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Traveling to Disney can be stressful, but it can also be fun if you find yourself prepared with some very basis ideas and tips! For many, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so you want to do your research as much as possible before you start your trip. I recommend taking advantage of free things like YouTube videos and get some tips from people who go to Disney all of the time. Also read blogs like this one! For this blog, I am going to include some tips that are about traveling with someone with a medical disability, as well as give you some other helpful tips. Disney is actually amazing at being accessible to almost anyone, on almost any ride. They are far better than any other theme park I have ever been to, so it is important to be prepared to make their day as magical as possible. The cast members at Disney are excellent at helping this happen! If you want to read the first part of this blog, Disney Travel Tips: Part 1 take a look at the following link! http://www.andtheunderdogwins.com/disney-travel-tips-part-1/
1. Traveling with a person who has a medical disability:
There are many types of different disabilities that can produce a challenge for traveling. While many parks aren’t equipped to handle this, Disney is excellent at making this experience magical for the entire party. Your first stop into the park should be at Disney Customer Service before you venture into the park. Talk to someone behind the desk and let them know your situation because you may qualify for something called a Disability Pass. This is only for certain circumstances so you will need to be prepared to ask about the pass, and honestly tell them about the circumstances. If you qualify, they will link the pass on your magic band. This will help with wait times, and will help with getting on and off rides as easily as possible. This is on a case per case basis so don’t expect this to happen with any situation. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but you will need to Magic Pass to make this happen. This price is small compared to the amount of ease and help that the pass will give you if you qualify for it. Again, major disclaimer: not all cases will qualify for this pass so you may or may not receive one for your trip. Have medical proof, such as a doctor’s note, with you just in case it’s needed for any reason.
2. Renting Scooters and Wheelchairs:
If you don’t have your own wheelchair or scooter, you may want to think about renting these items at the park. There are some advantages and some disadvantages to renting these items at the park. First, they will be costly, but you get a portion back at the end of the day after bringing the items back at the end of the day. Beside the cost, the biggest issue is that these items are a first come, first serve basis. While they are well equipped in most of the parks, it is an issue to get anything at Magic Kingdom. You may be stuck waiting for hours, or not get one at all, and you may accidentally waste your day. That is hard especially since you are limited to your time at the park and you want to experience it as much as possible! One great thing about renting at the park is if that anything happens to the item that you are renting, you simply need to talk to a cast member. For example, the battery runs out on the scooter, you talk to a cast member and they will bring you a new battery. If the item stops working for some reason, they will replace it so you can go along your day. If you are a park hopper, then your items will be there for you at the next park if available. Of course, if they are sold out at the other park then you may be out of luck. You may want to look into rental companies and weigh the costs and pros and cons of renting yourself verses renting at the park. Of course, if you rent elsewhere, you have to take into consideration transportation of that item to and from the park. There are places that will deliver, but you will need to do your research and see if you should do one over the other.
3. Renting a Baby Stroller:
Another item that you can rent is a baby carriage, or stroller. This has the same situation as scooters and wheelchairs such as a first come, first come basis, and a deposit that you will get back at the end of the day. While this is a nice thing to have at the park, it is so much better to find a cheap stroller and take it with you. You can find many choices on Amazon prime, and depending on where you are staying, you can have that item delivered to your resort or your hotel which will be waiting for you when you arrive! If your kid can fit into a stroller, then I recommend that you have one. First, your child will not be able to walk around all day. This can help with exhaustion and keep the adults from having to carry a child in the heat. Second, you can use the stroller as a place to keep bags and drinks. Keep this trip as easy as possible and don’t worry about a kid being too old for being in a stroller. If they fit, let them sit! I saw kids who were at least 10 years old in a stroller, which was so much easier for everyone involved!
4. FREE PINS!
If you think there isn’t anything free in Disney you are wrong! While you won’t find a lot of free stuff, you can get free pins every single day if you want! There are 4 available that I know of for sure, however, there may be more. The first one says, “First Visit to Disney,” the second is “Celebration,” the third is a wedding or anniversary pin, and the fourth is a birthday pin. You are able to get these in several places including the chamber of commerce on Main Street at Magic Kingdom, any customer service area at any of the parks, or even some regular shops like where you get the Mickey Mouse Ears personalized. There is a space on most of these pins that you can use a sharpie pen and personalize them. You can celebrate anything you want and you can get a new pin each day that shows whatever you are celebrating! PS: These free pins may get your other free items at Disney. You may get some free samples or even a free cupcake! Those are never promised, but take advantage of the Pins for everyone in your group! If you can’t find them, then ask a cast member to help you out!
