• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”

Disney’s Response to a Frantic Mom’s Email, and Our Plan

After I sent my frantic email and panic over how I would navigate Disney’s DAS pass in order for my children to be able to access Disney’s attractions, I patiently (or maybe not so patiently) awaited a response.  Honestly, I was expecting a generic policy directed response, in the form of impersonal email.  However, to my surprise what I received was a phone call!
Not only did someone from Disney call me, but they spoke to me at length to both explain their services, procedures, and offer helpful advise about the parks.  This conversation lasted AN HOUR AND A HALF!  During this time, the Disney representative was patient, polite, and helpful with the purpose of calming my fears about my upcoming Disney trip.
I did not leave the conversation with specific answers to all of the crazy scenarios that ran through my mind, but I did hang up the phone with a plan, and a confidence that Walt Disney World staff would do their very best to assist with accommodations in any way they possible can upon arrival.
During the conversation, I also learned of a new service that WDW has rolled-out–Express Transportation, which (for a fee of course) will take you “behind the scenes” in order to transport park hoppers from one park to the next without needing to leave, make your way to the car–or bus, boat, monorail, etc., and re-entry another park.  This service picks up inside one park and delivers you inside another, and I am going to give it a shot!
We never park hop because it is just too much work and TIME to leave on park with the boys and attempt to go to another.  For this reason, we usually spend all our time in the Magic Kingdom.  However, the older boys do not find this as much fun, AND we want to visit the new Pandora World in the Animal Kingdom.  My 13-year-old also wants to hit the roller coasters, and Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.  There are two parks we have avoided with the smaller ones for several reasons.  First, they do not have as many rides for little ones–who are uninterested in shows, and parades and such, and because I can’t imagine spending an entire day in either park.  As I always want to head back to MK.  So, I am very excited try out the Express Transportation and finally take a hopping Disney vacation.  Admittedly, I get quite ambition when planning vacations, so much fingercrossing here is necessary!
THE PLAN:
Aspie family is heading to Orlando!  We will be heading to Disney first (for our 20th Wedding Anniversary–and yes, we are taking the kids…) because I want to eat lunch at Be Our Guest in the Beauty and the Beast castle!  Did I ever mention that I am worse than the kids?  I love Disney!  There are no other girls in my house, but since I am pulling the “it’s my anniversary card,” I am going to eat in a Castle!!
I am also excited to try park hopping to see Pandora because of the bioluminescent forest and river ride.  Originally for our anniversary we were attempting to go to Puerto Rico (without children–see too ambitious) and the biggest thing we wanted to do was go to bioluminescent bay and to the rainforest.  Unfortunately, that didn’t pan-out, but when I began to read about Pandora at Diseny and discovered the bioluminescent forest in the description, it was as if it was meant to be.  At least I can to on a glowing boat ride after all–and since I have an obsession of sort with trees and the Tree of Life, Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Tree Awakening will be right up my alley.  Hopefully, it will keep the little guy’s attention long enough for me to at least see it!
With just a couple of weeks to go, stay tuned for my review of Disney’s DAS accommodations and how it works out for us.  I am now cautiously optimistic and knee-deep in Disney planning tools! (touring plans, my disney experience app, Disney wait line times apps, maps, etc.) Let the obsession begin!
After Disney, we will be making our way over to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay!  More to come…

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert , contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, three of which are on the autism spectrum.
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