After much ultimately successful nagging from my 6 year old son, last summer I decided to treat him, and his 8 year old sister, to a day out in Legoland, Windsor. It is a good few hours drive to get to the area from where I live, so I combined the day with a 2 night hotel stay in nearby Reading.
I found Legoland well sign-posted, and therefore found it without much of a problem; much to the contrary of some men's stereotypical image of a woman driver not being able to find her way anywhere without the aid of a sat-nav! On coasting steadily up the long driveway, me and my children were immediately impressed by the lego sculptures bordering the entrance, set amidst well-tended and neat grassed areas. This gave an instant impression of a high quality place that concerned itself with the smallest of details. On entering the park we were not disappointed.
In the park
Prior to our visit, I knew very little of Legoland, other than the fact that there may possibly be lots of lego there (yes, very perceptive of me!). The park is absolutely huge, and is divided into many different areas. Each area is clearly signposted, everywhere connected by neat lanes and paths. The park is filled with lego sculptures - not just good models, but huge, amazing sculptures with miraculous attention to details; dragons, people, buildings, vehicles, mini-cities, even a replica of the crown jewels! I was astounded that these sculptures were made from simple Lego, it truly is an art form!
In addition to these magnificent sights, as impressive to the adults as to the children, there are an array of fantastic rides in each area. Admittedly, for the true thrill-seeker these rides may appear a little tame, but for us they were absolutely ideal. There was a wide range of rides including a water rides, flying rides, roller coasters, and smaller rides particularly suitable for the under 5's. As with most theme parks, there was always a queue to go on these rides, but an estimated waiting time is shown at the beginning of the queue so it is possible to make a decision as to whether you wish to wait, or come back a little later. In keeping with the rest of the park, all the rides seem to be run to high quality. I'm not the world's greatest lover of rides, always convincing myself that something terrible could happen; here I felt confident of safety.
Dotted in and amongst all the attractions are also several rather good play areas for younger children, featuring excellent climbing equipment, slides, swings, tunnels etc. The only drawback I found with a couple of these was that they were very large, with an equally large entrance/exit. This can make it very difficult to keep an eye on your children, and certainly resulted in a couple of panicky moments from me when I thought I'd lost the kids! There are also a couple of restaurant/diner establishments, a very tempting pick 'n' mix shop, and an equally tempting shop selling toys (mainly Lego) strategically placed near the exit.
The one huge problem I had with the whole place was the price of everything. I don't mind paying a little more for quality, which it was, but the prices to enter, and also within Legoland are bordering on ridiculous. The price for a day ticket alone is about £41 per adult and £31 per child. There is ample parking available, but this is also payable, I think it cost me about £8 on top of the entry price. Food and drink are pretty much an essential here too, since it's likely you will be spending the majority of the day at the park. For 3 simple lunches, a bottle of water and 2 orange juices it cost me about £25. I was astounded! Incidentally, we were then plagued by wasps outside whilst eating; not the fault of the park, but it's certainly annoying when you've paid a small fortune to eat.
There are ways to get your tickets cheaper, mainly if you are planning the trip in advance. There was a 2 for 1 promotion on not so long ago, then there was another one when kids go for free. Sometimes, companies such as Superbreak do overnight package offers, well worth considering if you need to travel and stay overnight nearby. If you can manage to get a reduced rate it really is worthwhile.
Overall, myself and my children were impressed with Legoland. I would recommend it to anyone, and would definitely go back if I had plenty of spare cash or came across a really good deal. The price didn't lessen my enjoyment of the day as I was in that holiday state of mind, and I am delighted we have had the pleasure of experiencing this great day out.
Just got back from my Legoland ordeal!
I think i'd rather stick a fork in my eye than go back there!
Lets begin with the priceing £45 for an adult and £39 for a child over 4!
Luckily i had a 2 for 1 ticket which meant with the £3 for parking (what a piss take that is!) we paid £165 for myself and 3 children.......my partner was free (well whoopee shit!)
When we got in the first ride we set eyes on was £15 per person!
We wandered around the park and found most rides had at least 30-40 mins wait most were an hour which is too long with youngish kids!
There weren't enough rides for smaller children!
The only redeeming feature of the place was the mini Lego world and the Star Wars experience!
A crepe that tastes like rubber and is the size of a small saucer cost you £3.60............
What is it with British theme parks and their desire to rip off the public?
After a 2 and a half hour drive this place is "Hell on Earth" save your money..........in a time of recession we spent the best part of £260!What a waste of time and money!
On a spur of the moment thing after a visit to Wales, myself and my 2 yound children saw a sign on the M4 for Legoland. It had been raining all the previous day so we hadn't done much so I thought I would treat them.
My review with therefore be written in a slightly different way to the rest as I had no pre-conceived ideas about the place.
It is located in Windor and there are strict speedlimits to actually get into the massive car parks. We arrived at about 2pm and so had to park on a field right at the back of all the traditional carparks. It was quite daunting the amount of cones everywhere pointing cars into the correct places but then there were a mass of young staff aiding parking on the field so no problems. (Word of warning though. If you do go later in the day, be prepared to park on this VERY bumpty field. My car has been lowered considerably and I found it very difficult. )
I took my buggy with me for my youngest (20 months)to use and my eldest, (very nearly 4 years old) wanted to walk. This is one area where I wish I had taken my double buggy with me as there was ALOT of walking to be done and she soon began to want to have piggybacks. (If you were there on the 10th September and saw that rather red-faced girl struggling with a buggy and a small girl hanging on for dear life on my back, that was me so hello.)
It was extremely expensive getting our tickets and this is where it really does pay to seek out some deals before you go. There are lots of times where you can get 2 for 1 entry which would make more sense. My adult ticket cost £41.40 and my daughter's cost £32.40. My son got in free as he is under 3. We also had to pay £6 to get a car park ticket so that we could leave at the end of the day.
