The happiest place on earth?

So yesterday the squirt and I went to Disneyland.  We (the Old Man and I) decided to spend the $$ to get season passes two years ago, and it pays for itself every time. I think we figured if we go at least 4 times, the passes pay for themselves, so I try to go 5-6x a year, because we all know I love a bargain.  The Old Man doesn’t always get to go–we only have passes for me and Ben, because Disney is all agro and the passes are person-specific–and park-hopper tix are (last time I checked) $119.  Really.  I think I heard/read something last week that said if the price of Disney tix increased in the last ten years via inflation alone, it would only cost $28 to get in.

But THAT is a different blog post for another time.  And also the primary reason I RARELY buy anything, other than churros or the occasional corn dog at the park.

Anyway, I wanted to take the squirt as a celebration of completing pre-school, and as one last ditch effort before we are blocked out for the summer. (our passes are good–they’re not THAT good) although honestly–Disneyland in 100degree heat in august?  NO THANK YOU.  I actually prefer the fall and winter trips to Disney myself.

Also–Cars Land just opened up.  (I mean JUST as in last week) and as my son is fluent in Mater and Lightening McQueen, it was a necessary adventure.

My plan was to go STUPID early to get to Carsland before it was stupid crowded.

somehow that memo got leaked.

But that’s ok.  we have the Guest Assistance Pass(GAP), which allows us to use the handicapped entrances to avoided the sensory-laden crowded lines. The alternate entrances are not without their wait, but it usually isn’t as long, and certainly NOT as crowded.

So we head over to the main attraction of Cars Land–the racing ride–and present our pass to those who know.

And they hand-write a fast pass.


Now–I am not complaining about this process.  It’s only fair.  I often feel a little guilty that we get to stroll onto the major rides with what is essential an automatic fast pass (Lord knows I’ve fielded enough looks with people who agree with that).  That said, my child also almost NEVER gets to meet characters because he simply cannot handle the lines/crowds(and he’s at an age where he kinda wants to), I don’t use the pass if the line is short enough (about two cycles of waiting) and we rarely go on any of the “grown-up rides.  so it evens out.

But USUALLY, we just get in line and wait the fast-pass wait. So, we were not expecting this.

Now–Autie parents will get me here.  I was 3 seconds away from a melt-down.  a BIG one.  I had shown him the online gallery of the rides, we had discussed that he wanted this ride.  He was fussing the entire time we were renewing our GAP because he wanted the “Lightening McQueen ride!” and now I had to turn to him, tell him to get back in the stroller because we had to come back in 2.5 hours.

all I’m sayin–a head’s up would have been nice.


You can see the Luigi ride in the background. Anxiety still etches his face, though…

As his eyes began to swim around madly and his face began to crumple, I quickly rushed him over to the Luigi floating tire ride, where we got on almost instantly, and the moment was saved by giant beach balls.

but for the next two hours I had to field “Lightning McQueen ride?” questions and tears.  trying to explain to a child who has NO CONCEPT of time, that it wasn’t our turn yet.  and I had no kind of visual timer that would ease that anxiety.

so we went on Mater’s ride, and over to the Pier for the Toy Story ride (one of his favorite–if not THE favorite), the little mermaid nap, almost everything over at a Bug’s Life (which he usually enjoys with great fervor), all the while: “Lightning McQueen?”

we finally had @ 40 minutes left, so I took us over to Soarin’ Over California–a ride he LURVES–which had a bit of an un-fastpass wait in the fast pass line, but we toughed it out.  He calls it the “airplane ride” and generally it induces giggles and squeals and cries of delight.

Except this time.

TEARS and screams of terror.

For the unknowing, it is a simulator ride with a large parabolic screen that simulates a helicopter/hang glider ride over certain parts of California.  I love it, as it shows some of my favorite areas–including Redwood Creek!  Anyway, we rise up, we float over the Golden Gate, we’re speeding over Redwood Creek, and then we at Mammoth or Big Bear and come up over the mountain to soar down the other side…

and he is scared out of his wits.

