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Podcast Archives - Page 5 of 6 - Special Mouse - Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs Special Mouse – Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel for Your Special Needs
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WDW Food Allergy Update and “Crunchy” Mothering at Disney – 029

Sarah Norris from Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW discusses the closing of DTD BabyCakes NYC, gives us an overview of gluten-free options at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival kiosks, and provides information on Celebrate Awareness, the first-ever Food Allergy and Celiac Convention to be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in November. Then Lottie Ferguson from Crunchy Disney Ma talks “crunchy” mothering on a Disney vacation. Topics include touring the parks while pregnant, breastfeeding in the parks and cloth-diapering while on vacation. The Tip-of-the-Week is for Disney Cruise Line guests who have Seizure Disorder.

Sarah Norris blogs about special diets and food allergies at Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW Listen to her podcast at gfdfwdw. Connect with Sarah on Twitter @gfdf_wdw.

For information on the First Annual Food Allergy and Celiac Convention that will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in November, please visit Celebrate Awareness.

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This podcast is sponsored by Up and Up Travel
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Lottie Ferguson blogs about all things “crunchy” at Walt Disney World at Crunchy Disney Ma. Connect with Lottie on Twitter @CrunchyDisneyMa.

Lottie recommends ECO Nuts for cloth diaper care!

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Remember to send your Disney-with-special-needs Travel Tips to specialmousepodcast@gmail.com!

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

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Beta Testing the DAS Card with Fast Pass+ at Walt Disney World

Florida resident and WDW annual passholder Mark Vitek discusses his family’s first experience using Disney’s Disabilities Access Service Card (DAS) with the My Magic Plus FastPass reservation system. Mark and his wife have a 14-yr old son who has Autism. Overall, they had a positive experience at the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park.

This episode is sponsored by Amy from Up and Up Travel

Walt Disney World Disability Relations holds a weekly DAS committee meeting and they use that meeting to plan for the future of the program. They review all guest communications and discuss them at these meetings. Send your email to WDW.Guest.Communications@disneyworld.com; address it to Disability Relations in the subject line. Specify that it for a DAS concern and give them a phone number so that they can call. It sometimes takes 2-3 weeks, but someone from Disability Relations will call you to discuss your concerns. The Cast Member that called Mark spent about an hour on the phone with Mark.

“Additional accommodations are the same as they were always meant to be.” Mark says.  “They are on a guest-by-guest, day-by-day and Park-by-Park basis. The only change is that there will be no notes in guest files anymore “guaranteeing” a certain accommodation. It all depends on how busy any Park is on any given day, how many attractions that Park has available and how much those accommodations are needed by that particular Guest. And she stressed that no Cast Member should ever be saying that there is nothing they can do, and if you hear that, ask to speak to a Manager immediately, as there is always something they can do. It might be re-ads, and they are allowed to give up to 3 sets at a time. Or it may be as simple as giving you your first return time while at the GR desk if the Park isn’t busy. How she put it to me is to simply state that you are using your FastPass and using your DAS but it just isn’t enough and you’d like just something extra to help with your day.”

You can connect with Mark on Twitter @DisFanMark. Please visit Mark and Jen’s blog, Wishes and Pixie Dust.

The Special Mouse Tip of the Week is for guests recovering from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic, lifelong disease that requires continuous and lifelong treatment. It can be tempting to take a break from a program of recovery while on vacation.

It is important to plan ahead. Bring your recovery literature; the books come in travel-size.

Continue with your meetings. You’re not traveling to some remote desert island! Meetings are available locally in both the Orlando, FL and Anaheim, CA areas.  Research the locations, dates and times of meetings before your trip. There are several apps you can purchase for your phone to help you locate them. I Googled “Apps to locate Alcoholics Anonymous meetings” and several popped up. One example is available in both iTunes and in Google Play for android Devices: Steps Away-Locate Worldwide 12 Step Meetings. There are also local resources that can help you find meetings and hotlines. For the WDW area, look up Central Florida Intergroup. In the DL area, Orange County AA.