I had brought some fruit, snack bars and juice in with me which I was very grateful about as food and drinks were extortionate. A 500ml bottle of Coke for example costing £2.25 on one stand.
There are plenty of toilets and baby changing facilities around the park and clearly signmarked. They were always of a clean standard and we never hand to queue for very long at all.
It was spitting with rain when we went so there were lots of people walking about with legoland bright yellow ponchos on. I would make it a necessity to take a raincoat with you to avoid having to pay for one of these.
There are lots of things for the children to do including the obvious rides and then also some activity areas for them too.
My daughter enjoyed panning for gold. This cost £3 and then she was rewarded with a medal. She could have spent a good half an hour there I am sure if I had let her.
She also enjoyed playing in the duploland area where there were small water fountains where children could run about in. This is cleverly situated next to a shop selling swimming costumes. What child is not going to scream and cry at a parent NOT letting them run in the water? Another money-making opportunity for Legoland here I felt. I had taken a change of clothes in with us incase any 'accidents' so I let her join in the fun.
Both of my children enjoyed playing at the playground in that area too with the slides and climbing frames.
There were plenty of rides for the smaller children. My daughter is just over 0.9m so could go on a few things on her own whilst I waited. There were some rides however that she needed an adult to ride with her. As I am on my own with them, I did feel terrible that I couldn't let her have a go on these. This is another good point to make when visiting Legoland. Just don't go with only one adult ~ it really is a case of the more the merrier I feel!
I shall possibly visit again in a few years time when both of my children are tall enough for ALL the rides as I feel then that the entry price would be reasonable. For small childre, I just don't think it is.
(I shall update this review as I remember more things that are important. It was a packed afternoon!)
A few weeks ago, I took my family to Legoland in Windsor (Berkshire) for the day. I had been to Legoland a few times about 8 years ago, but this was the first time I had taken my two youngest children and I was keen for them to experience Legoland before they outgrew it's attractions.
========What is Legoland Windsor and who would enjoy it?========
Legoland is a theme park that is almost entirely constructed (or looks likes it's almost entirely constructed) of Lego. It is essentially a whole "land" that is made out of lego and has a wide variety of rides, experiences and attractions which are based on the lego theme. It is a place that you can certainly spend a whole day......infact there is enough to see and do here that you could spend two whole days! It is a place where you can go for a great family day out with the knowledge that you and your kids will be entertained. However, it really is a fair weather venue as most of the attractions are outdoors and I'm not sure it would be a very pleasant place to spend the day at if it were pouring with rain - although there are a few non-weather dependent attractions that could keep your kids entertained for some of the time.
Legoland Windsor is, in my opinion, principally aimed at children between the ages of about 3 and 10 years old - although it's fair to say that visitors outside of this age groups will probably enjoy it also Certainly I think that adults will enjoy visiting Legoland with their children - and there are some rides and experiences that will be enjoyed by toddlers and those up to about the age of 13 years old. However, I would say that most of the experiences at the theme park will be most enjoyed by those of infant and primary school age.
I took my kids who are 3, 8 and 12 years old......and while the 3 year old and 8 year old loved it, the 12 year old was far too "cool" to enjoy it (although I did catch a few sneaky grins that she tried her best to supress!).
It is worth being aware that there are ride restrictions which are either age based, or more commonly, height based. Quite a few of the rides cannot be accessed by children under 1m (my 3 year old is annoyingly 0.97m) - and they are SO strict on the height restrictions. Some other rides you have to be 1.3m to ride - or if you are below 1.3m then you have to ride with an adult. I do mostly agree on the height restrictions that are in place, and although my 3 year old was barred from going on some of the rides because he was 3cm off of the 1m mark (which I thought was a little pedantic!), I don't think in actual fact he would have enjoyed the rides he was restricted from, with the exception of the Vikings River Splash (the rapids).
"Duplo Land" mainly has rides for little kids.......probably those aged between 1 - 4 years old.
"Duplo Train" - a little lego style train that goes around in a figure of 8 and is very tame and aimed at very little children.
"Chopper Squadron" - a little lego helicopter which goes up and down and around - and is also aimed at very little children.
"Fairy Tale Brook" - a cute little ride in a water lilly that gently takes you around to see various images from fairy tales.
This area is a real favourite among most children - and was the favourite place for my 8 year old.
"Boating School" - A gentle "speed" boat which takes you around on a track covered with water. It's very tame - but my 3 year old liked to think he was driving the boat.
"Balloon School" - The whole family can sit in the basket of the balloon and then you can move the balloon up and down into the air. Again, my 3 year old loved this.
"Driving School"is a firm favourite. Only children aged between 6 - 13 are allowed to use the driving school. They basically get given their own electric powered lego car and then get to speed around the race track. At the end they get a driving licence. Even my 12 year old enjoyed this.
"L-Drivers" - This is a gentler version of Driving School for kids between 3 - 6 years old. They are given smaller and much slower battery powered cars and get to go around a very small track. My 3 year old was really keen and excited, but unfortunately he couldn't get the hang of speeding and so didn't really get anywhere. Although there were guys there to try to put them on the right course when they steered into the walls, I think they put too many kids on the track at one time and so some of the smaller children really didn't get the most out of it.
"Wave Surfer" is like a jet ski on a wheel that goes round and round quite fast - and can be moved around by the driver. My 8 year old and 12 year old really enjoyed it - but my 3 year old was terrified! I was surprised that the smallest children were allowed on here.
"Dino Safari" is a very tame ride where you get to go in a small jeep (in pairs) on a track and get to see various dinosaurs made out of lego. Little children seem to love this, but older children are not impressed!
========Kingdom of the Pharoahs========
"Desert Chase" and "Aero Nomad" is a traditional carousel and a small "big wheel". Aero Nomad was enjoyable as we could go in it as a family - and even had a man made out of lego as our conductor in our gondala. There were also some chair-o-planes.
