AUTISM SUPPORT NETWORK/AUTISM SOCIETY ONTARIO -
YORK REGION CHAPTER
HOW TO ENJOY
DISNEY WORLD ...and
live to tell the tale!!!
After our last
issue, I had several requests to tackle this topic, so here it goes…
Every year, my family and I travel to Disney World.
This is a wonderful yet not exactly relaxing vacation at the best of
times and having a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the party
tends to make it more challenging!
At home, we can
all know and live with the behaviors. I
barely notice the stimming anymore unless it is new, very loud or of a
particularly entertaining type. Put
your child with ASD on a plane for 3 hours and every noise, every stim becomes
exaggerated. You can’t escape the
stares from other passengers and you may feel the need to over-compensate in
planes is a pain. There are four of us: 2 adults and 2 children (both under 7).
We can only buy seats in a 3 and 1 configuration, and since I am “better”
with J., my husband gets to sit alone. He reads a novel or watches the movie,
while I am wiping faces, doing joint compressions, and checking under the seats
for lost toys! J He enjoys the airplane food while
I am peeling the pasta off my face and picking peas out of my hair! J
Would I stop going? NEVER!!!! J
all want to arrive at the airport with as little waiting time as possible.
This is imperative in this situation.
Call ahead to the airline before leaving to confirm departure time.
We have taken very early flights (6:20 a.m., meaning we have to get up at
3 a.m.) and afternoon flights. Don’t
kid yourself that your child will probably sleep on the plane if you leave early
– this is not always the case! You
may just end up with a very grouchy child falling asleep at 5pm (therefore,
awakening everyone at 2:00 a.m.!) There
are advantages to both flights, but keep in mind that most check in times for
hotels aren’t until 3:00 pm, so if you take the early flight, you may end up
with hours and hours on your hands!
your flight attendant that your child has ASD and explain what this could mean
in terms of behaviors.
you have access to business card sized explanations of autism, feel free to hand
them out to any passengers who comment on your child’s behaviors.
Bring snacks and drinks that your child will eat on the
v Bring extra diapers or pull-ups and wipes. Also bring facial wipes. Keep up with toileting routines. Lines in Customs may be longer now, so take your child to the toilet pre-landing.
v Be sure to keep up with any doses of medications.
v Bring a “sensory grab bag” http://www.bbbautism.com/aso_wkshp_005.htm full of new (cheap) little stimmy toys. You’ll want them cheap because they might get lost. Spend $20 at a dollar store or party packagers. I recently attended a "Make 'n' Take Sensory Workshop" and got lots of cool ideas for this.
v Bring a beloved toy (preferably a soft one). Don’t wash it before you go (unless, of course, you have to) because it won’t hurt if it smells like home.
v Be sure let your child stretch his/her legs every so often (supervised by you, of course).
v Dress your child in comfortable clothing (elasticized waits rule in this case).
v Please do not forget any assistive communication devices your child may use to bring on the plane.
v If your child has sensory issues, I’d suggest bringing a toilet insert for added security and familiar feel.
v Do not bring expensive items on the plane (unless imperative), space is a factor and it could get stepped on.
v Don’t forget that some people may ask about your child out of curiosity. This is not a bad thing; it is your chance to spread a little autism awareness. If you can handle it, tell them a brief description of ASD, hand them an business card-sized explanation, making sure it includes a toll free number to the Autism Society and/or a link to BBB Autism http://www.bbbautism.com/.
Advisory for Air Travelers: http://wdwig.com/faa.htm
We have stayed in a few hotels
in Orlando, but by far the best experiences we have had were when we stayed on
Disney property. You receive
advantages that other park goers do not, such as the ability to enter parks one
hour earlier (8:00am – you can see a great deal in that hour, without the
crowds). Check your guidebook to
see which park opens early on which day! (Note:
I recently read somewhere that Disney is not providing this feature at this
time, but are having characters visit hotels instead.
If you don’t relish the idea of being woken up to the sounds of a giant
Pooh Bear in the hallway, I suggest you ask Disney directly. http://disney.go.com/Mail/DisneyWorld/technical.html)
The two favorite hotels we
have found are:
this accommodation is by no means inexpensive, we have found it to be superb in
so many ways.
The one and two bedroom villas
feature living room, kitchen, and private porch. Bedrooms have private baths
(with one whirlpool tub) and queen-size beds.
Bedrooms boast TVs and plenty of room.
When you count the fold out couch, you can sleep eight comfortably!
You can also get cribs and bedrails from room service.
There are a full sized washer and dryer, ironing board and a colour TV.
plus VCR in the living room. You
get a kitchen with a dishwasher, garbage disposal, dishes, fridge, stove and
dining area. You don’t even have
to bring your hairdryer! Soaps and Shampoos also provided.
