The Broad Spectrum Project - A Family Vacation and The Boston Globe

As I wrapped up my first trip to Disney World with my kids, an article hit the press about my work with people affected by Autism.  If you want to read the article in The Boston Globe, click HERE!  Anyway, It went viral and I was a tiny bit unprepared for the amount of emails, web traffic and phone calls that have come a long with it.  I'M SO NOT COMPLAINING!  I am so grateful for everyone that has reached out.  My non profit will be launching in a few weeks, my dear friend Maura will be designing a dedicated blog/website to the project and I'm beginning to schedule new sessions for people interested in having their loved ones documented.  But that's another post for another time. I had a few folks request that I blog about my vacation a little bit.  So I will honor that request.  I'll tell you a little bit about our first and probably only trip to Disney World.  (not because it was bad but because it's crazy expensive)  As a child, I never got to go to Disney World and so I made a promise to myself that when I had kids, no matter what, I would take them at least once.  I believe it's kind of a right of passage as a child in America to go their once.  So this year, my husband and I saved like mad and bit the bullet, and off we went.

The best part of our trip was the customer service and the flexibility that Disney provided for us having a kid with Autism.  Now, keep in mind that my son is very mild at this point in time.  Many folks don't believe me when I tell them that he has it.  But, I follow that up with "Believe me, if you lived with us, you would know!"  So naturally we knew that long lines could be a challenge!  Would the place be too stimulating for him? Cause I'm telling ya, it was a tad over stimulating for me!

My buddy Meg suggested that we go through her Disney Travel Agent.  She recommended Erin Santamaria and she did it all for us.  She was perfect for us because she too has a son in the spectrum.  PERFECT!  I told her what I wanted to spend, what our ideal room set up would be etc.  She came back with three choices and we went with the middle one.  We stayed in Disney's newest family budget resort, The Art of Animation.  This is primarily an all suites resort.  It's divided into four sections.  Finding Nemo, Car's Cozy Cone Hotel, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.  The resort is brand spankin' new!  Our room slept 6 and was bigger than most New York apartments I have seen.  The beds were super comfy and the boys had their own bathroom.  KEY!  The food was not bad at all.  Now, keep in mind that my husband is a chef so hearing him say "Hey the food is not too bad" is a huge deal!  We did a meal plan (great idea) and a park hopper pass so that if the boys wanted to do different things, or my older son was having a hard time, we could separate.  Never needed to do that though.

On the first day we chose the Magic Kingdom.  We stepped up to Guest Services, as recommended by Erin, and presented a note from our wonderful pediatrician explaining our son's diagnosis and what may be challenging for him.  They didn't even bat an eye.  We were handed an assistance pass and not one person ever questioned it.  We did have to wait in line but much shorter lines for sure.  So short that my son said, "Well that wasn't bad at all".  We also found out on this trip that he REALLY liked the scarier fast roller coaster style rides.  Fun for me!  Not so fun for our little guy.  Hence the park hopper passes.

I could go on and on about our trip but I decided to just post a few photos that I took with my iPhone.  I am a HUGE fan of Instagram and I am really hoping that someone tells them about me and they will sponsor me for a massive art project idea that I have brewing in my brain right about now.

These photos are not really in any particular order.  But I figured it would be fun to share them regardless!

My hubby caught in the act with my son's stuffie!  Red Handed!Chillin' with technology!  I love Jet Blue.  They are great dealing with kids that have Autism.  Thank god.This is the entrance to our hotel at the Cozy Cone Mater Hotel. It is part of the Art of Animation Family Resort in Disney.  You really felt like you were literally IN the movie. I love Pixar so much and have been a fan since the 80's during Spike and Mike's Twisted Animation Festivals.This is the living room area of our room.That table is actually a full size Murphy Bed!He wanted nothing to do with characters back in the day, but this time my son really took to Mickey!Me and the boys sittin' on Mater.Dumbo Ride all the way.Ah...product placement for sugar water. That's all I will say about that. Don't get me wrong I still love a diet coke from time to time!Self portrait while waiting in line for the next rideWoody HatWelcome to Hollywood Studios.  If I remember correctly this building is a remake of one in LA.  And it was used in the movie Xanadu. Ok, I'm dating myself now.My husband is out of his mind.Breakfast character sit down at Hollywood Studios.At the Nemo pool.  This pool has a sound system in it and when you go under water you can hear the characters from Finding Nemo say things to you.Now that Disney has taken over the Star Wars empire, I think they need to take the Epcot Dome and turn it into the Death Star PRONTO!How could I say no to a Pluto hat with that face?Goofy and Pluto in the house.Hanging with Mater again!The Cozy Cone at night.Our first day at the Magic Kingdom.  My son and I taking a break.  This was the last day at Disney before heading to the Gulf for my in-laws.  We are very relaxed.My little guy is so obsessed with Dinosaurs so much that I believe we should just open up a palientology wing in our house.Waiting to check out.Sketches all over the lobby.Shark Bait hoo ha haThe entrance to the hotel was massive!Flo's houseMater done through Snapseed and then through Instagram.He loved all of it.Missing all the snow.  Yes.