For most Disney fans, podcasts are a rich source of both information and entertainment. What is a podcast? Think of it a little like an online radio show. There are numerous shows out there in RSS Land that discuss just about everything Disney – News & Rumors, Park History, Photography, Food, Weddings – you name it – but until today there has not been a single podcast that has been completely devoted to the interests and concerns of guests with special needs, diet concerns and health issues. The Special Mouse Podcast was created to fill that void!
In 2011 attendance for Walt Disney Attractions worldwide was over 121 million. That’s a lot of people! Now, think of all those guests who must have had some sort of special need that affected their vacation experience – not just those with mobility issues – but those with developmental disabilities, heart conditions, vision or hearing loss, food allergies, pregnancy – the list is endless!
Fortunately, the Disney Parks and the Disney Cruise line are second to none when it comes to hospitality, inclusiveness and customer service. Nevertheless, when traveling with health issues and special needs it’s natural to have a host of questions and concerns. Some might even worry that they would be a burden to their families or that their challenges would be too much trouble to manage while on vacation.
At one time I felt the same way. Our family first visited Walt Disney World in 2003. I was excited but also somewhat apprehensive. Our youngest child had recently been diagnosed with classic regressive Autism and had numerous sensory, communication and behavioral issues. After a good deal of preparation, our Disney experience was nothing short of magical! Since then we have returned again and again because there is no other vacation destination that better suits the particular needs of our family.
In 2006 I discovered a vibrant Disney online community and began to participate in several message boards, namely the Trip Report forum on DISboards where I wrote about our family’s Adventures in Autism. There I met a great number of people who shared a similar love of Walt Disney World, many of whom I eventually met in person and am friends with to this day! I started blogging about Disney and Autism in November, 2009 (Disney-Lovin’ Spectrum Mom) and began writing a special-needs column here at WDW Fan Zone in January of 2011 (Faces in the Queue). Over the years I’ve developed numerous friendships and a passion for helping others discover that Disney is both willing and able to accommodate the special-needs traveler.
It is my sincere hope that this podcast will be a source of both information and inspiration to those who live with and/or care for those with special needs. You deserve a vacation! At Special Mouse we firmly believe that The Magic is for Everyone. We hope to launch sometime within the next 1-2 weeks and I hope you will drop by and have a listen!
In the words of Walt Disney: “To ALL who come to this happy place — Welcome!”
~ Kathy ~
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