At the end of our Givskud Zoo day, I went in to the souvenir shop to see if I could find a postcard with a lion, since we did not get any good pictures at all of lions. I looked at all the soft toys and in the middle of a bin of small animals, I found the most adorable little golden retriever puppy. It was purchased in haste, in order to actually have SOMETHING for “Gubby” on his Birthday, the 3rd September. For most children you can explain why you have chosen to delay the celebration of their Birthdays to another day, and that they will get their presents that day instead and so on. We had tried to explain to “Gubby” that we were going to Legoland for his Birthday, but that this meant that we would not celebrate his Birthday until the 5th September, when we had got back home. This so that his sisters could also be part. But also, because there was no way of celebrating the way we always do, in a holiday let in Denmark.
He did not really understand this fact though. Nor that some would feel very disappointed at not getting to celebrate him. That morning, he came in and said “Now you can sing to me and give me presents!”. Getting that toy the day before, was in other words inspired. I told the boys to join us and we walked in to the bunk bed and sang the usual songs and then I gave him the little paper bag from the souvenir shop, with the soft little toy puppy. He was delighted and did not say anything about it not being wrapped up nor did he get upset, when I told him that he would get his real gifts back in Sweden, on the Monday, together with cake, “candy” and film. He was as happy as can be, like he always is. And we quickly prepared for Legoland which was not easy. Rain had been predicted, so rain clothes and wellingtons had to come with, but what to do about shorts or trousers? Long sleeved or short-sleeved? We decided that you feel like a Michelin man in rain clothes, so it is better to not have too much under them. Short sleeved, shorts and hoodies just in case. Together with families from the other two holiday lets in the barn, we headed for Legoland. Not that Jane lead us there! No, I had found a paper map in the flat and we brought that one just in case and with me as a map reader. Plenty of people had already arrived but it was nothing near the amounts of August 2014! And at least now in September, they had changed their policy of not opening the ticket booths until just shortly before they open the park. We could walk straight up to a ticket booth on arrival at 0940.
After buying tickets and parking tickets, I asked about their handicap cards, which I had read about on the internet and which “Gubby’s” zero-class teacher had told me, we must go and fetch. She had done so for her autistic son, just weeks before, and it had helped immensely in making it a successful visit. I was told to head for information and that there would not be any problem with three autistic children and only two adults to look after them. I expected for us to have to stay in a long queue as usual, in front of the gates, till 1000. But lo and behold, people were already entering. As a matter of fact, this policy seemed to have changed as well, for the better. Instead of having everyone crowd in front of the gates and children getting antsy, they had set up a reception area ahead of the gates, where security checked everybody’s bags, if they had a conspicuous size. Like big rucksacks. ISIS sure has changed the world all over! But I would rather them check my bag, than something awful happening at such a place, as a children’s amusement park!
We were soon inside the gates and headed for the information, where our first disappointment took place. In order for your child to receive a handicap card for invisible handicaps like ADHD and Autism, you have to fill out a form AND you have to supply one caretaker for every child carrying a card. This meant, we were one person too short. But I realized that for the most part, “Kitty” can behave. He will not freak out and stand up in his seat or do anything forbidden. So of the three, we decided that he would go without a card. BUT each handicapped person is entitled to bring three people along, so he did not have to stand in one queue alone, while we went with the two we had to be glued to at all times. He was allowed to come right along with us. Now, this is a great idea in theory, only other people mind! But more on that later.
The way the handicap card work, is: You get two stamps on your hand and arm and you get a “show consideration” card with those words and a handicap symbol printed on it, to hang around your neck. In blue with white print so that it stands out. On all the major rides, you go to the q-bot entrance. (That is the fast track queue that people pay lots of money to use, in high season. But they only get to go once on each ride like that, then they have to pay a hefty sum a second time. Unless they want to stand in an hour-long queue of course!) For the minor rides, you go to the exit and make yourself known to the staff and they will let you pass the queue that way. Now, we did not get to try this idea full force, since the queues were never mega long, BUT we did get to see how awful people react to you going through the q-bot entrance and to the exit. We were told that “Danes know how to queue and stupid Swedes don’t”. We had to point at the children’s cards over and over again, but those idiots were like most people, without sympathy and understanding. Now they can go and get annoyed at the queues at Legoland one day, have kids whine, and then they go home and live normal lives, remembering their holiday. But we have to live with Autism and ADHD EVERY day! We can never escape it and their effects. Our children will have fits and meltdowns in queues, because of the wait, and our lives are not one day of frustration, like those other parents have. We have a life full of frustrations. In my mind, we and all parents deserve a break when we go to a place like Legoland. We are entitled to have fun with OUR children just like all other parents have with their children. And to have fun, all stress has to be cut out. As little queueing as possible helps. But it is no guarantee for a great day, that is for sure. SO, we did not need the criticism and snide remarks from old people and parents, being very poor examples for their children and grandchildren. It is a hard, cold and uncaring society we live in.
