My son, Billy, absolutely loves to visit the library. Admittedly, he is more attracted to the DVDs and videos than to the books, but I'd rather let him check out DVDs than to spend a small fortune at Target and Best Buy every time he wants to see something new. (Which is just about every day!) He loves his DVDs and videos! He doesn't just watch them; he collects them. He sorts them. He stacks them. He works his way through every bonus feature. He even watches them in all the available language selections! When he gets tired of that he sits down at the computer and clicks on Amazon.com. There he can troll through the media listings and fill imaginary shopping carts to his heart's content.
I made the mistake once of leaving my credit card info in my account after placing an order. Guess what I received in the mail a few days later? Yup. Two Clifford DVDs. (Thank goodness it was only two!) I showed the evidence to my son and he immediately gave himself up.
"Billy, did you order these DVDs without asking Mommy?"
"Yes!" he said, and quickly added, "Sorry!" He reached out and gave me a hug.
And then, just as quickly, he looked up at me. "Cut with a scissors?" he asked.
Translation: Okay, I said I was sorry, would you just go ahead and open them already?!
I was still in a bit of shock that he had been able to complete the ordering process by himself, but since it was my own fault for not deleting my credit card info, I acquiesced and let him keep the DVDs. He ran upstairs to play them on his portable DVD player. "Thank you!" he called out to me over his shoulder.
There are several important things you've just learned from this story:
1) Billy may be autistic, but he's not stupid. (I say this all the time, particularly when he does something that blows me away.) If he is motivated enough, he will figure out a way to get what he wants. Even if it takes stealth. On the other hand,
2) Billy did not lie, even though he knew he might get in trouble. (Billy has never lied to me, ever.) This is the flip side of the coin when it comes to social cluelessness and autism... autistic children seem to lack the level of social awareness it must take to develop cunning and deceit. Not such a bad thing, if you ask me.
3) I am a marshmallow... a big softie, a pushover, a mush. When my child looks up at me with those innocent blue eyes and a smile that lights up the whole room, I melt just like a marshmallow at a campfire.
Thus, when he comes to me with his tote bag full of borrowed videos and asks me to "Go to the library, please," nine times out of ten I will stop what I'm doing and start looking for my car keys. Yesterday we made a detour to pick his big sister up from field hockey practice before heading out to the place where the audio-visual materials live. She opted to stay in the car and start on her homework, so Billy and I went in together. In reality, Billy practically ran inside and I quickly followed.
He strode with purpose to the drop-off bin. Plop! Plop! Plop! Three videocassetes were fed through the slot and dropped to the bottom. He bent over and peered through the slot to assure himself that they had made it safely. After all, they are his friends. Then, with a shout, he was off... walking quickly to the children's section, swinging his empty bag wildly.
"Billy, watch where you're going!" I call out, returning waves from the two library assistants working behind the long desk. Everyone here knows Billy. I wince as he nearly collides with an oncoming woman and then smile at her in passing. "Excuse me!" I said, and hurried to catch up with my son who had just turned the corner. Hopefully she noticed the Autism Speaks logo on his bag.
On this particular day, Billy is in the mood for Rugrats. He pawed throught the ten or so well-worn videos and could not find the two titles he was looking for. No other videos would do. So, off to the children's book desk we went to put in a request for transfer from another library; a great opportunity for Billy to practice his social skills with the librarian. He was able to make his own requests with only a few verbal prompts from me. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, he paused on our way out to select a music CD, Barney at the Beach. Hmmm. Barney for an eleven year-old boy?
Oh well, whatever floats your boat, my son!
As usual, I asked him if he wanted to look at some of the books and as usual, he said no. "I want The Halloweiner!" he insisted. Every night we read a story together before bed. He will want the same story over and over for about four or five weeks. Just when I'm about to get really sick of it, he switches to the next one and we will read that for the next month or so. The book-of-the-moment for September-October just happens to be The Halloweiner, by Dav Pilkey, so at least it is appropriate for the season. (One time he got stuck on a Christmas book in June!) The librarian checks out his CD and we practice social skills once more.
