Saturday, October 18, 2014
Traveling Disney Parks with Babies and Children
Traveling to a Disney Park with an infant or young child can be daunting. There are many concerns. What supplies do you need? What accommodations are available inside the parks and at the Disney hotels? Is it worth the stress? Should you wait until they are old enough to remember the trip?
First off if your child is very young (under 2 or 3) they may not be able to remember this special trip, so why take them? Because YOU will remember it! You will have precious memories of your child at Disney. You will have pictures of your little prince or princess with the Disney characters that soon will become part of their lives through cartoons and movies. These will become part of their memories by you telling the stories and showing them the pictures.
There are lots of ways to make taking a baby or young child to Disney easier. Bring or rent a stroller for a young child. Bringing your own stroller can be a chore if you are flying. Checking it in and picking it up and the risk of loss or damage make it a risk as well as a hassle to bring your own strollers. The Disney Strollers are good enough for a single day but if you are staying multiple days you may want to consider renting from an outside rental company that will allow you to take the stroller back to your hotel either on property or off. Do you really want to carry your child back to the hotel from the park? How about the hassle of having to check in the stroller at one park when going to another in the same day? Here are two companies recommended by the Disney Experts at the Disney’s Mom’s Panel.
Disneyland and the California area:
Walt Disney World and the Orlando, Florida area:
Both of these companies deliver to your hotel and provide the extras needed upon request. You can order cribs and other needs as well. You can take your strollers out of the resort and to different resorts and areas if you wish.
Restrooms around the parks have changing stations so you can care for your little one. But when you need a quiet place to nurse, feed or just let your little one calm down check out the Baby Care Centers in each and every Disney Park. At the Baby Care Centers you can warm bottles, change diapers and clothing, nurse in privet and just find a quiet place rest.
While traveling around the parks you will find many rides your little bundle of joy can’t go on. You have a choice. You can skip the attractions all together or do child swap. One parent stays with the child while the other rides. This works really well if you have an extra family member or two come along. One parent can wait with the child, the other rides the attraction. When they return the parent that wait hands the child over to another family member and the parents can go ride the attraction together.
While at the parks look for quiet places to let your little one relax for a few. You can find these spots in restaurants and little off the path areas. Just keep your eyes open for an open bench in the shade. If they fall asleep in the stroller so much the better!
When taking a toddler be aware they may be afraid of characters. Please don’t force little ones to get their picture with Mickey if a tall Mouse panics them. Hold them, tell them what will happen before you go up to the character. Let them watch others be close to Mickey and see they are safe. I know you want the cute picture of your tot hugging Mickey and Minnie all smiles but it is not worth making them afraid of the characters for the rest of their lives.
Give your child a chance to rest! Be aware of their physical limitations. Your time will be much more enjoyable if you return to the hotel for a nap and maybe a swim. Be aware of the weather as well. Is it so hot it will tire your kiddo out faster? Are they so cold they are grumpy? Get them comfortable and let them rest. Do not push them further than their little bodies can take. Be aware that their little ears are more sensitive than yours. Is the music and sound effects too loud for them? Bring cotton to put in their ears or some other type of ear protection. Make sure they have shade in their stroller to protect them from the sun and bring sunscreen for them. Make sure you have plenty of the food and drinks they enjoy.
Adults and other kids think of all of Disney Parks as giant playground. Smaller children get bored easy. Make sure you give them time to play and run around. Little ones that are learning how to crawl or walk need the time and space to practice. Let them out and about some. Bring some toys, books, blankie or other comfort item. This is especially true if the child is ADHD or has other special needs. There are places at the parks and hotels to let a child be a child. Tom Sawyers Island and Challenge Trail are just two of the spots at the Disneyland Resort. Every park has several areas for kids to let of pent up energy. It is up to you to make sure it happens.
The most important this is ENJOY!! You are there to walk in Walt Disney’s Dream of having a place where families can “play” together! Just do what is natural and right for your family and if that means only spending a few hours a day in the park and heading back to the hotel then it is worth it.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Can you help me with An Angel Remembers 25 Voices of Christmas?
I'm working hard at getting my book, An Angel Remembers 25 Voices of Christmas published before Christmas. I'm doing Print on Demand publishing with Outskirts Publishing. They will get the book into Amazon as both print and Kindle as well as into many other online book retailer sites. To do this I need money to get the ball rolling. Can you help? Any donation is gratefully accepted!
Here is one of the stories from An Angel Remembers:
ISAAC, THE SHOPKEEPER’S SON
My name is Isaac. I’m five years old; my Papa owns one of the shops on Market Street. We live aboves the shop. Papa got a man to make new tables and things for his shop. Joseph – dats da guy – had a new baby. My Mama took me to visit dem. My Mama told me I had to be very quiet as we visited ‘em. She said they had a new baby and the new mama must be all tired. All babies need lots of sleep too.