But for the most part, the personnel was a God-send! They really did something wonderful for “Gubby” that day! When the lady in the information handed out the handicap cards, she noticed that it was his Birthday and she put a big button on his chest which said that it was his Birthday! This made every single person at Legoland say “Til Lykke!” to “Gubby”, which we had to explain to him, means Happy Birthday in Danish. Or literally All Happiness! And they did high-five, so my little boy felt very special indeed. As a matter of fact, when we arrive at Legoland, we always feel a little bit lost the first day. One doesn’t know where to start, so one follows the stream. And that tream usually leads to the haunted house, but before getting there, you go by two minor children’s rides, that “Boo” and “Gubby” love. So we stopped because they begged us to, at the Frog Hopper. Here came disappointment number two. They measure all children to make sure they are 90 cm tall, but they on this ride also measure that you are not too tall. “Boo” who according to his age, should be 140 cm, was over 150 cm and was denied entrance. Before I realized what was happening, his happy smiling face had turned read, he was screaming and storming away. I did not want to spoil things for “Gubby”, so I had to send T. after the disappointed “Boo”. What made me really angry was that there were only six children there for the ride and three ” frog hoppers taking seven people each. And he did not need to be that stingy with the measurements! Why? Well, about two years ago, I read an article about the Crown
Prince of Denmark visiting Legoland with his family. And guess what? His wife, Crown Princess Mary who is clearly over 150 cm tall, was photographed on the Frog Hopper with her children! I am sure she both weighed too much and measured too tall, but they made an exception, so clearly it doesn’t break the machinery nor is there a security risk, if a person taller than 150 cm goes on the ride! It left a bitter taste in my mouth, since I know how much “Boo” loves that free fall ride and he is afraid of so many of the other rides, so it has made this one, one of the few he can handle!!!
But, he had jumped on the Caterpillar, next door so to speak, before T. could get to him. He had just stormed by the queue. And while this was happening, I was helping “Gubby” fasten himself in. When all the security latches were down, holding the children in place, the young man who had stopped “Boo” from entering, went to his hut and came back with a kazoo. At least I think that is what that tiny little instrument is called. And he started to play “Happy Birthday to You” on it, for little “Gubby”. “Gubby” sat there happy with his little “Chinese face” and I think he understood the man did it for him. After the ride was over, the man asked me if it was alright for “Gubby” to go a second time, so I nodded and let him stay in his seat. After two rides, he was satisfied with that one, and was eager to try something else. That is when T. suggested the haunted house. And “Gubby” screamed and ran off. T. came back after the chase and said that “Gubby” was petrified, and he would go on the Caterpillar with him and “Kitty” instead. I grabbed hold of “Boo”, who did not want to go in either, but for other reasons. It really is not a nice place to go through. I can’t really say it is scary. “Gubby” thinks so but he also thinks the free fall ride at the end, is scary. But “Boo” hated the house itself last time. Walking in flashing lights, bumping in to people and walls, loud noises etc. And last time I went through, it gave me a migraine. But I dragged him to the q-bot entrance and told him “mamma is going to fix this, alright!” I told the personnel that “Boo” can not handle the house and they asked “Too scary?”. “No, too much flickering lights and sounds. Can we please go straight to the ride please.” They took us to a lift with a handicap sign and voila, we were at the free fall machine. We were the only two on the ride. But we decided after the ride, that it is not really that funny. It makes painful halts, that make you bounce, so that was the only time I went on that ride during our two-day stay at Legoland.
