Focusing on the unique challenges of Special Needs travel is more than catch phrase for our firm. Associates to Disney Travel Solutions spent a significant portion of his career at Walt Disney World assuring that ADA (Americans with Disability Act) rules and regulations were properly adhered to. On multiple occasions his accomplishments were highlighted in The Eye and Ears, Disney’s official newspaper. He was also recognized with numerous achievement awards. In an environment where all Cast Members are given a nametag consisting of only their first name, the owner of this company was provided one bestowing him the honor of his title (Dr. Tom).
While working in Disney’s Ride and Show Department, he personally aided in the design of many of the existing rides and shows throughout the company. After rising through the ranks of their elite division known as Life Safety Engineering, Dr. Hawksley was to become more involved in matters pertaining to Guests with special needs (including mobility and cognitive issues).
Although Tom can spend hours telling some fascinating stories about the people he has met and the things he helped to accomplish, he would much rather speak about the many visitors he has shared life with at Disney. First may be the 4-year-old girl with autism who he set up a special private lunch with her favorite characters. Another might be of an Army Ranger who returned to the States missing both legs. Dr. Hawksley was able to set up some very unique happenings for him and his family. He may even tell about the time he personally escorted a young lady and her family around Magic Kingdom. She was suffering from a serious condition and even though she was in severe pain, she knew that her time on earth was very limited. They spent the entire day doing everything that was on her wish list. A couple hours after the family returned to the Contemporary Hotel, she breathed her last breath.
Now that Tom is retired, he is able to focus on the things that bring him the most happiness. He founded a business (Associates to Disney Travel Solutions) to help those with Special Needs enjoy Walt Disney World. The first thing he did was to align himself with a staff that shared his passion. His wife Danielin not only serves as the International Travel Director, but she is also provides her own extensive background in working with Special Needs individuals. The next person he hired was his father Richard. Because of his military service, Richard’s goal is to provide travel assistance for those who have served our country.