Sunday, 28 April 2013

*Review* Kyd, Champion of Thorpe Park aged just 10.5

Hi I'm Kyd and I am 10.5 years old.
I have Down Syndrome.
And I went on more rides than my scared adult cousins when I went to Thorpe Park for the first time this week.... because I AM EPIC!

The Story of Kyd's 1st trip to Thorpe Park... (whilst big enough to go on the BIG rides!)
 At age 5 or 6 we took Kyd to Thorpe Park with a few of our friends and their kids... although there are many rides suitable for families like The Flying Fish and The Rumba Rapids (as well as 12 others), sadly he wasn't able to go on the BIG rides which was what he wanted to go on, but because of his height at that stage (Big rides have a 140cm restriction) it was a big fat NO!
He was Gutted!
He was at the hospital this week and was quite poorly, he was routinely measured by the nurse and when she said the words 'you are 140 and 1/2 cm's tall' we both looked at each other and I said
His face lit up and I said to him that if he was good for the doctors and let them do their job without a fuss... he could go to THORPE PARK and go on the BIG rides!
Remarkably it worked! For something that took 5 nurses to hold him down last time, this time he chatted away whilst they did it... no problems, or tears... WTF?
*Bribe banked and noted for future use*

He then didn't stop going on about it for ages 'I go on the BIG rides soon' 'I go on the BIIIIIG rides!!'
He even went on his iPad and looked up Thorpe Park on YouTube and watched the ride videos going 'wooaaahhh' and 'awesome' at all the twists and turns. The excitement was too much!

He said he was most looking forward to 'The Swarm' which is the newest ride... the one I'd never been on! Typical...
The Big Day...

Buying The Tickets - We had already purchased Merlin Passes online a few weeks back and had to pick them up from the Annual Pass cabin when we got there, but I did actually look into how much it would have cost us if we hadn't. It is amazing what offers are on if you just look a little beyond the main website or even on their Facebook or Twitter pages... So if you are going, do some research first!... here is what I found when I looked this week...
Special Offers on at the moment - 

  • Pick up a Frijj to take advantage of a 2-for-1 coupon offer when booking tickets. Check out more information on their Facebook page
  • Book tickets 7 days or more in advance to save 30% - adults from £30.24, children from £23.52 (under 12)
  • Head over HERE to get 2-for-1 tickets courtesy of Coke
  • If travelling by train, head to South West Trains to get online discounts on entry.
 So as you can see if you just do some pre planning and a bit research online you could save yourself quite a lot of money!

*PLEASE NOTE* Disabled Thrill Seekers can also get a CARER in for free. Proof of disability is needed (check here for more info)

Go through the barrier and...
Look at his face! It says it all!

As we walked in we were stopped by a young lad and asked if we'd be purchasing photo's of us on the rides? I said 'probably yes'. He then said if I bought a set of 4 vouchers for £20 from him, I'd be saving £12... no brainer for me really as I knew we'd be buying at least 4 of them anyway. This is a brilliant offer and I think if you go in a group and all pay towards that £20 it is a billy bargain! It was a huge day for Kyd and so we needed to document it properly for his memory book!... and our amusement... obviously!

OK so after getting our Disabled Exit Passes (see below for details) I stupidly asked Kyd which ride he wanted to go on first... he said 'That One' and pointed straight to  
'The Swarm'
You know, the new one, the one that goes backwards, the one I'd NEVER been on before... Typical!
Luckily for me, you don't have to go backwards and so we didn't #BraveItBackwards this time around but he did go on it 3 times that day... he gave it a 10/10!

He went on Nemesis Inferno next...
Again this was one I wasn't expecting in the first few...
He loved the fact that this one went upside down and he came off grinning from ear to ear asking to go on again! 10/10

He then went on The Detonator.. this doesn't have a photo option but here is the ride... He said his belly went into his head... It drops a really fast speed, like a broken lift! lol
He said 10/10

 We then had lunch, I needed Lunch at this point I was starving and already knackered. There are lots of places to eat at Thorpe Park but it can be quite expensive and very busy. I suggest you take a few bits in your bag for lunch if you are saving on the pennies. You can purchase a refillable soft drink cup from many of the stands and have it refilled however many times you like... cheating slightly here, but buy one and share
it... much cheaper!!! For Merlin Pass holders, you can purchase a special cup that is refillable in several different outlets around the park and also entitles you to use it for the other parks such as Chessington and Alton Towers.
After Dinner we thought it was about time for a water ride as it gave him enough time to dry off before we went home...

