Autism and the parks


Earning My Ears
Oct 14, 2018
Hey all! First post, just joined the boards but I’ve watched the shows on YouTube for almost two years now.

I have two brothers and two cousins with severe autism and after being a AP for 13 years and then a cast member for 10 I’m going to get my first AP since I quit Disney last July.

I want to take my brothers but with this new system it would be difficult, especially for my youngest brother. What are your experiences with loved ones with autism/epilepsy at the parks since they have started with the return time instead of the special assistance pass?

Thanks for listening and for your input! :)


DIS Veteran
May 27, 2013
I would like to help, but I’m a bit confused, since I’m not sure what new system you’re referring to, since the DAS has been around for five years now.

Also not sure what you mean about watching the videos, since as a former AP holder and CM, I’m assuming that you’ve been going to Disney fairly regularly.


Oct 27, 2011
As PP mentioned, DAS has been in use for several years now. The first post of this thread explains DAS:

How old are your brothers? Young children or adults? Many find DAS along with FP+ works well for them. You might want to plan some breaks or downtime - out of the park completely or long TS meals and a show or two. Much depends on your brothers’ needs. We can offer some more specific suggestions if you share a little more info about their needs, your concerns, and your trip.

Enjoy your vacation!


Always Disney Dreaming!
Aug 20, 1999
Disneyland or Disney World? I assume the OP means they have been watching the DIS Unplugged videos for 2 years.
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DIS Veteran
Mar 2, 2017
A couple of tools that we use:

1. YouTube - this is a fantastic tool that allows my children to experience what it is the ride and particular attraction is all about. This sets realistic expectations that greatly reduces any anxiety as it is a known event. This 'routine' matches their experience / expectations so helps to improve their enjoyment and reduce any element of surprise. Tim Tracker and the like do great videos!
2. We stay onsite so use FP+ at the 60 day notice, we try to get what we really want within reason, and then we use the DAS around that to help supplement it. We will often get a DAS for both given the age differences, as one will want to go on things the other doesn't and as such it can be difficult. However, during our last trip they wouldn't let the DAS holder be on another persons DAS, so when we all wanted to go on the same ride we had to technically get 2 DAS return times. Some CM would simply let them in without having both DAS's linked to the same ride, while others would want 2 separate times, this would often create some time differentials but nothing that isn't manageable, just something to keep in mind.
3. We booked dining reservations each day to give us time to relax, refuel and just get out of all the hustle and bustle.
4. Whatever strategies they use to maintain their focus are also a must, whether this be noise cancelling headphones, favorite blanket, stuffed animal, game etc.... These are great distractions and calming devices when things get a little overwhelming.... which it will do, its Disney! lol
5. Lastly, and this is kind of a strange thing to say, but don't care what people think. Often, when an ASD child has a typical meltdown, parents will look as if you are the worst parent in the world and your kid is just a brat. Don't worry about it, people who live with ASD know what is happening and what the behavior is saying, so don't ever get embarrassed by it. Strength of character and being their for them when they need are whats important.
6. Have fun! ;o) My kids love it! 2 of which are ASD.


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