Yes, it can be done. Our video this week was themed on the fact that we went to Animal Kingdom and did not spend a dime (outside of buying the tickets & parking). We brought in our own food. We brought in refillable water bottles (Disney offers free water). We also did not buy any souvenirs or trinkets because really, our intention was to just go enjoy the day. But, I missed what the theme of the video should have been. Auggie overcoming fear.
Auggie was not having the best day when we went to Animal Kingdom. He was in sensory overload. He had been to Disney before and was ok. I was a little surprised at how hard of a time he was having. [Steph: Looking back, we had started a new school and a new routine, so my guess is that it had something to do with that.]
We had a fast pass for Nemo the musical (fast pass is a way to cut the line). Auggie freaked out when Nemo came out on stage and ran out of the theater. He seemed traumatized. It didn’t help the curtain was auto closing on him as he ran out. Fast forward twenty minutes and he wanted to try to go in again. I could not believe it; he had just left screaming and now he said he wanted to be a big boy and try to go in again. Well, I wish I could say he was successful. He wasn’t. But he did spend almost a full five minutes before he was no longer able to handle it. To be honest those puppets freaked me out a little. As far as I am concerned though he was a champion in overcoming that fear. And that was not his only challenge of the day.
We took him to a few places in the park that he was not thrilled about. Auggie made it through every ride. Where we hit the next snag in the road was when we took the train to Rafiki Island. He loved the train, but not the island itself. At first, he did not want to walk past a wood cut out of Rafiki. We even had to go ahead of him just so he could see we checked it out. But where the day turned around for us was also on Rafiki Island. Once he got to the petting zoo where he was able to brush the donkey, a few goats, and a couple sheep he was good to go, and it was like he was finally enjoying himself.
The first bit of excitement I really saw from him was on the safari truck ride. Boy that kid loves big trucks. But you put big trucks mixed with rhinos ten feet away, & that kid is in heaven. He has been watching the Wild Kratts on PBS and has fallen in love with learning about animals. Auggie went on the safari three times!
The first guide we had was the best. I only went twice because we were running out of fast passes from the train ride. Something I did not catch on video (or lost the footage I swear I recorded it) was the fact that a tree fell on the train tracks on Rafiki Island and we were stranded for a while. But in true Disney fashion they took care of us and gave us six extra fast passes. Then when Auggie and Stephenie were on the safari the last time a truck broke down. Of course. So, they were stuck out, in the dark, with wild animals. Then the lion started roaring. How awesome/ominous to be able to experience. I really wish I would have been on that trip. That’s a little side tip. If you go to Animal Kingdom ride the safari at night, that is when all the animals come.
[Steph] So, like Randy said, our truck broke down on that last truck ride. I remember sitting in the dark, listening to the lion’s roar thinking, “Auggie is not going to like this!” I panicked a little at first. Then, as if he knew I was worrying, Auggie turned around and just said “Hi Mommy!” in a completely happy voice with the biggest grin. We talked about all the animals and he loved every minute of being stuck. He thought the lion roars were the coolest! As a mom, I’m grateful they were contained and a little freaked out to be honest, but it was fun!
This was one of the most difficult parks for us to take Auggie to at Disney [Steph: Probably one of the hardest days we’ve had so far]. But definitely one of the most rewarding. Auggie is working hard in therapy to overcome/cope with his sensory disorder (I hate having to say disorder makes it sound terrible he just has a sensory struggle). I hope we continue to have days like this. Sure, I would have loved for the day to go smoother and he have no struggles in life. But he is learning, growing, and overcoming. He is becoming himself, and what we hope is a good person.