The Tidal Wave was his choice in wet ride and what a ride it is! It gets even passers by wet so be careful if you're watching! I sat this one out and fed Rocky his lunch. They came back absolutely drenched and it was hilarious! The only issue being he then was more worried about being wet than anything else so we went and dried his clothes off... next time I'll take spare clothes!
10/10 too apparently!

We realised the day was getting on by this point and so we decided on what we wanted to go on and headed to them one after the other starting with  
This was the one neither of his cousins would go on! (wimps) it is the only one that he was really excited about when he got off but after a while, he did say it hurt his ribs. It sets off like a rocket and I think the impact was a little strong but when asked... you guessed it... 10/10 (I'd take 1pt off for the sore ribs though if it was me!)

Then it was... SAW the Ride...
OK so I'm petrified of this ride. I think it is the best in the park though myself. It has everything, scary clown thing, part of the ride is in the dark and it is has the scariest straight down drop as it looks like you are going to hit the floor... I was worried he wouldn't like this one but he was adamant he went on it...
He said to me when it went dark 'OHH IT'S GONE DARK NOW.... ARRRGGGHHHH' the arrrrggghhhh was because half way through talking the ride started to get fast hahahahahaha. He Was laughing the whole way through.
He said 20/10 for Saw! hahahaha

We went on this twice actually as the photo didn't work the first time. The second time we went on it... we went on the front seats... THE FRONT!!! I was absolutely cringing with thoughts of how this was going to go and if I'm honest... for me rather than him... BUT I had the episode of The Imbetweeners in the back of my head, the one where he has a tantrum about queueing for the front and not all getting on and cursing at them before realising the 3 kids getting on had Down Syndrome... We jumped the queue too obviously as we had exit passes... It felt like we were taking the mick... it was hilarious for us though! At the front it is mental, I did not like the front at all but Kyd loved it. In the photo Kyd looked like he was falling out... he wasn't... I had told him he had to keep his head back so he did... his neck is more flexible than ours... he now looks like he has no neck! hahaha
10/10 for Colussus x2 he said!

The last ride of the day was only because the park was closing! but next to Colossus is
This ride goes up backwards and faces down when you come back down and makes your belly go funny... this is the one in which he bullied his scared 20yr old 2nd cousin onto... that was hilarious! She absolutely cacked her pants and then blamed the 10 year old! There was no photo option for this ride so this is a pic of the ride!
10/10 again though mainly because he almost made his cousin cry...

Time to go home...
The park closes at 5pm at this time of year but is open until 9pm later in the summer. As the time hit 5pm and all the rides were closing we made our way to the Dome where we bought a few bits and pieces from the gift shop before we made our way out.

Kyd's Medals
After each BIG ride we purchased a medal for him to keep and cherish to show how brave he'd been on his first time on a BIG ride! The medals were part of the many random merchandise you can purchase and weren't overly expensive at £3.50 each. He was so proud of them he was showing everyone. You can get these in the gift shop on the way out too though so don't worry if you don't want to carry them about all day.

Getting Home...
The buses go every 10 minutes after the park closes and gets you back to the station quite quickly, this is a great thing as we were all absolutely shattered and needed to sit down and get home... apart from Kyd that is as he was still bouncing around like a loony.

So to sum it up...

It was Epic...
Kyd has Down Syndrome and on diagnosis all those years ago, I thought he would never be able to do the things most 'normal' kids would be able to do as he grew up... it turns out he does more than any 'normal' kid of his age, even with everything he has to face along the way, he seems to take everything and give it his all. He has exceeded all of my expectations of that early diagnosis and he has made me so proud. This trip brought all that home for me and that is the icing on the cake.
We had so much fun, we laughed, we screamed, we got wet and we learnt that this 10 year old is braver than most adults....
Thank You Thorpe Park... we'll be back soon!!!

A Guide for Disabled Thrill Seekers...
 The Park is quite big and Kyd struggles to walk distances so the Disability Buggy was a must. I suggest anybody with walking issues takes a chair, as it is a long day and involves lots of walking.
Disabled customers can also get 'Exit Passes' from Guest Services, which is a virtual queueing system. 
The way it works is, if you struggle with queue's, and believe me the queue's are LONG at the park, you and your group (there is a limit of how many you can get) get a card and a wristband. Each ride you want to go on you enter through the exit/fast track entrances, the ride staff will sign your card and write down a time. That time is the time it is at the time of arrival + the length of the queue... this means you can't go on the next BIG ride (listed at the top of the card) until that specific time! This is to make it fair for all the other guests at the park. I think it is perfect. The disabled person with the wristband MUST be present and going on the ride at that time. If there are more of you in the group than eligible to join the wristbanded person I suggest you either take it in turns OR you can purchase additional Fast Track tickets from the booths and all go into the queue together! (clever aren't I!). 
*PLEASE NOTE* Documentary evidence in the form of a letter from a GP or hospital consultant, which details reasons that the guest is unable to queue. Please note this must be seen by THORPE PARK every year, and this is different documentation to that required for admission to the Park.