We have stayed here with my
husband’s family when there have been 2 newborns present, and the sound of
crying infants definitely does not carry. Also,
you cannot hear your neighbors.
This accommodation is safe and
comfortable. Transportation to all
parks and Downtown Disney is available. There is also an exercise room for
those really enjoying the fine dining!
There is a nice restaurant
called Olivia’s that is walking distance from all villas. Check out their kids’ menu here:
is a great place for kids called Hank’s where you can rent movies for free,
watch a Disney flick and engage in all kinds of games.
(2) Coronado Springs http://www.mickey-mouse.com/wdwrescoronadosprings.htm
We stayed there for the first
time last year and were very happy with it.
Disney calls these rooms
“moderately priced”. Compared to Old Key West, space is tight.
We got 2 double beds, colour TV, ironing board/iron, hairdryer and full
bathroom (with shampoo and soap). From
room service, we got bedrails and rented a small fridge from $10.60 per day.
There are a couple of pools,
laundry facilities, spa, exercise facilities, gift shops, games room, a great
restaurant, wheelchair rentals and more. Despite
the size of the room, I was very happy here!
Groceries and various sundries
can be obtained at “Gooding’s” http://www.goodings.com/default.asp
(just outside Disney World). Be
aware, it is pretty expensive, but still cheaper to get supplies for breakfast
and lunch and save your pennies for dining out!
Great shopping can be found at
the outlet malls of Belz
Just 12 miles from Disney, you can find directions here
For even more shopping, check out the Orlando Mall Directory
Be sure to visit the
Rainforest Café (kids menu – note: macaroni and cheese!!! http://wdwig.com/menu/menu_rfck.htm)
in Downtown Disney and while you are there, check out all the great stuff for
your kids to do. Be sure to visit
Wolfgang Puck’s Express also (more Mac & cheese!
you happen to get an evening away from the kids, visit Fulton’s Crab House
while there. I did not see Mac & cheese anywhere on their menu J
If you have one, be sure to
bring your handicap-parking pass. This
way you can enter or leave the park quickly if it becomes necessary.
Although J tends to have less meltdowns in Disney, it still happens.
We rented a wheelchair every
day we went into the parks. My son
can walk, but he experiences gross motor issues and tires very quickly.
We would have never been able to do everything we wanted to if he had
walked. With respect to renting
wheelchairs, Disney states the following: “Some Guests may be concerned that
they do not have the stamina to wait in our queues. We strongly suggest that
these visitors consider using a wheelchair or electric convenience vehicle, as
the distance between our attractions is much greater than the length of our
queues.” We found we needed no
supporting documentation to rent a wheelchair.
More help with those lineups;
Disney’s developed the Fast Pass, a reservation system for the most popular
attractions. You can read about it here:
This really made our visits a breeze!
We always obtain the Park
Hopper Pass http://www.floridaorlandotickets.net/disney_park_hopper_pass.html.
We find that we don’t need entire days to visit every theme park, and
this saves us money. For example: if we take a whole day and visit two parks
that cuts down on the extra day’s admission.
Additionally, we love to spend at least one evening at Epcot for dining
and watching fireworks. If you are planning to visit more than one park per day, keep
your wheelchair receipt and present it at the next park.
You only need to pay one fee per day.
Upon entering the Magic
Kingdom, go to Guest Relations, located inside City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Provided here are a variety of services, including general information
and information on services for Guests with disabilities.
Be sure to request a guide map. There
are similar areas for wheelchair rentals in each theme park and many of the
Recommended (by me) Attractions By Park
These are attractions that we
found most accommodating for our situation. I have also included those, which
feature interesting sensory stimulation.
Buzz Lightyear Ride
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
Disney’s Magical Moments
Main Street Electrical Parade
The Legend of the Lion King
Mad Tea Party (spin, spin,
Peter Pan’s Flight
The Many Adventures of Winnie
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Guide to Epcot’s
Toy Story Character Greetings
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Bear in the Big Blue House
Fantasmic! (Bring something to
eat, drink and some blankets to sit on!)
Beauty and the Beast – Live
One of the best experiences we had was at MGM, at the “Beauty and the Beast” show. Not only were we treated with respect and given great seats, they had 2 “cast members” performing the entire show (off to the side) in Sign Language. It was moving and wonderful!