As we were leaving we ran into a woman I know casually; her daughter and mine attended the same pre-school. They may have had a playdate or two way back when. In any case, we smile and wave when we see each other around town, that's about it. She noticed the back issues of The Writer that I had just checked out. (I know, I know. I'm supposed to be writing, not reading about writing... but I always like to have something to read in the car for the times Tricia's soccer or field hockey practices run late.) If I'm prepared, they never do!
She asked if I'm writing and I tell her the truth; that I'm just beginning. She tells me she's writing a young adult fiction book. "I hope it's not another book about vampires," I quipped. "Oh no," she replied, "There's no violence at all in this book!" (Good luck with that.) Then, to my surprise, she invited me to join her writer's group; they meet every Wednesday afternoon at the library. It's a small group, she assured me. "One woman is writing a children's picture book and two are writing novels," she explained. Sheesh, this reminds me of Voltaire... "everyone is writing a book!" Could there really be so many aspiring authors in one town? We exchanged e-mail addresses, but I doubt that I could do Wednesday afternoons in the fall; perhaps come springtime when our family's schedule is lighter.
Once said family was finished with dinner and the dishwasher was humming away, Tricia sat down at the table and asked me an unusual question. "Mom, what's your favorite Jane Austen book?" I paused a moment and answered that although I liked them all, my favorite was probably Pride and Prejudice. "Why do you ask?" I said. At thirteen, Tricia reads what I would consider to be an above-average amount of books for a person of her age. She usually cannot wait to finish her homework so she can read for fun.
She sighed. "Oh, I'm just getting tired of all these books for teenagers," she said. "They're all the same. A girl meets a boy she likes, at first she doesn't think she'll get him, but in the end she always does," she complained. "It's like they're all the same book, except some are about wizards, some are about vampires, and some are about zombies. It's always the same romance story." Hmmm, I thought, I'll have to file this away to share with my friend from the library!
Frustrated, she pushed a copy of Sense and Sensibility toward me. "I started to read it, but by the time I got to page fourteen I was all confused. The words are too hard, like Little Women," she went on. (Last year I had suggested that she might like Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Alcott's Little Women, but they had proved too difficult for her.) "I like the characters in the Twilight books (Stephenie Myers), but the writing is so... so..." she paused while her brain searched for the right word. "The books for teenagers are just too simple!" Hmmm. This was a tough one. The classics were a bit too tough and mainstream popular fiction would probably have questionable content. Of course, one could argue that the popular fiction for teens has questionable content...but I digress.
I went to our own bookshelves and searched the jackets. Agatha Christie's dialogue would be a bit hard for her, although she enjoys mysteries, and Shakespeare would be out of the question. I considered A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith), but thought it would be a bit of a downer. It's a great story, written from the perspective of a young girl, but it's main themes are somewhat heavy. Perhaps in a year or two.
"How about these," I said, pulling out a boxed collection of Jan Karon novels. (I know she likes to read series books.) I pulled out the first in the Mitford series, At Home in Mitford, and handed it to her. "What's it about?" she asked, looking at the cover. "It's about everyday life in a small town," I replied, "If you like good characters, there's a lot of great ones in here." She looked at me skeptically. "Father Tim?" she said, raising an eyebrow. "Just read it," I told her. "You gave Jane Austen fourteen pages, try fourteen pages of this and if you don't like it, then just try something else." She took the book and surprised me again by commenting, "You know, Mom, you're very well-read," before disappearing upstairs for the rest of the evening. Wow, a compliment from a teenager... it must've been a very good dinner.
That night as I was putting Billy to bed, I popped my head into Tricia's room. "How's the book?" I asked. "Mom, I'm hooked on it!" she exclaimed and jumped up to follow me into her brother's room, babbling about the various characters. "But who's the thief?" she asked. I told her she would find out herself, all in good time. She groaned, gave me a kiss, and bounced back to her room. Let's see, there's about five or six books in that series, so she should be good for a couple of weeks at least! She's got her mystery, she's got her interesting characters, and she's got a writing style that speaks to her level of comprehension.
That's what Tricia's getting from her book.
"I want The Halloweiner!" Billy says, and he dissolved into a fit of giggles. He opened the book and began to read, "There once was a GROUCH named Oscar..." and he looked at me, waiting for my reaction. "No, no, no!" I said in mock annoyance. He threw his head back and laughed some more. "Oscar is not a grouch, " I continued, "Oscar is a DOG!"
