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A Tale of Two Disney’s

Okay, okay, I know y’all are like, “We get it, you went to Disney World” already, but bear with me for one more post. This is one of mommy anxiety, being an autism mom and about the need to let go and just have fun. Here we go…

If I’ve learned anything over the last couple of years, it’s to stop worrying about other people and just focus on my own family. Being a mom of an autistic kid is hard, I’m not going to sugar coat it, but it’s also rewarding. You get to see things and feel things most typical parents might just glaze right over. You get to see the world through your kids eyes, and those eyes are wide and full of wonder. You also, however, get to deal with other people thinking the meltdown is a bratty kid throwing a fit, and not one in sensory overload. You get the stares from adults and even some kids when your child is hand flapping or spinning or doing something atypical. 

Don’t let those stares and comments deter you from having a great time on vacation with your family. 

You see, last year, I didn’t. I was the go-with-the-flow, everyone is having an amazing time, Disney World is the most magical place on earth, mom. I ignored the stares, danced and spun with my son and just was free to relax and have fun. 

This year, I had an entirely different Disney trip. I was nervous, uptight and worried 24/7. 

Last year we made the best memories and this year I feel the trip went by in a whirl. I feel like there were two entirely different Disney Worlds. 

Last year I visited the Disney World with fun and rides and laughing kids. This year I visited the Disney World with a Nervous Nelly attitude that prevented me from having the time of my life, like in years past. 

And I have no one to blame but myself.

People weren’t any different towards us this year from last. The stares from strangers were the same, I just let them get to me. The cast members were just as helpful as before, only I didn’t seek their help as often as I should have. The food was just as wonderful, if not better, but I was only worried about what Brady couldn’t eat. 

I needed the world’s largest xanax and I was afraid to just relax and let it be. 

Thank goodness for husbands. Mine was my own personal Prince Charming. Taking the kids when I seemed stressed, letting Brady roam free when I was too nervous to let him, just being the rock and support I needed. 

Thank goodness for friends who just let me be nervous at times and understood. Who coerced me to escape for a bit to ride space mountain at 11pm and be silly. 

Thank goodness for conference organizers who put together an truly magical time and left no detail untouched. Who simply had us show up and everything was done and thought of for us. 

Disney Cast members are there to help! Especially to help us Nervous Nellies. 😉 They were  there to help answer all of my bazillion questions and who made sure our trip was amazing. From questions about food allergies, to making sure our move from one resort to another was smooth and seamless, to wondering which way the pool was, they were there with a smile on their face and always had the answers I needed. I even met one who was from Colorado! 

I came home with far fewer pictures this year, to nervous and stressed to take out my camera at times. But I did come home with a million memories, good ones, of time spent with the kids. Of poolside playing, Cars, characters and fun. My only regret is that I didn’t let myself be as happy and carefree as the kids this year. 

Anxiety can be my own worst enemy. Thankfully, I did have a good time and for a few moments of time, was able to chill out and just enjoy all of the magic and wonder that was around us. I just wish I would have done that the entire trip.

A Tale of Two Disneys



disclosure: I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and received discounted rates and tickets to various events and attractions. All opinions are my own.




  • I am so glad you wrote this. I am not raising a special needs child but I had many anxious moments just like the ones you described. I was so mad at myself for not being able to let go. We had an amazing time but I couldn’t be 100% carefree for some reason. And some days the anxiety won. Thankfully, the more positive moments like space mountain and swimming with my kids and posing with Storm troopers will win out in my memories. So happy I got to hang with you!

  • This event combines the normal stress of travel with family with the usual anxiety of a professional event and then blows it wide open with magic and pixie dust like nothing else in the world. Sometimes the pixie dust wins, and sometimes the anxiety. I am so blessed to have shared the magic with you and your family and please know that YOU are one of the faces that makes the magic win out in my DSMM experience.

  • Annie @ Mama Dweeb

    While I am really sad this this trip was not as amazing as last year’s, I admire you for sharing it so honestly.

    I am like you – I let people’s stares get to me. No, my child is not autistic, but I can relate to how it feels when my no-nap and hungry child throws a fit and every parents’ eyes are on me, judging me. I remember well how that feeling caused my anxiety to rise and make an otherwise difficult situation unbearable.

  • Emily

    I’m so glad I wasn’t alone, but sad you had anxiety too! It was great to hang out with you so much!!

  • Emily

    You were definitely a face that got me through! Loved spending so much time with you!!

  • Emily

    That’s the thing, it was just as magical, if not more so, but I couldn’t just relax and enjoy it as much as I tried. Anxiety could have picked a better time to show up. LOL

  • Amanda

    We do Disney a lot and it has much to do with their accommodation of disabilities (both visible and invisible). As wife to a combat wounded vet and mom to two boys, this post rings home. Often I’m so worried about every one else having that uber magical experience that it is me who stresses the most and has trouble letting go! Thanks for your post and honesty.

  • Amanda

    I tried to post earlier and don’t think it worked but as a wife to a disabled vet and mom of two boys, this post rings so true! I often find myself stressing more than them and unable to let the trip just be “magical” as it should be. Thanks for your honesty! We do Disney often and it is because they do make things so accessible and seem so friendly…sometimes brings tears to my eyes just from my amazement.