Help for special needs child


You all gave me great ideas for our DS who will be 8 when we visit DW for the first time in Oct., since he is so apprehensive. We’re staying at POR and have 7 day hoppers with dining. Our DS is visually impaired. He appears fine, wears glasses and very dark sunglasses in the sun but is seemingly fine by observation. Point of mentioning this is, he can’t see clearly even with his glasses beyond maybe 20 feet, so I want to find out if it would be appropriate to ask a CM if he could sit closer for any of the shows, parades, etc. And I have to do this on the sly or my son will get very embarrassed. Is this appropriate or should I just let him enjoy it the best he can, I’m sure no matter what, we will all have a magical time. It was just mentioned to us to “feed his memory” by a visual therapist, since his condition is likely to worsen through the years and we just want him to have as many wonderful visual memories as possible. And any other suggesstions is greatly appreciated as always.


I would definately ask the CM when queueing up for the shows etc if it would be possible for you to get a seat closer to the front. Simply explaining his condition should do the trick. Explain that you are requesting this on the sly, so the CM doesn’t accidently say anything. Maybe have your DH wait in line with him and you go up and ask a CM on the sly sorta speak. As for the parades, just grab a seat on the curbed aread about a hour before they start and he will have a front row seat. Wishes may be a bit trickier for good viewing since they are in the sky, but I would try for a spot close to the castle and hope for the best. I do hope he has a magical trip. I can’t wait to hear how it all goes for him, so please post a report when you get back.


You could probably get a guest assistance card that requests front row seating for visually impaired people. Then you just show the cm the card, but of course your son would know that you are doing that. If you go to the dinner shows, request seating in the front when you make your PS ,explaining your situation.


You gotta love that little boy for not wanting a “special deal”.
If it was anything except one of his senses, I would "say, no way will you put him in the possition where he’s treated special’.

But since his entire experience at a show depends on being able to follow it, you should try one of the suggestions above.
I am willing to bet that your DS would understand it, if you sat down and explained why you’re asking for seating up front, etc.


I like the card idea, though he will know you are handing the card to a cm, you wont have to stand around explaining it over and over again which would be even more embarassing for him.


It is certainly appropriate to ask to move to the front.

My father had knee replacement surgery right before our last trip, and he had a very difficult time with steps. The CM’s were always very helpful in finding him the perfect seat.


If you’re building his memories, then I would consider getting front row seats a necessity! What better way to plant those images firmly in his mind than by having them be as vivid as possible. By all means get a Guest Assistance Pass. You don’t even need to tell him about it if you don’t want, but it beats trying to explain your situation to every CM along the way. I think THAT would be the embarassing part for him.

Best of luck to you in this venture.


It seems like perhaps he just wants to be a “normal” kid for once on this trip and that’s why he doesn’t want you telling the CMs about it? I do think the card idea is a good one. But if you don’t want to do this, it really isn’t anything to stress over as there are VERY FEW shows in theater settings where you would need to sit up front. If you name them, you do get a list. BUT 99% of the “imporant” Disney rides are not in theater seats. They are designed so that no matter where in a ride vehible you sit you will get a perfect view (except, of course, if it’s more than two across like in Pirates you should have your son sit on the outside). In fact, you may want to go on rides twice so he can experience it from both sides – like Ellen’s universe of Energy (although it looks like a theatre, just work your way so that he’s sitting on the aisle not the middle of the bench – the way the theater seating breaks apart, if he’s on an end he’ll be able to see the dinosaurs regardless of where in the theater you start out), Spaceship Earth, Pirates, Small World, etc etc. Just start thinking about the overflowing abundance of rides that he can enjoy without having to worry about where he’s sitting! It’s up to the two of you, of course, but even if you do go along with not asking for special seating for him, he’ll only be missing out on a very small fraction and you’ll have tons and tons of really unique visual memories for him!! :slight_smile:


I would certainly get the card. Have a talk with your DS before you leave and explain that many, many people - kids included - use them. Assure him that no one will even know or notice that you are handing a card to a CM, or the reason That is the absolute TRUTH. I have never, in 22 years, seen anyone do this, but apparently it’s done all the time. This little guy absolutely deserves to have the best time possible.


You guys are awesome, I am actually in tears reading all the responses. I WILL ask for the card and fortunately my DS is still very innocent and a bit naive so I think I will simply tell him, if he asks, that the card allows us closer viewing as a sortof vip priviledge for it being our first trip to DW or something like that to avoid his discomfort. He is very aware of his condition, obviously, but rarely admits to not being able to see, out of fear of not being like the other kids or getting that “special” treatment, but we do at times have to explain that as his parents we need to do whats best for him in making certain requests and in the end he is always greatful for not having to see a show, etc. through blurry eyes. Thanks again, I am eternally greatful for finding this site.


Your DS is a trooper. What a strong young man…you have done so well with him. I hope you get the card and let him experience everything to the fullest. WDW is for magic and fun and if DS needs a wee bit a closer spot to have that magic, he should have it. I can’t wait to read how your trip goes. I hope you share a report with us when you get back. :mickey: