Visiting the Disneyland Resort With Hypersensitive or Special Needs Kids


Visiting the Disneyland Resort with a hyper-sensitive child can be scary on your first visit, but some planning ahead of time can make it easier for them and yourself.  We have some tips we have gleaned from working with families and booking Disney vacations over the years.  We would love your comments of tips to add to the list as well.

  • GUEST ASSISTANCE CARD – You can pick up a Guest Assistance Card at City Hall in Disneyland Park or the Guest Relations Building on Buena Vista Street in Disney CA Adventure Park.  Bring the Child with you and documentation to help the Cast Member best understand your child’s needs. The card is good for up to 6 people, and only on attractions in which your child is riding.
  • COME EARLY – The Disneyland Resort is less crowded first thing in the morning and you can visit with less crowds, and get more rides done with less wait.
  • VISIT DURING THE WEEK – The Disneyland Resort is less crowded on weekdays then weekends
  • RIDE THE RAILS – Hyper-sensitive kids often love Disney transportation.  Rides such as the Disneyland Railroad or the Monorail will relax them and give them a chance to look around.  You can also request the very back section of the Monorail for a more intimate trip.
  • TAKE IT EASY – Relax, and don’t try to rush through the parks.  Remain calm and your child will feel more relaxed
  • HEAD WHERE THEY WANT TO GO FIRST – Many parents are tempted to head to the big attractions first, but if your child loves to sing, visit It’s A Small World.
  • REQUEST A DISNEY PARKS DVD – You can contact Wish Upon A Star Travel for a FREE Disney Parks DVD and FREE Disneyland Resort Brochures.  We can also provide Park Maps in advance.  This can help you prepare your child of what to see and expect prior to visiting.
  • MAKE IT FEEL LIKE HOMEWish Upon A Star Travel can help you choose a hotel with the comforts of home including kitchens, separate living rooms, to help your child feel like they are staying at a house, as opposed to a hotel
  • BRING FAMILIAR THINGS – Bring a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, hand held game, or whatever helps your child feel safe.  You can also bring snacks as well.
  • PREPARE FOR NOISE – The Resort can have up to 150,000 guests on a busy day, with noises coming from people, attractions, shows, parades, and more!!!  If your child is sensitive to sound, bring good headphones to minimize the noise overload.
  • RENT A WHEELCHAIR – Some parents rent a wheelchair although their child can walk to help them feel more secure and to have their own personal space
  • BRING A STROLLER – The Disneyland Resort wheelchairs are made of hard plastic and are only able to go to the Parks, they are not allowed to be taken into Downtown Disney.  If your child needs a stroller, they may prefer their own.
  • ALLERGIES – Many restaurants offer Gluten Free menu items and can accommodate other food allergies by letting them know.  Many parents are surprised by the amount of food choices Disney can provide for those with allergies.
  • PICNIC AREA – The Disneyland Resort has a picnic area to the left of the Disneyland Park entrance.  This can be a good spot to relax in a less crowded area, or let your child walk around and get a break.  One word of caution, this area is adjacent to the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland Park, and you will hear their cap guns being fired!!!
  • TAKE A PHOTO – No one plans on their child wandering off, but it can happen.  Take a photo with your phone or camera of your child that morning and what they were wearing to help Cast Members.
  • CAST MEMBERS – Cast Members (Disney Employees) will all have a name badge, but they will be wearing different outfits.  Show your child their name badge and what to look for if they get lost or need help.  If you need help or information, ask them!!!  They are here to help make your visit safe, fun, and can help guide you to a nearby quiet spot.
  • DON’T GIVE UP – We hear so often that some of the best memories parents have with their child occurred at a Disney Destination.  Some parents have/had a bad experience with their special needs or sensitive child and vow to never return.  Don’t give up!!!  Many special needs children experience a break-through each day at the Disneyland Resort.
  • WORK WITH A TRAVEL AGENT – An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner like us, Wish Upon A Star Travel, work with families and Disney on a regular basis.  We can help you plan and prepare in advance of your trip with more personal service then an online booking site will provide.  We know where to find things and can even contact Disney to get you a quick answer in many cases.
  • HAVE FUN – Many parents fret over visiting and the stress it may cause.  Relax, and have fun!!!

Do you have a tip or advice, we haven’t covered?  We would love for you to comment below so we can add it to our list.  You can also contact Wish Upon A Star Travel for any questions, advice, pricing, or to book your Disney Vacation.

One thought on “Visiting the Disneyland Resort With Hypersensitive or Special Needs Kids

  1. Love these ideas! Especially taking a picture in the morning. Brilliant! I would add, that it’s a good idea to make sure your cell phone number is somewhere on the child. They used to give out stickers with a space to write cell phone numbers. Of course, the child should learn the cell phone number if possible, but in a panic situation, they may forget. It’s so easy for a cast member to call and say, “I have your child” (in my case it was “I have your child at the entrance to the submarines” – yes, it happened to me!).

    I would also add that if you’re at the resort for several days, plan to take a break in the afternoon to go back to your hotel room and rest. If you’re there just for the day, there are quiet places within the park. My favorite is the cabin near the petting zoo at Big Thunder Ranch. It’s dark, cool and quiet. They usually put out crayons and coloring sheets.

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