Legoland, Nagoya, Universal Studios Japan or Tokyo Disney Resort – which one do I think is more autism friendly? – Part 2 – Legoland Nagoya

Legoland, Nagoya

Legoland Nagoya is a near new park having opened mid way through 2017.  I want to preempt this post by saying it is written by someone who is not a Lego enthusiast, and we did visit the park on a week day in winter break (unfortunate timing that couldn’t be worked around).

I have mixed feelings about this theme park, but I lean on the side of recommending as long as you can pick a day that is not a weekend, public holiday or school holiday…..let me explain….

Getting to the park is very easy, with it being about a 20 minute train ride from Nagoya Station with no line changes required.  One of the really cool things about this park is, as you are walking from the station to the park there is an overpass.  On the Legoland side you can choose to either walk down a ramp or go down a slide!  It really sets a super fun tone to start the day!  What is not fun though is the massive queue to enter the park…..on the day we were there, it was about half an hour to get into the park even with pre-purchased tickets. My husband and daughter to one look at the entry queue and both wanted to go back to the hotel to chill.  Touristo and I persisted!  The entrance has not been built to handle the massive crowds that Japanese theme parks tend to attract. So, if you hadn’t pre-purchased tickets online, well then, good luck getting in at all.

Once in the park, I picked up a disability card to help with the queues.  It is a very similar model to that of Universal or Disney, so please check out Part 1 for more information on the process.  The issue here that I did not experience at either of the other two parks was that the park seemed understaffed, so there was not always someone to help you at the express lines.  In the end I ended up purchasing a three attraction fast pass which really helped and wasn’t too expensive.  This turned out to be a lifesaver.

The other big glitch was food.  There are not nearly enough food outlets for the hoards of people that descend on this place in peak season.  The queue for Lego shaped fries just did not move, and when I tried to get a burger and fries for lunch at 11.30am, I was told that the wait was already 1 hour!!!!! I must have looked like I didn’t understand because she then repeated it in English….. I had understood the words coming out of her mouth, it was the concept of waiting an hour for food that had me lost!  So we lived on popcorn for the day, until I got hangry and we left.  Touristo as always was a gentleman, I was the grumpy one.

Now this sounds like we had a crappy day right?  Funnily enough, we still had a lot of fun.  The rides are really cute, and are perfect for the age group of about 2 – 12 years old. The other thing that I found amazing was all of the themed play areas which were phenomenal.  When you have a kid who likes to climb as much as mine, then it was worth the entry fee just for these.  Two of these play areas only had one way in and out, so it also gave me the chance to sit out the front and have a few minutes to myself.

So is it autism friendly?  Yes and no.  If you go on a week day when Japanese schools are in session when it is quieter, then I think it is an amazing attraction for families with kids on the spectrum to visit.  At peak times though…..just don’t.  In saying that though, I am thinking that a lot of the issues I experienced here are really teething issues that will be resolved as the park finds its feet……..I hope.

Tip: They are currently building a hotel on property.  If you do have a junior Lego enthusiast I would highly recommend staying on property particularly if the offer early entry and/or a dedicated entry for hotel guests.  For guests on the spectrum it would be really handy to have a quiet room to retreat to when the crowds become too much.  This is particularly important because the park is not very spread out so even when it’s not a peak time it might still feel squishy to someone who has difficulty with crowds.

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