We left off with our arrival to Orlando. The next morning, we celebrated Nate’s Baptism. We got to see a lot of our extended family which was wonderful. Ryan is a regular at Sunday Mass now, so he did great as usual during Mass and at the ceremony after. One thing that was very special was that the celebrant at the Mass and the Priest who performed the Baptism was Father Bryan Small, the same Priest that married Nate’s parents, David (my brother) and Sophia (my sister-in-law). At the celebration at Dave and Sophia’s house, Ryan got to talk with Father Bryan briefly. It was hard for Ryan to converse in the house with all of the noise, but we did get to share with Father Bryan that Ryan was going to be making his First Reconciliation when we returned to Texas (which he did!) and would be making his First Communion at the end of August! Stay tuned for that post!
So as I stated, it was hard for Ryan with all of the people in the house. Ryan does not sit for long in other people’s homes and especially at an event like that. Between Randy and me, we had to chase Ryan around the house to ensure that he did not break anything or get into anything that he shouldn’t. Randy knew that I did not get to see family all too often so he offered to take Ryan on a car ride and they listened to an audiobook for a bit. It was a much needed break for me and I got a good dose of enjoying the family and of course Nate!
The next day, we met up with another RPM Mom and friend of mine, Flaviana. She and I met through some of the RPM groups on Facebook and met in person this past March at the RPM conference. I told her that we would be in Orlando and she immediately suggested meeting up at Walt Disney World. Flaviana is a cast member, so she was able to help us out with passes for 3 out of 4 of us, so this really helped us be able to do this.
Flaviana brought her daughter Gabby who is 12, Victoria who is 11 and uses RPM, and her friend and former Disney cast mate Oghan. We all immediately clicked, probably due to Flaviana’s super friendly demeanor that made everyone relax right away. We started at Epcot and we first went to Guest Relations to get the Disability Assistance Passes.
From Disney’s website, here is the information on the Disability Access Service:
- What is DAS and how does it work?
The DAS Card is designed to accommodate guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities). DAS will be issued at Guest Relations main entrance locations and will offer guests a return time for attractions based on the current wait time. As soon as the Guest finishes one attraction, they can receive a return time for another. This service can be used in addition to Disney’s FASTPASS Service and Disney FastPass+ service.
If I am being honest, I am a bit disappointed with the new program. It essentially allows parties to have two fast passes at the same time and the party is allowed to enter the attraction 5 minutes earlier than the allotted time. The last time we went to Disney (which was several years ago), they really accommodated kids like Ryan and Victoria who might have difficulty with lines, noise, and crowds that are associated with the rides. Unfortunately, many people abused the old system and I can imagine that it was almost impossible for Disney to police it due to ethical reasons.
On a positive note, Ryan and Victoria were absolute champs. Waiting in line is hard for anyone, but our entire party was extremely patient. (Grace later told me that she didn’t think that she was patient. I reiterated that she behaved so well and was very patient. She replied, “Well, I wasn’t patient on the inside.”)
The first ride we went on was The Seas with Nemo and Friends. There was a cool aquarium at the end of it.
Ryan spelled KIND OF CUTE. I ALWAYS LIKE AQUARIUMS.
We then went to Circle of Life. Ryan was able to sit and watch the 20 minute movie without a problem. Ryan stated I THINK IT IS COOL. I LIKED IT. MEANINGFUL TOO MUCH TO ME, KEEPING THE PLANET IN GOOD SHAPE.
Ryan got upset briefly at that point. I was not sure what was wrong. I asked him. KIND OF REALLY CARE FOR VICTORIA. Ryan is a very sensitive guy and anytime he meets another autistic, whether they use RPM or not, he often feels a connection with them. He is also very observant regarding people and is drawn to good people. Victoria was no exception.
Our first Fast Pass was then ready and we rode on Soarin’, which was a very cool ride and the kids loved it. Ryan’s thoughts: I LOVED IT. TOO COOL TO SMELL STUFF. (On the ride, there are different smells as you pass over different parts of the world.)
After that, upon Flaviana’s recommendation, we waited in line at the Character Spot, to meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. Most of you know about Ryan’s interaction with Mickey that was viewed by over 205,000 people on Facebook! I still can’t believe it!
Both Ryan and Victoria got to use the letter boards with Mickey, Goofy, and Ryan. It was amazing to watch their interactions with the characters.
