Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disneyland (Warning: Aaron's smiles will melt your heart!)

"You think there's no way it can live up to your expectations...but it does, it just does. "explained my friend, as she helped me get pumped for our Disneyland trip. 

Boy was she right.

I had to laugh a little when people would dutifully instruct me

"Be sure to take lots of pictures!"

Ummm, did you forget who you're talking too? The girl who can only have fun if she's wielding her camera!

And wield I did. So for those who requested lots of they are. 
First visit buttons

Although how did I NOT get one of us eating corn dogs??? 
Oh it was picture worthy, 
first thing we ate, 
5 minutes into our arrival
and Ben happily announced wiping the ketchup and mustard from his face, 

"K, it was worth it, I can go home happy." 

Before we'd been there 10 mintues, along came Mary Poppins and Bert. 
I very quickly realized, as I tried to down play my girlish excitement that
Mary Poppins was basically my "Disney Princess"! 
Wearing the perfect replicas of their costumes from their escapades in the chalk drawings ...the ones I'd hope to see in the broadway and found myself horribly disappointed (I think she was wearing florescent pink during Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious--that's basically sacriledge, is it not?!?) Well in Disneyland, they do not disappoint. I know your thinking, no one could be as good as Julie Andrews-- oh but they were so splendidly in character and she had the most perfect dimple! As we took the picture, she whispered through her smile, "spit spot, stand up straight, no slouching." Which made me smile even bigger than I already was! I told her she was just perfect! And in unison they both corrected me, "Practically perfect!"

Now it was my turn to say, "Okay, I'm happy-- we could go home right now and I'd be so very pleased with our trip!"

Little did I know how many more smiles were coming my way:) (Zippity-do-dah!)

Our first day, we'd arranged for Ben's sister who recently moved down to California (more about that happily ever after in another soon to be written blog post, I'm sure;)
to come to the hotel and stay with Aaron. 
It was both mine and Ben's first time, so even though I'd "slept" on a hotel lobby couch in a Great Falls Montana  with a very awake Aaron til 3am and then caught our 6am flight, we hit the park at noon and really saw quite a lot that first day. 

My dear friend Tiffany has been trying to convince me for years to accompany her to Disneyland. Our birthdays are 3 days apart and we'd started planning a Disneyland celebration a few times, but I'd always had to back out for reasons I can't even remember anymore.

But 2013 is my Do it already! year, and man am I' glad we did. 
Tiffany knows her Disneyland, and was such a great planner/guide/bestest buddy ever. 
She made it all so easy and special...pointing out hidden Mickey's and spouting off little known facts for us. 

I was so glad I could share my first Disney experience with such a great friend.

Oh and my hubby. It was fun with him too;)

While I was trying to get this storm trooper to pose with Ben another one thought it's be funny to go right up behind me...I turned, startled and full on screamed. 
Aw, the memories.
There was an Ewok toque I might regret not buying.
The whole day though we kept getting more and more excited for Aaron to join us.
I mean, when lightening McQueen drives down the road, how can you not be happier than a tornado in a trailer park?!?
And he was.

It was such a good experience to be with just Aaron. As much energy as his programming takes and regardless of the portion of my sleepless nights that are spent worrying about him and his future, he is day to day less directly demanding then our other kids, who jostle for our attention constantly. It was nice to give him our full attention and get to follow his subtle leads, doing what he wanted to do. And man was he a trooper!

We started him off on the littel kiddie rides in Bugs Land. I think he enjoyed the familiarity of the characters and back drops (he's only seen every pixar film roughly a gazillion or so times!) He was just really taking it all in, things kept catching his eye and he'd inspect it like he does, letting out little squeals of delight at the accuracy of it all. We got off the Heimlich train and he darted to the front to look upside down at the chubby catepillars face, oblivious to the worker's panic.

