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How to get help with disabilities at Universal Studios & Disney world

Disability Passes in Universal & Disneyworld!

When we headed to America I was really worried about how Dylan would cope, but I had done a lot of research and had heard about how great the parks were with dealing with disabilities and the help they would offer. I thought I would put it all together in one post for you guys to see what they offer, how to get it and how it helped up!

Disney World

At Disney the pass is called the DAS pass, this stands for Disability access pass and is a whole load of help, our visit would not have gone so well without it. First of all how to attain this pass, is to head to guest relations in any of the parks. From reading online if I was you I wouldn’t try to get it at Magic Kingdom as the que can be quite long when the park first opens, so we headed to Hollywood Studios and picked it up there. We went in and I asked the lady how we went about getting the DAS pass for my son and she said that she would help sort us out. She took a quick picture of Dylan and connected it to his Magic band and scanned all of ours then asked about how he would be if he had to leave his buggy so I explained that if he was in ques around lots of people he would find this distressing if he didn’t have the safety of his buggy and would run off as he has no danger/safety awareness so she then provided us with a sticker for his buggy that meant crew members would treat his buggy as a wheelchair. This was amazing, it meant when we were queuing we didn’t have to worry about him getting distressed in the que and meant that he enjoyed the rides when he was in them as we could take him straight from his buggy onto them and it was waiting for us at the end of the ride too.
The DAS pass was wonderful, it meant that if there was a ride we wanted to take Dylan on we could just go to the ride and pick up a return time which was the wait for the ride minus ten minutes and then when we returned we could then go into the fast pass line. You can only have one wait time on your band at any stage and the person who holds the DAS pass has to be going on the ride because obviously it is to benefit them.
It was very simple to attain the pass, a lot less stressful than I thought it was going to be and all of the crew members at Disney were very accommodating, welcoming, super friendly and just made our visit simply amazing.

Universal Studios

At Universal it’s called the AAP which stands for Attraction Assistant Pass, and is pretty similar to the pass at Disney. You pick it up from Guest relations which is just inside both parks, we went in and again I asked about how to acquire the pass and after a few quick questions it was quickly set up and he also did that Dylan’s buggy was to be treated as a wheelchair too, so this meant again he could go in the ques and the shows in his buggy. The AAP works slightly different because if the ride has less than a thirty minute wait you can then just go into the express pass line. If it has a longer wait you then get a return time and like the Disney one you can only have one wait time at any stage. We found what also helped here was that lots of the rides me and Ad wanted to go on had single rider lines, and you basically got to just walk straight onto the rides as the waits for them were pretty damn long without doing that. It then ensured that my mum wasn’t having to sit with Dylan for a long time because he can get worked up really quickly unexpectedly and then hard to settle.
All of the staff at Universal were amazing, very helpful and just generally lovely people.

 

Hear how our flights went here, and ill be posting more about our visits shortly!

-WeeOhana

 

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Villa & Swimming!

We stayed in this wonderful villa, it was perfect. It was a five minute drive to Disney World so was really quick to get to all of the parks and being in a villa rather than hotel room meant that it gave Dylan a lot of space to roam and relax in and space for everyone to get time away from everyone.

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There was also a swimming pool which was great. Amellia has always loved going swimming so I knew she would think it was incredible having one right there that she could go in whenever we were home, but Dylan hadn’t ever been to the swimming pool before so I wasn’t really sure what he would think. It took us a long time to get him used to the bath so I hadn’t wanted to push it further with water, especially considering that swimming pools are always busy and full of lots of different noises.

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We put his swimming trunks on and some arm bands and thought lets give this a shot, and he had an absolute blast. After being very cautious at the start and clinging to me he started to realise how fun it was jumping in off the side and splashing around. He also found it really funny to watch his sister jumping in off the side, she has no fear so was flinging herself off the side while singing and then coming back up and going and doing it over again. After seeing how much Amellia enjoyed being in the pool we are now going to get her some swimming lessons because she will really enjoy them, and I’m going to make an effort to take Dylan to the swimming pool to see what he makes of it. Seeing as he enjoys the water and it wont be all a new experience it will just be to see how he copes with all the noises and other people.

