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My son has autism and anxiety. He likes to know what to expect when he’s about to try something new. I know other kids like him probably are nervous to try things for the first time! So, I decided to utilize a tool his behavioral therapists have used with him called social stories. Usually they focus on social interactions, but my series will focus on walking readers through individual attractions at Disney World!
The first story in this series is about Space Mountain, my son’s current favorite ride. I hope you and your child will find it helpful in knowing what to expect on Space Mountain from the queue to the end of the ride! Consider this your “spoiler alert.” My son also loves to listen to the music from the rides ahead of our trips. You may find this guide from the Disney website helpful as well. Ok, now it is time to ride!
Are you ready to blast off into space with me? On Space Mountain we get to pretend to be astronauts exploring the stars in outer space!
Space Mountain is in a big dome-shaped building that can be seen from far away!
Inside the building, it is pretty dark! You could use a cell phone flashlight if you feel like you can’t see, but I never have trouble walking. I just follow the person in front of me. We walk up, up ,up on a ramp through a narrow hallway. If I feel a little nervous about the cramped hallway, I can hold on to the railing if I need to.
When we reach the top of the queue, the Cast Member will either send us to the right side or the left side. Both sides are the same, he or she just wants to send us to the side where we will have the shortest wait!
Each shuttle section holds 3 people and they sit one in front of another. It doesn’t matter to me where I sit, I’m just ready to blast off! I get in and fasten my seat belt. The cast member will check to make sure everyone’s belts are tightened. And then we’re off!
Our spaceship rounds a corner and we enter a tunnel where we see blue flashing lights and hear some noises like “pew pew pew”. The noise isn’t loud.
Immediately after the tunnel, a camera flashes to take a photo of us enjoying our space flight!
Next, we slowly climb a hill and we can see astronauts and people working on computers.
Finally, the shuttle picks up speed! It feels pretty fast, but the air on my face feels good. It also gives me a little tickle in my tummy.
It’s hard to see anything in space, and since we are pretending to be in space, the ride is very dark. I laugh and even scream, not because I’m afraid, but because I’m having so much fun! You can do it too! Whooo!!
After a few medium-sized drops and a couple of quick turns, the shuttle slows. Our shuttle goes through another tunnel like the one at the beginning, only the lights are red and yellow instead of blue.
When we exit our shuttles, we get to stop and see our pictures on the wall! Maybe you’re making a funny face! I usually am!
If I get afraid on Space Mountain, I know I can just close my eyes and listen to the music. The music is relaxing and calm. The ride is about 3 minutes long and if I don’t enjoy it, I know I can wait that long for it to end. Then I’ll let my friends and family know I don’t want to ride it again. They will understand. But I’m always proud of myself for trying something new! Most of the time when I try a new ride, I find a new favorite!
-Rebecca W Davis