Time for a happy digression…We are very excited that we are headed to Disney soon! We have been multiple times over the years, and have always had an absolutely wonderful time. In this post and others that will follow, I am going to reveal details of our itinerary, and I plan to share how to do Disney with Autism and vision impairment.
Of particular note is Jessica’s mobility and endurance. In familiar home settings, Jessica’s mobility is so great that it is easy to forget about her vision impairment. Take her out of a familiar home environment, and/or take her outside, and everything changes. Outside, particularly on a sunny day, her vision decreases significantly due to her cortical vision impairment. That dramatically slows down her mobility.
We have to alert her to every change in terrain, every step up, step down and obstacles in her path. Add to that mild right-sided weakness and attention deficit. People in crowds do not notice that she can not see and run into her thinking she will move out of their way. Jessica can only make it a short distance in that kind of environment before she is exhausted and unable to continue. That is not fun for any of us.
This leads me to Jessica’s favorite part of the trip, I kid you not. Her wheelchair. It is the single most important item on our trip. Jess + wheelchair = total bliss. For all of us. That’s not to say that being at the parks does not matter because of course it does. She has her favorite rides, or she thinks they are until she rides them again. The last time we went, she rode Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was so glad there was not a small child sitting next to her because of the words that came screaming out of her mouth. Honestly, it gave me a good laugh.
One of the things I have learned over the years is to pay attention to which rides she can stay in the chair. Another consideration is which require a fast transfer or require the use of a moving walk-way. If I prepare her ahead of time, she is sort of okay with transferring out of the chair when it is required. She needs lots of reinforcement that the chair will still be there when she finishes the ride. I created myself a spreadsheet with those kinds of details, plus notes on which attractions require access at a location different from the main entrance location.
I have always been a big planner when it comes to details of our trips, but this time I took it further. I explored the mobile app, LINES, then checked out the companion website, http://touringplans.com.
The premise is that being informed of crowds and current lines and wait times will help families plan which park to go on what day of the week. The information includes predicted as well as actual crowd calendars, wait times on rides. It offers many pre-planned ‘tours’ to choose from to make the most of your time. Options include planning your own tour based on what is more important, less waiting or less walking or something in-between.
The app will ‘optimize’ your plan based on historical data and give suggestions on the time schedule of rides and shows. My goal is to make the most of our time inside the Theme Parks. That would enable us to make the most of our time outside the Theme Parks. I decided it was worth the cost of a subscription to try it and see if it made a difference in our trip. The cost was between $10-$12.
Disability Access Service (DAS) Card
I found some helpful information I wanted to share. We have never used the Guest Assistance Card program but are planning on trying it this time.
The Disability Access Service (DAS) Card will allow Guests with disabilities at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort to receive a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. Guest Relations at the front of each park will continue to assist Guests and provide assistance that is responsive to their unique circumstances.
The DAS Card is designed to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
It has been a while since we stayed at a Disney Resort Hotel, but on our upcoming trip, we are going to stay at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside for the first time. Our choice of this hotel was based on a Spring Room Offer Disney was advertising, and availability for our chosen dates.
The Resort is situated Northeast of Epcot. The map below is not very clear but if you click on the map the original interactive map will open.
I found The Unofficial Guide to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter which has very detailed information about Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Something I read that we are looking forward to trying is the Sassagoula River Cruise. It is a free twenty-minute boat trip to Downtown Disney. Disney created the Sassagoula River, a 2½ mile waterway. It winds its way through the woods, past the Treehouse Villas and Saratoga Springs Resort, all the way to the Downtown Disney complex.