by Laura Sylvester
Most people who have a child with a disability know that the most important thing to do when you first arrive at Disneyland is to pick up your special access pass at city hall. This pass lets your party (maximum of 6 people) enter most rides thru the exits. This pass is not intended to shorten wait times but instead to give access to wheel chairs or other special equipment and/or to give you and your child a separate area to wait.If you go to Disneyland with a service dog you will also want to pick up a yellow ‘Information on Services for Guests with Service Animals’ card at City Hall. This card gives you information on two important topics: 1. Where your service animal may relieve him/herself and 2. A list of the rides the animal can NOT go on.
1. Service Animal Relief Areas: Service animals are welcome to use any open outdoor area but additionally there are 3 designated areas which are identified by the symbol in the photograph below. We prefer the area outside of It’s a Small World. It is a beautiful gated area with grass and flowers and even a fire hydrant! We remove Orbit’s leash and let him rest, drink, eat and relieve himself.
The yellow card also asks that you please notify a Cast Member after your animal uses a relief area so they can make arrangements for proper disposal. This would be like if your dog doesn’t make it to a designated area and happens to pee a river right outside of the main gate, not that I would know or anything!
The other two areas are at the Disneyland Kennel Club near the main entrance (wish I would have known about this one before the above occurrence!) and one between Frontierland and Fantasyland. The later one is hard to find because these two lands actually come together in two different areas. The relief area is located at the back of the park, along the pathway that connects the Casey Junior Train and the Thunder Mountain Railroad. On our most recent visit to Disneyland we noticed a new relief area, it is just to the right of (when facing) the Castle, directly in front of the Pixie Hollow area, just off main street circle.
2. Service animals may accompany guests on all attractions except:
-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
-Gadget’s Go Coaster
-Indiana Jones Adventure
It’s important to note that Cast Members can not watch your service animal for you while you ride an attraction.
Some rides have specific rules, like on It’s a Small World the dog must be on the floor of the ride, he can not sit on the seat. And the first time we went on the Casey Junior Train they told us dogs had to be in a cage but the next time we rode it they let us sit anywhere we wanted.
In conclusion, here are my top 5 tips when taking a service dog to the happiest place on earth: