About Me

I am a single mom of three amazing boys!  All three of my sons entered my family through adoption.  All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Taking my animals to Animal Kingdom

Today was going to be the day that we were all to be tested.....we had seen 3 parks in 3 days and the goal by the end of the day was to have seen 5 parks....today we were to conquer Animal Kingdom AND Epcot!

Our plan looked great on paper: get to Animal Kingdom at opening, see as much of the park as possible and leave Animal Kingdom to head to Epcot by 4/4:30.  We knew that we needed to only see the major parts of Epcot and could likely skip visiting the Countries, and we knew we wanted to see the fireworks.  With plans for water breaks, and inside rides, i figured we were good to go.

Well.....good to go, until we started our day by oversleeping!  We weren't ready to leave the villa until almost 9:45, and so we were starting our day behind schedule.  No big deal, with a stop for coffee and breakfast, we were on our way, and set to stay on schedule.

As soon as we entered the park we headed right to  Dinoland U.S.A and my favorite ride DINOSAURS!  I have always loved this ride, but until this year the boys were not fans.  My hope was that with their new found love of rollercoasters that they may also enjoy this thrill ride.  Matthew and Jacob loved it, but David was again overwhelmed with the movement and the visuals.  Matthew and Jacob and I rode a second time, while my mom and David hung out waiting for us.

We then headed over to see the Finding Nemo Show- again, this was an purely incredible show.  David especially was totally enthralled throughout the entire show.  Watching the puppetry and the action come to life was amazing.

The boys then wanted to return to Dinoland USA to try the carnival area.  Jacob and Matthew again quickly headed onto rides, while David had his heart set on a game.  At this point in our trip I knew that David was collecting stuffed animals- he had a huge mickey mouse, a large patrick from Spongebob square pants, and now he had his heart set on winning a dinosaur at Dinoland U.S.A.  The problem is that I know these games are rigged and often impossible.  As we approached the lady running the games I mentioned that we were there on a Make A Wish trip, hoping that the lady would help him "win" the game......however, she was set on doing her job, and made it clear that there would be no "wins", he was to win or lose the game on his own.  He was playing the game where you have to throw a ball into a container- there were about 100 containers and David had to get his ball to land in one of the 10 containers that were different colors.  Ball 1, no luck.  Ball 2, no luck....Ball 3...I am holding my breath as it rolls around .....and LANDS IN THE RED CONTAINER!  He won!  I have no idea how he did it but he won!!!!

I have rarely seen a child so in love with a stuffed animal as David was as we strutted back towards my mom to show her his prize.  At this point the other boys were done riding their rides and we headed off towards Rafiki's Planet Watch.  My plan was to keep us on time and to hope that Jacob wouldn't notice Expedition Everest, a huge rollercoaster.  Unfortunately Jacob has a nose now for rollercoasters and sniffed out Everest......My hope was a quick ride on Everest and we would be back on track and off to see the baby animals.  It was hot as could be, and I wanted to get David out of the sun and on to see the baby animals and some inside exhibits.

Jacob LOVING Everest!
Jacob immediately got on Expedition Everest and got off and declared it AWESOME!  Matthew was riddled with anxiety- he was desperate to ride Everest but also scared and so he started asking questions.  "is it fast?" ,   "does it go backwards?", "do you go upside down", "is it fast" "does it go backwards"," Do you go upside down?"  over and over again, to every person he found, he repeated his questions, and then he watched the ride go again, and then he talked about wanting to ride, and then he asked his questions.  Finally, after Jacob rode a second time, Matthew decided he wanted to ride....ok, maybe not wanted to ride as much as he felt he HAD to ride it......Jacob quickly convinced him that he would go with him and keep him safe     ( yes, it was an awesome moment of mom pride to see the 2 of them go off together to get on the ride).  Matthew covered his ears, he worried, he panicked, and then he did it!  He rode Everest.  He had no need to ride it again, but was so proud of doing it once!

i love Matthew's face in this picture!

Finally, over an hour later, and no longer anywhere near being on schedule, we were off towards the animals.  As we walked we saw a quiet spot with a line, so of course I had to see what was going on.  It turned out that this was a Character greeting area with Safari Mickey and Minnie.  I figured since David had just waited almost an hour while the boys rode Everest that we could take a few minutes to meet Mickey and Minnie.  We showed the person our special passes and he let us go in the Fastpass entrance and this is where we noticed that even in the Fastpass line we still had over a 20 minute wait to see the famous Mouse.  As we waited David started to pick at things and bang the wall, and then bang his head on the wall.  I walked out to ask if there was any way that he could meet Mickey any sooner.  He had been in the heat too long, and it was all a little too much, and he just wanted to see Mickey.  Sadly, we were told that he needed to wait in line.

As we waited the family in front of us began to notice David's struggle.  As they were called in to meet Mickey the mom encouraged us to go in front of them.  She was so sweet, and David was really struggling and so we went ahead.  Unfortunately, once again David checked out as it was time to meet Mickey.  

Even with David checked out, this was a magical moment.  The mom from the family in
front of us was so touched to meet David and our family, and she was so sweet and kind.  She took pictures of David meeting Mickey and just seemed to innately understand, one mom to another, how important this moment was to me.  After we met Mickey we took a moment to help David rehydrate and get back together, and as the other mom came out she asked for my email address.  She had taken some pictures of David meeting Mickey and wanted to make sure that we got a copy of them.  As she left she and I both had tears in our eyes- it was truly a magical moment that we shared and a moment of connection from one mom to another that I will cherish.

As we continued on we headed to get some lunch and then finally to Rafiki's Planet Watch.  We were now officially behind schedule, and decided to simply live in the moment.  We knew that we couldn't leave Animal Kindgdom without seeing The Lion King Show, and based on the available show times it was more and likely that we wouldn't make it to any show before the 5:00 showtime as it was already 2:30!

We quickly took the train over to Rafiki's Animal Planet and while the boys enjoyed seeing the animal hospital area, and my mom and I enjoyed hanging out in the air conditioning, this part of the park was not nearly as big a hit as it had been a few years ago.  Matthew was thrilled to meet Chip and Dale ( again, a fun mom moment as my 14 year old happily stood in line to meet some cute chipmunks!)

After a quick dash to the safari ride, it was time for the highlight of the day.......
At 5:02 we got to the entrance...I am convinced we have missed our opportunity to get in, and yet once again our awesome passes save the day.....we are quickly escorted to front row seats.....Please, don't allow yourself to believe that this is all roses and sunshine...as we are trying to get David to come to the show, all he is saying over and over again is "it's just a show""it's JUST a show" "it's no fun, its JUST a show" over and over and over again...repeat, repeat, repeat....there is no distracting him, no convincing him that it will be fun, until the show starts....from that moment on.......his eyes glimmer and he is HOOKED!

The Lion King Show was amazing for all of us!  Jacob is amazed by the monkeys are their gymnastic movements, Matthew loves the rhythm and the music  David loves all of it, and even giggles later as we remind him that he thought it would be "just a show!"

As I watched the boys at the show, I began to realize that we had to live in the moment more.  While I want to get to Epcot, I realize that David is cooked.  He is exhausted, and an exhausted David is not a David who is having fun.  I suggest to my mom that maybe we should go back to the Villa for a little while and then head to Epcot after everyone has cooled off.  She agrees and so we head back to the villa.

Stay tuned to learn about our magical night in the next blog!

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