So, finally, here is some stuff about our trip to Legoland. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did but it really was tons of fun and we stayed pretty much all day until closing time. As well as all the rides, there’s a 4D cinema, plenty shops, a place to play the Lego games on XBox (although non-Nintendo controllers are impossibly over-complicated in my opinion) and of course there are Lego things all over the place. Anyway, here’s some of my favourite parts, and you can see my Flickr and my sister’s Flickr for lots more photos.
If we’d had some sort of disaster and only got to see MiniLand, I would have still been quite happy. MiniLand is AWESOME – I could have spent all day here, if it hadn’t been so windy. Mind you, that made for some hilarious photo opportunities when stuff had blown over, not to mention GIANT PIGEON ATTACK ARGH. They’ve basically built a miniature Europe with pretty much every country’s main landmarks remade in Lego. Some of the cars, trucks and boats move around, which is way more exciting than it should be, and there are some sound effects too for extra realism. There are also some amusing in-jokes like a Dalek in London and some mysterious bubbles in Loch Ness. I was also pleased they had a miniature Kennedy Space Centre complete with space shuttles and lunar landers.
Well, it’s not often I get to drive a boat, especially a Lego boat. These are real actual boats you get to drive around a pond while enjoying various moving Lego scenes including an elephant that squirts water at you and a man in a boat being menaced by a crocodile. This was so much fun we went round again.
Possibly the only ride I was actually wowed by – it really feels like you’re in a submarine, although really, it’s just that half the “submarine” is underwater with windows to look out of. It takes you through an actual aquarium full of Lego shipwrecks and treasure and real live fish, rays and (small) sharks. We went on this twice too, as the first time we were crammed in a corner.
I enjoyed this far more than I was probably supposed to, given my age. You get a little jeep to sit in which moves automatically round a track and you pass various dinosaur scenes. It’s really well done though, so that you can’t see what’s coming up next, and the dinosaurs are all pretty great. Also, it was a bit like Pokemon Snap.
“Expedition”, hah. This is basically just a train ride, but you get to see a lot of the park and there are lots of Lego animals to look at, plus a couple of places where they squirt water at you. But miniature trains are fun! Also, a chance to take part in that very British pastime, waving at strangers on/from trains.
We also went on a balloon ride with a kind of Jules Verne Victorian adventurer theme, where you had to pull a rope to raise your balloon up really high, a ferris wheel, the least scary rollercoaster in the universe (it was in Duplo Land) and a very dull maze. We managed to miss the area with proper rollercoasters, but they’re not so good for 2 glasses wearers anyway. Instead, we saw a show at the Imagination Theatre, which shows 4D films. That means as well as wearing 3D glasses, they have fire and wind and water and other effects. We had a generic Lego Princess and Sorcerer tale, and it was all pretty fun – I think the snow was the best bit. I had a bit of a headache after though. The shops were good, but didn’t have much in the way of cheap fun gifts – it was mostly Lego sets and expensive but awesome things like Lego ice cube trays and minifig torches.
Getting There and Tips
Legoland is at Windsor, which you can get to from London Paddington – a day return is reasonably priced and you’re only banned from some trains at peak times. Once in Windsor, you have to get a bus to Legoland which was pretty extortionate and didn’t even look like it was made of Lego, but what can you expect from FirstBus?
We went at the beginning of October, which meant the park was pretty quiet – we barely had to queue for any of the rides – but the buses and trains were still pretty packed. The weather wasn’t ideal though – it was warm but overcast and windy so we had to give most of the water rides a miss – getting drenched is only fun if it’s hot and sunny! If I was going to go back, I’d try to do it mid-week just before the school summer holidays. We also found a lot of the snack stalls were closed and some of the rides were only open for certain hours so it’s really a trade-off between long queues or less options. I would also recommend you bring your own lunch as the restaurants looked pretty terrible and there are plenty places to have a picnic.
We had a buy 1 get 1 free ticket offer, otherwise it would have been too expensive for us. I got handed these all Summer at Tesco and saw them on various food packaging too so it should be pretty easy to get one. They also do free kids ticket offers and combined travel/ticket deals. If you go in the Summer, google for Legoland tips – there’s some great advice there for getting the most out of your day.
Compared to something like Alton Towers, it’s a bit kiddy and definitely aimed at younger children – even with the proper rollercoasters, I think teenagers might get bored. However, if you’re a childish adult like myself, there was no embarrassment about it – none of the staff laughed at us for going on the kid’s rides. Overall, it was a fun day out but slightly lacking in wow – it’s not like the Ghibli Museum where everything is amazingly designed to look like Ghibli stuff. There’s lots of cool Lego stuff around, but that doesn’t extend to the restaurants or toilets (or bus!) – it’s a Lego-branded theme park, rather than a Lego theme park, if you get the difference. Anyone been to the one in Denmark?