Planning your Disney Day
It's really easy to get over excited and completely wear yourself out halfway through your trip; take it slow and enjoy the experience.
There's a reason why my favourite animal is the Sloth and my online persona is Sleepy. I am somebody who likes to take my time and move slow. However this philosophy, despite being looked down upon in society, is a fantastic way of just enjoying the world around you. The last thing you want is to be miserable at Disney because you haven't slept, your feet hurt, and your ankles have consistently been crunched by others rushing through their trip.
I get it too, my wife and I went on her first Disney trip a few years back; and even I got overly excited and jam packed our schedules. There isn't anything wrong with jam packing your schedule per se, some people enjoy experiencing Disney parks like that. However I believe that for many of us with Autism, the slow and steady method is better.
The benefits of taking it slow? Well for me, it means...
that I'm not extra volatile because I'm well rested.
I can intake more of my surroundings as I'm not constantly overstimulated
It's easier to notice the small intricacies of the parks
I can enjoy each thing I'm doing more, not constantly thinking about where I have to be next
The new(ish) FastPass Plus system is a big help for this. So FastPass is a way to get onto rides without waiting in the main line. You are given a time window, and if you show up to the ride in that window, you go into the FastPass line. For a lot of rides it won't be a straight walk on, but still a LOT better than sitting in a compact queue for two hours! It used to be a paper system, and you had to grab your FastPass for that day from the ride themselves. As it is now, it was a first come first serve, which is no problem. Except, when it meant trying to get the popular rides, then you were running to the ride at opening hoping for a FastPass!
Now, with FastPass Plus, you can grab your passes ahead of time. On the My Disney Experience app on their website, you can choose passes 30 days ahead of your trip. (60 if you're staying at a Disney Resort) You can choose up to three per day, and I recommend thinking about how you want your day to go before booking.
For us, we're a slower start in the morning, so most of our FastPass choices were in the afternoon. We also didn't want to rush from ride to ride this time, so we gave some extra time between our ride times. This way, you have open time to just slowly make your way to the next ride, looking at the Disney Park around you, maybe taking time for shopping or to have a quick snack.
Take some time during your days to just kick back and relax. Growing up this was a NECESSITY for me, every afternoon on our trips, we would go back to the room and have resort time. This often meant going to the pool! All of the Disney Resorts have wonderful pools for their guests. why not use them? Take the time to sit in a lounge chair, read a book and decompress. These times of peace will help you better appreciate the time you have in the Parks. Finally, we all want to finish off the day with those Instagram-worthy fireworks displays and shows. Here's the thing, fireworks are friggin loud. For me, it's not as much of a sensory issue anymore, but fireworks can be difficult for any person with Autism. I recommend gauging your own sensory capabilities or your companion with Autism's sensory capabilities before planning for fireworks and shows.
Though there's still plenty of other ways to end your days, with other, less overstimulating shows, or even take the time to tackle some rides. The rides tend to be pretty dead when the fireworks are going on, which is great. There's also my personal favourite show, Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. (Don't get me wrong, I think it long needs an update at this point, Fantasmic 2.0 at Disneyland is great and I want one here damnit!)
I specifically didn't talk about rides, as tomorrow we'll be talking more in depth about rides, how to plan for them, and my personal favourites.
Though I do feel like I'm forgetting something... Something costumed and sinister... Eh maybe I'll remember Thursday. Anyway, have a fantastic day!