We have taken vacations before - both times with my parents and we drove to New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. This vacation would be different. We were taking a plane - a first for The Boy. And we were going without my parents - a first for us. And we were going to Walt Disney World - a first for me and The Boy.
Once we realized, that there were attractions in all four parks, we decided to purchase a 4 day park pass (next time around, we may do the 4 day park hopper - this allows guests to visit more than 1 park per day).
The Husband also created customized maps on Disneyworld.disney.go.com - which were very helpful. It made planning our days at the parks so much easier and there was no unnecessary walking around. (Good job Babe!) I also asked The Boy's doctor to write a note. Dr. Rodriguez wrote out a prescription:
Norrin is a patient in our practice. He has Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory integration difficulties. Norrin may have difficulty waiting in long lines and the family would appreciate any accommodation that may be made during his stay at the parks.When we finally arrived at out first park - Epcot - at 9 am when it opened. We headed straight to guest services office to request a disability pass. The woman at the counter explained it was good at all four parks for the duration of our stay. She also didn't ask for a note, but still I carried it with me everytime we left the hotel - just in case.
Anyway - so the disability pass could be used for attractions only. Not for character meets. (However, the pass does not guarantee immediate admission onto a ride. There may be a few minutes to wait.) We used the pass with discretion, making The Boy wait for some rides. It also gave him a chance to observe the ride and decide whether or not it was something he wanted to do. I gave him about 20 minutes, that was the cut off. Any wait longer than twenty minutes we showed the pass. And we only went on the rides that The Boy agreed to get on. If he said no, we respected his decision.
Ultimately, it was a family vacation and everyone - including The Boy - played a part in the planning process. (Say that last part 10 times fast!)
Tomorrow's post: The Boy's reaction to Walt Disney World and the Nickelodeon Hotel! And whether or not he wants to go back...
Read more about our first vacation experience: Autism and Airplanes and Let the Memories Begin!
Prior to our trip, I also found the below blog posts and website extremely helpful: SOS Research Blog: Family Vacations - Taking Time Off From Special Needs, Hanabi Boy's Our First Family Vacation and All Ears.net - Tips for Autistic Children at Walt Disney World.