The Legoland Windsor Resort is a theme park dedicated to children age 2 – 12 years old. We arrived bright and early, joined the queues for entry and rushed in amidst throngs of excited children who could not wait to get on their first ride.
We had a schedule, a map and a list of the high points to hit. The schedule was compromised before the first ride as a result of oh-this-looks-awesome decision making, the map was torn but still useful and we each got to go on the rides we most wanted to experience.
I would call it a success. It was a wonderful day out in a world made for the imaginations of children.
Theme Park Rides
The rides are too many to cover in a single day. I would highly recommend making a list of favourites before going or for the more spontaneous, pick an area at a time, go on the top two or so rides, queue depending, then move on to the next. A full list of activities can be found here, including details about restrictions.
The Lego Miniland is at the heart of the park and a great place to wander through or to unpack a picnic lunch on the nearby lawns. Nearly 40 million pieces of Lego was used to create it, don’t skip it, at least walk through on the way to the next ride.
There are multiple restaurants, fast food services, snack and drink kiosks as well as plenty of outdoor space for packed lunches. There is no tables or under roof area if you bring your own food, but there are benches and plenty of grass areas for use in good weather.
Entry for one day with access to all the rides.
Parking: Parking for the day is £5, Blue Badge parking is charged as well, with a premium option available starting at £8. Parking is free with some annual passes – the standard annual pass does not have free parking, but the premium annual passes include parking.
Q-bot: A ride reservation service operates within the park. For an additional cost (£15, £35, £75 per person respectively), ” it allows you to reserve your place in the queue line for your favourite rides without having to actually stand in line!” The service can be accessed via a smartphone App or alternatively, a Q-bot device can be picked up on the day.
Small fun: There are activities throughout available for a small extra fee. For example, £1 slot-machines that let you power a mini-boat in Miniland, caricature drawings can be bought as well as hair braiding and face painting.
Shops: There are plenty of shops around. Prices are higher than on-line store averages, but they are convenient if you have forgotten something. We picked up a pair of children’s sunglasses for £5, but passed on the swimsuits that were around £25.
It is a family resort specifically for families with children under the age of 12. We saw a lot of multi-generation groups with children, parents and grandparents.
Environmental and social responsibility
Merlin Entertainments Group supports a number of children’s charities. Their environmental policy is:
“At all of our sites, we take our responsibilities towards the local community very seriously. Wherever possible, our progressive environmental initiatives support waste recycling, energy use reduction, noise reduction, water conservation and at Alton Towers Resort, a ‘Green Travel Plan’.” More information here.
Travel season: Spring
Length of stay: Full-day
Location: Windsor (Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4AY)
Map: Interactive map here.
Toilets and changing facilities
Male, female and disabled toilets and changing rooms are available at regular intervals throughout the park. The standard toilet cubicles are a generous size, perfect for an adult with children as well as mobility aid users and sinks at a lower height for children are fitted. Individual changing cubicles are situated at Drench Towers.
Lockers for electronics and valuables are available on a first come first serve basis and are £1. There are also lockers at Drench Towers to keep items dry and away from water. It would be possible to take lunch in an insulated container and store it in a locker to avoid carrying it around with you the whole day.
Arrive early. Gates open 30 minutes early to the main area and by arriving just before 9:30 a.m. we did not have much of a queue. The opening area has some shops, a cafè with a beautiful view over the park and push chairs can be hired for the day. These are great for children over the three but too young to manage an 8-hour heavy walking day.
The second set of gates opened at precisely 10 a.m. Head for the rides first. We aimed for the further sections and it seemed as if everyone else started with the nearby rides and worked their way back whilst we did the opposite and had virtually no queues for the first 4 rides of the day.
Pack your own
Snacks and drinks – bring a big bottle of water. There are some water drinking fountains but not many.
Swimsuit and towel (for children especially)
Spare clothes and a waterproof coat. Many rides have a splash element and wearing a coat with a hood kept us dry.
