Disneyland, Does It Right and Makes Magic

This last weekend, we spent two days exploring the Magical Kingdom and ventured into California Adventure where the Beach Boys were on a perpetual loop!! It was crazy, fun and a lot!!B The trip was exhausting.B However, I know that everyone will remember for years to come.B I know, coz I have pictures.
Before we went on this trip, I worried and I stressed.B I called the wonderful Disneyland and inquired.B See, for the last several years, I have pretty much avoided taking H anywhere where there are tons of people, tons of things to see or even places that were noisy and chaotic.B I never knew what he would do, if he would be soooo hyper that he literally bounced off the walls, if he would get so stressed he would run or even worse, would he attack someone or me.B Granted, it’s been several years since he has done those last two things and really, honestly, he has grown so much.B Yet, I still worried that taking him to the Happiest Place on Earth, where thousands of people congregate each day, where the concept of personal space is non-existent and where the possibility of waiting in a small enclosed space for over an hour was a true possibility.B Those conditions would stress out most people, imagine what they do to someone who has sensory sensitivity, is hyper and who processes information differently?
I called Disneyland, a few weeks before we left.B I asked them what type of accommodations or supports they had for Aspergers kids.B I really, just wanted to make sure that if things got out of hand there was a quiet space for us to wait or to be.B I wasn’t really expecting much.B I was delightfully surprised.B As I, explained to the helpful person on the phone, my situation.B She informed me that we could go to City Hall upon our arrival and acquire a special pass.B This would allow us to bypass all the lines.B WOW!!B I did that, I walked into City Hall and the nicest person ever, filled one out and handed it over, sort of explained how to use it.B Wished me well on our vacation and off I went to collect the kids.
When I told my mom, she kinda rolled her eyes.B I understood.B Maybe I was being overly cautious, maybe this wasn’t the right thing to do..I quashed these feelings.B Why? Because no matter how much I understood H, no matter how much he has grown and changed, no matter all the accomplishments as his mother, I needed, wanted to protect him, to not put him in a position to fail.B I didn’t want to overestimate his abilities to be at Disneyland and then have him not be able to handle it.B I knew that if a meltdown occurred that I wouldn’t be able to handle it, not alone.B I knew that if he ran, it would be nearly impossible to find him.B Both of those scenarios would require help from security.B I didn’t want that.B I wanted him to know that he was safe and that he can be a little boy.
And, oh my, was he a little boy.B My son, is an adrenaline junkie!! He wanted to ride all the roller coasters.B All of them over and over again.B We waited in some lines, even with the pass and I could see him start to fidget in that way that he does, I could see the look in his eyes as he edged closer to me or to my mom as people crowded his space.
I could also, see the looks from other people, from the staff at Disneyland as they tried to figure out which of us had the disability.B However, almost every single employee that we encounterd and presented our pass to was gracious and employed the “Disney” spirit and that was the best!! I ignored all those looks, none of it mattered.B Only on one ride were we questioned.B It’s hard to have disability, period.B Yet to have one that isn’t visible, produces feelings of shame.B There is no shame involved nor were we doing anything wrong.B A few times, I started to explain and then I stopped myself.B I know my child.B I know his capabilities and while I may under-estimate him occasionally as his parent, his best advocate, I must be the one to demonstrate how to handle these situations, how to hold your head high and not worry about what people think.B Thankfully, H saw none of this.B He was sooo excited to be there, so happy to jump from ride to ride.B His energy, exhausted both my mom and me.
I know that I did the right thing.B I know that while my son looks like a normal child, he isn’t.B If that means occasionally, we get to use a special pass then so be it.B If people are going to look at us, fine.B I owe no one any explanations.B All that is important, is that H had the time of his life and he has developed my love of Space Mountain!!

Ready for the next Roller Coaster

6 thoughts on “Disneyland, Does It Right and Makes Magic

  1. Awesome that you had a great time (thanks to your tweets). Also very cool that DIsneyland was able to accomodate you and your son for this vacation. As I told you before, I was just there in October and had a blast at a place I pretty much grew up at (I have no idea how many times I’ve been to Disney).

    1. It was great!! As many times as I have been there, I had no idea!! I always have the best experiences there and the people are the greatest!! I’ll be posting more pics on FB shortly!!

  2. I remember Ryan Gosling describing his time in the Micky Mouse club. As a “kid who couldn’t sit still” and was “taken from public school,” he felt both at home in Disneyland WHILE feeling “like he was walking in someone else’s beautiful dream.”
    I struggle with panic/agoraphobia, so I have trouble seeing Disneyland as a place of happiness. Your story (and your son’s face), reminded me of that the whole point is taking delight in another’s joy.

    1. Mark, thank you for sharing that and I totally agree…it was hard not to get annoyed when people were stepping on my heels in line or giving me dirty looks and I did at points but at the same time, it was awesome to see H have so much fun and to just be there and enjoy.

  3. Yes Brandie –
    You definitely did do the right thing. So happy to hear that Disney was prepared for you to help make the day as special as you and H both deserved, and so happy that it was a wonderful magical time!

    1. Thank you, it was a hard call and almost feels like I am expecting him to fail, even though I know how successful he can be. I will be taking him back that is for sure!!

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