With just a little planning ahead, Pamela is able to stick to her GF/CF diet wherever we go. She has not had a major diet violation in years because she understands the importance of her diet. However, when she did, symptoms of exposure to gluten/casein included extreme irritability, loss of bladder control, spaciness, rashes on her arms, and difficulty speaking. Staying on her diet enables us all to travel with fewer mishaps.
Before we left home, I shopped for very specific things that are hard to find on the road. For breakfast, I brought two boxes of GF/CF cereal (Amazon Frosted Flakes and Mesa Sunrise) and three packs of single-serving, shelf-stable soymilk in case our room lacked a refrigerator. I packed snacks, wrapped individual to carry in a hip pouch while walking around in the park: Crispy Rice Berry Bar, Apple Breakfast Bars, Soda Crackers, Sesame Pretzel Rings, and Jennie's Chocolate Macaroons.
You can also investigate in advance what foods are safe at the big-chain fast-food restaurants you might visit on the road. You can find some information at the GF/CF diet website, but you can also contact the company directly. We attend a youth prayer breakfast every Tuesday morning, so I emailed Hardees and asked for information about allergens. They sent me a huge PDF file with everything I needed to know! McDonald's has information about food allergens online.
Pamela enjoyed her second day at Universal Studios, this time Universal Studios Florida. Today Pamela explored the movie-related attractions with her brother and three cousins. She rode Shrek 4D Motion Simulator, Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast which wreaked havoc on my tendency toward motion sickness, TWISTER...Ride It Out which thrilled David (wanna-be storm-chaser), Terminator 2:3-D—I thought Arnold broke his leg, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, Jaws which was Pamela's favorite ride, and Earthquake. We tried to ride E.T. Adventure, but it broke on and off during the day. Pamela balked at Revenge of the Mummy, and I was glad to skip that one myself! She loved the Jaws ride so much she did not mind riding it again after sunset. The ride is much more eerie in the dark, and we all enjoyed the repeat.
We attended three of the four live shows. Pamela enjoyed the Horror Make-Up Show once she saw that the blood was fake (ketchup) and the people were safe. Some autistic children might be too literal and concrete for this show, and I could have done without the montage of movie clips earning a PG-13 Rating! I am not sure how much Pamela enjoyed the Blues Brothers, but the rest of the family had a blast. In hindsight, I wish we had substituted Lucy—A Tribute for the Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue, which contained more adult humor than I liked and deserved the PG-13 Rating and, of course, the teens of the male persuasion loved it.
Diet aside, the thing that made this whole trip possible was the Express Plus Pass, which allowed us to bypass long lines. We waited fifteen minutes at most. We saw rides with waits as long as one hundred minutes! For an autistic person, this pass is a must!
If you would like to read our lessons learned from this trip, click here and here!