Summer: sunglasses, sunhat, sunscreen (don’t forget to reapply).
Cash – some drink and snack kiosks are cash only with shorter queues, some coin machines (there are change machines nearby) operate little extras. There are cash machines but they’re hard to find and inconveniently placed once you have gotten past the first area.
Legoland has been designed to be as accessible as possible. Complete information about attractions and their suitability can be found here.
Maps are standard, not tactile and braille is not used. Signs are well-posted, easy to read and colour coded as well. There is no reliance on colour coding and this should not affect anyone with colour blindness.
Guests with photophobia (light sensitivity) or migraines triggered by light or glare may experience some discomfort, but this can be mitigated with some prior planning.
Take sunglasses and a wide-brim hat – most of Legoland is outdoors in sunlight. Some rides are indoors, under trees or under a canopy, check for these things when choosing rides.
Strobe lighting is used in a small number of rides. The warnings are listed at the entrance. I did one of the rides with strobe lighting, Laser Raiders, but it was not a problem for me. It was not a disco effect, just some short bursts of strobe lighting and lighting effects. If you are unsure, skip it, but if it is a personal preference rather than a health risk and if your concern is about excessive strobe lighting, it might just be okay.
Legoland is highly accessible to anyone with a hearing impairment. Rides are well signposted, text labels and menus are in use and there is no reliance on sound at any point that we came across.
The disability guide states that “some staff can communicate using sign language. Please enquire at Guest Services if you require someone to help.”
I found the children’s theatre accessible with linear narration and a presenter that was easy to lipread even from the back row, but struggled a little with the main pirate show where it was harder to follow, but still found it enjoyable.
Guests with hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound) will struggle. Sound effects are loud, the busy crowds are loud and audiences at shows are encouraged to be as loud as possible. I would recommend the following strategies that may help:
– Invest in a pair of ear defenders. They are available in adult and children sizes and are relatively inexpensive. They do not block out all sound, but lower sound by around 25 dB, depending on the set.
– Follow a quieter route and skip show areas during shows.
– Pick rides with small cars. We found the aerial rides in particularly quiet with little noise from other people.
Input and touch
Legoland is highly accessible to anyone with hand, wrist or shoulder issues. Operators control the rides, open and shut gates and the small number of interactive rides have interaction as optional – like a laser gun or pressing a button on the submarine.
Some rides require some upper body bracing, these are clearly marked at the entrance and on the Legoland website and some rides do require input – like Coastguard HQ where one of up to three occupants have to steer and throttle the boat.
Also note that some rides have hand grips for holding on. I discovered that holding on during bumpy rides were a bigger problem for me than not holding on. I hurt my wrist on the first ride of the day on Vikings’ River Splash by maintaining a death grip on the handle when it was not actually required. By all means hold on when you need to, but on bumpy rides consider using the least amount of holding on needed.
The seating throughout the park is bench type seats, with or without back support. It is not comfortable seating for anyone with back or neck problems or who tire easily. I would highly recommend taking your own back support along. Something like the Ergolife chair is invaluable and easy to carry.
Movement and mobility
There is level access throughout the park as well as shortcut steps for those with limited mobility who find walking up ramps difficult.
There are benches at frequent intervals but they do fill up during busy periods. However, there are also plenty of grass areas as well as steps to sit on. We even stopped for a short snack and sat on the pavement edge that made a lovely little seat.
Not all rides are accessible or safe for anyone with reduced mobility, but many rides are. Check the specifications on the website before purchasing tickets and setting out.
Blue badge parking is situated near the entrance. It is clearly signposted but space is limited during peak times. Normal charges apply.
Motion sickness and balance disorders
I think there is plenty to enjoy at Legoland for anyone who suffers from severe motion sickness or balance disorders. I would not advocate a trip just for yourself, but as a member of a larger party, it is possible to still join in the fun regularly.
