Hi, My name is Shelbi Felter and I am a graduate student at California State University Long Beach. When I’m not studying, I love going on adventures with my black labrador guide dog, Kristen. Being trained at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, she is always up for anything and everything!
As an annual pass holder for most of my life, I could not wait to go with Kristen. Even during our first trip, she was so happy the whole time. Getting through security and into the park was a breeze. Contrary to popular belief, guide dogs are able to go on rides with their handlers. On slow rides like Haunted Mansion and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, guide dogs can sit on the floor of your ride vehicle.
Lines can be difficult to navigate, especially with crowds. Each ride can give a return time. This allows you to wait without the stress of the lines. Most rides will have you enter and exit through the exit.
You may be wondering, what about the bigger rides? Well, rides like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones are not for service animals. These rides have crates at the exit for guide dogs, which also make a great two minute nap for the puppy.
Service animal relief areas can be easily located around the two parks. Be sure to bring collapseable bowls, food, water and lots of cookies. As we all know, Disneyland can be very crowded. Be sure to take breaks and check for signs of stress and heat exhaustion throughout the day. Try to plan your trip on weekdays when possible, these days tend to be less crowded. For those extremely hot summer days, plan on taking more breaks and consider bringing a cooling vest. Beware of your guide dog getting overstimulated, and skipping fireworks is smart as the noise level can affect their hearing.
All dogs are different and some will not do well in this kind of environment. Do not expect to go from park open to park close on the first day of your adventure. Also, this may not be the trip for you if your dog gets easily distracted by small children or lots of food everywhere.
Disneyland is just one example of the many amazing adventures that I get to navigate more independently with my amazing guide dog. She also loves when she gets to wear new collars or bandannas. I’m pretty sure if it was up to her, she would walk around with a tiara on. I am constantly amazed by the places that we get to go and I cannot wait for all of the adventures to come, both Disneyland and around the world.