This post contains affiliate links.
At the end of March we took an unexpected road trip to Florida, due to the death of my grandmother. This was our second trip there in less than 6 months. When there before, I had promised our children that the next time we went to Florida, we would go to LEGOLAND. Obviously I had no clue we'd be returning so soon. As I discussed plans and was asking for advice about our emergency trip south, I was put in contact with two wonderful women who were seeking families willing to write about their special needs experiences in LEGOLAND. Just like that, I was able to fulfill my promise to my children, and give them something to look forward to, as their schedules and routines were literally being turned upside down without any warning or preparation. Words can not begin to express the gratitude I feel for being given this opportunity. I hope that my experience can help other families with special needs children prepare for an awesome experience at LEGOLAND.
Preparing our four special needs children for LEGOLAND started before we left our home in New York. Each of our children has different sensory sensitivities and cravings. Theme parks can be challenging, especially when they don't know what to expect. To eliminate any surprises that could jeopardize the success of our adventure, we all watched youtube videos of every ride and show available in the park. A list of rides, requirements, and restrictions can be found on the LEGOLAND website. This helped us plan our day in the park and prepare our children for what's to come, which is extremely important with special needs children, especially our three with autism.
The day we chose to visit LEGOLAND couldn't have been more perfect. The sky was blue. The temperature was perfect. There was even a little breeze. We were not the only ones to notice this. Fabulous weather paired with Spring Break brought MANY people to the park. From the time we turned into the park from the road, to the time we actually paid for parking and parked our car, an entire hour had gone by. Note to those with special needs children, do not celebrate that you are at the park until you have actually parked your car. You may want to bring something to entertain your children just in case there is a wait. And to be fair, we were given a second opportunity to visit LEGOLAND while in Florida that same week and parked our car within 5 minutes of making the turn from the road. Wait times are completely circumstantial.
Waiting to enter LEGOLAND does have it's perks at times! Wildstyle just happened to appear, and we were able to experience our first character greeting of the day. My children were beyond thrilled to meet her. She was a blast to interact with.
adult sized handicap strollers. When Bulldozer is overstimulated sensory wise, he is unable to walk and/or function. Sunshine is our runner and has a tendency to become physically aggressive and rage when overstimulated. We could not survive a day in a theme park without our handicap strollers. If you have special needs children, you do not want to hesitate making this stop before doing anything else. The benefits are so worth it and the process literally took five minutes.
Before venturing on any rides, we wanted to be sure to catch the Pirate's Cove show. The children thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Pirate's Cove show at LEGOLAND is filled with sensory experiences. There are loud noises, strong smells and some surprising sights. We came prepared with the children's sunglasses,Snug Safe n Sound Kids Earmuffs / Hearing Protectors, and chewies. Our preparations paid off and everyone loved the show.
After the show, we were surprised and excited to see that you could meet cast members. Lines for the LEGO characters were quite long, but we were able to meet the two other main characters in the plot. They were fabulous with our children.
The Quest for Chi.
Ford Driving School. I believe when our visit was said and done, he did it four times. Bulldozer also went on his first roller coaster. I'm not sure if he'll ever go on one again, but he sure hasn't stopped talking about it. Lol.
Ford Jr. Driving School and Safari Trek.
If you're worried about finding rides and/or attractions your special needs children can enjoy, DON'T! There is truly something for everyone. I can't believe how happy and content ALL of my children were. The only complaint they have is that they didn't get to try out every ride. We could have spent three days in the park and still not done everything there was to do.
LEGOLAND is fabulous when handling special dietary needs. You are able to bring anything you need into the park with you. We brought most of our food with us because of Bulldozer and Sunshine's food allergies, but did splurge on HUGE bowls of ice cream. Everyone enjoyed them.
I've reflected on our day at LEGOLAND many times since we've returned home. My husband and I have discussed our experiences there in detail. He loved that no matter where you went in the park, it didn't seem crowded. I loved that the crew members were so willing to help us, especially when we didn't quite know where to go to use our Hero Access Passes, or know how to bring our handicap strollers to the entrance/exits of the rides. My children seemed to love the entire experience. When asked if they like Walt Disney World or LEGOLAND better, they couldn't decide. That's a HUGE compliment. Next time we visit LEGOLAND, we will definitely attempt to stay on resort and spend a few days in the park.