Sunday 9 June 2024
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Pleasing Each Child when One has Special Needs

When taking a trip to Disney World with more than one child it can be daunting. Children have different likes/dislikes, different age groups, different genders, but some of us have a different situation….a “special” child.

I have 3 children, a 6 year old girl, 4 year old boy, and 10 month old girl. My oldest daughter has Down syndrome, so taking a trip to Disney World is a little different for us. She has challenges in many areas, but we want all of our children to have fun and feel an equal part of our vacation.

Here is how we manage when visiting Disney World:

1. My daughter is actually shorter than my son. This trip he meet the 40 inch height requirement, so he could ride more attractions. When possible we rode those attractions when she napped. If she was awake, we tried to take turns between rides she could ride and those that she couldn’t.

2. My daughter also has limited walking abilities so for the most part she is in a stroller, but we want her to walk some. This meant my son had to go a little slower, which he was okay with. He is her biggest cheerleader and even likes to hold her hand and help her walk.

3. One thing I love about Disney is how much attention cast members give to children. I do find a lot of them go out of their way to give the children with special needs a little extra attention. My daughter is non-verbal and can’t ask for attention the way my son does so it’s nice for her. I also love that they include her things. This trip my daughter was picked to participate in The Festival of the Lion King!

4. We also try to take turns with seeing characters that they like or both like. My son really had no interest in Princess Tiana, but we made sure he got to see Buzz Lightyear.

My best advice when taking a child a special needs that has siblings, is set up expectations. Talk to them about how many breaks that might be taken, take turns picking attractions, parades, shows, etc. Setting expectations ahead of time will help decrease those moments of disappointment.

Ashley Bivona is a Disney Vacation Specialist with Mickey Adventures. Ashley enjoys planning Disney vacations for others, as she realizes the importance of spending quality time with family and having fun. Feel free to contact Ashley via facebook or email.

Terri is owner, creator and an author for WDW Hints. She enjoys taking less-traveled paths of WDW and sharing her lesser-known discoveries with you!