What should I consider when I plan my trip?
Whether you are a first-timer or a veteran attendee, this travel information will help you plan your trip to Orlando. Getting to the Convention can be costly so be sure to check out the travel discounts especially for NDSC attendees. Convention at a Glance is a good place to start in getting an understanding of timing of all events for the convention.
See the Convention at a Glance for 2015 to get a rough idea of the schedule for 2016.
- Hotel Information
Convention Hotel & Headquarters
The NDSC Room Block at the JW Marriott will open in Spring of 2016
- The NDSC Convention rate is $145 per night; taxes and fees not included. This is more than a 50% discount from their regular rate. The resort fee is optional and pool tubes will be complimentary for NDSC families to use.
- One night deposit is required at the time of booking.
- The NDSC convention rate is only available to those who register to attend the convention.
This includes speakers, registered exhibitors and registered volunteers.
- NDSC Cancellation Policy – The last day that you can cancel your room reservation is Monday, June 27, 2016. Rooms cancelled after this date will lose their one night deposit.
- Dining Options
With more than 3,500 people attending the convention, hotel outlets get overcrowded at peak meal times. Attendees can register for the meal plan and avoid long lines and high prices at the hotel outlets. The meal plan includes four meals throughout the weekend – dinner Friday evening, breakfast and lunch Saturday, and breakfast Sunday. Menus have been pre-selected (gluten-free is available). Meals cannot be ordered separately and will not be available to purchase on-site. Check out the menus below and other important details about the meal plan. If you are interested, please order during convention registration.
- Travel Information and Discounts
Parking at the Convention
50% off self-park at the JW Marriott Hotel is provided to all NDSC hotel guests. Valet parking is available.
Details to come.
Avis Car Rental Discount
Details to come.
Details to come.
- About Orlando
- There’s no better family destination in the world than Orlando! Whether it’s the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, fabulous beaches or scores of other one-of-a-kind attractions, it’s all waiting for you in Central Florida. On top of that, our convention is based at two breathtaking resorts – the Ritz Carlton and J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes! Featuring a 24,000 square foot lazy river pool, these adjacent hotels offer your family over-the-top luxury and pampering. Best of all, you get this wonderful family vacation destination AND the world’s largest and best gathering of people with Down syndrome all rolled into one. Plan now to join us next year in Orlando!
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is childcare provided during the convention?Due to insurance provisions, the NDSC does not provide childcare during the convention.
- What should I do with my kids while I attend the convention?Children 6 months to 11 years (14 years for individuals with DS) are eligible to register for the Kids’ Camp. There are 5 separate camp sessions offered during the convention. The cost for each session is TBD per child. There is a 10% discount for families registering multiple children.
- Are children allowed in the workshops?While it is not ideal or recommended, children are permitted into workshops. Parents who attend with their small children are asked to be respectful of the audience by keeping noise and distractions to a minimum. Also in workshops where space is limited, children must sit on their parents lap or on the floor to allow registered attendees a seat.
- Can relatives coming to help with child care attend the convention?Yes, if they register to attend the convention.
- Is there something planned for my self-advocate while I attend a pre-conference?The Youth and Adults Conference does not begin until late afternoon; however, the Friendship Club Open House is held from 9-12 and 1-2:30 on Friday. This is an opportunity for individuals with DS ages 15 and up to stop by and meet new friends. This is not a volunteer-supported event so individuals with high support needs must be accompanied by an adult.
- Can I bring my baby to the banquet?Yes. If your baby will require a highchair, seat or space at the table then you must purchase a child ticket.
- What is the dress code for the banquet?Actually, there’s not one. Some attendees will come in suits and dresses, while others prefer something a bit more casual, such as slacks for men and sun dresses for women.
- Can I bring my whole family to the dance on Friday night?All registered attendees are invited to the dance and opening reception.
- Why can't my very mature 14-year-old attend the Y&A conference?The minimum age to participate in the Y& A Conference is 15. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why can't we register our self-advocate for the Y&A conference onsite?Registration is not accepted onsite for the Youth & Adults Conference due to the extensive planning required to support the needs of each individual attendee.
- Can I register for the Brothers and Sisters conference at the convention?No, due to space, logistics and the off-site trip all attendees must register prior to the deadline.
- Can you make an exception for my 3rd grader to attend the B&S Conference?No, the minimum grade level to attend the B & S Conference is students entering the 4th grade. From past experience, we have found this to be the cut off that allows the most attendees to benefit from our program.
- Why are the Friday pre-conference sessions not included in the general registration?There are additional costs to bring in the high level speakers for a 4.5 hour session. Those additional costs are not absorbed by the general registration fee; therefore, an additional charge is applied to only the individuals interested in participating.
- How can I get copies of the information presented in the pre-conference sessions?Only those registered for the pre-conference session are eligible to receive the handouts.
- Can I attend more than one pre-conference?No, all pre-conferences take place at the same time; therefore, you can only register for one session.
- I want to attend 2 pre-conferences. How do I decide?A description of the pre-conference sessions, as well as the biography for each presenter, is available on the NDSC website to help you decide which pre-conference is the best for you.
- Can I switch pre-conferences after I have registered?Yes, you can switch to another pre-conference session as long as it is prior to the registration deadline and there is space available. Changes are not permitted after the registration deadline or onsite.
- Are the pre-conference sessions included in the conference recordings? No. Why not? Pre-conferences require separate registration; therefore, all materials and recordings are the sole benefit of attending.
- What time should I arrive on Friday if I am not attending a pre-conference?We recommend arriving before or around noon so you will be able to register, explore the exhibit floor, take in a Sharing Session and eat dinner prior to the Opening General Session.
- Can I buy a banquet ticket during the convention?No. Tickets must be purchased before the registration deadline to accommodate the banquet management deadline.
- When will I get access to the conference recordings?Conference recordings will be available to view approximately two weeks after the convention. You will access the recordings from your user account on the convention registration system. The recordings will be active until July 2018.
- Can speakers see or evaluate my child?Families interested in professional evaluations and therapeutic services should make arrangements directly with the professional prior to or after the conference.
- How can I get CEU credits?The NDSC provides a packet of materials that you can submit to your local accrediting organization. These packets are available at the NDSC table in the registration area.
- Can we register as a group?No.
- Do I have to pay membership dues if I am already a member of my local DSA?Yes. The NDSC and your local affiliate are separate organizations and require separate membership dues.
- Is childcare provided during the convention?