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Disney Magic for Children with Autism

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Universal Studio Orlando Florida

Scott, Aidan, and I had the extreme fortune to have spent the time after Thanksgiving last year in Orlando, Florida, visiting both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort. It was nice to take in the parks during a “quieter” time, while also enjoying the festivities, decorations, lights, music, and magic of the Christmas season.

This was Aidan’s first time in both resorts and I will admit, I was nervous! Aidan usually travels very well but recently has struggled with pretty severe anxiety. As his mom, I am always aware of each accomodation he needs to have a successful day — add in the sensory overload of a major theme park, and you have a recipe for disaster.

But as I learned from my good friend, Mickey Mouse, thinking happy thoughts and remaining positive is key to creating the everyday magic that defines a perfect vacation!

Have you experienced a moment of magic?

For us, everyday magic is a feeling of enchantment with something or someone in your life. Magic is all about being present in the moment and finding something new and enlightening in the mundane.

The night we were in Epcot, it rained a lot. And if you know Aidan, you know he hates rain. Like can’t even see green on the weather radar without throwing a fit. We finished the Frozen Ever After ride (which, by the way is a must do) and exited straight into a downpour with Scott’s umbrella broken and no rain jackets. Of course, Aidan picked that moment to have a complete and utter meltdown. I think the words,“I want new parents”, were uttered.

As the rain slowed to a tolerable shower, we convinced Aidan to make a run for the Anna and Elsa character interaction, which at this point had no line! Screaming and carrying on the whole way, Aidan raced to the entrance and through the various rooms you enjoy prior to entering the character space. Still grumping and yelling, Aidan immediately quieted the minute they opened the door to where Anna and Elsa were waiting.

Aidan smiled his big cheesy grin and ran to give Anna a hug. The rain was forgotten. Lucky for Aidan, there were no other children in line so he got to spend extra time with both ladies, regaling Elsa with tales of the snow at home, and telling both about how he wants to build a snowman some time this winter. When we left, Aidan could have cared less about the then-steady drizzle, but was instead focused on what ride was next, what magic he could conjure up again.

Sometimes we only want to focus on the negatives in life–how someone has wronged us, what is going on in the world, how we HATE something as mundane as a rain storm–but when we open ourselves up to positivity and happiness, all our troubles seem to melt away. And that, my friends is how Mickey Mouse taught me the power of everyday magic.

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