Disney with Special Needs: Dealing with Disappointment

The air is getting (kind of) cool. The evenings are getting crisp. Leaves are starting to get that orange, red, and gold fabulousness that happens at this time of year. And pumpkin spice everything is filling the shelves of every store, market, gas station. It’s finally fall!

And we know what that means! I’ll be heading to Disney World in two months!


Yep. You read that right. Wrong.

My family has been planning our Thanksgiving Extravaganza at Disney for a year now. I was starting to get super excited. I had even started gathering up some items to pack. Well, now it’s September and I have the devastating task of announcing that I won’t be heading to the World in 8 weeks like I thought I would be.

The unfortunate reality is that life sometimes gets in the way of what you want. In my family’s case, a move in which literally everything went wrong, work getting crazy, and a couple of very serious medical issues have made it so that our November trip just doesn’t make sense anymore.

I won’t lie. It’s breaking my heart. I have shed some tears. But, like I said, it happens. It sucks. But it happens. So I’m here to talk to you about how to deal with that kind of disappointment and not let it totally break you down. Because if you are anything like me, this is enough to throw you totally off and ruin quite a few days.

Deal with the Disney-Doubt Disappointment 

Remember why. OK. So you are miserable that you can’t go on the trip you planned. Take a minute and be miserable, but then remind yourself why you can’t go. I’ve had to remind myself a few times now that it’s more important that the whole family be together and that if one of our people isn’t physically up to the event, then it’s not worth sticking to the plan. While I’m still sad, it helps to know that it’s not just an arbitrary situation

Plan ahead. Before I even made the final decision that Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen, I chose a new set of dates. Having the overlap made it a little easier to let go of November and start thinking about the fun that we’ll have when we do get a chance again

Start replacing plans. We won’t be able to see the Christmas Wishes show, but we will make reservations for the Fantasmic! Dessert Party. We won’t be able to go to the EPCOT holiday food booths, but we will be able to go to the Flower and Garden Festival. We won’t be able to see the holiday snow and projection show at Hollywood Studios, but we’ll get a chance to see some of the new developments. Pandora will be a bit older when we go, but that just means lower crowds. It’s not the trip that I envisioned, but it’s still going to be an amazing vacation when we get there

Think of the benefits. Disney World is glorious at the holiday season. But guess what? Everyone knows that Disney World is glorious at the holiday season. That’s why the crowds are absurd during some weeks at this time of year. The Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s weeks are wall-to-wall people and that’s not always easy for us to handle. The spring, however, if you swing in before the Spring Break crowds hit, is lovely. Crowds are lower and people who are there are more spread out because there aren’t as many “special” things going on to draw their focus. Thinking about these things helps to highlight the good things that come with changing your plans.

See? I’ve convinced myself that we should have gone in the spring all along. Alright. Maybe not. But I’ve made it a little less painful. I know that I’m going to be hurting when Thanksgiving weeks rolls around. I’ll be thinking of all of the things that we should be doing in Disney World and feeling sad. But I’ll also be celebrating our first holiday season in our new house and planning for the Disney holiday gifts I’ll give my family to start getting ready for March.

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Taryn was born and raised, and still lives in Richmond, Virginia. Neither she nor her husband ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World when they were children, but when their daughter Avalon came along, they decided she was not going to follow in their footsteps. They brought Avalon for the first time when she was 3 and have been hooked ever since. Now along with Taryn’s mother and equally Disney-loving older brother, they go “home” at least once a year, and by the time she is staring longingly at Cinderella Castle from the ferry on their last night, Taryn is well on her way to planning the next trip. As a group consisting of two adults with Asperger’s, including one who is also vegan, a very accommodating husband, an only child, a senior, and a service dog, they are a pretty special family, but Taryn is excited to show that the World really is The Most Magical Place on Earth and that there is a place there for everyone. When she isn’t thinking about her next Disney adventure and trying to come up with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume that will beat her Oozma Kappa nerd look, she is a professional blogger and novelist, but Taryn also likes to indulge her Disney passion on her Etsy shop It’s Better in Vinyl.

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One Response to Disney with Special Needs: Dealing with Disappointment

  1. Shepard C Willner says:

    Taryn, don’t forget it gets real dark at 6, so pack a flashlight or buy one of those Xmas tree light necklaces or a Mickey wand to light your way around the parks. I wish I had done that last December at Epcot: I came out of Mission Space (it was still dusk when I entered) and it was so dark out that the only big places lit up were the Future World pavilions and the big Xmas tree near the World Showcase Lagoon. Well, I’m not going to tell you the rest of that story except to say that when I visited Animal Kingdom park the next day, I made sure to buy a Mickey wand to help light my way out of the park that night after dinner at Tiffins.

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