Disney With Special Needs - Autoimmune Disorders

Saturday, March 24, 2018

I have been going to Walt Disney World my entire life. More so, though, in the past 5 years. In these past few years, I have become pretty well-acquainted with navigating special needs through Disney. I thought I had it down pretty well. That is, until my second child came around. Little did I know, I would be taking on some extra needs with this one!

It's not something I've discussed on here before, or even much on social media, but my daughter has some form of autoimmune deficiency/disorder. We are still working on testing and getting answers, but this is what I know.... For a breastfed toddler who eats pretty well, doesn't go to daycare, and has never received any form of medication that could possibly tear down her immune system, she gets sick a lot.

I mean a lot.
Disney With Special Needs - Autoimmune Disorders
In fact, in a span of 14 weeks time she had gotten sick 7 separate times. SEVEN!! She was sick literally every other week. It was horrible. I, myself, have autoimmune issues and catch things easily..but this is intense.

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Anyway.. It took me a long time to realize that she was getting sick too often, but when I did, I went full mommy-protective-mode. Sanitizing, essential oil diffusing, triple-hand-washing, everything! My house was going to be a safe zone, even if the rest of the world wasn't, and we just wouldn't leave it very often! That was my plan.

But wait..

What about Disney?

I couldn't just not take my kids to Disney. I couldn't just not go to DISNEY!!

So, I did research and asked around. I spoke to guest services at the parks and a friend who has a daughter with Neutropenia. There absolutely are ways to protect these fragile little beings, who just want to have fun at Walt Disney World!!

Now, I am no expert in this area, but here are some tips that I have found to be super helpful with keeping my little one protected.

Gather Supplies

First off, you're going to want to prepare. Go ahead and grab yourself some Disposable Table Topper's. Now, I am not one to ever suggest anything disposable, but let's face it.. you don't wanna keep any of these germs.

Also, grab some really good hand/surface sanitizing products! I, personally, absolutely love CleanWell for this! They have a great set of natural sanitizing products with no rubbing alcohol in them, like sprays and wipes. AND they have travel sizes, so it's really convenient for your diaper bag or backpack!
Disney With Special Needs - Autoimmune Disorders
Tinkerbell-inspired Mox Show Room moccasin-styled shoes

I also really like to bring an extra set of clothes and shoes (Mox Show Room shoes to be exact) with us, as well, just in case I feel like my daughter has been exposed to something really gross. I love her Mox shoes because those can be thrown in the wash once we get home, so I can always keep them pretty clean for her.

Get Help

Once you have gathered all your stuff and you can finally get to the parks, head to Guest Relations (located near the front of each park) as soon as you are inside! This is where some of that Disney Magic comes into play.

Disney With Special Needs - Autoimmune Disorders

If you have a stroller, ask them for the "Stroller = Wheelchair" sticker. Let them know that your child's stroller cannot be left to be exposed to germs/diseases/illness/people touching it and you need it to come with you on the rides. If you feel uncomfortable with standing in the long lines/being exposed for long periods of time in close quarters, also request the DAS (Disability Access Service). This will save you the worry of being in close proximity to people and their coughing/sneezing.

Wear All The Babies

Disney With Special Needs - Autoimmune Disorders
Wearing a Toddler sized Kinderpack in the print "Opal" in front of the "Bubblegum Wall"
My final suggestion is to, of course, BABYWEAR!! If you can wear your child (and I don't just mean babies), then do. Nothing is going to get your child away from coughing, sneezing, and gross things in general, like YOU can! And the best way you can do this (quickly) is to wear them. So, if you have the ability to put that child in a carrier, do it. I, personally, love my Kinderpacks for this, simply because I can wear my girl into preschool years (and hopefully longer) in them! The size range for these carriers is fantastic.

Other than those things, it's really just a matter of being diligent and consistent in your neurosis. Cleaning the tables and chairs before you sit (even if a cast member cleaned them), keeping all hands and faces clean, steering clear of sneezing individuals, and trying your best to make sure your toddler will JUST. STOP. TOUCHING. THE. RAILING! (sorry for yelling, this is a constant battle)

Like I said, I am not an expert. And there are others with MUCH bigger worries while in the parks! This is just a more recent life change we've had to make and we've been doing pretty well with it! My little one hasn't been sick nearly as often, despite our frequent trips to Walt Disney World parks, so obviously SOMETHING is working!


18 comments:

  1. As a lover of all things Disney World myself, I thinks it's awesome that Disney accommodates *all* children. My children don't have special needs, but much of your advice can be helping to any parent with small children. And those Mox Show Room shoes are adorable!

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    1. Agreed! I really appreciate all that Walt Disney World does to help those with "disabilities". When they started accommodating people with cognitive disabilities, I was thrilled!! Our lives are definitely made easier at Disney than most places we go.
      And yes.. Those Mox shoes are amazing.

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  2. I have 3 kids, and we haven't braved Disney (mostly because of the astronomical cost), but I think it's awesome that they go above and beyond for everyone!

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    1. Oh, I understand that lol. We do the annual pass through the payment program they offer for Floridians. Otherwise, we'd probably only go once a year (having relatives & friends that work there helps). I really love what they've done to help those with any forms of special needs <3

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  3. I can really relate - my niece has a ton of food allergies & Disney was such a dream to work with!

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  4. I love that Disney World is so accommodating to all children and all people. This shows their compassion and good service! I don't have children at all, but I am still really glad that they were willing to go above and beyond for your daughter!

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    1. Exactly! People can get so mad with the prices and whatnot.. but honestly, nowhere else accommodates my children and their needs. So if they can keep having safe fun, I'll keep bringing them lol

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  5. That's wonderful that Disney is so accommodating to children with special needs. Must be frustrating that she gets sick so often.

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    1. It is, yeah. It's really difficult to keep her well..but we're managing.

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  6. I really admire your amazing attitude. You have really gone the extra mile to make sure you children have the opportunity for every experience and that is just awesome. Keep it up mama!

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    1. Aw, thank you! Without a good mindset, I'd have nothing lol. This is definitely not an easy ride haha

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  7. I didn't know that Disney actually accommodates their visitors when needed this detail. It's really awesome to know that we can prepare for it in advance, especially for those with special needs. Thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. Yep! I think it's not greatly advertised, as you don't want people to abuse the system.. But it's definitely a wonderful part of going to Disney.

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  8. This is a great post thank you for sharing, with everything going around right now kids are exposed to so many different germs, I will be keeping this tips in mind!

    ~xo Sheree
    poshclassymom.com

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    1. So very true! It's super gross out there lol

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  9. I didn't know that Disney offered so much for those who have a disability. It is a great thing that company that big does so much. The kinderpack looks like a really great product, I don't think my niece or nephews would like that.

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    1. I'm super thankful for the fact that they stepped up to the plate on accommodations. It's made a world of difference for our family.
      The Kinderpack is so comfy.. It's like a hands-free way to do a piggy-back ride lol. You'd be surprised how many bigger toddlers love it.

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