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Disney Accessible Resorts Archives - 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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Posts Tagged 'Disney Accessible Resorts'

DVC Rental: Pros & Cons for Special Needs Families 077

DVC Logo


Our family has been Disney Vacation Club (DVC) owners for ten years and as a special-needs family, we love it for so many reasons. Not everyone has the desire or the means to purchase a DVC contract, but there ARE ways for non-owners to experience the DVC resorts without paying exorbitant rack rates — by renting DVC points. In today’s feature I’m chatting with my good friend John Saccheri, also known as The Big Fat Panda, about the pros and cons of DVC rental for special needs families.

Some points we discuss are:


  1. Amenities: More space, Full Kitchen (special diets, longer getting ready in morning, larger groups), laundry in-room (need I say more?), separate BR for parents, often a second bathroom in 1 Bedroom, (always in 2 or 3 BR.) Whirlpool tub for sensory-seeking (pressure) or for stressed-out moms and dads!
  2. Price. Expect to pay 1/2 to 1/3 less for a DVC rental, depending on the price per point.
  3. Availability. Renters may have ability to access hard-to-get DVC villas months before they’re available to anyone else.


  1. (Private DVC Owner) Most private owners rent for $10 to $12 per point, depending on the resort and time of year. They’ll make the reservation for you and deal directly with DVC, so your entire reservation is in their hands. (Arranging Magical Express, Dining Plan, etc.) You have to give the owner your credit card info. Check Disney Message Boards for recommended owners, get references.
  1. (Points broker) Use a reputable broker. The points broker will be dealing with the owner and the owner will contact DVC for your requests. Disney will not talk to the points broker, so he is essentially a go-between.

You’ll want to make sure that there are alternatives available to you in the event you need to cancel your reservation. Some owners and brokers will work with you, but make sure you verify this in writing before you rent.

Good idea to Purchase Travel Insurance.

For official information about Disney Vacation Club (DVC) visit the Disney Vacation Club website.

If you’d like to explore the DVC resorts from the comfort of your laptop or phone, John is compiling some amazing videos of the resorts for his Youtube sponsor, David’s Vacation Club Rentals! Check them out HERE.


DVC youtube-videos


Tip of the Week:

This week I’m answering a question about the DAS or Disability Access Service.

Diane asks: “What do you do regarding the electronic DAS if you don’t have a smart phone? Is a smart phone or tablet absolutely necessary now?”

Good news, Diane! The My Disney Experience app is not required when using the DAS. When issuing your return time, the attraction CM will scan your Magic Band, entering the time into the system. Without the app you will simply need an alternate way to keep track of your return times throughout the day. You can take a digital picture of the CMs handheld device that shows your DAS return time or go “old school” by writing yourself a note with good old pen and paper.

Thanks for listening!



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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:


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


  • 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 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 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

Thanks for listening,



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002: Touring with Infants and Rolling through Rain!

This Episode of Special Mouse is dedicated to the memory of Nolan Woodall. Rest in peace, my friend.

Feature Interview: Jennifer Lissak, author of The Disney Babies Blog, chats with me about the special needs of infants at Disney. Please visit her blog for more information, particularly about Baby Wearing.


 This is one of Jennifer’s favorite resources for Baby Wearing products: Carry Me Away

You can connect with Jennifer on Twitter @Disneybabiesblg and on Facebook at Jennifer Dreispul Lissak.


Our Special Trip Report comes from Melissa Knight, author of Disney on Wheels: Rolling with the Magic.

Melissa and her husband traveled from Georgia to Walt Disney World in May, 2012 — the same week that Tropical Storm Alberto was visiting Florida! Melissa gives us insight into the accessibility of many rides and attractions, including the new Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Mission Space at Epcot.

Melissa posts videos of herself utilizing many accessible attractions at Walt Disney World on her blog, so please check it out!


I’m thrilled to announce that Melissa Knight will be joining me during future episodes of Special Mouse for a special feature called Disney on Wheels!  Melissa has a lot of accessibility tips to share that I hope will benefit our listeners with a variety of mobility issues.

You can connect with Melissa on Twitter @DisneyOnWheels and on Facebook at Melissa Knight Coulter.

Thanks to all of you who have posted such lovely Tweets on Twitter and to those of you who have “liked” us on Facebook! Thanks also for all the lovely reviews on iTunes; I’m so happy to have your feedback!

~ Kathy

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