How to Navigate Disneyland with a Child with IDD

LSA believes that all people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) deserve to live life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest should include a trip to Disneyland! Continue reading below for some tips on how you can make the most of your Disneyland experience with your IDD child. 

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What to Pack

No one knows your child and their needs like you do. You know what they like, don’t like, and what brings them comfort when they’re feeling overwhelmed. The first step to any successful trip is being prepared. Not only does bringing your own snacks save money, but you can bring exactly what you know your child will eat without having to worry about finding it at the park. Disneyland can be an intense and overwhelming place so you may also want to bring any items that provide a sense of safety and comfort for your child such as sensory toys, headphones, ear plugs, etc., as well as sun protection like sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen. 

Not only is it important to care for the safety and wellbeing of your child, it’s also important to prioritize your own peace of mind. If your child tends to wander or you’re just worried they may get lost in a sea of people, having your child wear a lanyard with your contact information attached might be a good preventative measure to take. 

Wheelchair Guide

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Navigating a crowded amusement park can be difficult for someone in a wheelchair, however it’s certainly not impossible. Disneyland offers a handful of rides that enable someone to remain in their wheelchair. These include Jungle Cruise, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and It’s a Small World. Disney’s California Adventure also offers wheelchair-friendly rides such as The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Jessie’s Critter Carousel, Toy Story Midway Mania, and more! 

In addition to these wheelchair-friendly rides, Disneyland offers wheelchair and electric conveyance vehicle (ECV) rentals. These can be rented at the stroller rental kiosk.

Additional Tips

Disneyland visitors can request a Disability Access Service permit for their trip by visiting Guest Relations. This permit allows guests with disabilities to check-in to rides using a mobile app and return when it’s their time to ride, rather than waiting in a long line. Disneyland also has a vast number of companion restrooms so you can accompany your child to the restroom if they need assistance. The Toy Story parking lot offers disabled parking and buses that have ramps and wheelchair seating.

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