Leo's Disneyland Trip, Expanded Photo Version

I wrote up Leo's (and Mali's) wonderful birthday Disneyland adventure over at BlogHer. Here's the opener:
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.):

Don't Go Without It!

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:

Hanging out with Grandma on the train

Splash Mountain! Mali was completely, 100% terrified and screaming the entire ride, then declared it her favorite ride ever the next morning:

Splash Mountain OMG!

Spinning rides: Nirvana for our sensory seeker! This is the Ladybug ride in California Adventure:

Leo on the LadyBug Twirly Ride at Disneyland's California Adventure

Was it really Mickey Mouse? Really? My brother just missed Leo grabbing that big black nose:

Leo After Grabbing Mickey's Nose

What I suspect It's a Small World might have seemed like to Leo. Though I hope not. He seemed cool with it.

What I suspect It's a Small World might have seemed like to Leo

Leo rejected taking a photo with Pluto, much preferring the sensory experience of rolling this giant marble boulder around:

Blurry, but I like it:

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!


  1. So glad a great time was had by all!

  2. That video of Leo on the Bug's Life ride made me a little teary. The first time we took our son to Disneyland was kind of a disaster. He was four, it was July, there were very long lines, and we didn't know about the guest assistance pass. Last summer we went again. We took him on Small World (he loved it)and then the Matterhorn (he hated it). The latter was such a mistake - one hour into the two-day pass and he was absolutely done with the rides. Sigh. Your video makes me want to try again. So glad for all of you that Leo enjoyed himself.

  3. May I please use the picture of your Guest Assistance Pass on my blog for an article? www.tipsfromthedisneydiva.com I will give you photo credit and hyperlink to your blog if you'd like.

    Please let me know at tipsfromthedisneydiva@gmail.com


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