Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Craziest Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Costume Ideas - Ever!

Are you going to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party anytime in your life? Do you need a unique costume for you, your kids, your group, or you and your loved one? Do you think that the costumes in stores are too expensive for your budget?

Let me help you pick out (and make) not only the perfect costumes, but the most unique ones to wear at this hard-ticket event in the Magic Kingdom!  They are all family-friendly, non-obstructive, and mostly desirable for you to ride select attractions - even fast-as-heck Space Mountain!

As for me, I'm stuck between Disney Character Identity Crisis and Turismo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Autistic Children and Family Vacations at the Walt Disney World Resort Can Coexist!

If you are a parent of an autistic child or more and you are new to doing Disney (or have done this before you had kids), you might be thinking that doing so is a pain in the apples. Here are reasons why you think the whole resort complex (especially all four parks, two water parks, and whatever) makes you want to reconsider going there:

  • Crowds, Crowds, and More Flutin' Crowds
    I'm not just talking about any crowds, like the out-of-state people (I know a lot of you well) who go during the summer. In a lot of fan groups relating to the resort, the cheerleaders and the turismos (Yes, those are the misbehaving, chant-happy Argentinean youth herds, otros, and Brazilian tour groups I'm talking about!) add to the crowd levels. Also, they create another hazard for your autistic child (thanks to his usually short attention span) - long lines!
  • All The Noise!
    Believe me, Walt Disney World is a noisy place. Turismo chanting aside, huge crowds create hustle and bustle in noise, setting the stage for an F-5 meltdown. Just imagine that your child is with you at all times in a hot July or a fairly less-crowded January. You see a huge Brazilian tour group in highlighter-yellow T shirts walking the opposite way of you, and they chant out loud. Your child flaps his arms while making loud squeals, convincing you that the noise from the group is bothering him. See what I mean?
  • Lights and Colors
    Almost everywhere at the resort is painted in super-bright colors and cloaked in hyper-bright florescent lights. (For the latter, they are great thing to use for environmental concerns, but they are bad news for most autistics.) The heart of the loud color sensory-overload cocktail is the Magic Kingdom, where a lot of the area is paved with bright paint.
  • The "T" Word!
    There's something that sets off many autistic children - the transition! Without prior planning, they melt down because you disturb their routines by dragging them place to place!
But there is no need to skip that dream Disney trip you have a huge hankering for - it's all in the preparation and planning:

  • Book A Quieter Room
    If you have the money, I suggest that you book a room at the deluxe resorts or buy a timeshare from any Disney Vacation Club resort if you are staying onsite (a good thing, because some shuttles going in and out of the offsite hotels have fees). If you can only afford any All-Star Resort or Pop Century, by all means do it. Call ahead for a quiet room.
  • Do It in the Slow Season
    Making a Disney vacation with less problems is a matter of merely planning ahead. Just compare July to September weekdays, for instance. The former month carries out waves of overstimulation thanks to long lines, the heat, the thunderstorms that close attractions, and of course, the chanting turismos. September is a different story - it's less rainy and crowds are light. 
  • Prepare Your Children
    Again, transitions peeve autistic kids, so prepare them as you book your trip. I watched a lot of Disney moving media (movies, cartoons, etc.) and vacation planning guides and looked at pictures as a kid - and they prepared me for what's to come in my subsequent vacations. (I still do that!) Do the same with them and offer social stories and those so-called "visual schedules" for them to follow and learn.
  • Obtain a Guest Assistance Card
    The Guest Assistance Card is a pass in which you bypass the oft-crowded stand-by lines and either use the handicapped entrance or even the FASTPASS queue. (I'm autistic, and I still use the stand-by lines providing they are at most 30 minutes long and the single-rider line and I use FASTPASS just in case. the ride's line is too long.)
  • Follow the Conventional Rules of Theme Park Visits
    Arrive at the park at least 30 minutes before opening to have them see most of their favorite rides. Oh, and take midday breaks from the parks by returning to your resort (preferably by car, if staying onsite - you won't pay a dime for parking, cross my heart) and taking a nap or playing whatever video game is out there.
Doing Disney does not have to be a pain in the apples in terms of doing it with a special needs child. It's all in the planning, folks.

Autistic Children and Family Vacations at the Walt Disney World Resort Can Coexist!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

School Days, School Days - Missing Out on Mouse Days...

Oh yes - the summer is almost ending and kids are going back to school in a couple of weeks. That means they leave the Vacation Kingdom for their hometowns whose tress will change color in a month or two...

*imagines kids their crying eyes out because they will miss Mickey and his pals*

...and their parents buy the dreaded bags of school supplies to better themselves in the cabin fever of their classrooms.

But there are positive spots starting from September (after Labor Day, of course) through the second day of November. Autumn, with the exception of Columbus Day weekend, is a wonderful time to do Disney. It's not too crowded and it's not too rainy. Also, this season has two events in the World: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (in the MK) and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. In the former, feel free to dress in any costume you like, as long as it shows your face. (Wear something not too baggy to avoid ruining your guise - select rides are open in that event.) Enjoy a parade with your favorite characters, go trick-or-treating, and watch some spooky fireworks. Save your money, though - this event requires a separate ticket.

 Here another thing that's not so-scary - family memories! (Courtesy of the Theme Park Mom herself!)

If religion prevents you from going to the Halloween hoopla or if it's too expensive, come on down to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, where you can sample wines and foods from a variety of countries. (Tip: make sure you have a designated driver on hand or use Disney transportation if you will sample the wines. Oh, and sample the foods after riding Mission: SPACE, Test Track, The Sum of All Thrills, and Soarin'.)

September 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31; November 1

October 1, 2010 — November 14, 2010

Oh, and for more fall events in Central FL for those who want to expand their horizons or are not in the mood for the Mouse, see "Autumn Events Fun at Central Florida's Theme Parks."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thank Goodness High Crowd Season is (Almost) Over!

Courtesy of talfonsoflickr

People who just loath the swarms of teens with the same bags and/or tops guided with flags known as turismos, you can breathe now.

Walt Disney World was crowd Purgatory on earth that season, where people had to stand in line for at least an hour for their favorite rides, sought shade, and faced thunderstorms that close certain attractions! Oh, and didn't I mention that they endured the chanting and line-cutting of certain Brazilian tour groups, Argentinean youth herds, and otros as well? (At least you watched the Main Street Electrical Parade at the MK, rode the enhanced Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at DHS, and took the time to watch Captain EO at Epcot.) But crowd levels as of very recent times are dwindling down, and I expect them to get lower as those kids buy their last-minute supplies for S-C-H-O-O-L, ending their summers.

I took another break from doing Disney (again) thanks to block-out dates - and I took the liberty to check out the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at UIOA. It was worth dodging the Samba and Tango Muggles and waiting in line for the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I waited on the single-rider line for that attraction (twice) and found out that it was about the wait for the one in Test Track down in Epcot on a medium to medium-high-crowd day.

So did you do Disney this summer? Let me hear your trip reports!