Part 1: A mother-daughter Disney cruise: the back story

The Background

Over a year ago, my daughter had a big ask. She wanted to do a mother-daughter vacation and wasn’t going to take “maybe” as an answer. Anyone familiar with our family knows the word “vacation” oft resides in a fantasy world. Raising a child on the Autism Spectrum means many things, including a shift in priorities with finances almost always taking a punch. Of course, not all families experience this, but count ours in the list of those who swap relaxing trips for therapy appointments, and other things needed to help an autistic child maneuver this life.

In the moment, those choices can make us feel down, but keeping an eye on the future means choosing what’s best for our child and trusting it is worth it, even if we don’t see the results for several years. Yes, years. As the mom of a daughter in her early twenties, trust me when I say sacrifices and hard work in the early years are worth it!

Fast forward to college (yes, college – she worked like crazy to get where she is) and she’s grown like a sunflower in a field; tall, shining and unique among blooms. And this Aspergirl wanted a vacation. A “real” vacation with her mom. She pointed out to me all the fun things she and her dad did together. They traveled to our nation’s capital, including a stopover at Jefferson’s home (“Hamilton,” anyone?), then the “shore,” and more. Granted, these were short, sometimes side trips, but they were trips, nonetheless.

Where was I? Thrilled to pieces the two of them were having this time together. My father passed away when I was young, so making sure the two of them had what I did not – father daughter time – was one of my life’s priorities. I have no regrets they have those memories as that one-on-one time is priceless, and something I’d give anything for as my dad passed on way too soon.

Good intentions, however, often have blind spots as did that one.

Yes, my daughter and I spent one-on-one time together – a lot of time. Mom, here, was the one to get her on and off the bus, pull her out of school early for appointments, drive her across town for the therapist, drive to the other side of town for allergy shots, and more. (Can you relate?) Yes, we sure did spend a lot of time together, but as she pointed out to me, “Mom, that wasn’t exactly ‘fun’.” And she’s right.

That’s the thing about Aspies; they are largely right. So, I listened.

Then came the Ask.

“Mom, I want to go on a Disney cruise then drive to Orlando. But with you, just you.”

Even though it was past time we did something like this, the reality was finances are still a thing, therapy copays long gone replaced with college bills. We did the math, figured out what was needed then worked and saved like crazy, and were able to pull it off.

And I’m so glad we did.

Sunset aboard the Disney Dream

About the Disney Cruise with Asperger’s Blog Series

There’s a lot to pack in, which is why this will be a series. There’s so much to say, especially with Asperger’s and SPD in the house. K has agreed to help me write about it, and once school settles down this spring, she is hoping to contribute a guest post. Meanwhile, her tips and thoughts will be sprinkled throughout each post.

Here’s where I could use your help. Sure, we can write journal type posts of what we did, where we went, what we ate, etc., but this isn’t a diary; it’s a conversation. We want you to read this and have a better understanding whether or not this type of vacation is right for you and your family. If you have any questions about taking this kind of a vacation, please comment below – I’d love to hear from you and will consider incorporating all questions in future posts while the series is live. Likewise, if you have tips to share with others, there will be ample opportunity to post those in the comments. Let’s help and encourage each other!

We will be talking about what a Disney cruise is like from sensory and Aspie perspectives, as well as providing basic information for anyone looking to book a Disney cruise. It’s going to be so much fun!

Thanks for following along! See you in the next post!

Wishing you all the best!

Julie

**DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Disney. Opinions are my own and that of my daughter.

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