Having a Child With Down Syndrome, Part XCVI: The Disney Machine

Copyright © 2016 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.


In September/October, E and I started planning a vacation for February vacation. It was a trip to a Disneyworld resort with a Park Hopper pass for 3 days and then a visit to my folks, who are in Sarasota. We did a lot of ahead planning and were excited since a lot more of the parks were going to be accessible to both our kids. E made a PowerPoint presentation to help choose what attractions we would make sure we went to and which parks we would go to for our stay.

The first day was Epcot and we walked close to 7 miles. Alice did admirably well and we finished up with dinner in ‘Morocco’ and Alice did some belly dancing.


The second day was the Magic Kingdom, but we ended up renting a wheelchair because Alice was clearly sore from the day before.

Alice and I had some fun playing with hats in one store:

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Stuart had picked out a lot of roller coasters. Oddly enough, I think Alice enjoyed them more. The jury is still out.

Stuart was very vocal about what he wanted to do, Alice less so so we had to fill in the blanks. E put the 3:00PM parade on the schedule and we were able to get a good spot thanks to the wheelchair. A number of the cast members saw Alice and waved to her directly. For example, Alice yelled to Merida who flexed and waved:


I was standing behind Alice, so the intent is pretty clear. It was very sweet.

The final day, we went to Hollywood Studios and Alice was clearly off from the start. I stopped with her and took off her AFO and saw that she had a pretty big sore on the instep, so we walked back to the wheelchair rental spot and I found that you can get a comped rental by approaching them with a crying child with outwardly obvious disabilities. Alice really needed the chair, though.

We finished the day with a late character dinner and let me say that Alice had them wrapped around her little finger.

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The cast was very nice to Alice and Alice reciprocated. E and I both spoke to one of the handlers to make it clear how nice it was to have them taking such good care of Alice. At one point during the day Alice said that she wanted to be a Disney cast member when she grew up. I don’t know how that would work out, but who knows?

2 thoughts on “Having a Child With Down Syndrome, Part XCVI: The Disney Machine

  1. Helen M. Pluciennik

    Looks like so much fun—–I would bet on Alice being a part of the
    Disney Adventure in her lifetime.

    Walt Disney was a visionary——-to build a park like that in the middle of
    what was then no where and now look at it all.

    It has been years since our kids went with us however all of our grandchildren
    have been.

    It looked to me like Mickey brought a smile to Alice.


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