Then Aaron met his fist character  Flick. 
I don't know how clearly the workers can see out of their costumes, 
but I hope they saw Aaron's face. 
It wasn't the typical kids, running up and calling out their characters name, 
giving hugs or asking for autographs. 
Oh but there was recognition. And... belief? 
Aaron is very scrutinizing. He often inspects people, looking for that one feature that will convince him you are infact the person he thinks you are. He'll rip apart toys if they aren't "right"...just like he won't let me pin my hair back with a bobby pin or wear a hat.
And to Aaron's total delight, Flick was "right".

We then tried the Monsters Inc ride next, which both Ben and I had said, "Aaron will love this!" no less then twenty times as we rode it our first time the day before.

Well honestly, it was a little hard to gage his reaction. He plugged his ears (which he's been experimenting a lot with lately) and didn't really crack a smile.
but as soon as we exited, he made a bee-line for the entrance.

We did that ride 3 more times in a row! and came back I don't even know how many times over the remaining 4 days.

Yup we did Monsters a lot.

The only ride we probably did more than Monsters was the Goofy roller coaster.

Ya know how the little roller coasters, with their jerks and turns can be scarier than the big ones all strapped in?

Aaron LOVED it. He giggled the whole way and more than once headed back into line. 

He could not get enough speed, or enough drops.

Neither Ben or I are real thrill seekers, but for those pure body curling giggles of his I might go on anything!

But the hit of all hits was Cars land. 
If you havent been since they made this addition..sorry, you HAVE to go back!

Watching Lightening McQueen Drive down the street. SO very, very cool. 

Just walking down
Radiator Springs is awesome. Transported I believe is the word. You are in the movie, 100%.

And then all the detail and work that went into recreating Ornament Valley, I just kept catching myself staring at the rocks imagining how much work it was to paint them all. Wow.

Aaron really took to the Stanley statue. It was a little quiet spot in between stroller parking, where he could run back and forth and decompress while Ben went and got another fast pass. 
Pretty sure he accidentally photo bombed quite a few families posed photos.

 Mater's Junkhyard Jamboree was another favorite. Got lots of smiles.

And the new Cars ride itself? Phenomenal. Look at how happy Aaron is to just be in line for it???
He plugged his ears and squealed the whole race. Vestibular, visual bliss!

Ben and I were completely impressed with all of California Adventures in fact. 
Its just all so well done and well laid out. 
It handles the crowds a bit better than classic Disneyland (though classic IS classic).

We really found the Wilderness Explorer camp a really convenient place to chill out and relax.
Aaron could run and climb. We could sit and enjoy a frozen lemonade.
How they made you feel like you were in the middel of the woods, and not in a busy theme park, I don't know, but man it was nice.

Plus you can give high fives to Russell!

 One of my favorite (I'm sure using that word a lot!) things in both Disneyland and California Adventures was the parades. Man, Disney know how to put on a parade.

Aaron wasn't quite as enthusiastic. 

He did like the Toy Story ride. First time EVER we've got him to keep glasses on. 
I guess 3D buzz and Woody were just the right reinforcement!

Some body really wanted Zurg. 

Instead we let him watch the California Sceamer take off. 

The next day it was back to Disneyland, this time with Aaron. 

Ben making an Aaron face.

Another Fabulous parade!!!! So glad that McKye's rockband skills can one day be put to good use, when he's employed by Mickey's personal drum line.

Not "my" Mary, but man I want one of those carousel horse/bikes.

I liked the parade so much I watched it twice!
Some glowy drinks in between, Indiana Jones, Pirates, and Jungle Cruisin'

Aaron was so cute, giggling as we approached the gates every morning.
Just knowing that he was about to have another day of magical fun!

 I was ready to track down some characters, so we asked guest services for our favorite Toy Story friend's schedules. 

Trying to take off Jessie's hat.

Ok, after Mary Poppins, Jessie might be my next favorite!

We were just fetching the stroller, ready to get back in line for Woody, 
when Jessie crouched back down. 
Aaron grabbed her face and just smiled, just gazed at her (no poor eye contact this time!) 
It was such a sweet moment. 

The best of the whole trip

As we walked away, Jessie patted her heart, showing that she was touched too, by our special son.  And me? Oh I was a blubbering mess. Ben thought it was funny and took a picture of me getting all emotional. 

