I’m going to be honest, although I know that many children with Autism struggle with the changes involved in going on a family holiday, mine both love those changes. Holidays have always been the highlight of the Bear’s year and something we greatly look forward to.
That said, when this year we sat and considered a different type of holiday to a Disney Cruise, I very quickly realised that actually the reason our holidays have always been so successful is in large part due to the fact that Disney make them so easy both for us and the children.
Here are just a few of the reasons why:
Food is an enormous issue in our house. Those of you who are longtime readers will know that our journey with the Lion and food has been hard since he was born, and whilst things are far better than they were his diet his still very restricted. Disney Cruise Line do gorgeous chicken dippers that we know he loves, but perhaps more importantly they are flexible enough to make something special when needed, on our last trip, they brought him a full bowl of cucumber to the table every meal because the6 quickly realised that that was his number one favourite.
Each evening before bed, the navigator pops under your door giving you a full list of everything that will happen on the next day. What’s more, that schedule is stuck to like glue – in fact in ten cruises the only time I have ever known it not to run on time was when they paused an event to tell us they were diverting our route because of a hurricane, and even I couldn’t argue with that!
Stepping aboard, the Disney Magic Cruise Ship, always feels like returning home. In fact if you ask the Bear, she’ll happily tell you that if she could choose to live anywhere, the ship would be right there at the top of her list. And the reason it feels like home is that you are truly treated like family by everyone onboard. The cast and crew are incredible people who genuinely care about the guests. You can see that they love their jobs and they really do go out of their way to create as much magic as humanly possible.
It Rarely Feels Busy
With the exception of ship wide events like the Sail Away party and the last evening where everyone gathers in the Atrium to say a fond farewell, the ship truly doesn’t ever feel busy. Even on sea days when everyone is onboard, it’s easy to find quiet spots and even to spend times with characters without waiting in huge lines. For children who struggle with crowds, it’s a great way to experience Disney Magic.
Unlike in the parks the characters onboard the ships really do have time to play. I’ve lost count of the many things they have taught the Bear over the years. They were her first ever real friends, and we will be forever grateful to each and every one of them who taught a three year old Bear that playing with others really could be fun.