Wrapping up Summer Fun: Canada’s Wonderland with Accommodations

I had planned to write something about the wrap up of Angel’s grade 2 year, but things got away from me. She’s now about a month into third grade.

We had a busy summer and Angel got to do some fun things like going to a week of day camp (respite care that was provided to us). We spent some time up at the trailer, camping out for a few nights at a time. Angel went swimming, played outside, tried to ride her bike without training wheels. The list goes on. One of her most favourite activities this summer was Canada’s Wonderland, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

I’ve been to Canada’s Wonderland many, many times. One of the benefits of growing up in the GTA is going to Wonderland as a school trip every year. And if you were lucky enough to be in band, you got to perform at Wonderland, then hit the rides in the afternoon while all the other kids were in school. Big Kid got to do that this year too.

I was searching online for deals for Wonderland and found that someone had posted on a site about the great accommodations available for people with autism or other special needs at Wonderland. In the past, I had never thought about checking to see if there were accommodations available. I had been dreading our trip to the park because I didn’t know how Angel would do with all the sites and sounds. I went to their site, and found all the information. You can find it on their Guests With Disabilities page. The process was super easy.

After entering the park, we went to Guest Services. They had a window open for Rider Accommodations. I had to tell them what Angel had a problem with so that they could decide what accommodations she needed. Being able to let them know that she can’t tolerate loud noises and would have trouble waiting in line was such a relief. Angel got a pass that allowed the 4 of us in our party to avoid the line ups. We would go in the exit, hand over her pass, they would check how long the wait would be, then give us a time to return to board. When it was time, we went back up the exit and were able to board. We still had to wait the same amount of time, but we didn’t have to stand in the crowd with all the extra noise. They also gave Angel a whole bunch of ear plugs (no headphones allowed on rides).

So, Big Kid and my niece convinced Angel that we should go on a ride called Guardian. I should have checked the listings first. It’s a new ride, and it’s a thrill ride. It was fun, but not what I expected. The photo at the end of the ride showed me holding my hand over my heart because I had been so terrified. We’ll just leave it at that. After that experience, we stuck to the tamer rides. Angel wanted to try a couple of other coasters, but found that they were loud. She didn’t have ear plugs in, but once she made up her mind, that was it.

Inthe end, we only used Angel’s pass twice that day. After that, it started to rain. The park cleared out, and we were able to get on rides with no waiting. Angel even got to go on some rides two or three times in a row because there was no one waiting. Big Kid and her cousin did some of the bigger rides while Angel and I stayed in the kids’ area. They weren’t able to use Angel’s pass unless she was in the group, but with the rain, they didn’t have to wait long anyway.

Angel even agreed to have her picture taken with Snoopy and some of his friends. She met 2 different Snoopy’s, Sally, Franklin, and Linus. In the past, she would not have gone near them, so I was impressed that she was willing to do it this time.

What I thought was going to be a stressful day ended up being fairly calm and relaxing. Not having to worry about waiting in lines made my anxiety go down a lot and Angel only got anxious herself when there was a thunderstorm. Ear plugs just don’t cut it when you are outside under a shelter and the rain is pelting down and it’s thundering too. She did really well though! I was glad that we were able to have this “normal” family experience.

Any time we go to another attraction like this, I’m going to be sure to check out their accommodations. Wonderland really knows what they are doing. Their disabilities page even has a link to an autism site with more information about planning trips to theme parks. This has given me hope that we can go to other attractions and have a fun day for the whole family. I’m not sure what we are going to try next!

PS…this is not a sponsored post. This is our real experience at Wonderland. Highly recommend it!

Finding the Funny in a Bad Day

Last night, I was all set to write a happy post today about Angel’s report card and how great it was.  That was yesterday though.

strawberries

This morning, I had a hard time getting up because I didn’t sleep well.  I got downstairs well after Angel did.  I BBQed dinner last night and used some “Garlic Plus” on the steaks.  I left the garlic on the stove.  I had also left a flat of strawberries out.  My parents had gone to a local farm yesterday and picked them up for me.  Six whole pints of fresh, juicy, Ontario strawberries that I was looking forward to using.  Can you see where this is going?

I walked into the kitchen to get Angel’s sandwich made for her lunch and I could smell garlic.  I did a double take, and saw the strawberries had a funny colour to them.  Yup.  Angel sprinkled garlic plus on every single pint of berries.  I hoped it was just the ones on the top, but the garlic ended up going right to the bottom of the box.