Everyone slept well and adapted to the different time zone really well. Having the villa made it a lot more relaxed when we had got home from the parks. It meant my mum and dad could get some peace while the kids got dinner and wound down for bed time and that the kids then had a lot of space to run about in in the mornings.

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It was perfect and I would recommend a villa over a hotel room, having the space, buying your own food, quiet little swimming pool, it just worked out wonderfully especially that it was literally only a 5 minute drive to the parks as well, Kissimmee is perfect place for a villa.

-WeeOhana

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Flying!

I was rather worried about the flight because Dylan has never been on a plane and although Amellia has been on a plane it was only ever for short flights. Amellia is a high energy kid so sitting still is not her strong point so I made sure I had a bag packed with lots of new and exciting things for her & Dylan, you can see what I had in them here.

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We were flying from Dublin airport and they were more than accommodating, we got checked in easily and got to go through the priority lane for security which made things less stressful for Dylan as we didn’t have to que up. I also brought Dylan’s melatonin with us through the security and with it being over the 100ml I had a doctors note with me, but they said that wasn’t necessary, all they had to do was check the medicine in the machine and that they wouldn’t take anything of a child that is a necessity to make there travels as stress free.

We got to bring the buggy with us right up until we boarded and it was ready and waiting for us as soon as we got off too which was great. Everyone in the airport were amazing, friendly and more than accommodating but that than changed when we got on the flight.
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We boarded first and as soon as we took the first step onto the plan Dylan lost it. In hindsight we should have boarded last so we weren’t sitting on it while everyone else walked past us, but we thought if we got on first he would have time to settle, but he did not. The flight attended did not help the situation at all. Dylan was clearly visibly upset, he was screaming, tears running down his face and he just wasn’t a happy bunny at all. He insisted that he had to sit in his own seat and I explained to him that he was autistic and did not understand what he was saying to him but he kept saying to him, its only for five minutes, you have to sit in your seat. I tried to put him in his own seat and this obviously just made him more distressed. I had my mum on lookout then for when that flight attended was going to walk past as there was no way I was going to make Dylan stay in his chair. I was in tears with how upset he was, it was horrible.

I gave him his melatonin to try and get him to sleep because he was not happy and nothing was settling him, after his melatonin he got a little distracted doing stickers which helped him settle for a few minutes at a time, he then ended up crying himself to sleep and then slept the rest of the flight. I managed to get a little bit of a kip but not much as he was very fidgety and kept waking for a few minutes and needing reassured then went back over.
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On the flight home Dylan was more or less a sleep before we got on the plane so was perfect. I sang a few songs to him on the plane and he quickly fell asleep and slept the whole flight, night time flights are the best!

Amellia was an absolute gem. She was far too excited to sleep on the flight over and was having lots of fun going through everything in her bag, watching movies and chatting to grampy. She then decided to fall asleep.. 15 minutes to landing.
On the flight home she was wonderful again and we had a far nicer flight attended, she spent ages chatting away to Amellia and even brought her a special kids dinner too!
After having some food Amellia then curled up on nannys knee and fell fast asleep for the rest of it!

So; if your flying, make sure you pack a lot of different things in your bag that you know your kids like, if they have special needs make sure you make the airport aware of it, show them pictures and watch videos of airplanes to try and help them understand what is going to happen and hopefully you get a nicer flight attendant than I did on the flight out so they will be understanding!

-WeeOhana

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Holiday!

I’ve been rather quiet on here as of recent, so here is a quick and short update as to why! I was off on the most amazing holiday in Disney World!! It was the most incredible holiday I have ever been on, and I am going to do a few posts for others who are heading over to have a bit of insight of the things there, how to get the disability pass they do and lots of others bits of advice.