I try to comfort etc, but NOTHING will soothe.  a scene over the ocean helps, but then we’re in Napa and the screaming starts again.  I cover his eyes and tell him not to look and he plays a kind of hide-and-seek with my hand, which ceases the screams but not his trembling.  at the end he is just crying inconsolably and I have to hold him for a moment before we can exit.  But the promise that our next ride is “Lightning McQueen” gets his little butt in motion.

so we hustle back over to Cars Land to stand in what may be the longest fast-pass line EVER, and he is quiet and subdued.  I’m not fussin at him, letting him process, and frankly it was hot.

we FINALLY get on the ride, he’s excited about our car, he laughs at certain parts, jumps at others (Frank IS a little scary) but he likes the talking cars.

then comes the race.  apparently there is a race.  a fast race.

cue screams of terror.

it is called “Radiator Springs Racers” after all.

Now–before you judgey-McJudgerson me for taking a kid on fast ride, this kids spends HOURS watching roller coaster videos.  He asks to go on them all the time at places like the fair and whatnot.  As far as “roller coaster” this was mild.  It wasn’t Thunder mountain.  it was, for most folks, a fun little race.

But luckily, since it was a race, it was over quickly.

And as we wait to get off the ride–you know, sitting in limbo, edging closer, he is crying and trembling and I am consoling and comforting.  And everytime the car lurches forward, he screams again.

and the twit sitting next to me laughed.

My medal for not smacking her?  you can mail it today.

we finally get to the end, and we struggle to get out of the car because he is just a mess.  I may or may not have tried to trip the eejit who sat next to me.  sue me.

we get out, I search for my stroller, because they have people who constantly shuffle them, get him seated with a juice box and some apple chips and we go sit somewhere NOT crowded and QUIET(ish).

Mommy:  Did you like that ride?

Ben: yeah

Mommy: but you were crying and screaming

Ben: *nods his head* Benji cries.

Mommy:  did it scare you?

Ben:  it was too fast

Mommy:  do you wanna go on it again sometime?

Ben: *thinks about it* yes.



My sunburn, care of Neutrogena Sunblock stick–that obviously missed a few spots…

The rest of the day was the usual.  we hied over to Disneyland and went on the usual rides with little incident.  At the end of the day, foot sore and sunburned, we took one last trip on the Disneyland railroad and headed home.

I am glad the summer block out is soon upon us.

Categories: Autism, parenting | 8 Comments

Post navigation

8 thoughts on “The happiest place on earth?

  1. jimreeve

    I wish we could visit Disney Land or World for that matter. We have attractions like Marineland and African Lion Safari, which we’ll be visiting both this summer. But I know that jacob would love to see and race in the Cars rides.

    Also, who owns the cute dog in your picture? The Chihuahua looks like he’s having a good time too.

  2. The medal would be too huge and heavy to mail so just know I hand it gladly! Tripping would be too good for her by that point!

    I knew near the beginning that he was going to want it again. My kid is just like that. I nearly have a coronary worrying about the meltdown and sensory overload and then -like clockwork- I hear “again!” but I hear it with a smile inside and a lot of relief 🙂

  3. blogginglily

    It would have been too scary for me.

  4. You definitely deserve the medal. What people who have “typical” kids, or no kids at all, for that matter, do not understand, is that you don’t want to mess with the mother of an Autistic child. We have probably not had enough sleep, we spend our time fighting our children’s battles, we are tough as nails and we are not gonna take anyone’s crap!
    I used to be a pretty passive person. What life in general, and especially Autism, has taught me, is that life is too short to put up with garbage from people who don’t matter and who will never get it.
    On the subject of stimulating rides: I too would have taken him on the fast and scary rides. For my little Cameron, the faster and scarier, the better. It stimulates a part of their brains that may be understimulated.
    You are a wonderful mother. That lady is lucky you didn’t light into her right there and then.

  5. I love the chihuahua!! And that’s so cool you live near that stuff!! When we move to the States in a couple of months, we’ll have a 6 flags close by and I’m almost going out of my mind with anticipation!!


    “My medal for not smacking her? you can mail it today.”

    I *heart* you. (And way to go Ben for wanting to go again!)

  6. I v. much understand the “liked it one time, not the next.” I wonder if it’s something that changes in their physiology – like ability to judge speed or distance, or ability to process movement, or not tolerate change in motion or space.


    A very bad medal, but a medal.

  7. Pingback: Vacation? | Solodialogue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: