Taking your special needs kid to Disney World is truly an experience you don’t want to miss. Though there are likely to be challenges, these 4 tips will help you prep them for the big trip. Take a look, make a plan, and allow yourself to have the most magical time possible!

orlandovacation_reading-disney-books-trip-planning1.         Have a family meeting

Many of the issues special needs kids can have is not understanding what’s happening. For example, children on the autism spectrum typically don’t appreciate surprises. If you show up at Disney World and try to introduce them to a million new things at once, there’s no question: they’ll be overwhelmed. A better way is to have a family meeting, discuss your exact plans, and give them as much information as they need.

2.         Read Disney vacation books

There are many guidebooks to Disney with exceptional information. Not only will this give you great tips for planning your trip, but it’ll let your kid feel prepared. If your kid is a voracious reader then you can give them books to read on their own, or with younger kids you can sit down every night and read a chapter or two. While some of the information may not be particularly interesting to them, for example a list of the best bathrooms on property, you’ll likely find that the more information they have the more comfortable they are.

orlandovacation_trip-countdown-calendar3.         Keep them involved in the planning

There are many plans that need to be made for your trip, including whether you’ll stay in a resort hotel or Orlando vacation home, which parks you’ll visit on which days, where you’ll eat, and which attractions you’ll visit. If you keep your kid involved in the planning they’ll feel more connected to the trip. Of course, while these plans are important, you don’t want to overdo it. Be flexible while you’re in the parks. Even with maximum planning your kids can still easily get overwhelmed in the parks and sometimes the right answer is simply to take a break.

4.         Use visual aids

Your kid is likely to feel more comfortable if they’ve seen many of the elements of your trip beforehand. Take a look at YouTube videos that show the various attractions, shows, and special events. Let them decide which ones look like something they’d like to try and which ones seem overwhelming. You can also use visual aids to count down your trip. A simple number posted on the fridge will do, and it may just stop the seemingly never ending questions about when your trip is. They won’t need to ask – the information will be posted for all to see!