What made it even more exciting was that we didn’t tell Amellia about the holiday until the day we were going. We went with my parents so we headed to there house and I told her we were just staying with them for a week so that she could get some quality time. Once we arrived I got Amellia to ask my dad what he had planned for us and he told her, she could not believe it. She asked me about 20 times “are we really?” Then my mum took her to see her and my dads suitcases and she went crazy! It was a really magical moment. They then took her over to the park while Dylan was happy pottering around the house to waste some energy before a crazy long flight!

I can’t thank my parents enough for making this holiday possible and so incredible. It was the break that I needed, seeing everyone happy, smiling, laughing and having the best time ever. Memories that we are all going to cherish forever.

Family are amazing. My family mean the world to me and I’d be lost without them.

-WeeOhana

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One of the best purchases.

Dylan uses his IPad a lot, and one of his favourite things to do with it is use the photo booth app. This is a preinstalled app on IPads that provides you with effects which change the colour or distort the image that the camera is showing. When we are out and about Dylan finds things really quite distressing unless he is viewing everything through his IPad camera or using the games on it as a distraction. Mainly though he is using the camera, so I decided that I would get him an actual camera and build on his interest and give him an aid to help him when out and about.

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I spent an evening researching cameras and trying to find one that would be still fit for use after being dropped, bumped and handled by a clumsy 3 year old. After looking online I quickly realised that not very many people made cameras for young children and I could only find one that was in a rubberized and safe looking case, the Vtech Kiddizoom Duo . Vtech make a range of different cameras for children but this one looked perfect for my little man and after reading many reviews I couldn’t wait to purchase it.

I headed out to get it the next day because after looking up all about it and deciding it was the one for Dylan I found that it was in the sale at Argos, bingo! After purchasing it I then decided I would give it to him the next day when Amellia was in school so that she wouldn’t be pestering him.
The next morning I gave it to him and he loved it! He didn’t put it down all day and didn’t use his IPad once after being given the camera, which is incredible because normally we have to listen to the gummy bear song at least 30 times a day.

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After I showed him how to add effects to the screen and change the colour he didn’t need much more help. I showed him the button to take pictures and how to change the camera from the front facing to the rear facing one but Dylan doesn’t tend to take many pictures he just likes to watch the world go by on the screen as it isn’t so overwhelming for him then.

A common complaint about the camera was that it took batteries and wasn’t rechargeable but to us this was actually a huge positive it means that no matter where we are we can take a spare set of batteries with us when we are out and about incase the others run out. My complaint would be that there are games on the camera, they are unnecessary to be on a camera. I have removed them from Dylan’s but he wasn’t using them anyway. The battery life has really impressed me. He has used it all day and I mean all day and it has only just came up with a low battery warning, my next purchase is going to be some rechargeable batteries so that we can always some in it and a charged lot in his bag.

Such a simple to use and perfect camera. I think it is one of the best if not the best thing that I have ever bought for Dylan.

-WeeOhana

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Airplane Bags!

This time next week we are going to be in Disney World! I cannot wait, its a big secret from little miss and she hasn’t got a clue. She is in for the most amazing shock! She is always asking to go down and spend time with my parents so we are going to tell her that we are going down to spend 2 weeks with them and then let my dad tell her that we are all going away to Disney, she is literally going to lose it!
I’m pretty nervous about the 9 hour flight.. Dylan should be ok once he has got used to the noise as he will happily sit and watch his Ipad, Amellia doesn’t like staying still for more than five minutes. It’s going to be an experience.. Ad made a joke about buying everyone on the flight a pair of ear plugs and handing them out at the start, I’m thinking maybe he actually should, lol!
I thought I’d share a little post of what I have in there bags for on the airplane, maybe give you some ideas for if you go traveling with little people!

Fully charged IPads with movies and YouTube videos that they know and love downloaded, new apps put on but also the ones that they use already, especially for Dylan. He is happier doing things that he is used to and knows how to do. I’ll do another post shortly with the apps he uses now, but here is the apps he loved last year and the majority of these are still played regularly. To go with the IPads I have also got two power packs so that we can recharge them when the kids hopefully sleep on the flight..

