When planning a trip to Disneyland, everyone has different circumstances that require different preparations. Traveling with a guest with a cognitive disability, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, involves studying certain information to ease your travel needs.
Everyone deserves a relaxing and stress-free trip to the Park. The Disneyland Resort provides a resource Guide for guests with cognitive disabilities that delivers information about attraction details, lost persons guest relations, break areas, and more.
One specific feature in the booklet is the “Attraction Details” section, which lists every ride at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and their features. This feature is wonderful because guests can review which rides suit their group and which rides are precarious to their needs. For example, Indiana Jones Adventure lists a Description of “Fast paced, roller coaster type ride following in the footsteps of Indiana Jones” and the Element of Surprise from “Quick turns, fire, & air bursts”. It also includes a checked catalog of scents/smells, flashing lights, loud noises, periods of darkness, bumps, fast, and FASTPASS accessible. ADS guests can prepare for a high-risk ride like this if over sensory stimulation is an individual precaution.
Disney Researchers provide guests with advice on things to prepare for before arriving to the park. For example, one recommendation is to take a photo of the guest with a cognitive disability to ensure a fast and safe return in the case of a lost person and to attach a name tag to the guest which includes a phone number. This can ease the assistance of a Cast Member who will help search for the lost person and reunite them with your family.
Another tip is to practice ahead of time to wait in line either at home or at your local grocery store, since waiting in lines is a major part of your day at Disneyland. For the guests who cannot endure long wait times, other accommodations can be made by Guest Services to ensure a comfortable experience.
The booklet explains how guests can also receive a DAS Card Service in certain circumstances,
The Disability Access Service Card is designed for Guests who are unable to tolerate extended waits at attractions due to their disability, and the service allows Guests to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current queue wait for the given attraction. Depending on a Guest with a cognitive disability’s individual service needs, additional accommodations are available.
Another fortunate feature in the guide is the “Need a Break” section, which lists the break areas at both parks. If your family member with a cognitive disability needs some down time, the booklet offers resting spots that are less busy, such as “Mickey’s Toontown: Planter area in front of Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin attraction”.
The “Planning a Trip to the Disneyland Resort: A Resource for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” booklet is a beneficial tool for families who can use a helping hand in strategizing a perfect trip.
All guests have to do to get their hands on this free helpful guide is to ask City Hall in Disneyland Park or Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure or download the pdf here.
DisneyExaminer will continue to inform our readers about accommodating tools and guest experiences in our ongoing Disney Fans with Disabilities Series. If you’d like to know more, read about Giselle’s story, a real-life princess with Down Syndrome who loves Disney!