Tips For People With Hidden Disabilities and Medical Conditions

Hidden Disabilities

Some people have impairments and difficulties that cannot be seen. They may look very 'normal' and yet need accommodation. You should not feel guilty or self-conscious about using the Guest Assistance Card if you need it for medical reasons. You will pay exactly the same amount as the average person who visits the park for your tickets, accommodations, meals and transportation. Yet people who are impaired, or are caring for others with impairments (or disabilities or special needs or differences) will often spend HOURS less time in the parks each day than the 'average' visitor. Take advantage of the special services - they make it possible for you to have the vacation you need.

  Click here to see the section about Pacing for more discussion.

Many people find that going during the off-season will make their trip much easier, becuase the lines are shorter and the restaurants are less crowded. Make sure to pace yourself through the day, and if you need it, you should consider renting an ECV to help you with long distances. Many people resist using a wheelchair or scooter because they think it is a sign of defeat.  These are just another form of transportation for going from one place to another.  The distances that a person walks each day are vast, and it is important that you pace your family so that eveyone gets the vacation they need. 

  Click here to see the section about Tips for new wheelchair and ECV users for more discussion.

If you get a GAC or SAP

Keep your Guest Assistance Card in a clear plastic envelope or badge holder clipped to your belt loop or on a lanyard around your neck, like people use for VIP passes at sporting events.   This makes it much easier to show the card to cast members when you need their assistance, and you are less likely to lose it. The envelope also comes in handy for park passes, room cards, and a credit card.   Click here for more information about the GAC.

Make sure you reserve an appropriate room

If you are staying in a Disney resort and need a special room type or location, ask CRO to connect you with the Special Reservations department or call directly at (407) 939-7807. The medical necessity requests they write override normal requests made through CRO. They are knowledgeable and great to work with. Special requests can state your needs specifically to help you get just the room you need.  For example, you can ask for a ground floor room for medical reasons.  They will do their best to accomodate your request on a first-come first-serve basis.  You can request wheelchair-accessible rooms with roll-in showers, or request a room with a tub.  Make your specific needs known, and they will try to accomodate them.

Keep identification and basic medical information available

If you have a medical condition that may deteriorate under stress, fatigue, or exposure, you should keep identification and a card with basic medical information, in case of emergency.  Your diagnosis, medications, and name of your physician will come in handy in case of an emergency.

First Aid Stations are available at each park

Each park has a first aid station where people who become ill in the park can rest, cool down, take medication, get help.  If you must lie down for a short time , go to the first aid station.  You can also leave medications that require refrigeration at the First Aid Station while you are visiting the park.

Click Here to return to Disability Information for Disney Travelers Main Page

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Last revision June 3, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Teri Doolittle, PA, MHP
All rights reserved