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

My kids love Disney animated movies.  They grew up on them and continue to watch them over and over.  For children with autism they need predictability and familiarity. It’s had for them to process something new, so they look for what they know. Having watched many of the Disney movies has helped my son and daughter get ready to go to the Disney Parks.

When Josh was young, he loved the movie Snow White even though it was a scary movie.  He would watch it so many times we would have to hide it so he would watch something different. Now fast forward to our trip to Disney, and what’s his favorite ride? You guessed it, Snow White’s Scary Adventure.  For many young children this is a scary attraction, hence the “Scary Adventure.”  However, Josh loved the ride. He was excited that there was something he knew and loved.  Today this is still one of our family’s favorite as we all laugh and enjoy the ride.  It will be missed when it is gone (at least we will still have Disneyland).

On one of our family trips to Disneyland, we took them on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.  They didn’t care for the ride because they didn’t know Roger Rabbit or Mr. Toad.  These were just rides that turned around.  Before we went back to Disneyland, I looked for the movies and were able to find them for low prices.  Both kids loved the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? When they went on the ride the next time, they understood the cab and how we had to avoid the “Dip.”

When Disneyland was created, Walt saw how the attraction could help families relive the fun of the films, and now Disney has seen how the attractions can turn into movies. Many attractions now have a Disney animated film or live action film associated with them.  So, go get that recently released Disney Diamond movie.  Make it a family night and help your special needs child get ready for the magic at Disney Parks or just relive the magic from your last visit.

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


  1. You’re so right – routine and familiarity are so important for all kids, but especially ones with autism. When we took our boys to Disney World last fall, it was so great that the first “people” they saw were Chip and Dale – heros of this month’s obsession!

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