Special Mouse show

Special Mouse

Summary: Unofficial Disney Parks and Travel podcast for guests with a wide variety of health issues and special needs. An entertaining mix of guest interviews, listener Q&A, and trip reports from travelers who share your special challenges. The magic is for everyone!

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 The Lion King on Broadway with The Autism Theatre Initiative! 087 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:11:24

    On today’s episode we’re taking a virtual trip to NYC’s “great white way” via a Broadway theater trip report!  I recently spoke with Melissa Morgenlander, a native New Yorker and self-described “musical theater geek,” who gathered up enough courage to take her 8 year-old son, Quentin, to a performance of Disney’s The Lion King, an experience that brought her to tears – but in a very good way. Before you listen to Melissa and Quentin’s story, however, I need to tell you the story of the Autism Theatre Initiative, which made this amazing mother-son experience possible. The Autism Theatre Initiative is one of the many accessibility programs developed through TDF, the Theatre Development Fund. TDF is a non-profit service organization for the performing arts. TDF launched the Autism Theatre Initiative with the goal of making theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their families. Fittingly enough, the first autism-friendly performance of a Broadway show was Disney’s The Lion King on Oct. 2, 2011, and the program has grown steadily since that time. So, you’re probably asking yourself, what, exactly, makes a theatre performance “autism-friendly?” Well, it’s all about taking things easy on the senses: The house lights are never completely turned off; they are left dimmed so that the audience will be more comfortable. Loud noises are kept to a minimum, and if there are going to be loud sounds, ushers alert the audience with light sticks on the side. Quiet areas are set up in the lobby and at various levels of the theater, stocked with quiet toys, bean bag chairs, and books. Volunteers are on hand to help audience members who might have to leave mid-show to take a break. They also hand out fidget toys to keep wandering hands busy or calm. A printable social story about going to the theater is available online prior to the show, as well as a video to prepare guests for the experience before they arrive. Melissa blogs about her adventures with autism, media and technology at The IQ Journals and I highly recommend that you check it out! Autism Theatre Initiative Guide for Attending the Autism-Friendly Performance of The Lion King Upcoming ATI’s Broadway Shows for the 2015-2016 Season Wicked Feb. 7, 2016 at 1pm Aladdin March 6, 2016 at 1pm (Additional Shows May Be Announced Soon.) Here is a link to the Facebook Post by Kelvin Moon Loh that we mentioned in the show. ******************************************************************* Remember to stop by specialmouse.com and click on the red “Speak Pipe” tab located on either the blog or podcast page. Be a part of our annual tradition as members of the Special Mouse listening community record a message for our Thanksgiving episode! I can’t wait to listen! And, as a bonus, everyone who leaves a message will be entered into a drawing to win a set of fun Disney character refrigerator magnets, handmade by listener Kerry Kingdon! Thanks for listening, Kathy

 October Chit-Chat – 086 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:13:07

  I'm introducing a new, monthly show format today. It's called, "Chit-Chat, Yick-Yack and Flim-Flam" (A Country Bear Jamboree reference!) Howdy folks. Welcome to the one and only original Country Bear Jamboree, featuring a bit of Americana, our musical heritage of the past. But enough of this chit chat, yick yack, and flim flam. Just refrain from hibernating, and we'll all enjoy the show...because we got a lot to give. - Henry       I discuss a mixed bag of topics and some listener emails regarding Disney DAS Anxiety, Gender-Neutral Disney Halloween Costumes, A Petition to provide mechanical lifts in the Disney Parks, Autism-Friendly Theater, The Gingerbread Fun Run 5K to benefit Give Kids The World Village, Vegan Soft-Serve at Erin McKenna's Bakery and More! Come again. Come again. The welcome mat is always out, 'Cause seeing you is fun.   Kathy

 Autism on the Seas and the Disney Cruise Line! 085 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:10:26

