Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > disABILITIES!
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 11-17-2012, 07:59 PM   #1
JudyeNaz
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2

First time visit for family with ASD

We are trying to plan our first ever family vacation. Neither my husband or I have ever been to Disney and we want to take our daughters. I am seriously overwhelmed with this!!!!

Our 7 yr old daughter has autism. She is verbal but has a severely self-restricted diet. We just got her to 43 lbs.

Any resort recommendations or meal plans? I am trying to find the resort that may be fit her needs and make this trip successful!!!

Thank you for any help
JudyeNaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
primrosea
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New England
Posts: 140

When we were first planning we also felt overwhelmed, but don't let it get you down...it is SO worth it in the end. Our top priority was keeping our day similar to that at home and also a GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP. After much research we decided on Port Orleans Riverside because it had a real look of being calm and quiet. We found it to be very relaxing while we were there and a nice change from the quick pace of the parks. We have also stayed at both Pop and Art of Animation and liked them both, but none of them had the same tranquility as Port Orleans. We also requested a box fan for the room which gave us some white noise and made it closer to home. No matter where we book we always ask for a rom looking at "nothing." No pool view, no praking lot, just nothing so there are no extra distractions when we are going to bed.

We also have food allergies and felt accomidated everywhere we went. There are lots of great threads in here for people who have allergies or restricted diets. When planning your meals you may want to consider Charceter meals as they will give your daughters a chance to meet chacters without waiting in line.

Another consideration for you may be to have scheduled days out of the parks to just relax. We make sure to not go more than 2 days in a row in the parks as it can be overwhelming for anyone! Take a day off to relax, swim, check out the resort and just do the stuff you would do at home. We make sure to bring familiar home things, even just a smalll game or familiar books.

Have fun planning! The people here are great and will help you out with any questions you have!
__________________
Port Orleans Riverside~September 2010
Port Orleans Riverside~January 2011
Pop Century~January 2012
Pop~October 2012

AoALM~October-November 2012
Port Orleans Riverside~October 2013
POFQ~December 2014

http://livingontheprimrosepath.blogspot.com/ LETS TALK GLUTEN FREE DISNEY
primrosea is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 11-17-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
tinkerbelletreasure
Mouseketeer
 
tinkerbelletreasure's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: oklahoma
Posts: 362

We found that leaving the parks for a few hours in the afternoon just for some "down time" helped my son who is on the spectrum. we also got him a GAC. We use a stroller as a wheelchair give him a buffer from the general public. We are staying at The Port Orleans Riverside as well.
__________________
Janine
tinkerbelletreasure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
JudyeNaz
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2

That is one of the resorts that I have been looking at!

I am so nervous. The furthest we have ever traveled with Amanda is 2 hours away. She has never slept away from home!!!

Good idea about the just stay at the resort days....

I so want this to be special for our 9yr old sweetheart of an older sister.....she so wants to go......

And we have never gone ourselves!!!
JudyeNaz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 06:02 AM   #5
bookwormde
Heading out now, another adventure
Have a good time, WDW is a magical place
 
bookwormde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 5,570

Our child has a very limited diet (although plenty of quantity), what we ended up doing was getting a villa (DVC) so we had our own full kitchen (saves a lot of $ compared to disney food).

We joined DVC but you can rent reservations from a member of book direct from WDW although unless you get a good discount it is quite pricy.

I would plan on taking mid day breaks (no commando touring) so you can eat all your meals at the villa.
If you think MK is your park then villas of wilderness lodge is you most economical and available villas that you can get back to quickly, if EPCOT then Beach club villas or Board walk villas. You need to be flexible as you need to plan well in advance (7 months or more)

The other option is the cabins at fort wilderness.
__________________
bookwormde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
EvangelineG
Mouseketeer
 
EvangelineG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 312

Both of our sons have allergies and sensory issues with food as part of their ASD. We rent an offsite villa (but there are onsite options available too as Bookwormde said). This means that we can provide the same familiar foods as at home for 2 meals out of the day, and only ask our sons to take on the challenge of eating in a restaurant once a day (we usually do lunch). We also carry familiar snack foods into the parks with us for our sons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JudyeNaz View Post

I am so nervous. The furthest we have ever traveled with Amanda is 2 hours away. She has never slept away from home!!!
Part of the reason we rent a villa is also because my sons do not do well in a hotel room. Sleep has always been an issue for them, and they can hardly share a room with another person at night let alone a bed. By renting a villa we can make the sleeping situation as similar to home as possible by giving our sons each their own bedrooms, and it is much more quiet and private.

I would strongly recommend trying a night or two in a hotel as a family prior to making the arrangements for your trip. This way you can see how your daughter will tolerate the disruption to routine and sleeping in close quarters. Much better to figure out ahead of time if she needs her own bed or room than on your 4th or 5th sleepless night on vacation!

