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Old 11-12-2009, 06:01 PM   #1
...and the greatest of these is Love
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Arrow A Halloween Adventure in Autism (11/7) Prayer Request for Catie (p.129)

Hello, DIS-Friends!

My pre-trip report was nearing 200 pages, so our moderator suggested that I start a new report and just add a link to the PTR, so, here you are:

A Halloween Adventure in Autism: PTR!

(Cast of Characters on Page One.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Links to Trip Report Chapters will be found HERE:

Chapter 1: Disney Day is Here!

Chapter 2: Why Even Bother Calling it "The Expressway?"

Chapter Three: The Flight That Rivaled Stitch's Great Escape

Chapter Four: Karibu Makazi! Welcome Home!!

Chapter Five: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Chapter Six: A Little Bit 'O Lazy and a Little Bit 'O Crazy!

Chapter Six Continued

Chapter Six Completed

Chapter Seven: Samawati Swimming and a Tangerine Dream, er, Nightmare!

Chapter Seven Continued

Chapter Seven Completed

Chapter Eight: Arrrgh You Ready, Kathy? Aye, Aye, Captain!

Chapter Nine: We're Gonna Party Like it's 999 (Happy Haunts!)

Chapter Ten: "Heigh Ho Heigh Ho? A Pirate's Life for Me?"


Chapter Eleven: Ippy, Dippy, and Drippy!

Chapter Twelve: Happy Hallowishes!

Chapter Thirteen: What's a Pirate Wench To Do?

Chapter Thirteen, con't.

Chapter Thirteen, completed

Chapter Fourteen: Mean Old Maleficent!

Chapter Fifteen: Where's Billy?

Chapter Sixteen: Asian Studies

Chapter Sixteen, continued:

Chapter Seventeen: Everybody Duck!

Chapter Eighteen: You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop on the Savanna!

Chapter Nineteen: We Find the Time and Plan to Jam!

Chapter Nineteen, Continued...

Chapter Twenty: Of Bugs and (Baseball) Bats!

Chapter Twenty, continued:

Chapter Twenty, completed

Chapter Twenty-One: Ed Gets in the ZONE...

Chapter Twenty-Two: Soaking Up Some Sunset...

Chapter Twenty-Two: (continued)

Chapter Twenty-Three: Billy Gets the Lion's Share...

Chapter Twenty-Four (Part 1) 3D X 2!

Chapter Twenty-Four (Part 2)

Chapter Twenty-Five You Can't Fool Us! We Know Where Dug Went!

Chapter Twenty-Six There's a Monster in the Closet...

Chapter Twenty-Seven Peevishness at the PIXAR Parade... (Part One)

Chapter Twenty-Seven (Part Two)

Chapter Twenty-Eight: You'd Better Clean Your Plate!

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Thanks, Uncle Walt!

Chapter Thirty: Darn! We Got the Gangster AGAIN!

Chapter Thirty-One: Billy Gets His Fantasmic Fix!

Chapter Thirty-Two: In the Heat of the Night

Chapter Thirty-Three: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Chapter Thirty-Four: A Fantasyland Morning: Just Us Girls (Part One)

Chapter Thirty-Four: Part Two


Last edited by KathyRN137; 11-07-2010 at 03:24 PM. Reason: links
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:09 PM   #2
...and the greatest of these is Love
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Arrow A Halloween Adventure in Autism

Chapter One: Disney Day Is Here!

Friday, October 30, 2009

As I sat at yet another red light, my fingers tapped nervously on the steering wheel. For the tenth time, I glanced at the dashboard clock (as if that would somehow make the numbers any different.) 2:30.

Darn! I told Billy’s teacher that I would be there by now! School let out at 2:45. I had e-mailed her the day before to tell her that I would be picking him up instead of letting him come home on the bus as he usually did, and that it would be a big help if they could change him out of his Halloween costume and into regular clothes since we were leaving for the airport immediately after school. She had e-mailed me back that morning to say that it would be a big help if I could be there early to change him out of his costume. That kind of defeated the purpose of my request (to save time) but I had agreed. After all, the staff was sure to be busy with the Halloween party. I looked at the clock once more and sighed, realizing that I was not going to make it until 2:45 after all. So much for the best-laid plans of mice and moms.

Our flight to Orlando wasn’t departing until 7:30, but I had booked us to fly out of Kennedy in New York instead of our usual Newark, NJ airport because the flights out of NJ had been so ridiculously expensive... serious price-gouging due to Jersey Week, I had imagined. In any case, the plan was for us to leave the house exactly at 3:30 to give us time to fight the Friday night traffic into the city. Since Billy’s bus usually dropped him off between 3:30 and 3:40, I had come up with the brilliant idea of driving to pick him up early so he could have some transition time to change, use the bathroom, etc. before we set out on the long drive to the airport.

