Autism Watch: 2007

Halloween at Disneyland, and Costume Fiascos

Posted on: October 8, 2008

Where to start?

Last Friday, we took ds and dd to Disneyland. We’d postponed it twice over the two weeks prior, due to one of us being sick, and even though I still had a cold, we couldn’t postpone again. After all, Jack Skellington is at Haunted Mansion!!!

Anyway, I think everyone who had a pass but didn’t have tickets for the Halloween event at Cal Adventure was there. I haven’t seen the park this busy in years – and we go a lot. We always get my son’s special assistance pass and then make a beeline to Tower of Terror. Apparently, they were so busy this past Friday night that the Fastpass line was the only one open. When I showed the attendant my son’s special assistance pass, I was told, basically, ‘too bad.’ When I shook my head and tried to clarify, “No, really, where are disabled people being let in line?” He said there wasn’t a line. “Okay, seriously, you have to have a disabled or handicapped access. Are you saying you don’t have one?” I couldn’t believe it when he said “That’s right.” There were no words. I turned around, tried to placate ds with a spin by telling him we could now for sure fit in California Screaming AND Toy Story Mania before the park closed. Okay…sort of.

The rest of the Cal Adventure visit went great. We ate in the Mexican food restaurant (aka beer garden) over next to California Screaming (there’s got to be a reason they put it right there) and headed to Disneyland. The wall of people in line to get in should have clued me in that we’d chosen a bad night. But hey, we have a stroller for ds and passes, what can be bad, right??

We make our way around, only to find that Woody’s Round-up was closed. Wahhh. And ds had a meltdown, too. Took 20 minutes to get him remotely interested in anything else, and we forced him on the Haunted Mansion, where their handicapped option was really long, too, but at least there’s a lot to look at. Leave there, head for Indiana Jones, only to experience a repeat of Tower of Terror. What the heck? I love Disneyland. I’m a huge fan. In fact, we just renewed our annual passes, but I was really disappointed. I don’t expect the park to turn upside down for disabled guests, but to be met with blank faces totally lacking empathy or interest in helping us was a surprise. So un-Disneylike. (So was the 20+ minute wait over at the Matterhorn, in the handicapped line…only two people in front of us, and still over 20 minutes. One day, I’ll actually remember to stop and ask Guest Services exactly why that ride is so bad — are they told to make people in the handicapped line to wait? Or do the line attendants just all figure if we are still breathing, we can wait like anyone else?)

In the long run, the visit was still a good one. Ds loves his ice cream and the chance to walk through Mickey’s house over in Toontown. As a daily player at Toontown.com, he loves to sit on the trolley and talk about Cogs. And we have another trip planned in a couple of weeks, during the week, so we can avoid the massive crowds. Have to visit Woody’s Round-up, you know! (If you haven’t gone there yet, you won’t understand the attraction, but at Halloween and Christmas, they have these huge sugar cookie kits you buy for about $6, and it comes with frosting and sprinkles to decorate. Major fun for my little guy, and a ‘must do’ for every holiday visit.)

Onto the costume fiasco…..

Last week, my son saw a costume in a Party City ad that he just had to have. HAD to have. HAD TO. Nothing else would do. Yesterday, after school, in the throes of a migraine, I took him to go buy it. They had one left in his size, and the mask was missing. Long story short — after an offer of a 15% discount to buy it without the mask, an idea to buy a different costume, or an offer to go to a distant store where they’d hold one for us, we chose driving to the distant store. This wasn’t without a meltdown — he began to cry in the checkout when they said “no mask.” (This, after we’d been shuttled to four different people who all supposedly had the mask.) The woman behind us couldn’t stop staring as though my son was some spoiled brat. (My daughter had a mean, but great comment “Keep walking. He’s not a doughnut.” See, she was rather large and had her mouth completely open. Yes, I know it’s mean, but after a while, you get tired of rude stares and sighs.) The other Party City had it right there waiting for us, and we grabbed it and ran, without the hassle of the other store. (One cashier actually told me “It’s not our fault people don’t put the masks back on after trying them on.” It’s not? Then who’s is it? And a 15% discount? Come on, you can’t sell it without the mask anyway, so why not a bigger break? It was ridiculous, though most people were nice there, just ridiculously disorganized.) So ds has his costume. He’s thrilled, and he ran around the house in it for a while when we got home. That alone made it all worth it…even though I was virtually without makeup and had on those same holey ripped shorts I had during his infamous meltdown at school. You’d think I’d learn to never wear them again, but in the end, really, who cares?? I had bigger priorities, and I had a migraine. So if you’re the lady who stared at me because he was screaming while standing in front of the cash register and slowing down your rush to buy those Halloween decorations and candy in your hands, get over yourself, you’ve still got three weeks to decorate and eat store that candy for trick-or-treaters.

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