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Taking any family vacation with a child or adult with autism requires special planning. In some cases, it’s easy to know what your autistic child will and won’t enjoy.
However, there are times when you struggle to know what lies ahead or is best for your family.
Walt Disney World is one of those great big places with so much to do that it’s not easy to narrow down your list of potential experiences, and planning ahead will make for a much better trip for your family.
Each park has something ideal for children with autism, but most parks are so big they can take more days to explore.
Since you must reserve your park admissions in advance, it’s helpful for families with needs associated with autism to know which park they may want to spend more time in.
To help you decide which is the best Disney World park for autism here is some helpful information about the parks.
The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is one of two frontrunners that can easily be identified as the best Disney World park for autism, just because it is probably the most inclusive and family-friendly park in general.
The potential downside of the Magic Kingdom is that it is consistently very busy and can be overwhelming, and surveys a wide variety of general interests. All of which may not appeal to your child with autism.
On the other hand, you are likely to find at least one pocket of the park where you can spend a lot of time exploring.
If your child likes scavenger hunts, another park may be best. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom ended its run early this year.
However, your child may enjoy Magic Kingdom attractions such as The Jungle Cruise, The Walt Disney World Railroad, and the Swiss Family Treehouse.
For the latter, I recommend watching the movie beforehand. This will help gauge interest and form a context for the attraction.
In most cases, I believe EPCOT is the best Disney World park for autism on the grounds of its vastness and intricacy.
It’s such an approachable park for all styles of exploration. You can easily spend a single day or multiple days depending on how much of a deep dive you want to take.
One interactive way for kids to explore the park is with the new Ducktales adventure, which is a scavenger hunt around the World Showcase.
A good supplement or alternative to this is the Kidcot Fun Stops at each country’s pavilion in the World Showcase.
Epcot is full of gardens and carved-out pathways flanked with intricate landscaping.
There are also plenty of attractions in this park for kids with Autism to enjoy, such as Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Gran Fiesta Tour, Frozen Ever After, and Living with the Land. The last three are boat rides.
There are also many different types of food available for picky eaters, and little quiet gardens and areas to decompress if needed.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
This park is huge, but also easy to manage and could be your child’s favorite park. It’s ideal for animal lovers!
There are a variety of walking trails and wonderful opportunities to explore and learn about animals and their habitats.
There is also a scavenger hunt here based on the Wilderness Explorers troupe from the Pixar movie UP!.
The Affection Section, the Kilimanjaro Safaris, and The World of Avatar’s Na’Vi River Journey are a must. Just be advised that in case of smell sensitivities, this park may not be the best choice.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This park is not necessarily the best Disney World park for autism as it is very open to the sun and hot due to a lack of shade, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it—Especially if your autistic child loves star wars!
You can easily spend an entire day in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and it will be well worth it, even if you don’t get to experience much of the rest of the park.
Toy Story Mania and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway may also be good attraction choices for your child.
Whichever park you visit, I recommend downloading the Play Disney Parks app.
This app is an alternative way to experience the park virtually while you are there in person. Your location unlocks features in the app including interactive games to play while standing in line for various attractions.
The app works with every Disney park you visit.