Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul – Autism Friendly Showing

The Boy LOVES the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He’s a big fan of the books and loves the films..

Before his 8th birthday, he’d never been to the cinema. This is because he’s autistic with sensory processing disorder and the cinema is a very sensory experience with sound, lighting and crowds. We’ve known about autism friendly showings for a while but no film interested him until Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul came out, so we decided that this would be as good time as any to see how he coped with the experience. On this occasion, it was at the Odeon cinema.

For those unfamiliar with Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the main protagonist is American middle school student, Greg Heffley, who starts sixth grade and writes down all his thoughts in a diary – though he prefers to call it a journal. Greg is always getting himself (and his family) into the deepest of poo. Put it this way, if I was his ‘Mom’, I would need gin via an intravenous drip.

The Film

Greg Heffly is involved in a particularly embarrassing incident in a family restaurant and plans to turn shame into fame by going to meet his idol, Mac Digby, at a gaming convention. However, Mrs Heffley forces the family on a road trip to attend great-grandma Meemaw’s 90th birthday party. As usual, things go wrong spectacularly wrong in true Heffley style.

The Cinema Experience

First thing’s first…SWEETS!


Brew Before We View..OOH rhymes..


Then it’s in we go..

Adjustments for autism friendly showings include:

  • a relaxed environment where people understand the needs of children and families with autism
  • lights left on low
  • sound turned down
  • no trailers or advertisements (unless they are embedded in the film)
  • staff trained in autism awareness
  • disabled access
  • chill out zone, where available
  • freedom to move around and sit where you like
  • bring your own food and drink
  • free entry for carers with valid CEA Card.

I liked how relaxed it was. I’ve seen numerous films in my time and it’s always taken me a few days to come down from my ‘high’ due to over-stimulation. With the autism friendly screening, however, I was absolutely fine. The Boy LOVED it. He wasn’t anxious at all. He was excited but not overwhelmed. GET IN!

One thing that short-circuited my brain was the fact that ALL the actors have changed from the first three films. I didn’t do my usual research so I wasn’t prepared. Nor did I look too closely at the advertising posters (OOPS) and I found it hard to get my head around at first because I’m autistic and don’t like things to change. However, Zachary Gordon (who played the original Greg Heffley) is now 19 and the original Roderick (Devon Bostick) is 25.

I’ve seen some less than favourable Twitter comments about the change of actors, especially the new Roderick with whingers (mostly girls) hash-tagging #NotmyRoderick.


Greg and Roderick Heffley do NOT age in the books so a recast is inevitable. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE POPCORN!

Personally, I think Charlie Wright does a decent job as Roderick, so, NER.

There are some laugh out loud moments but, for me, The Long Haul isn’t quite on par with the other films of the series. That said, The Boy thought it was ‘hilare’ all the way through.

I’m obviously old and miserable, but then, I probably have more in common with Great Grandma-Meemaw than anybody else. *sighs*

My rating for the autism showing experience at The Odeon is 9/10. This is definitely something we will do more of as a family. The only whinge I have is the ASTRONOMICAL price of sweets. Then again, you are allowed to take your own food and drink in so I guess I’ll just have to shut my face on that one, eh?

As for the film itself, I’ll give it 6/10 for some REALLY funny moments.

The Boy rates this film 58 million.

I’ll leave the last words with him..

“The cinema is great. That’s it for the cinema.

The film was very, very, very funny and exciting and awesome and also happy at the end.”

Eat your heart out, Kermode.

This experience (and film) gets The Boy’s stamp of approval.

This is not a sponsored review.


24 thoughts on “Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul – Autism Friendly Showing

  1. So pleased that it worked brilliantly for you as a family, terrific that he gets to do things which kiddies his age do and talk about at school. I’m so pleased for him it worked out positively, deffo keep your eyes peeled for the next ‘friendly’ viewing!
    Who buys theses sweets at stupid prices….? well apart from youπŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚. Next time give him a few pounds to spend on his choice at your local store, tell him he will get more for his money!
    Digital devices get a bad rap at times but I believe they all have a place and I honestly believe that they help our children’s vivid minds and make them want to read books also. Down to parenting, we read to our children and our granddaughter, but she also likes for me to get YouTube up so she can watch the characters she’s heard in books.
    It’s like everything in life, moderation!
    Look forward to hearing about your next cinema visit and thank goodness the Odeon have recognised that some children & people require adjustments in life.
    Nice to read a happy blog for the boy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything in moderation – definitely! πŸ™‚ He’s got his sights set on Captain Underpants, The Movie lol – that should be fun. πŸ˜‰ XxX


  2. Perfect timing. We’ve just finished the Mr Gum books and I was at a loss where to get next. Forgotten all about Diary of a Wimpy kid. Always helps when I can follow up with “… and then we’ll watch the films!”

    Sounds like a great time. Autism-friendly screenings seem like such an obviously great idea but I’d never seen them advertised until recently. Are they relatively new?

    We’re lucky, cinema we go to has a Cadbury’s discount outlet next door. Sweets are sweets, regardless of how out of date they are. As are broken biscuits. In fact, if I thought I could trust the kids in the cinema I’d decamp in the Cadbury’s shop for the whole 2 hours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The world is gradually becoming more autism friendly. Still a long way to go but this is a good thing. Autistic kids miss out on so much because of sensory and social issues – whoever though this one up has my gratitude. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have heard of autism friendly films and they sounds really helpful. I didn’t know staff were trained in autism awareness, which is just brilliant. I believe the theatres do autism friendly shows too! I am really pleased Damian was enjoyed himself and didn’t get to effected by the environment X


  4. This was really heartwarming! And as an autist myself, I definitely understand the sensory issues thing. Theaters can be bad, I especially have trouble with really loud or 3-D movies which tend to give me vertigo.


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