"The Jolly Rocker" is a traditional pirate boat ride that was great for my older children - and us adults actually. It went higher than it looked!
"Dynamite Drench" is a traditional log flume - which was really fun and which we got wet on - but unfortunately my youngest child wasn't tall enough to ride on it.
The Knights Kingdom feature the two rollercoasters in the park - and are two of the most popular rides. These both have the longest queuing times.
"The Dragon" is a rollercoaster for older children and adults - and is a fairly speedy rollercoaster with all of the expected twists and turns - and you ride in a dragon car. My 8 and 12 year olds loved it - and so did I really.
"The Apprentice" is the mini-Dragon and smaller kids are allowed on it. Having said that, it is still quite nippy and my 3 year old was really scared - although afterwards he was laughing and wanted to go back on.
========Land of the Vikings========
"Spinning Spider" is spider shaped and is like a traditional waltzer, but you can control how fast it goes and how much it spins by twirling the table in the middle - and again this means that the whole family can go in at once.
"Viking's River Splash" - a traditional rapids ride - that unfortunately my youngest son was not tall enough to ride - which was the only safety thing I didn't really agree on as it was a family type ride and not very fast or turbulent.
There are a few other little rides that I haven't mentioned that are dotted around the park (for example, the sky rider), but if I named every one then I could be here for the next ten years!
Obviously, how long the queues are really does depend on when you go, what the weather is like, what ride you're wanting to go on, and whether there are any ticket offers around at the time. We went on a weekday in August when it was probably one of the best days of the year in terms of weather (about 80 degrees and very sunny). With the weather being fantastic and it being the summer holidays, it was obviously a very busy day at Legoland and therefore queues were long. For some rides, like "The Dragon" you could be standing in line for up to an hour - and that's a very very long time with little kids - especially when the rides are pretty short really.
This is where their Q-bot system really comes in handy - but it means extra expense. Having said that, having the Q-bot option will preserve you from many many grey hairs!! The Q-bot is a little computerised device which you carry round with you that allows you to "virtually queue". Not all of the rides are on the Q-bot system, but the vast majority of them are. There are two versions, the Standard Q-bot and the Express Q-bot.
With the standard Q-bot, you are given the little device to carry around (it's very small and can be clipped to a belt buckle or bag) and then when you want to go on a ride you can press the button to select that ride - and then you will be given a time to go to that ride without having to queue. Using the Q-bot device will not give you time off of queuing time, but it will allow you to go and do other things and then return to the ride at a later time.
The Express Q-bot (soooooo expensive, but so worth it if you can afford it!), is the same as the Q-bot system above, but it also allows you to know 75% of the queuing time off. When there is a lot to do, knocking 75% of the time off of the queuing time is really very handy indeed. We were lucky enough to have the Q-bot Express option and we managed to cut our waiting time so considerably! For example, without any Q-bot then people were having to wait in line for The Dragon for just over an hour - whereas we got on within 10 minutes. It did make a huge difference!
A point I would make about the queuing system is that so much of it is out in the open and not under cover - and with little kids in mind, this really isn't ideal on a summers day. Also, unlike some other large theme parks which are aimed at kids, when you're queuing there is nothing else to entertain you - and therefore it gets pretty tedious for the younger members of your family who don't want to stand in line.
If you can afford it, at the very least, get the Standard Q-bot. If you can afford to spend a small fortune then I really recommend the Express Q-bot - because even though I think it is just too highly priced, it makes the day so much more enjoyable.
While most visitors seem to focus on the rides, there are other attractions which are there to entertain.
There are several theatres and arenas that are dotted around where you could watch various things such Bob the Builder in 4D or a pirate stunt show. To be honest, I can't really comment on who good these were because we were too busy doing other things.
Miniland is an amazing area where the world is re-created from lego. For example, there is the Houses of Parliament, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids etc. and it is very very impressive! We spend about 20 minutes walking around here after we ate our picnic and its just a nice break from the crowds and the noise. I don't think enough visitors take the time to appreciate this bit of the park.
There are some other areas to play - for example, you can go panning for gold, or go on a JCB digger, or put out a fire with fire engines - and all of these are good fun and a break from the rides. I did resent having to pay for some of these attractions - such as the panning for gold (I think it was £3) - but it was actually my youngest childs favourite part of the day and so worth paying for.
There were a few wet and wild areas where kids can run around and get wet if they want to. This was really nice on a hot day - and you should take swimming costumes for older kids who aren't willing to run around in their underwear!
========Food & Drink========
There are many places to eat and drink - whether you want to sit down or get something on the go. However, the food really isn't anything to write home about in as much as it's your typical theme park fair. I can't say it's completely awful and I can't say it's good - it's just food that is edible and which will fuel you enough to keep going for a few more hours in the park - but that's about it.
Among the sit down restaurants, which are ludicrously overpriced by the way, there is a pizza restaurant (City Walk Pizza & Pasta), a place for burgers and BBQ ribs (The Crossed Ribs), a rotisserie (The Knights Table) and a "for anything else" restaurant (Duplo) which mostly serves meat and two veg. Dotted around there are your typical burger and hotdog stands, ice-cream stands and drink and sweet stalls.
Having been to Legoland before and knowing that the food really isn't great, we ordered a picnic which you pick up once you get to Legoland. You order the picnic per person and state whether you want an adult portion or a kids portion - and the order needs to be put in 24 hours before your visit. Within the picnic, you get: 1 sandwhich (ham), 1 soft drink, 1 packet of crisps, 1 piece of fruit (apple), 1 yoghurt and a muffin. The picnic costs £5.90 for adults and £4.50 for kids, which I think is a far better price than what you get in the restaurants. Sure, the picnic doesn't contain exciting or exotic food, but on a sunny day it's actually nice finding a patch of grass to sit on and sitting down with your family for a picnic.
