Monday, March 30, 2009
Taking A Break...At Disney!
Connor and I have been going to hyperbaric oxygen therapy at Dr. Miller's clinic for a couple of weeks now. We are going six days a week, twice a day, for an hour and a half each session. Connor has been a real trooper. He hasn't complained one time! The first day he was a little scared, but as soon as we got in, he realized it was ok and relaxed. He doesn't complain that we have to do nothing but drive back and forth and spend the entire day in the chamber. Since we decided to come here to Florida, I decided what a better way to reward Connor for his patience and good behavior than to take a day trip to Disney World!
For those of you who have read my blog before, know that we take a family trip every year to Disney World for Connor's birthday. I plan for MONTHS. I make meal reservations months in advance. I plan what order we are going to go on each ride. I plan, plan, plan.
When I decided to take just an overnight trip to Disney, I couldn't help but make breakfast reservations. I think it is essential to start a day at Disney with a full belly, gluten free, casein free, soy free...I made reservations at a fun character breakfast and Connor had a blast. It was such a great way to start the day. Since we didn't have anyone else with us this weekend we were free to run from ride to ride and not worry about anyone else. Connor is an adrenaline junky and loves the rides that go fast. We ran from fast ride to fast ride barely taking time to stop for a snack. I do know that if Connor doesn't stop and eat every 2-3 hours though, he will not last long behaviorally. I do have to get him to stop long enough to keep his blood sugar regulated.
The day went very smoothly. I have to say the key to success at Disney is not getting stressed. With the "autism pass" that Disney has, we are able to basically walk on to almost every ride. Even when it rained in the morning, Connor was a trooper and put on his poncho and kept on going. The only hitch in the day was lunch. I figured we would just go to one of the quick stop restaurants and grab a gluten free pizza with no cheese, or a hot dog with a gluten free bun, easy right? Not so much. I went to three quick stop restaurants that knew nothing about gluten free and offered to grill Connor a chicken breast. I said "No thank you, he can have a grilled chicken breast anywhere in the world. I want something special for him at Disney". I finally found a place that knew what they had that was gluten free right away. They were very nice and took the allergy very serious, but it takes 20-30 minutes of standing in the way at the pick up counter before our food was ready. Then when it was time to find a table, it was another stressful event to just find a table and two chairs. This experience reaffirmed my belief that a sit down meal at Disney is essential. It isn't any more expensive either. Our breakfast was the same price as our quick service meal, but the breakfast was relaxing and enjoyable. The lunch was stressful and frustrating.
People ask me all the time why we are such big Disney World people. I have to say, when you spend every day of your child's life trying to get the world to accept their differences, while striving to heal their little bodies, it is nice to go to a "magical place" where their differences are excepted and they are treated as special, in a good way. They have food that they can eat, just like everyone. They get a special pass that allows them to skip the lines and ride all the rides they want. When you see your child's face light up when they see the castle or when they recognize a song from a movie they know, it is worth anything in the world. Connor even went on a ride this time that he could never have gone on before. They have a ride in the Magic Kingdom, in Tomorrowland, called "Stitch's Great Escape". The ride is a nightmare for kids with autism. The ride is loud and has bright flashing lights, weird smells, weird noises, just weird and crazy in general. I hated the ride. Connor liked it.
At the end of the day, going to Disney just for the day was very rewarding for Connor. He had a blast. He ate "normal" food, rode awesome rides, and got to experience the "magic" of Disney. Aside from a few kinks (rain, lunch stress) it was a very successful day. I highly recommend going to Disney and allowing your child, and you to feel like your child's issues and the difficulties of life are put on hold, if only for the day...