For two years, sometimes every day, “Gubby” has watched the Dragon rollercoaster on YouTube. Now he just went on and on and on about wanting to go there, so we did. Here came disappointment number three. The queue was not very long for people without handicap signs, but the young men handling that ride, all dressed as knights, were not as charming as the others, on the other rides. What Legoland has not yet fully understood about autism, is that autistic people like to do things over and over and over again. They do not tire of things the way the rest of us do. “Gubby” could gladly have sat down on that rollercoaster ten times in a row. But in a not so pleasant manner, we were told when we came through the q-bot entrance the second time, that we were not allowed to come back for a couple of hours. Try to explain that to a little autistic boy who associates Legoland with the Dragon ride. I had to use all my power of persuasion and make other rides sound enticing.
We headed for the Polar X-plorer. And now we had the problem of “Boo” utterly refusing to go on that ride. He refused in 2014 as well after going on it ONCE in 2013 and getting motion sick. I am not pointing a finger, because I got motion sick with him and therefore stood with him and waited for the others, every time they went on it in 2103 and 2014. Now, “Gubby” was willing to try the ride especially after “Kitty” whined that if noone with the handicap cards went, then he would have to stand in the regular queue, and he was quickly moving to meltdown. So, I decided to take the two, and T. had to take “Boo” to the Falck Fire Brigade “ride”. “Gubby” hated the X-plorer. It has a free fall at the end, and he did not like that one bit. It was not at all like the Frog Hopper in his opinion, but far more “creepy”. So he refused to go on that again, ever. When we got out, we walked like everyone, through the souvenir shop, and he just walked up to this gigantic Penguin soft toy and said “I want this one. A mamma Is.” (Last year in France, at NAUSICAA, the sea life museum in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the children chose souvenirs, and he immediately chose a soft cute little penguin, whom he named Is which is Swedish for ICE. And here was a mamma for his Is.) I told him, that we could not buy anything this early on, that there might be other funny things. I was afraid that someone might steal it actually, out of our stroller, which we had loaded full with wellingtons, rain clothes, lunch foods and hoodies. There was no room for a big penguin! But since “Kitty” can’t let “Gubby’s” big Pug alone, Pugs being “Kitty’s favourite dogs, I started considering letting “Kitty” take over Sergeant Pugsley permanently and “Gubby” receiving mamma Is, as a substitute. I had to think about it overnight, in my opinion, and discuss it. I would have to tell “Gubby” that if he chose mamma Is, then there would be no box of Lego in the Lego shop! I tried inaeit out on him and he was in full agreement with me. That was a fair deal in his opinion. Both about Sergeant Pugsley and no Lego.
My competitive children, always have loved the Falck Fire Brigade. Let’s say that I missed the older ones, like my son D., who goes all out on this “ride”, which involves speed and cooperation as well as physical strength and good aiming skills. I have always stood on the sidelines taking pictures, because getting sweaty is not my thing. But this time, there were no D., no E. and no F. Only T., the boys and me. T. instructed us all that the two who chose pumping would have to do so in unison to get the fire engine to cross the course quickly and then he and “Boo” would pump water, while I would help “Gubby” aim at the hole to take out the fire, as well as “Kitty” aiming with the other hose. The older and bigger ought to have got on first, so the little ones could have snuck on like little squirrels. Now the little ones got on first and it was hard for us big louts to get on and start the pumping. All the boys wanted to be active and help which was very difficult to coordinate when we competed against other competitive teams and everyone screaming. I knew it would end in tears and when we got to the hoses and the fire, I had one little boy behind me feeling lost and stressed out and he was teary eyed. So I slowed down, begged him to come help me and my husband screamed that we were not aiming right. More and more people were on their way back to the goal and “Kitty” was loosing his temper. Meltdown! I had to remind them all that it is just a game and then wheeze at T. that this was not a good thing to go on, with this company. To cheer everyone up after we came in last, I told them we were going to go and celebrate “Gubby’s” Birthday with an ice-cream. But we got sidetracked, to The Temple. It is actually a ride we all love, since you sit in a car and shoot with a laser pistol at lights and they are all different colours, you getting different points for each colour. The boys wanted photos of course and to my great disappointment, the scores which are always printed on the photos they take of you, when you are unaware of it, were all wrong. You got the scores of the carriage behind you printed on your photos! It has never been like that before, but it was the two days we were there and I think that it was outright robbery then, to ask full price for those photos. If they can’t make them right, then they have to give them at half price in my opinion. Now it shows that “Gubby” had “Boo’s” points and I had none, since “Boo” had snuck on alone in a carriage, T. not jumping in quick enough! Very annoying that the photo says I did not get any points when I had all of 25 000 and little “Gubby” had 900!
