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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Advice needed about special needs in the Ask The Experts forums; Hi all, I'm new here and hoping for some advice. I have an 8 year old son with autistic spectrum disorder and 4 year old with sensory dysfunction. My eldest ...
  1. #1
    new-girl is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Advice needed about special needs

    Hi all,

    I'm new here and hoping for some advice. I have an 8 year old son with autistic spectrum disorder and 4 year old with sensory dysfunction. My eldest is also having heart surgery this month so as a treat we are wanting to go to WDW next year.

    My question is this: He has great difficulty coping with queues. Can anyone give us some advice about how we can best combat this? We went to Disneyland Paris last year for the day and unfortunately only managed 3 rides! (one with a fastpass!) it was too much for him so we couldn't go back the next day

    I've read some tips on the special needs and autism section which are really helpful and there is mention of getting a GAC and restaurant plan. Could anyone tell me what these are as I'm not familiar with them.

    I really want us all to experience the magic rather than the stress.

    Any advice much appreciated

    Thanks

    new-girl

    UK

  2. #2
    disneydame2004's Avatar
    disneydame2004 is offline Celebrate Everyday!
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    to DWT, new-girl

    A GAC (Guest assistance card) can be obtained at guest services at the parks. Basically, you explain your children's special needs to the CM there and they give you a card you can show at the entrance to each attraction. It is not a head-of-the-line pass or anything, but it allows special accommodations based on your specific needs.

    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with a restaurant plan for special needs. Are you asking about the Disney Dining Plan?

    PassPorter's "Open Mouse" book by Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line is a fantastic resource that would be invaluable to you. There is also a lot of information about special needs at WDW on the AllEarsNet.com website, which is also run by Deb Wills.
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  3. #3
    Flanagan's Avatar
    Flanagan is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    I second disneydame's advice about AllEarsNet. Specifically, this page: Special Needs Overview
    The Debs are experts on special needs in WDW, and I can't recommend them highly enough.


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    new-girl is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Thanks very much guys for the advice. I'm going to check out those sites right now!

    Also yes, I did mean a dining plan. I read somewhere that you need to have a dining plan otherwise you can't get into restaurants.

    Once again thanks for your help.

  5. #5
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    joanna71985 is offline Friend of the Disney Characters!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by new-girl View Post
    Thanks very much guys for the advice. I'm going to check out those sites right now!

    Also yes, I did mean a dining plan. I read somewhere that you need to have a dining plan otherwise you can't get into restaurants.

    Once again thanks for your help.
    Well, you don't need to be on the Dining Plan to eat in the restaurants. But you will need an ADR for most table-service restaurants.
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    If you are planning to eat in lots of table service resturants it might be worth your while looking into having the Dining plan though. There are lots of links / advice on here or on the recomended websites.
    When we were in WDW last year, we met a family who had an autistic son. We were at Character Connection at EPCOT and they came in and spoke to the CM who put them in the line in front of us (we were next) to meet Mickey. I think he chose us as we didn't have any kids with us and so were less likely to object. No-one in the line behind us said anything either. The CM had a quiet word in Mickey's ear too, and it seemed as if the characters are prepared for how to deal with special needs kids.
    Finally, welcome from a fellow UK-er! You will love it here - not to mention in WDW. PM me if you want any advice - I am really missing palnning my trip this year!!
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    Welcome, the trip sounds like a grand reward for that surgery. Have a great time here-everyone is really helpful.
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    new-girl is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Ok.

    I'm all systems go now in starting to plan for it. My son goes in for the surgery this week, it's been a tough year and it's still far from over so we need this next year more than anything!!

    I am an absolute novice about how to plan it all so I'm going to have to start learning asap. I've only been to WDW once and that was 28 years ago, the same year as my hubby (strange coincidence). I've ordered "Open Mouse" which I think will be a great help. Also regarding best times when least crowded/weather is ok I'm thinking October? dates outside of school hols are fine as school always allows us holidays outside peak times. The pass sounds like something which would be invaluable to us, and thankyou everyone for informing me of its existence. Having read that some wait times can be up to 2hours+ TBH I wouldn't even consider going, with my son's needs, if we couldn't get the pass, he just couldn't cope with it. So I will have to find out for definite whether this is still available before even booking anything!

    With regards dining out, I've read that most of the restaurants are very accomodating re: special diets, that is something I need to arrange also, as he has a very very limited diet: no vegetables, no fruit, processed fish and meat and McDonalds! but I think he would love Mickey's Backyard BBQ as he loves burgers.

    We've been looking at youtube vids together and he is really excited about it all, having been so dissappointed by EuroDisney (continually rained, very few characters were about, wait times, characters that were there, costumes were grubby/dirty looking) I really want us all to feel the magic both me and my husband felt when we were kids.

    So any advice would be great.

    Like I said, I'm a total Disney novice so forgive my ignorance but what is ADR? I know I have an awful lot of reading up to do!

    Thanks everyone for welcoming me to the forum

  9. #9
    disneydame2004's Avatar
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    ADR = Advance Dining Reservation. Basically, a reservation you make to dine at a specific restaurant on a certain day and time.


    Good luck with the surgery. I hope all goes well.
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