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Posts Tagged 'Disneyland'

Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland – 079

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Brad Levy, Event Director, discusses the 3rd annual Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland – 11.05.2015

“This amazing day at Disneyland was founded to unite the epilepsy community, to bring epilepsy out of the shadows, and to stomp out epilepsy stigma. We can inspire a nation in which 1:26 people will have epilepsy in their lives by bringing awareness and stories of wonderful people working and playing together.”

  • RAISING AWARENESS
  • STOMPING STIGMA
  • UNITING EPILEPSY COMMUNITIES

…and providing days of inclusion and joy!

Epilepsy Awareness and Education Expo – 11.04.2015 – Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel

The FREE expo was added to put patients and families together with Epilepsy professionals, in order to get everyone as much support as possible. The EXPO features over 80 Non-Profit support groups, several hospital Epilepsy Centers, Pharma companies, Epilepsy devices and more!

EADD

epilepsyawarenessday.org

Please visit the above link for official information about Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland!

For event information, contact Candy Levy, Event Coordinator at candy@epilepsyawarenessday.org

For sponsorship information, contact Brad Levy, Event Director at Brad@epilepsyawarenessday.org

Thanks for listening!

Kathy

 

 

 

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Disneyland Resort and Cruising to Alaska on the DCL with a Power Wheelchair – 075

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Feature conversation with Kelly DeBardelaben from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s here to chat with me about her Disney travels with her husband. He gets around using a power wheelchair because his mobility is affected by Cerebral Palsy. The couple has cruised to Alaska with the Disney Cruise Line AND vacationed at the Disneyland Resort in California and Kelly gives us the scoop on the wheelchair accessibility of both these Disney destinations.

Some of the things we discuss are:

Airport considerations for her husband’s power wheelchair

Accessibility and space requirements for resort rooms/cabins

Reasons she and her husband love using a Disney Travel Agent to help plan vacations

No grab rails in the accessible cabins on the Disney Wonder!

Kelly’s tip to avoid sticking to a toilet seat during bathroom transfers

Ability of adults to enjoy a kid-free Disney cruise

Off-ship excursions with a power wheelchair

Disneyland attractions that accommodate a power wheelchair

Disneyland attraction queues that accommodate a power wheelchair

Using a Service Dog in Disneyland

Teaching your child how to approach people in a power wheelchair or with a service dog

 

Tip of the Week:

This week we have a question about use of the Disability Access Service accommodation, or DAS, during the after-hours hard ticket events at Walt Disney World, namely, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

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(By the way, in case you are planning to do either of these parties in 2015, tickets are on sale now!)

A few Special Mouse Community Members who have attended these parties in the past 2 years have said that the DAS is NOT implemented during the hard ticket events.

First of all, DAS Return Times are generally procured when waits in the standby queue are 20 minutes or greater. The wait times rarely reach 20 minutes during the parties. In fact, FastPass queues aren’t even open.

After the day guests leave and the parties are in full swing (7pm), most of the partygoers are there for the special party offerings – the holiday parades, the special meet-and-greets, the unique stage shows, etc., and so if you are interested in doing rides, it is a fabulous time to visit the more popular attractions as the wait times are low, low, low (particularly during parades and fireworks.)

So, the short answer is no. The DAS is not used during the parties because, like FastPass+ reservations, it simply isn’t needed!

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Thanks for listening!

Kathy

 

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Disneyland with an Autism Service Dog and More! 070

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Today’s feature chat is all about Autism service dogs. We’ve discussed service dogs at the Disney Parks and on the Disney Cruise Line in past episodes, but this conversation is specifically about Autism service dogs. So if you either have or are hoping to obtain an Autism service dog, you will definitely want to listen to this conversation!

My guests are Katie Wolfe, Placement and Training Director at Autism Service Dogs of America and Christine Johnson, who recently had an autism service dog from this organization placed in her home to assist her son. Christine tells us about the experience AND all about her family’s recent trip to Disneyland with their new service dog.

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Our service dogs provide physical safety and an emotional anchor for children with autism. With their child tethered to a service dog, families are able to engage in activities as simple as going to the park or going out to eat as a family. When out in the community, a service dog increases safety and helps families feel secure. The service dog’s calming presence can minimize and often eliminate emotional outbursts, enabling the child to more fully participate in community and family activities. In many cases, the service dog accompanies the child to school, helping with transitions between activities and locations. Having a service dog helps increase opportunities for the child to develop social and language skills with others.

Visit their website at Autism Service Dogs of America.

