Thank you for joining me today as we discuss Special Needs, DAS, and Walt Disney World.
A little background about me: I have been with Marvelous Mouse Travels for 4 years this August. I have always loved Disney; loved so much that when I was given high school graduation gift of a choice of a trip to Paris or a week long trip to Disney staying at Yacht club ~~ I picked Disney! And I am a HUGE Stitch fan
Now you may be wondering how I know about special needs and what it takes to navigate WDW?
Meet Tommy and Abby!!
These two kids of mine SOMEHOW managed to gain the love for Disney also. My husband will tell you it’s genetic 😉 They both have Down Syndrome and both have their own personalities and things they like and don’t like so we have to navigate with those parameters.
This is a wonderful tool that is used to help decrease the time spent waiting in line. On the first day that you go
to the parks, go to guest services and ask for the DAS and explain why you need it. They will assign it to the one member of your party that needs it. Now in our case, we assign it to one child. It is good for that person and the others in the party up to 6. NOW, there have been cases they will allow more people on with the child. It is dependent on how busy the parks are.
Now.. how does DAS work??? So glad you asked. Say Tommy wants to go on Soarin. We get up to the line and the
wait is a L-O-N-G 60 minutes. Oh NO!! But, Tommy and I can walk up to the cast member with his magic band (or card if you are staying off-site or do not have a magic band). The Cast Member will then assign us a time to come back. Example: We walk up at 10am. The wait is 60 minutes. We are told to come back at 10:50 and go to the Fast Pass line. Easy! While we wait, we look at decorations, grab a snack or even catch a ride on something else! The big thing about DAS is that you are only allowed ONE AT A TIME! You cannot grab another ride until you have used the one on the Magic Band/Card.
So another question we get often as agents is do we really need to book the Fast Passes because we have the DAS?!?
One word: YES! Combining these two together will help cut down on wait times. After using the first 3 fast pases, go into the app and grab the next ride. Use the DAS pass between Fast Pass rides/times! It’s a sanity saving, meltdown preventing trick to do while there and it works in all the parks!
Next thing to discuss is loud noise. It’s everywhere! Between the crowds, the parades, and let’s not forget the
fireworks, it can be very overwhelming!! So my suggestion is to look at getting noise reducing headphones! These can be purchased on Amazon for fairly reasonable costs.
Some kids and adults do not have capabilities to regulate their body temps.
There are great items out there to help with this! Cooling vest, cooling towels, cooling head wraps to name a few. They are very easy to use. Some you simply wet with water and they will work for hours. Some you have to bring ice packs to use. Something I want to mention is if you do have a child/adult who needs these and find them pricey — Check with your insurance to see if they can be covered under your policy as Durable Medical Equipment. The doctor may have to submit for Pre-Determination to see if it may be covered along with the medical notes stating the condition is there. I can tell you that Abby does not tolerate the heat well and we have used the cooling wraps. They are a God-send!
Now … the meltdowns.. they happen! I am not going to lie and tell you our trips have been meltdown free.
Sometimes you need a place to go to get away from all the stimulation the kids/adults are getting from the sights and sounds around them. This is where finding quiet spots and knowing where they are can help and sometimes you only need a few minutes to do so. The Disney transportation is great if you want to chill for while. Hop on the Monorail! Grab a seat on a ferry. If you only need a few minutes one great one is the baby care center. They can go in, relax for a bit, and then head back to the park recharged! There is one in every park.