I have learned a whole lot during this cruise process about cruising with a child with special needs! I have seen a lack of blogging for families with special needs, so I thought I would designate some blogs specifically about that to help others. The thing that really sets Disney apart from other cruises is the support and accommodations they offer for people with special needs. It's not that other cruise lines don't want to have those with special needs, but Disney has really gone above and beyond.
There are quite a few accommodations Disney offers in the staterooms. You can see a complete list here. We didn't need any of them because Abby is ambulatory, but it is nice that they have them! There's also information about wheelchairs on this page. I plan to stow Abby's wheeelchair in our stateroom as long as we can find room, but there are wheelchair designated spaces in the ship. There are also areas to keep them when you go to the theater and restaurants. We decided not to bring Abby's real wheelchair because it's not very portable and a challenge to collapse. After looking into a couple of different options, I ended up purchasing this pediatric transfer chair. It was a great price (especially compared to her real one!) and is actually very substantial. I was surprised at the quality, for the price! It folds up wonderfully and is very light. It will be much easier for stowing on the plane and around the ship.
It is very important that you complete this form at least 60 days before your cruise if you have a family member with special needs. There is plenty of room for you to include any additional information. For example, Abby uses a ventilator, nebulizer, cough assist, an oxygen concentrator, and a feeding pump. There wasn't a spot to check all of this off, so I included some of it in the additional ifnormation. Overnight, we need electrical outlets close to her bed for 3 machines that run simultaneously. I also included that we would be in need of a power strip. You can't bring these on board, but Disney will provide them upon request for those who are technology dependent.
A few days after completing this online form, I contacted the Special Services department at the number below.
Disney wants to make sure that everyone has a magical trip, so don't be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no, but I've been really pleased with how helpful they have been!
I will continue to share our experiences as a special needs family to help others who may be considering a Disney cruise! Each heading will start with "Disney Cruise With Special Needs" and I will also have that as a label.