June 2017 - First trip after my son's autism diagnosis

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by ClaraOswald, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    First some background info....

    My husband and I are in our 30's. We've both been to Disneyland hundreds of times and Disney World a handful of times. Our son is 3 and a half. His first trip was in February 2015 (report in signature.) In October 2016 he was diagnosed with autism. He also have various developmental delays. All of these things made the trip a bit more stressful for us. But we were determined to go and have a good time. Originally this trip was supposed to take place in February 2017 but in mid-2016, my husband was laid off from his job of 12 years. So we had to reschedule for June. I was nervous about summer weather and crowds but it really wan't bad at all.

    (Side note, even though I'm posting our photos, I will not be using our real names. I am weird. Since my board name is from Doctor Who, I will call my husband Doc and my son Jack [Harkness.] Ha!)

    So anyway....I'll start with day 1....

    Wednesday, June 21st

    I woke up at 7:30 to start getting ready. Jack woke up at 8:15. We had breakfast. Doc took our dog to the kennel. We finished all of our packing. Jack saw his car seat in the dining room and seemed to enjoy sitting in it and dragging it around. Was hoping this was a good sign since he'd be sitting in it on the flight. We left the house at 10:15am. It took about 30 minutes to get to the airport. Doc dropped me off with all of the bags. I waited inside while he and Jack went to park the car. Apparently Jack pretty much screamed the whole time. Eek. Not a great start to the day. He did well waiting in line to check our bags though.

    We went upstairs to get some lunch. Jack enjoyed his pizza and looking out the window.

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    A guy next to us had loud 80's music playing. Jack loved it and was running around having a good time. We went to security after this and the line wasn't too bad. Jack did fine.

    Then it came time to line up for boarding. It was very crowded and loud. Jack started screaming. And screaming. And screaming. I decided to go up to the guy working the door. I can't really remember what I said to him. But he said we could get priority boarding. Then when they called for priority boarding, he had forgotten he told me at first. But he eventually did let us board. Jack still continued to cry. I was getting really worried that he wouldn't stop. I didn't make eye contact with anyone. But I did hear one guy make a comment about how he didn't want to listen to that the whole flight, or something along those lines. (You and me both, buddy!)

    As soon as the plane started moving on the runway, Jack stopped crying. He was really good during this flight. He looked out the window, looked a books, snacked on cheez-its (maybe raisins too.) He really enjoyed playing with the vomit bag we brought...ha!

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    The flight was a bit bumpy. Jack didn't mind but I hated it.

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    We landed in Vegas where it was around 105 degrees outside....and almost as hot inside. Ugh. Jack loved running around the airport though so that was good. I talked to the gate agent and she offered us priority boarding again. Woohoo! He did fine with this. Didn't scream getting on the plane. This flight was only an hour long. Jack wasn't great. I think he was just getting tired and bored. But it wasn't too awful.

    We landed in California at 4pm local time. Jack was upset as we were walking off the plane. Some random guy from Denmark started talking to us and then gave Jack his rubber bracelet.

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    Jack cried a lot while waiting for bags. A woman working there complimented us on his autism shirt. Once we got the bags, Doc went to get the rental car. I put Jack in the stroller and decided to go outside to roll around with him. We basically walked from terminal C to B to A and back again a couple times until Doc came with the car. We left the airport around 4:50. Not too shabby. Traffic was awful so we didn't get to the hotel until 5:30 or so.

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    We checked into the hotel. Then walked to Denny's next door to grab dinner.

    This was another low point of the day (and really the whole trip.) Jack screamed the entire time. He didn't really want to eat. I quickly ate soup and a salad. Doc didn't eat much. Nor did Jack. Then we got the heck out of there. We went back to the hotel briefly. Then went to Target for a thousand things. Jack did surprisingly well here! Woohoo! Back at home, he hates going to Target.

    When we got back to the hotel, we noticed some super loud music. We found out it was coming from a nearby rooftop bar. I was so tired from this day that the music made me angry. So I called and basically yelled at the hotel next door...ha! I felt a little better after that. We took shower. Jack took a bath (which he screamed during, for some reason.) Then he had a snack. We all went to bed around 9:45pm.

