By Kodey Toney
My Cup of Tea
The Toney family decided to go on a mini-vacation. We packed up the little car and headed south to Arlington, TX for two days at Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags. All vacations are adventures, and I’ve shared many through the past two years, but I decided to share a couple little things from this one as well.
Let me just say that, for the most part, this was a pretty uneventful time in the autism world. What I mean is that Konner did really well throughout the trip and has adjusted to traveling long distances in a vehicle. This is probably because we do it so much. I know that the thought of taking a trip for a long period of time is like slamming your head into a wall, but if you do it over and over it gets better. At least for us it has.
That’s not to say there weren’t times that were bad, but overall it was good.
When we got there we spent the day at Hurricane Harbor; a water park with many attractions including slides, pools, and kids’ areas. Konner, like many with autism, love the water, so this was a great outlet for him.
After an hour or so in the wading pool areas we decided to go down the Lazy River. This is a circular canal in which the water flows in one direction and carries the swimmers around the park. We didn’t get a tube to float on at first. We just wanted to see how he would react. He loved it. The whole way around he was jumping on his tiptoes and letting the flow carry him a few feet. He was belly laughing the whole time. We returned later with a tube and it was equally as fun.
The water park was a huge hit and Konner had a blast.
The next day we went to Six Flags. Konner wasn’t feeling very well, but he soldiered on and did well; at first. As soon as we entered we found a ride that is similar to the teacup ride at Disney World. This is where you get inside a cup shaped vessel and as the ride spins you can make the rotation greater by turning a wheel in the middle.
He wanted to ride it, so we stood in line for a short while (let’s face it this is not the most popular ride in the park). While in the line he was sitting on the floor, hugging on me and Jen, and stemming. I knew that if we did this very much the day was going to be long.
Once we got on the ride though he loved it. As I’ve written before, many children on the spectrum love the feel of twirling. It works their extremities and helps their sensory issues. Konner is no exception. The more I spun the cup the more he liked it.
We tried one more ride and the wait in line was hot, grueling, and restless…and I’m sure Konner felt worse than I did.
We decided to look into one the Fast Passes that they offer to get to the front of the line fast, but after seeing a nearly $200 price tag we decided to tough it out.
However, as I wrote a year or so ago many of the parks have a guest service policy that helps people with disabilities. So I decided to put my research to work and practice what I preach. The lady that worked there was great.
I explained that my son had autism and wasn’t doing well with the crowds. She asked me how many people were in the family and I told her four including Konner. I filled out a form and they put a bracelet on him. At each ride we just went up the exit and were on the next ride going. It was a great deal.
Kudos to Six Flags, and any other park, for offering this service.It is a life saver. I highly recommend it.
So Konner used his new-found freedom to ride the teacups over and over. We would try to get him to ride other rides and he just kept gravitating toward this same ride.
When we tried to get him to ride the train, which he loves, he didn’t want to ride. I asked him several times and he kept saying no. When I asked him why he finally said that the whistle hurt his ears. We all but forced him to get on it and he really didn’t want to ride, but Kruz did, and so did the rest of us. He suffered through, but kept his ears covered the entire time.
All in all this was a good trip. That’s something I haven’t been able to say often.