"Oscar is a grouch from Sesame Street?" (giggle giggle)
"No, no!" (looking stern) "Oscar is a DOG!"
We go on this way throughout the entire story; everywhere he sees the word DOG, Billy substitutes the word GROUCH. He's done this hundred times and he still finds it as hysterically funny as he did the first time. (Autistic humor.) It's a game, and it makes him laugh, but it's teaching a lesson: verbal interaction between two people is a give-and-take process; you look to the other person's face for clues to their reactions during your conversation. Exaggerating my reactions makes him more aware of them.
He's got his predictability, he's got his repetition, he's got his snuggle time with Mommy.
As is my tendency with any new project, once I had decided to write this book about Walt Disney World and Autism I dove headfirst into flurry of research. I didn't research Walt Disney World - I could (and do) write pages and pages about my favorite vacation spot off the top of my head. Nor did I begin with researching Autism. There really is no need. I am on intimate terms with Autism; I live with it every day. No, the subject I needed to learn more about was the world of publishing. After all, why should I spend the next year or two of my life writing this thing, only to find that I did not have what it takes to get it published?
I went to the library and checked out back issues of The Writer and The Writer's Digest. I found myself making excuses to pop into Borders and B&N to pick up a new title about getting one's book published. Every single recent book and journal article I read seemed full of gloom and doom for the aspiring writer! When the economy tanked in 2008, the crash reverberated through the world of publishing as it had through every other sector of business. Competition is tougher than ever, I read, and the majority of manuscripts wind up in the slush pile. . . not accepted, perhaps not even read.
I need to build a national platform! I need to write a killer book proposal! I need to determine how I will promote my book! I need to hire an agent!
(I need to take two Advil.)
Need less to say, I was beginning to get a bit stressed out. I had already lined up several enthusiastic WDW fans with children on the Autistic Spectrum who were willing to participate in the book. I had the support of my husband and daughter, not to mention my parents, sisters, co-workers and friends who have been nagging me for years to write a book. Before I began looking into the actual publishing aspect of authoring a book, my biggest concern had been whether or not I could get enough peace and quiet time in my house so I actually could hear myself think. Now I was becoming overwhelmed with the specter of my poor dog-eared manuscript being rejected time and time again simply because I was an unknown, unendorsed, unpublished author.
I was losing my nerve.
I confided to my husband that I was beginning to think I didn't have enough clout to write a book that would sell. As I babbled on about clips, platforms and targeted markets, Ed took a look at the growing pile of books on the floor next to my side of the bed and gently pointed out that I seemed to be doing a whole lot of reading lately and not too much writing. He was right, of course. I was letting anxiety get the best of me. I decided to focus on polishing up my writing instead. But first . . . there was just one more book on the pile that I wanted to finish, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear, by Ralph Keyes. Mr. Keyes discussed many successful authors who battled anxiety and self-doubt: Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and E.B. White, to name a few. He went on to make connections between fear that crippled the writer and fear that spurred the writer to create, citing many quirky habits and rituals used by many to ease anxiety and work through blocks. Benjamin Disraeli could only write while wearing a tuxedo. Ernest Hemingway stood when he wrote. Joaquin Miller had sprinklers installed above his home because he could only compose poetry to the sound of rain on the roof. Friedrich Schiller kept rotten apples by his desk because he thought the putrid smell aroused him.
I confided to my husband that I was beginning to think I wasn't neurotic enough to be a writer.
Despite my lack of dependence on either sprinklers or spoiled fruit, I believe that I've discovered my own talisman against writer's anxiety . . . you! It's comforting to share this crazy new experience with friends who are fellow parents of special needs children, fans of Walt Disney World, or both. So, thank you for following along. I was beginning to have second thoughts about those overripe bananas on the kitchen counter!
By the first day of Kindergarten I had already made up my mind what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a nurse. My mother was a nurse, although I'm not sure if that had much to do with my decision. She tried to discourage me, actually. In her day, young women considering a "career" had essentially four choices: secretary, teacher, stewardess, or nurse. By 1968, new career possibilities were emerging for women. Perhaps she wanted me to consider avenues that had not been open to her a mere decade earlier. Whenever I mentioned my desire to be a nurse she would sigh, shake her head, and say something to the effect that it was a tough job and that I should do something "better." Five-year-olds can be quite stubborn, however. No one was going to talk me out of it; I wanted to be a nurse.