Lastly, nothing beats keeping in contact with your existing support system. Have phone numbers and email addresses for your sponsors and fellow group members. Tell them in advance that you are going on vacation and arrange to connect with someone at the end of each day. This will help you to keep yourself accountable for your actions.

Between meetings, literature and calls to sponsors you can remain focused on your recovery while on your Disney vacation.

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I’d love to chat with you on social media! Special Mouse is on Twitter @SpecialMousePod and on Facebook: Special Mouse Podcast. If you’d like to join our Community Group on Facebook, kindly leave a message on the Special Mouse page and I will contact you!

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

 

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Accessible Rooms and Other Room Accommodations at Disney Resort Hotels

Amy Hughes from Up and Up Travel joins Kathy to discuss the special accommodations for guests with special needs and disabilities that are available at Disney Resort hotels and how to go about requesting them.

All Disney resort hotels have some rooms with special equipment and facilities that are available upon request. It is important to include all special and/or unusual requests when making your reservation.

Accommodations available:

A.   All Disney resort hotel rooms are nonsmoking and provide mini- refrigerators.

B.   Newer resorts or those recently refurbished tend to have better accommodations.

C.   ALL accessible rooms provide the following:

 Bathrooms

  • Wider bathroom doors
  • Bathroom handrails
  • Roll-in showers
  • Shower benches
  • Handheld shower head
  • Accessible vanities
  • Portable Commodes
  • Raised Toilet Seat with Grab Bars

Bedrooms

  • Bed boards and bed rails
  • Adjustable beds, lower beds, and rubber bed pads
  • Open-frame beds (most accessible rooms have King beds and only sleep two)
  • Low-level peepholes in doors
  • Close-captioned televisions
  • Both upper and lower door locks on balcony doors
  • Pack ‘n Play portable cribs (request at booking & at check-in)
  • Room Communication Kits w/ door knock and phone alerts, bed shaker alarm, Text Typewriter (TTY), strobe light fire alarm, and phone amplifier
  • Sharps containers can be requested from Housekeeping
  • For those w/ allergies and/or asthma, Housekeeping will provide special room cleanings on request and will use cleaning agents that are less harsh.

   Some (not all) accessible rooms may have the following:

  • Electrical switches 48” (1.2 meters) above the floor
  • Touch switch lamps
  • Vanity open below the sink
  • Lower countertops/cabinets
  • Countertop microwave (DVC resorts)
  • Low threshold at balcony

Available on request at some deluxe resorts:

  • Rollaway beds
  • Down pillows
  • Heating pads
  • International electrical adapter
  • Electrical outlet covers

 Making Special Reservations

  1. The use of a Travel Agent who has experience working with guests w/ special needs is highly recommended.
  2. Select the “Accessible Rooms” checkbox when you book your vacation online to view available accessible rooms.
  3. More common special requests (near bus stop, first floor, quiet area) can be made online, or, via phone. Request they be noted on your reservation and remember to state that your request is due to medical reasons (mobility, developmental disabilities/sensory issues, etc.)
  4. If you have unusual or complex requests, call the Special Reservations Department directly. At Walt Disney World the number is 407-939-1936 and at Disneyland the number is 714-520-5045.

Additional Tips

  1. Four to five days prior to arrival, call your hotel and ask to speak to the front desk. Ask for the room assignment Cast Member. Go over the accommodations you requested and confirm their availability.
  2. The earlier in the day you arrive, the better your chances of being accommodated. Check in as soon as you arrive, even if it is before the “official” check-in time.
  3. Keep all correspondence you have about room requests and bring a copy with you to check-in.
  4. Sometimes offsite accommodations can be larger and more cost-effective, especially attractive if using your own transportation or have multiple members in your party using mobility devices.
  5. Whatever you decide, advance planning is the key to success!

Connect with Amy Hughes at UpandUpTravel.com where you will find her informative blog, WDW Dreamin’. Or, connect via Facebook or Twitter.

The Special Mouse Tip of the Week: Disney’s Disability Access Service Card

Listener Teryl Figgens expressed anxiety about requesting the DAS on her family’s next Walt Disney World vacation. Both she and her daughter have the need for accommodations so they can access attractions, but, they do not always want to ride the same rides at the same time. She questions whether Guest Relations will give her family two separate DAS cards. The answer is YES!

