Special Needs at Disneyland

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Is it possible to tour Disneyland if someone in your group has special needs and/or a physical disability? That is a loaded question and the answer will be as individual as your specific needs when traveling or experiencing something new. Updated January 2019.

Disneyland Tips | Disneyland | Disneyland Resort | Special Needs
Disneyland Tips | Disneyland | Disneyland Resort

This guide was put together after careful research from those who have first-hand knowledge, along with research in the parks and from Disney’s public guidelines. I do not claim to be a medical expert or know what it is like to be in your shoes. I am simply here to present the information so you can decide if visiting The Disneyland Resort is right for you and your family.

Special Needs at Disneyland Planning

As a caretaker to someone with a disability or special needs, you know better than most people that planning and preparing are two secret ingredients for any successful outing. When planning a trip to The Disneyland Resort, keep in mind these key items:

Special Needs at Disneyland Packing

As a caretaker, you know it takes a lot of gear and prep work to pack for an outing or extended vacation. Along with items you regularly bring during a day out you might find this information helpful as well:

    • See what I bring in my in my Disneyland bag for a day at the parks.
    • Noise cancelling headphones for those who are easily overwhelmed by sound or loud noises.
    • Toys to keep hands busy like Tangle Jr.
    • Disney stickers to reward good behavior.
    • Autograph book for kids who are nervous about meeting their favorite characters; this works as a good buffer.


Special Needs – Your First Day at Disneyland

Parking at Disneyland

Boarding Disneyland tram.

First thing is parking—parking for guests with disabilities is available in Mickey and Friends as well as Toy Story parking lot; you will need a valid disability parking permit. You can also opt to use the “Mickey Van” to transport you from Mickey and Friends parking lot if you need a little more quiet than the tram can offer, even if you don’t have a wheelchair. Read more about parking and security screening procedures here.Mickey Van wheelchair parking Disneyland

Strollers and Wheelchairs

Stroller, wheelchair and electric scooters are available for rent just outside the Disneyland Park main gates. Read more about strollers at Disneyland here.

Stroller as wheelchair DisneylandIf your child uses a stroller as a wheelchair, be sure to obtain proper identification tags at City Hall or Chamber of Commerce. You may be able to take your stroller in line with you on most rides at California Adventure, and some rides at Disneyland Park. Please note many frequent guests are not familiar with the stroller as a wheelchair pass and will try to help by telling you that strollers aren’t allowed in line. A quick smile and explanation may be needed to uniformed guests from time to time. 

Wheelchair access for Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

California Adventure has plenty of space for wheelchairs to go through the regular queue which is fabulous. Disneyland was built much earlier, and doesn’t offer that same convenience.

If you don’t have a DAS Pass (more on that below), head to the exit of rides in Disneyland and you’ll be guided by a Cast Member on what to do next. Sometimes they’ll let you right on, sometimes they’ll offer a return time or a minimal wait.

Certain attractions allow guests to remain in their wheelchair for the duration of the experience including:

  • Animation Academy
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Disneyland Railroad (Mickey’s Toontown, New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland stations)
  • The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Fantasy Faire
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Mickey’s House
  • Minnie’s House
  • Pixie Hollow
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (some areas are not wheelchair accessible)
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (some areas are not wheelchair accessible)
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • World of Color

Some attractions require guests to walk in or be assisted by another member of their party, transfer to wheelchair at the attraction, or transfer into the seating area of a ride. You can find that complete list here.

If you or someone in your party uses a stroller as a wheelchair, visit Guest Relations for proper identification tags before you begin touring the parks. More on Guest Relations below.

Special Needs Guest Relations Kiosks

If your first day is at Disneyland Park and you need more accommodations than a wheelchair or stroller, please skip City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. and visit a Guest Relations kiosk for a shorter wait time.

Guest Relations Kiosk Disneyland Park
Guest Relations Kiosk Disneyland Park

These kiosks with green umbrellas and Cast Members in signature plaid clothing can be found at the following locations:

  • Main Street, U.S.A. near the partners statue and Jolly Holiday Bakery (usually the busiest guest relations location besides City Hall).
  • Tomorrowland
  • Fantasyland near Monstro the Whale’s mouth on the Storybook Canal attraction.
  • New Orleans Square near Haunted Mansion and Harbor Galley

If your child is under 3 and does not have a park ticket, you must visit Guest Relations at City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. or Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street first as they can create a mock-ticket for your DAS pass.

If your first day is at California Adventure Park and you need more accommodations than a wheelchair or stroller, please skip Guest Relations at Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street and visit a Guest Relations kiosk for a shorter wait time.