The winter of 1968 just happened to have been particularly cold and we children had been enjoying skating on a small man-made pond in one of Brooklyn's neighborhood parks. I had asked Santa for ice skates that Christmas and was thrilled to find them under the tree. I remember them so clearly. . . the smell of new leather, the flash of the shiny blades, and the jingle of the tiny bells on the pair of pink and white pom-poms. My younger sister received a pair of skates, too. Hers had blue and white pom-poms and I recall her being quite annoyed that I had been given the pink ones! (Ah, the funny little things we remember from childhood!)
Needless to say, we pestered my poor father to take us to the park every weekend so we could skate with him. I wonder how many football games he missed because my mother, hands full with a new baby and three more children under the age of six, insisted that he get us out of the little apartment "to get some fresh air!" Whatever the reason for her encouragement, I was happy for every opportunity to tie on those skates and wobble my way across the frozen pond.
That year the Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France. I recall huddling with my family around our black and white set with the rabbit-ear antennae wrapped in aluminum foil and being mesmerized by the grace and beauty of women's figure skating. It was that event that gave the United States it's one and only Olympic Gold medal that year. The entire country fell in love with figure skating! Suddenly, I wanted to be something different when I grew up.
I wanted to be Peggy Fleming.
Oh, the costumes! The music! The elegance! What more could a little girl want in a career? I began talking in earnest about wanting to be a professional figure skater and told my mother that for my birthday, I planned on asking for skating lessons. To my surprise, she began talking about what a wonderful career nursing would be after all! There was no way my parents could invest that kind of time and money on professional skating lessons and my mother was busy with babies. . . it was just out of the question, and she told me so. I was heartbroken, naturally. How is a little kid supposed to know that it costs a fortune to become a competitive skater? My mother tried to comfort me by telling me that I didn't have to give up skating. I could still do it for fun, just not as a career. "Be a nurse that ice skates!" she said, and after I had time to get over my initial childish disappointment, I accepted it. I would work as a nurse and play on the ice.
Well, the years went by and I skated only on occasion. We moved from the city to the Jersey Shore where the lakes and ponds rarely froze. In high school I chose classes that I would need to enter a collegiate nursing program: advanced biology, advanced chemistry, and physics. I did well in those classes, but it was in the language arts that I really excelled. I had an innate love of literature and writing came naturally to me. It was those science and math classes that required real work and I often put off writing my essays and term papers to the last minute because I was spending so much time on my other subjects.
When I was a senior I was accepted, along with my two best friends, into an advanced placement English class. We had a hand-written essay due every week for this class and my friends, not burdened as I was with advanced science classes, would spend hours composing their essays and grooming them to perfection. The day it was due I would dash mine off before school and at lunch period, usually finishing off the last few sentences as the teacher was collecting the papers! When we received our grades, my essays always scored equally or higher than the ones they had spent the entire week writing. It drove them crazy! I had no explanation for it. . . I just enjoyed writing. I wrote for fun: journals, poems, and silly little stories. But that was just playing around, not something I would consider as a career.
My advanced placement English teacher thought otherwise; she sat me down one day and asked me if I had considered becoming a writer. "Oh no, Sister," I replied, "I'm going into nursing." Like my mother had so many years earlier, my teacher tsk-tsk'd my choice of career and tried to talk me out of it. But a 17 year-old can be as stubborn as a 5 year-old and I insisted that I wanted to be a nurse. And I did, truly.
I went to college where my writing ability served me well and I graduated with honors. For twenty-five years I've enjoyed working as a nurse; I can honestly say that I've never regretted my choice of career. I've done so many different types of nursing in so many varied settings and in recent years, being a nurse has allowed me to flex my schedule around my husband's so that one of us is always home with the kids.
But now those kids are getting older, as am I. It's true that Billy requires more attention and supervision than a typical 11 year-old because of his special needs, but now that they are both in school I find that I can eke out a bit more time for myself when I'm not working. Slowly but surely, the urge to write has taken hold, not unlike the quirky compulsions that rule my son's autistic behavior. . . I feel the need to write.
