Over the past few years, Disney Parks has been working on its key values, with a keen eye on inclusivity, the newest of the five. The parks have moved to a much more inclusive platform in marketing, from adding mannequins with cochlear implants and hijabs to featuring wheelchair characters in the “it’s a small world” attraction, and their media has diversified in its range of characters. However, some guests wonder if more could be done in the parks to accommodate guests with additional needs.
Disney has long offered a special pass known as DAS for guests with additional needs, allowing the user and their guests to visit attractions without waiting in the traditional standby queue, which may be problematic. The pass has often been called into question due to its high level of misuse and more common exclusion of the people who need it most due to the new interview process. So, what else could DInsey be doing to accommodate guests with additional needs? Some say a sensory room is one aspect lacking from Disney theme parks that is present at many of their rival theme parks.
Legoland jumped on the idea back in 2017, installing Quiet Rooms, where resources such as noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets, squishy toys, and LEGO building tables were a complimentary offering for guests who needed some downtime. SeaWorld also has a similar space offering relief from sensory stimulation. Finally, in 2022, Universal Studios joined the bandwagon and opened its first Quiet Room, a space designed to be “safe, quiet, low-stimulation” for those that need to take a time out. Even our DisBoards tackled the issue, noting that while there are several quiet(er) areas around Walt Disney World, there are no dedicated rooms or spaces for low-sensory needs.
While I understand this might not be a topic many people think about, I have wondered why Disney has not begun introducing quiet rooms for guests. It would seem appropriate under their newest push for inclusivity and reasonably easy to implement. Yet, no such thing has eventuated for the theme park giant, leaving Disney hanging as the only major park not to implement the concept.
Should Disney install a sensory room or quiet area for guests with additional needs? TikTok-er Ben Hartranft is part of the autistic Disney community and says this is his dream to see this concept introduced at Disney. I’m interested to hear what you think. Would a quiet room be helpful for your family?
If you are planning a trip for those with cognitive disabilities or additional needs, look through the official Walt Disney World guide to help plan the best vacation possible.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.