Today's guest is Dr. Rachel Potter from Autism on the Seas! Dr. Potter is co-chair of the volunteer Advisory Team for Autism on the Seas. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and currently serves as Director of the Graduate Teacher Education Program at Mary Baldwin College where she teaches graduate courses in special education, autism spectrum disorders, and applied behavior analysis. She is a parent of two children, one of whom has autism.  She has cruised with Autism on the Seas as both a client (with her family) and as a Group Leader and she is here to chat with me about this wonderful organization and how it supports the autism community. Dr. Potter describes how she became involved with Autism on the Seas, first as a client family and later as a Group Leader on Autism on the Seas Cruises (including several on the Disney Cruise Line.)   Autism of the Seas provides a number of different services to special needs families: Cruises with Staff - We discuss the various kinds of supports they provide in kids clubs and during activities while on the cruise. Another big question is toileting issues, and staff ARE able to assist with toileting.  We also discuss the special boarding, mustering and debarking procedures available for clients with sensory issues who are supported by Autism on the Seas. Cruises without Staff Cruise Assistance Package Resort Vacations with Staff -  Autism on the Seas staff are available to assist families at Walt Disney World!     Please visit the Autism on the Seas website for more information. You may reach out to Dr. Potter directly via email.  Thanks for listening!   Kathy  

 I’m a Vegan, What Can I Eat at Walt Disney World? 084 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 59:30

  Food is an integral part of every Disney vacation experience; that's why at Special Mouse I've always placed such importance on discussing the needs of travelers with special dietary requirements.  Today's guest is Melissa Kramer from Vegan Disney World, a blog that serves up plenty of information on vegan dining options at Walt Disney World. (A vegan diet excludes all animal products and includes all grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and fruits.) Melissa runs the blog with her husband, Corey. Walt Disney World has tons of options for vegans and vegetarians. We are here to keep an up-to-date log of what vegans can eat while visiting Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. Here you will find reviews, tips and just current news about food in Disney. There's also tons of mouth-watering photos of Vegan menu items, for those of you who are into "food porn!"     Like many previous guests on the show, Melissa had high praise for Chef TJ, who is famous for creatively catering to the needs of Walt Disney World diners with special diets or food allergies.     We even discussed Melissa & Corey's vegan wedding reception at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk! Their wedding cake was created by DTD Babycakes, NYC (now Erin McKenna's Bakery, a gluten-free, vegan and Kosher bakery locate at Disney Springs). Melissa and Corey love to answer reader questions such as this one: Are Dole Whips vegan?  "Yes," says Melissa, "as long as you get the pineapple or orange flavor. The vanilla flavor is not vegan. You can find Dole Whips at both Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom and Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian Resort. Additionally the Pineapple Whip Soft-Serve from Tamu Tamu in Animal Kingdom is vegan." Vegan AND yummy -- what could be more special? Connect with Melissa on Twitter @VegDisneyWorld and on Facebook at Vegan Disney World. Thanks for listening! Kathy

 Walt Disney Family Museum & The D23 Expo with Autism – 083 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:01:48

Margalit Francus from Autistic Globetrotting is today's guest. We discuss two recent travel experiences she enjoyed with her young adult son who has HFA (high functioning autism) and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). First, we talk about their recent visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California. The museum, co-founded by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller and his grandson, Walter E. D. Miller, is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation. Margalit gives us a tour of the various exhibits, noting which ones her son enjoyed the most. She notes that the Walt Disney Family Museum is more appropriate for teens and adults who are big Disney fans, since there aren’t many interactive exhibits.   photo courtesy The Walt Disney Family Museum   The Walt Disney Family Museum frequently offers special events for children with autism, so check the events schedule regularly! Something that I learned when I visited the museum website is that they have their own Podcast! I will definitely be checking THAT out. Next, Margalit tells us about their recent visit to the 2015 Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. This experience turned out to be much more challenging for her son due to the excitement of the event and her son's obsessions with Disney. Margalit describes how helpful the event staff was during her son's behavior meltdowns. Would she take her son to the fan event again? The answer is, "yes," but there are some things that she would do differently the next time. (This was a last-minute trip and planning was not optimal.) First, she would select a hotel that was closer to the convention center. This would be more convenient when a break from the excitement would be helpful. Second, she would bring along another adult to help manage the difficult moments. Lastly, she would visit the D23Expo during the less crowded days (Friday and Sunday).   Posing with some familiar friends at the D23 Expo l Please visit autisticglobetrotting.com to read Margalit's posts about these two Disney destinations! Taking Kids to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco  Disney's D23 Conference: Helpful Tips for Attending Margalit shares her family's travel experiences around the world on her YouTube channel -- check it out! Thanks for listening! Kathy  

 Cerebral Palsy & Sensory Processing Disorder at Walt Disney World – 082 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:51