Walt Disney World has been a tremendous inspiration for me. "Write what you know!" "Write what you love!" is what aspiring authors have been advised for generations. Well, I certainly love my family and I have definitely fallen in love with the magic of Walt Disney World, so it's easy for me to write about our family vacations to the World. Writing trip reports on Disney message boards has been a fantastic outlet for my need to write and a fun way to communicate with others who love to visit the World, especially those who are parents to children on the autistic spectrum. I really enjoy connecting with parents who truly understand my daily struggles with the difficult and often baffling features of ASD. They also understand my Disney addiction; they have it, too! Sharing stories about our families' vacations. . . the highs and the lows. . . has been a joy.
These stories are meant to be shared and I feel that they need to be told. Perhaps someone should write a book like the one I was searching for in the bookstore: "Travelers' Tales" meets "A Cup of Comfort." Perhaps that someone should be me.
Turns out I'm not a nurse that ice skates. I'm a nurse that writes.
Don't you just love those words? Everyone loves a good story and I'm no exception. In my youth I was a voracious reader, sometimes devouring three to four books in one week! Unfortunately I have not kept up the pace in recent years. The twin responsibilities of family and career take the lion's share of my time these days. Still, I enjoy the occasional bookstore browse.
Several weeks ago I was at the local B&N with my daughter, who it seems has inherited the love-of-reading gene. Being that she is now thirteen and considered old enough to be allowed small helpings of independence, I left her in the Young Adults section and proceeded to wander around on my own. (A rare treat.) But I found myself faced with a dilemma: what book to choose?
I wasn't really in the mood for fiction, even though there were many interesting titles offered. A new cookbook? Nah. I needed something I could really sink my teeth into! I found myself in the U.S. Travel section. . . hmmm, any interesting new books about WDW? Not really. Now that I've discovered such fantastic WDW web sites such as those listed in the margin*, I find that I get more current information on line. I don't think that I've purchased an actual travel guide to my favorite place in several years. Let's face it: WDW travel guides are for newbies! (Tosses head condescendingly.) ~ Just kidding ~
Next to the travel guides was a section containing travel narratives. Now that was an idea! I love reading WDW trip reports on line; perhaps there was something like that in book form.
Nope. The travel narratives were all about more exotic places: Tuscany, China, South Africa. . . places I would probably never visit and, quite honestly, have no burning desire to. Okay, well sure, if I somehow won an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris, would I turn it down? Definitely not! But I'll admit I'd be much more interested in visiting the French version of Disneyland than in seeing the Eiffel Tower!
I considered that I might need to broaden my horizons. After all, armchair travel did interest me. Perhaps a collection of travel essays would suit my needs. . . a book that I could read in short spurts. . . a book that would be fun and interesting, but not put a major burden on my busy schedule the way a fat novel would. I selected The Best Women's Travel Writing 2009, from Traveler's Tales.
On my way to collect my daughter, another section of books caught my eye, a relatively new section for Special Needs. The familiar words, "Autism," "Asperger's," and "ADHD" were sprinkled among the titles. I have a sister who has worked for B&N for thirteen years; she tells me that when she started there were only a handful of such books for parents. Now they command an entire section of their own. . . a bittersweet commentary on the state of the current epidemic and the public's growing awareness of it. I browsed, but surprisingly, nothing interested me.
I am generally not fond of personal memoirs of parents still in the throes of denial, anger, and depression about their child's diagnosis. Been there, done that. I do not find it entertaining to revisit what was a very dark time of grieving in my own life. Billy was diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) eight years ago and then "officially" diagnosed with Autism two years later. While I still have moments of fleeting despair about my son's condition, time has helped to heal the wound and I've come to a point where I am at relative peace with it.
Neither am I fond of reading books by parents who claim to have found "a cure" for their child's Autism. Don't get me wrong, there are many valuable therapies both nutritional and behavioral that can greatly improve some of the most distressing symptoms of autism. Been there, done that, too. I'm simply not interested in hearing how someone else's child has been visited by a miracle. You know the books I'm talking about. . . "I've conquered my son's autism, and now you can, too!" Great, there's nothing we parents need like a little more guilt. Gee, if only I was more of a warrior-mother, my son would be normal again! Needless to say, I steered clear of those.
