Disney is the brand that helps my family connect. In the modern age of busy schedules, personal electronics and traditional teenagers, connecting is not easy for most families. Add Autism and it's more of a challenge. Disney and all of it's synergy with Star Wars, Marvel and The Muppets are the key for us. The movies, music, parks and memories give us relatable topics to share when we are able to be together.
Connecting is hard. Ben is on the Autism Spectrum. He (we) are very lucky that he is able to be successful in many things, but relationships, conversations and affection do not come easily. Disney helps us make those connections. Little things like playing Disney music in the car, or seeing a movie he will enjoy with the rest of us gives us a place to start a connection. Bigger things, like being able to visit the parks and immerse ourselves in Disney AND get to spend dedicated time together, gives our family the tools to talk together about memories of past trips and plans for future vacations. All of us can laugh, remember and wonder together.
Ben's mission for this summer was to show Chip and Dale the shirt his grandma got him for Easter. So on the morning we were going to the Magic Kingdom, Ben has his shirt on and he is ready. When we are through the gates, instead of power walking to the first ride of the day we are waiting in Town Square for a few minutes to meet Chip and Dale. Ben just kept giggling, almost busting in anticipation!
Out they come, we waited patiently while another group met with them. Then it was our turn, as we approached they spotted his t- shirt. Boy were Chip and Dale excited! They spun Ben around and he HUGGED them. To say Ben is not a hugger is an understatement. Family and teachers learned long ago the different ways Ben would accept greetings and goodbyes, a raised eyebrow or thumbs up is high praise, but rarely was a hug part of the plan. But Chip and Dale- they are where it's at! He posed for me and the photo pass photographer. He was thrilled, and I didn't stop crying until we got all the way to Space Mountain.
Every vacation has new things we love to do, restaurants we want to try, as well as hit the favorites. This year we LOVED the Music of Pixar Live, where a live orchestra on stage AND characters bring the music of Pixar films to life at Hollywood Studios; the new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom "Happily Ever After" is AMAZING and we watched it in style with a dessert viewing party; Laughed at the Muppets in Liberty Square (we love the muppets and Meg is a new history major); plus this year PANDORA: The Land of Avatar, at Animal Kingdom had so much to explore we just kept going back.
That was just one week of magic, we have seen Cars 2, Beauty and the Beast and visited the Star Wars: The Power of Costumes exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We listen to the soundtracks for Moana, Hunchback of Notre Dame and all of the Disney Classic music, and have laughed through countless videos, apps, and fun Disney themed entertainment.
This is what it's all about. We connect as a family, and Ben makes the connections he seeks out. Thank you Disney, for the pixie dust that connects us!
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