Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ty's Personal Vacation Stories

My previous 3 posts shared a lot of advice on how to execute a successful vacation to Disney.  As you can tell, we have done that a few times with Tyler and have come away with a lot of solid tips.  Many of those tips could be true for any vacation you plan.

While typing I thought of a few special times there with Tyler that I would like to share.  The first that came to mind was how many times the staff members would go out of their way to show him a good time.  Even on a crowded attraction we would have a great ride and come back around to the start only to have the attendant say "you want to go again?!?" and then let us ride a second time, all the while people who were waiting in line didn't mind a bit. The staff knew it was challenging to get him on and off the ride so they could enhance our experience by giving us a longer ride.

Then there was the Tower of Terror.  My wife insisted on putting him on it and I was vehemently against it.  I wondered why I would put my autistic son in a dark elevator and drop his unsuspecting butt 13 stories.  When the time came there was literally nobody on the ride and I relented, and waited nervously at the bottom for them to return.  I expected to hear him wailing on someone as they exited.  Instead I heard him wildly clapping and cheering how fun it was.  He not only loved it, he wanted to do it again!

He loves to watch the fireworks.  And it was neat to watch the people around him watching him have a great time and smiling.

He loves Splash Mountain because of the drops and getting splashed.  That ride brought a laugh from deep in his belly every time.  He recognizes it now so much that he looks for the big drop as soon as he gets on.

A favorite story is a bit corny....but oh well.  Last year when we saw Mickey at a greeting spot he was very gracious with allowing us plenty of time to maneuver Tyler for photos.  Once we took the last photo and began to walk away I thanked Mickey for his time and he stopped me and gave me a hug.  Its hard to describe but it was a very personal embrace as though that person felt terrific empathy for Tyler and for me as his Dad.  I will never know exactly why that person was touched at that moment but I do know I will never forget that hug from Mickey Mouse.

Lastly is this photo to the left.  On our last park day we went to my personal favorite, Epcot.  I knew in my heart of hearts that this was almost certainly the last time Tyler would visit Disney World with us.  At that time he would likely enter a residential home soon, plus the trips (as much as I loved them) had become a lot for us to try to handle.  He was also less interested in the parks than ever before, so to bring him back would really not be fair to him anyway.  So I asked for this last picture to be taken of just him and I.  We had beaten the odds by having so many successful ventures there together and we were saying "goodbye" to a very important piece of our lives.  Immediately after this picture I spent one more minute with him alone to tell him how much I love him and how glad I was that we made so many memories there together.  How I would cherish every minute of it and I thanked him for sharing it all with me.

So I will end the Disney saga....

Be well and good luck.   Tom


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