- SIX TIPS FOR PLANNING A
- WALT DISNEY
- With health issues, special needs, disabilities &
Disney World can be a dream come true
even with health issues. It just takes a dash of pre-planning thrown in
the pot to make it great. Taking a trip with health issues
may seem overwhelming, but there's a lot of support available in Disney
In reality, it took us years of vacationing at Disney to learn what we
needed to know. We would like to help you bypass all that trial
and error by sharing what we've learned with you. First on the list―I
can't stress how important it is to make all of your reservations as
early as possible if you want your first choice of activities, locations
and times. Here are six steps that will help you begin the process:
ONE: Lock in your vacation dates. There may be more
issues involved with this decision than you imagined. When you're
traveling with health conditions to Florida and to Walt Disney World,
there are many elements that could impact the quality of your stay.
How about the weather for starters. If your schedule allows you a
choice, you may wish to consider the seasonal issues. The summer's
are hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms that happen almost every
day. This may be too intense for some folks. Then in the winter, it's
usually dry and cooler, but with large temperature fluctuations. In fact
it can even go down to the freezing mark on occasion. On one winter trip
we actually had to wear down coats and gloves. Granted, it's not
usually that cold, but it happens. Still, it can be 80 degrees one day,
and 60 degrees the next day. Fluctuations can even take place
during the day. Take a look at
weather.com if you wish to see weather averages for Orlando,
Florida. This can give you an idea of what to expect, but keep in mind
that the changes can be pretty extreme and sudden.
People with allergies may wish to look into the types of allergens that
are typical during different times of the year.
Crowd conditions should be factored into the equation. During times when
there's peak attendance in the parks and resorts you'll experience much
longer lines for
rides, shows, food, etc. anything else. Not only will the lines
for transportation be longer, but the buses, boats and monorail cars
will be more crowded. Getting to where you want to go in a wheelchair or
stroller may feel challenging and even frustrating or stressful.
To get an idea of what the crowd conditions will be like during specific
dates, we always use
They have made a science of determining Walt Disney World crowd
conditions. You can view about 1 month of dates from the current date
for free. If you have the book The Unofficial Guide
to Walt Disney World, you can view their extended charts for free (this book
makes a great companion to Walt Disney World with Disabilities,
by the way). If you don't have that book, you can pay a small fee to
join the site and view the predictions.
There are more details in our book
Walt Disney World with Disabilities that will help you can
make an educated decision when you pick your vacation dates.
Pick & secure your hotel, resort or vacation home.
This should be the
the first step after you've decided on your dates of travel. Again, if
you want your first pick of where to stay, do this as early as you
Regardless of whether you have special needs or
not, where you stay will usually play a large role in the quality of
your vacation! For those with special needs this may even be more
true. First you'll need to determine your general location. Will
you be happier in a Disney
resort or an off-property hotel/resort. The Disney resorts offer many
perks and the themes and amenities can be a big part of the fun of going
to Disney. To begin your research you can start in the resort section of
the official Disney World site here:
Disneyworld.com. Regardless of the benefits, some people may have their needs met more fully
in a vacation home.
One benefit of a private vacation home is that
you'll be out of the
crowds. If driving to a private
home in a Florida neighborhood sounds peaceful to you, this might be a
great alternative. If you need to cook your own meals, you'll enjoy the
kitchen stocked with all of the appliances, pots and utensils you need.
If you long for more room than the average hotel affords you, a vacation home
will give you that, along with some additional privacy that comes with
multiple bedrooms. One other thing to consider is that these homes
can cost less than many hotel stays. You can also opt to stay in a
suite hotel such as the Westin
The Disney resorts are so dramatically different,
each offering it's own special theme and level of amenities. If
you wish to stay at a Disney resort, we suggest you research the resorts
as far in advance as possible, and then book it as soon as you can.
This becomes even more important if you need to request a handicapped
room because of the limited number. Our new guide book, Walt Disney World with
Disabilities is full of information to help you decide on where to
stay and how to get your needs met in the resorts.
You can also view
the resorts section on the official Disney site at
The main number for
Disney resort reservations 407-939-7630.
THREE: Choose entertainment, then
schedule days and times.
By creating a daily schedule you'll be
able to complete steps four through six. You'll also be
able to make the most out of your vacation. When you're dealing
with health issues, showing up at Disney without a plan sets you up for
disappointment. You're bound to miss things you would have loved, and
you might end up doing things that you wish you had not done.
need to research the parks. First it's important to choose the
rides and attractions that are most appealing you. Then you'll
narrow it down to those which are the most physically and emotionally
appropriate. Walt Disney World with Disabilities is
a great support tool for this process. We believe that this book
contains attraction descriptions that go into greater depth than
anything else available concerning the emotional and physical experience of
the Disney attractions.
you've decided which attractions you'll want to try, it's time to create
your schedule. Pick the parks you'll be going to, and estimate the
time you'll be spending in each park. Then we suggest you make your own
calendar. Showing each of your vacation days sectioned off into 3
parts - A.M., afternoon
and P.M. Now fill in the calendar with your park visits.
Then add in any other Disney activities such as hanging by the resort
pool or visiting Downtown Disney.
FOUR: Buy your tickets in advance. Once you've
determined how many days you'll be in the Disney parks, it's a good time to
purchase your tickets. There's a wide variety of options when
buying tickets. For example, you can buy the Park Hopper ticket option,
which allows you to go to all four parks within the same day. Most
people who use this option will go to two parks in one day. There are
many benefits to this such as the following:
You can leave a park that's particularly mobbed and go to another.
If you don't finish everything you wanted to do in one park, you can
always go back there for part of another day. It reduces the
pressure many people feel to finish everything in one day.
If one park closes early you can go to another park that's open
Personally we've always chosen this option.
We also suggest that you purchase your tickets in advance. There are
some ways to save money such as buying through AAA. There are also
discount pre-purchasing services on the web such as
OrlandoFunTickets.com. Buying in advance will also spare
you from waiting in another Disney line!
FIVE: Make reservations for all table
Disney actually allows guests to do this as much as 180 days in advance for
the majority of its
restaurants. We find that the themes and food of many Disney
restaurants are attractions in themselves, and so worth the time and
money. If you want to be sure that you'll get to try your first
choices, call your reservations in as early as you can. Of course
there are times when we've just walked in without a reservation and
gotten seated, but there are seasons, times and restaurants where it's
just not going to happen that way. There are many times we've been
turned away and we had to eat at a counter service restaurant.
If you've got special dietary requirements, take a look at this section
of our website:
Disney World Restaurants.
You'll find the policy regarding the extent that each restaurant will go
to, in order to meet your needs. You'll also find each restaurants'
breakfast, lunch and dinner menus along with children's' menus.
There are many great suggestions for getting your diet needs met while
at Disney in our book.
SIX: Make other off-site entertainment
reservations. Okay - we know this site is all about
Disney, but we recognize that there is life outside of Disney too. We've
got to admit that some of it is a blast. If you plan to step outside the
World of Disney to somewhere that requires tickets or reservations,
you'll want to take care of that in advance also.
has discount tickets for almost every attraction in Orlando. Don't
forget to fill in your calendar with these plans.
To read more
about Walt Disney World with Disabilities