For dinner before we left to drive home, we ate at the Knights Table where we all had spit roasted chicken with jacket potato. The chicken was very dry and not very tasty at all - and the jacket potatoes were over cooked and tough. The pleasure of eating dried up chicken and tough potatoes, with soft drinks, for two people cost close on £40!
For my youngest child, who is incredibly fussy with food, we did pack some sandwiches for him for dinner also and took them in a lunchbox. While there were signs up in the restaurant to say that outside food should not be consumed in the restaurants, nobody seemed to mind that he sat there munching on sandwiches instead of eating the restaurant food.
========The ambience and other thoughts========
Legoland feels like a very safe and family friendly park which, although busy, is not frantic or fraught. The attractions are spread out over a fairly wide area and so you don't feel like you're all crammed in together and so the atmosphere was fairly calm and people good natured. Ascetically the park was very pleasing as all of the attractions looked well maintained, there was no litter or graffiti anywhere, and there was enough greenery to make it look pretty. There were nice little touches - like characters and objects made of lego such as a dragon, Bob the Builder, cars etc. around the park which emphasized the whole Lego theme.
There were buggies (shaped like racing cars) which you could get from "The Beginning" which I highly recommend if you have a younger child because there is a lot of walking involved and they will get tired. A single buggy cost £8 and a double buggy cost £13 - and it also provides shade if it's a hot (or rainy!) day.
Although there are quite a few toilets around, we could have done with a few more as my when my son needs to go then he really really needs to go - and sometimes it's a bit far to run when the emergency hits!
There is a car park at Legoland - but you have to pay for it which actually annoyed me as there would be no where else to park. If you pay on the day then it costs £6.00 per car, but if you pay online before you go then its reduced to £2.00. I really think this should be included in the ticket.
========So, what does this all cost?========
Legoland is, in my opinion, ridiculously expensive and very much overpriced. While it is true that there are occasionally offers where you can get your hands on two-for-one offers, or "kids go free" offers, but if you're paying the full price then you might need to take out a second mortgage just to afford the day!! If you book online then you go get a 10% discount - but even so, it really is too much!
So, lets start with the fact that this is a place really for young kids and therefore they need to be accompanied by an adult - and yet there is no "family ticket" option. I think this is really very very poor and holds parents to ransom when their kids are bouncing up and down saying they really reeeeeeeeallllly want to go to Legoland. A standard adult ticket costs £41.40 and a standard child ticket (over the age of 3) costs a massive £32.40. So - in order for me to go to Legoland with my kids (without any of the extra options I'll tell you about next, it would cost me £180.00. Yes, I DID say £180!
Right. Then you have the option of "extras" which mean that you don't have to wait in the very long queues in order to get on the various rides. These make the cost even more ridiculous! There are then the two options I discussed earlier - namely the "Regular Q-bot" and the "Express Q-bot". The Regular Q-bot costs £10.00 PER PERSON (kids and adults pay the same) and the Express Q-bot costs £40.00 PER PERSON (yes, kids and adults pay the same!). So: this would take the ticket price to the following for a family of 5:
2 adult standard tickets and 3 kids standard tickets = £180.
2 adult standard tickets and 3 kids standard tickets plus Regular Q-bot each = £230.
2 adult standard tickets and 3 kids standard tickets plus Express Q-bot each = £380.
Add into that petrol, parking fees, and food - and all of the extras that you're bound to buy when you're there for the day - then you're looking at an incredibly expensive family day out!
Is it worth that amount of money?? Well, it is a really good day out, but it so expensive and I can't help feeling that that money could have been spent on several days out where we could have had just as much fun together. I don't think we will be going again unless we have some ticket offer that makes it a little more reasonable.
I would give:
8/10 for the variety of rides.
7/10 for the other attractions.
4/10 for food / beverage options.
9/10 for how well the park is kept.
2/10 for the price.
8/10 for the overall experience.
Overall, Legoland is a really good fun day out - and if you have children who are not yet teenagers then I'm pretty sure they will enjoy it. There is enough to do here to keep kids occupied for hours and hours - and I guarantee they will sleep all of the way home! I do think that you need a standard Q-bot at the very least to make the most of the day - and if you can afford the express Q-bot then that really is the way to go. BUT and it is a BIG BUT, I'm not sure that the gate price is warranted and I'm sure you could have just as fun a day for a fraction of the price!
Recently my partner and I were invited on a day out to Legoland with various family members who were going to be in the area. Legoland is located just outside the town of Windsor, so it was quite easy for us to reach from London. We changed trains at Slough, and then caught a local bus service to the park from Windsor town centre.
Having known about the day out for some time, I looked into ticket offers and found that Kelloggs had two-for-one vouchers on certain boxes of cereal. We let the others know about the offer, and then scoffed some Frosties. On arrival at the park, I was feeling smug that we would be making a good saving. It's a been a couple of years since we went to a theme park - I may have made a strange noise at the ticket man when he said "that'll be £41 please". £41! That's the price for one adult??? By god was I glad we had got that two-for-one voucher, I think I would have been heading straight back to the bus stop if we'd had to pay over £80. Strictly speaking, it meant we were having a day out at a theme park for £20 each, which is good value, but I just can't get over that full entrance price.
Anyway, mini-rant over...by the time we had got off the bus at the park gates, it was raining heavily, and showed no sign of stopping. We met the others inside and all donned bright yellow plastic ponchos. At £3 each for these ponchos, we thought they should be given out free on rainy days - given that three in four visitors that day were wearing the ponchos, Legoland must have made a nice profit selling glorified bin bags.. On a practical note, Legoland is incredibly child, buggy and wheelchair friendly - most of the paths are slopes, with few stairs - and always a slope alongside any stairs. There were even slides alongside the paths on some slopes, so kids could have fun even while walking about. There were a lot of staff around should you need help with anything, and the park was clean and well-maintained.
