Both of our boys were born in January, in fact our youngest Jeremiah was a preemie born at 34 weeks. So they’re actually the same age for 8 days (Irish twins) and because of this we have always celebrated their birthdays together. Terribly convenient but I’ve always felt a little guilty since they’ve never been able to have their own special day. We always said that when they turn 10 we will do something special for them. So this year, our first born, Noah turned 10! And where is Noah’s most favorite place ever!? DISNEYLAND! He takes after his Mama because I LOVE DISNEYLAND. So what better way to celebrate his 10th birthday than at the happiest place on Earth!?
Noah has been to Disneyland previously, but before we go there are always some things that we have to do. The Autism causes some anxiety for Noah, so about a week before we go to the park I always show him the rides we’re going to go on. With Noah theme parks have to be planned out, so what we will do is go on YouTube and look at every single ride we want to do for the day. Usually when we have his brother with us we will do more rides, but this time it was just Noah so there’s basically a handful of ones that he will go on. Yes, we will go on them more than once too. *Cough,Cough* It’s A Small World *Cough, Cough*
Our day will be planned out from start to finish. We will bring lots of snacks and water, not only because it’s expensive in the park, but because Noah could snack all day if he could and there’s so much walking involved I don’t want him to get sick. So after morning rides, Toontown, face painting and snacks, we head to his favorite lunch spot ESPN Zone. We usually go right when they open, as there is no wait and it is the best time to relax before the second half of our day. After lunch, we hit up the park for round 2. This is when the park gets much busier and we can tell Noah gets a bit over stimulated, so we’re always making sure that he’s okay and taking as many breaks as he likes. Our last long break we take is usually before Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, for us, this is a great time to get a sweet treat inside one of the candy shops on Main Street. We’ll usually park it an hour before, get a sweet treat and people watch (which is my favorite). After the parade we went to dinner and decided to go on Small World one more time, after we got out it was getting darker and I could tell that Noah was done. He was getting very over stimulated, we tried to ask him if he wanted to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade, but he was having nothing of it. Partly because he had no idea what to expect from it, that was one thing we did not watch on YouTube before we left. We went straight back to the hotel, as we all knew it was a great day!
A few tips if you’re heading to Disneyland with a kiddo on the spectrum:
1.) Plan, Plan, Plan! Make a schedule, plan your day out and make sure they are comfortable with the what you’re going to do that day.
2.) Be Aware. Disneyland can be too much for a neurotypical child so just imagine what a child on the spectrum may feel. It can be very over stimulating (especially when its’ time for fireworks as they are loud), every so often check in with your child and make sure they’re okay.
3.) Noah has been pretty good about staying in line, but for those kiddos that have trouble. On you’re way into the park stop by City Hall on Main Street and speak to them about your child’s disability and they will give you a disability pass. This will be valuable for those really long lines and the cast member in charge will have you come back at a certain time or may let you in front right then!
4.) Snacks, Snacks, Snacks! I get it, there are only certain snacks that Noah will eat. So I bring as much of that snack as possible! This gets us through the park without any meltdowns.
5.) HAVE FUN! Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth and there should be no reason why a child on the spectrum can’t enjoy it as well!