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Old 06-28-2013, 01:30 PM   #1
msr709
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Where to stay with Autistic 3 yo!

I know we are going to be going mainly to MK and AK (his favorites are Mickey and anything with animals). Since they are located so widely apart, its almost impossible to choose. We don't want to move mid-stay, since he doesn't do well with changes (its enough we're staying at any hotel!). Anyway, AoA looks adorable and I was considering it but I don't know where it is located as far as MK and AK (they both seem at opposite ends, is that correct?). We are planning on having a group of at least 6 or maybe even 8 (2 ppl are very undecided), so I figured one of the suites at AoA. He loves to take the bus and we are planning in the 2014 summer (still up in the air of exactly when but there is a Teacher's Aid and a teenage with us so it has to be summer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. TIA
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:42 PM   #2
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I didn't bring my ASD son until he was 6, but I know how it is. I would recommend staying at an MK monorail resort for maximum transportation options. We always liked the way we could easily leave the park in the middle of the day for nap and swim time. Since your child likes taking the bus, the ride to AK shouldn't be a problem. From what I can tell from the maps, I would figure on a 20 minute bus ride to both MK and AK.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
sunshyne51404
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I have two Children with Autism. With our daughter her 1st trip was when she was 7 months old and every year since then. My son was dx at 22 months, he has been to Disney 2 times (3 if you count our September trip). He loves it. We did Christmas there in 2012 and they both enjoyed the parks and parades. We have stayed at Old Key West both times with him. We get a 1 bedroom and enjoy the kitchen. I know most children are picky eaters when young so this works for us. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:23 AM   #4
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I also have two sons on the spectrum. The best trip we ever experienced we stayed at the CR in one of the ground floor Garden Wing rooms. It was away from a lot of the chaos of the resort but we still could utilize the convenience of the transportation options. My oldest son, who was 4 when we traveled, loved the access to the beach area from the patio and we were able to enjoy the water parade every evening. We are staying at the Poly for the first time in 8 days and I can give you an idea of that experience when I get back!!
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
JennyDrake
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I used to work with autistic kids and I'm going to echo general theme of PPers--if any way I would NOT stay in a value due to the noise, huge, bright icons and over stimulation, and food court chaos. CR would be ideal, SSR and OKW have some of the tamest themes and are quiet, my third best option would be any of the other monorail resorts.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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I've gone at least 25 times with my autistic child and all resorts were fine. I do suggest a different resort each trip so they do not get stuck on one. If value or mod rent a small car to move around the busses are too long and crowded.

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Old 06-29-2013, 03:20 PM   #7
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I have two 3 year old boys with autism who have been 7 times. I think you need to look primarily at your own child and what types of needs he has. As we all know, all children with autism are different. Look at your budget. Look at sleeping arrangements for the options that fit in your budget. What kind of eager is your son and is he on a specific diet? Decide if you need a kitchen or of a kitchenette would do. Is he ok in restaurants?

For our trips we have stayed all levels, value up to deluxe and DVC. For us it is a lot easier to stay in our DVC resorts because we need a kitchen. My boys also benefit from a bit more room to run around. We have stayed in a value several times, movies for a week, and music in a suite. They are louder and more chaotic. It doesn't bother my boys but take your own child into consideration. Our last two stays have been the easiest. We stayed at BLT and AK Kidani village. Both of these resorts are very quiet. BLT wins out because we love MK and Epcot. You also cannot beat the walking path to MK so no need to take the monorail. Easy and quick and no lines and no monorail breakdowns.

Since your son is a big animal lover, I would also consider one of the AK resorts and given a choice, I would recommend Kidani village. It is by far quieter, has a fantastic pool, and of course, lots of animals to view. I would recommend a savannah view room if possible. Kidani village is also the first bus stop and like your son, my boys loved the bus so that fact that it takes about 20 minutes to get to MK didn't bother them a bit. They loved it.