Legoland, like most theme parks, is arranged into "lands", each with its own theme - there was a pirate area, Viking kingdom, knights kingdom, and so on. For some reason I found the map more complicated to follow that in other theme parks though. Like most theme parks, Legoland is nicely landscaped with plenty of trees, flowers and seating areas, and of course an awful lot of Lego - everything that can be made from Lego is, and if it can't be made from Lego, it's Lego-themed.
During the morning we strolled around the park in the rain in a large group, taking it in turns to go on rides with or without the kids. There were a lot of really good rides for young children - driving schools for different age groups, boat school, and lots of typical theme park rides in small sizes. While one of the little girls with us was a bit too young for any of the rides, the other, at five, was having a fantastic time - of course it helped that all the adults were determined she should have a great day out! Of course the first ride my partner and I went on was basically a water flume, with the two of us sitting in a little rubber dinghy. My jeans still weren't dry by the time we got home that evening.
We stopped for lunch at a very busy cafe, full of rather soggy families. My partner and I couldn't see anything we wanted for lunch from there, so we nipped next door to a burger bar - two meals (chicken burger and falafel burger, both with chips and drink) were just under £14. I dread to think how much the others paid in the cafe for a whole family's meals. The food was fine, nothing special but then you wouldn't expect that from a food outlet in a theme park.
Back out into the lightening rain after lunch, and it wasn't long before we found another grown up ride. The Wave Surfer - despite my love of theme parks and rides, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. There are two identical sides to it, circlular jetties over water, with individual surfing pods around the outside of the circle which extend over the water. The circle rotates at speed, there are water cannons shooting randomly, and you have a wheel on your pod with which you can control your proximity to the jetty - by moving closer to the jetty and then whipping out, it feels like you are going really fast. Anyway, it was fantastic fun - the effect it seemed to have on everyone was to make them grin manically. And I called it a grown up rid but our little five year old went on with her mum and loved it - I suppose I mean it's not a ride aimed mainly at kids.
The day that we were visiting Legoland happened to be the day of Legoland Live, when a stage was set up in a field by the car parks and various kids characters and entertainers performed - the likes of Fireman Sam and many others I've never heard of. The others were planning on going there for a couple of hours in the afternoon, so my partner and I decided to use this time to find some proper rides.
The larger rides are located in a few areas of the park which are all in the same corner of the park - the Viking, pirate and knights kingdoms. First up for us was the pirate ship - called the Jolly Rocker at Legoland. Such a simple idea, yet so effective and addictive. We have been known to go on a pirate ship countless times during days out - at Legoland we managed to restrict ourselves to twice. In case you don't know, the pirate ship is the ride which is shaped like a ship, you sit in rows facing the central mast, and then it swings back and forth (like a giant version of a playpark swing) until you are looking directly down at the ground below. It gives you all sorts of funny feelings in your stomach - and I love it. The Jolly Rocker was a rather good example of a pirate ship - we felt the effects of the swinging even sitting in the middle row (it's generally accepted that the further back in the ship you sit, the more exciting it is).
Next up was the log flume - Pirate Falls. This was a bit disappointing - a journey on the flat through pirate infested land (Lego pirates that is) and then just one hill. Admittedly we did get soaked on that one hill and the pirate scenery was really good, but still - I do expect more from a log flume.
We moved onto the rollercoasters - there were two of these in the knights area of the park. Unfortunately one was out of commission, so we went to the other - which was the larger one, The Dragon. We had a bit of a wait for this, only about 15 minutes, but that was the longest wait of the day. It turned out to be a fairly tame but fun rollercoaster - far from white knuckle, but enjoyable nonetheless.
We ended our tour of the larger rides with a spin on the river rapids - Vikings River Splash. These were located at one of the highest points of the park, so you had a good view as you went round. The rapids weren't as long or quite as white water as the ones at Alton Towers for example, but they were fun - and very wet. There were Vikings and water cannons shooting water at you at every point on the ride. The rain had stopped earlier, and we were starting to dry out - but unfortunately I was in exactly the right spot to get completely drenched again as we approached the end of the ride.
After trying out the rides, we went for a stroll around Miniland before going to find the others. Legoland is full of Lego statues, and while the rides aren't made from Lego (thankfully), they are Lego-themed and decorated with Lego characters whenever possible. Miniland is where many sights from around the UK and the world have been built from Lego - a Lego miniature village if you will. We really enjoyed this, it was fun to see Eilean Donan and Edinburgh Castle made from Lego, as well as all the various London sights. There were also model docks, and a model of the "Garden of England", complete with tranquil villages and Lego cricket matches. We were rather taken by the Lego Amsterdam, as it is a city we love - and one we would be going to on holiday just a week later.
We all had a great day out at Legoland, kids, parents, grandparents, and us. It is much more child-oriented than Alton Towers or Thorpe Park, which can entertain young children for a day but also have a lot of rides for grown up kids and thrillseekers. Whether we would have had as much fun without the kids there I don't know, but we had a great day out - and the rain didn't dampen our spirits at all.
A couple of years ago we visited Legoland, Windsor. We visited in the summer holidays and our daughter was very young (about 16 months). We had an awful time - there were long queues to get in and out of the carpark, we had to queue for a long time to get inside the park, we paid horrendous prices, all of the rides had huge queue times and my daughter was only big enough to get on TWO rides!
Recently I decided it was about time we gave it another go (my daughter is now 4 years old) and thankfully our visit was a lot different.
Legoland is located in Windsor, Berkshire. We travelled by car. It was relatively easy to find - I got off the M25 at Junction 15 and then off the M4 at Junction 6 where Legoland was well signed up from there. You can also catch a train from London Waterloo or Paddington. Alternatively you could look into a coach trip to Legoland.
