Today I am going to do a throwback to April 2017.
I am a huge advocate of making travel accessible for those with hidden disabilities and for making everyone experience Disney at least once in their lifetime! A big thing other autism parents ask me is - Just how hard is it going to Florida?
I wish I could tell you it is easy. The truth is it can be easy, it can also be really hard and that is what brings me to my love for Legoland. My son loves Lego, as do I. We are master builders in training, and we could not wait to visit. It was our third year in a row visiting Orlando so I naively assumed everything would be fine.
We flew with Virgin from Manchester; we always fly with Virgin from Manchester. We had the same car, Town & Country with DVD players. We went at Easter. We booked an apartment; we never stay in an apartment and so began the downward spiral.
Oh, and the Nutrigrain wrappers are different in Florida, oh those wrappers!
A summary of how it was going - he wouldn't wear shoes, we hadn't slept, he wouldn't eat, and I had to buy my 8-year-old an emergency stroller because he wouldn't walk. I ended up with strep throat from the stress and I cried when I saw a woman looking at us with pity.
Then came Legoland day, we had both been so looking forward to it and the day started well. He was excited and looking forward to it, you can see the joy on his face when we saw the giant sign.
Now the theming at Legoland is AWESOME. Everything is Awesome. You sang that part didn't you....
Half way through the day he started to get tired and something upset him, someone invent that magic autism crystal ball already! I had seen on a few Autism blogs that they had a new 'sensory' room so off we went in search of it. Do not expect some all singing all dancing light show of a room, it wasn't. It was a small room attached to the medical facility, but I can tell you that they saved our holiday that day.
The staff were amazing, they gave him a weighted blanket, ear defenders and a drink. They then played him some soothing music and brought me a drink while he slept for an hour.
They didn't question or judge us, they simply understood. Autism and Lego go hand in hand for us, they work together like magic. We needed our visit to be one he remembered with happiness and they certainly ticked that box.
They do the assistance pass scheme that most places offer now but they are seriously a step ahead when it comes to their understanding. They also call it ‘The Hero Pass’. I do believe they now also offer story boards, a fully equipped sensory room and more.
In short, if you are planning a trip to Orlando then Legoland absolutely must be on that to do list.
If you have managed to get this far and still have dreams of Orlando then please do get in touch, I will help you every step of the way. It isn't easy but oh my is it worth it