Disney with Special Needs: Trip Report Part 4

epcot-kissSo in real life we’re right about at the New Year, but in blog time we are still in October. Now it is October 30, also known as my anniversary. Yes, Halloween-obsessed hubby and I got married the day before Halloween so that our reception could have us partying into the best holiday of the year. It was also a conglomeration of Jewish, Scottish, and Buddhist traditions with a wrestling ring cake and custom-designed cupcakes and cocktail, but that’s a story for another time. Right now we are going to head on back to Disney World together and get back to my vacation.

Day Three…or Celebrating Six Years of Happily Ever After

Of course like any good Disney visitor we made a note on our reservation that told them it was our anniversary so we had celebration pins waiting for us when we checked in so we had been wearing those throughout the trip. On our actual anniversary, though, we needed to take it up a notch so we donned custom made matching shirts that read “Celebrating 6 Years of Happily Ever After” in our wedding colors. Adorable. We had already been getting a lot of attention from our buttons, but those shirts pushed it to the next level. My favorite moment was when a security guard asked us the secret to six happy years of marriage. I spent a brief second thinking that sounded super crazy because six years isn’t all that long and we still feel like newlyweds, but then I told him “Hug every morning.” True story. We call it seahorse because in nature seahorse mates start every morning by wrapping their tails around each other and dancing. Scientists believe it helps keep them bonded. So every morning the hubster and I wrap up around each other and sway and I really believe that it keeps us more focused on each other. Give it a try. That also brings us to Lesson #1: Show off. If you are celebrating something special, excited about something, or just think you are super fancy and need others to know about it, don’t hesitate to show it off. Get custom shirts. Wear them with pride. Ask for celebration pins. You are surrounded by people who want to be happy for you, so let them!

For our anniversary we went to EPCOT. There we got to ride The Gran Fiesta Tour for the first time. I have no idea how we had never had this glorious experience before. After all, my brother’s favorite ride in all of Disney World is it’s a small world, and The Gran Fiesta Tour is, as he put it, Mexi-small world. We plan on adding it to our list of multiple-rides-per-trip rides. After we finished our festive tour with Donald, we headed back into the pavilion for lunch at San Angel. It has been on our list of goal restaurants since our first trip, so we were super excited to finally get to do it. If you have never been to this pavilion, make it a priority on your next visit. It is absolutely beautiful and you can discover all kinds of amazing treasures, like the Swarovski tiara I got for the little one while we watched an artisan do glass blowing. Lunch was truly spectacular. We are still talking about it. After the T-Rex incident we were a bit nervous about eating something as notoriously stomach-challenging as Mexican food, but it turned out to be not only incredibly delicious, but not at all disruptive. They had a vegetarian menu with a vegan option right on it. I ate black beans, rice, grilled vegetables, tortillas, and tomatillo salsa until I figured I could curl up and sleep for the rest of the day.

After lunch we roamed EPCOT and got to experience the Frozen Ever After ride. I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there then give you a moment of silence to spit profanities at me…I’m not the biggest Frozen fan ever. Despite that, I really did enjoy the ride. The queue was nicely themed and the ride itself, while not Maelstrom, was beautifully done. We also ended up with the funniest of our PhotoPass pictures when Lindsey got a bit enthusiastic and flung her arms out right as the picture was taken, effectively obliterating the rest of the family in the picture. It seriously looks like she was the only one of us on the ride.

That evening we parted ways, with Tutu and the baby heading back to the resort while us “grownups” headed out for the evening portion of our anniversary celebration. This involved taking a stroll along the path that leads from EPCOT to the Boardwalk. It is an easy walk and beautiful at night. This is another “if you’ve never done it, do it” situation. The goal of our trip was a visit to Abracadabar. A new fixture on the Boardwalk, this amazing bar is designed as a 1930s magicians’ lounge. The details in this place are exceptional. We spent a couple of hours relaxing and talking, which should tell you how amazing the environment is considering only two of the four of us drink alcohol. Which brings us to Lesson #3: Don’t shy away from the bars and lounges around Disney just because you don’t drink. The atmosphere is incredible and there is always a little bit of Disney fun to discover. For example, try the Seashore Sweets. Named to honor the now-shuttered candy shop, this drink is about eleven shades of sweet, but the little “magic trick” involved is really cute. I might not drink, but I can feel sassy with a pretty blue drink.