    Such a long, stressful day. At one point...we seriously considered packing up and going home. It was really rough. I was worried our entire trip would be as bad as this first day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  2. Canadian Harmony

    Canadian Harmony DIS Veteran

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    So far so good though. I look forward to the rest of the trip.
     
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  4. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    I'm so sorry there were some really rough moments that first day! But I'm grateful he didn't scream -during- the flight, when no one could move around! I know you were super worried about that!! Looking forward to the rest!

    But also: Your photobucket links aren't going to work anymore. :P At least you know this starting out, instead of when you're done with a lot of your report (like me...) I have been slowly switching stuff over to Imgur, but I'm very grumpy about it...
     
  5. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    Dang...what happened with photobucket?? I've always used it before. What's the deal?
     
  6. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    How are you getting your imgur photos to post? I am so not good at this stuff. I created an account there and uploaded photos. But when I try to put them in the post, they aren't working.

    ETA - Nevermind. I think I got it.
     
  7. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    Thursday, June 22nd

    We woke up around 6:30am. Jack woke happy...woohoo! We had breakfast in our room. The day before, we bought a bunch of breakfast food at Target. We also bought a toaster. So basically Jack had the same breakfast he would have at home - toast, fruit, a cereal bar, and milk.

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    We took our time getting ready because we just don't feel the need to rush and stress out about what time we arrive at the park. Before leaving, we snapped a quick photo of the cutest kid ever. He had his AlertMe Band on with our contact info in case we got separated.

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    We got over to the parks around 9:15 or so. Had to take a picture of the castle since last time it was covered in a tarp.

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    First we went over to Casey Jr. Unfortunately, we were put in one of the animal cages right next to the speaker. Needless to say, it was not a great first ride. Jack seemed a bit scared. And honestly, it's hard to see anything from those stupid cages.

    We wandered toward Frontierland next. I was so happy that Big Thunder Trail had reopened.

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    We decided to give Winnie the Pooh a try. For years, Jack has loved watching this ride on youtube. On our last visit, Critter Country was closed so he wasn't able to ride. So we figured he would probably love finally riding it. But...he seemed kind of indifferent...ha! And he HATED waiting to be let off the ride (this was pretty much the case with most dark rides.)

    I enjoyed a churro as we headed back toward Fantasyland. We rode Snow White and Jack did well. Then we went to Small World.

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    Jack really seemed to like this one! He was just looking at everything and he smiled a lot too.

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    Next we went over to Pizza Port for lunch. Jack had pizza and pears. This was one of the few meals he really ate in the parks. I think there were just too many distractions at meal times.

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    Handsome man after lunch.

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    We figured it would be best to head back to the hotel for a while. It was getting pretty warm and sunny out. As we got to Main Street we saw a band and some characters walking toward the front of the park. Not sure what this little show was called but Jack seemed really into it as we followed them down Main Street. We stopped at the end and watched. He kept laughing. It was adorable.

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    Then it was a short walk back to the hotel. Jack didn't nap. He just sort of relaxed and played with his toys a bit. It was nice to be inside during the hotter part of the day.

    At about 3:30 or so, we went back over to the parks. We decided to go to California Adventure. First stop was Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters. Jack was a little unsure at first but he loved it!

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    Next up was Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. Another one of Jack's favorites, for sure.

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    Then we did Francis' Ladybug Boogie. It's basically the teacups. I was nervous about Jack on this...but again, he loved it! He almost fell over a few times but he had fun. So we decided to try Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. At first he wasn't too sure since it was pretty fast but he laughed and enjoyed it.

    Next was dinner. We went to Flo's. Jack didn't eat much...which became a common theme at mealtimes for him on this trip, unfortunately. At least he was happy!

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    We went over to ride The Little Mermaid next. Jack was just so-so on this but I love it. We stopped and watched a parade (can't remember which one and I didn't make a note of that) briefly. Then went over to Disneyland.

    We went on Buzz Lightyear, Pinocchio, Haunted Mansion, and Pooh. Jack did pretty well on all of them. He just hates when we have to wait to unload from the ride. During the elevator part in the Haunted Mansion I just made sure to get down on his level in case he was scared but he was fine.

    At some point we got a picture on the bridge by Big Thunder where Doc proposed back in 2005.

