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Trip Report Honey, I Blew Up The Magic Band (Completed!!)

Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#1
Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my September 2014 trip report. I know I’m starting it a little late – but life has been so crazy and hectic since we have returned, there doesn’t seem like any time to just sit and write.

You can check out my pre-trip report here:

http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/our-almost-totally-free-trip-to-dsney.888659/

I didn’t finish it – so it ends rather abruptly.


You can also read last year’s trip report here:

http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/completed-this-is-autism-when-you-add-a-little-pixie-dust.873100/


Just to remind you who we are:

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Me – Mary, aka “mom”. I am a teacher turned homeschool mom, advocate and blogger.

Ross, the daddy, aka “Grumpy”. He is the character who works non-stop all year to make this trip possible for us.

Julia, aka “sissy”, our oldest daughter who is 12. This will be her last trip with us before she turns into a… I hate the word… teenager! She LOVES Disney as much as I do and I pray that she always does.

Hope, aka “the Hopester”, (a nickname she somehow adopted when riding Spaceship Earth last year). She is my youngest daughter, 5 ½, diagnosed with severe Autism and Sensory Integration Disorder

Many people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them we are taking Hope to WDW. But it’s like 10 days of intense therapy for her. It challenges her so much while presenting her with the greatest incentive and rewards. We sacrifice the whole year to make this trip possible and it is so worth it.


Hope’s WDW goals for this trip:

Ride Splash Mountain and like it.
Ride 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.
Ride the Monorail without a meltdown.
Sit in booster seats rather than a highchair.
Tell me what she wants to eat rather than me just deciding for her.
Sit in a theater seat rather than her stroller during a show.


Julia's goal: Skate at Hollywood Studios

My goal: Eat at Columbla Harbour House!

Ross' goal: Eat at the Food & Wine Festival

Will we all meet our goals? You'll have to read to find out!

Everybody ready?

Off we go…
 
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Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#2
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Day 1 – Monday, September 15th


We had spent the night at my sister’s house since she was driving us to the airport. Her house is closer to Newark and my husband is always afraid we will oversleep and miss our flight. However, staying at my sister’s house means a late night. My parents live there too and spending the night with grandma and pop-pop is a late night filled with excitement for Hope. So she was up until midnight – along with me!


By the time I fell asleep – it was time to wake up! By 2AM we were up and showering and getting ready to go. I swear, this is a day that we run on pure Disney adrenaline!


At 5AM, my sis dropped us at Newark International Airport. We did curbside check in and then made our way to security. There was no line! Hooray! Of course we created a line behind us when my daughter’s bag had to be checked and run through again. I didn’t think about it – my dad had given her a roll of quarters for the pressed penny machines and she put it in her back pack. So when it went through the scanner, it must have come up as a potential hazard. I guess it took them quite a few minutes to figure out what it was and take it out. But other than that, it was painless and soon we were on our way! (Along with the quarters.)


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We flew on Jet Blue again – I like them very much. Non-stop, very friendly and Blue Chips to snack on!


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Our flight was on time and by 8:20AM, we were landing at Orlando International. I always say I’d like to take my time to walk through the airport and look around – but Ross has a different agenda – get to Magical Express! So away we went with not too many pictures.


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When we got to Magical Express, Julia did the honor of our first use of our magic bands – I held my breath because I was so worried that they wouldn’t work. But – it scanned fine and soon we were on line for “Mickey’s Bus”.


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There was no wait and we walked right on a bus for POFQ.


 
#3
I'm excited to follow your trip! I read your entire last years trip report yesterday in one sitting. Your family sounds precious.
 

Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#4
Day 1 – Monday, September 15th (Continued)


Julia took a seat near a TV screen and I sat with her while Hope and Ross settled in the seats in front of us.


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Julia soon realized that the little video they play on the way to WDW is different. She was not happy. FYI, our family does not take to changes too well - especially when we deem the changes as “bad” changes. New video – thumbs down. Where was Mickey and friends? Where was Stitch, Captain Hook and Donald busting into the Grand Floridian? Oh no – this new blond lady was not hitting our Disney Side!


On a brighter note, since I wasn’t the least bit mesmerized by the video, I finally got a picture of this:


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Soon, we were home – at French Quarters.


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We had requested a ground floor room, close to the buses and food court. They said they had a room that matched our request – but it wasn’t ready yet. They offered us another room immediately or we could wait for that room. I was happy to wait for our request so they said they would text us when it was ready. We changed our clothes in the restroom in the lobby and soon we were off to Magic Kingdom.


When we entered the park, we went right to Guest Services to get a disability card for Hope. We also ask to use her stroller as a wheelchair – Hope is low muscle tone and she needs her stroller as support for her. She would never to able to do the walking and waiting in lines standing up. (Yet) Her sensory needs also mean that she likes to watch shows in her stroller rather than sitting in the seat in the theater. This may sound crazy. Sitting on a chair or a theater seat may sound like nothing to you or me. But for Hope, a different material can be unbearable. It’s like she is sitting on pins & needles. So to have her be able to enjoy the shows in her stroller is great.


