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The following stories are shared so that others may learn that it is possible to experience a magical Walt Disney World vacation with someone who has ADD/ADHD. Keep in mind as you read these that everyone is different and what works for one person, may not work for the other. Take the information that will help you -- and write us when you return so that others can learn from your experiences! On behalf of the AllEarsNet.com team and all the ADD/ADHD relatives out there, thank you for sharing!!
Traveling to WDW with Someone who has ADD/ADHD?
PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line has detailed information for you! More than 400 pages of information with a special section for traveling with someone who has ADD/ADHD!
We (myself, my mother and my two children) have been going to WDW since my children were 6 & 4. They are now 10 & 12 and we are planning our next trip this August. Man, I think we could have our own reality show about us driving to Florida from Illinois! The drive is exhausting, yet my mother and I still find humor in the long haul.
My son (possible oppositional defiant disorder)is 2 years older than my daughter and are both diagnosed with ADHD. They are not extreme, but still a big handful!
They are both big thrill seekers so the rides were not a problem. The few things that I did notice that really captivated them was the Bone Yard at AK, Ariel's Grotto at MK, the interactive water fountains at Epcot and Marketplace. They could also spend hours (if I let them) at the Lego store at Marketplace. DisneyQuest was also a great way to let them run around and burn off energy.
Having kids with ADD/ADHD makes everyday a challenge, let alone going to the most magical place on earth! But I do think that the interactive sites helped alot, especially the first few trips when they were younger. Good Luck! (Becky)
We spent a week at All-Stars Resorts with 13 family members (our grand gathering) including our ADHD son (emphasis on the "H").
What we did right: Made sure there was an afternoon swimming break at the pool where he could unwind, move, relax, MOVE and burn up some energy. We also ate most of our meals at the food court at the hotel, and just had snacks inside the park (less waiting, less crowds, familiarity). We did enjoy breakfast at the Crystal Palace which we all loved but this was planned, and not just "sprung" on him. Another good thing was allowing my oldest son (13) to go off with other family members at times to do the faster, scarier rides that my 9 year old (ADHD) son wanted to avoid. He did enjoyed the fast-paced shows-especially Tarzan Rocks, The Lion King Show.
What was hard: Long lines waiting. Indecision on where/what we would do next if the wait time was too long. Some of the 3D movies seemed to bother him.
Things I wish I had done: I wish I had bought one of the water spray bottles with the fans--this would have helped with the heat, given him something to "fiddle" with while waiting in lines or for outdoor shows to start (especially "Fantasmic" and the fireworks at Magic Kingdom). He loved playing in the Drink Igloo at Epcot taste-testing all the different beverages, so I wish we had spent more time in the hands-on activities at Epcot, and maybe less time in the countries.
in all I think there is so much to see and do at Disney, his ADHD was
not a big deal there. We all had a blast! L.
Our son Tim has ADHD. We were down in WDW in May and had a great time. We would always make sure he had his morning medication with breakfast and make sure we packed the rest of the days meds in our packs. We didnt avoid any rides as he loves them all. Im not sure if this is common among those who have ADHD but we found that if he got hungry he became very tense and disobedient. Having noticed this we made sure that we ate lunch and supper at proper times. Being in the park one has a chance to forget about time and have a very late lunch or supper.
for the lines waiting to get onto a ride we packed a small fanny pack
with his gameboy and some games, this allowed him to focus on playing
a game and not become bored waiting in line as most kids with ADHD do.
Over all I would just make sure that you have something to entertain them
in long lines, let them make some choices as to what to ride and most
of all have LOTS of patience. Normand
Our 7 yr.
old son was diagnosed earlier this year with ADHD. We were still trying
to get his medication right while we were at WDW. The late nights were
awfully rough on him and consequently on us all. We followed our plan
of getting up early for our adventures, coming back to our room for an
afternoon nap, then going back for the evening. Luckily our pediatrician
agreed to giving our son 2 smaller doses a day instead of just one in
the morning. That incorporated in the schedule perfectly and made the
evenings more bearable.
Since ADHD meds can decrease your child's appetite and parents need to make every meal count in terms of calories and nutrition, it was good to find plenty of healthy options for meals and snacks. The fresh fruit and smoothies were delicious, and you can't go wrong with pizza or peanut butter & jelly!
