wide array of Disney resorts, select your package if you desire, buy your theme park tickets and personalize your entire vacation. It even links reservations and tickets and allows you to create a family and friends list.

As well, the whole website can be at your fingertips while on vacation through the free “My Disney Experience Mobile App” where you can update any plans while at the theme parks, see up to date attraction wait times, interactive maps of the theme parks and much more. Best of all your MagicBand, customized through “My Disney Experience” carries all information stored on the website if linked.

Basically, all you need as a Disney resort guest is the MagicBand and here’s why:

  • it’s your Disney resort room access tool (no room cards/keys required)
  • charge food and merchandise purchases on your MagicBand
  • it’s your device to allow you entry into the theme parks
  • it stores all FastPass+ reservations
  • it stores all Disney Dining reservations
  • it connects to Disney PhotoPass, so all images taken from Disney photographers will be linked to your account

The MagicBand is secure as it is a part of MyMagic+ which was built with strict privacy controls through the method of Radio Frequency Technology, which has been in use at the Disney Parks for many years to control rides, parade floats, costuming and laundry. The Walt Disney Company complies with the Federal Communications Commission regulations and standards.

MagicBand Jackie

New Walt Disney World Resort #DisneyKids Height Requirement Infographics Perfect for Special Needs Families

I remember the early days travelling to Walt Disney World with my then younger, special needs son having to carefully read what the height requirements were for each attraction. It was fine for me, but for him the visuals were not as powerful or convincing because he could not read or interpret a chart.

Recently, Jamie Langdon, Social Media Manager for The Walt Disney Company wrote a blog post for the Disney Parks Blog announcing a new infographic for all theme parks which is not only informative, but visually appealing and user friendly.

Now, I can simply point to the attraction and then point to the height requirement for my son, who is still for the most part non-verbal, and show him the rule. I already showed him the infographics and he is already making the visual connections by their use of comparative colour code systems. Not only is he drawing comparisons, but this system promotes the learning his colours. He has always had trouble identifying his colours to this day.

I plan on sharing this chart with other special needs families because now, they too, can pre-plan their attraction visits based on their child’s height. This colour code system is so logical and easy to use.

For families in my situation, we get to assign a colour to our children which they themselves can use to identify which attractions are suited for them based on their height. It’s easy and it makes sense. The visuals are great because most folks are visual learners and observers and this system takes a lot of guesswork out of planning.

Families of special needs children can even replicate the height graphic character for their child and bring it along as a part of the visual schedule board and incorporate its use with the FastPass+ and Disability Access Service Card. I would even tape it to the top of the DAS Card for my son to draw the comparison on the spot, as well, having it right on the DAS Card would support the ‘follow the rules’ as stipulated by Guest Services. This way I can pin the blame so to speak on the Cast Members at Guest Services…..my son won’t question authority. If you know what I mean.

Here are the infographics for each Walt Disney World Resort theme park that I copied from the Disney Parks Blog Post, dated, February 20, 2015, written by Jamie Langdon.

MK RIDE

DHS RIDE

EPCOT RIDE

AK RIDE

 

 

 

 

 

All infographic photos are courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog, The Walt Disney Company.

I hope this new infographic colour coded  system will make your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort easy and memorable.

Basking in the Quieter Areas of the Walt Disney World Resort- Special Needs or Anyone

The excitement and thrills are everywhere at Walt Disney World Resort and sometimes, especially with a special needs family member it’s just nice to sit back and relax at the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’.

With a comforting snack in tow of course, here are some of my favourite spots to just bask in. You never know who you’ll meet and have a chat with, some of my good friends now are folks who I met just relaxing at these very spots.