Legoland is closed between November and March, but open for the rest of the year. Opening times vary depending on when you visit but range from 9.30-10am to 5-8pm.
We arrived mid-morning and missed the early morning rush. We drove straight into the carpark without any queuing and surprisingly had plenty of spaces to choose from not far from the park entrance. We had to pay to park which I thought was very cheeky (especially considering how much ticket prices are) which costs £2.00 per car. We paid at the ticket booth at the park entrance where we were given a parking ticket to use when exiting the carpark.
Adult tickets cost a whopping £41.40 each. Children and senior tickets cost £31.20 each. Children under 3 years go free. Tickets are slightly cheaper if you book online at the Legoland website.
Look our for vouchers and offers. We used a buy-1-get-1-free voucher and a half price voucher which meant we paid £62 instead of £114! I was very pleased with our saving as I think ticket prices are way too overpriced. Especially considering Legoland is a park aimed at children.
2 Day tickets, annual passes (standard and premium) and lifetime passes are also available.
**Inside the park**
Legoland is split into a number of different 'lands'...
This is where it all starts. The beginning is where you enter and exit the park. We didn't stop here for long as it's mainly just full of shops and restaurants. You can hire out buggies here and the Lego Creation Centre is also here. One of the first things that caught our eye were the number of impressive statues made entirely out of Lego. The beginning is situated at the top of a very large steep slope - to get to the bottom you can walk it or catch the Hill Train. I recommend the Hill Train to those with buggies and wheelchairs. I also recommend the Hill Train for getting back up the slope!
--Land Of The Vikings--
This was the first land we came to which had a fun and obvious theme - vikings. It consisted of 3 rides - Vikings' River Splash (a very fun ride that was enjoyed by all of us - a little bit jolty and we got very wet! Dryers are available to use at the end of the ride for £2 a go), Longboat Invader (a viking boat which seats upto around 20 people and goes backwards and forwards whilst spinning around. The kids enjoyed it) and Spinning Spider (a lot like the spinning tea cup ride, but in logs. We all enjoyed spinning our log and getting dizzy! We were also impressed with the giant Lego spider which lurked overhead). There is also a hedge maze called Loki's Labyrinth which I have to admit we didn't even see.
The theme of this land was dinosaurs. No, just joking - it was pirates obviously! The 'main' ride in Pirates Landing is Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench which is much like a log flume ride, however we never got round to this ride unfortunately so I can't comment on it. However we did do the Jolly Rocker which is a large swinging pirate ship - semi-brave kids can sit in the middle of the pirate ship which is fun but not too scary, brave kids can sit at either end of the pirate ship which is quite a thrill! We sat in between and the kids loved it. The kids also enjoyed playing in the Pirate Training Camp and Enchanted Forest which were outdoor play areas, although we tried not to spend too long here (we have parks at home afterall!). There was also Pirate Goldwash (panning for gold) and Caricatures (get a cartoon drawing of yourself) for an additional cost, which we gave a miss. Places to eat included Crossed Ribs BBQ and Pirates BBQ, neither of which we ate at.
The first thing we noticed in Knights Kingdom was the huge castle (not made of lego unfortunately!) surrounded by a moat. The lego statues were very impressive in Knights Kingdom, the dragons seemed to be the biggest hit with the kids. Inside the castle is a rollercoaster ride called The Dragon which we didn't get round to doing and a shop selling all of the overpriced Lego essentials! Outside of the castle were 2 rides - Dragons Apprentice (a mini roller coaster ride which is just the right size and speed for young children. A step down from The Dragon rollercoaster) and Knights Quest (an average childrens ride which spun around).
Also inside the castle is a restaurant called Knights Table Rotisserie which specialises in spit roasted chicken and jacket potatos. We had our lunch here. You order your food at the counter and they bring it to your table. The menu wasn't huge but had something suitable for all of us - being a non-meat eater I ordered a Falafel & Creme Ciabatta (which cost around £6.00) for myself and a kids meal for my daughter (which cost almost £5.00) which consisted of a jacket potato with beans, an apple and a drink (aswell as a badge). The food was overpriced but both me and my daughter enjoyed our food regardless. Other kids meal options included Annabel Karmel Vegetable Pasta and chicken. None of the kids meals came with fizzy drinks which I thought was good (you could choose from milk, water, orange juice or apple juice) and the menu boasted it's 'healthy balance' status. Other people with us had Half A Sweet Chilli Chicken Meal (which cost around £7.50 each) - they said it tasted good but there wasn't much meat on it, so rubbish value for money.
--Kingdom Of The Pharaohs--
The first thing you might notice when entering Kingdom Of The Pharaohs is the big camel made from Lego. I was quite looking forward to a ride called Laser Raiders (an ancient Egyptian ride where you ride around and shoot things with a laser gun) but the queue was 40 minutes long and we were rapidly running out of time so had to give it a miss. Another ancient Egyptian themed ride was called Scarab Bouncers (which takes you 15 feet in the air and bounces you up and down) but we didn't get to do this either as the queue wasn't moving at all. Disappointing.
There are 3 other rides in Kingdom Of The Pharaohs - Thunder Blazer (hanging chairs which spin around), Aero Nomad (a lot like a small ferris wheel) and Desert Chase (a small carousel). These rides are small and are made soley for children - no adults allowed! They aren't the most exciting of rides but our lot seemed to enjoy them. What I didn't understand was why these traditional fairground rides were situated in a supposedly ancient Egyptian themed land.
This appeared to be the center of Legoland where cash points, toilets, first aid, information, lost services and baby care centre could be found. There were also plenty of shops and a couple of restaurants, aswell as Xbox Gaming Zone. A big hit among the boys was Digger Challenge where you get to operate your very own digger.