I read up on the new system so I would be comfortable with it. Overall, I like the new system. I understand why Disney had to change the old system and I love the new card - especially that it has her picture on it. There were some problems we encountered with it that I will touch on in my trip report. But I appreciate that Disney makes accommodations for special needs, so while it may not be a perfect system, it allows us to have a successful vacation and I’m grateful for it!


After getting her disability card and Julia looking at the Braille map, (She did a community service project last year with 4H having to do with the visually impaired, so she likes to see things she learned about.) we were starving – so we decided to get a bite to eat and headed for….
 

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Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#5
Day 1 - September 15th (Continued)



The Columbia Harbor House! Hooray!!!!!


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We got a lobster roll, fish & chips platter, and a shrimp platter and spit them between the 4 of us.


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It was all very yummy and I can finally say I made it here – and ate here too! I will definitely be back!


After lunch we were ready to take on the Magic Kingdom.


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We rode Peter Pan and Small World first.


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After that, I knew Hope would want to watch Mickey’s PhilharMagic – but I knew it was closed. I prepared her before we left telling her that we would not be able to see it this trip, but I wasn’t so sure if she understood. So we walked over to where the sign was and I had her read it. (We realized this past year that Hope can read and it has helped us immensely with having her be able to communicate with us.)


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Sure enough, she got it, and we were on our way to Splash Mountain.
 

Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#6
Last year, Hope rode Splash Mountain once and then would not even venture past the Country Bear Jamboree. I asked her if she wanted to ride and she said “yes”. So off we were to the briar patch!

Hope went through the line with no problem but when I lifted her out of her stroller to board the log, I think she remembered all too well and suddenly had buyer’s remorse. It was too late – on we went and had the front row with daddy and sissy behind us!


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She did great! I tried to block her from getting too wet. (Hope hates water and getting splashed.) And although she did not want to ride again, I think she did enjoy it. When I asked her if she had fun, her reply was, “Have fun – yes.”


I was feeling daring so we headed for the Mine Train. I asked Hope if she wanted to ride through Snow White’s forest and she said “Yes!” We did not have a fast pass – we used her DAS card return time.


Okay – now call me silly – and I did make a few blunders during this trip – but after seeing all the promo clips and reading from a lot of people how they were disappointed it wasn’t a “true” thrill ride. I didn’t expect a whole lot in terms of fast paced, twists and turns or ups & downs. Silly Mommy!

So as soon as we were inside and walking to the train cars, Hope started to say – “No! Go Back!” Which of course translates to: “Mommy, I prefer not to ride this one.” But in my head, I was certain she would like it once she was on. Ross handed her over to me to carry because he can not force her to do anything when she says “no”. So I had her in my arms and was telling her how we were going to ride through the forest and sing with the 7 dwarfs. And of course everyone including my husband and oldest daughter, who now were acting like they didn’t know me, thought I was crazy. We were soooo close to boarding. The young lady cast member who puts you in the lanes told us the number to stand in – but then she started to scream louder than Hope. “NOOOO!” It was Julia who realized that Hope, in a desperate attempt to get out of Dodge, grabbed her pony tail – and wouldn’t let go! Once her grip was released, and I apologized, we were on board and whistling away.

Well, of course, once we were going, I realized this would be her “official” first roller coaster ride. She did great! Obviously, a second ride was not in the future this trip, but I was proud of her and I think she was proud of herself. I found out after we returned home, they went live with the pictures on the 16th! We missed having her picture on it by one day!!!


We headed towards Tomorrowland.


It was hot that afternoon. After leaving a chilly New York, the heat really hit us. We didn’t want to ruin our dinner – we had an ADR for 1900 Park Fare, so we opted for a cool treat instead. I could tell I was tired because I didn’t have the patience to wait in the Dole Whip line so we settled for Auntie’s.

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Ross got a pineapple-orange smoothie and Julia got a Diet Coke float. I tried to convince her to try a root beer float but she refused. FYI: We are not soda drinkers. My parents usually have diet soda in their house so Julia is familiar with that. So when I said Root Beer Float, she thought it was beer, as in the alcoholic drink! Now we are not beer drinkers either, so I’m not sure what my child was thinking or where she got this from. We all had a good laugh.

While we enjoyed our cool break, Hope took a power nap.


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Julia was patience doing all the stuff Hope enjoyed so it was her time to pick some attractions. She and Ross headed for the Laugh Floor and Space Mountain while I strolled around with Hope still snoozing.


After, we did Carousel of Progress & got a return time for Buzz Lightyear for after dinner.
 

Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#7
We headed for dinner at the GF – and what would be our first Monorail ride this trip. At first, Hope did not want to get on. I was so happy that we managed to get on an almost empty car. I think it was Ross who asked her if she wanted to come out of her stroller and sit on the seat next to Julia and mommy. She hesitated, but then she did it. Once she was settled on the seat, sure enough, the rest of the ride went smoothly. She wasn’t even bothered by when we stopped. We told her there would be 4 stops before we got off and she needed to count. She loves to count as much as she loves to read so she did it! And when she reached number four – she stood up and we all got off. Hooray!!!