The best way to discuss this would be by resorts and theme parks and I will focus on quieter, non-stimulatory areas and attractions. Ones that are calm.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Quiet Spots

With twenty-six Disney owned and nine privately owned hotels there are a multitude of spots which are off the beaten path and quiet. Of importance is staying relatively close to the theme park you visit the most, making travel time as short as possible, allowing you to head back to your room and relax if that is all you wish to do. While I can’t go into great detail on every Walt Disney World Resort hotel, I can personally attest to the one’s we’ve indulged in.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a beautifully themed resort on the Monorail line within easy reach to Magic Kingdom Park. The vast lobby is relaxing with calming selections from the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. As well, near the marina you can find a nice spot to sit and watch the Electrical Water Pageant and the Fireworks from Cinderella Castle while enjoying a nice treat from Gasparilla Grill and Games nearby. You can also enjoy the pageant and fireworks from the beach nearby.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also a Monorail resort and offers beautiful grounds for strolling and relaxing in the shade or at night through the torch lit pathways. The beautiful beach has clear views of Magic Kingdom Park and quite often guests can be found enjoying the Fireworks from Cinderella Castle and the Electrical Water Pageant right on the beach. The lobby here is comfortable, offering many seats and charging stations at almost every side table that has a lamp. Just outside the Polynesian’s Great Ceremonial House is a new amazing snack spot with delicious pineapple dole whips called the Pineapple Lanai with ample seating in a cool, comfortable spot.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a relaxing water taxi ride away from Magic Kingdom Park through Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake where you’ll be transported right into a re-creation of America’s Great Northwest! The nature trails take you through mature pine forests and guest areas that are quiet and relaxing. The grand lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge will captivate you with its massive themed Totem Poles and interesting fireplace, definitely a great place to relax and unwind.

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is a resort you could easily spend an entire vacation at. This waterfront hotel places you right in the middle of Atlantic City at the turn of the century. It’s connected to Disney’s BoardWalk Villas and across the way on Crescent Lake sits Disney’s Beach Club and Disney’s Yacht Club Resorts. The BoardWalk Inn and Villas are flanked by two theme parks, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, easily reached on foot or by Friendship Boat.

Stroll on the massive Coney Island themed promenade, enjoy the dining and carnival games and entertainment or just sit back on one of the benches and watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks celebrating the spirit of humanity from Epcot nearby.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, close to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will stun you with its’ authentic representation of the African kraal, the true ‘village’ enclosure in a horseshoe curved layout. This allows the most spectacular views of the real savannas on the property boasting over 200 animals. The lobby alone has real African artwork, the largest collection outside Africa, and ample seating in a most relaxing environment.

Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park boasts six differently themed lands, each with little pockets of quietude.

At the Walt Disney World Railroad, at the top level platform, near the train entrance, is a covered viewing area with seating. It’s quiet, yet provides spectacular views of Main Street U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle.

East Center Street, just off Main Street U.S.A. is a small, quaint street tucked away with some seating and faint sounds of music and dance lessons from above.

The covered pathway dotted with benches and a water fountain leading to the Baby Care Centre and First Aid Station is a nice quiet little spot to have a quiet moment in the shade.

The Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, opens on a seasonal basis yet has a breezy, covered seating area with clear views of Cinderella Castle. It is also beside the restrooms and a water fountain.

Catch a ride over to Tom Sawyer Island and enjoy some shady peace while rocking your cares away.

Directly behind Memento Mori is a shady spot with seating, near the restrooms, offering a quieter spot to relax and people watch.

Calming and relaxing attractions at Magic Kingdom are: Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise,  The Hall of Presidents,it’s a small world, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Disney’s Hollywood Studios buzzes with the excitement and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age and Star Wars thrills and chills, yet offers many pockets of quietude and comfort.

Right in front of The Hollywood Brown Derby there is ample shade and bench seating.

The Studio Catering Company is a quick service eatery with ample covered areas with seats and overhead fans.

The Backlot Express is a breezy, shaded seating area at the threshold of the parades, yet it’s mostly quiet before and after the parades. Enjoying an ice-cream here is refreshing.

We get the best slushies and head over to the serene Echo Lake, an expansive, bi-level, paved area with shade and benches. It’s quiet yet not away from favourite attractions or dining spots.

Calmer attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are: Beauty and Beast-Live on Stage, The Magic of Disney Animation, Voyage of The Little Mermaid and Walt Disney One Man’s Dream.

Epcot is massive, two incredible sections called Future World and World Showcase. Future World features innovations and thrilling attractions whereas the World Showcase houses eleven authentically famous country pavilions.

Great rest spots in Future World are at Electric Umbrella which is a quick service eatery but has ample indoor and covered outdoor seating, neat restrooms. It’s a comfortable spot but can get busy, also a great place to work on boarding and getting off escalators and where my son mastered this behaviour appropriately.

