Utter Autism

September 12, 2007

Disney in Review – What Worked

Without a doubt, I’d say Adrian enjoyed this vacation more than past trips…. and that’s saying a lot considering how much he loved the other trips. 

Why was this trip so great?  Well, like everything, he can’t tell us directly so all we can do is theorize.  Here are my guesses:

  • The noise deadening headphones were like MAGIC.  There are a lot of rides Adrian loves but for some reason they always crank up the volume.  He enjoyed the rides before despite the noise level.  This time, with his headphones, he enjoyed the rides even more than before.  He was calmer and made fewer vocalizations to try to drown out the noise.  He was able to go on rides multiple times and go on rides in a row without becoming over stimulated. The headphones also great for blocking out your little brother when he gets pesky. 😉
  • The laminated communication card provided him with an easy way to make his desires known.  I’m still kicking myself for not having done this one on previous trips.  Adrian regularly went into the bag to retrieve his card to tell us what he wanted to do next.  He told us what rides he wanted to go on and even told us he wanted to go back to the cabin for a break.  Even if we couldn’t immediately grant his request, just knowing we understood significatly reduced his frustration level.
  • We took it easy on the restaurants. Adrian isn’t a big fan of restaurants.  His picky eating makes it nearly impossible to find him something to eat.  The wrong brand of hotdog, the wrong color cheese or even the wrong fryer oil and he won’t touch his usual favorites.  Problem is, the food (or lack of preparing it myself) is one of the things I look forward to most on vacation.  The cabin has a full kitchen but that doesn’t mean I want to use it!  So before we left I researched take-out restaurants in the area.  We picked up menus and ordered in.  It was great.  We were able to fix Adrian his meals and enjoy our food in the comfort of our cabin.  The couple of restaurants we did go to, Adrian used his headphones and was pretty calm. It was a good compromise.
  • We took breaks.  With the heat, Adrian needed regular breaks to chill out in the cabin.  In the past I think we pushed our limits in our attempt to please the other kids.  This time, rather than go at it straight for a few days and then take a day off we went to the parks everyday but always took atleast a few hours break in the middle of the day.  We got to all the rides and I think it was less stressful on everyone.

I’m definetly adding these things to my ‘must do’ list for our next Disney trip.


  1. Ooo you deserve a bravery award. I’m still much to much of a scaredy cat to take my herd there. There again, we ought to go soon before my eldest daughter is too old. How old is too old?

    I seem to recall that when my husband visited the States on business when we still lived in England that he managed to swing by Disneyland/world – and he must have been about 33 years young!

    Comment by mcewen — September 12, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing this! We want to do a Disney trip when my son is about 15 so I’m devouring all your words of wisdom on it 🙂

    Comment by FXSmom — September 13, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  3. We’re thinking of taking my son who is 3 to Disney this winter. Thanks for this handy advice! I will definitely be making the picture cards of the rides. Excellent idea!

    Comment by Andrea — August 7, 2009 @ 9:54 am

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