I mean, what almost 8 year old kid does that?  And why?  Why put garlic on the strawberries?  I would really like to see the inside of her mind some days.

You’ll be proud of me.  I did not cry.  I wanted to, but I didn’t.  Instead, I spent a lot of time rinsing berries this morning.  I thought I got rid of all the extra flavour and put some cut up berries on my cereal.  Yeah, I’m still tasting garlic.  Ick.

I had some fun sending my best friend some texts this morning.  She sent some replies that gave me a giggle and made my day a little brighter.  She gave me some suggestions to help for finding a recipe using strawberries and garlic.  This afternoon, I gave my mom a call and we seriously busted a gut laughing over this whole situation.

I honestly don’t know why she put garlic on the strawberries.  Funny thing is Angel likes strawberries.  I guess she also likes garlic salt, so she decided to put the two together.  I didn’t want to laugh this morning, but finally I am finding the funny in it.   Sadly this wasn’t the only thing to go wrong today, but that’s another story!

Here’s hoping that I can get rid of this horrible taste in my mouth soon. If you have any garlic strawberry recipes, please share while you enjoy your giggle at my expense.

Finding the Funny: Visit to the Eye Doctor

snellen Angel’s teacher mentioned that she seemed to be having trouble reading small fonts, so we might want to get her eyes tested.  Today was the day we went to see the eye doctor.  Angel knew it was coming, so she was pretty excited.  I didn’t really think about any prep for our visit.  I should have.

Angel liked putting her chin and forehead on the rests so that her eyes could be looked at.  The technician also let her see what it looked like when it was Big Kid’s turn.  She was amazed to see Big Kid’s eye up close! There was some waiting before we saw the optometrist.  I didn’t have anything on hand for Angel to play with.  I was so concerned with getting her from school to the office on time and I had packed a snack for the car, but that was it.  She was a little squirmy, but excited too.

Big Kid went in first and Dad went with her.  When it was Angel’s turn, she wanted me to go with her.  She got up in the chair all by herself and read the letters when she was asked to.  For one part, the doctor held a card up for her to look at and asked her when the picture got blurry as he moved it closer to her.  He had it up to her face and asked, “Can you still see that?”  She shook her head, “No.”  Then he asked her to tell him when she could see it as he pulled it away.  Same thing happened.  I think she just didn’t fully understand what he was asking.

Then came the eye drops.  I had no idea they still put drops in for eye exams.  I haven’t had that done since I was a kid.  Angel squinched up her eyes after the first drop went in, and it took a lot of coaxing to get her to allow the second one.  She didn’t like the sensation of her eyes getting blurry, so she sat on my lap in the waiting area while I tried to soothe her with hugs and back rubs.

Angel kept asking me if her pupils were big.  Daddy came over and said, “Hey, the blue part of your eyes are almost gone!”  He thought she would think it was cool.  She didn’t.  Angel planted her face in my chest and proceeded to cry.  It took a second for me to realize that she thought this was a permanent change and her eyes wouldn’t be blue any more!  I shot daggers at Daddy while reassuring her that there was still blue in her eyes and that it was only temporary that her pupils would be so big.  Poor baby!  It was hard not to laugh though because her reaction was so unexpected.

Angel asked me what would happen if she needed glasses.  She thought people might call her four-eyes.  I reminded her that she had friends in her class that wore glasses and no one made fun of them.  I may also have mentioned that I wear glasses and I’m still cool and she may not have completely bought into that idea.  She told me if she had to wear them, she would try to be brave about it.

After some further reassurances, Angel and Big Kid went to look at the glasses.  She tried on a Disney pair with Rapunzel on them.  Really cute and really expensive!  After another test, the girls went back in to see the doctor.  He confirmed that Angel needs glasses for reading and device use.   So now we are in the market for glasses.

One more thing.  Angel called a friend after we got home.  She told her friend about needing glasses and her friend told her that if anyone made fun of Angel for wearing glasses, she would tell them to stop.  *heartmelt*

I’m hoping that glasses help with the difficulty Angel has with some parts of school.  And I really hope that they don’t make her stand out as even more different among her peers.  From what I saw of the ones she tried on, she’s going to look really cute.  Of course the important part is that she is going to be able to read with no trouble.

Goggle head

Will she be this cute though?