Saturday, July 7, 2018

Disney Cruise With Special Needs: Kids' Clubs

While planning for our cruise, I read quite a bit about the kids' clubs and how they can accommodate kids with special needs.  I saw a lot about kids with autism and cognitive delays and how they can modify things as needed.  Kids have to be potty trained, but even kids in pull-ups can be accommodated at time. 

However, I could never find solid information about what they do if the kids have complex medical needs.  In talking to customer service representatives with the special needs department, they said that parents could not stay in kids' clubs.  The only time we were allowed in was during the open house each day for an hour.  I figured I would wait until we were on the ship and talk to someone, which is exactly what I did.

I realized quickly that the open houses were unstructured times, and the really fun stuff happened when the parents couldn't be in there.  However, I really needed to be around in case Abby had trouble breathing or got knocked over.  The first counselor I spoke to about being able to stay in the kids' club told me to talk to customer service in the main atrium.  I went down there, and they told me to talk to a manager at the kids' club.  I went back and relayed that information, so a manager was brought over.  She referred me to her boss, who then said she had to talk to her boss. (See where this is going?!?!)

Finally, I was told that I couldn't pass the kids' club gate, but I could sit in the lobby the entire time Abby was in there and they would come get me if they ever had a concern.  They also made it so that when Abby checked in, a note would pop up to contact the manager so that she could be close by.  I felt comfortable with this and sat in the lobby while Abby and her cousins went in. 

THEY HAD A BLAST!!!

Kids' club is really a kid's dream.  There are various rooms and each one has a different theme.  Each half an hour to 45 minutes, a new activity is led by counselors.  The kids can choose to do that one or go into one of the other rooms to play on their own. There were crafts, games, tablets, video games, fantasy play...and a ton more!  There's pretty much everything kids love!  We seriously had to drag them out of there!

After Abby went to kids' club a few times, I felt comfortable enough to leave the lobby and sit in comfortable chairs in the hall.  The staff knew where I was (steps away from the lobby) and we didn't have any medical issues.  The only concern they had was on the last day of the cruise when another kid kicked Abby.  They contacted us immediately, and the supervisor took it very seriously.  (It was really not a big deal, but I appreciated their concern!)

Some favorite kids' club activities were fort building, Anna's coronation (from Frozen), cape creations, Frozen crafts, and face painting.  The kids seriously begged us constantly to go and didn't even want to go to dinner!  My sister, Matt, and I took turns sitting in the lobby so that it wasn't always the same person staying there, but it was actually a nice little break for me.  I grabbed a book and read for a bit when the kids were in kids' club!

Depending on your child's medical needs, kids' clubs can still be doable!  If you are able to just sit in the lobby and be close by, then it can definitely happen. 

If you have questions about kids' club, please ask!  Our experience was WONDERFUL and I am so happy we were able to make it work for Abby, because she really enjoyed it!


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