We walked to the ice-cream house and were glad that it was open, because more and more we realized that the same thing which had happened at Givskud Zoo, the day before, was happening here at Legoland. Lots of the food places/snack places were closed because it was not high season any longer. And som fun specialty souvenir shops were also closed. THIS was very disappointing, since it sure is not reflected on the entrance fee. But, the ice-cream place was open and happily the children, now back to their good mood, decided on soft ice-cream and toppings. They really do have the most wonderful soft ice-cream in Denmark and at Legoland! The children got big cones and “Gubby” took a green topping, which I still have not been able to ascertain from him, what it tasted like. And “Boo” and “Kitty” chose a pink topping, which they say tasted like Tutti Frutti. T. and I could not resist Daim topping. We sat down and ate our cones on the steps, since there were no chairs and when it was all eaten up, the boys went on the carousel called Western Ride. I loved it, that they still love that one. My boys are after all growing and are not babies anymore.
It was very difficult to keep them focused. We would decide what ride to go on and while walking to that ride, they would see something else they wanted to ride on. The here and now syndrome. But we did get to ride on the Vikings River Splash, against “Gubby’s” wish. He was content to not get wet though, after I got him dressed for rain, to prevent him getting soaked. Actually we all got dressed in rain clothes and went on that ride, Jungle Racers, the Canoe and also the Pirate Splash Battle, which is another one I have refused to go on before, because one gets soaked. By other boat crews splashing you and bystanders outside the fence, shooting at you with water cannons. But to not be a party pooper, I went along to make up the numbers.
We also decided to be nice to T. and finally let him go in and see Atlantis. I guess he enjoyed it, but after NAUSICAA, THE sealife museum, everything like it will be a let down. Sure they had a couple of sharks, but not as big and creepy. Sure they had Doris and Nemo, but not as nicely displayed nor as many. No, the real funny thing was when in a water tunnel, “Kitty” looked up above him and this really long fish was just resting there, bent in the archlike way that the tunnel was shaped. I took two funny pictures because “Kitty” first got so surprised having a fish “laying” above his head and then clowned around about it.
Close to Atlantis, was the new area called Ninjago World. Honestly, I am not sure why they built this? Ninjago were out years ago. I had bought some and hid them in my closet, for the boys’ Christmas gifts and they are still there, because they were a fad that came and went more quickly than anything Lego. And now they are back? We walked in to the main ride which is called the Ride. Curious to what it was of course. The q-bot had us come in to an area where we fetched 4D glasses, but then we had to stand in queue with everybody else, which took a while. You sit down in a carriage and you are supposed to have understood what to do, from watching an animated film by the glasses pick up bins. It was not as simple as that animated bloke showed. Through the entire ride you have to sit and hold
your arms up at least 20 cm above a “table” in front of you. This has lights that you are supposed to sweep your hands over to shoot at things, on a screen ahead of you. You have no idea if it is your “flashes” shooting at things or if it is one of your three neighbours in the carriage. Your shoulders start aching from sitting with your arms that way through the entire ride. And it really was not that fun, so the boys did not ask for a second turn around that day.
Outside they had some machines to practice Ninja reactions on, but they were full of people that day, so we headed for the Laser Maze. But when we got there, you were not allowed to go in through the exit as a handicapped person and the queue stood still. We decided to leave and run for the Ice Pilots, which is a robot ride where you have programmed the ride yourself. We went through the q-bot entrance, got a card per two people and had to start programming. “Gubby” was scared and I promised him I would choose all the slow moves. When programmed, we had to enter the area and stand in the slowest moving queue. I am not sure what handicapped people were supposed to do there. I did not see any other option than to wait. One robot was broken down and they were just running one side of the complex, so only eight people at a go, could ride. Thereby all the delays. And it was plenty of time for “Gubby” to get worried and scared. He asked “Did that one program fast or slow?”. Since most of the riders were teenagers, I assumed they had programmed fast and complicated moves. So I told him that it was fast, but ours would be much slower. He actually had a fun time, but was afraid of dropping his shoes and he told me to take off my glasses before we were seated. I did as ordered, to calm him down. It turned out that he actually thought it was a fun ride but in a scary way.
