Disney Resorts pride themselves on being welcoming to visitors from all walks of life. They have made their parks accessible to people with disabilities and even recognize the need for Service Animals. Individuals with Service Dogs have access to most areas within Disney Resorts. However, Emotional Support Animals (ESA)—animals that provide therapeutic companionship for individuals with mental health or emotional disorders—are limited to hotels and designated areas. To understand Disney Resort’s Park Rules and what that means for your ESA, please read on below.

If you believe an Emotional Support Animal would be beneficial to live a long, fulfilling life, your next step is to get an ESA Letter. If you would like our support in connecting with a licensed medical health professional, you may get started by clicking the link below.

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Service Dog meets Mickey Mouse

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 the majority of locations within Disney Resorts.

Disney follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations that require Service Dogs to perform specific tasks related to an individual’s disability. In order to comply, Service Dogs must remain on a leash and be under control at all times while within a Disney Resort. Furthermore, every park has restrictions as to what rides Service Dogs are not able to ride on. If their handler frequents such a ride, the dog must remain under the supervision of a responsible adult or wait inside a portable kennel.

Disney keeps an updated list on which rides Service Dogs are not allowed. They are listed in the Service Animals guidelines for Disney World, and Disneyland respectively.

Disney’s Definition of Emotional Support Animals

Disney did consider whether or not an ESA qualifies under the same regulations as Service Dogs. Emotional Support Animals differ from Service Dogs:

  • a Service Animal is required to provide a specific service related to their handler’s disability.
  • an Emotional Support Animal provides support solely through companionship. According to the ADA, ESAs do not meet the requirements. 

Following the ADA’s definition, Disney Resorts Park Rules have specifically mentioned ESAs in their Animal Policy:

Service animal means a dog or miniature horse that is trained to do work or perform tasks for, and to assist, an individual with a disability. All other animals, including emotional support, comfort or companion animals, are not considered service animals.

Disney Resort, Park Rules (Disney World Resort Orlando, Disneyland Resort Anaheim)

This definition restricts the areas an Emotional Support Animal can frequent, but they are not completely prohibited from entering Disney Resorts.

Assistance animal types. Service dog or emotional support animal or therapy dog.
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Emotional Support Animals can Still Enjoy a Disney Vacation

Disney has agreed that mental disabilities are just as important as physical and medical impediments. Because of this, as of 2017, they have allowed Emotional Support Dogs into the Disney Resort Hotels and the surrounding areas. 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 are allowed to stay in the room with their owners and have access to outdoor areas and parks. Dogs that qualify as Emotional Support Animals are also allowed around the parks. As usual, they must remain leashed and under control at all times.

Every Emotional Support Animal needs an ESA Letter from a License Medical Health Professional to be accepted as such. Before you travel and visit any resort, make sure your ESA Letter is uptodate and valid.

Do you need to connect with a licensed medical health professional now? We can help. (linked)

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Your Emotional Support Animal will feel your Happiness

Disney is concerned with allowing all guests to visit the parks, regardless of any limitation that they may have. When you plan your trip to the Disney Resort and you are uncertain if your Emotional Support Animal is allowed on the premises, get in touch with the Disney Resort Disability Services.

Despite the Park Rules, Disney is the place where everyone can leave their worries and pains behind and allows all guests to have the magical experience the Disney Resorts are created for. 

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