When Woody traded Jessie off, she passed us again in line and gave Aaron another big hug.
I wish I could tell her how great she was with him.

I just realized, just now what was so neat about their interaction. There were no words. 
All gestures and looks, hugs and  high fives.  
Aaron's wordless love, reciprocated-- perfectly. Thanks Jessie. 

And Woody. 
Aaron showed no trepidation at all. It was his pal, Woody, 
and he was BIG and he wanted him to pick him up!  

(Dad did instead)

While mom tried to pull herself back together, Dad and Aaron played in the fountain. 
So much non-stop happiness.
When we first decided to take Aaron to Disneyland I found the post "Disneyland my autistic sons land yes", and cried as I read it. I truly hoped this would be Aaron experience too. 
And it was.

He was so happy the whole time. He just did so well. And I was so grateful to be able to do it with just him. I think he was grateful to have just us too.

 Well us and some of his other pals:)

 Don't ya love how he disappears in Sully's hug?

  I loved Animations Studios. Could have stayed there all day watching the clips and sketches from all the different movies and spun around singing along with the music 
(yes, yes I was Part of Your World, how could I not?)

Beast library with the magic books that tell you which Disney Character your like?  So fun!

Pretty sure it's based on this personality test, we just did a few weeks ago. 

Aaron could have watched the Toy Story Zoetrope all day! 
Oh ya, Turtle Talk with Crush was totally awesome too, dude!

 And World of Colour?!?!? Wish we would have planned to see it more than once.

Between the Animation studios and World of Color I realized something.

Even though it took me 31 years to get to Disenyland-- I already loved Disney.  As amazing as all the rides and characters and shows are--and yes it may very well be "the happiest place on earth"--but the true contribution of Disney is what I had already experiences...
on our old TV with some VHS.

Good family entertainment, created with talent and care. Mufassa's death scene, the Little Mermaid's eyes gazing as she holds that end note, Pocahontas showing John Smith her world, Aladin showing Jasmine a Whole New one, Dumbo's mom rocking him in her trunk, Tarzan and Jane hands meetings, Lady and the tramp's noses touching at the end of the spaghetti, Belle whispering I love you before her beast is tranformed... the were very VERY cool projected on huge sprays of water BUT I got teary because all those moments were already a part of my childhood--and as cheesy as it sounds, a little part of me.
Scenes that made me feel and laugh and want to sign a long...twirling if possible.
A whole world of color and music that has brought literally generations happiness.

What a legacy. Thanks Walt. For everything.

 Yes, Disenyland was "Incredible" (After Mary Poppins, and Jessie, Mrs, Incredible is next in line:)

Finished it all off with Fireworks (amazing fireworks). 
Ben took Aaron home, exhausted from four straight days of giddiness. 

I enjoyed one last cinnamon hot chocolate with Tiffany at the Carnation Cafe, rode the train around the park, 
and said good bye...oh we'll be back, not sure when, but I do know

It's not gonna take me another 31 years that's for sure. 

“To all that come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land. 

Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future."

Here a little boy who doesn't speak, who didn't need too, because all the magic reflected back to us in his constant smiling eyes. 


mbmcclung said...Best Blogger Tips

amazing ..... I too was crying at the photo of Jessie and aaron... then I scrolled down to read the next photo of you crying .. hahah Its perfect! This trip will be one you guys never forget .. so glad you could do it !

Amy said...Best Blogger Tips

Yup, even though you told me the Jesie story already, the photo had me in tears too. What a magical trip! I'm so glad you went! I love how you and Sully matched haha, oh and you were wearing red when you met Minnie. Did you plan this?

Rebecca said...Best Blogger Tips

Ha Ha. I made Glenn take a picture with me by the "and they lived happily ever after" sign, too. Actually a lot. The lighting by that sign is weird. :)

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

Me plan out fits Amy????

There were so many people taking engagement photos it seemed-- that happily ever after was a popular back drop, Rebecca.

Lindsey said...Best Blogger Tips

Love it all! I think you've convinced me that we need to plan a little trip!