I've prayed fervently that my son be completely cured and despite trying a number of therapies, diets, vitamin supplements, and prescription medications in the hope that he would be relieved of this burden, I've received an answer. For the time being at least, the answer is no. I don't pretend to like it or to understand why Billy is the way he is, but I do believe that it is for a reason. I have to. . . I think I'd go crazy otherwise.
Back to the bookshelves. There was one book that looked interesting; there was a picture of a boy on a horse, one arm reaching upward and his father sitting behind him, looking up at the sky triumphantly. I read the notes on the book's jacket. The shock at hearing the diagnosis. . . check. The frantic and unsuccessful search for a cure. . . check. The pilgrimage to visit a shaman of the reindeer people who eventually would cure him. . . um, I'm sorry, I just can't relate to that. I'm happy for him and all that but, well, the book just seemed a bit too New-Age for my taste. I sighed.
Just as I was about to leave the stacks, a small, non-imposing paperback with the familiar puzzle-piece design on the cover caught my eye. A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism: Stories of Hope and Everyday Success. Ah-ha. Another little essay collection. This might do. I flipped through the pages and read a bit. . . some stories were funny, others were a little sad. All were what you would call "heartwarming," but the most important aspect of these tales was that they were positive and inspiring without producing a smidgen of guilt. I decided to take this one, too. I ran to catch up with my daughter who had selected the latest in a glut of teen vampire novels.
It took a few days, but I finished most of both books. Each was enjoyable in it's own way. . . the travel essays describing physical journeys and the "comfort" essays discussing journeys of the spirit. If only those two genres could be combined; what a fabulous book that would make! If only someone would write a book like that. . .
You will discover two themes running through the majority of my posts, two things that have deeply affected my life: Autism and Walt Disney World. The CDC reports that 1 in 150 children born today develop some form of autism, which is a pervasive developmental disorder four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. My 11-yr old son is one of those boys. The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular, vacation destination for families. It is also regarded as being one of the most accommodating to guests with special needs. After numerous visits to “the World,” I can personally attest to the truth in that statement. . . nowhere else has my family enjoyed a more fun and relaxing vacation.
It seems natural that families with children on The Spectrum should be particularly drawn to WDW; but why? Why would parents go to great lengths and usually great expense to bring their ASD children to a place that is most likely to be loud, crowded, hot, and generally overwhelming for them, given their multiple sensory and communication issues. People who have not visited WDW might think so. Isn't the Magic Kingdom just another noisy "amusement park?" You would think that families like ours would avoid it like the plague!
I assure you, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Whenever we read or talk about Walt Disney World, there is always one word that get used quite often. . . Magic! It’s that wonderful intangible element that makes life-long fans of so many. It draws us back time and time again. Yes, the parks are beautifully designed and the entertainment is superb. But that’s not what truly enchants us. That wondrous feeling that brings us so much joy comes from Walt's gift.
He started with a dream of a place where families could play together and have fun. The story goes that one day, he was sitting on a dirty park bench, watching his daughters play on a carousel. He thought to himself that "there ought to be a place where the parents and children could play together." That place eventually became a reality: the Disneyland Park in California.
Walter Elias Disney was already a successful filmmaker. He could simply have built a private playground for his own children and left it at that. But no, he needed to share his dream with the world. He wanted a place where everyone could play, young and old alike. Walt’s legacy does indeed live on in the theme parks that bear his name. Everyone can come to Walt Disney World to play, even if they have physical or psychological challenges. It’s the most accommodating vacation place on earth. And that means so much to families that live with the day-to-day struggles of autism. The Cast Members really seem to care about you and your children. They just make you feel so welcomed, so accepted, and so valued. It does feel magical. It feels a lot like . . . love.
That’s why we love Walt Disney World and that is why we will go back again and again.
The Many Adventures of a Disney-Lovin’ Spectrum Mom is not affiliated with, authorized or endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company or Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates. All trademarks, service marks, and trade names are proprietary to Disney Enterprises, Inc., its subsidiary, affiliated and related companies, as the case may be. For the official Disney website, visit disneyparks.disney.go.com