 

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Tip of the Week:

Our family will be heading down to Walt Disney World in about 3 weeks’ time and this just happens to be our first vacation with multiple iPhones and an iPad. Billy is no longer interested in the more portable handheld video games, unfortunately, so he will be bringing his iPad with him to the Parks to entertain and distract him when waiting in the various lines that we are oh-so-familiar with.

And what with the need for the My Disney Experience app and social media apps and perhaps some use of the voice recording app that I would like to use for the podcast, I anticipate that we are going to be using up the battery life on our respective devices rather quickly each day.

So one of the items that I will definitely be packing with us for our trip is the 4-port USB charging hub that I gave to my husband as a stocking stuffer this past Christmas. This particular one is by the Sharper Image.

This device fits into any wall outlet, and features one 2.1 amp USB port for fast-charging tablets and three 1 amp ports for most other USB-compatible devices.

I’m planning to use this in our resort room, of course, but it’s extremely light and has a 5’long cord, so I imagine that I’ll be able to use it in the parks as well and I’ll only need one cord for all 3 of our devices.

 

Mousekeeping:

Some Walt Disney World news to share that will be of interest to guests traveling with a person who has a feeding tube and is making pre-paid dining reservations. As you may or may not know, many dining experiences at WDW require pre-payment of all meals at the time the reservation is made.  This applies to character buffets like Chef Mickey’s and the Crystal Palace, dinner shows like the Hoop-dee-doo Review, and family-style dining at restaurants like O’hana.

In the past, Disney Dining required that every person attending the meal be charged for the meal, including people who were not actually EATING the meal because they were tube fed. So, guests would have to appeal to the server at the time of the meal and request that the charge for the tube-fed person be removed. I’ve rarely heard of anyone being denied this request, but nevertheless, why should anyone have to spend time and energy doing this while on vacation?

So, official word given to Disney Travel agents is that Cast Members at the Disney Dining reservation system have been given the OK to employ a procedure to get around this policy.

How will it work?

First, Disney Dining will book the reservation for the total number of people in the party. They will book the adult or child with the feeding tube as an “infant” so that person will not be charged for a meal. Then Disney Dining will place internal notes on the reservation stating that one guest will not be eating due to special needs.

Please note that this is an internal workaround that applies to pre-paid dining reservations ONLY: it has nothing to do with the Disney Dining Plan travel packages which are attached to park tickets.

The advantage of this is new procedure is that it removes the awkward tableside negotiating regarding the check. A small change, yes, and one that you may argue has been a long time coming, but, it is a positive change nevertheless and one that I am happy to share with you.

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We’ve been given a first look at this year’s Food Allergy and Celiac Convention that will be held at WDW on October 18, 2015.

The main event will be an Illuminations fireworks Dessert Party completely free of gluten and the top 8 food allergens.  The Dessert party will be held at the France Pavilion inside the World Showcase at the Epcot and theme park admission is required.  Visit Celebrate Awareness for information regarding ticket sales, travel packages, and more.

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Registration is open for the 3rd annual Epilepsy Awareness Day at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. This event is for people of all ages with epilepsy, their families and friends, and those whose lives are touched by epilepsy or who want to raise awareness for epilepsy.

This year the event will be comprised of a free Epilepsy Awareness and Education Expo held at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on Wednesday, November 4th, followed by, “a day of excitement at Disneyland, paired with the gathering of 2500 guests, all wearing the event T-Shirts and waving their signs” at the Disneyland resort, Thursday, November 5th.  Please visit Epilepsy Awareness Day for more information.

Epilepsy Awareness Day Logo

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The first-ever Special Mouse Podcast listener WDW meet-up is right around the corner! We’ll be gathering on Friday, May 22 at the Contempo Café, located on the 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, from 4 to 6 pm. Quick service refreshments will be available for purchase and I’ll be supplying some allergy-free treats from Erin McKenna’s Bakery for us to nibble on. If you’ll be in the area May 22nd, I hope to see you there.

contempo-cafe

 

 

And finally, thank you to all who supported the Kickstarter campaign to publish Walt Disney World with Autism: A Special Needs Guide! The project was fully funded on May 7th and if all goes as planned, the book will be available by the end of the year!

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The Disneyland Measles Outbreak: How do I Protect my Family?

It seems as though the American media cannot get enough of the “Disneyland Measles” this week, and why not? Eighty-five cases of a highly contagious disease confirmed in seven states — all connected to Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth” — makes for a tantalizing story. And there’s nothing that grabs the attention of an audience and polarizes it quite like pointing the finger of blame at already unpopular groups: the anti-vaccination movement, undocumented immigrants, and an ineffective public health system. And really, how many people – fans included — can resist poking fun at the giant Disney Company by sharing photo-shopped images of Mickey Mouse covered in red dots?