Luckily we had no problem with any of the rides being too much for him to handle, but we took it low key. His boredom threshold was real low for the World Showcase, however. Someday, I'll get to explore that at my leisure. In the 3 times I've been to WDW, I've haven't experienced it well yet. Thanks for a terrific newsletter. You really keep the magic alive for us. ---Judith Y.
For parents traveling with school-age children with ADD/ADHD, I recommend these things:
Dress them in something VERY bright, in case they wander away. It is much quicker to find a kid in a neon-colored shirt, hat or jacket, even from far away.
Make sure they know what to do if they ARE separated from you. Practice this.
The hardest thing for us was waiting in line. Use Fastpasses when possible. Traveling during off-season is great because the lines are so short.
Remember this is Disney World. Lots of people will be excited, hyper & loud!
Of course, these things could apply to all kids, not just those with ADHD --Kathy
Epcot then AK then MGM and finish with MK. Build to excitement so they
are not bored. Have an agenda and know where you are going. We kept moving
and never had an issue. We have visited WDW four times beginning in 1997
when our boys were 4 and 9, both with ADD.
Our last trip was March 2004 and the boys were 11 and 16. We found that meds were valuable while traveling but not as important at Disney. They wanted to be there and loved every minute. With two boys with ADD, the meds cut down on the fighting and fighting. We also stayed at a vacation home that had its own pool and it helped for relaxation and less irritability (for parents). The greatest advantage was our first three trips were just after Thanksgiving when lines are small or did not exist. This meant the boys could experience things with short waits. They had to work hard to make up the school they missed but with parent help it was well worth it.
Also, the fast pass program is great to avoid lines and impatient children. When we went at the end of March, we knew every ride and how to get around, use the fast pass, visited our favorites and everything worked out. My boys loved the Hoop de Doo review also because it was not just eating. It was all the action and entertainment and laughter that made the meal! No vacation has ever been better. Sheri Peterson
My 10 year old son has ADHD and we visited Disney each summer for the last 3 years. He does take medication, so that's a big plus for us. But we still have a few other helpful hints. Waiting on lines can be a chore with him, but if we play games such as finding Hidden Mickeys, it makes the time seem shorter for him.
We have found that Pin Trading and following a Pin Pursuit help to keep him moving from one attraction to another. This is probably his favorite activity that we do at Disney. It keeps him focused and makes our time there more enjoyable.
even at home, is a difficult time for him. So, we try to have an early
dinner before he begins to become unsettled. We have found if we wait
to long, dinner can be a disaster. Jeanne
We have taken four trips to WDW with our sons. One of our sons has ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The first trip we took, we learned the hard way that we needed to build in calming times to counteract all of the stimulation in the parks. We couldn't go from ride to ride and expect him to function well. He would have meltdowns. In order to have a pleasant vacation, our schedule needed to consist of going on a ride/attraction, then finding a quieter spot, going on another ride, etc. This took a lot of planning in advance. I needed to familiarize myself with the parks.
We ate our meals during non-peak periods and could often find less crowded spots that offered him the break from all the noise. We brought ear plugs, which was one of the most useful tips I can give a parent whose child is sensitive to noise. Other helpful tips include: using the fast pass whenever possible, bringing small "treasures" or small electronic games such as hangman or yahtzee in your fanny pack to pull out to keep your child entertained during times when long waits were unavoidable, and getting plenty of sleep at night. My son incurred most of his meltdowns when he was short of sleep. In fact, when we go to WDW now, we tour the parks one day, sleep in the next and swim, explore the resorts, then go to the park the next day, etc. By using these tips, we've learned that we can have wonderful family vacations at WDW!
As far as any rides to not go on, for us that's many - due to my son's fear of heights, loud noises, and scary things, ha, ha! I don't know if that's due to his ADHD or just the way he is. Some people may question why we go to Disney, but we enjoy those types of attractions and do those types of rides with my other son. My son with ADHD enjoys anything to do with animals, culture, or technology, so we spend a lot of time at AK and Epcot, especially the world showcase. There is so much to do at Disney that doesn't involve thrill rides. At MK, he enjoyed Carousel of Progress and especially Mickey's Philharmagic (with earplugs).
