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Old 12-27-2009, 05:57 PM   #1
podsnel
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Kidani, HRH & BLT in 6 nights- Yes! We are THAT crazy!! Nov 4-10,09 OBX updates 4/13

Well, here I am again, with another tale of what we did and how we did it. I'm Ellen, official Disney nutcase assigned to planning all vacations for my dear family. Of course it is my pleasure to plan these trips, and I feel very, very fortunate after having planned this one- because on THIS trip, we were ALL going to WDW for the first time in 2 years. Hopefully. There was no issue with myself, or my DH (Pods), or with our 2 younger sons, DS12 (Tyler) and DS10 (Timmy). We are all very happy to go, go, GO! wherever and whenever we can. The issue was with DS15 (Sean). Sean is a beautiful, intelligent, sweet young man who happens to be autistic, too. And his autism very often gets in the way of fun things like....going to summer camp (when he screamed for an hour and wouldn't get out of the car) or going to Florida to visit his Grandma & cousins (which he let us know when he wouldn't get out of the car at the airport). Fun, fun stuff. I guess Sean had decided he would prefer to sleep in his bed- ONLY. Makes it a little tough to go anywhere that way. But, I was DETERMINED he was going to WDW in November 2009. Because we have been going to WDW every other year for most of his life. And WDW, well, he loves it there. And the CMs are SO KIND, the characters SO WONDERFUL to him... it is a TRULY magical experience for us all, and I was NOT going to give it up!! So, I dug my heels in, and over the course of a year, we were successful in getting him de-sensitized to hotel stays (by taking him on overnights to various Embassy Suites in NJ). All that was left would be getting him on de plane! Well, how about getting him into the airport even? Off the plane? Onto the DME? Into the hotels? Into the parks? Out to dinner? Oh boy, this is a little more challenging than it sounds. A 15 year old throwing a tantrum like a two year old is NOT ever a good thing and really needs to be avoided as much as possible. Soooo....

What I did was make a book for him. It's about 40 pages in length. And it details EVERYTHING we would be doing over the course of our trip to WDW. Along with photos. Photos of EVERYTHING...Newark airport. The Continental plane. The monorail at the Orlando airport. DME. ALL the DVC villa rooms (including photos of the pull-out chairs, thanks to some very kind DIS friends! ) and the HRH room. Even the shower stalls. Every park and every ride we know he loves. Even every restaurant we had ADRs for. And we read this book together everyday, several times, for a month before D-Day- November 4th. And everyday, about 100 times a day, I asked him, "Where are we going on November 4th?" to which he would reply, "Walt Disney World". "How do we get to WDW?" "On the airplane." Until, it was finally November 4th, and we were waking him up to get into our van and go to the airport. But would Sean do it? Would he be able to conquer all of his inexplainable fears? Would we FINALLY be going on a family vacation with our whole family, or would he be escorted home from Newark Airport at the final moment by our friend Ann who was kind enough to wake up so early and ride along in our van with us just in case? Would he be spending the week with my cousins Sheree & Henry again (the saints who watch him for us when we do go away without him)? Stay tuned to find out!!

As a side note, on my last TR, I was able to finally figure out how to post links to individual posts, so I'll be doing that HERE-

And....we're OFF! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...95&postcount=9

C'mon Sean...you can do it!! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...6&postcount=16

Happy New Year Everyone! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...9&postcount=29

It's time for club Cool! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...4&postcount=31

A night in Germany- dinner at Biergarten http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...0&postcount=37

The Yankees win the World Series! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...7&postcount=44

Some old Scrapbook pages http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...9&postcount=49

EE in the FRONT row! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...1&postcount=51

Flying lessons at Sanaa http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...5&postcount=56

Hangin at Kidani http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=58

A Room with a view http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...1&postcount=68

Finally! MK then Jambo for BOMA http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...5&postcount=79

Goodbye Kidani, Hello DTD http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...8&postcount=86

A Great day with my son in DTD http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=90

Osprey Ridge Golf http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...7&postcount=92

We're walkin' right down the middle of Main St, USA http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=103

