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Legoland Has Banned Adults Not Accompanied By Kids & Parents Of Adults With Learning Disabilities Are Upset

Anthony Lewis, Legoland

A new policy at a Legoland park in the U.K. has many families outraged. As per the new rule, childless adults (anyone over the age of 16 who is unaccompanied by a child) would not be permitted entry into the park. 

The policy was put in place to protect children, however, families of adults who struggle with mental disabilities are slamming it as “discrimination.” 

A mom of a man with an intellectual disability wants her son to be allowed in Legoland despite the ban on childless adults.

40-year-old Simon Thomas, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was gifted an annual pass to the Legoland Discovery Center in the Trafford Centre by his 41-year-old sister, Paula. The woman explained her brother’s condition to the staff when purchasing the pass. 

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However, after seven months of weekly visits where Simon was accompanied by an adult caretaker, he was told he would no longer be able to renew his pass the following year due to the new policy. He was instead offered a pass for alternative venues run by parent group Merlin Attractions elsewhere in the UK. Additionally, Simon’s family was now required to email the park before he visited using the remaining five months on his pass. 

His family argued that the new rule was unfair and discriminatory against those with mental disabilities, and they were not the only ones affected by the policy.

20-year-old Anthony Lewis, who has Williams Syndrome and the mental capacity of a six-year-old, was turned away while visiting the park with his caretaker. His mother, Elaine Lewis, slammed the childless adult policy as impractical.

“Anthony cannot access the community without the help of a support worker,” she explained. “To say that he can only go in with a child, it doesn’t make sense. He’s not capable of looking after himself. If he went in with a child who is also not capable of looking after themselves, who would look after them?” 

Elaine shares that her son came home “distressed” and “upset” and that Legoland staff had been rude to him when he and his caretaker tried to enter the park. The mother attempted to contact Legoland three times and received no response. She slammed the company for its poor communication efforts and begged them to reconsider their new policy. 

“Adults with learning disabilities are really just children in adult bodies,” she argues. “Why can’t they access something like the Legoland Discovery Center?” Elaine says that Anthony “just wants to go and play with the Legos and look at the models” and does not pose a threat to any guests visiting the park. 

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Legoland defended its policy, claiming that it was enacted to ‘maintain a welcoming environment for our young visitors.’ 

A spokesperson issued a statement explaining why the new policy was enforced.  “Our policy not to permit entry to groups of adults, adult couples, or lone adults, regardless of circumstances, who are not accompanied by a child or children under the age of 16 is we believe therefore appropriate and the best way to constantly maintain a welcoming environment for our young visitors,” he said. “We make no apologies for this policy and believe it to be reasonable and appropriate, and one on which we make no exceptions.” 

While childless adults could not access the park during the day, the spokesperson shared that they are open for adults during evening hours. “That said, we also very much appreciate the continuing appeal that Lego has for all ages, and it has never been our intention to deny access to our adult fans or cause distress to anyone. That is why we regularly host evening events specifically for adults in order to showcase specific attractions within the center and these are very well attended.” 

Over 7,000 people signed a petition demanding that Legoland change its policy to allow people of all ages during daytime hours. 

While Legoland was confident in its decision and new rule, many people were still dissatisfied. Elaine Lewis launched a petition on Change.org urging Legoland to reconsider the new policy. 

“As a parent you want your child to experience as much as possible, this goes for all children but especially the disabled ones as some are only with us for a short time,” she wrote. “My son and his carer were refused entry on the grounds of child safety, it is him that needs protecting from ignorance and prejudice.” 

Over 7,000 people signed the petition in support of Elaine, Anthony, and all of the other disabled adults who were being discriminated against by the new rule. 

As of today, the policy has remained the same. “Adults must be accompanied by children to enter LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Most of the attraction is designed for little ones,” the Legoland Discovery Center’s website reads. “We appreciate that adults love LEGO too and host exclusive adult nights for our Adult Fans of LEGO without children.”

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.