Little Red Riding Hood, dragons, fire engines and carousels – Legoland was built, brick by brick, for children. What’s more it was designed in a way that enables children of all abilities to have a fun day out. It’s not just that the park is 95 percent accessible to wheelchair users: Legoland has a positive attitude to disability that’s reflected not only in the services they offer but also in the can-do attitude of the staff.
The attractively landscaped 150-acre park is divided into different ‘lands’, each with their own theme. Small children will love the gentle pleasures of Duploland, while thrill seekers will find exactly what they are looking for in the Land of the Vikings and Knights Kingdom. Plenty of rides can accommodate children who can’t leave their wheelchairs, including the JCB-sponsored, hands-on Digger Challenge and the Orient Expedition Train that takes you on a safari ride past Lego-sculpted, life-size wild animals. The Aero Nomad Ferris wheel ride – that provides a birds-eye view of the park – has a gondola that can accommodate a wheelchair. And as well as rides, there is also a lot at Legoland to just marvel at. Miniland, the showcase recreation of some of the world’s most famous landmarks built using almost forty million bricks, will have you itching to test your own Lego construction skills. The professionals tend to revamp one of the lands each season, adding new rides and models. The main attraction, the LEGO Star Wars Miniland Experience, re-tells the main events of the saga using 1.5 million bricks and 2000 models: it’s wheelchair accessible, as is the Hill Train and Loki’s Labyrinth. The newest attraction for 2014, is the Swashbucklin’ Adventures of Pirate Shores.
Parking is free and very well controlled, with plenty of marshals, and disabled bays closest to the entrance. Once inside, there are no steps, but some paths are quite steep and will require a strong pusher behind a manual wheelchair. For children who have social difficulties with queuing, the theme park operates an exit pass scheme, allowing the guest-plus-three to enter the ride via the exit. You’ll need to show an official diagnosis or statement of your child’s condition, however, and, on busy days, you may need to queue at Guest Services to get the pass in the first place. There is no shortage of accessible toilets. Manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come first-served basis (with refundable deposit) from the LEGO Big Shop at the entrance to the park. The ticket booths have a hearing loop system fitted. If you want to stay the night, there is an on-site resort hotel, with fourteen rooms specifically designed for guests with disabilities or for those who have children with disabilities.
Food & drink: All the refreshment areas at Legoland are accessible, but City Walk in LegoCity is particularly spacious, with seating areas inside and out.