Richard Payne from Mad Hatter Chatter is this week's guest. Richard shares how his family plans their Walt Disney World vacations to include the special needs of son, 8 year-old Dickie, who has mild Cerebral Palsy and Sensory Processing Disorder. Some of the key points of our conversation were: -Trip-Planning considerations to balance his son's needs with the needs of the rest of the family -Adjusting touring to avoid fatigue -Managing sensory issues (rigidity of food preferences, noise-cancelling headphones, brushing) related to Sensory Processing Disorder -Managing tight muscles/avoiding muscle spasms related to Cerebral Palsy (ensuring adequate hydration and rest, muscle massage, use of pool/tub) -Using a stroller with an older child to avoid fatique -Avoiding falls in unfamiliar resort room -Activities other than rides that his son enjoys (Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, interactive queues) and that foster sense of independence -Planning FP+ reservations -Favorite places to rest in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, DHS and Animal Kingdom   Richard and daughters Avery and Austin co-host a family-friendly Walt Disney World fan podcast called Mad Hatter Chatter. I highly recommend it! Twitter: @mhchatter Instagram: @mhchatter Facebook: www.facebook.com/mhchatter   Thanks for listening! Kathy

 Is Disney’s DAS “fair?” (Part Two) – 081 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

Special Mouse listeners weigh in with their opinions during Part Two of Disney's DAS: Is it "fair?" With guest Maureen Deal from Autism at the Parks. Thank you to all the listeners who submitted their insights to this important question. Regretfully, not all submissions were mentioned on the show due to time constraints. To continue this discussion about Disney's DAS and others of interest to Disney travelers with special needs, consider joining the Special Mouse Listener Discussion Group on Facebook. Contact Kathy at specialmousepodcast@gmail.com for more information about this private discussion group. Mentioned during this episode:   Ed Russell: There were many people that 'gamed' the system with the original GAC; even the paper DAS had its share (but not as many); the electronic DAS has reduced 'gaming' to a minimum, in my opinion. Is it fair? Those with mobility issues probably don't think so, BUT the majority of mobility issue really are resolved with a wheelchair of ECV - and you don't need any more accommodations if a mobility issue is your only problem. For other problems, the DAS IS fair - in general. However, there are a few times when NOTHING can really accommodate the problems, not even the DAS and extra accommodations. Occasionally you will run across the CM that doesn't really understand your needs - ask to speak with a supervisor. Disney really does try to accommodate everyone, and is better at it than most companies. Jen Ivey: I think on paper it sounds like fair and reasonable accommodation and would work great for someone who has a full understanding of the concept of waiting or interests in multiple things to fill that wait time. We will be using the DAS for the 1st time in Sep. My son doesn't care about characters, window shopping or sitting to eat for any length of time so filling that 40min to an hour us going to be difficult either way. It seems the qualifications for DAS are different than the GAC so that results in less use and in theory they could've kept the old system and less people would be allowed "instant Access" as people called it and really doesn't affect the other riders at all. The DAS is not fair in the fact it adds to our whole family’s anxiety on vacation at a place where we try to function as a typical family. Does that make sense? Michelle Haffer: Is the DAS fair....? Good question. I can only answer from our perspective and that is from a parent of a 12 year old daughter who is on severe side of the autism spectrum and has moderate MR according to her diagnosis. I don't like that word, but it is written in her diagnosis. When the DAS first replaced GAC I panicked. The GAC work so well for us and we were able to see and do so much before DD needed a break from the parks. Midday breaks are a MUST. How could we achieve that with the new DAS!? In April 2014 we made our first trip with the DAS and also carefully planned FP+ return times to coordinate with DAS return times. We tend to focus on attractions in one area of the park, especially at MK, and felt the DAS/FP+ combo worked excellently for our family, especially for rides she likes to do twice. However, please know that she doesn't usually need to repeat rides like some of the spectrum do. My Maddy has autism and has needs that fall under the new DAS guidelines. Is the DAS fair to everyone? I am seeing more and more reports of guests being denied a DAS. The Disney FAQ page states the DAS is for those that cannot wait in the conventional queue. I know that there are MANY valid reasons why guests cannot wait in the conventional queue, not just our reasons. [autism-related] Does that seem fair, NO.” Diane Myers From my view the DAS is an attempt to throw a blanket access accommodation over a significant portion of the guest population where the blanket doesn't cover everyone. Is it fair? I'm not sure how to answer that.