Not far from the Electric Umbrella, is FountainView where you can grab a ice cold drink from Starbucks or Club Cool and then sit out by the wall ledge, which is sheltered and relax while watching the dancing fountain show, every fifteen minutes, at the Fountain of Nations.

We like to hang out near Showcase Plaza quite often while enjoying a coffee and at night if you time it right about a half hour before IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth you can have a perfect view while sitting down.

Head over to Canada Pavilion and enjoy and rest at the recreation of Vancouver’s Butchart Gardens, shady comfortable areas provide a welcome reprieve.

My favourite spot, the United Kingdom Pavilion has in my opinion many quiet, shady and quaint areas before or after any concerts, especially at the back near the performance gazebo where the British Revolution performs. As well, you can stroll through the shady, quiet footpaths nearby.

Over at the The American Adventure Pavilion behind Fife and Drum and Liberty Inn there is shaded outdoor seating which is quiet and relaxing. The funnel cakes here are delicious.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park  is the largest theme park at Walt Disney World Resort and one of the largest animal theme parks in the world. Carrying forth Walt Disney’s commitment and love for animals, their research and care, guests have the opportunity to explore 6 lands holding more than 1,700 animals.

Over in Dinoland you can find many footpaths lined with benches in shady areas to sit and relax and especially in front of the Dinosaur attraction there are little spots with seats affording folks a chance to relax.

 

The Wildlife Express Train is an opportunity to view some animals and enjoy the breezes on the open air train.

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a relaxing, yet interesting and informative foot path with many animal encounters along the way.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a way to relax on an open air vehicle, a bit jerky at times, but a great way to see the larger animals in their habitats, try the soothing Nocturnal Adventure for a completely different experience.

Flights of Wonder is a great short show displaying exotic birds in an educational way and is in a relaxing environment.

Visiting Walt Disney World Resort for Special Needs Guests

Upon receiving the diagnosis for my son we thought our world completely shut down. He was, at the time unable to go anywhere in public without a full blown tantrum. It took only one visit to a restaurant to determine it being our last because all he wanted to do was sit under the table and poke around.

Our doors were closed, our world in a box.

Andrew loved his Disney movie videos, he was captivated watching Buzz Lightyear and Woody in Toy Story. He was amused by the Little Mermaid who had no feet and got a chuckle out of Ursula. Winnie the Pooh as a stuffed toy on Andrew’s bed was a source of comfort during those times spent in his room whenever we tried fruitlessly to have company over.

Andrew and Winnie 2011

Andrew, happy to be with Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom.

All that kept me going were my thoughts and feelings about Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts, my happy places. Ordering the planning guides, waiting for their arrival and thinking that our most recent visit at the time back in 2000 would be our last time. For me, it was heart wrenching to think that all of that had to stop.

Until Andrew saw a Walt Disney World Resort commercial on the T.V. He went right up to the screen and was touching Mickey’s face, he began to jump up and down and run around the room, not from self-stimulatory behaviour, but from glee and excitement. It was then that I decided to take the plunge, so I called Disney’s Central Reservations and went ahead and booked our trip. We were to stay at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and I couldn’t believe it or contain my excitement.

Andrew Rex Andy's Room DCL

Andrew in the Toy Story playroom aboard the Disney Dream. The story came alive for him.

From that day forward our world changed forever and our son began to blossom. He was immersed in his stories as they came alive while walking around the theme parks, he was awestruck and couldn’t believe Winnie the Pooh was real and cuddly and all. Tigger bounced around the Crystal Palace making Andrew squeal with delight while he tried to pull off Eeyore’s tale to everyone’s surprise.

Andrew was in our world!

Andrew and Buzz CA

Andrew above, with Buzz Lightyear at Disney California Adventure Park.

There was no stopping us now, this was the tool we would use to bring Andrew into our world and bring us into his world. We had to vacation at a place where families could have fun together, that place was at the Disney Parks.

The Disney Parks, our tool and our means to achieve our goal. Best of all Disney helps special needs people, Disney provides inclusive experiences for special needs people because no one gets left behind there.

