Services for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities

Some simple services and strategies are available to give Guests with cognitive disabilities a magical experience.

A young Guest sits patiently in a wheelchair while waiting to board a Walt Disney World Resort bus

Types of Services

The Disneyland Resort offers a host of services to help Guests with cognitive disabilities—including those on the Autism Spectrum—maximize their Resort experience.

Services include:

  • Advanced Ticket Purchase
  • Stroller and Wheelchair Rental
  • Strollers as Wheelchairs
  • Rider Switch
  • Accessing Attractions
  • Break Areas
  • Companion Restrooms
  • Attraction Guides
  • Dietary Accommodations

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.

Rider Switch
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.

Accessing Attractions
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.

Break Areas
Should the Guest with a cognitive disability become over-stimulated or need some down time, several areas are available throughout the parks where a Guest can “take a break.” To locate the nearest area, please ask a Cast Member for assistance.

For a complete list of locations, please download our Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.

Companion Restrooms
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.

Attraction Guides
Each attraction at the Disneyland Resort is different from the next and features a variety of special effects including scents, flashing lights, loud noises and periods of darkness.

For more information on how long a specific ride might take or its featured special effects, please download our Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.

View more information on attractions at the Resort.

Dietary Accommodations
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.

A young female Guest and her happy father smiling toward one another during a loving embrace

How to Prepare

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
  • Watch Videos
  • Study Location Maps
  • Choose a Meeting Location
  • Practice Waiting in Line

Plan a Visual Schedule
By providing a possible timeline, you can help the Guest with a cognitive disability understand what to expect—such as crowds, sights, sounds and smells—and so that he or she can learn the routine.

For an example of a timeline, please download our Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities.

Watch Videos
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.

A father smiles down at his enthusiastic young son who is holding tightly to a Donald Duck plush

What to Bring

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
  • Ear Plugs or Headphones
  • A Favorite Device or Activity
  • Reinforcers for Good Behavior
  • A Sensory Toy

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.

Two female Guests accompanied by a canine service animal while riding Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Guide for Guests with Disabilities

Available at Guest Relations, these guides can also be downloaded in a printable format for each theme park:

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Guest Services

  • Accessibility Services
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