 Is Disney’s DAS “fair?” (Part One) – 080 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:48

  Guest Maureen Deal from AutismAtTheParks.com joins Kathy to discuss whether or not Disney's Disability Access Service (DAS) accommodation is "fair" and, if so, to whom? We have discussed the change in Disney's system of accommodation for guests with disabilities from the GAC to the DAS at length in previous episodes. Today we begin a dialogue, not about the effectiveness of the current system, but rather whether or not the current system is fair. This is in response to recent posts on social media from travel agents specializing in Disney vacation-planning who expressed frustration regarding some of their clients' response to the current system. Unlike the previous system of accommodation, the DAS does not provide accellerated access to attractions for guests with disabilities. It should be noted that Maureen and I are speaking as parents of children on the severe end of the Autism Spectrum. Naturally, this has affected our own experiences and our personal opinions. Opinions of Special Mouse listeners regarding this question were requested and permission to share was granted. Some points covered in this episode are: Accommodations for Disney Park guests with special needs are now provided based upon specific criteria and many people "fall through the cracks." Guests with challenges related to mobility/endurance are advised to rent a wheelchair or scooter if they do not already have one and the alternate entrance accommodation is provided if a queue is not wheelchair-accessible. Guests who find it difficult to wait in a standard queue environment due to cognitive/sensory issues are offered the DAS, which provides not accellerated access, but a "virtual wait" (Details regarding services for guests with disabilities can be found on Disney's official website.)   What is "fair?" Is "fair" the same as "equal?"   Was the DAS created to be fair for Disney park guests with disabilities or fair for "all of our guests?" (Meaning, the guests who do not require accommodations for disabilities.) We discuss society's attitudes toward people with disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities. Has the GAC/DAS issue fostered an "us against them" mentality between typical guests and guests with disabilities and their families? Do guests with disabilities feel "entitlement?" Are guests without disabilities insensitive to the needs of others? Is accommodating the needs of the disabled fine and dandy UNTIL it is perceived to impact the non-disabled guest experience? Does one size fit all when it comes to accommodations for special needs? (DAS or Mobility Device.) After all, that one glass slipper didn't fit every foot! Special Accommodations for Specific Circumstances DAS, with its virtual wait, will accommodate many of our Guests with disabilities. We recognize, however, that our Guests with disabilities have varying needs, and we will continue to work individually with our Guests to provide assistance. In unique situations, our Guest Relations staff will discuss special accommodations for persons who are concerned DAS doesn’t meet their needs (e.g., those whose disability limits the duration of their visit to the park or limits their choice of attractions). Are guests' individual needs taken into account when additional accommodations are requested as promised by Disney in October of 2013? Or is additional accommodation "one-size-fits-all" as well? (Individual attraction re-admission pass (essentially one additional FastPass) that must be requested daily and on an individual basis.)

 Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland – 079 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:28

  Brad Levy, Event Director, discusses the 3rd annual Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland - 11.05.2015 "This amazing day at Disneyland was founded to unite the epilepsy community, to bring epilepsy out of the shadows, and to stomp out epilepsy stigma. We can inspire a nation in which 1:26 people will have epilepsy in their lives by bringing awareness and stories of wonderful people working and playing together." RAISING AWARENESS STOMPING STIGMA UNITING EPILEPSY COMMUNITIES ...and providing days of inclusion and joy! Epilepsy Awareness and Education Expo – 11.04.2015 - Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel The FREE expo was added to put patients and families together with Epilepsy professionals, in order to get everyone as much support as possible. The EXPO features over 80 Non-Profit support groups, several hospital Epilepsy Centers, Pharma companies, Epilepsy devices and more! epilepsyawarenessday.org Please visit the above link for official information about Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland! For event information, contact Candy Levy, Event Coordinator at candy@epilepsyawarenessday.org For sponsorship information, contact Brad Levy, Event Director at Brad@epilepsyawarenessday.org Thanks for listening! Kathy      

 Travel with Vision Loss: Enjoy Your Disney Vacation! 078 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:18:11

Guests Don Moore and his daughter Amy discuss Disneyland and Walt Disney World travel with vision loss.

 DVC Rental: Pros & Cons for Special Needs Families 077 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:13:03

