I will admit that Playland isn’t the first place I think of when I think ‘autism friendly’ environments for my child, who can easily be overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds that this amusement park usually is full of, but in lighter crowds and familiar faces, it’s not too bad!
Bryce’s school had a Playland Day. Playland Day is when Playland is only opened to certain elementary schools and closed to the general public. The crowds are smaller, the lineups for rides are shorter, and while there are still people running around and screaming, it feels a lot calmer.
Tip 1: If Playland Day is coming up and you have a child with special needs and large crowds are a concern, take advantage of Playland Day! If you don’t have a Playland Day in your neighbourhood, try going to the amusement park during the week to avoid chaotic line ups and heavy crowds as most people are busy or at work during the week.
Daniel and I decided to tag along for the school field trip and make some memories. We have all been to Playland before, but never together as a family. It’s mostly because I’m scared of fast rides and heights (something I’d conquer one day.) Bryce was a little hesitant when we entered the gates. I mean, who wouldn’t be? It’s PLAYLAND! There’s a LOT to take in! It’s the oldest amusement park in Canada with over 30 rides and attractions!
Tip 2: If you have a child with special needs you can go to the Guest Services in Playland and request a free ‘Exit Pass’. This allows you to skip the lineups for rides and enter them from the exit side giving you priority seating and time to get on the ride without feeling rushed. This is especially great if you have a child that can handle the rides but not the wait. Most amusement parks have this perk. (Thank you Ms. S for sharing this information with us!)
Speaking of rides, Daniel and I argued about what rides Bryce could and couldn’t go onto. Of course, I was anti-almost all of the rides worried that Bryce would get scared despite being accompanied by Daniel each time and Daniel wanted Bryce to be a go on whatever rides he wanted and said to me to “let him be a kid”. You could imagine the expression on my face when Bryce ran past a few rides and went directly to the Merry Go Round. Yes! Go be a kid on that ride! I can handle that ride!
Tip 3: “Let him be a kid.” I’m the last person to say when my husband is right, but by letting Bryce be “a kid” and not “a kid with autism” I was able to enjoy myself more. Bryce was able to enjoy himself more. I hope that makes sense.
I guess Bryce had a thirst for more adventure after the Merry Go Round because he went on the Scrambler, Wave Swinger, Flume (log water ride), Breakdance, Gladiator, Music Express, Wooden Roller Coaster, Pirate, Westcoast Wheel (ferris wheel) and Super Slide. I nearly had a heart attack when he lead us to the Wave Swinger which was the only ‘non-accompanied by an adult’ ride Bryce went on (but Daniel was right behind him). He was so brave. He was on top of the world! Check out the video I made of Bryce going to Playland!
Thanks for reading,
PS So if you’ve watched the video you may of noticed that I went on a couple rides too. I don’t know if I conquered the ‘fast rides and heights’ fear but at least I poked it.
Oh, and here’s a picture I took of Daniel and Bryce at the very top of the Westcoast Wheel. Yup! I took the picture. THAT was super scary! Swaying so high in the sky. Gives me chills just looking at the picture. Baby steps.