More MK with my Sean http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=104

Uh-Oh at HRH http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=119

Never Underestimate the power of a DVC 1 bdrm villa http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=120

The Simpsons Ride ROCKS! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=137

Give a Day, Get a Day (off topic- OOPS!) http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=157

Lunch at the beachclub- with Squirrel, but not Moose! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=160

Twistin' by the Pool... http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=172

Visiting Aunt Irma http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=175

Rip Ride Rockit- is it worth it? http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=176

Another Blast from the past- U & IOA 2005 http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=184

Off to Mythos for lunch! http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=185

A visit with Irma, circa 2003 http://disboards.com/showpost.php?p=...&postcount=197

SPLASHDOWN! At IOA http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=209

A Little Hoops before we go http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=211

Back to the Mothership-Checking into BLT http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=218

Chef Mickey's...for the last time http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=227

My name is Ellen, and I am fireworks challenged http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=234

TOWL, baby! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=239

Yum Yum- Kona Cafe for breakfast! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=248

Sidetrack-Skiing & Chinese New Year http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=287

Buzz Cuts & Tea Cups http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=288

More MK http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=290

Sum of All Thrills with Satan's Spawn http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=299

The Ooh La La Part http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=300

DHS http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=313

It's a SNOWICANE!! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=321

Timmy takes on Rockin Rollercoaster! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=336

50's PT http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=341

BLT pool at night with my Shawnee http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=354

TOWL & UH-OH.... http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=357

Here in OBX http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=363

The sun is shining! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=365

DVC & CR Management ROCK! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=379

Update from OBX last week http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=380

Timmy gets in one last Thrill ride http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=389

OBX Ring in the Spring! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=390

OBX http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=391

OBX http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=392

OBX http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=396

Last edited by podsnel; 04-13-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:27 PM   #2
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I'm here and can't wait to hear all about it!
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Old 12-27-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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I'm here and I'm ready!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:10 PM   #4
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I'm here and can't wait to read more!!!
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by praisehisname View Post
I'm here and can't wait to hear all about it!
Hi Denise! Thanks for being first!

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Originally Posted by NikkiLovesWDW! View Post
I'm here and I'm ready!
Hey Nikki! How was your Christmas? Enjoying the vacation? Thanks for coming along!

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Originally Posted by WannaBeADisMom View Post
I'm here and can't wait to read more!!!
Joan! How was Christmas? I haven't talked to you in two whole days, I'm going through withdrawals!! Did Peter like his keggerator? Pods says his works just fine- at least it did all Christmas day! I think I see some Pilsner glasses in his future...
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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Can't wait to hear all the details. I have a new love for social stories. Hope Christmas was good.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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Can't wait to hear all the details. I have a new love for social stories. Hope Christmas was good.
Hi Laura! Yes, christmas was good- how was yours? And the social stories can really help Sean- along with using the calendar to make sure he's prepared. It's working for you guys,too? So HAPPY!!!!
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:08 PM   #8
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I am pretty darn excited to see that this TR has started!

And for Sean I hope it was a great trip for him!
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My Trips 2002-Offsite 2003-POR 2004-Royal Pacific/Daytona Bch 2005-CBR 2006-Pop, SSR 2007-ASM 2008-Pop, Vero Bch/SSR, POFQ/SSR 2009-Kidani/CSR, Pop 2010- VWL, BLT 2011-POR/BCV, Disney's HHI Resort, OKW2012-Treehouse villa/BWV, VWL/BWV 2013-HHI, Secret off site location;BWV/AKL
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:21 PM   #9
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And....we're OFF!

Well, we pulled up to the airport drop-off, and Sean wouldn't get out of the car. He slammed the door shut. And Pods got out to get the luggage from the trunk, and I got out and tried with Sean one more time...

"Shawnee, please get out of the car. It's time to go to WDW. Let's GO!"

And when Pods looked up from the luggage....