Guest Relations Kiosk California Adventure
Guest Relations Kiosk California Adventure

These kiosks with green umbrellas and Cast Members in signature plaid clothing can be found at the following locations:

  • Buena Vista Street near the Red Car Trolley stop
  • Cars Land main entrance
  • Pixar Pier entrance area across from The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

If your child is under 3 and does not have a park ticket, you must visit Guest Relations at City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. or Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street first as they can create a mock-ticket for your DAS pass.

Cast Members at Guest Relations are prepared to help you have the best experience possible. They will have detailed information on special needs at Disneyland Resort such as:

Disneyland Braille Map
Disneyland Braille Map

Remember, if they can’t offer you specific assistance at Guest Relations, be sure to talk to Cast Members at each ride. I recently heard from a guest who has medical conditions that don’t allow her to stand for very long periods, but she didn’t need a wheelchair or DAS. Cast Members at the line entrances were more than happy to help her with a return time. A visual cue such as a cane, walker or brace can also help cast members identify your physical needs quickly. It never hurts to ask!

Special Needs – Disneyland Touring

There is so much to see and do at The Disneyland Resort. Having a plan in place can help reduce stress and anxiety during your trip. Do not feel like you need to do it all! Go at your own pace and try some of these tricks for enjoying the parks more fully:

  • Rider Switch pass allows you to take turns without waiting in line twice.
  • Take a break when needed, ask a Cast Member for quiet location ideas or see what we do to avoid the crowds on a busy day.
  • Companion restrooms are available at City Hall, First Aid, Aladdin’s Oasis, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Fantasyland Theatre and more at California Adventure Park.
  • Dietary accommodations for food allergies and other intolerance can be made when booking dining reservations or by speaking with the host/hostess of most table service restaurants. You can also bring food into the parks as needed.

Attractions with Stairs

In addition to the above, some guests can walk just fine but may have a hard time navigating stairs. Talk to a Cast Member at the entrance to the following attractions with stairs in the queue for assistance or alternate routes: Autopia, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Monorail, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Indiana Jones Adventure, Jungle Cruise (when extended queue is open), Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, Splash Mountain, Tarzan’s Treehouse, Disneyland Railroad, and possibly others. Let me know which ones I’ve missed.

Special Needs at Disneyland DAS Pass

Disneyland Disability guest guide and map
Disneyland Disability guest guide and map

Many people coming to The Disneyland Resort with special needs require flexibility and cannot wait in traditional queues. This program allows you to obtain a virtual place in line and return at an appointed time so you can explore other areas of the park rather than waiting in a regular line. This program is in place to make custom accommodations for your party’s needs.

The Disability Access Service, also known as DAS, DAS Pass or DAS Card, is issued on-site and in-person for special needs at Disneyland. This is provided only as information and does not assert whether you will be able to obtain a DAS Pass or not.

  • Obtain in-park at the beginning of your trip at guest relations kiosks listed above. If your child is under 3 and does not have a park ticket, you must visit Guest Relations at City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. or Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street first as they can create a mock-ticket for your DAS pass.
  • Bring the person requesting DAS with you when applying for DAS.
  • Be prepared to explain what would help make your day go smoother.
  • Be sure to ask the Cast Member about character meet and greets, waits could be very long, they might offer a solution for this as well.
  • Cast Member will take a photo of you or your child to be used with the DAS Pass.
  • DAS Passes are valid for 14 days.
  • DAS works for the person it covers and your group (up to 6), provided the DAS Pass holder is riding the ride.
  • Choose your first ride right there at Guest Relations and receive a virtual wait time.
  • Show your DAS card upon entry to that ride.
  • After riding, return to a nearby Guest Relations kiosk to choose your next DAS card ride.
  • Ride times do not expire, but you can’t get another ride time until you’ve ridden the one recorded.
  • If you change your mind, you may be able to use an existing DAS reservation on another ride without visiting the Guest Relations kiosk again
  • You can use FASTPASS or Disney MaxPass combined with DAS although FASTPASSES are usually associated with thrill rides.
  • Keep asking, if you don’t find the help you need try another Cast Member. Don’t be afraid to return to City Hall if you need more help.

I certainly have not covered everything here, but hope this brings some peace of mind as you begin planning your vacation. Should you wish to speak to someone directly about special needs at Disneyland Resort regarding you can email Disability.Services@DisneyParks.com. I always encourage supportive and helpful comments, if you have something to add to the conversation I would love to hear from you.

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