I would look into DVC point rental if you feel that a villa is right for your group. Animal kingdom will probably be easy to get, BLT will be much more difficult. Hope this helps. Happy planning!
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
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We have gone on three long (9 night or longer) trips with our ASD son (when he was 2 1/2, almost 4 and 5), all on site. We did split stays each time - CR and Poly first time, Poly and Dolphin second time, BLT (one bedroom) and Swan last time. He loves the Dolphin, which he calls the triangle hotel. We spend a lot of time at that pool, which has always been less crowded than the poly pool in our experiences. Walking around the boardwalk has been great for us, too, and we loved being able to walk to and from Epcot. He also loved BLT. The master bathtub was a hit for him. He wanted to be at the hotel spending time in our room, or at the arcade at CR, or at either of the pools (you can use the CR pool, too). The kitchen was convenient. We usually just has breakfast in the room and then were off, ordered in dinner one night and had the leftovers another, etc. Sometimes he really needs the downtime. We have honestly had great experiences at all of the hotels, though we found our Swan room in need of repair. They are constantly doing refurb, so that may no longer be an issue. We prioritize convenience in resort choice - monorail or Epcot only so far - so we can get back and forth easily for breaks. We spent a good part of each day at the hotel last time while we were in Disney. Good luck!!
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #9
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My suggestion as a preschool, special needs teacher would be a villa. Depending on how many people up to a 2 or 3 bedroom. Of course this is not knowing your son's needs which could also be very different by the time you go. But having a kitchen so that you can make familiar foods, a quiet bedroom where he can fall asleep while others are still awake, in a quiet area like OKW or SSR might be just the right fit. AofA seems like way overload unless his autism is very mild. A quiet resort will give him down time. It's really hard to say though because children can vary in needs so greatly.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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My friend take their child to the Poly. They like the ease of getting to and from Magic Kingdom. Of course he has been so many times it is like "home" to him
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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You've all been very helpful and given me a lot to think about. I just want to clear up that this is my Grandson, (I never specified before) and his Autism is mostly on the verbal side, he doesn't have issues with noise, crowds, or colors. He is very social for an autistic child, and definitely loves all things Disney. I am considering CR or BLT, I'm going to start looking into the DVC rentals as suggested. He does need downtime but, then again, don't we all? LOL! Thanks again for all your suggestions, and if you have any others I would love to hear them. I've gone multiple times to WDW but this is the first I'm actually going with a toddler! But I intend to be taking him as many times as I can afford. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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I can't promise you this, but I and some other parents of kids on the spectrum have noticed a positive post WDW change in behavior after our Disney vacations. It always seemed to open my son up a little bit more. So I think your plan of taking your GS as often as you can is a great idea.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:24 AM   #13
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Well it certainly always raises my spirits! Its my favorite vacation spot, and I hope it will be his as well. Glad to hear the positive experience. I'll try to write a report when I get back to pay forward all the kind responses I've gotten.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:58 AM   #14
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I have a son and a daughter, both on the spectrum and Disney is truly their favorite place in the world. One is a sensory seeker and one is a sensory avoider but I will say the resorts were never an issue for either one of them. We have done ASMovies, POP, WL, and GF. I have always put that we were traveling with children who are autistic and the resorts have always been amazing with us.

The one things I did learn though for my son (my avoider) is that when he was little,3, fireworks were the worst for him...but they are my favorite. At first we just avoided them all together. But our second trip when he was 5, I really wanted to see Wishes so I brought iPods filled with their favorite music and just turned the strollers away from the fireworks. He wasn't bothered by them and my husband and I got to see the show. It was a great way to teach flexibility and compromise. Now at 11, he have worked at desensitizing him over the years and he now loves fireworks.

I also work as an ABA therapist. I learned a lot from my job about schedules and I made our own file folder schedule. This was before smartphones, so if you have one it may be easier to put a schedule on the phone. What I did though was take the format that they had been use to at school with velcro and moving PECS when we were all done with that part of the schedule and it worked very well for transitions.

For socialization, when they were over the age of 5, we started pin trading and for my daughter who has the greater difficult with impulsiveness and social cues, this was a great way to teach waiting turn, looking into someone's eyes when talking and having an appropriate conversation.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:42 PM   #15
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I have to echo others here. I am an autistic support teacher at a junior high. Whenever my students get stuck with writing or are feeling a bit shy when it comes to conversations, all we have to do is mention WDW and they light up! Even if they haven't been there! They talk to classmates who have been there and you can definitely see a positive, happy change.

OP, best of luck choosing your resort...it sounds like you have a lot of options! Either way, you know you're going to have a BLAST!
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