One important thing that we ALWAYS did when he was younger was to spend a great deal of time in the play lands at each park (Tom Sawyer Island, Honey I Shrunk the kids, The Boneyard). It gave him an outlet for all his energy and it gave my husband and I a nice break. We would sit near the exit, so he couldn't leave without our knowledge, and just let him run around. We miss that now that he's older!
I appreciate that you are asking your readers to send in responses about traveling to WDW with a child with ADHD. Parents of children with ADHD (and especially Oppositional Defiant Disorder) are often given judgmental glances or even comments about their children's behavior. Many people just assume the child's meltdowns are due to poor discipline on the parents part. Maybe this will help to educate people, as well as offer support and encouragement to parents who are thinking of traveling to WDW with a child who has ADHD. Thank you. Michele S
Our son,now 15, has ADHD. Our first trip to WDW in 2000 was really exhausting for him and my husband and I as we tried to keep up with him and his high level of "energy".
Unfortunately, for kids(and adults, I would imagine) who suffer with ADD and ADHD it is often described like living with a slide show constantly in their head. It is very hard to stay focused on one thing at a time. Well, once we figured out that giving Adam the park map to hold on to and focus on was really helpful for those moments where we were not on a particular attraction. It gave him something to look at, hold on to, and focus on without getting "sensory overload" from all the action taking place around him. He would tell us which attraction,or country in the case of World Showcase, was coming up next and what times the shows were taking place. For him it was a great way to keep his mind focused and his attention on something helpful and informative. It also gave him a sense of being the "guy in-charge" since he was holding the map and had all the answers. Now any time we are at the parks Adam feels more in control and we never have to deal with that sense of edginess and that "hyper-active" energy is channeled to something fun and useful!! Bradley
My son, 8, has moderate to severe ADD. He does not do well with crowds, so I worried about him in Disney. I made an itinerary and followed it. If crowds got too bad, we modified where and what we did. Organization and planning far in advance made it a wonderful trip!!! Park Hoppers also made it easy to go back to the resort for a break if needed. Lynn Winkler
with my two boys, ages 8 and 10, who both have ADHD. I am a single mom
too, and I have gone to WDW twice with them, our third visit coming up.
Both of my boys are on Meds that they take once a day in the morning. So, I know that the "crash" time will come at about 7-8pm. That is the hardest part of the day for me because they tend to get really restless and easily agitated. Gameboys are a saving grace for me!! And now they have Videos that you can buy for them instead of just games, so they can watch their favorite cartoons!
I make sure that I keep things very organized for them and explain each part of our day. I make sure that they stop and rest--even if it is for a snack or a drink. Sometimes the "Sights" and "Sounds" are just information overload for them and they stress out. So I have to take a step back and not push them. We do something quiet or sit down for a minute to rest. If they are really out of control, I suggest going back to the Resort. That usually will bring about a change of attitude.
My boys have a hard time making a transition from one thing to another. They are enjoying the moment doing something and I'm trying to HURRY them up to the next thing!! That is very stressful for them ( and me!)
My advice....take it slow...don't push...tolerate the stress induced hyperness as best you can!!! Make sure you have little things for them to do to keep occupied while waiting. (see who can spot the first person eating a turkey leg, count the number of people wearing blue shorts, decide what attraction to do next,etc)
Laugh!!! One of my favorite memories of last year's trip was my son Brandon asking me every ten minutes if we were going to go swimming when we got back to the Resort. By the end of the day and the hundredth time hearing that , I could have screamed, but we turned it around to be a funny joke!
Our trips have been a real blessing. Yes, it has been difficult at times, but they have made me very proud also in that they have shown a lot of control where I didn't think it would be possible! Michelle
I have two
children who have ADHD. We started going to WDW in 1992 when my oldest
daughter was 5 and my son was 2 1/2, they are now 15 and 17 and we go
every year. My daughter was diagnosed at age 7 but we know immediately
what was going on when my son started kindergarten at 5 and could not
stay in his seat. My daughter does not get hyper but she does lose control
of her temper and her ability to cope when overwhelmed. My son can get
I have a wonderful doctor who taught us to deal with this issue as a chemical imbalance and it is just as important to take medicine at home and have a civilized family as it is to cope in school. As for advice, carry medicine in its original container on the plane in your carry on. You do not want to be without and I do not know of any way to get a prescription refilled out of state because with all of these medicines, you need the paper copy to get it filled. My husband and I will also split the medicine up so that it is not all in one bag. Just save your bottle from the last refill.
