Monday, July 16, 2018

Autism Special Needs Friendly Tips for Staying at Grand Legacy At The Park Hotel in Anaheim Across from Disneyland

Autism Friendly Hotel Tips for Grand Legacy At The Park Hotel Across From Disneyland

Our family loves to stay and play at Grand Legacy At The Park Hotel in Anaheim. I wanted to put together in one post the autism friendly tips and tricks we've used over the last 3.5 years or so.

A few tips from when my son was about 3 and up to date to today...
With that said my son is now 6.5, we've been staying since he was 3 and mostly non verbal. He sleeps well but is all over the place until then so high energy. He is now verbal and a very, very picky eater, eating only 7 things since I took dyes and most carbs out. He is still working through some sensory things as well and at times can be a flight risk. 
What has helped us..
* The walk to the park security line is short sweet and not overwhelming. Under 5 mins with a slow pace.  
* The hotel staff. Keep them aware with a call prior and a reminder a week or so before about any special needs. 
* Rooms. We have found that as he's gotten older noise has become less of an issue over fixation of something in sight and running for it. With that said... rooms near the elevators a bit noisier to a sensitive ear. Also rooms in the new tower up front towards the upper level floor under the rooftop can have some noise heard until the fun shuts down about 1am or so. I suggest front tower third or second floor under the FifthOC  rooftop lounge and away from elevators. 
Also there are stairs. Sometimes the elevator can either be a distraction in a negative way such as pushing all the buttons immediately before I can blink and there are times if there's too many people he won't want to go in. The stairs are handy for us with this. 

The handicap rooms.. I have been told by another friend she is always looking for an accessible room for her super sensitive son with ASD that can not stand water or showers.. she appreciates the open space and ease of walk in shower style versus having to set him in the tub, he walks and stands. 
* Food. Another reason we appreciate staying here is the many door options for variety of requests. There is pizza, tacos, and ice cream directly below hotel. There are many locations within walking distance to hotel as well that offer things like kids meals and other varieties. 

* The Fifth OC rooftop lounge.. I can go on and on! The views are amazing and before 10pm it's all age friendly. This helps us when my son just can not handle being in the parks for fireworks. We reserve or arrive early enough so that we can get a couch table with fire pit and bring a blanket. We can sit together and watch the fireworks, weather permitting, up rooftop with music that goes with the show as if we were in Disneyland. Less crowd and our room is right there after. There can be a heavy crowd by fireworks time so best use the stairs if need to exit right after for sensory. 

* The pool. Usually it's heated. We've enjoyed it each time. Nice to watch fireworks from the pool as well if less crowd than at Disney or rooftop is needed. There is a walk in beach style entrance to the pool as well as water play with spray hoses!

Also fun to bring lunch or dinner to pool area tables and enjoy the evening. Unwind. Our favorite is Jimboy's Tacos at the hotel. Hot tip... call ahead and they will deliver your order to the front desk.
* The lobby is fairly quiet until evening when adults arrive for the live music up on the rooftop. Explore the mural on the back wall. That usually starts about 5ish and picks up from 7pm to after midnight. 
* The front of the hotel has views, the front tower rooms have views and it's fun to talk to the kids about the sights they see from there and the rooftop when taking a break in the room.
* Room tips. If the 2 room suite is available that may be worth looking into.. for a while my son needed to be in a bed with specific comforter as well as lights dimmed to a bit somewhat on and also would sing the ABC'S song over and over... it made it easier to help him and help us so that we would give my daughter one bed in the two room with us and my son had the other room so we were all together but he could sensory sing away! 

Also the repetition has not gone on for about a year and a half, so last time we stayed, he and his sister shared one room and we shared the other but it also gives the space needed for quiet time or any other need that may help with a bit more space. 
* Random.. There are refrigerators in the rooms. We bring my son's specific snacks as needed and drinks etc.*

** Double Bonus Love... Grand Legacy At The Park partners with My Day Counts a non profit that supposed special needs adults retaining job training and placement! Win Win... the coffee and tea in rooms are all My Cup Counts and packaged with My Day Counts staff!**
I also wanted to make sure you were all aware of the Assistance Pass inside of both parks at Disney and DCA. Very helpful with the line waits and timing planning of the day. You can go directly to Guest Services and inquire about disability assistance options since not all disabilities are visible... Let me know if I can help with this in any way!
I think I covered all that helps our family while we have been staying over the last at least 3.5 years and with both kiddos to help everyone enjoy. Follow along with some social fun too #GLATP #GrandLegacyAtThePark
Let me know any concerns you may have that maybe I can help answer if I didn't touch upon it!!

Happy family travel! We are always looking for ways for each and everyone of us I our family to enjoy our travels.

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