NDM309 (4 Posts)

Casey is a 29 year old wife and mother of four girls ages 7 and under. Two of her four children have been diagnosed with Albinism and Sensory Processing Disorder. As a result, her life can be challenging at times, but her family tries to add "Disney attitude" on a daily basis to make the hard times easier. Casey has gone to Walt Disney World every year since she was a young child and strives to carry out this annual tradition with her own children. But in between the trips, Casey and her family do their best to bring Disney into their daily lives.

Photo Credit: Chris Kolb

You may think visiting Walt Disney World with a person with special needs would be hard, but, as a result of great Disney service, it is easier than you might first think. When traveling to Walt Disney World with someone who has special needs, you should get a Guest Assistance Card.  This card lets cast members know that someone — and up to 5 other members of their party — should be permitted different access than is provided for an average guest.

While the Guest Assistance Card frequently permits guests to use an alternate entrance to many of the attractions, that is not the only type of access that can be provided.  Depending on the special needs, a card can also indicate that a guest needs to be seated up close for better viewing, use a stroller as if it is a wheelchair, or wait in air conditioned spaces rather than an outdoor queue.  However, this is not a “go to the head of a line” situation, nor is the card a “permanent Fastpass.”  A Guest Assistance Card can be issued for conditions such as autism, low vision, hearing loss, impaired mobility, and countless other conditions.

To acquire the card, all you have to do is go to Guest Services at any of the four parks and tell them: what you need in regards to assistance, how long you’re staying, and how many people are in your party.  A great feature is that the card is valid for your entire stay, and there’s hardly ever any line to wait in before you get to talk to a Guest Services Cast Member.  When we take our daughters we let Guest Services know that they have sensory processing disorder, low vision, and can’t be in the sun for too long due to having albinism. Using that information they give us a card with stamps on it that allow us to use alternate entrances as well as sit up close at shows.  Since one of my daughters can’t handle being in lines because people are invading her space, after we show our card to the Cast Members, they often lead us to an area where we can wait our turn.

In all of our many trips to Walt Disney World we have never had a problem with any cast member in regards to service — every cast member is wonderful with our girls. Disney makes traveling with special needs almost easy!  My girls and the rest of our family are all able to enjoy the parks just like any other person, and after each visit we all come home loving Disney more and more.

Contributed by: Casey Kolb (NDM#309) Casey is the DDL Special Needs Blogger. She is also the creator of Disney Dream Finder.

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