As you can imagine, I was more than a little nervous about taking my boy to the theme parks. How will he cope with all the people? How will he cope with being on his harness all day? Will he try to abscond? Will he tantrum when he can't walk his own way? What about all the waiting we will have to do for rides and such? Lots of questions.
Didn't stop us though. While I was tempted to stay at home with him sometimes, I wanted this experience for him as much as for the big girls. I also knew I had help on hand if I needed it, so off we went.
We went to SeaWorld and Warner Brothers Movie World. Movie World was first up. And the first test of the day: Lining up at the front entrance to get in. This was annoying. Long, long lines! But he was good. He only tried to walk off once or twice the whole hour we were waiting. He leaned on me a lot ... nearly knocked me off my feet with his weight several times. Haha.. big boy :). Once we got through it was easy walking. I think it was a stimmy paradise for him, especially in main street with all the lights and colour.
Unfortunately, most of the day was spent waiting. And waiting and waiting and waiting. Waiting for dad and others to go on rides. Waiting for the big girls on their rides. Waiting to go on his own rides. Waiting for food. Waiting to have another turn. Lots of waiting. I don't think I realised how much waiting there would be. Compared to how many hours we actually spent at the park, waiting actually takes up a huge chunk of that time! And Little Man was amazing. I can honestly say, he didn't meltdown once. Didn't even tantrum really. He voiced his protest once or twice when he didn't understand why he couldn't just push to the start of the line and get on the ride. But for the most part, he was very good. And as the day went on, he began to understand how it all worked, and what was required of him.
On the carousel.
On the mini train.
I knew he would enjoy the rides, and I couldn't wait to take him on. They don't have many rides there for smaller children. At both Movie World and Seaworld, the main rides for kids were a carousel, a ride that goes around and up and down at the same time, and a mini train. Little Man's favourite was the second one. He looooooved the up and down movement! Grins of sheer delight on his face, while he tried to tolerate the breeze blowing in it - (he does not like wind blowing in his face or around his head). It made me so happy.
But even we were not going on rides, there was so much to look at. Displays of water and lights, colourful fences with squiggly lines, lots for him to just stare at. And because I know that my boy likes to look, that was all ok with me. His favourite thing to watch though, was the roller coasters going along their tracks. Favourite by far!!
Lines in the cafeteria kept him busy while we waited for lunch to arrive.
Coming home after the long days was always good for him. Although he enjoys sensory input, he does tend to get tired and have enough - like any pre-schooler I guess. So he never protested going back to the car to leave. He slept well in his big bed (except for one night when he woke up at 12am and did not go back to sleep for 3 hours!), and began to anticipate where we were headed the next day. Because of the weather, most of our time was spent at Movie World, except for the last part of our trip where we actually stayed at the Sea World resort. It was too cold for Wet'n'Wild, but maybe we can do that later this summer.
I am so glad to be able to give him these experiences. While it is a lot of extra work for me - mainly mentally - and while freedom for all in our party is somewhat limited because of him, it is well worth the effort. I came out of this feeling confident that I could take my son on a plane if I ever chose to. And that is a big question answered for me!