Tips for Visiting Disney's California Adventure with Special Needs Kids!

Jul 27, 2015


They make it easy. That's it!  I'm done! 

Ha!

It really is very simple.  Upon arriving, you simply visit City Hall (Disneyland) or the Chamber of Commerce (California Adventure).  You wait in line, and one of the cast members (Disney-speak for park employee) will assist with the Disney Disability Access Pass.

Because Disneyland is so much older than California Adventure, the parks handle the passes differently. California Adventure uses kiosks manned by staff members wearing plaid customer service uniforms at three locations in the park.  You take your ticket to a kiosk after every ride in order to get "in line" for the next one.  How does that work, you ask?  You see, you still will have to wait the time that the line is taking, you just don't do it in line.  If the line for Cars is and hour, they will give you a return time of one hour.  Much like a fast pass, you head to the ride at the appointed time. For a kiddo like mine, who just can't wait for extended periods of time in line, it worked perfectly.



I am going to totally own up to the fact that I didn't understand how to use it at first.  I couldn't find a kiosk, and we wandered like a husband stuck at sample sale in search of it.  Instead of a kiosk, we found a ride we wanted to go on, so I trudged up to a cast member asking for the closest kiosk.  As it was pretty far away, they very kindly let us go ahead.  I'm certain it helps that the park wasn't very crowded that day, but I have always found the Disney Cast members to be fabulously helpful.

Every ride has very clear signage for the wheelchair access ability points.  If you or your child requires physical assistance, they often have a direct route.  The Disability Access Pass works for up to six people in your party for the rides that your child can go on.  

If you travel like we do and have baby and a stroller, you can get a stroller switch pass and the other parent can head to the front with the fast pass line as soon as the first one is done.  That was so great for us and does not require a Disability Access Pass!! 



The one downfall about the access pass at California Adventure was the number of kiosks in the park.  As there are only three (with one at the chamber of commerce) it can be difficult to find one nearby.  However, the help we received more than made up for it.  Another point in Disney's favor is this.  It is a comprehensive guide for all of the rides.  It tells you what to expect from each one.  It also helps you prepare your child for the visit and provides suggestions in that regard.  They also allow you to bring in food and drink.  I know for my little guy, and many with special food requirements, this makes any trip a bit less stressful.

Enjoy it.  Make sure you visit the chamber of commerce and, like me, ask a million somewhat annoying questions.  They will make you feel like you are not at all annoying :).  Disney has done a LOT to make sure that guests with special needs are not only accommodated, but have a magical time.  From my aunt with Down Syndrome since the 60's until today with my own child.  Thank you Disney, for making it easier for parents like me to experience the magic.


Xo,
Christy


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