We also make sure that they have input to what is going to get done at that park that day. They are much more patient when they know we will get to their wish list. We always pick two things each that are must dos. They is a lot of overlap in some parks, so the pressure really comes off. If only my daughter did not "have" to get on Winnie the Pooh in addition to all the big rides. That is really hard since you have to fastpass Winnie.
As they have gotten older, really the last 3 years, we have let them have more freedom around the resort but we use family radios to keep in touch. Last year they asked to go the MGM alone and we let them. As their doctor said, they are a little less mature than their peers and have not really pushed going off on their own, but the radios have greatly relieved our concern about letting them have more freedom. Joan in Maryland
My 12 year old son has ADHD and we've been doing WDW since he was 2, since we're FL locals. My best suggestion would be if at all possible, to have one adult do the waiting in line and have the other adult walk around with the child. If not for the entire wait in line, then at least for a portion of it. Most kids hate waiting in lines, but for an ADHD child it is practically unbearable. My son gets fidgety, antsy, edgy and irritated just standing still for so long. I try to watch his sugar intake of course, which is hard when we all want Mickey ice cream bars.
Take the ADHD child to a place where they can let go of some energy...any fountains that you can run and jump through, anything interactive. I find as long as his mind is being used, he's much easier to be around! At the hotel, things can get a little hairy. He has so much excitement built up in him that he seems like he's going to burst by the time we get out of the hotel and start heading to Disney. Now that he's 12, I can give him a little more freedom and let him go down to the gift shop or to go to the hotel cafe' to get a drink or something, while we continue to get ready in the room. Andre & Julie Turbide
Since 1999, we have traveled to WDW with our son (then 2 1/2) almost every year. This past year, while our son was in 1st grade, he was diagnosed with ADHD defined as "wired". His brain just doesn't stop running and thinking. I can most assuredly say that all of the parks are very therapeutic for a child with these types of disorders. For our son in particular, it gives him things to actually consider and think about other than letting his mind run wild. Another issue with children of these disorders is that they have moments of energy bursts and then they crash. The attractions and shows give them down time to be able to regenerate. We also rent a large stroller that he can ride around in if he tires out.
We have found that traveling during the off season times is best and since waiting in lines can be torturous for these kids, fast passing is a huge help. We generally plan nothing but a few priority seating character meals and just go with the flow. Having other children for them to communicate with is also a plus, an ADHD child needs 1 on 1 time when it comes to hanging out with an adult.
But the best advise I can offer is to just let them be your guide. Our son likes Epcot the best out of all the parks, possible because of it's expansive size, but I mostly think it's because there is plenty of time to disconnect from one attraction to the next. I can honestly say there were days when we circled Epcot at least twice. There is much more I could say but I think it depends on whether the child is on medication. Our son has been prescribed Ritalin after taking many other preventative measures such as diet, and as we all know anyone opting this form of treatment specific meal requests will be address by all cast members to ensure your stay is happy and magical. April Higgins
My son, Austin, will be nine at the end of August and was diagnosed with ADHD at age six. As a family, we have traveled to Disney World seven times. This "family" includes my husband, our son, my parents and me. (Total of four adults and one child.--This four to one ratio really helps!) We have had tremendous success with Austin on each trip. We choose NOT to medicate him because it makes him timid and shy, which is not at all his real personality, and it makes him less likely to take risks and try new things (like scary rides). But I do know that this should be an individual family decision based on how the medication effects the child's behavior.
What we do to make this work is A LOT of planning. (We begin planning the next trip the day after we get home! Austin always does his "Top Ten" list for each vacation.) All year long we are reading, going on line and watching Disney specials on the Travel Channel. Austin has his own copy of Birnbaum's Kids Guide to Walt Disney World, and he uses little post-it notes to flag favorite rides/events. As a family we pick and choose what we would like to do on our next vacation. Each vacation day is planned, and I type up a detailed itinerary on the computer. This allows us to change and re-arrange as we see fit. A child with ADHD needs STRUCTURE, and a plan, rather than surprises, works quite nicely.