To help you understand and possibly relate and hopefully decide to begin your vacations there with your special needs family member,  I’ll elaborate and help make the connections for you.

What to Expect at Walt Disney World Resort

Before I say anything else, I highly recommend that you register with ‘My Disney Experience’  and participate in My Magic + a Disney booking and planning site which will greatly assist with all aspects of your vacation.

As well, download the free My Disney Experience App for your mobile device which will be at your fingertips when at Walt Disney World Resort. The mobile App is of great assistance when at the parks because it stores all your travel information including dining reservations, FastPass+ reservations which can be changed on the spot, you’ll have charging privileges if you’re staying on property, as well, all theme park information will be available to you.

Selecting a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel

Walt Disney World has a vast array of resorts available to guests, each with a different theme and budgetary consideration. Ranging from value, moderate and deluxe resorts to condo style villas, campgrounds for tents and motor homes to cabins, there is something for everyone. You’re looking at twenty-six  Disney owned resorts and nine not owned by Disney, offering 26,000 rooms as well as 3,000 two-bedroom Disney Vacation Club villas.

Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel affords guests the convenience of complimentary Disney’s Magical Express from Orlando International Airport to their hotel and back, with the added benefit of luggage transport from the airplane to  resort (no baggage claim for guests). Guests are sent luggage tags with hotel information to attach to suitcases prior to leaving home.

Guests experience the Disney magic 24 hours a day, they have special early entrance times and extended park hour times called ‘Extra Magic Hours’. Guests have the ability to charge using their MagicBand and all purchases can be sent directly to their Disney resort.

Staying on property affords guests the opportunity to head back and relax in the afternoon charging up for the evening ahead.

Guests can arrange fun wake up calls to their resort room from Disney characters.

Special needs guests may even consider to stay at a Disney resort hotel nearest their favourite theme park adding the convenience of being extra close to their hotel in times of needed respite and relaxation.

All transportation allowing accommodations for wheelchairs and ECV’s, from Disney resort hotels to theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney is provided. If guests decide to rent a car while staying on property, parking is complimentary at all theme parks, otherwise as of December 2014 parking fees were $18 per day for non-resort hotel guests.

Resort hotels are sprinkled through the forty square miles tucked near the theme parks. All have incredible, and unique themes and are under the magic of Disney.

Considerations for selecting an appropriate resort hotel for special needs guests should begin with budget and then factor in which theme park would be visited the most and stay at a Disney resort hotel nearby. When selecting hotels through My Disney Experience, every hotel lists which theme park area it is located in and the type of transportation to the theme parks available.

Register at My Disney Experience  MyMagic+ Website

-every guest is assigned a MagicBand which they can personalize on My Disney Experience at home when planning (U.S. citizens have their MagicBands sent to them at home prior to leaving; all other countries pick up their MagicBands when checking into their Disney resort)

-book your resort and arrange for complimentary Disney’s Magical Express to and from Orlando International Airport (luggage tags will be sent to you to place on your suitcase prior leaving home; Disney’s Magical Express will transport your luggage to your Disney resort for you)

-purchase your theme park tickets

-book dining reservations

-see available dining according to your location or a location of your choice (if using the mobile app.

-select FastPass+ attractions

-find Character meet and greet times and locations

-check attraction wait times

-navigation assistance for every theme park, water park and Downtown Disney

-share plans with friends and family travelling with you

The Convenience of Disney’s MagicBand System

All guests whether or not they are staying at the Walt Disney World Resort can utilize Disney’s MagicBand system, but non-Disney resort guests have fewer amenities. MagicBands for non-Disney resort guests only allow accommodations for theme park tickets and dining reservations.

Walt Disney World Resort MagicBand  guests’ amenities include:

-theme park ticket storage information and entry access

-entry access into a Disney resort room

-allow charging privileges at all Disney resorts, theme parks, water parks and dining

-stores FastPass+ reservations previously made for theme park attractions

-stores all Disney PhotoPass pictures to your account

MagicBands can be customized online at home through My Disney Experience for each person in the travel party. Everyone can select the name displayed and colour. Fun MagicBand adornments are available at all theme parks and Downtown Disney.

Non-Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests also have access to MagicBands and can purchase them through the online Disney Store or right at the theme parks in the gift shops and then they can link their specific dining and theme park ticket information on them.

