Last weekend we went to LEGOLAND Windsor! I was slightly apprehensive about the trip due to Louie and whether the crowds and enormity of it all would be too much for him. However it was an amazing weekend and I highly recommend it for all families especially those with children with additional needs. The staff could not have been any more supportive and went above and beyond to make our trip as enjoyable as possible. Here are my tips for those planning to visit in the near future.
I had looked into LEGOLAND a lot before booking and read various threads on different autism forums. From this I found the majority of people booked by calling the dedicated customer service line. I spoke to a lovely woman who was so helpful and found us the best deal for the weekend. This included:
- 2 day pass to the LEGOLAND park.
- One night stay in the Holiday Inn (25 mins away) – Kids eat free, breakfast, parking, milk and cookies on arrival and free Wi-Fi included!
- Q – Bot access passes.
- Parking at the LEGOLAND resort.
This was substantially cheaper than the online options and being able to arrange the parking prior to our visit was greatly helpful as we were told the queues for the parking tickets were crazy!
Number for bookings: 08712222001
When you arrive you are asked to show your ticket at the first gate which was slightly hectic as expected, probably made worse by me not having the tickets readily available. After that we were slightly lost as to where to go and how to access the Q bot system. We were then directed to the Guest Services. On our first day this was quite a lengthy wait. You must have documents to prove your entitlement, dated within 6 months for a DLA letter and 12 months for a consultant/medical letter. On our 2nd day a helpful worker advised us that there was another Guest Services available in the Heart Lake City area. We were seen much quicker here.
Q-Bot Access Pass
At the Guest Services they will register you onto an app on your phone called the Q-Bot. This app allows you to see the waiting times on all of the resorts rides and attractions and book on to them one at a time. Once the time is up you can go to the attraction via the Q-Bot entrance (not always clearly sign posted) and enter the ride without any queuing. An absolute God send for us with Louie! You also receive a “One shot fast track booking each day. This is a ride you choose at Guest Services and pre book which means you do not have to book this ride at all and are able to go straight on.
One of the things Alice and Louie loved were the shows. The pirate show especially captured their attention right from the start. The actors and actresses put on an amazing display of singing, dancing, acrobatics and stunts! My husband and I were just as impressed as the children. They ran frequently throughout the day along with LEGO Friends shows.
Rides and Attractions
Louie and Alice loved the rides and different attractions some of their favourites were:
- City Driving School – Lots of fun but they did complain how quickly it was over.
- Atlantis Submarine Voyage – Louie loved this especially as you get to see sharks and other marine life.
- Raft Racers – A water slide on an inflatable dinghy!
- Sky Rider – A great way to see the resort from a bird’s eye view.
- Fire Academy – Louie, Alice and Irish (my husband) loved this. You had to dash to a fire engine, pump the engine to race to the burning building at the other end and then help put the fire out with hoses.
- LEGO Reef – This was a great calming attraction for when it was all getting a bit too much and a meltdown was on the horizon! The children were able to sit and create Lego figures both physically and virtually. The virtual ones were designed on a tablet. Once you customised your sea creature you then sent him away into the beautiful virtual reef which was projected onto the back wall. Louie and I had great fun finding his own personal creation and chasing him around the reef!
- Miniland – A whole world of iconic landmarks from across the world. The children weren’t particularly excited about this but Irish and I loved it, although we couldn’t find any landmarks from Ireland.
Luckily the sun shone all weekend and the weather was brilliant. I had already seen there was a Splash park so took the children’s swim costumes. The queues for the changing facilities were lengthy so we found a little hiding place and changed the children there instead. The Splash Safari was just what was needed on our second day. The children were hot and bothered but this cooled them down and entertained them for a good 2 hours. Louie and Alice both said this was their favourite part of the weekend.
Total Sensory Space
Situated in Heart Lake City this area was perfect for us especially after one of the shows had finished. As the crowds got up to go onto the next attraction Louie became very anxious and overwhelmed. Luckily Irish spotted the Sensory Space and Louie quickly calmed. The area is specifically designed for those with additional sensory needs. The atmosphere was calming and temperature much cooler than outside. Louie enjoyed the interactive projections on the floor and the interactive carpet. There were also; UV mats, musical sound pads, fibre optics, bubble tubes, infinity tunnels, soft seating and much more! A wonderful escape when things got too much!
I can not emphasis enough what a fantastic trip this was for our family. To have the help and additional support that was offered was a complete game changer. The joy it gave Irish and I to see Louie and Alice having so much fun and able to join in the rides and attractions is unexplainable. Here are a few other tips from us:
- Take your own food and drinks if you are paupers like us as the prices are extortionate!
- The hill train is well needed after a days walking.
- Wear comfortable shoes, you will walk for miles.
- Ensure all your paperwork is correct – they check it thoroughly.
- Visit the gift shop at any other part of the day apart from the last half hour before shutting.
- Show YouTube videos to your children before arriving. We did this for around 2 months before to familiarise Louie with the resort and it definitely helped. I have uploaded some to my YouTube channel Cockney in the Countryside
Would love to hear any other theme park experiences. What parks have you visited with great facilities? Are there any additional tips you would like to add that I may have missed? Leave a comment and share your experience.