Some rides are easier to tolerate with slower movement and large vista views. There is no signposting for these, but I would generally recommend avoiding the fast rides and any rotational rides and both are easy to spot for yourself.
Aside from rides, there are two children shows in the Duplo theatre, a family show in the Heartlake plaza and a few attractions that are not dependent on rides, like Miniland, the Imagination Theatre and the Star Wars Gallery.
The 4D Cinema is accessible and the shows are short, around 10-12 minutes and I found the 3D effects easy to tolerate for that length of time.
Ease of use
Legoland is accessible and easy to navigate. It helps to use a map, but it is not required and it is possible to have a fun packed day by just walking around and jumping on anything that looks interesting.
There is a requirement for reading, technology use and understanding more complex terms when booking on-line, but once there, information is available in different formats, including maps, via helpful staff as well as text based.
Some social interaction is required as rides are operated by members of staff, but there is no pressure to communicate or interact other than by following their instructions.
Booking can be done on-line, entering the park and paying for parking is via an automated machine and no interaction is needed.
Conversely for anyone who prefers social interaction, it is possible to book tickets with a phone call or at ticket booths on the day (for the full price).
Food: Legoland does have some items on some menus that are gluten free, but choice are limited. Lactose or dairy free is not catered for specifically. Allergy information is available at the food outlets but I would recommend taking a packed lunch that saves both effort, money and time.
There is plenty of greenery throughout the park and those affected by hay fever should take their usual precautions.
Sensitivities: Much time is spent in close proximity to other people, so those who cannot tolerate perfumes and fragrances may be adversely affected. There is plenty of open spaces, but standing in a queue for 30-45 minutes or longer, which can be the norm, right next to someone wearing strong perfume is unavoidable unless paying extra for the Q-bot system.
Legoland is for all audiences and has no trigger warnings. Some age and height restrictions apply on certain rides, most notably over 0.9 metre and over 1.1 metre. Some rides have age restrictions are limited to children of specific ages.
Legoland is owned by Merlin Entertainments, the largest European entertainment company.
“Merlin runs 100 attractions in 22 countries across four continents. Our aim is to deliver unique, memorable and rewarding experiences to millions of visitors across our growing estate. We believe that we achieve this objective largely thanks to the commitment and passion of our team and the strength of our brands, which will never fail to be distinctive, challenging and innovative.” Read more here.
RRP: £32 – 48 per person
Retailer: Legoland official site
The ticket prices at Legoland is in line with the expected cost for a UK-based theme park and resort and as such represents good value for money.
Included in the price
Entry (1-day, 2-day and open date tickets available)
Our last ride of the day was the Sky Rider. It is a small rail car with a single bench for 2-3 occupants that travel 20 meters above the park with an excellent view over Miniland.
We were exhausted, but in good spirits and pointed out all that we could see from above to each other. I asked my 4-year old what her favourite bit of the day was and she replied instantly, “I loved all the rides!… except maybe the up and down fast ones.” She seemed satisfied with that and proclaimed that she felt it was an excellent day out. We concurred.
I left with Legoland having revised my opinion of theme parks. I have always found them difficult to access with chronic pain and fatigue. The bumpy rides hurt, I got motion sick, I had a migraine by the time we got back to our car and I was too tired to enjoy anything after lunch.
Legoland does many things right to make it an enjoyable day for all. We still hobbled back to the car, my 4-year old unable to walk due to an ankle issue that came up on the steps of the 4D cinema on our way out and was being wheeled out shoeless on one foot. It didn’t matter because it felt worth the extra effort we put in to make it through. We didn’t need to leave early, something we often do, we managed a full 8-hour day.
Legoland may be an attraction for 2 – 12 year olds but it is also brilliant fun for the adults accompanying them. A highly recommended venue that is family friendly to all families, even those with a child, adult or both with chronic health issues or a disability.
The review is based on our visit in May 2015.