LEGOLAND California is celebrating its 20th birthday this year and I welcomed the opportunity to visit to check out accessibility. As a family we visited some years ago and had a lovely day but we did find a contrast in the accessibility arrangements offered to visitors with a disability when compared to Disneyland. Waiting has always been an issue for our on-the-go guy and we found it difficult to keep him in the line long enough to go on rides. But all that’s changed and on my recent visit I made sure to get as many details as possible so I could put together a LEGOLAND California access guide for visitors with a disability.
I should preface this blog with the fact I have no great skill with LEGO but I actually think that made me admire the skill behind the many models even more. I can’t imagine being presented with the challenge of building something as enormous as the cake which greeted us at the entrance, let alone some of the more detailed models around the park.
LEGOLAND California is aimed at 2-12 year olds, with the “sweet spot”, according to our guide, being 4-9 year olds. The 30,000 LEGO models are dotted all around the park and access throughout is easy for wheelchair users. I did notice the majority of rides require a person to be able to transfer out of a wheelchair.
Some of the models can only been seen from the boat tour including Big Ben. It also provides a great view of the New York skyline model.
The detail is incredible and the patience required to build them is certainly beyond me.
Bronte, the dinosaur, required the most LEGO bricks at an amazing 2 million bricks and a pigeon is the smallest model with just 4 bricks. Sixty million LEGO pieces have been used throughout the park.
The LEGOLAND Build-a-Boat is popular with kids and adults alike. The water play area encourages kids to engage with building a LEGO boat before launching it to sail its way around the huge water play table.
LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA RESORT RIDES
LEGOLAND is a fantastic theme park for children who like tamer rides with plenty of low impact rides. We’re not a big roller-coaster family so when the kids were younger it was ideal for us all.
As previously mentioned the majority of rides do require a wheelchair user to transfer to access the rides. Guests with an Assisted Access Pass enter most rides via the exit.
My favourite ride is the newest in the park, Deep Sea Adventure.
The interactive ride features more than 2,000 sea animals including several species of sharks, rays and other tropical fish with LEGO models themed around a ship’s sunken treasure.
The mission, once the ride begins, is to find the various items on the touch screen.
Even as an adult I found it immensely enjoyable successfully completing the challenge.
LEGOLAND’S MASTER BUILDERS
We were lucky enough to go behind the scenes to meet a couple of LEGO master builders at LEGOLAND. There are four master builders at the park and they work on repairs and creating new models for the park and hotels. The LEGOLAND hotels have 6-12 LEGO models in each room.
Visitors can watch the master builders at work through a floor to ceiling glass window.
INTERACTING & BUILDING
As lovely as it is to look at the LEGO models, kids love hands-on activities and LEGOLAND has many opportunities for kids to embrace their inner LEGO master builder.
Although you can pay to build a mini figure, there are plenty of Lego building stations where you are free to build at no cost.
The majority of building stations have benches at different heights making it easy for a variety of ages and wheelchair users.
Our family love pin trading at Disneyland and LEGOLAND has their own version of trading. At LEGOLAND you can trade mini figures. The little yellow people are hot property when it comes to trading.
Staff located around the park have LEGO mini figures attached to their name tags ready to trade and many of the stores have a mini figure trading post.
If you don’t come with a LEGO mini figure to trade you can purchase one and enjoy the fun of trading. It was interesting to see the adults in our group get caught up in trading fever – me included!
LEGOLAND CALIFORNIA’S ACCESSIBILITY
LEGOLAND California has good accessibility and assistance is available for people visiting with a disability. On entry, head straight for Guest Services. The staff inside will provide you with a LEGOLAND California Resort access guide.
The guide is filled with information to help you make the most of your day at LEGOLAND.
On the back of the access guide there’s an Assisted Access Pass (AAP) which can be used to avoid wait times for rides for those who qualify. I chatted to a family at the park who were using the Assisted Access Pass with their son who is a wheelchair user. The Mum commented that the pass made their day smoother. She explained one of the many positive aspects of the AAP is that when they arrived at their first ride they didn’t need to wait despite the queue, instead the wait time was added to their next ride.
Inside the guide each ride is listed with information about where to gain wheelchair access, whether the ride requires you to transfer from a wheelchair and any other general ride restrictions.
Low barriers make displays easy to see for little ones and wheelchair users.
The majority of the park is level. I only noticed one section with a hill. Ramp access is provided where necessary. The large LEGO store near the entrance to the park is uncluttered and easy to negotiate around displays.
Prams, wheelchairs and scooters can be rented if required.
Companion, or family restrooms, are available in a few locations throughout the park. The first is just inside the entry gates.
If you require a larger change table for a child or adult, head to First Aid.
First Aid staff happily gave me a tour. The facilities can be used as a quiet area for a child who needs down time, or as a change facility.
The Sealife Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort continues the LEGO theme throughout the aquarium in fun displays.
The aquarium is easy to navigate with a wheelchair, has large windows for easy viewing and is spacious inside.
I didn’t have time to check out the LEGOLAND hotels or the water park but it’s safe to say there’s plenty to keep children, and adult LEGO fans, busy and entertained at LEGOLAND California Resort.
You can read all about what’s on at LEGOLAND California Resort on their website.