Deciding When to Visit the Walt Disney World Resort

Visiting Walt Disney World is exciting at any time of the year. Keeping crowd considerations in mind, quite typically the busiest are when children are on break from school, making May through September, Christmas break in December and Spring Break peak times.

The weather is humid and hottest from May through mid-September, comfortably warm from October through January (although there have been visits in December and January requiring light parkas) and on the cool side January through beginning of March.

Special events and experiences occur consistently throughout the year such as:

-Christmas events-Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (Magic Kingdom), Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights (Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Candlelight Processional (Epcot)

-Halloween- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (Magic Kingdom)

-Fall Season-Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival

-Spring Season-Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

runDisney marathon events throughout the year

Disney Dining Reservations

All theme parks and resorts offer themed sit down dining which is coined ‘table service’ as well as the walk up and order your meal, coined ‘quick service’ eateries. Disney caters to every palate and dietary need and requests may be made ahead of time by contacting Disney Dining or by stating your requests when seated at your table.

Walt Disney Resort guests have the option of selecting the Disney Dining Plan in conjunction with their hotel stay and ticket purchases, non-Disney resort guests do not, but are able to dine anywhere on Disney property. The popularity of the Disney Dining Plan makes it virtually impossible to find an open reservation during peak vacation periods, therefore it is highly recommended for ALL guests to make their dining reservations through My Disney Experience to avoid any disappointment.

Reserving through My Disney Experience or by calling Disney Dining is the method of reservation. I recommend booking through My Disney Experience because there guests can look at the menu and prices for each restaurant.

Booking begins 180 days prior to arrival and Disney resort guests have ten extra days beyond that for making Disney Dining reservations. A credit card is required to secure the reservation and in the event of cancellation without proper notification a fee of ten dollars per guest on the reservation will be charged. If cancelling, it is best to cancel at least two to three days in advance to avoid credit card charges.

Select FastPass+

Disney’s new FastPass+ program is a great convenience, allowing guests little wait time for their favourite attractions by pre-selecting a time frame to ride, ahead of time. Guests can select up to three FastPass+, each with a one hour window and once those are used up a fourth may be selected.

Non-Disney resort guests may book 30 days in advance of their visit while Disney resort guests can reserve 60 days in advance.

Tip: check the typical ride wait times for the attractions, the ones with the longest typical wait times are the most popular and those are the ones the FastPass+ should be secured for.

Disney’s Disability Access System

Commonly referred to as the DAS, Disney’s Disability Access Card program makes allowances for guests who have a visible and/or non-visible disability. It gives those guests the opportunity to be offered a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. This system can be used in conjunction with Disney’s FastPass System and in my opinion worked very well for our visit during the busiest time of the year, Christmas break. In fact, we were at Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve and experienced over seven attractions, with some replicated.

The DAS is available at all Guest Services in all the theme parks and at Downtown Disney. The guest in need of the DAS needs to be present initially when requesting the DAS, because a photo will be taken and placed on the card that is to be carried around and which will be time stamped by Cast Members at the attraction queues.

Some Basics About Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom, the first theme park at Walt Disney World boasting the iconic, 189 foot, fibre-glass structure known as Cinderella Castle reached by passing through the turn of the century, nostalgic Main Street U.S.A. and encompassed by six exciting, differently themed lands named Adventureland, New Fantasyland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Frontierland. Disney characters to be found throughout during well-organized and timed character greets. Guests will see daily themed parades and nightly fireworks shows and will greatly enjoy the unique attractions designed to please everyone.

Special needs guests at Magic Kingdom have access to the First Aid Station next to the Baby Care Center, both beside the Crystal Palace, just behind Casey’s Corner. When my son was a toddler, the Baby Care Center was a welcome respite for him to relax and/or have a quick meal in a peaceful, comforting environment. As an older teen, we often take my son to relax and unwind in the First Aid Station, which has some comfortable seating in an air-conditioned room. Cast Members at the First Aid Station are accommodating, helpful and perceptive of one’s needs.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios transports guests back into the Golden Age of Hollywood with Grauman’s Chinese Theatre as the new focal point. It offers The Great Movie Ride which is a magnificent attraction transporting guests in a massive tram immersing them right into some of the most popular movie moments in history.

