On my holiday to the Gold Coast I went to the Village Roadshow theme parks with my family. We all bought a Local One Pass so we could go as many times as we would like to during our holiday. The pass lasts for 12 months.
We visited Sea World, Movie World and Wet and Wild. You can also go to Paradise Country but we didn’t this year. The Australian Outback Spectacular show is also part of the Village Roadshow group. The theme parks are lots of fun and I really enjoy going to them a lot. I had my own pass and because I have a companion card someone can come with me for free.
When we got to Sea World the first time the man on the gate told me that I could go to Guest Services and get a special wristband so that I could go on lots of rides easily. The wristband was for me to wear and it had the date on it. They told me that if there was a long queue for a ride I could go to the exit gate and they would let me on the next ride instead of having to wait. For some rides I didn't need to do this because there weren't many people waiting but I did use it sometimes and it was very good.
Each time we went to Sea World I got a new wristband with a new date on it. The ladies at Guest Services were very friendly and asked me which rides I liked the most and which animals I wanted to see. They also asked if I had any physical problems that might make it difficult for me to go on some rides. There are boards at each ride that you can read about whether it might be a problem for you and they said the staff could talk to you about it at the ride if you needed more help.
My favourite rides at Sea World are the Boots’ Banana Boogie ride, Donatello’s Ninja Flyers, Bikini Bottom Crosstown Express, SpongeBob’s Boating School Blast and the Castaway Bay Battle Boats.
I used to really love going on the Monorail too but it is closed at the moment because of construction that is happening. I hope it will be open next time I visit.
When we went to Movie World they also gave me a wristband at Guest Services and I used it to get on the rides there sometimes, it is very useful especially on the Justice League and Scooby Doo and rides that are very popular. I really enjoyed watching the Parade and the Stunt show at Movie World too. They were fun to see and it was good that there are lots of chairs and places to sit and watch the show so you don't have to stand up for too long.
It was very nice that I could get on the rides faster and didn't have to wait for a long time and I think it is great that they have the wristbands now. Every other time I have been to the theme parks I didn't get one and had to wait. Sometimes it was very hard to wait for a long time.
The staff who helped me on the rides were very nice at both parks and they showed me where to go to get on and where the exits were. They also helped me to do up the belts and harnesses on the rides when I had trouble.
I also went to Wet and Wild but I didn't go to get a wristband there because I only wanted to go in the Wave Pool and the spas and I didn't need to queue up for those attractions.
There are a lot of nice restaurants and Cafes to eat and get drinks from at all the Village Roadshow theme parks and I liked getting lots of nice things from them. I like to buy gluten free food and I liked the gluten free chocolate cake at Sea World a lot.
There are also a lot of places to sit and eat and rest if you need to.
There are a lot of toilets at all the parks so you don't have to walk too far if you need one. Most of them were nice and clean and had good lights so it wasn't dark.
It is a bit noisy on some rides because some people scream sometimes when they are having fun but I got used to it and I don't mind now.
The animals at Sea World are awesome and my favourite animals are the seals and the dolphins. There are really good shows to watch where the animals do lots of cool things and I liked watching them and listening to the music. The Affinity Dolphin show is the best and I took a lot of photos of the dolphins jumping out of the water.
I also love watching the Seal guardians Behind the scenes show where the seals do some very funny tricks.
There is a big aquarium so you can see the sea animals through the glass when they are swimming around. It is nice and cool in there because they have air-conditioning and you can sit and watch them and relax.
There are also big rock pools and areas where you can touch the stingrays and some of the other sea creatures, like the starfish. It is very nice to do this.
They also have a lot of different animal adventures that you can pay extra to do. You can get in the water with dolphins or meet the seals or the penguins. My sister has done some of them and liked them a lot.
I like the gift shops at the theme parks because there are lots of nice things to buy. I like the
t-shirts and hats and there are toys, key rings, jumpers, cups and mugs. I have a very nice friend at Sea World who works in the gift shop and his name is John.
He remembers me because I have been visiting there since I was a little boy. Every year he talks to me and is very friendly. I really like seeing him when I go there. There are other nice staff in the giftshop too like Noah and Ben.
If you want more information about how Village Roadshow theme parks cater for those with disabilities you can check out their website and look under the park info tab to find how you can get extra help if you need it.
I think most people would love to go to the Village Roadshow theme parks because they are so much fun and there is so much to do.
Tips from my travelling companions -
A trip to a theme park with someone who has a disability can be challenging! We have faced many obstacles in the past in taking Flynn to various theme parks due to many factors that make it quite overwhelming for him. The crowds, noises and queues can be very daunting to someone with Autism/Intellectual impairment and over the years we have learnt to do some careful planning and preparation which has helped immensely.
At first we would only visit for very short periods of time so that we only did one or two rides/attractions per visit. We also wrote social stories to help Flynn understand that there would be a lot of people and different settings. Another helpful thing we have done in the past was to take a lot of photos and videos of the rides and watch them prior to taking Flynn so we could talk about what happens on the rides and he could get familiarised before participating.
Standing in a queue for a long time was one of the most tricky parts of our experience so we think it is absolutely fantastic now that these wristbands are available to help alleviate those wait times. This trip we were very impressed with the staff at Guest Services for how patient and helpful they were with talking to Flynn about his needs/likes, etc and in helping him plan his day. The staff at the rides were also brilliant at assisting Flynn and allowing him to access rides quickly. It certainly made the day run more smoothly.
We also find that it is less busy in the afternoon so rather than going along at opening time, we arrive around 1pm or 2pm and the crowds have usually died down so there are less wait times. You can also usually get a carpark quite close to the front entrance then too as some people who arrived at opening time have left.
We have always found ample seating around the parks too which helps when it is very hot or you just need a quiet moment to rest. There are plenty of cafes and shops to grab food and drinks from too.
A very calming activity we have always loved is to just sit in the Aquarium area of Shark Bay and watch the underwater animals swimming around, or also the underground viewing areas of Polar Bear Shores and the Penguin Encounter Exhibit at Sea World. It is always a nice, cool break away from the hustle and bustle of the rides and busy environment of the park.
Hopefully with some assistance and planning you will have a great visit too and enjoy all the fun and adventure of the Village Roadshow theme parks!
By Flynn's mum, Jenni