Disney With Special Needs…Have a Plan and Do Stick to It

13161869_993838014038334_3989753140841962813_oSo now you know how important it is for you to remain flexible when you venture into the World. Sometimes, though, tossing your plan off the monorail track may not be the best idea. Plans do exist for a reason and there are some points in your vacation when you will need to rely on that plan to get you through. That’s why my next tip for you is…

Have a plan…and do stick to it.

Having a plan doesn’t have to mean that you figure out exactly where you are going to be or having a touring plan that schedules you down to the second, including pit stops and moments to gaze adoringly at the castle in the sunset. Instead, it is about having some points of your vacation set so that they make you feel more confident and secure no matter how fast and loose you are playing with that flexibility.

One of the most important things you can do is establish a meeting place. Have one in every park as well as at your resort. This does not have to be the same as the safe place that you picked earlier. Think somewhere that it is easy for everyone to remember and that you are not likely to get confused about. Choosing the castle, for example, might seem like a good idea until you all start running around and through it, stopping at Sleepy Hollow for a funnel cake, and then getting trapped because of the afternoon parade. Instead, think of something that is a touch more obscure but that you can still find it. King Arthur’s sword or the flag pole are great options.

Another plan to keep in place is your clothes. You might think that you could easily recognize your family, but when you are surrounded by thousands of people and are already feeling overwhelmed, you could be walking along right beside your mother and not realize it, or trying to shy away from your husband coming up to take your hand. Again, true stories. Wearing customized shirts with characters, names, or even just memorable colors can give you something to focus on so that you can more easily pick your family out of the crowd. Don’t worry about standing out while you are sticking out – plenty of families wear special vacation shirts and you’ll quickly find that it is part of the fun.

So are you ready to venture out on your own a bit? It might seem daunting to walk away from the rest of your family and explore by yourself, but it can be exhilarating to go on a little adventure and sometimes it just gets tedious waiting outside of attractions that you don’t want to go into or wandering around from game to game in Spaceship Earth because your child and brother want to make sure to get all of those tiny cities fully stocked with green energy. Heading out by yourself does not have to be daunting. Give yourself a specific goal and then set yourself up for success. Tell at least one person in your group where you are going and that if you are not back soon that they can check the Memory Maker pictures on your My Disney Experience Account. Then as you are traveling around the park, stop at all of the photographers and have them snap pictures of you. Not only will you have some fantastic souvenir pictures of your adventure, but your family can also check the pictures and see where you have been and when. I still cherish my Christmas-season journey around Epcot.

You are now in the parks, wandering around, and taking in all of those incredible attractions. Have you been thinking about the outside world? I hope not. Next time we’ll make sure you aren’t and talk about one of the most important parts of a Disney vacation.

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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 Baby and Toto, Too.

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