Disney World at Christmas

There’s something about seeing the castle that made me giddy, a reaction I wasn’t expecting. We never went to Disney World growing up – it just wasn’t something we could afford so I really had no expectation and no real understanding of what I missed as a child. When Sophie was still in the womb I used to talk about all the things I’d want her to experience. Disney was one of them. This year our work schedules aligned and we were able to get away at Christmas, something neither of us had done before. Sure, our family was a little peeved that we went away but for one year it was totally worth it.

Christmas at Disney is, well, magical. Even with 80,000 people it’s a special place. We had planned to take Sophie when she was older and I definitely still will do that but at 2.5 yrs old, she was overcome with joy. With reactions like this:


And this:


It was the best Christmas of my life. Seeing her reaction to her heroes, the castle, the parades and the rides will hold memories for a lifetime and then some.

Navigating through a large crowd, standing in long lines and walking all day does take its toll especially for someone with NMO (Neuromyelitis Optica). We stayed at a property close by and rented a car. We started early, took a break mid afternoon for a nap back at the condo then headed back for dinner and the evening parade or shows. On one of the days I asked for a Disability Access Card, which provides a return time on an attraction instead of waiting in lines. I found that extremely helpful because after our first day I secretly struggled with excruciating back pain where my lesions caused a flare up and swelling. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Disney but especially at Christmas, I highly recommend it. Here’s a few more pictures of our trip.







  1. Dave

    I am about to meet my “one year anniversary” of NMO and still have questions on obtaining things. To get the disability access card, do you have to have a handicap license plate? I am looking to take my kids to Disney this summer (I know, what sort of punishment am I looking for in dealing with Florida heat) and want to make our time there truly special. My neurologist won’t sign off on getting handicap plates because I bounced back so well and don’t show any lasting damage from the initial attack (asides from spinal cord leasions). Will Disney honor my NMO as a disability with just the diagnosis paperwork?

    Comment by Dave on January 13, 2015 at 11:41 pm

  2. Jenna

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your note. It’s tough to say what Disney will approve and won’t approve because getting the disability access card is determined by an individual agent at guest services. Having NMO can sometimes be challenging because like in my case, it is definitely an invisible disability. I look fine from the outside but inside I am often in a lot of pain. I had my GP provide me with a letter stating that I should be eligible for the disability access card, which was enough for one agent we met with. I should mention that the card does not give you priority access to cut the lines. Rather, you’re able to ask the ride attendant for a stamp on the card and whatever the current wait time is you can return then, allowing you to rest elsewhere in the park. You can only have one stamp active at a time. Use it in conjunction with Disney’s FastPass to maximize your day and plan wisely so you’re not running from one side of the park to the other constantly. For more information: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/disney-parks-disability-access-service-card-fact-sheet/

    Comment by Jenna on January 18, 2015 at 7:39 pm

  3. Chantal

    I was just there last week during a business trip. Glad you and your family had fun!

    Comment by Chantal on January 15, 2015 at 2:45 am

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