Here is a few of our “tricks” and skills we use to help our daughter cope and the family achieve Disneyland:
1. Plan, plan, and plan some more – I can’t stress this enough. Planning is key to a successful trip. Creating plan for you trip can help relieve stress. Ex: When we stayed in a hotel that used the shuttle bus to get back and forth to Disneyland, it caused our daughter undo stress that put us on a bad start to the visit. Another time, we went to Disneyland, we got caught up in being diverted several blocks away in overflow and again, had to take the shuttle. It took us over an hour just to get to the park gates! That cause both me and our daughter undo stress. (Again, not a great trip that time!) This past trip we stayed at a hotel that is right across the street to the main entrance and walking distance, literally! Viola! We removed a possible stressor and it worked amazingly!
2. Use your previous experiences – to help you plan a positive experience – Part of planning, is using your previous experiences, good and bad to create your plan. Trial and error along with coping skills can help you make a plan that works for you. As I always say, what works for one person may not work for another, so try, try you must, and learn for your experiences.
3. Take Breaks – When you have anxiety and enter in to a situation that can be or is a “trigger”, breaks are vital! Your body can only take so much stimulation. Try to expose yourself to set amounts of time and listen to your body, it will tell you when you have had enough. Ex: We went to Disneyland first thing in the morning when it opened, spent about 6 hours there, went back to the hotel for a break of 2-3 hours and “downloaded” (our version of resting). When we feel rejuvenated, we head back to Disneyland to spend a few more hours.
4. Find or create “Safe Zones” – Our family has visited Disneyland enough times to know places that can be mellow and located in “out of the way” places where we can just sit and relax. One of our favorite places is over by the Winnie the Pooh ride. Back in that corner there is a place we call the “Sugar Shack”. We love this place and enjoy it’s sugary treats on top of relaxing away from the major crowds. When we got caught in the aftermath of the end of a Disney parade, her sister, dad and I created a “circle” of a “safe zone” around her (but not too close) so the hoards of people walked around us and our oldest could still “breath”. It worked like a charm! Preferably, we leave before the end of a show, parade etc to beat the crowd.
5. Make contingencies and be flexible – While planning is important to be successful in a stressful situation, you need to be somewhat flexible. Understanding that even the best laid plans may have kinks, try to make some contingencies so help you if that happens. Ex: Our daughter loves to read on her phone. I guarantee that when we get to Disneyland, (or anywhere else) her phone is charged and in her pocket! If the occasion arises, her distraction (phone) is ready!
I hope these Tips and Tricks help you enjoy the happiest place e on Earth!
To see the Part 1 of this post Click HERE!
Till Next Time,
Rebecca and the Gang
Finding Out New Normal