Autism Berkshire has stepped in after members and their families complained about changes to the disability ride access pass (RAP) system at Legoland in Windsor.
The new system relies on using a mobile phone/tablet app to book rides but Olivia da Costa, one of the members who got in touch, said she found that it was complicated and confusing on a recent visit.
She told us: “You can only book one ride at a time. So if you book a ride you have to wait for 30 minutes. What do you do in the meantime with an autistic child that just doesn’t understand?”
Autism Berkshire’s CEO, Jane Stanford-Beale, contacted Legoland to tell them what our members were saying about the change and to ask for an explanation of the thinking behind it – the attraction has always been regarded as autism-friendly and its staff are trained about the Berkshire Autism Alert Card.
Jane also appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire today to talk about the situation.
In response to the concerns she raised, Legoland is encouraging anyone planning to visit the park with children or other family members with autism and other special needs to register in advance for the new RAP system to minimise waiting time when they arrive at the park. See below for details of how to do this.
Legoland’s senior PR manager Lauren Moss said that the changes had been made because an increase in the number of people using the RAP system meant that long queues were forming at some rides last year, which was what the RAP scheme was meant to avoid.
The length of these queues also had a knock-on effect for other visitors to the park.
After a review over the winter, the park adopted the new system, which gives visitors with special needs access to an online portal where they can book rides at specified times – it does not guarantee instant access to rides but aims to keep waiting time to a minimum.
Lauren Moss said: “We believe the new RAP system to be a reasonable adjustment to support guests who are unable to queue for all our rides.”
She added: “We will be closely monitoring feedback on the new system throughout the season, including asking all RAP users to complete an online survey. We will review this in detail and use it to develop our RAP system for 2018.”
Click here to complete Legoland’s RAP online registration form in advance of a visit to the park.
Please note that Legoland also requires a copy of official documentation giving details of the disability or disabilities involved, such as a GP’s letter. This should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails should include the full name of the guest with the disability and ‘RAP’ in the email’s subject line.
We have asked Legoland to consider accepting the Berkshire Autism Alert Card as proof of the cardholder’s need for access to the RAP booking system and are expecting a response in the next few days.
People visiting the park who do not have a mobile device can rent one there to use the ride booking app, although this is subject to a fully-refundable £150 deposit.
A section offering tailored advice for guests with disabilities is available at Legoland’s Frequently Asked Questions page, including information about how the new ride booking system operates.
Anyone who wants to comment on their experience of the new ride booking system should email Legoland at email@example.com