 

disneyland-measles

 

Of course, this recent outbreak is not Disney’s fault, although there are multiple reasons why Disneyland/DCA is the perfect incubator for it. The guests who contracted and spread the measles all visited during the weeks surrounding Christmas, when the theme parks are often filled to capacity with visitors from all over the world, including places such as Mexico, Europe and Asia where measles is still a problem.  Measles is highly contagious; the virus is spread via air droplets (coughing, sneezing) and it can live on surfaces for up to two hours.

As you know, I am a Registered Nurse and a mom. I’m also planning my family’s upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. Therefore, I want to discuss the ONE question regarding this recent outbreak that I believe is paramount: How do I protect my family from a contagious illness like the measles while on our vacation?

I am not going to bore you with the epidemiological history of measles, nor do I intend to debate the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. But, let me be clear. Measles is not a harmless childhood disease.

There is no cure for measles, just supportive care while the virus runs its course – which includes high fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and a nasty, full-body rash. About 35% of children under five who contract measles are hospitalized with complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis. Encephalitis can leave you deaf, brain-damaged or even dead. According to the Center for Disease Control, the death rate for children is 1 per 1,000.

Whoops, I’m sorry. I did say that I wasn’t going to throw numbers at you. But that particular statistic is truly devastating if you happen to be the parents of that one child.

So, here are my tips for reducing your chances of contracting the measles on your next Disney vacation (which just happen to be in line with recommendations from the CDC.)

1. Make sure you are fully immunized against measles.

  • If unsure of your immunity status, discuss your travel plans with your primary health provider.
  • You should have your blood tested for measles immunity, especially if you were vaccinated prior to 1989.
  • Get a booster vaccination if needed. (Those vaccinated after 1989 received two doses of vaccine, older people received only one.)
  • No infants under one year of age should visit Disneyland until the current outbreak has subsided.
  • If un-vaccinated or under-vaccinated, STAY AWAY.* See California Department of Public Health recommendations.

2. Anyone with a medical condition or who is receiving medical treatment that weakens the immune system should consider wearing a protective face mask, available at most larger drug stores. You can even purchase these cute Disney-themed masks for kids from schoolhealth.com (75/Box, $17.50)

Disney Face Mask

3. Practice meticulous hygiene

  • Proper hand washing with soap and water is vital, especially after using the toilet, after sneezing or before eating or handling food.
  • If no soap and water is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel.
  • Cover mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing, preferably with a tissue. If no tissue is available, use your sleeve and not your bare hand.

4. Know the signs and symptoms of measles and, if noted, seek medical attention immediately.

measles2

 

Cancelling a planned vacation can be extremely difficult, but for those without sufficient immunity to the measles, travel to Disneyland — or any destination where large numbers of people gather and there are a number of international visitors — would be highly risky at this time.

The views  expressed in this blog are not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your personal physician or health care provider before undertaking any type of travel or new activity. Thank you!

~ Kathy

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Disneyland Trip Report with Aspergers and ADHD

Michelle_Ciaran

Michelle Young from Disney Dream Girls and her son Ciaran join Kathy for a chat about managing Aspergers and ADHD on their recent Disneyland / DCA vacation. 

We get a lot of Walt Disney World trip reports here on Special Mouse and while I love Walt Disney World, I’m always excited when we can branch out and give you listeners’ experiences at other Disney Parks. Michelle Young and her 14 year-old son, Ciaran, join me via Skype from Yorkshire, England. I want to thank Ciaran for being so open when sharing about his particular vacation challenges related to Aspergers and ADHD.

The pair had a jolly holiday that included Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, lunch at Walt Disney’s favorite restaurant, The Tam O’ Shanter, and more! Included in our discussion is their experience using the Disability Access Service Card (DAS) at Disneyland and DCA and how the system varies slightly from that at Walt Disney World. And because Michelle’s son is a teenager, this TR contains a lot of dining reporting!

Connect with Michelle via the Disney Dream Girls Podcast and on Twitter and Facebook!

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 Tip of the Week: 

This question comes from Allison.

Allison asks: “Where are some good locations to charge ECVs and electric wheelchairs in the parks?”

I would think that parking your ECV near an outlet while you are at a meal or show would be the most convenient option, but since I personally don’t use an ECV, I posed the question to our Facebook group and we got some useful tips which I will pass along to you now:

Bruce says, “Almost all sit down restaurants know where to tell you to plug in. Same with first aid areas.” “In the Poly, second floor, by `Ohana, next to the men’s room, there is a convenient outlet. Retaurants like Le Cellier and Cape May, I plugged my scooter right by the check-in podium, at their invitation. At Trails End, they have outlets near the golf cart rentals, I’ve plugged in there. The Grand Concourse at the Contemporary has outlets.”