We leave a LARGE chunk of time each day for swimming at the resort and "chill-out" time. A child with ADHD tends to get over-stimulated very quickly, and Disney is a place that can over-stimulate the most timid person! He has even been known to nap. We plan an evening meal or event for about FOUR of our eight evenings. Such events include a fire-works cruise, dinner at Cinderella's Castle, dinner at Chef Mickey's etc... The other evenings are open for free choice. This gives Austin a time slot that he can help pick what we do. Example: dinner at Beaches and Cream. His favorite: grilled cheese, onion rings, Coke in a bottle and a shared banana-split. This also gives us a break when he says, "I want to eat at Beaches and Cream!" We can reply with, "Austin, we have something else planned at this time, but how about tomorrow night?" It seems to work well.
Children can quickly take over a vacation with whining and demands. When we enter a park, like the Magic Kingdom, we are armed with a PLAN. We tell him, "We are starting in Adventureland and working our way around the park." This keeps him from wanting to jump from the Jungle Cruise over to Buzz Lightyear. A MAP is very helpful as well. We also have a LIST of the rides that we all want to see, and we put them in an order. This really helps too. The very best thing that we have done is given Austin little things to do. While standing in line, a child with ADHD may lose focus on the ride he/she is waiting for and want to "dart" off to something else. We try to keep his attention focused on the ride we are waiting for by asking him lots of questions "What is your favorite part of this ride? Is there anything that scares you? What is the funniest part?" etc.... We also look for hidden Mickeys, as well as interesting features with the decorations/architecture.
We have purchased a Kodak Camera. It was about $25 and it is very easy to use. Austin enjoys capturing his favorite rides, and "making memories" with the family. My husband and I agreed that we would let him take pictures of whatever he wanted, and that we wouldn't argue with him and say things like "You're wasting film...." This is his own little thing that he has TOTAL control over. Also, the little hand-held Mickey "game boy" is a God-send. This is what we pull out when patience is wearing thin.
Children with ADHD are not a lot different than children without ADHD when it comes to going to Disney World. All children can have their moments/melt-downs. The biggest difference with ADHD is STRUCTURE. Vacation may seem structure-less, but when you plan a schedule for every day it makes life much easier. I have traveled to Disney World about thirty times, and I have helped many friends plan trips. The biggest thing is planning a day with structure.....breakfast, lunch and dinner at a similar time each day. Morning and afternoon snacks are also important. FOOD is a huge part of a child's' life, and if they can't tell time yet, eating a meal is a big cue for children about what time of the day it is. Bed time is also an issue. We do plan late evenings, but they are always followed by a morning to sleep-in or a low-key day.
Any child that is tired and hungry, with or without ADHD, is not going to have a great time at Disney World! I could write forever, but I think that I've hit on the big themes here. If you have any questions about our schedule or what we do. Please feel free to email me at THANK YOU!!!! Ann Berry.
recent visit to WDW was this past June. My husband and I have a 5 year
old who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom
Lodge because my son's favorite thing in the world are animals. The hotel
was fantastic, and Barb who cleaned our room everyday was fantastic. We
would find towels in the shape of animals and little notes everyday. My
son was always excited to enter the room to see what he would find next.
One day he found his Dumbo looking out the sliding door with a pair of
The best thing we did was get our "special pass" for our son. I read about it on your website, and was so glad that I took advantage of it. With the heat and the crowds, we would never have been able to enjoy as much as we had if it were not for the pass. We got onto a special line for every ride (usually the fast pass line). Our son would never have waited for a ride for a long period of time. We tried to keep on a certain type of schedule everyday and kept telling him what was going to come next. This is another area that the special pass came in handy.
I would stress to other WDW visitors that people with ADHD have a disorder. They can't always handle themselves the way that would be expected in a social situation. They can easily become over or under stimulated and therefore behavioral issues tend to become worse. They usually have some sort of impulsivity. Keeping them on a rigid schedule is very important. Also, never belittle or get angry at their feelings. If possible, try to travel in a larger group so that everyone has a chance to see the attractions the want to see. We visited with my mother in law, and three teenagers (brother in law, sister in law and her friend). It was good because if someone had to leave an attraction, they could always go back with someone else.