A yellow school bus up ahead began to flash its lights and the traffic behind it slowed to a stop. I groaned. I should’ve just let him come home on the bus. Now I would have to park all the way out in the far parking lot to avoid getting caught behind the line of mini-buses that seemed to stretch for half a mile in front of the school. Oh well, it was too late to do anything about that now. I prayed that the staff would be kind enough to change Billy out of his costume for me so that I could use a few precious minutes to finish my last bit of packing once we got home.

You read that correctly... we were supposed to leave in approximately one hour and I hadn’t even completely finished packing! I had been planning and dreaming about our first Halloween at WDW for roughly six months and yet somehow I was running about two hours behind schedule.

Perhaps I had been a bit too over-confident. After all, this was going to be our family’s seventh trip to The World. All the big plans had been made ages ago... I felt as if I had the whole process down to a science. By the time September had rolled around, I had placed myself on a sort of autopilot as far as Disney was concerned. The start of school is always a super-busy time for families and so, naturally, I had become caught up in school-related shopping, paperwork and activities. Soccer, Field Hockey, and Sunday morning Religious Ed began for Tricia, and Billy resumed his Saturday Morning sports program. Helping with homework and taxiing children to and from games, practices and the library is all part of the job when you’re a Mom.

Oh, not to worry. I hadn’t completely forgotten about our trip. I had been slowly filling the Disney Box with travel-sized items over the past couple of weeks. I had already dug out the rain ponchos and the family’s Disney shirts from the closet. The mail had been stopped, transportation to and from both airports had been confirmed, and an order had been placed with Garden Grocer for delivery to our DVC villa. I had made the arrangements to board Aimee, our Lab/Golden Retriever mix at the kennel and had taken her to the vet that week for her boosters.

The house was fairly clean and tidy; we had even been able to rake/blow the first big batch of leaves to the curb for pick-up on November 1st. I had been fanatical about keeping up with my laundry all week so that all our vacation clothes were washed and ready to go. Tricia and I both got our pre-vacation haircuts and I had buzzed Billy’s hair myself.

The box of Halloween costumes had been sent (albeit very last-minute) to our resort, Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Hmmm, that task could certainly have been executed in a more timely fashion... it cost over $100 to mail the darn thing to Lake Buena Vista overnight so it would arrive on Friday. (Saturday was Halloween and I wasn’t taking any chances.)

So, other than that rather outrageously expensive bit of procrastination, I really should have been in good shape, right?

Wrong! Don’t ask me why, but I still wound up running around like a chicken with its head cut off all day!

I had been unusually fatigued that week, but not for lack of sleep. I was a good little Disney Do-Bee and had made sure the kids and I got to bed at a decent hour all that week. I couldn’t speak for Ed… you may recall that he’s a cop and works nights. He had signed up for two college classes this semester and so his schedule had been extra-full as well. He’s always running on the barest minimum of sleep and the constant whine of the leaf-blowers in our neighborhood had not made for the best of daytime sleeping conditions as of late.

Perhaps my iron was low... chalk that up to the usual monthly reason. At least it had the courtesy to arrive a bit early and so I wouldn’t have to deal with it on vacation as I had originally calculated. Still, when the alarm clock had gone off that morning I fervently wished that I could roll over and get just one more hour of sleep. My back ached and I added two Advil to my collection of morning vitamins. I was in a great mood, though, and found myself humming Disney tunes as I made breakfast and packed two school lunches. That night I would be in Disney!

By 8:30 both kids were off to school and out of my hair. Tricia had finished her packing the previous evening… surprisingly her clothing selection had passed my inspection. Ed had already told me that he would pack himself and I had begun putting clothes for Billy and me in little piles on the dining room table. I had the day off and felt that I had plenty of time to get things done, so I found myself lingering over my breakfast while I checked the ten-day weather forecast for Orlando. Basically it looked like it would be sunny and quite warm. I can’t blame the DIS; I did only a minimal amount of DIS-ing that morning. My last post was 9:35am. After that I took my shower and got dressed.

Where did the rest of the day go?

Let’s see if I can remember. I dropped Aimee at the kennel at 11:00; then I stopped at the bank, returned some books and videos to the library, and filled up the gas tank. When I got home I emptied out the back of the van so our bags would fit better. Then I did some packing until it was time to leave for my 12:30 appointment at the nail salon. This was probably my biggest mistake… a mani and pedi took about an hour and twenty minutes… but I had been so busy all week between work and completing my other errands that I hadn’t had the chance to do it the day before. I really didn’t want to cancel; it had become a kind of a pre-vacation relaxation ritual for me. Probably should’ve bagged it, but hindsight is always 20/20.

I walked into the house around 2:00. Ed had just woken up and was tossing his clothes into a bag. He nodded toward the still unfinished packing on the table and asked, “What have you been doing all day?”


I went to the bathroom to gather up my makeup and toiletries. DSis Eileen called; she and Catie were minutes away. Ed jumped into the shower.