Lego City is also the home to Pirates Of Skeleton Bay which is a live pirate themed stunt show. The show drew in a big crowds and we caught the beginning of the show, which everybody seemed to be enjoying. However we decided to use this opportunity to get on a couple of rides whilst the queues weren't too long!
Adventure Land wasn't as adventurous as I'd expected - It only had 2 rides inside and the rest was mostly taken up by a large lake. The first ride was called Wave Surfer which is a hard ride to describe but it was lots of fun and you could also detonate water bombs to get people on the ride wet. The second ride was called Dino Safari which is a ride where you sit in little cars and 'drive' around and spot dinosaurs - small, simple but once again the kids thought it was great fun. There were a couple of places to grab some food and a couple of picnic areas (along with a small play area). It's best to avoid Adventure Land Games if possible - the games are like (impossible) fairground games and they charge you an absolute fortune to play. We walked passed a ride which is currently being built and due to be opened in the summer - Atlantis Submarine Voyage.
This part of the park is based around driving and controlling vehicles yourself. This was the last area of the park that we visited and unfortunately ran out of time so we didn't get to do everything - this was a big shame as I know the kids would have loved it, especially driving their own fire engine. Attractions consisted of Boating School (where you get to accelerate and steer your own boat. This was great fun for all of us, even if we did keep crashing into walls!) Driving School (where children get to drive Lego cars and earn their own licence), L-Drivers (similar to Driving School but for younger children), Balloon School (you spin around in your own hot air balloon and can increase altitude by pulling on a cable) and Fire Academy (you can drive your own fire engine and put out 'fires').
Duplo Land appeared to be aimed at younger children and was home to Fairy Tale Brook (float along in little boats whilst going past different fairy tale characters. Pleasant enough), Chopper Squadron (go up in your own helecopter and spin yourself around. Pretty simple but the kids enjoyed it), Duplo Theatre Puppet Show (which we didn't even see!), Duplo Train (a gentle but fun train ride), Mole-In-One Mini Golf (at an additional cost, which we didn't do), Cuddles Corner (a shop which a large selection of soft toys) and Duplo Family Restaurant (which serves traditional roasts).
There is also an outdoor water play area called Waterworks. This is great fun in the summer so don't forget to bring swimsuits and towels for your little ones. Our biggest queue was probably for a ride called Extreme Team Challenge which consisted of 2 water slides which you raced down (against the other slide) in a rubber dingy - it was fun, fast and we got quite wet (it was over in a matter of seconds though).
Imagination Centre appeared to be aimed at older children (therefore we didn't spend much time here) and was the most educational area of the park. It included the Imagination Centre Theatre (which shows 4D films throughout the day), The Exploratorium (an educational Lego workshop for those 11 years +) and Mindstorms (another educational Lego workshop for those 8 years +). The only thing we did in the Imagination Centre was Sky Rider (where you are taken around a track set around 20 feet in the air. Entertaining but not a 'must do' in my opinion) and Space Tower (where you sit in twos and pull yourselves upto the top of a tall tower by a rope. We all enjoyed this one).
Miniland is full of scenes from Europe and the USA recreated entirely of Lego. It's very impressive and we all enjoyed looking around and spotting famous landmarks. London Lego creations included the London Eye, Buckingham Palace (complete with royal family), London Bridge, Big Ben, Wembley Stadium and Canary Wharf.
I enjoyed our day at Legoland, it wasn't as exciting as many other big theme parks but it was enjoyable and I loved seeing all the different statues and buildings made of Lego. My daughter and the other kids that we went with (ages 2,4 and 6 years) had a great time - they loved all of the different rides and although they were shattered at the end of the day, they didn't want to leave! I was surprised at the amount of rides they were able to go on (even the 2 year old got on most rides). We didn't manage to get around all of the rides but my favourites were probably Vikings River Splash, Wave Surfer and Extreme Team Challenge. The kids favourites seemed to be the Jolly Rocker, Extreme Team Challenge and Boating School. It's a shame we didn't get to go on Laser Raiders, The Dragon or Pirate Falls because they looked like they would have been good contenders!
There was a decent amount of varied places to eat. The food which we had was pleasant enough, although overpriced (maybe think about taking a picnic). The ticket prices were also overpriced and I'd actually find it hard to justify visiting without a discount voucher or offer on. I'm not sure how big families would manage financially at Legoland!
As I've already mentioned I have previously visited Legoland in the school holidays and it was really miserable, so I would steer clear of Legoland in the school holidays if possible. I thought it was going to be the same story visiting on a Saturday but it was a lot better - don't get me wrong, it was still very crowded (I think the only way to avoid this is by possibly going on a week day) but a lot less crowded than our previous visit.
You can beat the queues by renting out an electronic queuing device called Q-Bot which costs £10-15 per person. Q-Bot allows you to 'book' a ride and return to it later without queuing. Q-Bot is available on most of the popular rides (but not all rides) and can be used only 1 ride at a time. The longest queue which we waited in was about 30 minutes so we didn't bother renting out Q-Bots, although even if it was packed I doubt I would use this service as it just seems like another way to rob you.
I wouldn't really recommend Legoland to adults without children or teenagers/thrill seekers (try Thorpe Park or Alton Towers instead). I didn't see any adults without children during our visit. All of the rides are quite tame and aimed at children - this might be disappointing for some. And although Legoland is a great park for children, I wouldn't recommend taking children under 2 years old (or under 0.9m) as there just isn't enough rides for them. I suppose Legoland is best suited for children 2-10 years old.
Something which I noticed was that loading and unloading guests on the rides was quite slow (especially in comparison to many other parks). This made queue times longer than they should have been. I suppose this was for safety reasons (the rides were all full of children afterall) but I felt they could have sped it up a little. The staff were nice enough - some of them were friendly and enthusiastic, but others (mainly the younger members of staff) were straight to the point and verging on miserable.