  Our family has been Disney Vacation Club (DVC) owners for ten years and as a special-needs family, we love it for so many reasons. Not everyone has the desire or the means to purchase a DVC contract, but there ARE ways for non-owners to experience the DVC resorts without paying exorbitant rack rates -- by renting DVC points. In today's feature I'm chatting with my good friend John Saccheri, also known as The Big Fat Panda, about the pros and cons of DVC rental for special needs families. Some points we discuss are: PROS: Amenities: More space, Full Kitchen (special diets, longer getting ready in morning, larger groups), laundry in-room (need I say more?), separate BR for parents, often a second bathroom in 1 Bedroom, (always in 2 or 3 BR.) Whirlpool tub for sensory-seeking (pressure) or for stressed-out moms and dads! Price. Expect to pay 1/2 to 1/3 less for a DVC rental, depending on the price per point. Availability. Renters may have ability to access hard-to-get DVC villas months before they’re available to anyone else. CONS: (Private DVC Owner) Most private owners rent for $10 to $12 per point, depending on the resort and time of year. They’ll make the reservation for you and deal directly with DVC, so your entire reservation is in their hands. (Arranging Magical Express, Dining Plan, etc.) You have to give the owner your credit card info. Check Disney Message Boards for recommended owners, get references. (Points broker) Use a reputable broker. The points broker will be dealing with the owner and the owner will contact DVC for your requests. Disney will not talk to the points broker, so he is essentially a go-between. You’ll want to make sure that there are alternatives available to you in the event you need to cancel your reservation. Some owners and brokers will work with you, but make sure you verify this in writing before you rent. Good idea to Purchase Travel Insurance. For official information about Disney Vacation Club (DVC) visit the Disney Vacation Club website. If you'd like to explore the DVC resorts from the comfort of your laptop or phone, John is compiling some amazing videos of the resorts for his Youtube sponsor, David's Vacation Club Rentals! Check them out HERE.     Tip of the Week: This week I’m answering a question about the DAS or Disability Access Service. Diane asks: "What do you do regarding the electronic DAS if you don’t have a smart phone? Is a smart phone or tablet absolutely necessary now?" Good news, Diane! The My Disney Experience app is not required when using the DAS. When issuing your return time, the attraction CM will scan your Magic Band, entering the time into the system. Without the app you will simply need an alternate way to keep track of your return times throughout the day. You can take a digital picture of the CMs handheld device that shows your DAS return time or go “old school” by writing yourself a note with good old pen and paper. Thanks for listening! Kathy  

 Disney Bus Transportation for Guests using Wheelchairs and ECVs 076 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:08:32

The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round! Today we're talking about wheelchairs, ECVs and special needs strollers on the Disney bus transportation system!   photo: WDW for Grownups If you’re like me and you’re a Walt Disney World fan, you’ve probably racked up hundreds of rides on the Disney Bus System and that is the topic of today’s feature. It’s been ages since we’ve done a Listener Tea Party so I’ve invited three listeners (Mike Greer, Bruce Sherman and Meriwyn Travisano) to join me for a discussion about mobility and special needs on the Disney Bus Transportation System and believe me, we had a lot to talk about: - Accessibility of Resort and theme park bus stops - Safety Issues for wheelchairs and ECVs in transit - Attitudes of non-disabled guests (including "Scooter Shaming") - Pediatric wheelchairs vs. regular strollers and the stroller-as-wheelchair tag on the Disney bus system ...and much more!   Be sure to read this Special Mouse BLOG concerning the options required for a pediatric wheelchair (special needs stroller) to be used safely on a Disney bus in transit! For more information about the Convaid pediatric wheelchairs mentioned in today's show, please visit the official Convaid website. Mousekeeping According to At Disney Again: Pictures from Around the World, Disney has purchased new ECVs (electronic convenience vehicles) or scooters for rental in the Florida theme parks.  Several pictures of the spiffy new vehicles were posted on Instagram and it seems the new ECVs are equipped with a USB charger for your phone, allowing guests to power up their devices while they ride! Thanks to listener Maureen Deal for sharing AND for confirming that the new ECVs are indeed in use at the Walt Disney World parks. For information about ECV rental at the Walt Disney World resort, visit the Disney website.   Tip of the Week This week’s tip comes from listener Lori Hope Fries! If you are planning to use an ECV (or scooter) in the parks, bring along a shower cap to cover the controls, that way they are protected in case it rains. Thanks, Lori – great tip!   And thank YOU for listening!   Kathy

 Disneyland Resort and Cruising to Alaska on the DCL with a Power Wheelchair – 075 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:03:36

