Christmas is definitely my favourite time of the year – the whole of December is filled with parties, trips to see Santa and preparing for Christmas plays.
This year we have booked to go to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland.
We went to see a father Christmas in a large shopping centre in a popular city last weekend and the experience has left me feeling somewhat deflated.
When I booked I stated that Bella was in a wheelchair but her understanding and speech was fine.
The children were supposed to make wrapping paper, food for the reindeers and write letters for Santa before meeting him.
When I booked the tickets it ask for any special needs to be described.
I said Bella used a wheelchair but that her speech and understanding was not affected.
When we arrived the young elf took one look at Bella’s chair and panicked slightly, he said he would take us around to another queue, so we left the buzzing atmosphere outside Santas workshop (where there were no steps or barriers to stop us being in it!) to stand facing the crowd completely on our own.
We ended up having this huge table all to ourselves, it felt like we were being hidden away.
The elfs were keen for us to get through so the activities she was trying to do so they were rushed and packed into 5 minutes instead of the 30 minutes promised!
Luckily Santa was really lovely chatty and we had a nice photo taken with him but the whole experience left me feeling really upset.
Bella is in a wheelchair, but she still enjoys taking part in activities and being around people.
We paid the same amount as everyone else to be there, there were no disability discounts so I felt we massively overpaid for the time we got.
How can other children learn to accept everyone when those with extra needs are treated completely different or hidden away from the rest of society?
I can only hope that we have a much better experience in a few weeks time when we go to London.
Have you used a GoTo Shop Trolley?