Whoops! Better not forget those MNSSHP tickets! I grabbed them (and my binder, and my PassPorter) and shoved them into my bag. Then I turned down the heat and ran around the house locking all the windows. I thought that DSis and Dniece would show up at any minute, but they did not appear. I couldn’t wait any longer. I grabbed my keys and headed out the front door. They pulled up just as I got into my van and, after throwing them a couple of air kisses and telling them to let themselves in, I finally backed out of the leaf-strewn driveway.

Now I was sitting at that darn red light wondering how the day had gotten away from me! The light changed and I hurried the last few blocks to Billy’s school. Billy has been attending TCI, a private, non-profit school for children with communication, learning, and developmental disabilities since he was about four years old. Because he has “classic” autism, his educational needs are unable to be met in a traditional school setting. Fortunately, TCI services children all the way through secondary school, so we don’t have to worry about him transferring as he gets older. He’s very comfortable there and we consider ourselves fortunate; the staff is top-notch and very caring.

Amazingly, I was able to find a parking space and slowly made my way up the steep hill to the main entrance of the school. In 1994 the pharmaceutical company, Hoffmann-LaRoche, donated a 45,000 square foot building to TCI and it underwent extensive renovations to convert it into a school. The 7-acre property spans an elevation that is among the highest in the county. Believe me, I felt it as I reached the top of the stairs and stopped to catch my breath before opening the door!

“Hello, Mrs.____, are you all ready for Walt Disney World?” Anne, the receptionist, somehow manages to keep track of everything that is going on with students and their families. The lobby was bustling with activity; groups of students were departing for their bus lines and several parents were picking up their children. Anne buzzed the classroom to let Billy’s teacher know that I was there.

“Billy’s so excited,” she continued. “He’s been talking about going to Disney all week!” Within moments I heard my son’s distinctive, “Eeeeee-aaahhhhh-eeeee!” coming from the end of the hallway. I turned and couldn’t help but smile. He was practically dancing down the hallway with his teacher.

“Mommy!” he called out when he had finally seen me. It took a minute since his head was violently nodding up and down like a heavy-metal guitarist. God bless his teacher, he was already changed into street clothes. She handed me the bag containing his pirate costume and a plastic pumpkin filled with candy and small toys. “Billy loved the magician at the party!” she said, and wished him a wonderful vacation. Billy reached out and put his arms around her for a big hug. Then with a loud screech of joy, he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the door. The receptionist called out, “Goodbye, Billy” and he answered her with, “Goodbye! Happy Halloween!” He put on his backpack and we signed out. Billy then proceeded to (loudly) wish every person we saw from the front door to where the van was parked a “Happy Halloween!” He was clearly in a great mood.

We buckled up and I turned on the CD player. Soon we pulled out of the lot singing along with the grim grinning ghosts on the MNSSHP CD. In a few minutes we would be home and then we’d immediately set off to the airport.

Our Halloween Disney trip was finally, finally here!


Last edited by KathyRN137; 11-15-2009 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
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Great start. I love to read your writing style. I think time gets away from us all.... even when we are short on it and have been waiting a long time for the big trip!
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:28 PM   #4
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Great start. I love to read your writing style. I think time gets away from us all.... even when we are short on it and have been waiting a long time for the big trip!
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Old 11-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #5
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I found my way over here from the pre-trippie. I don't want to miss a moment of this one.
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My Family DH Ron DD Abby 14 DS Ethan 10 DS Henry Elias 3

Planning our next trip...
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:08 PM   #6
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::wipes brow::

Thank goodness I found my way over to your new official TR. I'm anxiously awaiting another installment.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
I am alive, sometimes I wonder too!
I probably would be glued to the side
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I made it too.

Hey this still has that "new trip report smell "too.
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Old 11-12-2009, 08:56 PM   #8
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Woo hoo! I found you. I too love reading your TRs and this has the makings of another great adventure!
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:04 PM   #9
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Looking forward to reading another adventure with you and your family.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:06 PM   #10
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Yeah! Can't wait to hear all about it!!
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:17 PM   #11
Patiently waiting for the next trip to Disney!
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Subscribingggggg I'm so excited to read more.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:25 PM   #12
on the threshold of revelation
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i'm here too. i'll try not to just lurk this time!

You're off to a great start - you are a wonderful writer.

How do we love Disney? Let me count the ways! (Completed February 2009 TR)
A foolish promise finally kept - the PTR (Completed February 2009 PTR)
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:32 PM   #13
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Can't wait to hear all the details!!
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HHI Spring Break 2010 TR http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2432610
Spectrum Moms Take on the World TR http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2537308&page=2
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:01 AM   #14
We too are so very NOT into traipsing through the dark when a bucket will do just great
What a fun way to meet new folks and say howdy
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Hi Kathy!

Already commented on the first chapter over on the PTR board, but wanted to add my hello over here too. So looking forward to hearing about all your adventures. Wanna know a secret?? Yours was the first PTR I was at from beginning its very climactic end, so it's extra special for me to follow you along on this Halloween Adventure!

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Old 11-13-2009, 02:06 AM   #15
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I think I got in on the first page......

I hope traffic wasn't bad...
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