Good luck! We took our boys to Disneyland for the first time when they were 7 (twins). I was really anxious, and it was a challenge, but it was so wonderful for all of us!
__________________


Me & DH + DS & DS (both 14)

_
EvangelineG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2012, 09:19 PM   #7
pfalcioni
If we're not Riding, we're Disney Dreaming!
 
pfalcioni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 287

Small steps usually work better for anyone, rather than giant leaps. With that in mind, try to keep as many things as "close to home" as possible while at WDW.

Food: If your daughter has a limited diet, are the foods she enjoys relatively portable? If so, why not bring them with you so she can have EXACTLY what she likes?

Dining: I would not recommend making very many Table Service reservations because they really tie you down to a schedule that has nothing to do with how your family is feeling at that particular moment in time. You could make one or two special reservations at places you know the girls would enjoy, but be sure that you schedule them for a time that the restaurant will not be crowded.

Sleeping in a strange bed: What about trying to have a few nights away from home before your big vacation, whether you go stay at a family member's house nearby, or rent a room at a local hotel (use Priceline or Hotwire for cheap rates)? These little mini-trips will not only get your daughter ready for time away from home, but will be a good learning experience for you all.

Park Time: Like others have mentioned, limiting your park time will be a great way for your entire family to have fun and actually get a little rest during your vacation. Get to the park before it opens, stay until noon then head back to your room for a relaxing afternoon swimming or just watching TV. Return to the park in the evening if you're all up for it.

Transportation: Although Disney has wonderful transportation, if your daughter has troubles with loud noises and/or crowds, or she's never used public transportation before, I'd consider renting a car and driving to all the parks except Magic Kingdom (the bus is the easiest transport option here).

Hope these help!
__________________
pfalcioni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-24-2012, 03:38 PM   #8
gummie22
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 40

Most important question is -- what does your daughter need? And, what do you need to know in advance so you can make sure she is ok and your family has a good time?

We took our son to WDW for the first time when he was 8. (While not on the spectrum, my son has many characteristics of kids with ASD - sensory, ADHD, anxiety, tics, etc.) I spent a year planning for our trip - we stayed at Pop Century and he was fine. He had always been extremely afraid and anxious around costumed characters of any kind, so I didn't book our trip until I knew that that would not be an issue any longer. We gave him many opportunities to be around characters (Sesame Place, parades, sports events), and when my dh volunteered at his school to dress up as a character, my ds was the character "helper." That was what "cured" him of his phobia. After that, I knew we were a little closer to Disney dreams. This happened around age 6.

Next - anxiety about dark, scary rides. We watched a ton of YouTube videos and rode hundreds of rides virtually, over and over and over. (He also has OCD.) We read lots of books about WDW written for kids. Over and over. If a ride had a scare factor listed, we watched the video.

I used Touring Plans and made a very detailed plan for every day we went to the parks. I shared the plans with him and I verbally rehearsed our days, step by step, with him so he could visualize it. And then, I stuck to our plan, and kept telling him what was coming next. If there was anything he decided he didn't want to do, after a little talk about it, if he didn't want to do it - we didn't do it. Changing plans with a little adult disappointment for not going on ride is a lot easier than dealing with a meltdown in the middle of a hot park. We also had decided that returning to the hotel when needed was important, but we identified places in each park where we could go to cool down or have some downtime too. We spent close to 2 hours on Tom Sawyer Island on 2 separate days on our first trip.

Finally, we used a GAC and it was the best thing for us. The cast members were very supportive. On Pirates, his very first ride, he got very anxious before boarding the boat. I asked the CM if he could use his little flashlight (very important to have one of these at all times), and not only did they say yes, they even gave us our own boat!! We have had many magical moments since then!

My son loves Disney so much, he wants to be a CM when he grows up! He is now 12, and has been to WDW 8 times in 5 years, and on a Disney Cruise. He is obsessed with how things work behind the scenes, and we have been lucky to have met many CMs who share the magic with us! Also, pin collecting is a favorite activity for him, and it has really helped him with his social skills. And - there are rules for pin trading, and he likes rules!

So, I really think that over-planning and previewing are what helped us with our first visit, and we have had wonderful visits ever since. We went into it with an open mind, and also with a commitment to making sure he was ok.

Know your kid's likes and dislikes, fears and triggers - and plan with those in mind.

Hope you have a great time planning, and a great trip!

Lorri
gummie22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2012, 08:14 PM   #9
CarolineB
DIS Veteran
 
CarolineB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 712

My son is ASD / 9 years old. We are local so we get a new GAC card for him every 2 months (the maximum time that the card is issued.) It has been helpful to have his diagnosis letter from his doctor -- some CMs have looked at it more closely than others -- especially when we weren't just getting the GAC renewed. This week my son actually self advocated for himself directly to the CM and said that he needs his GAC renewed. With the doctor's note stating autism, I've never had to explain how a GAC could be helpful.