The DAS card is issued on an individual, rather than a family or group, basis. One important requirement for use of a DAS card is that the guest for whom the card was requested (and whose picture is on the card) MUST be present to ride the attraction when the card is presented. Teryl must communicate to the Cast Members at Guest Relations that both she and her daughter have their own special needs that require accommodation AND that their party frequently splits in order to access different attractions.

Please submit questions, comments or your own tips to Kathy at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com or via Twitter @SpecialMousePod. Like our Facebook page, Special Mouse Podcast and get regular updates on topics of interest to the Special Needs Disney-loving community!

Keep your eyes on our social media for an announcement this week about our new CHAT ROOM feature on specialmouse.com.

Thanks for listening,

Kathy

 

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You Can runDisney in a Wheelchair!

runDisneyPin
Two runDisney wheelchair athletes join Kathy in this Listener Tea Party episode! We discuss the unique racing experience provided by runDisney events at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, accommodations for wheelchair participants, training/nutrition/hydration concerns, favorite runDisney memories and advice for listeners considering participating in a runDisney event as wheelchair athletes. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend – Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Expedition Everest Challenge – Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend – Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend – Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Team AllEars
 
You can connect with today’s guests on facebook.comKerry Kingdon and Ed Russell.
 
Visit runDisney.com for complete information about Disney marathons and events.
 
Recommended podcasts: Mickey Miles Podcast and the Let’s Run Disney Podcast.
 
We’re headed out to sea on the Disney Cruise Line for the Special Mouse Tip of the Week! Children with special needs are always welcome at the kids’ activity programs on board DCL ships. However, one-on-one supervision by counselors is not available. The Youth Activities Open House sessions allow parents and older siblings to visit the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab with a special-needs child to tour the areas and participate in activities with the child, allowing children with complex needs or the need for individual supervision to partake in the fun of these themed, kid-centered areas.
 
For more information, visit disneycruise.disney.go.com.
 
 
Thanks for listening,
 
Kathy

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Autism Trip Report: First Visit to Walt Disney World, 2003

Kathy shares memories and tips from her family’s first trip to Walt Disney World. We’re going way back to September, 2003, when accommodations were easy to get, Fantasmic was scheduled nightly and the hot dog rolls at Casey’s were “real!” Ah, the good old days! Mentioned in this episode are planning for a WDW vacation, character interactions: face characters vs. fur characters, Cinderella’s Royal Table, parade and fireworks viewing tips, items to include in a “sensory” bag, dealing with aggressive birds, airplane travel with autism, and much more.
 
The Special Mouse Tip of the Week concerns Magic Bands and guests with Sensory Defensiveness.
 
Congratulations to listener Josette Smith for correctly guessing the identity of “Mickey” in the new tip of the week bumper — it’s John Saccheri aka The Big Fat Panda! Visit John’s awesome YouTube channel, bigfatpanda.com.
 
This episode of Special Mouse is brought to you by Amy at upanduptravel.com
 
Connect with the show @SpecialMousePod on Twitter and via the Special Mouse Podcast Facebook page.
 
Thanks for listening!

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What to do if you get sick at Walt Disney World

Mickey Sick
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst!
 
Guest James Cameron recalls medical emergencies he and his family have experienced while vacationing at Walt Disney World. He and Kathy discuss various resources for guests to utilize if they get sick while on vacation:
 
First Aid Stations inside the Disney theme parks and water parks, Automatic External Defibrillators, local Urgent Care centers, Reedy Creek Fire and Rescue, and the closest Emergency Department at Celebration Hospital in Celebration, Florida. 
 
Helpful tips for preparing for unexpected illness and injury while at Walt Disney World: have your health insurance card with you, bring prescriptions including prn (as needed) medications, know how to access the 911 system, and remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”
 
James and his wife Lisa blog about Disney at Home is Where the Mouse Is
Connect with James & Lisa on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
Tip of the Week: Special Mouse listeners tell us some of the emergency supplies they bring to the Disney Parks.
 
