Incase you missed it, we had a great weekend break at Alton Towers last weekend (for day 1 check out – Alton Towers – day 1 )
I’m pleased to report that Toby slept better on Saturday night however we’ve all been pretty tired this week.
Anyway after our long night on Friday, we headed down for breakfast. Toby doesn’t really eat much for breakfast at home, he usually has a couple of bites of toast and half a cereal bar so I wasn’t really expecting much in a busy restaurant! The restaurant was self service and after explaining that Toby finds busy places challenging, they seated us in a quiet corner away from the self service area as we didn’t think he would cope with lots of people moving around. We also let him keep hold of his iPad which he isn’t allowed to do at meal times at home. Toby actually ate some sausage for breakfast but Teddy on the other hand just wanted cereal as that’s what he has at home.
After breakfast, we headed back to our room to let our food go down and to collect our swimming things.
The pool opened at 10am and it was quite noisey in the changing rooms. However Toby understood that we were going swimming (we use his swim bag as an object of reference – visual prompt) and I think he remembered the pool from our visit last year.
We were given a Ride Assess Pass (RAP) wristband which is theory allowed you to jump half the queue however this was not really possible for slides as unlike in the theme park you can’t really go to the ride exit…as this would be the bottom of the slide. The queues weren’t too long however trying to climb stairs carrying an excited 5 year old and holding a giant rubber ring was challenging at times!
Another thing that helped was that we were allowed to take Toby’s buggy in and leave it by the pool side. This allowed him to have a base and he went back and sat in his buggy a few times and hid under his towel when it got a bit busy and overwhelming.
Around 12ish people started ordering food and drinks which is a bit of a nightmare for us in public places as Toby just runs up to a table and helps himself to people’s food and drinks as in his head everything is his. Joel and Teddy had already gone back to our room for a sleep after our disturbed night. Toby had lasted nearly 2 and a half hours in a busy public place – usually he gets overwhelmed after less than an hour but there was so much to keep him occupied. I noticed that pulled me towards the outdoor pool a lot which unsurprisingly was much quieter probably due to the fact it was raining…that didn’t bother Toby, he just clapped happily to himself.
After lunch we grabbed our wellies and headed out for the afternoon to find somewhere offsite. Although there’s loads to do in the Alton Towers resort we all needed a break from the busyness and ‘entertain me’ culture of the resort. We checked our National Trust App and found a property nearby with a playground and decided to check it out. We have National Trust membership so always check of somewhere near wherever we are as they usually have Toby friendly play spaces that are much quieter than public playgrounds.
We ended up at Sudbury Hall which is the home of the National Childhood museum.
The playground was great, it was very dark and enclosed under the trees however Toby was very tired and grumpy (due to not sleeping!) so he sat in his buggy on his iPad while Teddy had an explore. We would definitely go back if we were on the area again.
After a very busy day, and a much later night for Toby he had a good block of sleep and we all felt a bit better for Sunday. Having wifi all over the resort helped as Joel and I took it in turns to push Toby around in his buggy with his iPad on Saturday evening while the other one stayed the the hotel room with a sleeping Ted. I’ve no idea what time he eventually fell asleep but I just remember waking up before 5am and both the boys still being asleep – praise God for sleep!
We got up, had breakfast and packed the car. We then caught the monorail straight from the hotel in to the park. Hotel guests can access the park an hour before the rest of the public which was perfect for the boys as the queues were virtually nonexistent and so Toby didn’t even have to use his Ride Access Pass.
Teddy enjoyed seeing some of the shows for a second time whilst Joel took Toby off to keep him entertained. Here’s Teddy having a dance with Hey Duggee…he was even invited up on the stage after this because of his good dancing!
All in all we had a great time although I don’t think we will stay in a hotel again for a while mainly due to Toby’s sleep issues as all being in the same room isn’t ideal but it wasn’t a complete disaster!
If you do have a child with a disability, make sure you check out Merlin’s Magic Wand who offer free tickets to Merlin attractions (including Alton Towers) to families with children with additional needs or life limiting conditions. We had tickets from them last year and you can only apply once but it’s worth looking at if you meet the criteria – https://www.merlinsmagicwand.org
Hope everyone has a good day – we’ve been up since 3am – yawn!