A Safe Vacation Destination for Families with Special Needs?

This unbiased post is sponsored by Orlando Vacations.

At some point in time the word “vacation” has entered your thoughts, only to be immediately discarded for all the preparations and precautions you would have to take just to make it there and back safely (and sane). The daunting task of making environment changes alone is enough for you to not utter the word “vacation” again.  These are things like figuring out extra lock systems on the doors, maintaining a safe distance from any bodies of water (including hotel or community swimming pools), wheelchair access, overstimulating sheets and more.  Somewhere in the back of you mind, you hear a whisper of something seemingly unattainable…

“Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a safe vacation destination that took all or most of this into account for me.”

Today, that whisper is answered for families with special needs!  I have been fortunate to have been introduced to Trey Duling, Owner of OrlandoVacations.com, who is pioneering an effort to do just that.  I am excited to share this resource with you because I know it will open up opportunities for many of us to find a safe vacation spot for our families.

Not only is he making great efforts to address special needs family’s needs while vacationing, Trey has taken the time to answer a few questions for me, many of which I’m sure you may have yourself.


I have been incredibly impressed with the amount of work your company is doing to ensure a safe and fun vacation can be had for families with children with Autism.  Can you explain some of the steps you’ve been taking with your rental properties etc?

The first thing we have done is started to talk to experts such as you to get an idea on how we can set up a few of our vacation homes to be autism friendly. We have done a total of 5 interviews with experts and we have received a lot of great information. While all the ideas are great there are a few limitations we do have regarding the homes.  Our 2 main areas of concern is safety and sensory.

softer and heavier comforter

Safety:  We are going to be adding an extra pool alarm to the pool and we are also going to be adding door chimes which send out a chirping sound if a door happens to be opened to alert the parents. We will also be adding bumpers to the beds in one of the rooms. 

Sensory:  We will have yoga bounce balls for the children to play with, a game play system, and we will make sure the home has a DVD player in the living room. We are also going to be adding a heavy duvet cover and extra pillows in the house.

For a small up-charge we can also provide chemical free linens in the house.


Some of the Florida vacation / amusement park sites give a little information about what to expect when visiting.  How does the information on your site differ?  What information do you have for special needs families and can you give an example? 

Our target market is anyone who wants to come to Orlando and have a great vacation. Our goal with Orlandovacation.com is to help guest plan their vacation. Our research has shown that it takes the average family at least 5 full days of research before they are ready to make a reservation. Our feeling if we are helping them plan their vacation then hopefully they will reward us with their lodging and theme park business. In our continued efforts to reach out to the autistic community we have had our writers provide touring plans for Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld. To view these touring plans you may visit: http://www.orlandovacation.com/planning-help/autism


The OrlandoVacation.com site has a large amount of additional information on it.  What  else can people expect to find when they visit your site? 

Questions And AnswersWe have over 2500 pages of content on hotels, vacation homes, Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. In addition to all this great information we also have an opportunity for readers to ask us questions and we promise to respond to them within 24 hours. To visit our ask the experts page please visit: http://www.orlandovacation.com/blog/contact/

In addition to providing great information about planning an Orlando vacation we also have great deals on hotels, vacation homes, Disney World packages, and theme park tickets. We actually do a rate study twice a week to make sure our products are the lowest in the area.


What is the best way for someone to request accommodations for special needs through your site? 

If you need to request a special need you may either call into our call center or put your request in the special needs area if you would like to make a reservation online. The best way is to call into our call center, we are open Monday-Thursday from 8am to 10pm and Friday-Saturday from 8am to 5pm.


Again, with not many (if any) companies taking the time to address the vacation needs of families with special needs, I’m curious as to why your company has chosen to take the lead in the industry for doing just that.  Was there anything specific that prompted you to help families with special needs have an enjoyable and safe vacation in Florida?  

Simple, we are always striving to be the best vacation company we can be, and we do not feel it is enough to just market to the masses. We want to help all guests who desire to visit Orlando. We feel we have a great advantage over most of our competition, because we are Orlandovacation.com. We are able to just http://www.orlandovacation.com/blog/contactconcentrating on one particular area of the United States and we want to help people plan their vacation here to Orlando.  Our company motto is:

“We want to win your business
through great prices and outstanding customer service.” 

Orlando Vacations


I’d like to thank Trey Duling not only for providing all of this wonderful information, but for also seeing the needs for a safe vacation destination for families with special needs, and for fulfilling the need.  Thank you Trey!

Disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Orlando Vacation, though all information and (personal) opinions contained are accurate and unbiased. You can find additional disclosure information here

Gina St. Aubin
Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate who now advocates for those with intellectual and physical challenges. Her eldest son is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep / Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) and Developmental Delays. In June, 2012, her son also underwent a successful hemispherectomy. Gina is the editor, author and owner of Special Happens, serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation, and resides in Colorado where she is a mother of 3, wife, blogger, writer and special needs advocate. You can reach Gina through various Special Happens connections on Facebook and Twitter, or email her directly.
Gina St. Aubin
Gina St. Aubin

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