Saturday, July 13, 2013

Autism at Disney World

We just got back from a great trip to Disney World with my two teen age daughters and our six year old Autistic son.

I have got to tell you Disney is a great place to take an Autistic child.  They are absolutely great with dealing with the issues that come up.

A few days into our trip we did a character breakfast at Ohana where my son could meet Micky and friends including Lilo and Stitch.  If you have never been to one this is an all you can eat buffet breakfast where the characters come around the tables to meet the kids and get photos with them.

Well as you can imagine my son was not really up to interaction with the characters as he was still getting use to Disney.  Things still went great (other than the first group photo he would not get in. . .).  When the first character (Lilo) came by Jack would not really interact with her.  He was a bit scared I think. . . . anyway my wife whispered to Lilo that he has Autism and she nodded.  She took her time to get him to be at ease, eventually getting him to high five her and fist bump. . . . it was AMAZING!  Disney gets some really special folks to be the characters is all I can say.  I literally brought a tear to my eye to see how she got him to open up and play a bit with her. . . . And every other character (Stitch, Micky, Minnie) were just as good with him!  It really got him to open up and play with the characters and have a great time.

We did one other breakfast and a character dinner and they were all great with working with Jack.

The parks are great too!  The first day we got there we went to guest services and told them we had an Autistic six year old in the party.  His safe place is his stroller which a bunch of places don't permit in lines.  So they gave us a tag so it was treated as a wheelchair and we could take it anywhere we needed!  They also gave us a pass so that if the lines were long and he had a problem we could talk to a cast member and either go through the fast pass line or wait our turn out of line with Jack where he felt safe then when the rest of our party got to the ride we could join them.  Disney goes way out of the way to help kids with special needs and I can't thank them enough.

By the end of the trip Jack was getting photos all over and interacting with the characters at all the photo spots.  He was even going for the fist bumps and high fives with them!  When it was time to go home he told me Micky would miss him and he was going to miss Mickey.  We assured him we would be back again to visit his friend Mickey.

This is why we go back to Disney year after year. . .  it really is the Happiest Place on Earth and they are so good with Jack.

So if you have a child with Autism I can not recommend Disney enough.  Don't worry, go, have fun, and let them help your child have fun too!  They are great!

1 comment:

Wally said...

Very very good to hear. It's amazing how an organization that is smart and flexible will help accommodate. So glad y'all had a great trip!