Vacation Hype

I’ve just experienced my first bummer moment of our Disneyland vacation, and we don’t even leave until next week.

“it’s a small world” is CLOSED until this November for renovation. CLOSED. As in, CAN NOT TAKE CHILDREN ON AIR CONDITIONED 15 MINUTE RIDE.

Just one question, why oh why is it being renovated now, during the summer season? Don’t you think they would close it down in, oh, January after the Christmas season, and then open it up in time for the summer??

If I ruled the world, it would be so.

The only good thing about this is, the kids don’t know what they are missing.

In the meantime, we are getting Ane good and properly hyped up for her first trip to the Magic Kingdom. And because we are not dumb, we have not told her that we’ve already made reservations at Ariel’s Grotto in California Adventures for the Princess Celebration meal. As in, eat dinner while Princesses come to your table and talk to you.

If we told her about it now, we’d never have another moment’s peace until it actually happened. In fact, we’re not really planning on telling her at all. I think we’ll just say, “Let’s go to dinner!” and just walk in and shock her socks off.

We’re also preparing to turn Tad loose – as in, letting him walk around the park instead of riding in his stroller. We’ll be taking the stroller with us, because there are times that he will just need to be restrained, the crowds will be too large, and he will be tired. But this is a big step for us. Unless we can dedicate one adult completely to him, we generally don’t let him loose in public places (other than the local parks). But since the adults will outnumber the kids on this trip (me, the Webmaster, Nana and Papa to Ane and Tad), we’re going to make it work. This is all part of our ongoing attempt to give Tad the freedom that a nearly-three-year-old should have, even a developmentally delayed one.

And then I found out something very cool, should it work for us… apparently, Disneyland has a “special needs pass” for children. It was mostly intended for autistic children (and was discontinued about 4 years ago, but brought back after quite a bit of protest), but it applies to any child that has documentation (such as an IEP) stating that they have a delay that would create a problem to wait in lines. The special needs pass allows the child to get priority seating on rides, and they can take up to 5 other people with them. It only works on a ride the child would be allowed on – so if we do manage to get it for Tad, we can’t use it to cut in at the Indiana Jones ride.

The request for a special needs pass is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but I plan on taking Tad’s paperwork from both the school district (which lists his diagnosis, the IEP, and the reasons for the IEP) and his paperwork from our current facility (which ran all the tests). Disneyland does not advertise this pass on its website (for obvious reasons), and I only discovered it because one of the moms in my support/prayer group at church is a former special ed teacher, and a couple of her autistic students had obtained this pass when visiting Disneyland. When she heard about our upcoming trip and Tad’s delay, she told me about it and I did a bit of research online. Bloggers with autistic children and some family sites both referenced it (they also talked about how the “wheelchair” disability is often abused by teenagers), and then I talked it over with Kay, Tad’s speech therapist, at our meeting last week. She had never heard of it before, but promptly said, “I’ll definitely be telling some of the teacher and parents at school!” Kay was of the opinion that with Tad’s social and cognitive delays, added to his need to be in motion, getting the special needs pass was justifiable in her opinion.

So, we plan on. And prepare more. Don’t let me forget to print up our tickets. Thanks.

3 Responses to “Vacation Hype”

  1. Ressis
    June 24th, 2008 07:54

    That’s bummer about “Small World.” Oddball can empathize. When he went to Disneyland as a kid it was off season so most things were closed, like “Star Tours”. Ironically, I think he did go on “Small World.”

  2. friend
    June 26th, 2008 12:25

    Small World was already closed in March when I was there. It sure seems to take a long time to renovate, expecially for the Disney machine!

  3. Deanna’s Corner » Blog Archive » Disneyland Tip #2 - the special-needs child
    July 15th, 2008 00:20

    […] blogged about this before our trip – one of the moms at my Tuesday morning prayer group is a former special ed […]