Today started a good bit earlier. My darling wife made breakfast reservations for 8:15 at the Crystal Palace, which is in the Magic Kingdom park of Disney World. We got up early, I forced down some hotel room coffee and we hit the road at 7. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the resort, another 10 to get parked and up to the monorail and about 15 minutes to ride the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Much better than our bus experience.

Since we were there on the 4th of July, one of the busiest days of the year, our plan was simple: get in, have fun, get out by 2. Our breakfast was a character breakfast, so we got to meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet were great but Tigger wasn’t as bouncy as I expected. He must not have had his coffee yet. Anyway, the food was decent although expensive and I put a pretty good dent in the buffet. My plan was to skip lunch since we have early dinner reservations. Raymond handled it well, as the restaurant isn’t super loud. There is a parade at the end which he skipped as it seemed a little too overloading.

He did do well asking for autographs though. We had talked about it the night before and on the ride in. He knew how to ask, but was so excited sometimes just said “He wants to write!” However, the characters were wonderful and let us work through the request. We left there and went to Adventureland, which was great. Raymond got to work on his pin trading skills. Again, he didn’t know exactly what to say, but the park person was wonderfully patient and let us practice. We scored a Disney pennant with the silver mouse ears and, for some reason, a Snow White pin that he had to have.

Raymond tolerated rides well today. We walked the Swiss Family Treehouse, which he thought was fun. I liked it because there were a lot of stairs which means heavy work. It did help calm things down. Prior to breakfast Raymond had been a little edgy, mainly due to the early start IMO. Next up was the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which he wouldn’t ride but was happy to watch as his mom and me rode it. I think he would have enjoyed it as it wasn’t fast but it was exhilarating, but I wasn’t willing to make it a battle. He enjoyed the Jungle Cruise, which is hilarious. The tour guides have the best patter of any in the park, chock full of awful jokes and bad puns. If you know me, you know that’s where I live.

Next up was Frontierland. Since the wait was short, I rode Splash Mountain. No chance of getting Raymond on that one, so he played in the playground at the exit. That was actually a decent place for a quiet break, although as we were leaving it started to fill up. We then took the Walt Disney World Railroad back to the front of the park, what with Raymond being crazy about trains and all.

Once back up front, we chilled out, literally, at the Town Square Theater. We also got fast pass tickets to meet Mickey and Minnie. Then it was off to Tommorrowland! We started with the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which is a great little comedy show. After getting our laugh on we rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s PeopleMover which is a fun tram style ride that takes you all around Tomorrowland. We were considering another ride, but at that point it was 12:30 and almost time for our fast pass Mickey visit. As we walked back toward the Town Square Theater we saw that the park was much more crowded, so we decided to see Mickey and Minnie and hit the road.

Mickey and Minnie were wonderful. Raymond gave them both big hugs and asked, somewhat shyly, for autographs. They obliged and we hit the monorail. We got lucky and hit the express, so it was a quick 5 minutes back to the parking lot and 10 to the car, with another 20 to get back home. Not bad, all things considered. We all hit the pool to cool down and then got ready to go back to the park for dinner and the fireworks. Again, my lovely wife had the foresight to make reservations so we were eating at the Contemporary Resort at 5:30. The coolest thing is that we could stay and watch the fireworks from a private viewing area, meaning we wouldn’t have to fight the crowds!

The Contemporary is the bomb. Next time we come to Disney we are staying there. The monorail pulls right in to the hotel and there is dining and shopping. This is really where the pin trading became successful. Raymond had managed to score a rare Chip pin earlier in the day. A cast member at the Fantasia store told us that while Raymond was checking out her pins. He asked her to trade with minimal prompting, picked out the pin he wanted and the one he wanted to give her and said thank you after trading. The great thing was the woman said, as he was asking for the pin, “look me in the eye” AND HE DID! So, we know its motivating and we know he gets it. He repeated this exchange with two other cast members at the store and filled up his lanyard. He has officially traded all of his starter pins and has a cool collection of other pins! If you want to know more about all this stuff you can go toto get started.

Next up was dinner at the California Grill. Great place, fantastic food, super expensive. I’m glad we ate there but it totally blew our food budget out of the water. Then we rode the monorail around the park twice and went upstairs to watch the fireworks. We got there early to stake out a good spot on the viewing deck. Good thing too, because it got fairly crowded. I’d suggest getting there a half hour before the show to make sure you get a rail spot. Raymond did well, and made it halfway through the 15 minute fireworks show. To be fair, it was super alerting and super loud, especially being right up near where they were blowing up over Space Mountain! I took some pictures, which I will share once I get them uploaded. All in all I’m going to call it another successful day. More tomorrow after we visit the Animal Kingdom!

Read Autism and Walt Disney World Day 1.

Read Autism and Walt Disney World Day 3.

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