After leaving the bar, we continued our walk along the Boardwalk and found ourselves hovering for a while in front of the ESPN Club to continue watching our beloved Chicago Cubs battle the Indians in the World Series. This is something we had been dreaming of our entire lives and were finally experiencing it together. The line was out the door and making its way steadily across the Boardwalk, so we settled for staying outside and watching the outdoor TVs. I think it was much better that way. Lesson #4: If you are a sports lover or you just so happen to be in the World during a history-changing championship with a team that may be a big part of why your husband married you, make some time to visit ESPN. Outdoor seating is plentiful. There are beer kiosks for those who imbibe, and if things get too stressful, you can just keep walking and watch a street performer to keep from throwing up with nervousness. Guess who that happened to.

Day Four…or It’s Halloween and we’re in Disney World!!!!!!

This is it, people. This is not a drill. It’s October 31, Halloween, and we are waking up in Disney World. I might just die from pure happiness. There are tons of holiday festivities going on around the entire resort on Halloween, including crafts, parties, pool parties, parades, and pumpkin carving contests, but the holy grail of Halloween events is, of course, going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on Halloween. WE WENT TO MICKEY’S NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY ON HALLOWEEN!!!! I apologize for the glee that I am spewing all over the place. Unfortunately, it didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts. While Mommy worked on costumes and the rest of the family went back down to the pool for some pre-party swimming, I spent the morning lying in bed recovering from the bloody nose from hell. It was the third of the trip and anyone who knows me knows that things go downhill quickly when my nose starts to bleed. Because of my heart condition and blood disorder, any time that I start losing blood, my body freaks out. So on my favorite day of the year I was lying on my back staring at the ceiling hoping it would be over soon. This led to us being a bit late getting headed out to the party, but fortunately we know a bit of a trick when it comes to these parties. So I give you Lesson #5: When you buy tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, don’t wait until 7 to go. While this is the official start of the party, you can actually get in using just your party ticket as early as 4. Just head for the turnstiles-that-don’t-have-turnstiles with the Party Only sign and get started on your festivities.

The party was a whirlwind of fabulous. Avalon and I dressed as peacocks, Hubbypants was Jack Sparrow, Lindsey was fancy Minnie Mouse, and Mommy and Bubba were the boring people who show up to a Halloween party without wearing a costume. The first thing we did was grab dinner at Pecos Bill. It’s a favorite of ours because it is easy for me to eat, the portions are absurdly huge, and the toppings bar has roasted corn. Roasted corn. That bears repeating, it is that good. Halfway through the meal we started noticing people carrying bags of treats, so we knew it was on. We whipped out our personalized trick-or-treat bags and headed back to the front of the park. Lesson #6: Bring your own bags to trick-or-treat and make sure that everyone has one. That’s right. Everyone. From the little ones right on up to your senior mom. The park will give you a little plastic bag for treats, but it won’t hold much. Bring your own bag and they will give you more treats to help fill that bag up. You can visit each station as many times as you would like, so you are not going to face any shortage of treats. Each of us left with a few pounds of candy – half of which went to the students in Lindsey’s elementary school class back home.

I didn’t get to ride anything but the PeopleMover, Buzz Lightyear, and Winne-the-Pooh during the party because of my prior nose incident, but that was fine with me. What I did get to do far exceeded it – I danced with my husband to “Thriller” while trick-or-treating along the first treat trail around the side of Main Street where we were given pre-stuffed bags full of M&Ms, Dove bars, Skittles, and Goodness Knows bars, and then I stood in Liberty Square and watched the Headless Horseman ride right in front of me. His pumpkin looked right at me and I cried. Life complete. It might have taken me almost an hour to get my makeup off and I nearly blinded myself with a fake eyelash, but it was worth it. I will treasure all the times I got to say “Happy Halloween!” and the delight of the spooky surroundings forever.

So there we have it. The most wonderful time of the year has come to a close and now we’re on to…well, what everybody else thinks of as the most wonderful time of the year. There are three more days left and we’ll keep going next time. I’ll bring you along to another breakfast, go on the hunt for the Kraken, and get super seasonal for dinner. See you then!

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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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