Action and adventure await all guests as they progress through eight themed sections: Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Echo Lake, Streets of America, Commissary Lane, Pixar Place, Animation Courtyard and Mickey Avenue.

Special needs guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can take comfort at either Guest Services, the First Aid Station and Baby Care Centre located just inside the theme park, on the left as soon as they enter through the turnstiles.

Epcot

Epcot, Walt Disney World’s second largest theme park, offers guests two separate experiences: Future World featuring technologies latest in the most captivating and thrilling ride experiences and interactions, and World Showcase which immerses guests in the most authentically replicated pavilions from around the world totalling eleven. Countries in pavilions in the Showcase Plaze are: the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Norway, China, Italy, Germany, Japan, Morocco, France and the United Kingdom.

Special needs guests have easy access to the First Aid Station and Baby Care Center at Epcot, mid-way through the theme park in the Odyssey Center directly between Test Track and Showcase Plaza.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is one of the world’s largest animal theme parks, while at Walt Disney World Resort it is the largest theme park of the four, boasting over 500 acres. More than 1,700 animals through over 250 species reside at Disney’s Animal Kingdom all nestled in six perfectly re-created habitats: Oasis, Africa, Discovery Island, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A.

It is wise to visit this theme park early in the day as it usually has an early closing time (late afternoon), to accommodate the needs of the animals.

Special needs guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park have access to the Baby Care Center and First Aid Station located to the left of the Tree of Life in the building just before you cross the bridge into Africa.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park have a Guest Services area with Cast Members who can assist with information on services for Guests with Disabilities. They do not have a designated Baby Care Center yet do offer baby change areas in the restrooms.

Blizzard Beach First Aid Station and Companion Restroom is located between the Beach Haus shop and Lottawatta Lodge. As well, most restrooms throughout the park accommodate guests requiring wheelchairs.

Typhoon Lagoon First Aid and Companion Restroom are together and are located at Guest Services near the park entrance. As well, most restrooms throughout the park accommodate guests requiring wheelchairs.

Guests with Disabilities

Disney strives to accommodate all guests and here is an example of just some of the amenities offered to guests with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities.

-accommodations for service animals (allowed in all theme parks but not on the attraction, another guest must wait with the animal while the first guest rides)

-rental wheelchairs

-rental of electric conveyance vehicles (ECV’s)

-reflective captioning

-assistive listening systems

-sign language interpretation

-TTY (text typewriter telephones)

-handheld captioning

-video captioning

-digital audio tours

-Braille guidebooks

-Disney transportation accommodates guests in wheelchairs and ECV’s

-Disney resort hotels have accessible guest rooms and offer guest rooms for guests accompanied by service animals and even rooms for the hearing impaired guest

Step By Step What to Do

-register at My Disney Experience

-look for ‘Special Offers’ Disney offers seasonal package discounts, resort room discounts, Military discounts  and Florida Resident discounts

-once your Disney resort is booked, make sure you select complimentary motor coach transportation to and from Orlando International Airport called Disney’s Magical Express (later on they’ll want to know your airline number and arrival time, but you can always plug that in once your plans are concrete)

-if you select a package which includes resort hotel, theme park ticket and dining then you will be able to see when your dining booking window opens up. If it’s already open then go ahead and make your dining reservations based on where you’ll be, it’s more convenient that way.

-selecting FastPass+ attractions begins 60 days from arrival for Disney Resort guests and 30 days from arrival for non-resort guests

-customize your travel party’s MagicBands, if you are a U.S. citizen then your MagicBands will be sent to your home; all other non U.S. guests will receive their MagicBands upon check-in at their Disney resort hotel

-select any special tours, events or experiences through My Disney Experience

-pre-order Disney’s PhotoPass service which can be linked to your account and information stored on your MagicBand

-tag luggage before you go to the airport

-upon arrival at Orlando International Airport follow your information guidebook (sent with luggage tags ahead of time) to the Disney Magical Express Check-In Area to board your resort hotel motor coach, your luggage will follow a few hours later (best to carry a day bag with essentials, this way you’re free to do what you like-head to the theme parks or swim)

-have fun!