It Had to be Done: Outgrowing Disney

In the end, we just couldn’t face it. Heat, lines, crowds, food, money. Too much. We’ve done our time in the Land (favorite thing ever: The Casey Junior Train, below) and the World and we figured if we went back we were setting patterns that would be the undoing of us, psychologically and and financially. It was the best decision we ever made, vacation-wise, even with the hurricane. We did not want to spend our few days together in theme park survival mode (and I fully admit that this is my problem, this crowd phobia) and we found a destination where everyone found their own space; in the the water, on the shore, sun and shade, together and apart, quietly. That, in large part, was what this end of summer jaunt was about – all of us developing a better sense of where our limits are and stretching them gently in the right directions, and coming to rest, together, at the end of each day.

It was the first vacation in a long time from which I returned not needing a vacation. Under the best of circumstances vacations can be stressful, and for many families with kids on the spectrum, traveling to unfamiliar territory can be daunting. And while we shy away from overly urban adventures we have still a managed to traverse St. Louis, Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles, partly by recognizing that animals and swimming must be on the itinerary.

Life is too short to go to too many of the same places twice. And I have to think that, because we needed to travel for family reasons when our kids were small, the rituals of airports and hotels were ingrained early and we are proud of the way all three of them rise to the occasion, time and again. The fun can bring stress (the TSA, packing special food, meds and myriad devices with their correlating cords, headphones and chargers) but this summer proved at last that sometimes, it’s just fun.

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