Disney with Special Needs Halloween Edition

villain-lifeIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, I know that it isn’t Christmas time — but that’s the point. In my family, the yuletide is nice, but if you really want to see festive, you’ll visit us at Halloween. We take our All Hallows Eve seriously around here, and that includes it being our favorite time to head to Disney World.

Disney is magical any time we go, but there is really nothing like a visit during October. Our little one’s birthday is the 9th and we got married on the 30th, so any visit during this month is one big celebration. Of course, just like any other visit, I still have to have my Aspie superhero tool belt with me when traversing the parks during Halloween.
This edition of The Aspie’s Guide to the Galaxy…or At Least Disney World is all about celebrating Halloween in the parks. You could say that it’s full of tricks that will help you enjoy the treats. Except that you probably shouldn’t, because that’s pretty terrible.

So, let’s get going…

Wear a costume. Whether you are 2 or 102, or any other age, you should be wearing a costume when you hit Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This special-ticketed event is the only time of the year when people over 14 are allowed to wear costumes, so take advantage of it! Of course, remember that you’re in Disney and choose a costume that isn’t going to upset anyone around you. This is a great chance for you to wear something that makes you feel strong, safe, and ready to take on the world around you. This year, the little one and I are going to be peacocks. One previous year I was an Oozma Kappa nerd. “We’re OK!”

Be ready for lights. If you’re like me, being in the dark is much more comforting than bright light. Fortunately, Halloween at Disney is all about the spooky atmosphere, so it is darker than usual. You will, however, find areas where there are light projections on the buildings and ground. You’ll see spider webs, words, pumpkins, and possible even a skull or two. The lights tend to be stationary, but they might create an optical illusion that could stop you in your tracks. Watch the people around you and notice where they walk if you are uncertain about the patterns

Know your limits. I love creepy, eerie things, but, as you might expect, I hate being startled. Even haunted houses made for children tend to upset me because even a slight startle can overstimulate me and cause a panic attack, which then triggers my heart problem, and it just goes downhill from there. Know what might trigger an uncomfortable reaction and avoid those specific things. For example, the fire effect on the castle during the projection show can be uncomfortable for me, but I love the grave diggers in the parade. You, however, might not like the sparks that they make and the sound of their shovels. Use our trick of watching the parade or special shows in advance so that you know what to avoid

Trick-or-treat. Just like wearing a costume, there is no age limit for this activity. When was the last time that you got to hold out a bag, call “trick-or-treat” and get rewarded with a handful or two of candy? Remember that no one is judging you. There is no reason to feel uncomfortable or out of place. In Disney on Halloween, everyone is a little kid and everyone gets to enjoy the treats. Keep in mind that if you can’t eat traditional candy because of allergies or dietary limitations (Happy vegan Halloween!!) you can ask for an allergy bag. At each station they will give you a token that you can trade in at City Hall for safe treats later.

Halloween at Disney World truly is “not so scary”. Nothing is going to jump out and scream at you, and there is no gore to make you squeamish. The park is delightfully decorated, the treats are abundant, and you have the unique chance to hide behind a costume – no masks, though! – so that you can become somebody else for the evening. If you happen to be in the World this Halloween and see two peacocks hitting every trick-or-treat station and then going to dance with Mike and Sulley in Tomorrowland, give me a wave!

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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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