  Feature conversation with Kelly DeBardelaben from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s here to chat with me about her Disney travels with her husband. He gets around using a power wheelchair because his mobility is affected by Cerebral Palsy. The couple has cruised to Alaska with the Disney Cruise Line AND vacationed at the Disneyland Resort in California and Kelly gives us the scoop on the wheelchair accessibility of both these Disney destinations. Some of the things we discuss are: Airport considerations for her husband's power wheelchair Accessibility and space requirements for resort rooms/cabins Reasons she and her husband love using a Disney Travel Agent to help plan vacations No grab rails in the accessible cabins on the Disney Wonder! Kelly's tip to avoid sticking to a toilet seat during bathroom transfers Ability of adults to enjoy a kid-free Disney cruise Off-ship excursions with a power wheelchair Disneyland attractions that accommodate a power wheelchair Disneyland attraction queues that accommodate a power wheelchair Using a Service Dog in Disneyland Teaching your child how to approach people in a power wheelchair or with a service dog   Tip of the Week: This week we have a question about use of the Disability Access Service accommodation, or DAS, during the after-hours hard ticket events at Walt Disney World, namely, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.   (By the way, in case you are planning to do either of these parties in 2015, tickets are on sale now!) A few Special Mouse Community Members who have attended these parties in the past 2 years have said that the DAS is NOT implemented during the hard ticket events. First of all, DAS Return Times are generally procured when waits in the standby queue are 20 minutes or greater. The wait times rarely reach 20 minutes during the parties. In fact, FastPass queues aren’t even open. After the day guests leave and the parties are in full swing (7pm), most of the partygoers are there for the special party offerings – the holiday parades, the special meet-and-greets, the unique stage shows, etc., and so if you are interested in doing rides, it is a fabulous time to visit the more popular attractions as the wait times are low, low, low (particularly during parades and fireworks.) So, the short answer is no. The DAS is not used during the parties because, like FastPass+ reservations, it simply isn’t needed! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Thanks for listening! Kathy  

 Special Needs Kids at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique! 074 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 57:50

  I have a super-fun special feature for you this week. We’re going behind the scenes at Cinderella Castle’s Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique with a recent graduate of the Disney College Program! As a Fairy Godmother-in-Training, Ellie had plenty of experience making magic for kids with special needs and she’ll be sharing some of her favorite memories of working at the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Ellie is studying special education and speech, so she has a keen interest in families with special needs children. She writes a blog about her Disney College Program experience called Ellie Earns her Ears; recently she posted Be Prepared - Advice for Princesses with Special Needs. Here is a small sample of her advice: When you meet your fairy godmother Let her know about your child's needs. You don't need to give your child's diagnoses, but letting her know that she is sensitive to sound, touch or smell is important. If your child feels more comfortable with her glasses on, address that (I wear glasses, so I know how important that is to me, but for fairy godmothers who don't wear glasses, they may not be as quick to realize this), if your child wears hearing aids or has a cochlear implant, ask that the fairy godmother leaves them on for as much as the process as possible. If you know your child will have a hard time sitting, let her know, and she can try to get a buddy to make things easier for your child. Whatever your child's needs are, let your fairy godmother know. If your child is a cancer survivor, or has dealt with severe medical issues, your fairy godmother may be able to create some extra magic. Understandably, some families would rather not talk about these difficulties while on vacation. However, I can say that when families told me their personal struggles, I was able to create some personalized magic for those children that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise, so it is worth mentioning if you feel comfortable. If your child has allergies, ask to read the bottles of hair product. I've seen some parents be concerned about the detangler because it smells fruity, so it is worth reading if your child could have a reaction.     Tip of the Week: This week’s tip is about a new MagicBand accessory available for purchase at the Walt Disney World Resort. Thanks to listener IRENE RODRIGEZ for sharing a blog posted this past week on magicbandcollectors.com. This is a specialty fan website for collectors of graphic and rare Disney MagicBands, hosted by ETHAN ALLEN.       A new MagicBand accessory was released on June 26th called a MagicBand Keeper. These are stuffed accessories that come in the form of either a Mickey hand or a Minnie bow. Perhaps you’ve seen the big white Mickey glove that Disney Cast Members sometimes wave with? The glove looks like that and the Minnie bow looks like a stuffed red bow with white polka dots – cute Your MagicBand connects around Mickey hand on the Keeper, like it would on someone’s wrist. On the bow, it wraps around the center portion. There is a plastic retracting spring and a plastic hook that connects the Keeper to your stroller, backpack or wheelchair. The Keeper makes it easier for a person to grab their MagicBand, touch the FP+ point, and let it snap back. MagicBand Keepers are now available throughout the Walt Disney World Resort for $14.

 New Food Allergy-Friendly Disney Menus with Allergy Free Mouse 073 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:12:27

  It seems as though food allergies are really on the rise and in an informal survey that I conducted in the Special Mouse podcast Facebook group last week, ...


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