While most things are the park are price pretty high, investing in popcorn buckets or ones with ears like this one is an excellent idea. These are $10.00 each but they are worth it! I wish I would have known about these earlier or I would have taken advantage of this every single day we were at the park! I suggest buying one the day you get there and then you can bring it back each day, at every single park. Then, you an get a refill for only $2.00 as many times as you want! They can’t refill the bucket due to sanity reasons, but if you bring it, they will give you the refill price and a whole fresh box of popcorn. Those boxes actually carry more than what is in these buckets so it is an excellent deal. This is like movie theater popcorn so it’s very tasty. You will just need to pay attention to places that sell popcorn and see if they have a refill price listed. The other cool thing about this bucket is that it hooks to a stroller, or bag so it’s easy to get around with. They close tight, so you don’t have to worry about spilling the contents. It also makes a great souvenir when you get back home! We bought 2 for our party of 7 and it worked out great!
6. Order food with your Mobile App:
I can’t stress the importance of the Disney Experience App!! Seriously, take the time to download this free app because it is worth it! While there are several places that you can sit down and eat at, unless you have a reservation, you won’t get in them. If you want to try these places out, use your app to make your reservations up to 30 days in advance. What many people fail to realize is that every single place to eat at the parks have an online menu on this app, and the ability to do a mobile order. This allows you to get a place to sit, such as at Paco’s Bills, and look at the menu with your group. You can then order online, and pay right on the app. Then comes the best part! You will get a pick up time and will go pick up your food at the mobile order window which will be clearly marked. There is hardly ever a line at this window, since they are very efficient at speed. Most of the time, it is ready even before your scheduled time. This typically is a very quick process, but depending on how busy the spot is, the time can very. This is the only way to order food at Disney, and saves you from waiting in line for a very long time. It’s a waste when you can do everything from your app. Less wait time means more park time! You can do this with almost any place in the parks, however some of the smaller places like stands don’t take part in the mobile ordering at this time.
7. Gift Cards:
There are a few reasons to use gift cards when you go to Disney. First, it is a great way to put a certain budgeted amount on the card for a specific reason. For example, you want to purchase a few souvenirs at the park, but you want to make sure that you don’t get swept up in the magic of Disney and pay for things that are out of your range. If you have a gift card with a set amount, then you may be able to stand a bit more firm and only spend what you brought on that card. Second, if you like Starbucks, they have a few locations at the park. While they don’t honor the rewards, they will take the gift cards, and your purchases will still get you the stars if you are part of their program. I suggest purchasing your gift cards before hand at Target. (NOT A SPONSOR) The reason for this is they have the red card, and you may be able to save up to 5% because of their program. This may be a small amount of money, but save where you can! I am not sure if the red card program is available in all areas, so do your research. Even if it’s not, I still suggest purchasing gift cards before you go to Disney. This will help out a lot on your trip. You can also purchase gift cards to restaurants that you plan on eating at while you are at Disney.
As I state in my previous post, you should bring your own refillable water bottles with you to the park. While there are lots of areas that have water fountains to fill up your bottle, there are a few places that are very hard to find anything. For example, if you are on Main Street, you will find drinking fountains by the bathrooms. However, if you are where most of the items for Aladdin are, you won’t find a water anywhere. I ran around that place 3 or 4 times until I asked and was told the nearest water was a ways away. Keep this in mind when you are walking around the park. Fill up your bottles whenever you have a chance. Stay away from as much soda as possible because this will only cause dehydration. Drink lots of water, and of course, use sunscreen!!
There were a few more tips to help plan your adventure at Disney! I hope these will help you out and if I think of any more, I will make another posting. I had so much fun, and the tips I got before I left were a huge help! I hope that a few of those tips will help make your experience a tiny bit more magical! If you have any tips, feel free to share them below.