When I walked into da stable where they were staying there was lots of people. There was da shepherds with all those sheep, Joshua, da innkeeper, and all his family and a whole lot of other strange people!
The strange people were mostly very big. Bigger than my daddy!! One of them was very small, lots smaller than me even! I’ve never seen people like them before. They all had the prettiest wings I’d ever see, even da little one! The little one was sitting on the manger softly singing to the baby. The little one called me over to look at the baby! The baby was so beautiful! He smiled at me when I tickled His chin!
I tried to show Mama all the people in the stable, but she could not see ‘em. She kept telling me to be quiet and to stop being silly and making up stories. But I was not telling stories!
As the boy got bigger we played together! He was real fun! He could talk to the animals and they would do what He said. Even our big nasty cat liked Him. It scratched everyone but Him! He always had a lot of those strange people around Him. I like Nahem, the littlest of His friends the best. Nahem sang the prettiest songs and told the funniest stories! Nahem would even play games with us. I miss playing with Jesus and His friends.
My Mama still says that I need to stop telling make believe stories about seeing those strange people. She does not believe I have seen them around Him. But I know I saw ‘em! Nahem told me who “HE” is. Do you want to know who He is?
Thursday, October 16, 2014
What is Disney’s DAS and how does it help?
Doing Disney with Disabilities
The Disney DAS (Disability Access System) is how Disney helps those with disabilities enjoy the parks.
Let’s start off with what it is not. DAS is not a front of the line pass for anybody with any disability. A DAS Card is not issued to all disabled guests. It is not for all guests with mobility issues.
What is DAS? It is a Fastpass type return system for guests with disability limitations that make it difficult for them to be in long lines. For example the DAS system is for guests (young or old) that have cognitive disabilities such as ADHD, Autism and Traumatic (or other types) Brain Injury. If a person gets overly nervous or upset in lines then a DAS Card can truly save the day. It is good for the guest with disabilities and those in their party as long as the person that the DAS card is issued too rides the attraction with the party. You can only have ONE Return Time at a time. Once you use the Return Time you can get another.
So what do you do if you have mobility issues? You may not need to get a DAS Card. Instead just go into the regular queues for all rides. All lines at Walt Disney World parks and at Disneyland Resorts Disney California Adventure are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs. Disneyland Park has many lines that are NOT equipped to handle wheelchairs and ECVs. There are special secondary lines for wheelchairs and ECVs at Disneyland. My recommendation for those with mobility issues is take advantage of the regular Fastpass and Fastpass+ Systems. Have family and friends go to get passes is possible so you don’t have to wheel around the parks.
The exception to the above statement about mobility issues is Disneyland Park. Built before the days of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) many of the queues do not accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs. They have secondary lines for those with mobility issues and you can get a DAS card to use for those attractions. Some secondary queues do not require a DAS. It is still NOT a front of the line pass and many of the wheelchair lines are longer than the normal standby line. Not all attractions at the Disneyland Resort use a DAS Card for mobility issues. This is especially true for Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain.
So how do you get and use the DAS? Go into any of the Guest Relation buildings at any of the Disney Parks and request one. You will need to discuss your needs with the Cast Member at Guest Relations. They will not look at Doctors notes or medical records so you don’t need to bring them. You just need to tell them why you need it. I’ll be honest if you have ADHD or some other issue that makes it hard for you to stand in long lines let go of some of your emotion control and let them see what might happen if you lose it. Don’t get upset or rude. Just let them see your disability for what it is. DAS cards can be issued for the guest and their party, up to 4 people total on just the word of the guest getting the DAS. For groups over 4 the entire group needs to go to Guest Relations and show the Cast Member how many people are in the party.
You will get to pick your first Return Time for the first ride at Guest Relations. At Walt Disney World the DAS works just like the regular Fastpass. You or a family member takes the DAS card to the ride you wish to go on and obtains a return time.
At the Disneyland Resort there are 10 locations, 5 in each park where you can obtain a return time. You can go to Guest Relations any time to get a return time or to any of the locations in the parks. For Disneyland they are at the City Hall, Central Hub, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and New Orleans Square. In Disney California Adventure (DCA) Chamber of Commerce, Carthay Circle, entrance to Cars Land, Bugs Land and Paradise Pier.
To use your DAS Card go to the Fastpass Entrance or the Alternate Entrance if you use a wheelchair or ECV. There you can show your DAS card and enter the line. At some point during the ride they will cross out your Return Time so you can get another.
If at any time you find that the DAS Card is not meeting your need go and talk to Guest Relations. Some people with cognitive disabilities have a harder time than others with lines. Disney is committed to assisting those with Disabilities but, Disney can’t help you if you don’t talk to them.