Any parent traveling with young kids knows it can be stressful and nerve-wracking, but this is doubly true for parents of special needs kids. We recently ran across an article called 6 Tips to Enjoy Traveling with a Child That Has Special Needs and found some great tips. Read on to discover our favorite five.
1. Research is essential
You’ll find plenty of online resources that suggest rides and attractions that would be appropriate for your special needs child. While the experiences of others is a good place to start, keep in mind that your child is not identical to another child. Read others opinions, watch YouTube videos of ride-throughs, and contact Disney directly if you still have questions.
2. Practice at a smaller destination first
You don’t know how your special needs child will respond to a vacation until you take them on one. Instead of making Disney their very first try, consider taking them on a day trip closer to home. This gives you a chance to see how to handle it, lets your child get used to the idea of spending time away from home, and makes it clear what types of factors you’ll have to consider as you further plan your trip to Disney.
3. Quality is much more important than quantity
As you’re planning your trip to Disney World it will be tempting to try to do everything. The problem is that there are so many things to do, it would take weeks in the parks to get to it all. Don’t be so focused on doing it all that you forget the importance of the quality of your time there. It’s better to do only a few things a day, but enjoy them to the fullest, than to pack in as much as you can with exhausted kids and meltdowns as the result.
4. Intermission is key
Part of not overdoing it is taking plenty of breaks. This could mean heading back to your vacation home or hotel resort for a mid-day break, or simply planning table service meals to give you a break in the middle of the day. While it’s a good idea to have some breaks scheduled, remember that if a break seems imminent, take it! Even if it complicates other plans you had for that day.
5. Long flights and car rides are not recommended
Long flights can be challenging for anyone, but they’re especially overwhelming for a special needs child. If you have a long flight to Orlando, your best bet may be to fly to a midpoint destination and stay overnight. Your child won’t have to sit through a long flight and you’ll have lower stress and be more refreshed.
These tips are a great start to successful plan a trip to Disney World with your special needs child.