Tips for Navigating Sensory-Friendly Areas of the Magic Kingdom
If someone in your traveling party lives with sensory processing disorder, a place like Walt Disney World can be completely overwhelming. This is why it’s incredibly important to research and prepare!
As a Certified Autism Travel Professional, this is where I come in! Here is my breakdown of a Sensory-Friendly Magic Kingdom!
Main St. USA
Starting right at the entrance of the park, there are several quiet places to retreat in Main St. USA. For quiet attractions, head up to the Walt Disney World Railroad. Additionally, you could hop into one of the Vehicles of Main St USA. These two “rides” are usually quiet and removed from crowds, while offering respite, especially for your feet! For a quiet, shaded area to rest and recharge, head down Center St. This area, off to the side of Main St USA, has shade and tables. This provides a great place to sit or, even better, a less crowded place for someone to run around and burn some energy.
Speaking of running around burning energy, head to the Hub Grass! This sensory-friendly option provides tactile fun (it
LOOKS like grass but it doesn’t exactly FEEL like grass!), a place to run around where there isn’t as many people, and a place to sit.
Finally, head to the Baby Care Center. These rooms are available in all 4 theme parks, and they’re quiet for quiet respite. They are air conditioned, have seating areas, and quiet areas.
As you cross into Adventureland, you’ll first bump into Sunshine Tree Terrace. This quick service snack stand has seating areas
nearby to sit and rest. And the best part is having ice cream!
Another delightful respite location is to the left of the Pirates of the Caribbean. There isn’t a ton of shade, but this large, open area provides a less congested space to run. This can be remarkably welcomed respite for those needing a sensory break!
For some sensory-friendly attractions in this land, start with the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. The climbing can provide some good pressure on joints, which can help someone who is overstimulated to calm down and relax. Additionally, it’s a quiet attraction.
For someone seeking some vestibular stimulation, head to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Similar to Dumbo, this ride spins in a circle and goes up and down. And again, it’s quiet, and the lines are generally not too long. And finally, the Jungle Cruise is a quiet boat ride around the rivers of the world. (For those that cannot stand in a traditional line queue, consider getting a DAS pass.)
A great respite location in Frontierland is the large, covered, air conditioned seating area connecting Tortuga Tavern and Pecos Bill’s. Grab a snack, grab a seat, and recharge.
Next, hop on a raft and head to Tom Sawyer Island. I mean, I wouldn’t, because I’m not at all a fan, but it is a quiet area with lots of places to desensitize! And finally, take the walkway on the riverfront from Big Thunder Mountain to the Riverboat. Generally speaking, this is low crowd, quiet, and shaded.
And this brings us right to Liberty Square! First off, the large space at the entrance of the Riverboat ride provides quiet space and plenty of room for running out the wiggles. Second, hop on the boat and take a quiet ride around the Rivers of America. Other respite areas in Liberty Square include the shaded area around the tree, the seating area around Sleepy Hollow, and the seating area behind the Christmas Shoppe. Not to mention the rocking chairs near the Hall of Presidents! And finally, head upstairs in the Columbia Harbor House for a quiet seating area with snacks!
Hard to believe that there’s anywhere quiet in Fantasyland, but there are a couple great sensory-friendly options. The first being it’s a small world. Perhaps it’s the repetition, but this is somehow incredibly relaxing for people seeking sensory relief. Again, speaking of the vestibular sense, the Mad Tea Party is a place where kids can spin and spin and spin and spin. Me, personally, I won’t ride with my teenager anymore, because she can spin for days and not be dizzy, whereas I….cannot.
Outdoor seating at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and the Cheshire Cafe can be great respite locations to recharge and rest your feet. The quieter option is Cheshire Cafe, but both will do in a pinch.
Next, we’ll head into Storybook Circus. This whole area is chocked full of little nooks and crannies for quiet relief. Then there’s the splash zone and, of course, the Dumbo ride. There is a playground in the Dumbo ride area, but it can get quite loud in there, so I don’t know that it’s entirely sensory-friendly.
And finally, we’ve come to Tomorrowland. The most sensory-friendly ride I can ever think of is the Peoplemover. It’s quiet, there’s a nice breeze, and it’s a GREAT nap spot. And the Tomorrowland Terrace Area is a gigantic seating area great for respite (as long as it’s not being used for a special event).
And there you have my best tips for a sensory-friendly trip to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World! Contact me for a FREE vacation quote today!
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