With another school break right around the corner, families are gearing up for their upcoming vacation at their favorite destination, Disneyland.  What better place exists for a family to spend their vacation other than at Disneyland?  Without a doubt, most kids would agree that this theme park is indeed “The happiest place on earth”.

Just the mere mention of the word “Disneyland” conjures up pleasurable memories of fun times.  Or maybe not so memorable times for ASD children who unravel from the bombardment of stimuli and sensory issues, not to mention a host of other challenges they have to cope with as well.

Not to worry, though, as Disney provides “Guest Assistance Cards” for people with special needs like Autism.  Count us among the grateful for the accommodations they provide so as to ensure everyone’s enjoyment of the park.  (Thanks, Disney!)

A snippet of info about the GAC:

•    Family members can use the card only if the individual with special needs is waiting in line with them.  (I think the max is a party of five.)

•    It can also be used at California Adventures.

•    It’s valid for the duration of the dates stated on the Disneyland Park “Hopper” Tickets.

In October 2012, at our most recent visit to Disneyland, I got the card (for my son) from “Town Hall” which is located within the park.

At that time, I carried a copy of my son’s diagnostic report, just in case they needed proof as his condition is not apparent.  They thanked us but didn’t seem to have a need to look at it.  (It probably has something to do with the HIPAA law.)  They just needed to know what type of assistance was necessary in order to help with his specific challenges.

So I requested for shaded waiting areas (for the queues that didn’t have any type of shade) since my son cannot tolerate heat.

The pleasant Disney employee stamped the card with the appropriate stamps and then handed it over to me.  At that point, we were equipped and ready for the quest!

Well, as the days wore on, it turned out that we ended up not having to use it at all; he preferred to take frequent breaks at our hotel instead.  And he was quite okay with that, despite knowing that he missed out on most of the “popular” rides.  Missing out on the rides didn’t matter to him.  Nor did it matter to me, actually.  It was his preference or choice and what he felt comfortable with, so that was fine by me.

On a side note, non-stop navigation in a highly stimulating setting is too unbearable for people with ASD.  Again, the bombardment or overload of a combination of issues makes it very difficult to cope with.  These issues are the result of the different wiring within ASD brains, which is why a person on the spectrum can’t simply “snap out of it”.

Back to the visit at the park- it was wonderful that my younger “NT” child had a blast with our other family members, riding as much rides as she could handle!  And regarding my son, as long as he was comfortable and able to relax in the quiet, air-conditioned hotel room, then it’s all good.

In hindsight, having braced for a storm, (as in meltdown!); I appreciated the tranquility. Just thankful for the calm.

With that said, the Holy Spirit brings to mind that in all things, we should give thanks to the Lord.  All the time.  In all circumstances.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

~Romans 8:28 (NLT)


(Image courtesy of funch/stock.xchng)