Disney With Special Needs: The Importance of Planning Ahead


A Disney vacation could require some additional planning, if you are traveling with a loved one with special needs. But hakuna matata-no worries! Here are some tips to keep in mind to help your special needs family members feel as comfortable and happy on their trip as possible.


My brother (he is autistic) is a very picky eater. He only likes certain types of food and likes to stick to the foods he knows he likes. So whenever we are planning a vacation to Disney, we often have to look over menus to the restaurants before picking where we will be dining. The official Disney website list all the restaurants located in the parks along with the types of food they serve. This is a very helpful tool in deciding where to make reservations and where we can stop for snacks. All the Disney Parks offer a variety of food options and often serve additional alternatives for people who have special diets and/or allergies.

Tips for Food

  1. After deciding what parks you will be visiting, look at some of the food choices the restaurants in the parks offer.
  2. Once you find options you enjoy, see where they are located in the park so you can find them easier once you are there.
  3. If the restaurant you pick takes reservations, it would be best to make them in advance.


While planning your vacation, it can definitely be beneficial to look into the attractions at the parks you are going to visit. If you have a loved one with special needs some rides may be too intense, but you can also find rides that they will be sure to enjoy. My brother’s favorite attractions are Star Tours and Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Tomorrowland Speedway in Magic Kingdom, but he will not go on Stitch’s Great Escape or It’s Tough to Be a Bug. Usually, before my brother gets on an attraction that he is not familiar with we give him an overview of what will happen. This makes him more comfortable because he knows what is going to happen and it is not so unknown. On the Disney official website, they do list all the attractions that are located within the parks and a brief overview of the attraction. Another great idea is to search for the attraction on YouTube. There may be clips of the attraction, so you can make a decision if it will be suitable or not.

Tips for Attractions

  1. Look at the attractions for the parks you are going to be visiting.
  2. Look up videos on YouTube about the attraction and make your judgment on whether it will be suitable or not.
  3. Read an overview about the attraction; they usually list if the attraction will get dark or has intense parts.

Hopefully, keeping these tips in mind will help make planning your Disney vacation a little more magical.


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Paige was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Her frequent family trips to Walt Disney World started her Disney obsession and sparked her dream to be a cast member. Paige’s dream came true when she participated in the Disney College Program in 2012. She worked at Casey’s Corner, The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and the Main Street Bakery. Paige shares, “I love to live by Walt’s words, ‘All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.'”

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