He believes that “Ride times are too short to have a decent charge on a scooter. Same with counter service meals. Only decent time is when you are sitting down for a meal.”

Dede says, “When I ate at prime time, in Hollywood Studios, there is a plug a little ways from the outside door on the left. They told me to use that. I tried using a plug next to my table but they wouldn’t let me because of fire laws.”

(Yes, it’s very important to remember that ECVs and wheelchairs are not permitted to block certain exit pathways in public areas.)

Sharon says, “A good rule of thumb is, anywhere there’s carpet, there needs to be an outlet to plug the vacuum cleaner in!”

Rae says, “The Tangled “Rest Area” in Magic Kingdom has stumps with standard 3-prong outlets plus USB outlets hidden behind a little door. You will see people using the outlets. It’s a nice place to hang out. You can get lunch from Columbia Harbour House and eat at one of the tables.”

(This is a lovely spot, Rae. The area is extremely popular at mealtime, so if you plan to eat here my advice is to arrive well ahead of mealtime and claim your spot early!)

And last, in the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” category, Tracy adds, “My boyfriend uses his own power wheelchair, I have been to Walt Disney World with him 12 times. He has never had to charge his chair during the day. He does a full charge each night and is good to go.”

Thanks, Group!

And for more information about ECVs at the parks, check out Podcast Episode 11, “FAQs for Scooter Newbies.”

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Don’t forget to drop me an email at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com so you can add your sound bite to our upcoming Thanksgiving episode!

Thanks for listening!

 

~ Kathy

 

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The Disabled Diva Dishes on Invisible Disabilities and Chronic Pain at Disneyland – 051

Tips for touring Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure with chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc Disease and Psoriatic Arthritis.

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Today my guest is Cynthia Covert from Southern California. Cynthia is a wife, a mom, a self-described “Disney Addict” and author of The Disabled Diva Blog. We discuss living with chronic pain and how it affects the entire family. Other topics of discussion are tips for touring Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure with chronic pain and limited endurance, use of a wheelchair and wheelchair accessibility of the attractions, use of the DAS card at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, chronic pain management with medical marijuana, what to pack for your trip and the importance of choosing a comfortable and convenient hotel room.

Cynthia’s blog is The Disabled Diva’s Blog. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Her books are available on Amazon.com!

Chronic Pain, It’s a Family Affair

You Don’t Look Sick! What not to say to people who suffer from chronic pain.

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Our tip of the week comes from listener Melissa W. – “You no longer need to take a new picture every time you get a new DAS (Disability Access Service) Card. As long as you have with you the old DAS card that can be scanned, the picture is now saved and prints out on the new card. So quick!”

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gingerbread_run

As you may know, I’m a big supporter of the Give Kids the World Village in Central Florida. The GKTW Gingerbread Run 5K is an annual fundraiser that will be run on November 8, 2014. Even if you’re not in the Central FL area, you can participate in the Gingerbread Run as a virtual runner. Visit GingerbreadRun.org. and find out how you can register. All runners will receive an event t-shirt and a collectible Gingerbread Run medal. It’s a fun way to support GKTW and to inspire hope for families that need it most!

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If you have questions or ideas for topics for future episodes, please send them to me at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com.

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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Episode 003: Disneyland Accessibility/Gluten-Free Trip Report

 

On this episode of Special Mouse I begin by answering a listener question regarding Autism and The Guest Assistance Card.

 

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My Feature Interview is with Stuart Haasis, author of the soon-to-be-released book, “A Disabled Person’s Guide to Disneyland.”

 

 

You can read an excerpt from his book HERE. Connect with Stu on Twitter @DisneyAccess and on Facebook at Stu Haasis.

 

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Melissa Knight from Disney On Wheels returns with a wheelchair accessibility tip for the Merida Meet ‘n Greet at the Magic Kingdom!

 

 

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For our Special Trip Report we’re going Gluten-Free with Karen Stoj, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease only a few days before her trip to Walt Disney World!

  

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The Special Mouse Podcast and Disney On Wheels are having a Meet ‘n Greet at WALT DISNEY WORLD on Saturday, Sept. 29th, 3:30-5:00pm at Disney’s BEACH CLUB Resort. If you’re going to be in WDW celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Epcot, please stop in and say “Hello!”

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A NEW TIME AND LOCATION!

For more information, go HERE.

Thanks for listening!

~ Kathy

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