“CLUB” CAN BE A GOOD WORD

Ray Pilgrim (NDD#104) (11 Posts)

Ray grew up with Disney having visited Disneyland several times as a kid, and Walt Disney World once. He had always had fond memories of the trips, but really became a Neurotic Disney Dad when he started to take his kids to the Disney Parks. His oldest child has Autism Spectrum Disorder. So taking his kids to Disney took a little more planning and some lessons learned the hard way. To help others, he and his wife have created Disney for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (WDWAutism.com) to help others plan their magical trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line. WDWAutism also has planning aides to help families prepare for their trips. Rachel and Ray also produce a weekly Disney Parks planning podcast called Mouse Travel Tips.


Photo Credit: Ray Pilgrim

Recently the Disney Cruise Line christened their brand new cruise ship, and it looks amazing.  We have not been on it yet, but we aspire to go on it.  We have had the opportunity to take a seven day cruise on the Disney Magic.  Before we had kids and became Neurotic Disney Fans, Rachel and I were cruisers but never a Disney Cruiser.  Well, then the kids came. We wanted to take a cruise, but we had to wait until they were old enough so we could throw them in the kids club and go off and have fun ourselves.

We had a surprise cruise, meaning we found a deal and were on the plane the next day for it.  We were excited about going on the Magic, but a little concern about the taking the kids to the club.  Like most parents, we were concerned about whether they would be all right while someone else watched them.  With Josh and his low verbal skills, this concern has always been great for us.  However, we were going to try it and see how it went. The worse case scenario would be spending more time as a family.

First thing we did when we got on the cruise ship was to visit the Oceaneer Club.  There we met with the counselors, and the kids got to roam around the club while dad filled out the paperwork.  We expressed our concerns and explained the situation.  Each child had an electronic file on them so cast members would know important information when they checked in the kids.  Here they were able to put important notes in the file for Joshua as they had different cast members for the different shifts.

I have to say the counselors in the kids’ clubs were outstanding.  They were very helpful and accommodating for Joshua.  When they had concerns, they spoke to us and asked us what they could do to help us.  At one point we even had the manager talk to us about what could be done for him to be safe and had fun. The best thing parents of special needs children can do is just talk with the counselors of the club and work out what you both can do so everyone can be happy.

Some of the accommodations were small; for instance, each child had a wristband to identify them.  For Josh, wristbands are a big no-no, so we just attached them to the back of his pants in a belt loop. Another accommodation was that he was able stay with his younger sister in the club he preferred.  With the pager system they have and now with the wave phone on the Dream, they were able contact us anytime.

We cannot say enough about the club crew.  We made sure that Disney Cruise Line knew how much we appreciated them. From our experience on the Magic, we do not have any concerns about going on the Dream.  Josh had such a great time that there were times he was the one wanting to go to the club.  He would even tell us “club” meaning it was time for us to take him there.  To him “club” was a good word and for us to hurry up and take him there.  He could spend time with mom and dad at home.

Contributed by: Ray Pilgrim (NDD#104) Ray is the DDL Special Needs Blogger. He is also the creator of WDW Autism.

Ray Pilgrim (NDD#104)

Ray grew up with Disney having visited Disneyland several times as a kid, and Walt Disney World once. He had always had fond memories of the trips, but really became a Neurotic Disney Dad when he started to take his kids to the Disney Parks. His oldest child has Autism Spectrum Disorder. So taking his kids to Disney took a little more planning and some lessons learned the hard way. To help others, he and his wife have created Disney for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (WDWAutism.com) to help others plan their magical trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line. WDWAutism also has planning aides to help families prepare for their trips. Rachel and Ray also produce a weekly Disney Parks planning podcast called Mouse Travel Tips.