Look, I grew up in Anaheim. Disneyland's fireworks exploded over our house every summer night, and I played Dopey the Dwarf in the Main Street Electrical Parade. I couldn't be more blasé about the house of Mouse, so if you told me that my former workplace would one day make me happy enough to cry, I'd have scoffed. But crying with happiness is exactly what happened during my autistic son Leo's birthday trip to Disneyland -- he had two full days of pure joy that melted my cold, hard, meh-filled heart. For my son, it really was a Magic Kingdom.The reaction has been very positive so, far, which I appreciate -- and I'm glad that folks are taking the same approach to the article I'm trying to, which is to focus on all the goodness that happened and not on the ten minutes of ohmygodwelostLeoF***F***F*** sheer terror. Good opportunity for Mali to learn about appropriate timing for extreme cursing, I suppose. Though Disneyland is ON the lost kids detail, let me assure you. If you're going to lose a kid who is unlikely to tell a stranger his name, that is the place to do it.
Some photos of the extreme fun, different photos than the Disneyland ones:
How that extreme fun happened: Our Guest Assistance card that allowed us to bypass most lines. Seriously, folks - if you or your child can't tolerate lines, this pass is invaluable. (The Disneyland folks recommend bringing a doctor's note, btw.):
Another thing to not go without: another adult. So grateful to my mom (and my little brother, the second day) for coming along, as Seymour and Iz stayed home for a soccer tournament:
Splash Mountain! Mali was completely, 100% terrified and screaming the entire ride, then declared it her favorite ride ever the next morning:
Spinning rides: Nirvana for our sensory seeker! This is the Ladybug ride in California Adventure:
Was it really Mickey Mouse? Really? My brother just missed Leo grabbing that big black nose:
What I suspect It's a Small World might have seemed like to Leo. Though I hope not. He seemed cool with it.
Leo rejected taking a photo with Pluto, much preferring the sensory experience of rolling this giant marble boulder around:
Blurry, but I like it:
And because this video just can't get enough play: Leo going from contentedness to outright glee on that Bug's Life ladybug ride:
I hope each and every person who attempts a Disney trip experiences as least part of the happiness Leo did!