Disney Resorts pride themselves on welcoming visitors from all walks of life. They have made their parks accessible to people with disabilities and even recognize the need for service dogs.
In this article, we’ll explain what types of assistance animals you can bring to Disneyland (and which you cannot) and how they will verify that you have a service animal.
What type of service dogs are allowed at Disneyland?
Disney allows service dogs that help people with physical disabilities and psychiatric service dogs which help people with mental health conditions.
Service dogs must be trained to perform a work or task relating to a person’s disability. For example, a service dog for a physical disability might pull a wheelchair, assist the visually impaired, and detect blood sugar levels.
A psychiatric service dog might be trained for tasks like using pressure therapy to calm a distressed handler, retrieving medication, or licking a person to interrupt a dissociative event or moment of crisis.
All types of qualified service dogs are allowed at Disneyland. Emotional support animals are another type of animal that help people with mental health issues, but unfortunately, they are not allowed in the park. ESAs may be allowed in the hotel areas, as we’ll discuss below.
Where are service dogs allowed at Disneyland?
Disney has reported on numerous occasions that they welcome visitors with disabilities. To support individuals who require service dogs, Disney allows them to venture into most locations within Disney Resorts.
It’s important to note that service dogs are not allowed everywhere in the park — there are limits. Disney may limit service dogs in certain areas for safety or health reasons.
Disney keeps an updated list of which attractions do not allow for service dogs. They are listed in the Service Animals guidelines for Disney World and Disneyland, respectively. You can also find areas where your service dog can relieve itself at those links.
Lines for attractions at Disney parks can be long, and you’ll want to plan your day efficiently. Check which rides and attractions prohibit service dogs, so you make the most of your precious vacation time.
While at the park, service dogs must remain on a leash or harness and be under the handler’s control at all times. You can be asked to leave the park if your service dog is out of control or is being disruptive. A service dog that is acting aggressively to other park goers is also grounds for removal.
You should be aware that cast members at Disneyland are not allowed to take control of service animals. If you have a service dog, you should follow the same attraction entrance guidelines as guests who use wheelchairs.
If you arrive at an attraction where service dogs are not allowed, you can ask a cast member about options, including using a portable kennel temporarily or taking advantage of Rider Switch.
Verifying a Service Dog at Disneyland
To verify that you have a service dog, cast members and staff can ask two questions: 1. Is the dog required because of a disability, and 2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Staff members at Disneyland cannot ask for specific details about your disability. They also cannot force you to demonstrate your service dog’s task.
In addition, you do not need any documentation to prove that you own a service dog. That means you do not need an ID card, registration card, or license. Many service dog owners use specialized harnesses and cards to indicate that they have a service dog, but these are optional accessories.
Some psychiatric service dog owners will also obtain PSD letters. A PSD letter is a signed document from a licensed healthcare professional that states whether the person has a qualifying disability for purposes of owning a PSD.
If you are interested in qualifying for a PSD letter, you can connect with an actual, licensed healthcare professional specializing in PSD letters by clicking the link below.
Emotional Support Animals at Disneyland
An emotional support animal is an animal that provides comfort to a person with a mental or emotional health condition like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or ADHD. They are different from service dogs because they do not have specialized training and are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ESAs are not allowed in the park, but they might still be able to enjoy a Disney vacation. Emotional support dogs may be allowed into the Disney Resort Hotels and areas that allow pets. At Disney World Resort that includes the following properties:
- Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
At these resorts, pets may be allowed to stay in the room with their owners and access outdoor areas and parks.
Emotional support animals don’t have public access rights like service dogs, but they do have legal rights for housing. To qualify for an emotional support animal, you need an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional.
Do you need a healthcare professional to assess you for an ESA letter? ESA Doctors can connect you with a licensed provider that specializes in ESA letters.