 I was not paid by Thorpe Park for writing this post and I DIDN'T receive ANY of their products to use and keep in return for my honest review of their park.
 All the content from this post is written in my own words (apart from the quote from their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A last minute cold family trip to the Yorkshire Coast!

I love the Yorkshire coast.

I am slightly bias as this is where I grew up and where my mum and some of my family and friends still live.

But it is so beautiful... but so far away from Reading!

The Sad Part...

Sadly the reason behind our trip over Easter wasn't for just a holiday, but to say goodbye to a dear friend of the family/honorary family member, one who will be sadly missed and never forgotten. I know how much he loved this part of the coast too and so the fact we made the most of the sun was ever more important... 

The Cold Part...

When I say sun... I mean that fake sun which is in fact joined by freezing temperatures, the sun which fooled the people of the world, the ones on the inside of their lovely warm houses, to think Spring had finally sprung, but in fact, Winter had just put it's comedic Spring mask on and then every now and again took it off just to snow and show us who's boss and just to laugh at the people on the beach in their big winter jackets in April!!... those people being US!... 

It was the coldest Sunny Easter I can remember! It didn't help that we had the North Sea's icy wind coming straight at us though.

Other than the fact it was freezing, this was an amazing trip. Stressful, Sad (as above) and Lovely all in one.

The Stressful Part...

We drove up and Hoff stayed for a night and then drove a car full of crockery home... wedding related crockery... I'll explain on the wedding blog later. We then got the train home a few days later... just Me, Kyd and Rocky... with a huge suitcase, a nappy bag, a Kyd bag and a pushchair (which we ended up leaving)... 1 train change and lots of stairs!... who's stupid idea was that?

For the first time ever going home, we stayed in our own Holiday apartment... it was all very last minute and as it was Easter not many were available. 

We ended up on the top floor of a very... ummmm... ODD... building. We were right next to the sea front and it was very cheap... but it was also 84 steps up to our freezing cold room/apartment and with a baby and a child with special needs, plus my gammy leg, this was HARD WORK! I had no way of getting the
pushchair up and down and no way of leaving things at the bottom to get them up after putting the kids upstairs, because I couldn't leave them alone in the room as it was too dangerous with the stand alone heaters and it was too cold up there not to have them on! *head in hands*. I managed it as luckily we didn't have to have much time in there. I worked out it was safer to bash the pushchair down & leave Kyd and Rocky downstairs whilst I ran up to get the bags etc... before I had a genius idea a few days in!

I made a trip to Argos...

I got a baby carrier!

It meant I could keep hold of him on my chest, even though he's stupidly heavy, and still have my hands free for bags and Kyd!

Much Easier!

Plus I don't know if you know this but... 
*rant alert* Quinny Zapp Xtra pushchairs DON'T WORK ON SAND!! So if I'm honest we hardly used the bloody thing after I purchased the baby carrier! It was more work than ease, for a pushchair which was supposed to be really good for travelling, you couldn't travel with it!... I even ended up leaving it with a friend there until I can get it back to me, as I physically couldn't use it on the train whilst travelling alone with 2 kids and a suitcase. The small folding frame would be amazing... if the seat folded too... NOPE! The seat stays as it is and you have to carry that as well as the frame and the baby... not very practical.... not a fan! *End of rant*

The Lovely Time Part...

Other than all that It was a lovely time to catch up with a couple of friends. I didn't get to see everyone as I wasn't there long and it was so cold, but Kyd spent time with his friends and we had loads of fun. We even became Pirates for a while, ate seafood, had numerous amounts of Fish 'n' Chips and spent ages in the arcades.

We love The Yorkshire Coast... but I suggest you go when it's warmer... research your accommodation and take a baby carrier for trips to the beach!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Rocky learns to walk around the furniture...


The boy just can't stop growing and hitting milestones!!

He's not even 9 months old and he's walking his way around the furniture!

He's starting to scare me now, he'll be walking soon and I'll be chasing him around... Then we're all stuffed!

He's a cheeky monster and is into EVERYTHING as it is! He'll be a unstopable machine when he is fully mobile! 

*places head in hands*

Wish us luck!!