Monday, February 25, 2013

Kudos to Disney

   Fall had arrived, and it seemed like a perfect time to head to Disney  again. Chris would be celebrating his 9th birthday, and we thought the kids would enjoy spending some Halloween time at their favorite place in the world.  We pulled the kids out of school for a few days,and embarked on our drive down I-95.
   Some parents may not believe that kids should ever be taken out of school in order to take a vacation, I disagree. While I certainly value the importance of education, I also value the importance of family time. In fact, I don't think enough people make enough time to connect with one another . For us, spending time together,away from the therapies,structure,and schools was a great way to refresh and return ready for action. Depending on the age of our children, we sometimes did this twice a year, usually near a school break so they didn't miss too many lessons. However, this time, we decided to go when the parks would not be crowded so as to ease Mikey's frequent inability to deal with waiting.
   I have to admit, I was a bit tense prior to this trip. Mikey had been having some serious issues with waiting, and tantrums on occasion. I was wondering how he would react to waiting in line for rides, food, etc. We decided that most mornings we would order room service, so as not to have to wait to be seated in resaurants,and wait for food to arrive. We also figured, depending on everyone's moods, we would  take turns going out with the kids, in case Mikey would rather be swimming. We also made sure to have plenty of drinks and snacks on hand, in order to prevent meltdowns. With a plan and our family, we packed up the car and made our way down to Florida.
  The great part about traveling was that all of the boys, especially Mikey,loved it. Whenever he would see our suitcases come out, his eyes would light up. The funny thing is, that we always worried about his behavior on trips, yet he always tended to behave the best out of all of the boys ! Of course, we weren't on the road an hour before someone got sick, another had to use the bathroom, etc. Typical when traveling with four young children. We got things under control and began to enjoy our time in the car together,with lots of laughing,storytelling and singing.
   When we arrived at Disney, everyone was super-excited. Mikey could not stop smiling and giggling.I was hoping this would be true for the entire trip. The beauty of this trip was that prior to leaving home, a friend of mine told me that Disney had a special pass for children with disabilities. It was similar to the Fast-Pass they have now, but it was only for the disabled. I thought this was only for the physically handicapped, however,I was wrong. This pass was also for children with autism. Upon arrival, we were told to visit City Hall in the park to obtain a pass. We brought paperwork documenting Mikey's autism as proof, but were not asked to supply it. We received our pass, and off we went.
   Well, I cannot tell you what a blessing this pass was! We did not have to wait on any lines, and it cut down on tantrums tremendously. We did not abuse the pass, but were ever so grateful to have it. Finally, a company that understood that autism was serious, stressful and addressed it. This was something that made our trip so much more enjoyable, and helped our family avoid a lot of unnecessary problems.Kudos to Disney for recognizing this need for families like ours. 
   All in all, our trip turned out to be a great one. We enjoyed the parks, the pools and the great weather.We swam throughout the days, watched fireworks at night, and the boys even had a chance to dress up and go trick or treating in the Magic Kingdom. Chris had a wonderful time celebrating his birthday ,and we enjoyed spending time together as a family.
   By the time we returned, Mikey was ready for school. We had always thought that he  seemed to thrive after a trip, and his teachers agreed. For once, we had taken a trip without our stress levels hitting the roof, and now that we were back,Mikey was on top of his game. All things considered,we were heading in the right direction.

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