Also, you can sit in the roped off section for parades and illuminations -- this makes a big difference because when the parade or illuminations begins, you won't have hoards of people cramming all around you at the last minute. Only people with a wheelchair or GAC can get in to the roped off area.

Last edited by SueM in MN; 12-09-2012 at 08:42 PM.
CarolineB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 10:29 AM   #10
Disney_Princess83
DIS Veteran
 
Disney_Princess83's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,835

Something that helps my brother when we sleep away from home, is to have his pillow or at least his pillow case and if we're staying for a longer period, we bring his favourite doona cover and put it on the bed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JudyeNaz View Post
That is one of the resorts that I have been looking at!

I am so nervous. The furthest we have ever traveled with Amanda is 2 hours away. She has never slept away from home!!!

Good idea about the just stay at the resort days....

I so want this to be special for our 9yr old sweetheart of an older sister.....she so wants to go......

And we have never gone ourselves!!!
__________________

Almost 6 Weeks at Disney.... it's Happened! October & November 2013! Trip Report and Food Review to Follow Soon

Starbucks has arrived at WDW! MK, EPCOT and soon the entire World!
Add me on Twitter: @OzGoofyPrincess
Disney_Princess83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 07:56 PM   #11
lanejudy
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,286
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolineB View Post
Also, you can sit in the roped off section for parades and illuminations -- this makes a big difference because when the parade or illuminations begins, you won't have hoards of people cramming all around you at the last minute. Only people with a wheelchair or GAC can get in to the roped off area.
Depending on time of year and crowds, the roped-off areas can and do get crowded - to the extent that WDW will limit access to the person with a w/c plus 1 other.

To the OP - you've gotten some great advice. As for which resort - much of that may be personal preference based on what fits your budget. We have stayed at both value and moderate resorts. I think it's more how you handle the resort experience rather than which resort. Bring a comfort item from home, even a familiar pillowcase or blanket. Avoid the crowds - that also means planning meal time so you aren't hitting the resort food court with the hoards at breakfast; maybe send 1 or 2 to get breakfast items and bring it back to your room.

Primary advice: be flexible. While having a general plan is needed, and a good touring plan can be invaluable, you will need to have flexibility within that plan and be ready to take a break whenever needed. Know your child's meltdown triggers and do everything to avoid those. Use a stroller-as-wheelchair for a safe haven; it can be parked if she's comfortable walking for a bit. And definitely plan "down" time - depending on length of trip, we love to have at least 1 "resort" day or non-parks day. My DD can have just as much fun at the resort pool and playground as she does at the parks.

Enjoy your vacation!
lanejudy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 07:01 AM   #12
PlutosUnDr8d
Earning My Ears
 
PlutosUnDr8d's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Wiesbaden, DE
Posts: 51

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanejudy View Post
As for which resort - much of that may be personal preference based on what fits your budget. We have stayed at both value and moderate resorts. I think it's more how you handle the resort experience rather than which resort. Bring a comfort item from home, even a familiar pillowcase or blanket. Avoid the crowds - that also means planning meal time so you aren't hitting the resort food court with the hoards at breakfast; maybe send 1 or 2 to get breakfast items and bring it back to your room.

Primary advice: be flexible. While having a general plan is needed, and a good touring plan can be invaluable, you will need to have flexibility within that plan and be ready to take a break whenever needed. Know your child's meltdown triggers and do everything to avoid those. Use a stroller-as-wheelchair for a safe haven; it can be parked if she's comfortable walking for a bit. And definitely plan "down" time - depending on length of trip, we love to have at least 1 "resort" day or non-parks day. My DD can have just as much fun at the resort pool and playground as she does at the parks.
Agreed--breakfast in the room is a must for us, since if we are outside the hotel room in the morning, we MUST head toward the parks or my DS6 (with ASD) will be out of sorts.
Resorts--we have stayed at POR, AoA, Pop, All Star Movies, and the Contemporary (extra special birthday visit). The one DS6 loves the most? Pop Century, because "they have the computer pool". Even at AoA, he asked if next time we could go to Pop. . .
That being said, he has never NOT enjoyed a stay on property. He obsessively watches "Disney Must Do's" to start and end his day, and knows the entire thing by heart. ("Stacy rode Splash Mountain, too!") Now he wants to go to La Nouba because, "it's on Disney's must do's!"

He has asked to stay at POR again, but for the budget that isn't happening for this trip. When I told him we were going for the holidays, he said, "Can we stay at Pop Century?"
I always bring his pillow and blanket, and some food items he is used to--he has a bad reaction to too many diet changes!

Wherever you choose to stay, I hope you have an amazing experience and have lots of Disney magic with your family!
PlutosUnDr8d is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:39 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.