Colourings books with twistable crayons have been added too, if you haven’t seen the twistable crayons before they are amazing! We love them, so much easier than having to sharpen crayons etc. Amellia has got one of the Top Model books, they are full of outlines of people who you then draw clothes/hair etc onto them and Dylan has one full of Thomas the Tank engines!

Stickers, stickers and more stickers. Both of the kiddies love stickers so I have got a selection of different ones and have done that awesome mum hack of peeling off the outsides of them so the stickers come off easily without the kids getting angry at them and ending up ripping the stickers which then ends in tears. I have got them a book of blank pages each to stick them onto and to draw pictures on too.

Reading books, more for Dylan than Amellia as he loves reading and looking at books. I have got him an alphabet book, number one, shapes & colours. He has lots of alphabet toys but I didn’t want to bring them on the plane with us because if he gets mad and throws it then we will have to get everyone to hunt to find the letters to calm him, which would be pretty awkward! Amellia has got a reading book about Tinkerbell to keep her going.

I got a little set of play doh for Amellia to have on the plane, but not one for Dylan because he really enjoys eating and licking play doh.. yep he wont eat food but he just loves that horrible play doh taste. Typical. I have also got Amellia a Disney 3DS game so will be putting my DS in her bag for her to use and hopefully keep her entertained for a little while.

Finally i have put a few blind bags in as these bring a lot of excitement to little ones and entertainment while they play with them, oh and also headphones and noise cancelling headphones. Dylan currently wont wear noise cancelling headphones but I am thinking that if we are on the plane and the noise is really annoying him and wont just go away hopefully he will realise they help, along with favourite teddies for comfort!

What do you take with you on the plane? Any other things you think would keep my pair entertained?!

-WeeOhana

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Fuzzikins Review & Giveaway!

Recently we got sent some Dozy Dogs & Cozy Cats Fuzzikins to review & do a giveaway of.

IMG_3209.jpgWe decided to do the Dozy dogs first and Amellia just couldn’t wait to get going with designing them and I couldn’t wait to see how she made them all look! Everything that you need to do this craft is inside of the box so it is perfect as you don’t have to go hunting around for bits and pieces that you need you can just open the box and get on with it.

Once opened Amellia couldn’t believe that they actually felt fluffy and thought they were really cute. After looking at the colours provided she started to decided what sort of design she was going to do on them all. As you can see from this picture it took an awful lot of concentration to colour them in too!
IMG_3239.jpgShe had so much fun colouring them all in and it was lovely to see her concentrating really hard on making these little dogs looking just how she wanted them too. The only problem I found was that the pen did go onto her hands a lot, but thankfully washed off super easy.
IMG_3244.JPGShe was most proud of her little Harry Potter dog as she called him and even made up a little song about him that you may have caught over on my Instagram story a while ago.

IMG_3248.jpgHere are her little dogs that she designed, another thing I wasn’t to keen on was that it was nearly impossible to give them a nice smooth finish with the pens, but this didn’t bother Amellia at all.
IMG_3252.jpgWe then cracked on with making the beds for them so that she could put them all to sleep before she went to bed, it was a little fiddly but she really enjoyed making the beds, colouring them in and decorating them with the stickers provided.
IMG_3258.jpgWe really enjoyed colouring in the dogs and there beds, we laughed, made up songs and worked together. It kept her attention for a long time which is always a struggle and she has enjoyed playing with them ever since. Every night before bed she makes sure they are tucked in to sleep too. Lovely little set especially for the price.

If you fancy giving them a try pop over here for a chance to win a set, or over to my facebook page here. Why not enter both and give yourself a greater chance of winning a set! (UK & Ireland Residents Only)

-WeeOhana

*_* These products were sent to me free of charge to do a review & Giveaway. All opinions are my own honest ones.*_*