Ryan had this to say when I asked him about this for the blog: I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE TOUCHED BY THE VIDEO. UNDERSTAND MEETING THE CHARACTERS WAS AWESOME.
After we finished there, Ryan then asked CAN WE PLEASE GO ON ROLLERCOASTERS NOW?
We told him that we were heading over to Magic Kingdom to catch the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and that we would do a roller coaster after it.
We watched the parade which required more waiting. While we were waiting though, Flaviana was able to get us Fast Passes to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
I was surprised to find out that Ryan enjoyed the parade. In the past, Ryan has said that PARADES ARE BORING. When I asked him about this parade, he said I REALLY LOVED THE PARADE. MOSTLY LIKED THE MUSIC.
Ryan then spelled again REALLY WANTING TO DO A ROLLERCOASTER NEXT. I mentioned it to Flaviana and she said that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was a roller coaster. I was kind of confused by this because the last time I had been to Disney, this was a ride where the Wicked Stepmother pops out with an apple and scares little kids (that’s what I remembered about the ride). I did not recall a roller coaster as I thought that Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain were the only roller coasters. I reassured Ryan that we would ride on one soon.
We grabbed a late lunch/early dinner and then headed to It’s a Small World which was a a request of Grace’s. When I asked Ryan about this ride, his response was TOO LOVING IT TOO. I then asked, “It’s not boring to you?” TOTALLY NOT.
Then it was roller coaster time.
I do not care for roller coasters at all. I did not really know what I was getting myself into with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but I went for it. Ryan absolutely loved it. GOOD TO SAY IT WAS MY FAVORITE. DEARLY LOVED IT.
Next we went to Enchanted Tale’s With Belle, at Flaviana’s suggestion. She thought that Grace would love it. This was another new attraction and it was very cute. The Disney cast member selected members of the audience to participate in recreating the story of how Belle and the Beast met. Well, Grace, Gabby, and Victoria were all selected for parts and much to our surprise, so were Randy and Oghan (the only two adults selected!)
The reenactment was very cute and at the end, all children were invited to get their pictures taken with Belle. Ryan was very tired by this time and he was trying to lie down on one of the benches in the room. I asked Ryan if he wanted to get his picture taken. MEANINGFUL TO DO THAT. SHE IS TOO BEAUTIFUL.
We waited in line and Ryan was last and I asked him if he wanted to say anything to Belle and he replied MEANINGFUL TO MEET YOU BELLE. She replied, “It is meaningful to meet you Ryan.”
It was nearly time for our Fast Pass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which of course the Disney-Pro Flaviana had scored online). I debated on going on but I figured that you only live once and it would mean a lot to my kids. That sounds like a great answer, right? I won’t be making that mistake again.
Ryan again loved it. TOO LOVING ROLLERCOASTERS. TOTALLY AWESOME TOO.
After that, Grace was complaining that her feet hurt and Ryan was putting his head in our laps whenever we sat down. Randy and I knew that we were done and not to press our luck any further. Grace likes to collect pins, so we stopped in the Frontier Trading Post and she picked out two pins. Ryan picked out one to commemorate the trip too.
We said our goodbyes to the group. We had such an amazing time and Flaviana really made it a trip that we would not forget. It has been so nice to connect with other RPM parents along the way and I know that I have a lifelong friend in Flaviana. Ryan and Victoria will be FaceTiming soon too.
Ryan’s thoughts: GOT TO REALLY HAVE TOO MUCH FUN. DEARLY LOVED SPENDING TIME WITH THEM. MOSTLY LOVED VICTORIA. TOTALLY LIKE TO SEE HER AGAIN.
On our way out, we stopped at the Main Street Confectionery for cookies and treats. Randy, Grace, and I all selected ours and Ryan spelled out TOO WANTING THE MICKEY EARS COOKIE WITH SPRINKLES. The woman behind the counter did not see him do this and I told her what he wanted and she asked him if he wanted yellow or blue. He spelled BLUE. She told the cashier not to ring up Ryan’s order and that she was going to the back for his. She emerged with the biggest Mickey cookie I have ever seen.
She gave it to him and said, “Sometimes Mickey works his Magic in special ways.”
That day, Mickey did work his Magic. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
***Stay tuned for the last part of our vacation coming soon!***