Character Greeting Trails
Festival of the Lion King
It’s Tough to be a Bug (from
A Bug’s Life)
Coral Reef (Living Seas):
Ursula's Chicken - Chicken Nuggets with Corn and Goldfish Crackers $4.99
Prince Eric's Sea Dog - Hot dog with Corn and Goldfish Crackers $4.99
Triton's Pasta - Pasta with Marinara Sauce $4.99
Sebastian's Sandwich - Peanut Butter and Jelly with Goldfish Crackers $4.99
Chicken Breast served with mashed potatoes and corn $7.99
Baked Mahi served with mashed potatoes and corn $8.99
Peanut Butter Play dough - $2.50
Shipwreck - $3.25
Build Your Own Sundae - $5.25
ALFREDO di ROMA RISTORANTE (Italy - World Showcase – Epcot):
Spaghetti Al Pomodoro Con Polpette di Carne - with Alfredo's tomato sauce and meatballs $4.99
Le Original Fettuccine All'Alfredo - Alfredo's world famous original creation tossed in a specially prepared butter and parmesan cheese $5.50
Lasagna Pasticciate Alla Modenese - Lasagna strips baked with veal and cream sauces, Mozzarella and parmesan cheeses $5.50
Italian Chicken Fingers - $4.99
Specialty Drinks - Strawberry Slush $2.75
(World Showcase Canada):
Chicken Fingers and fries - $4.99
Cheeseburger and Fries - $4.99
Hot Dog and Fries - $4.99
Pasta and Tomato Sauce - $4.99
Prime Rib (dinner only) $6.50
5 Ounce Sirloin Steak (dinner only) $6.50
DRAGONS (China World Showcase):
Fried Rice and Egg roll - $4.75
Sweet and Sour Chicken - $4.75
Above items served with soft drink and ice cream
China Doll - children's cocktail $1.50
MARRAKESH (Morocco World Showcase)
Chicken - Chicken breast grilled and served with fried potatoes $4.95
Beef Shish Kebab - Grilled beef on a skewer served with fried potatoes $5.95
Kefta - 3 mini burgers served with tomato sauce and fried potatoes $4.95
Vegetable Couscous - Rolled semolina steamed and served with seasonal vegetables $4.25
ROSE AND CROWN (United Kingdom World Showcase)
Cottage Pie - spiced ground beef crowned with mashed potatoes and melted cheddar cheese $5.25
Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chips - Battered, fried Cod with crispy potatoes $6.50
Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich - served with a bag of crisps $4.99
Macaroni and Cheese - $4.99
Child Hot Dog - served with chips $4.99
Inn (Mexico World Showcase)
Chicken Strips - Served with fried plantains and rice $4.99
Burrito - beef burrito with beans, lettuce and tomato, served with rice $4.99
Quesadillas de Pollo -flour tortilla filled with cheese and chicken breast, grilled and served with rice $4.99
Desserts: Churros Mexicanos or Ice Cream Fiesta $2.50 each
All the above served with kid's soft drink.
Blossom's Chicken Strips - served with corn and mashed potatoes
Major's Cheeseburger - served with corn and mashed potatoes
Jaq's Cheese Dog Rolls -served with corn and mashed potatoes
Yankee Doodle Noodles - Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese served with fruit $4.99
Paul Revere Chicken Strips - served with fries $4.99
Little Patriot's Hot Dog - served with fries $4.99
The Colonial Cheeseburger - served with fries $4.99
THE LUNCHING PAD (Tomorrowland At RocketTower Plaza - Fast Snacks)
"Galactic Gobblers" - smoked turkey legs $4.22
Disney Character Cookie - $1.50
Frozen Carbonated Drinks - Coke, Minute Maid Cherry or Minute Maid Blueberry $2.25; served in souvenir sports bottle $5.25
Soft Drinks; Nestea - $1.75, $1.95, $2.25; served in souvenir sports bottle $4.95
Whole, Low fat or Chocolate Milk - $.99
Coffee - brewed regular or decaffeinated $1.35 and $1.55
Hot Tea or Carnation Hot Cocoa - $1.35
Fresh Orange Juice - $1.45
Bottled Water - $2.50
TOWN SQUARE (Main Street)
include a beverage and dessert
Tony's Spaghetti - served with a meatball and tomato sauce OR tossed with butter only $4.99
Peg's Pepperoni Pizza - $4.99
Trusty's "Old Reliable" Cheese Pizza - $4.99
Scamp's Ravioli - cheese Raviolis filled served with tomato sauce $4.99
FIFTIES PRIME TIME CAFÉ
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich - served with potato chips and beverage $4.99
Mickey's Pasta with Marinara - served with beverage $4.99
Mickey Pasta with Cheese Sauce - served with beverage $4.99
Kiddie Burger - Served with French fries and beverage $4.99
Grilled Hot Dog - Served with French fries and beverage $4.99
Fried Chicken Strips - Served with French fries and beverage $4.99
