Being that I was pregnant last year we didn’t get to take Ethan anywhere to get his thrill seeking ride fix, we knew his birthday needed to include a trip to Legoland Windsor. Our first visit to Legoland Windsor was when he was two and he was lucky enough to be awarded tickets for the day in September 2013.
We had booked a overnight package at the Legoland Hotel as we find this makes our experience easier.
Here are the highs and lows of our weekend at Legoland Windsor.
Anxiety – Ethan was very overwhelmed when we first arrived at the hotel and the park. We had to queue for check in and there were lots of children in the reception. Two things that could potentially cause Ethan to have a meltdown. When we were a family of three one of us would take Ethan away for a walk whilst the other checked in, but we felt this wasn’t possible and did our best to make Ethan feel secure.
This obviously raised Ethan’s anxiety so he was very close to tears on entering the park and very out of sorts. It was 11am when we got there and decided the best thing to do was stop for an early lunch. It was quiet and a full tummy can also help improve Ethan’s moods.
This did make us question if taking Ethan on days out was the best thing to do but we also know that keeping Ethan at home in a safe bubble isn’t a positive thing to do. No matter how hard it is, we feel it’s better for Ethan to have different experiences and learn life lessons.
Dinner at Bricks – We booked dinner at the hotel restaurant before the park closed in the hope that it would be quieter for Ethan. It was but he still found the whole experience overwhelming and didn’t eat any food. We decided to let him choose what he wanted to eat by taking him to the buffet area, that is perhaps where we want wrong.
I’m pleased to say breakfast was a completely different experience. We got there as soon at it opened and explained about Ethan not eating there at dinner time. The staff placed us right at the back of the restaurant and kept this area as clear as possible until Ethan had eaten something. He was much happier and ate two bowls of cereal. Fantastic service from the staff.
Aero Nomad – Ethan loved this ride when he was two but now that he has issues with queuing and waiting it wasn’t the best choice. To load everyone on the ride has to stop a few times before it really starts to rotate. This caused a very distressed, crying, screaming Ethan. The people queuing must have wondered what we were doing to him! Our balloon also had a lego man in it which initially meant Ethan wouldn’t get in, we were glad when it was over!
Being Issued Ride Access Passes for Both of Our Days – The Ride Access Pass allows Ethan and his guests to enter ten rides through the Q-Bot entrance or ride exit of rides. This reduces his waiting time and in turn reduces potential meltdowns. We are very grateful that Legoland Windsor understand the distress queuing can cause for people with autism but because you can buy Q-Bots you can be queuing with families paying for this service. Therefore on busy days I could see our waiting time being increased in this entrance.
Even with this pass Ethan found the waiting for his turn hard and would cry and shout, but he has to learn the concept of queuing. This did mean we got some ‘looks’ but that’s the joy of an invisible disability!
Balloon School – This is a ride we could all enjoy together and Little E loved every minute of it!
Coastguard HQ – This was a first for me as I have always left the boys to go on this ride, but as Little E could also go on the ride we decided to all go. We had to have two boats which meant I went on with Ethan and Darren went on with Little E. Ethan was so excited that we were on this ride and that he could see his Daddy behind us that he jumped up shouting ‘My daddy, my daddy!’. At this exact moment I was also trying to take a photo so the boat got a little unsteady. Thankfully we didn’t end up in the water!
Atlantis Submarine Voyage – Staying at the Legoland Hotel means you have early entry to Atlantis. This meant that we had a submarine all to ourselves and both children were able to enjoy watching the fish.
They now also take a family photo at the start of Atlantis which I think helps control the normal queue and Q-Bot queue merge as it was a bit of a free-for-all last time we were there. We loved our photo, it was £10 for a key-ring and a digital copy. They were trialling a new photo package option where you could pay a certain amount and then have unlimited photos of the rides. If we were in a bigger group and this covered both days of our stay I would have considered paying for this.
Being Big Enough For all of The Rides – Ethan is now tall enough for all of the rides so he got to try lots of new things during this visit.
Staying at the Legoland Hotel – You need to book the Legoland Hotel well in advance to get the best possible prices. We booked our weekend as soon as the dates were released at Christmas. We love staying on-site, it gives you the freedom to have a break from the park and return later. It also means you can pace yourself and enjoy the park over two days instead of having to pack everything in during one.
Being that we had stayed in the Legoland Hotel a few months after it had first opened we were wondering how well it would have been maintained. We did notice that a few of the lego models were slightly damaged but I would put that down normal wear and tear of a children’s hotel. The hotel was still very clean and there is an amazing breakfast selection.
Having an Amazing Daddy – I think this picture sums this up!
Even though our Legoland trip was pretty tiring and at times hard work! Who thought taking a nine month old to Legoland was a good idea, don’t even mention autism! We had a great weekend.