Sean was standing next to me on the curb.
He had opened the door on his own, and hopped right out! We were so proud of our son. He was doing it!!!!! And not too long after that, he was doin' THIS-



And he was an absolute angel on the flight- we were in heaven! Soon we were on line for the DME-



And finally, finally, FINALLY, we were checking in at Kidani- I think it was about 12:30. And our 1 BDRM SV was READY!!!! So, of course, up we went to the third floor to check out our room very quickly while we dropped off our luggage- we were running late for an ADR at the Crystal Palace, our traditional 1st meal at WDW. Luckily, we were in one of the first villas off the elevator- our location was PERFECT!!!









We went out to catch the MK bus.



Except, there wasn't one. For a looooooonnng time. I think we must have missed the last one when we were briefly up in the room. And we watched multiple buses go by for other parks...but none for MK. And the troops were hungry. And Sean will only eat french fries (and pb&j on certain kinds of bread) for lunch, so Sanaa was out. And we were waaaaayyy past our ADR at this point, sadly. So we chose to hop a bus over to the Mara, and had a nice lunch there.

Tyler was excited to grab these babies for his dessert- he loves zebra domes!


Pods & I shared some flatbreads. This one was veggie with olives & pesto-


This one was chicken, corn & mozzerella


Tyler had a burger-


Timmy had chicken nuggets, adult size-


Sean had a couple of orders of fries, as well as most of his brothers'! This is probably the biggest reason for us not to do the DDP- very hard to eat $40 in french fries a day, even for Sean!

The Mara is a very pretty counter service restaurant, I had really never noticed before, and this was my 3rd time staying at AKV. The ceiling is beautiful.





Well, we were soon again waiting for a bus to MK....and we just couldn't hit one. So we made an executive decision, and chose to get on the EPCOT bus instead.

But would it all work out? Remember, Sean was counting on the day to go a certain way, and, for the past hour or so, we were striking out! You'll have to wait and see...in the next post.



Last edited by podsnel; 12-27-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:29 PM   #10
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Woo Hoo! The whole family will be together!
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:42 AM   #11
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I'm in. Your family is beautiful.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:08 PM   #12
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Hi I just read your and Pods trip report for the Food and Wine Festival. It was fun hearing about all the different rides, restaurants, and golf! I remember a TR you did a long time ago, and I think Sean stayed at home, while you took your younger sons. I'm so glad to hear he got on the plane, got checked in the the resort, had lunch, etc.

I know I'm drawing out all the steps, but our younger dd is 4 and has ASD. Sometimes I feel like our lives are divided into these tiny little milestones, like going to McDonald's for lunch, and not having a meltdown. Our last trip to Orlando was less than magical, so I'm trying to look for good ideas to make the trip this summer go better.

I love that you guys did lots of practice stays at local hotels back home. And that you made him a picture book. Please keep sharing the ideas that worked!!
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:57 PM   #13
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I love the idea of a keggerator. Tim loves his beer too. One of our upcoming summer trips involves are visit to a small brewery in New Ulm, MN.(very german) I would say if you are going to invest in beer glasses consider buying the ones that Sam Adams makes. Tim swears by them. Something about the shape of the glass and the etching on the bottom helps create a unique beer drinking experience. For me that would have been college--but that's another story...

yes the concept of social stories are working. I thank you very much for that. I was sooo pleased to see Sean's smiling face. It is truly amazing how they can totally be banking on one thing and then go with the flow out of nowhere. Glad it all worked out.

BTW I never would have thought to put corn and chicken on a pizza.
Hi Laura! Thanks for the beer glass advice- I'll have to make sure I get them in time for Valentine's Day. Soooo...you had a unique drinking experience in college, HMMMMMMMM???? Would love to hear all about THAT sometime!

Glad the social stories are working! And I was happy to see Sean smiling, too, thanks.

FWIW, corn on pizza is pretty good!

Quote:
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Oh Ellen -

Your last two updates were stellar and your comments about the trip being such a success for Sean just gets me choked up. He does look so seriously happy. And I love that group photo of you guys in your beautiful tied dyed shirts. That is one awesome pics. One to have framed and display proudly.

