The Disneyland Resort offers a host of services to help Guests with cognitive disabilities—including those on the Autism Spectrum—maximize their Resort experience.
Advanced Ticket Purchase
To avoid the possibility of waiting in line at ticket locations outside of the park entrances, we recommend obtaining your tickets in advance. Tickets for theme parks—including Annual Passports—can be purchased online or by calling (714) 781-4636.
Stroller and Wheelchair Rental
If necessary, your party can rent a stroller, wheelchair or ECV/motorized scooter for a day or more at the Disneyland Resort. A designated shop is located near the main entrance of Disneyland Park, and also at select Disney Resort hotels.
Strollers As Wheelchairs
Guests with disabilities—including those with a cognitive disability—who need to remain in a stroller while in an attraction queue should visit the Guest Relations Lobby at the theme parks in order to obtain the appropriate identifying tag.
Parties with more than 2 Guests may be able to take advantage of the attraction Rider Switch program, which enables you to experience an attraction while another member of your party waits with the Guest who does not ride. You then “swap” to enable the other party member to enjoy the attraction without having to wait in line again.
For further information on how to use this service, please speak with a Cast Member at each specific attraction.
The theme parks offer a wide variety of great shows and rides for you and your party to experience, and accessing these can be done in several ways including the use of standard queues, Disney FASTPASS Service and a Disability Access Service, as well as other accommodations based on individual service needs.
In particular, the Disability Access Service is designed for Guests who are unable to tolerate extended waits at attractions due to a disability. This service allows Guests to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current queue wait for the given attraction.
To learn more about the Disability Access Service—in addition to other accommodations that might be available based on the Guest with a cognitive disability’s individual service needs—please visit the Guest Relations Lobby at the theme parks.
Should a Guest with a cognitive disability become over-stimulated or need some down time, several quieter locations are available throughout the Resort where he or she can “take a break.” To find the break area nearest you, ask a Cast Member for assistance.
For a complete list of locations, please download our Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.
In addition to multiple men’s and women’s restroom facilities throughout the parks, companion restrooms are also available in select locations. Each is larger than a traditional restroom which can be helpful if a Guest needs assistance or requires that someone accompany him or her.
Please note: many of our restrooms use automatic toilet flushing equipment which may be loud.
Attractions at the Disneyland Resort offer a variety of different experiences that may be challenging for Guests with cognitive disabilities. These include scents, high-speed movement, flashing lights, loud noises and periods of darkness.
For more information about what experiences to expect as well as how long each ride lasts, please download Attraction Details for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.
You can also view general descriptions of the attractions at the Disneyland Resort.
The Disneyland Resort can accommodate most food allergies, intolerances and specific dietary needs. Advance requests can be made when booking a dining reservation, or by speaking with the chef or manager on duty at most table-service restaurants across the Resort.
All Guests with food allergies or intolerances are also allowed to bring food items into the parks. Before entering, inform the Cast Member at bag check that a Guest in your party has a food allergy or intolerance. Please note: Cast Members are strictly prohibited from storing, preparing, cooking or reheating any food brought into the parks.
View more information on dietary accommodations at the Resort.
For questions concerning Guests with cognitive disabilities, or for more information, please email Disability.Services@DisneyParks.com or call (407) 560-2547. Guests under the age of 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.
Knowing what to expect is crucial in making your experience a successful adventure—not just for the Guest with a cognitive disability, but for the entire family.
Some suggested tips for you and the Guest with a cognitive disability include:
Plan a Visual Schedule
Providing a visual timeline can help a Guest with a cognitive disability anticipate what the park visit will entail—for example, encountering crowds, sights, sounds and smells—so that he or she can be better prepared for the experience.
You can find an example of a timeline by downloading our Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.
Rather than waiting until you arrive at the parks, help the Guest with a cognitive disability prepare for the experience by having him or her watch videos about the Disneyland Resort, from this site or others.
Each park features its own video tour, which includes certain attractions, as well as many of the Cast Members and Disney Characters your party will likely encounter during your visit.
Study Location Maps
Comprehensive maps and guides are available for each of the theme parks. Review the maps with the Guest with a cognitive disability and try to lay out a plan for the day.
Choose a Meeting Location
Pick a place on the map to meet in case your party becomes separated. Be sure the Guest with a cognitive disability is aware of the location and show it to them as soon as you arrive at a park.
Should he or she get lost, stress the importance to the Guest with a cognitive disability of finding a Cast Member who will assist in attempting to reunite you. In addition, there are also designated locations in each park where lost persons can be escorted.
It is recommended that you take a photo of the Guest with a cognitive disability on your mobile device or digital camera, especially if he or she has a tendency to wander off. You may also consider making a nametag that includes his or her name, as well as your name and mobile phone number.
Practice Waiting in Line
Waiting in line is a regular part of the Disneyland Resort experience. To prepare, practice waiting with the Guest with a cognitive disability at home or in lines at places he or she might already frequent.
Being prepared for a day at the Disneyland Resort goes beyond the parks. Plan ahead by bringing along an assortment of items.
Some suggestions include:
A Safety Bracelet or Nametag
Place a bracelet, nametag or some variety of visual identification onto the Guest with a cognitive disability. Include his or her name, a reference to the specific cognitive disability, all important medical information and anything else that should be known. Please include your name and contact number as well.
Ear Plugs or Headphones
The theme parks can be very noisy, including fireworks, announcements on loud speakers and other Guests’ voices. Ear plugs or headphones may contribute toward a less intense experience for the Guest with a cognitive disability.
A Favorite Device or Activity
To keep the Guest with a cognitive disability occupied while waiting in a line, it is suggested you bring along a computer tablet or mobile device, video game, or anything else constructive you feel might distract their attention.
Reinforcers for Good Behavior
A trip to the theme parks at the Disneyland Resort can be very long. Help promote a full day of fun for the Guest with a cognitive disability by keeping motivational items handy to reinforce his or her good behavior.
A Sensory Toy
Keeping the Guest with a cognitive disability calm might be an issue due to the sights, sounds, scents and commotion at any one of the parks. Have a sensory toy on hand—like a stress ball or other calming item—to help prevent or assist him or her from experiencing sensory overload.
Disneyland Resort offers a number of guides to help make your visit easier and more enjoyable. You can download them in a printable format here or find copies at Guest Services locations.