Day 1 of our little family vacation: check into our hotel right next to Disneyland, kill some time at Downtown Disney, and go to Medieval Times in Buena Park.
Going to a new place with a child on the spectrum is always a challenge. But I have to say, Medieval Times made the experience very easy.
I knew that we needed accessible seating in case Julianna was overwhelmed (guess what--sensory issues are REAL). I told the nice event staff member by the handicapped access gate that my daughter has autism, and that the sights and sounds might be too much. Without hesitation, he took us to the indoor stadium so I could decide what might work best. I chose an area, and he switched our seats. He even let us go in before the rest of the crowd. And once we were seated, he brought Nathan a booster seat without being asked.
When the show started, there was loud music and strobe lights flashing. Julianna covered her ears and began to cry. I reassured her that everything was okay and that the exit was right behind us now. I then thought that I needed to relate this new experience to something she's done before. Moms really do have intuition, because instantly I knew to say, "Julianna, this is just loud, just like a movie." She paused, uncovered her ears, and said, "Mommy, you mean this is like a movie?" She calmed down.
Next came the meal (eaten with no utensils, of course). Garlic bread, which she ate. A huge piece of roast chicken, tomato bisque, corn on the cob, and a baked potato. She only ate the garlic bread, and I knew she was starving.
I asked our server if she could bring any extra bread, and she was happy to do so. I explained that Julianna has many food aversions and would only eat the bread. She brought two more pieces of garlic bread. No more hungry Julianna.
When it was over, we thanked to event staff employee for the great seats. We thanked our server for the excellent service--I even left a note. What could have been a stressful evening for us turned out to be great.
It made me think that sometimes, it's hard to ask for help. But when you have a child with special needs, you have no choice--extra needs usually means extra help. So it's always appreciated when employees show they care about making your experience easier.
Thanks, Medieval Times! Tomorrow and Thursday: Disneyland! I will make sure to take mental notes on things I can share with you all.