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Old 09-09-2009, 12:58 PM   #1
billyvmom
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autism and parades and shows????

My son is high functioning but, when he has too many people crowding around it can be messy. We go to the parades when they have them for holidays but, I am armed with a campsite full of stuff and get there 3 hours before it starts to ward off tons of people around us. we can't do that at Disney. We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card. We want to know is there a place set aside for kids like my son that need a little more space to function?
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Old 09-09-2009, 01:35 PM   #2
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How old is your son? My son is 6 and is also HFA. I've ALWAYS gotten the GAC for him and never had a problem with it. Just bring along your papers just in case. But unless I've missed something, there is no special area to view the fireworks/parades away from the crowds. My recommendation for you is that if he can fit in a stroller, get him one for the parade...it gives him "his own space" and just set up camp right along the parade route. And for viewing the fireworks, I always like the seating area over by the Tomorrowland Noodle Station, it can get a little crowded, but nothing like on Main Street.

Overall, Disney has always been really fantastic for us though! Have fun!
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyvmom View Post
My son is high functioning but, when he has too many people crowding around it can be messy. We go to the parades when they have them for holidays but, I am armed with a campsite full of stuff and get there 3 hours before it starts to ward off tons of people around us. we can't do that at Disney. We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card. We want to know is there a place set aside for kids like my son that need a little more space to function?
Thanks
Brandy
There is not a set aside space. Parades tend to cause mass crowding. (We have space issues too). People will crowd into ANY available space. The wheelchair viewing areas are usually packed tight, so I would not recommend those. Depending on when you are going, viewing the parade in Frontierland may be less crowded than Main Street.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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The GAC is intended for attractions only. It is not intended for anything related to parades or Meet & Greets.

Basically if you want to go to a parade or watch fireworks or anything like that there is no special treatment. The Parade Disabled Viewing areas are designed so that wheelchairs or ECVs are in the very front and other people will stand behind them. And they will get very crowded
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:08 PM   #5
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I have never heard of anyone having problems getting a GAC for ASD if they in any form explain their child’s limitations; so do not worry about that.

While there are no specific areas designated for parades, in most cases we found places that are a little further back since for us auditory sensory issues are a concern, it takes a little scouting. We like the 2nd floor patio at the entrance to MK, which is attached to the train station.

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Old 09-09-2009, 05:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyvmom View Post
We got a prescription diagnois from our pediatrician about anxiety and crowds causing major overstimulus issues in case they don't want to give is the GAC card.
That's basically a worthless piece of paper. The CM cannot ask for it, doesn't have to read it, and a diagnosis means nothing for accommodations. What is needed is a clear idea of what would be difficult for your child (which you've stated here) and the ability to communicate that to the CM.

Unfortunately, as stated previously, the GAC only works for attractions, and the parades are insanely crowded, up to an hour before they start. It was great advice to suggest using a stroller to create a safe place.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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I have two children with ASD, one with High Functioning Aspergers and one with more moderate/severe classic autism. To be honest my Aspie sounds much like your child and we totally avoid the parades. It's just way too overstimulating for him and not worth the potential meltdown. We have found that parade times are great times for a CS meal/snack or a time to ride rides that are not along the parade route as most people are at the parade.

We have a stroller that we use but we have found that while it's great for personal space is really does nothing for sound and sight over-stimulation.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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We have similiar issues to what you mentioned. Which parade do you plan to see? Magic Kingdom? Our strategic move is to sit right on the corner of Main Street. We put down a beach towel and sit my son right next to the trash can so no one will be on that side of him and I'm on the other side. We arrive about 1 hour before the parade starts and take turns walking around in the gift shops before the parade stops. When we were there a man had hula hoops and my son played with those for awhile. Another good place is on the benches up on the train depot area.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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You can view SpectroMagic in the MK from Peco's Bills. You could get a window seat inside or sit outside in the picnic area. If you choose to sit outside, you would be sitting behind the standing crowd, and that might be a little easier for him to deal with. If he got agitated, then you could go sit inside the restaurant.
However, that being said, I would just skip the parades for sanity's sake. It's not sitting in the crowd that's too bad, it's the mad rush afterwards. Everyone wants out NOW! That is what might be too much for him to handle.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:15 PM   #10
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We are thinking about using the stroller and I read ear muffs work well but, I am nervous!!! Guess I could try take up as much space possibe like we do at home red wagon and towels strollers here we come so if any of u see the rude lady with more stuff than is necessary inhibiting your way for three hours before the parade say hi and wink! If that does'nt work my DH is taking my DD to the parades while me and my son have us time without the "Little sister bugging us" Wish me luck
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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I found the GAC card does not help for parades/fireworks. At EPCOT a section was roped off for GAC holders and this area was more crowded and unruly than the regular area. My daughter has autism and I guess because she was not in a wheelchair or looked disabled people crowded us more. We ended up leaving.

At the MK we sat upstairs at the train station and that was not so crowded until the parade actually started.

One option for the fireworks is to go to the parking lot of the Contemporary and watch, no one goes here. We did this a couple times and were alone.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:58 PM   #12
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Have an escape plan

my best advice is to position yourself as close to the exit as possible for a quick get away. We stood on the top section of the railroad station. It was not a bad view but we had lots of space. I lifted my heavy 8 year DD who has autism and held her tight. She also wore her noise cancelling ear phones which help to absorb much of the loudness coming from the fireworks.
This advice applies to the evening parade and then the fireworks. I think it worked well for us because we were just about the first people on the ferry back to the WL once the fireworks were over. My dd had just about enough of her day at the park so she was comforted knowing we would be back at our hotel in just a few minutes.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:30 PM   #13
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Watch from afar, come early to get a good seat if you think he can handle being in the middle of crowds, bring along headphones or earplugs or whatever else you think may benefit. The goal is to have him as relaxed as possible to avoid over-stimulation, so approach that goal with methods that have worked before. I'm HFA myself and crowds for parades have never bothered me because I've always paid attention to the parades themselves, never to the noise from the crowds. Being in a packed crowd and getting yelled at in Jibberinglish is vastly different from being in a packed crowd just to view things. I have nephews and nieces with autism who are more easily over-stimulated, attributed, by me, to their ages, but they are fine in these sort of situations if held by an adult whom they trust.
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Disney Mom View Post
I found the GAC card does not help for parades/fireworks. At EPCOT a section was roped off for GAC holders and this area was more crowded and unruly than the regular area. My daughter has autism and I guess because she was not in a wheelchair or looked disabled people crowded us more. We ended up leaving.

At the MK we sat upstairs at the train station and that was not so crowded until the parade actually started.

One option for the fireworks is to go to the parking lot of the Contemporary and watch, no one goes here. We did this a couple times and were alone.
I can tell you that it's not just because your DD was not in a wheelchair.
My DD is in a wheelchair and if the area is busy, it's very tight and crowded. They literally park the wheelchairs within a few inches of touching each other so that they can get as many guests in as possible. The rest of the members of the wheelchair party are told to stand behind the wheelchair, so it does get really crowded. And, once you have entered the handicapped viewing area, it's VERY difficult to leave.
A stroller being used as a wheelchair would park next to the wheelchairs, so again, almost touching the next chair with their family behind them.

Guests with disabilities who do not have a wheelchair might be directed to the rope along the front of the area, but they will have people closely packed next to them. Some handicapped viewing areas have space toward the back where you can stand away from other people. You will be along the back though, with people ahead of you. If the area is quite busy, there may be as many as 3 rows of wheelchairs parked in front of you with their parties.

For that reason, most of the handicapped viewing areas are not really a good spot for people who don't have wheelchairs.
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