If you find the show helpful, kindly consider leaving a review in the iTunes directory; it helps listeners find the podcast!
Visit http://specialmouse.com/ to comment on today’s episode or to connect with me on social media.
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Disney’s Disability Access Service Card: Reality Check, 2014

 
– A New Year for Special Mouse: Community Facebook Group and a new LIVE Chat Room!
– Listener Appreciation and Shout-Outs.
– Kathy makes plans for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, 2015.
– First-ever Food Allergy and Celiac Convention coming to Walt Disney World in November, 2014.
– Good, Bad AND Ugly: Special Mouse listeners share their experiences using Disney’s DAS (Disability Access Service) card.
 
Mentioned in this episode: Celebrate Awareness Official website of Food Allergy and Celiac Convention
Music: “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. (Performed by Idina Menzel)

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Special Mouse Listener Questions

Kathy answers listener questions: Using an ECV at  Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, Quick-Service Dining with Lactose Intolerance, Accessible Taxi Service at Walt Disney World, Park Touring Tips for Third Trimester Pregnancy and more!

Links Mentioned in the Show:

Transtar Transportation Group (accessible taxi service)

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Tips for WDW and the DCL with Visual Impairment

In this Listener Tea Party episode Kathy is joined by Lisa, an adult with visual impairment and Shannon, the mother of a child with multiple challenges including visual impairment, to discuss tips and tricks for managing these issues while at Walt Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line. Included is advice on requesting the DAS, or Disabilities Access Service Card, while at Walt Disney World.

Connect with Lisa on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER.

Connect with Shannon on FACEBOOK or via EMAIL at shannon@wdwguru.com.

Don’t forget to enter our THANKSGIVAWAY!!

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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A Walt Disney World/Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Special Trip Report!

Thirty-year veteran of the Walt Disney World Resort, Justin Jett, gives a report of his most recent trip. Topics discussed include touring in a power wheelchair, accessibility of his resort room, the Disability Access Service card (DAS), Magic Bands, FastPass Plus and of course, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Justin shares tips for touring with Cerebral Palsy and the sensory issues associated with High-Functioning Autism.

You can connect with Justin on Facebook and on YouTube

Thank you, Dis-Pod-Review! Podcast Spotlight: Special Mouse

 

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Resource Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder: Review and Discussion – 019

Maureen Deal from Autism at the Parks joins Kathy for a lively review of the Walt Disney World Resort’s NEW Resource Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For more information about touring the Disney Parks with Autism, visit Autism at the Parks.

Here is a link to the Autism Speaks interview mentioned: Autism Speaks Disney Guest Assistance Card Controversy.

Here is a link to a post about the DAS Autism Social Story video I created with John Saccheri at BigFatPanda.com: There is Something New at the Disney Parks!

We also discussed PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line.

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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Disability Access Service Card Roundtable, Part 2: Rollout Day

In this Listener Tea Party episode, Kathy and her guests discuss the pros and cons of their guest experiences during the DAS rollout on 10/09/13 at the Walt Disney World Resort. Today’s guests are Maureen Deal (Autism at the Parks), Scarlett Litton (WDW News Today) and Aunesty Janssen (Temporary Tourist).

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Update on the Disability Access Service Card and Part Two of Talia’s Make-A-Wish Trip Report

Kathy shares a letter from Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, regarding the impending DAS system. Then Charolott Feldman returns with part two of her daughter Talia’s Make-A-Wish trip report. (Part One can be found in Episode 008.) 

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Disability Access Service Card: A Round Table Discussion

In this Listener Tea Party episode, a panel of Disney Parks guests with special needs discuss how they anticipate the new Disability Access Service program will affect their park experiences and how they plan to adapt.

My Tea Party Guests:

Tracy Brooks –  Facebook , Twitter

Debi Dame –  Orlando Informer

Maureen Deal –  Autism at the Parks , Orlando InformerFacebook , Twitter

Stu Haasis Facebook , Twitter

Amy Hughes WDW Dreamin’ , Facebook , Twitter

Gordon LaGrow Cruise Directions , Facebook , Twitter 

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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