On Theme Park Rides

By 10th September 2022 April 3rd, 2024 No Comments

Earlier this week we did something I wasn’t sure we’d ever be able to do. We took Mikaere to a theme park and rode some rides. I mean, he can’t sit independently, so I’d written off any kind of theme park. It felt impossible. Would there be disabled facilities? Would Mikaere even enjoy it?

After much encouragement (<3 @project_gogo), we went to Chessington. We booked tickets for the week after school started on a day it was meant to rain (so it was mostly empty). They had a changing places facility and we signed up for the Ride Access Pass (which meant we could wait in the just-us disabled queue). We worked out which rides that Mikaere might be able to go on (they have a great accessibility PDF) and there were maybe 5 or so rides we thought he might be able to go on.

Mikaere wasn’t having the best day, so we limited ourselves to two rides: Elmer’s Flying Jumbos, and the Sea Dragons. Elmer’s didn’t quite live up to our hopes, Mikaere was very much in the “wtf is going on” camp. On the other hand, the Sea Dragons (which was significantly more roomy) was a huge hit, with many smiles.

The bonus was they also had an aquarium + a zoo! We did the Monkey Walk (a tiny path in the Marmoset enclosure so they can get fairly close if they choose to) which was lovely! Because it was just us, we had the opportunity to stop + Mikaere was very curious!

It didn’t feel like a washout day, knowing he could only go on a handful of rides, thanks to both the aquarium and the zoo (which is good, cause even though you can get a carers ticket free, it was expensive). It was a lot of work + prep to get us there, but we did it.

It did feel a bit bittersweet. He can only go on these rides while he’s small enough to be lifted, while he’s portable (he’s significantly less portable than he was). Once he’s too heavy this will be one of those things we can’t do. Which, womp. Because where are the rides you can get a wheelchair on? If you can strap a wheelchair down in a taxi, surely you can manage it on a ride?

Still, it felt like a win. Like we were making memories + being adventurous. It was a good day!

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