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Ears of Experience: Disney Vacations for Families with Special Needs Children

Disney Partners. Photo by Joe Penniston.

Disney Partners. Photo by Joe Penniston.

Ears of Experience understands that successfully vacationing with a family member with special needs means planning ahead—down to the last detail. A Walt Disney World vacation can be challenging to children with special needs, from kids with autism to little people.

“A lot of the anxiety that kids with disabilities have is just the fear of the unknown,” says co-owner Amy Sinclair. “Because each child is unique, we work closely with families to accommodate all special needs and plan the vacation specifically for each client. We look at everything to make sure that it’s perfect for your child, your family, and your budget, because it’s everyone’s vacation.”

Not only is Amy an expert Walt Disney World vacation planner, but she has also earned several special education degrees and has an extensive background teaching children with special needs—including children with autism and Down Syndrome.

Before arriving at Disney, Amy suggests familiarizing the kids with what to expect on their trip by showing them pictures of the attractions and viewing some of Ears of Experience’s YouTube videos. In addition, Ears of Experience provides children with a visual booklet of what they’ll see at Disney, along with an itinerary of their trip. The booklet includes pictures of attractions, rides, and characters in the order that the family will visit that part of the park. As they discover each imaged item, the kids can check it off or put stickers on the picture.

“This is just another way to make their day go a little smoother,” comments Amy. “They can study this for a few days before visiting and look at it as they go. It gives them ownership of the vacation.”

Ears of Experience has solutions for specific problems children with disabilities may face once in the parks. For example, the new sights, sounds, and smells can sometimes be overwhelming for children who are sensitive to sensory stimulation. For this reason, Amy suggests bringing an iPod or noise-cancellation headphones to block out some of the noise and prevent sensory overload. She also suggests which parks are better suited for children who are sensitive to sensory stimulation. This way, the children can relax and more easily enjoy their trip.

Ears of Experience is also committed to helping families find the best hotel to fit their needs. Families with special needs children must consider more than just price, such as whether the public bus system will be an issue. Ears of Experience knows the pros and cons of each resort and helps families book the best room at the best price. In addition, Ears of Experience notifies the hotel of the child’s needs and requests a room that best suits him or her.

“We do everything we can to make each family’s vacation run smoothly—from helping families locate Guest Assistance Cards to being available by text message if any problems arise.”

About Ears of Experience:
Ears of Experience is a family owned and run Disney travel booking company that offers their services for no extra cost. Jon and Amy Sinclair have been helping customers book the perfect Disney trip since 1999, and their daughters Natalie “Kid Expert” Sinclair and Marin Sinclair help with the kids’ perspective.

Photo by Joe Penniston.

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