It is important for people to know that they will be expected to stay in a vehicle for the duration of a ride especially if the ride is loud. There were several attractions that we left early in our visit such as It's tough to be a bug and Fantasmic, and other attractions that we avoided later in our visit because we learned our lesson. We were able to stay in the Muppet 3D, Country Bear Jamboree, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
I would add
that a lot of times people with ADHD have other issues as well. The ADHD
may not be the only contributing factor. It's a good idea to try a ride
at least once (provided you can leave) because you never know what they
like. Even though they were loud, my son loved the Indy cars. He also
loved the characters. Unfortunately, this is one area that fastpass or
the special pass don't help out. You need to weigh how important it is
to wait on line to see characters. This is why character meals came in
handy. We took several water breaks. Whenever there was a fountain our
son would spend a long time getting wet. Also, we left every afternoon
to go back to the hotel pool to swim. He loved that part, and it rejuvenated
him. I say to anyone traveling with someone with ADHD (and other issues)
that it's important to do the things that they enjoy, even if it means
repeating the same attraction and foregoing others. Believe it or not
it would make your trip much more enjoyable.
He is also diabetic, and we try to keep his meals around the same time everyday. We learned very quickly that any of the rides that may be frightening for children were definitely frightening for him. The pass allowed us to get in and be near an exit in the event that he was too frightened to stay. In addition, we left the parks everyday around 2:30-3:00 to go swimming at the pool (one of my son's favorite attractions). We would then get ready and go to dinner.
This worked well to revive him. My best suggestion is to take things slow. You don't have to do everything. Lucia A
I am 55 and have attention deficit disorder, my husband does not. First trip, we worked all day and took an early evening flight entailing a change of plane in Washington DC. The flight was crowded, we were stuck in the rear between screaming children, no supper, we arrived in Orlando well after dark, got a rental car, didn't know where we were going and the trip went downhill fast from there! It was SUCH a miserable time, I did not KNOW the man - he was cranky, ornery, cussed and a number of other negative things! I swore I'd never vacation with him again - and didn't for about 6 or 8 years!
Then, I started learning about my own attention deficit, and in talking with parents of ADD kids, it began to dawn on me - my spouses behavior sounded a lot like an adult version of a melt down! I mentioned it to him and even that many years later he stiffened and stared straight ahead and said, rather vehemently TOO MANY PEOPLE!
We travel differently now.
First, we try not to travel in peak season. We take morning, non-stop flights to preclude the stresses of changing in strange airports.
We eat breakfast in the airport before we get on the plane and we take water and keep well hydrated. A hungry kid is a cranky kid.
We do what ever it takes to get aisle forward seats, and get up at least once or twice during our flight to stretch a bit.
For several years we relied exclusively on towncar transportation to give ourselves the comfort of being met, aided and shepherded around. MUCH more relaxing than having to deal with the traffic, strange roads, and unfamiliar territory.
After about 25 trips, I finally got the courage to rent a car. I know my way round now, and so we usually do that now. It's comfortable because we are familiar, but for the occasional traveler, I'd stick with the towncar.
We eat breakfast. A hungry kid is a cranky kid - even if s/he's 55 years old.
We're more aware of how we're feeling now - if it looks like a melt down is coming, we're outta there! No more commando touring! EVER.
FASTPASS. Queues, especially serpentine indoor queues are crazy making. Fast pass and singles lines have saved our days more than once.
Ritalin - thank heavens for the blessing of ritalin and no I do NOT stop taking it on vacation. I couldn't ride anything more stressful than Pooh without it!
We joined DVC. It's an especial blessing on crowded or rainy days when every public space is teeming with people. We can escape to our quiet villa where we can rest, read, play cards, watch tv and eat in peace.
This past Thanksgiving, we spent 13 days at the world and survived this crowded time of year very successfully by park touring in the mornings. When the crowds built, we left to do other things. (Of course the fact we have annual passes helps, because then one doesn't mind only spending part of the day in a park, as one might on a park hopper)
We seek out less crowded places / times for parade watching - the second of two parades is better than the first. Close to the beginning or the end is better than right on main street.
Relaxed, sit down lunches, if we've only had a small breakfast. The real break in a quieter atmosphere, maybe at a resort, is a big help.
Big keys, I guess are
1. Self Awareness - being aware how you feel - what you need to make you comfortable
2. Controlling the things you CAN control in your environment - sleep,WATER, food, quiet place to rest from the stimulation, fast pass, a HAT to keep the sun off your head.
3. Control the result - if you feel the meltdown coming - GET OUT NOW
4. Control your expectations - you are NOT gonna see it all - do it all in one trip or even ten trips, so you mays well not kill yourself trying.