Monday, January 9, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood - Spoonie Perspective

The good thing is that my son had a (mostly) good time the first time we went, particularly in the Simpsons and Minions areas. But it was super crowded, they do not ever ask people to make way for wheelchairs or other differently abled humans, they pump in scents everywhere (I could NOT take off my mask even outside). I didn't see it the first time we went because my husband dropped us off at the front, but the second time we went, I noticed this at the tollbooth for parking. In California (and I love this) Prop 65 requires anyone using toxic chemicals to post this warning. 

 Every shop smelled like "cake" (no food being sold in them though), and outside and inside everywhere else smelled like fabric softener. We didn't go into most of the shops or restaurants. I thought I was going to see the inside of Hogwarts, but all I got to see was all the ways Universal is scheming to take even more money from people. Because charging $119 per person per day isn't enough somehow. This place was a chronically ill human's nightmare. I'm glad my son had a good time, though. 

 I think if one really makes an effort to go on a less crowded day it would be slightly better. But according to Google, less crowded only happens if you get there at 8 AM, which we just weren't willing to try and do when it already makes for such a long day even being in the park. Also bear in mind that in a wheelchair I'm about crotch height to overyone else and it really does make it a lot worse for me. Even with my mask, the petrochemical scents overwhelm my nervous system and cause brain fog, anxiety and general overwhelm, not to mention physical symptoms like pain. 

We did go back a second time to try and get our money's worth out of the tickets. Having the wheelchair does bump you up in the lines for the rides - even if the wheelchair user doesn't go on the rides, members of their party can still go through the wheelchair part of the line and just wait at the exit for them, which makes it easier because not as much waiting around, which also drains energy resources. (Spoons). But trying to push a wheelchair through the crowds is rather brutal. ESPECIALLY over cobblestone. People don't necessarily move out of your way or let you through, and they will even do things like run in front of you if they see space. 

The first time we went, we made some rookie mistakes - partly because my nervous system was so overwhelmed, my brain forgot to tell my body it had needs other than "shut down", or "escape this nightmare". Among them, that were correctable the second time, were:

  1. Not checking the busy times on Google first. ApparentlyMondays (the first time we went) are a super busy time, but also so are any days around the holiday. So we were kind of SOL there. 
  2. Not having a hat with a visor. When the sun is high, it's brutal and shines in your eyes, making it unpleasant. They seem to know this and sell baseball hats and other hats with brims at every gift shop, but BYO is so much cheaper. Which we of course did the second time. 
  3. Staying too long. We just wanted to see so much, and I think for our first day we just stayed longer than was good. The second time we didn't stay as long, but we also didn't get to do but one ride. This was largely due to an accident (that's all you'll get from me on that -  everyone is fine) that cut our visit short (but the whole visit was still beyond overwhelming). 
  4. Not eating regularly enough. This is for me personally. I need an infusion of fruit and greens (lettuce, celery, whatever) every hour or hour and a half. I've posted about the 16 adrenal snacks before, and I REALLY need to be eating those on the regular. I only ate once in the 3-4 hours we were there, and it was not enough. I did better the second time, makind sure to eat the adrenal snack rather than just a piece of fruit. It makes a difference, believe me. 
  5. I also should have been drinking ALL the liquids I brought (lemon water) instead of practically forgetting I'd brought any. The second time I did way better on this. 
  6. Also, extra supplements like B12, which I did bring but forgot to use - because B12 gets depleted really quickly when the nervous system is under stress. The second time I literally set alarms on my phone for all of this and FOLLOWED THEM. If I am properly supported nutritionally, I do MUCH better. At home this is so much easier, of course. I need to learn how to do it outside of my home now. Bringing the food/drinks/supplements isn't enough, I have to actually ingest them. This is a learning process.
The scents aren't anything I can change, so I still very much needed to wear the mask to be there. Even my husband said that the shops "smelled like cake" when there was no cake anywhere, and the rest of the place "smelled like fabric softener" so even Muggles can smell this stuff around. I wish when they have the toxic chemical warning at the tollbooth that they would also have a list of what chemicals are used, so you know what you're getting into. Had I had my wits about me, I'd have asked. I wonder if they are required to have a list? If you know, please comment and tell me.

Today I'm okay again with the help of a lot of cleansing foods and supplemental support. I don't want to gloss over what hapened, because it was a big deal, and I SO wish Universal would have "sensory sensitive days" without all of the extra sensory input or scents, because everything was VERY LOUD (one might even do well to have a pair of earplugs to help filter it out, too). It  wasn't the crowds so much as the loud music playing everywhere  - the noise of the park itself - and there was nowhere to go to get away from it. Or the scents.

I am not at all used to going out into crowds anymore, having been homebound for the past couple of years, and at the most going to a quiet grocery store with almost no people in it, or a Target, which is about as busy a situation as I've been in. So that bears mentioning as well. Someone more accustomed to crowds might fare better.


  1. Is the B-12 you take methyl B-12, since you have the MTHFR defect? If not, does it help anyway?

  2. Oh goodness, I do not know how I didn't realize I had comments until today. The B12 I take is from Global Healing Center, it's called Vegansafe B12. It has methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Best on the market. :-)


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