Beverages - Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Milk, Hot Cocoa, Pink Lemonade and a variety of juices
Salad - Mixed greens with tomato, carrots and choice of dressing. French, Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Thousand Island. $2.75
Mickey's Macaroni and Cheese - Pasta with cheddar cheese sauce and a beverage. $4.99
Hot Dog - With fries and a beverage. $4.99
Grilled Chicken Breast - Served with roasted red potatoes, fresh vegetables and a beverage. $5.75
Fried Florida Grouper Strips - With fries and a beverage. $6.95
Hidden Treasures - With vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookie crumbles and gummy snakes. $2.95
The Hollywood Junior - Vanilla ice milk blended with a crunchy chocolate and peanut butter candy bar. $2.95
Orange Smoothie - Vanilla ice milk blended with fresh orange juice. $2.95
Cookie Magic - Vanilla ice milk blended with Oreo cookies. $2.95
Coca-Cola Classic, Caffeine Free diet Coke, Sprite, Minute Maid Orange soda, Minute Maid Lemonade, Milk, Chocolate Milk, variety of juices
Spaghetti with Tomato or Meat Sauce - Served with beverage $4.99
Chicken Strips - Served with French Fries and beverage $4.99
Kiddie Burger - Served with beverage $4.99
Cheese Pizza - Served with beverage $4.99
Pepperoni Pizza - Served with beverage $4.99
BEVERAGES - Coca-Cola Classic, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, Sprite, Cherry Coke, Nestea Iced Tea, Milk, Chocolate Milk, Carnation Hot Cocoa, Minute Maid Apple Juice, Minute Maid Grapefruit Juice
TOY STORY PIZZA PLANET
Buzz's Meal Deal - Individual Cheese Pizza, Side Tossed Salad, and Regular Beverage $7.75
Woody's Meal Deal - Individual Pepperoni Pizza, Side Tossed Salad, and Regular Beverage - $7.99
Junkyard Meal Deal - Individual Veggie Pizza, Side Tossed Salad and Regular Beverage $8.55
(Salad dressings: Ranch, Italian, and Bleu Cheese)
Individual Cheese Pizza $4.95
Individual Pepperoni Pizza $5.35
Individual Veggie Pizza (mushrooms, peppers, onions, & tomatoes) $5.75
Side Tossed Salad lettuce and tomatoes $1.95
Greek Salad (Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, feta cheese, onions, tomatoes topped with Greek dressing) - $5.25
Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, Sprite, Nestea, Barq's Root Beer, Minute Maid Orange, Hi-C Pink Lemonade - $1.75/$2.25
Disney's Toy Story Souvenir cup (with drink) $3.75
Bottled Water $2.50
Nescafe Coffee (Reg. or Decafe.) $1.35/$1.55
Milk (whole, skim, chocolate) $.99
Carnation Hot Cocoa $1.35
Hot Tea $1.35
Minute Maid Premium Choice Orange Juice $1.50
Apple Juice $1.50
Potato Chips $1.25
Chocolate Chip Cookies $1.75
Sugar Cookies $1.75
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies $1.75
CHIP AND DALE’S
COOKIE CABIN (KIOSK)
Fresh Baked Cookies - Sugar, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin - $1.49
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich - $3.49
S'mores Brownie - $2.79
Nestle Crunch King Size Ice Cream Bar - $2.39
Coffee - $1.79
Milk - $1.89
Chocolate Milk - $1.89
Apple or Orange Juice - $2.39
Bottled Water - $2.50
Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Lemonade, Orange Soda in a Souvenir Cup - $2.34
Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Lemonade, Orange Soda in a Souvenir Mug - $3.79
Kid-sized portion of Coca-Cola products, milk or apple juice $1.99
Add Safari fries to any meal for 95 cents
Castaway Kid's Pizza - a kid-sized cheese pizza $5.99 add pepperoni at no additional charge
Rainforest Rascal - three kid-sized mini rainforest Burgers, charbroiled and served with chips $5.99
Jurassic Chicken Tidbits - dinosaur-shaped chicken, breaded and deep-fried, served with chips $5.99
Mini Hot Dogs - three mini-hot dogs served with chips $5.99
Macaroni and Cheese - elbow pasta with lots of cheese $5.99
Milky Way - vanilla ice cream bar with chocolate coating and a caramel swirl $1.99
Snickers - vanilla ice cream in a crunchy sugar cone $1.99
M&M's - vanilla ice cream sandwich between two M&M cookies $1.99
will find a variety of children’s menus at many of the resort restaurants as
well. Good luck!
Bernie’s family on their trip to Disney World in August of 2001: http://www.autismsupport.org/OurDisneytrip.html
with Kids: Top Ten Tips for Visiting Disney World:
World’s Official Website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/waltdisneyworld/index
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