Your pics are Kidani make me wish I was there right now. I loved that place! I can't wait to read what happens next!
Hi Mary Ellen!! Sorry for making you cry! It was a very good trip, though. I'm going to post our Christmas card in a minute with the Photopass version of the tshirt pic.

And we LOVED Kidani, too! It was so peaceful and relaxing, we hated to leave.

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Woo hoo! You must have been bursting with excitement about how well Sean was adapting to your schedule changes!
Yes! Absolutely BURSTING!!

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You all are wonder with Sean. I am a mom of a 19yr autistic son so I truly understand how hard it can be when they decide they won't do something or when meltdowns occur. When my son was younger the only way to get him to do something so different was long term preparation and following the plan we gave him. I am so happy that Sean was able to adapt to the changes and you were all able to enjoy your day. You have a beautiful family.

I have enjoyed reading all of your trip reports and have really been looking forward to this one. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences in such detail with us all!
Hi Sweetspot- nice to meet you! You're right, you do truly understand what I'm talking about! I think the long term prep is key to getting Sean (and so many others) to step beyond their comfort zone. Is your son much better with transitions now that he's older? I'd love to hear about whatever helps him, too.

Thank-you for taking the time to say hello!!

Quote:
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Hi I just read your and Pods trip report for the Food and Wine Festival. It was fun hearing about all the different rides, restaurants, and golf! I remember a TR you did a long time ago, and I think Sean stayed at home, while you took your younger sons. I'm so glad to hear he got on the plane, got checked in the the resort, had lunch, etc.

I know I'm drawing out all the steps, but our younger dd is 4 and has ASD. Sometimes I feel like our lives are divided into these tiny little milestones, like going to McDonald's for lunch, and not having a meltdown. Our last trip to Orlando was less than magical, so I'm trying to look for good ideas to make the trip this summer go better.

I love that you guys did lots of practice stays at local hotels back home. And that you made him a picture book. Please keep sharing the ideas that worked!!
Hi Kristen! I have written a bunch of TRs on here since I signed on 2 years ago, and this is the first one where Sean is one of the "characters". I'm happy you've liked them! Thanks for sharing our happiness over his "steps". I will try to think of all the things that made it better for him this time. As well as those that did not. You're right to celebrate all those tiny little milestones in your DD's life, they mean an awful lot!
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:07 PM   #14
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Happy New Year Everyone!

So, since so many people have commented on the tshirts, I thought I'd give a little backround and show our Christmas card this year (that was with the Photopass photo). I also posted this info in a response to someone else in the thread, so if you've already read this and I'm boring you I apologize!

When we went to HHI 2 summers ago, Sean was not in a good place. That week he was supposed to go to sleepaway camp (that he had been to before, and loved) while we drove down to the Disney resort in HHI to meet family for 5 days. Well, Sean wouldn't get out of the van. And no cajoling, pleading or begging could change his mind. He was staying in the car, he wanted to go home. It was really, really horrible. A definite lowpoint in our autism adventure with Sean. Anyway, Sheree & Henry came at a moment's notice to stay with Sean (God Bless them, if I haven't said that enough) and the rest of us were on our way. Sad, disillusioned and frustrated, but on our way.

That week I made 4 Mickey Tie-Dyes for us to wear on the Disney Cruise we were taking in November (without Sean). As SOON as I finished, I realized I should have made one for Sean, too, even if he wasn't going on the cruise. DOH! After all, I did hope that SOMEDAY we would be able to get him to go to WDW with us again. Even if right at that point, none of us were too hopeful it would ever happen again. Well, of course the Cms let me make another one....

So, that we are all wearing the tshirts together, in WDW, and the tshirts were made with only a glimmer of hope, and the hope became reality that day- well, it really was just very, very meaningful. Happy New Year, everyone-



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Old 12-31-2009, 08:21 PM   #15
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Loving your tr. That is SO wonderful that Sean had so many successes this trip.

My granddaughter has autism (along with a million other things) and I think her difficuties have taught me a new appreciation for the "little things" that we so called 'normal' people take for granted. You're doing a great job!
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