dad looking for info for taking special needs son to Disney in FL. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 07-07-2013, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all.  I give you a little background info 1st.  I I live in Maine as do the kids I am talking about here.  I am divorced with 2 kids with my ex wife.  I have one 9 year old little girl and a 12 year old boy. I am ncp and ex is cp.  The boy has adhd odd and is boarder line autism(when the doctors tested him they said the test showed him as having autism but could not say what type of autism he has).  The divorced paperwork dose not cover out of state vacations.  I am also remarried with a 9 year old step-son who has adhd and odd himself. 


Me and my current wife want to take all 3 kids to Disney in FL next year with taxes.  While my ex has no issues with me taking them we can't agree on a time to do it. My ex thinks it should be during the summer time when school is out.  As the 12 year old has issue getting back into the swing of school after the week breaks that happen during the school year.   I think it should be in the winter time when the parks are not going be as packed.  Me and my current wife went a few years ago with just my stepson and we waiting in lines for up to 30 mins for one ride.(we had to take my stepson out of school for a week as I was unable to get a school break off form work to do the trip).  I am worried that in the summer time we could face waiting times much longer then that.    Also the heat gets to the 12 year old even here in Maine in the summer when we can hit 85-90 degree days sometimes it can get him going.  I am worried bout taking him down to FL in summer where the temps could get much higher then that.


What I am looking for is any info form experts in the field that states what time of the year is best to take kids with the adhd/odd/autism to places like Disney and also any info other parents might have so that I can make this trip very special for the kids.



Thanks you all

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#2 of 4 Old 07-08-2013, 01:09 PM
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several thoughts --


1. Having watched a lot of divorced couples try to co-parents, my advice to let go everything that you can just let go of. Unless something is HUGE and will have a massive impact on your child, let it go. It is really best *for your kids* for you and your ex to not be debating things/feeling pissy about things. Just let the timing go. It is FAR better for your kids for you and your ex to get along *as easily as possible* than to have any specific vacation.


2. (This might help with #1) Disney is always crowded. Always. There are enough people on the earth with your same line of thought, and enough who go without kids or with kids who aren't school aged, that it is always crowded at Disney. If you don't think your child would like being someplace crowded, then don't go to Disney. But whenever you do go, expect crowds. (we know someone who went over Christmas break and they stopped admitting more people because the park reached capacity).


3. Hot is hot. We've lived all over with my DH's job, and lived in Florida for a while. It actually has more moderate temperatures than much of the US (including the midwest) because of the effect of the ocean. June, especially early June, has lower temps than July or August. In June the average daily temps are in the 80's and there is high humidity, but that isn't going to be any hotter than those days in Maine when it is in the 80s (if there is high humidity where you live). You know what that is like for you son, so you can judge if that would work.


Also, everything in Florida is air conditioned and there are swimming pools everywhere. My experience is that cooler climates that only get a week or two of hot weather is that there is a lot less air conditioning and fewer pools. It's different to be hot some place that is set up for the hot weather (because it is hot for months and months) than to be hot someplace where they just try to get through it because it will only last for a few days.


And you never really know what weather you will get on vacation -- we just got back from the cloudiest part of the country, an area known for its rainfall. It was sunny and warm every single day. Which annoyed us. We live in the dessert and wanted clouds and rain!


4. Some kids do just fine missing school and I would never knock a parent's judgement that their kid can miss school to go to Disney, visit grandma, ski, whatever. However, my kid isn't like that, and it sounds like yours isn't either. We are kinda stuck parenting the kids we have in front of us, even when we can see that something would work fine for many other children. It isn't best for either of your kids for you to debate the vacation timing with their mommy, and it sounds like it isn't best for your son to miss school and get out of his routine.


5. Back to when we lived in Florida --  we never took the kids to Disney because we knew that it would be a complete sensory overload for our DD with autism. She hates rides -- they all scare her. She hates people in big customs. She hates crowds. She would have been completely freaked out and unhappy and overwhelmed. We plan our outings and vacations around things that will be fun for all of us, including her.


Disney has the reputation of being this vacation thing that ALL kids should get to do, but it really isn't fun for everyone. Some families with special needs kids have great trips to Disney, but it wasn't right for *my* kid. Please think about whether or not this is actually going to be fun for him at all, and if, perhaps, while you, your wife, and your step son all love Disney, he would rather do something else.


6. I've heard that Disney provides line passes for kids with special needs, but never checked into it. I would contact the park directly and research this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#3 of 4 Old 07-09-2013, 05:33 AM
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You should go to and ask on their special needs board. They're very nice and they're Disney fans and they have this down.


There are times when Disney is much less crowded -- the last week of August and after Labor Day, after Easter and Spring Break, after New Year's week, after Thanksgiving break and before Christmas break.  Check out and they can give you a predicted crowd calendar for the whole year.  The week after Thanksgiving or the week after New Year's break might be perfect for you. It's cool and he'll already be out of school, so you are just delaying the return to the regular schedule. 


Disney provides a pass called a "Guest Assistance Pass." It will allow you to wait in an alternative line, if your son has problems waiting in the regular line. You can get it at the main customer service area in any park, just by asking. Your son will have to be with you.

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#4 of 4 Old 07-09-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks RIverTam.  When me and my current wife went a few years ago we did it at the begin of March. It was not very crowded at all and we didn't have very long wait lines.  We had the Guest assistance pass for my step-son and my current wife has medical stuff that will not let her walk for that long of time so she had and will have a motor chair we rented for Disney for the day at each park.  But even then it was still sometimes a wait of up to 30 min or so. 

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Special Needs Parenting , Travel

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