We entered the Grand Floridian and found a restroom so I could transform Hope into a princess. After we all freshened up a bit, we checked in for our reservation. I think we actually just gave our name and immediately went to have our photo taken and then we were seated. I don’t remember any kind of wait here. But at this point, I was so tired; I might have slept through it.


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Dinner was fantastic – this was a first experience for us and I planned it more for the characters than the food – but the food was really good! The stepsisters were HALARIOUS! The evil step mother was spot on! They totally stole the show from Cinderella and the prince. It was an amazing time and I would definitely book it again.


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It was at this dinner that I realized the progress that Hope has made. She no longer stared past the characters or smiled just to smile for the camera. She was completely immersed with them. She knew who they were and would even say their names. It was obvious that they were a part of her world and she was part of theirs. That night we dined with the Royal family and the only word to explain it was magical.


It is amazing! Disney World has broken through her wall of Autism – and it was incredible to see how far she has come. Of course, I was crying by now – but happy tears – and trying to hide them from Ross and Julia. I knew it was going to be an amazing trip. (If only nothing goes wrong with the Magic Bands.)
 

Figment Forever

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#8
After dinner, with our bellies full, normal people would have called it a night. But the Magic Kingdom was opened until 11PM and we are not normal people. So we hopped on the Monorail, counted “one” stop and were back to take in some more.

This is when we had our first non-magical moment with the DAS card. We had already ridden Small World 2 times this afternoon and both times we were directed to enter through the wheelchair entrance and wait at the bottom. We did our “wait time” there and then boarded a boat. This is how it was explained to us at Guest Services too. (We specifically asked about this ride because it is Hope's favorite.) Okay – so this time we were told – no you can’t enter and wait there you need a fast pass or a white card. Being our first day and confused about how it was different during the afternoon, we questioned her because we didn’t understand – and we had never heard of a white card. The cast member was VERY RUDE and pretty much said – too bad. I was shocked! She made us feel like line cutters. By this time Hope was getting upset because she was in routine from before and wanted to go on. Plus, while the CM was being nasty to us and refusing to let us go in, a family with a wheelchair was admitted right in front of us without ANY fast pass or DAS card! Well Ross exploded on this girl. I’m not saying he was completely right – we were tired and cranky too but it was more for how this CM was making us feel rather than waiting. Her attitude was at best - NOT Disney, and at worst – just plain disrespectful.

Now I do not think that because my child is Autistic that we should have the right to go to the front of the line without waiting. I like the return time card, but… it became apparent that not everyone was on the same page. So the instructions we were given at Guest Services were not what was in practice at Small World. We went back to Guest Services who said the CM at SW was wrong – but then the manager at SW said GS was wrong. Neither would budge from their own policies. So throughout our trip the rules for riding SW were different every time. As a matter of fact, the “rules” were different for each park and in some cases like this - individual rides. I think it would be very helpful to guests like us to have the procedures for each ride in a handout for guests and most importantly to stay consistent with each one. That way we know what to expect and how to prepare Hope for each experience.

As a side note: for an Autistic child, a routine can be a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing because a routine can help Hope function with daily living skills and staying on task. It becomes a curse when Hope can NOT break out of a routine. For this reason, I am constantly changing things up for her. It helps us in situations like this – when she has no choice – and such is life. Ross, on the other hand, does not like Hope getting upset at anything. If her routine is to do Peter Pan, Small World and Little Mermaid – 1 -2 -3, he thinks we need to have her do that. I on the other hand make sure we do things in a different order so she does not become “stuck”.


Anyhoo...

After our “episode” at Small World, we decided to take on the galaxy with Buzz. Ross rode with Hope and I rode with Julia. Now, I stink at these shooting games and Ross usually blows away my score and I have to hear about it. So before we left for this trip, I spent some time studying up on what targets scored higher. Well, I am beyond pitiful because the only time I “maxed out” is when our ride got stuck and I kept shooting relentlessly until we started moving again!


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After a few more rides, we were ready to call it a night. We were up almost 24 hours by now and even our Disney adrenaline was running low.


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We got back to FQ and stopped at the food court so Ross could have his favorite “snack”.


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We also got our mugs – I knew I needed some coffee to unpack our stuff.

Once again, we were amazed to see our room. Not only on the ground floor, but just steps to the food court, pool and most importantly the buses. I have to say, FQ makes it hard to want to try a different resort!


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It was a long and amazing first day!


Up next: A Frozen day at The Studios – but would it be wet too?
 

stevehousse

Well-Known Member
#10
Glad you have another report on here! I really enjoyed your last one. Sucks about how everyone treats that card differently. Disney really needs to step it up and make sure everyone is on the same page across the board. Can't wait for more!
 

Jae99

Well-Known Member
#18
Sounds like a great start to your trip (minus the IASW blunder by the CM). Having read your previous trip reports, I got a little teary eyed as well to see how much progress Hope has made.

I am looking forward to following along with your adventures in WDW.
 
#20
Yay!!! So happy to see your report, I was looking forward to reading it. Hope has grown so much since last year's report. Can't wait to see what happens next