If you are someone with Sensory Processing Difficulties, the idea of Disney World can seem very overwhelming. I mean, it’s overwhelming for people that don’t have these difficulties.
‘J’ was born with Disney DNA. I worked there for two years and prior to that had already visited Disney World about 50 times. In my final three months of working there, my husband started working there as well, which is how we met. Years have passed and we’ve taken many trips on our own. However, at this point, ‘J’ has already been 7 times and ‘Baby J’ has been 3 times.
We tend to do Disney a little differently. We don’t try to see everything we possibly can for everyday we’re there. Growing up, it was my family vacation spot and it was treated like a vacation. We would go to the parks in the morning and at night, with a stop at the pool and usually a nap in the afternoon. This made the trip way more relaxing.
Since we’ve been so often, we’re happy with the idea of just being there. Anything we do there, any ride we go on or restaurant we eat in is great. But if things don’t go as planned, that’s ok too. This makes being the parents of a child with SPD a lot easier. Before becoming parents we already knew future trips would probably be on their terms and schedule. That’s even more true now.
The last two trips have been very eye opening. Things we thought would trigger him, didn’t and things we didn’t see coming, did. On our last trip, he was all about the Magic Kingdom and on the trip we took last week, it was completely overwhelming and he preferred the other parks. We try to get Fast Passes to help with lines and stick to a go with the flow mentality. If he’s not feeling it, we don’t do it and it doesn’t affect our trip because we know we’ll be back.
However, I am well aware that this is not the case for most. People take a trip once or twice while their kids are young and want to make the most out of the experience. I’ve been doing some research since we got back and Disney, being the amazing Guest orientated company they are, are fully prepared to make anyone with SPD (or any type of cognitive or physical disability) as comfortable as possible.
Once you arrive in Disney, visit Guest Relations. They will be able to assist you with any questions you have and ensure your stay is magical! When traveling with someone with SPD (even if it’s just to a restaurant), there are certain item that may help them, should they feel overwhelmed in a situation. Remember to include that on your Disney trip. You can also visit the Guest Services portion of the Walt Disney World website for helpful tips and information. Click here to view the Services for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities page. If you’re visiting a different Disney Park, you’ll be able to find a similar page on their respective sites.
Meltdowns will happen and those with (and without) SPD will feel overwhelmed by some of Walt Disney World. My advice would be: don’t be too afraid to try. That pixie dust has been known to work wonders. Perhaps you and your child will feel a connection to Disney you didn’t think was possible. Disney Cast Members are there to help, be sure to take it!
P.S. If you read my previous blog titled “Feelings,” than you know this picture with Joy was a big deal!