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    I wrote that we stopped at the bakery but I can't remember what I got. A chocolate croissant for snack or the next morning? Not really sure. Then we went back to the hotel around 9:15 and got ready for bed. Once again, Jack slept in a bed with Doc. So cute. Originally we thought he would sleep in the front part of the suite by himself on the pull out couch but honestly, it was just easier to have him in one of the beds in our room. And he slept really well like this. Plus, it freed up that front room for eating and storing our suitcases.

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    Overall, it was a great first day in the parks. Jack walked a LOT rather than being in his stroller. Such a change compared to our 2015 trip. He did well waiting in lines. We didn't get in any long ones though. But I was super impressed with how he did!
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  8. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    Yay! I'm so, so glad your first day was nice! It seems like you guys did a great job of just taking your time and doing what you thought he would enjoy. :) I'm not always good at that, always feeling the pressure to do everything and see everything...
     
  9. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    So originally we weren't going to to back to Disneyland until maybe 2021 or so. We were going to do Disney World in early 2019. But now...we will likely go to Disneyland in late 2018 or early 2019 and not do Disney World until Jack is a bit older. Because of his development and his autism, we definitely have had to alter our plans and expectations. But that's okay. So I am wanting to get back into writing this report because I'm already dreaming about our next trip...ha! Just can't decide if I want to go in early December 2018 or late January 2019.
     
  10. hootey

    hootey DIS Veteran

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    Good pictures!:dogdance:
     
  11. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    I seriously need to work on this report more! I am missing Disneyland like crazy...as always.

    I've been trying to watch wait times in the parks this past week. Trying to decide if we want to go next December or not. If so, I'll probably want to start a pretrip report so I should really finish this report first...ha!
     
  12. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    Friday, June 23rd

    We got up around 6:45am. Had breakfast and got ready. A little before 9am, we headed to California Adventure. Jack is clearly thrilled to be waiting by the elevator.

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    Jack and I wandered around while Doc went over to get fast passes for Radiator Springs Racers.

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    After that we went on Monsters Inc. and Luigi's. Then it was time to use our RSR fast passes. Jack loves watching the video of this ride on youtube and he just barely made the height limit so we thought we'd give it a try. The FP line did take a little while so he watched the video while we waited.

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    The ride started and he seemed to handle the inside/slow parts fairly well. He looked a bit confused but not too bad. Then...the fast part. He was clearly NOT a fan. He looked terrified when we went over the little bumps that make you feel a little weightless. I felt really horrible that he was having a bad time. Once we were off, he was okay. But we decided we wouldn't be going on that again!

    We decided to get a snack over in the Pacific Wharf area. I had some veggies and ranch. Jack had some fruit. Then we went and rode the Little Mermaid.

    After that it was lunch time so we went to Paradise Garden Grill. I got the chicken skewers and they were good. So was the baklava. We got Jack some spaghetti at a nearby place but he barely ate anything.

    When we were done, it was around 1:15 so we went back to the hotel for a break. Jack ended up napping from 2 until close to 4:30pm. He woke up sad. He sometimes does this at home too but we have no idea why.

    At 6pm, we headed over to Disneyland. We saw Mickey so decided to wait to meet him. Best decision ever!

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    Stopped for some photos by the castle but this was the best we could get.

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    Dinner at Rancho del Zocalo was next. I love their chicken. We got Jack a kids taco but all he wanted to eat were doritos.

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    At about 7pm, Doc and I took turns using fast passes for Big Thunder. Jack was good to just hang out in his stroller.

    At 8, we went over to Toon Town.

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    We waited a little bit to ride Roger Rabbit. Jack was unsure in the dark line but he did okay.

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    After that, we went to Small World. We ended up on a boat by ourselves, so that was really nice.

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    We decided it was time to head back to the hotel since it was bath night for Jack. I also found it easiest to shower at night rather than in the morning. Especially with all the sunscreen we had to wear. We ended up going to bed around 10:30 or so.
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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  13. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

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    Love the pictures with Mickey! Sounds like he did pretty well! RSR can be very fast, especially for little ones that can't see that well! I like that pic of the three of you in Toontown!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  14. ClaraOswald

    ClaraOswald DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!

    Yeah...I had forgotten just how fast it feels on RSR. Next time, we may try Gadget's to see how he does and then go from there. I think that's probably the easiest "thrill" ride.
     

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