By now it had started to rain, so it was not fun, when the rides had stopped running, to head for the pizzeria restaurant, and find out that there were only tables outside. It was a long wait or food, as well. But we settled down outside, wearing our rain clothes, and tried to decide what to eat. I quickly decided that the only pizza I could stomach, would be the Jamaica one with pineapple and bacon minus ham, which it usually contains. We thought that the children would jump at the opportunity of getting pizza but “Gubby” clearly stated that he wanted spaghetti. We just stared at him and said “But it is your Birthday! Don’t you want Pizza to celebrate?”. “I want spaghetti on my Birthday”. So be it. Then “Boo” said he wanted chicken and we were even more surprised. But he wanted the chicken on a stick, with chips looking like Lego pieces. “Kitty” was whining that he would not get full on a children’s pizza, so we settled for an adult Jamaica, but without pineapple, since that would not go over well with him. T. of course took a Jamaica with nothing taken off.
By the time we had decided what to eat and had gone to order, a table indoors had become open and we gladly moved inside. With the meal, the salad bar was included. I wish it had not been so! T. went and got himself a big salad and then a couple of slices of Italian farmer’s bread. Dense in other words. I got myself one piece and poured a little olive oil in the salad bowl, which I had been given, and I sat and dipped my bread in it. We were all so starved. “Gubby” took a couple of carrots, “Boo” two slices of bread and “Kitty” went and got himself FOUR slices of bread. I told him, he would not have room for his pizza, but he insisted he would still have lots of room. Right! After a LONG wait, as the last table getting its food, because now they were closed for ordering, our dinner arrived, carried out by “Kitty” and me. T. had run off to the men’s room, since he refuses to say prayer in public. “Kitty” took one look at “Boo’s” food and got jealous. He realized that this was what he would have liked to have eaten. So he sat and looked at “Boo” enjoying himself. And “Gubby” sat there happily eating his spaghetti with a Danish flag placed by his plate, by the staff, since it was his Birthday. I looked at my pizza and was disappointed. A lot of undercooked bread, no cheese visible, tons of pineapple and tomato sauce, and three strips of bacon, looking lonely and forlorn. Could they not have added extra bacon, since I still had had to pay for the ham, not put on the pizza? I thought that cheeky indeed. When T. got back, he started in on his pizza and we noticed “Kitty” just playing with a piece of his. He was full from the bread he had eaten! And let’s say, food at Legoland is overpriced, so we were not happy with him. T. felt forced to eat his entire pizza and then eat a little over half of “Kitty’s” pizza. He was nauseous when we all stood up and left as almost the last people, at the entire Legoland.
On the way out of Billund, we decided to find a supermarket. We knew it was in the center, and drove down there to get eggs and milk and some other small things. As soon as we got in to Fakta, “Gubby” noticed this four pack of cupcakes decorated with mini M&Ms and I decided to buy them as a little extra Birthday treat. He and “Boo” had room for it. The reason why I mention it all, was because I found dirt cheap Palmolive soap, chocolate scented. On the way out of Billund, Jane of course got us lost AGAIN, and in the dark it was difficult to read the paper map, so on with the roaming again. What will that bill be? And when we got home to the holiday let, it was time for the boys to take a shower. “Gubby” and “Boo” were very keen on trying MY new chocolate soap, and we looked in amazement when “Gubby” poured this thick brown soap in to his hand, which looked like melted milk chocolate. He stared at it, said “mmmmm” and started to lift it towards his lips while asking “Can I eat it?”. I had to disappoint him, but could of course remind him, that he had a pretty cupcake waiting for him. I do hope he has not tasted the soap. It does smell divine, and you do smell the same way, when having showered with it, but unfortunately it dried my skin out too bad for me to use it. I have to stick to soaps which say for extra dry skin/sensitive skin. No fun fragrances there.
The boys crashed right away, as soon as they hit the pillows. They had been up already at 0600, eager to go to Legoland, and they had had a wonderful day. I had indigestion from the dinner, as usual, since I have no gallbladder, and T.’s heavy snoring all night long, did not help me fall asleep. I fell asleep, when it was basically time to get up, and felt like a zombie!