Legoland wasn't the biggest theme park that I've been to but was certainly bigger than I expected. We didn't get to see and do half the things that we wanted to do - and my feet were killing by the end of the day! I would definitely recommend dedicating a whole day to it.
I took my children here a month ago for my eldests 4th birthday.
We got in the wrong queue when we went in (my other half just followed the car in front.) There is a lane on the right that takes you to the main carparks and parking is currently £2 for the day. Or if you go in the left hand lane you end up in a premium car park, no better but closer and this costs £6. Although I didn't really think the extra £4 was worth it when we arrived. When we left as the park was closing at 6 most people were leaving as well and the traffic to get out of the car parks was horrendous, at the point we did come out towards the beginning of the queue so this was a bonus.
The entry prices are extremely expensive, I think only drayton Manor is more expensive from what I have seen. £41.40 for an adult and £31.20 for children over 3 and OAP's. The good news is pretty must everywhere seems to have buy one ticket get one free, so I paid for myself and the otherhalf got in free. Then as they do accept the vouchers you can get from trading in Tesco clubcard we got my eldest in using one of those. The 2 year old and the baby wre free. So at £41.40 for all 5 of us a bit of a bargain.
You can also buy a little gadget called a Q-Bot. This varies in price from £10 to £15 per person depending on what time of year you go, again under 3's are free. The advantage of this little gadget is you just put in what ride you want the it gives you a time to go, you then go to a different entrance (on a lot of rides it was the saem place as the exit.) This of course means that you don't have to queue and can do whatever you want in the interim. The negative of this is you can only put in 1 ride at a time. I didn't get one on this trip so I'm not sure exactly but i doubt you can just go from 1 ride to the next and not wait I'm sure there must still be delays between rides.
There was a wide variety of rides. Most rides you had to be over 1.3 meters to go on unaccompanied. Both my boys were over this but my hubby went on with them so it was ok. At over a meter my eldest could go on all rides but the little one had I think 3 he couldn't go on. There was only 2 rides I think, a helicoptor one (it just went up and down and round and round in the same place) and the smaller dragon roller coaster that my other half couldn't take both boys on at the same time. This was great as it didn't cause to many arguements or much upset. Many of the rides were made to look as if they were made of lego which was quite cool. My hubby moaned he wanted them made out of actual lego, but I did explain this was probably not very safe! lol
A lot of the rides had pictures taken so that you could go and buy them afterwards, these varies in price depending on what you wanted (I can't remember off the top of my head how much they were.) You could get the photos and I think keyrings and stuff.
As the boys are so young they still have an afternoon sleep but the park was exciting enough that we didn't leave till about 5:45 pm and the kids were still going strong. Although we hadn't left the car park before they were asleep!
There was lots of restaurants dotted around. We went in crossed ribs BBQ next to the pirate area. I got myself and my hubby burger and chips, which was £7 or £8, it was a massive burger but in a cold bun with cold chips that had been reheated by frying them a second time, so not very pleasent at all. I got the boys pasta which I think was Annabel Karmel. These were essentially what looked like microwave meals tipped out on a plate with some mixed sald leaves. The boys however did seem to enjoy it and at I think around £3.50 including drinks it wasn't too bad.
On a positive note they don't seem to have got the same memo as most restaurants and will allow you to use the microwave to heat up food and bottles, and/or give you some hot water if you prefer.
The toys etc in the shops are great, they do have all the obviouse lego packs but they also have swords, hats fancy dress outfits etc. These all seemed to be well made. I got the boys a machette, Indiana Jones hat, Pirate hat, hook and a patch. The hook and sword are made of foam so softer than plastic and they seem to be very durable. There has been no breakages or damage at all since we bought them a month ago. As I am a childminder with 7 different children thoughout the day (all boys) these get played with loads, even the 10 year olds love em and they are quite rough with them, so deffinately good quality. The item were reasonably prices, don't think anything was more than £10, i vaguely remeber the swors being £4.99 or something and the hats I think £6.99. They were certainly better value and better quality than the food. So I'd probably recommend to take a packed lunch and buy more toys, lol.
there is different stuff that goes on throughout the day, puppet show and such. I can't really comment on those as we didn't get round to seeing any. We did however catch the end of the pirats stunt show. This was really good with boats on water and sword fight and stuff, the boys really enjoyed it and wasted no time in re-enacting it!
This was great, cleverly done and the kids were amazed. There is working trains and things running round big sections of it which the kids liked following.
Now I know smoking is not exactly in fashion and I'm a naughty Mummy for smoking but this was one of the things I hated about the park. There is 1 smoking area surrounded by high solid wood fencing and dense shrubbery. This meant that every time i wanted a cigarette I had to go all the way back to near the start of the park. Whilst I appreciate there is lots of small children around and I wouoldn't want to see any of the burned the fencing should be lower. Even though there was no roof throughout the main part of the day it was very smokey. I wouldn't stand in there as I had the baby in a buggy. Although I smoke I don't do it in the house so my kids haven't been in a smokey environment and I didn't want to take the baby in there. It was at times crowded and of course most people in there had their children with them. Whilst I can understand seperating smokers I was a little disappointed that smokers weren't either distributed more evenly around the park (there were several places where they could be built) or the fencing lower so it wasn't so smokey. Not fot the smokers benefit but for their children.
All-in-all a great day was had by all but I'll leave it a while before taking them again as I think they'd appreciate somewhere cheaper just as much at this young age.
I have taken the family to legoland about four time in the last five years, the most recent at the end of the summer holidays this year.
My children are 12 and nearly 10 so they can go on most rides independently (if they beat their father that is)
Legoland has enough to keep you going all day infact probably enough for two days which means you need to plan which areas you want to go to first and which you don't mind skipping if you have too.
We luckily had tesco vouchers which got one child in free, but we still had to pay for two adults and one child which cost us £94 is it just me that thinks that is a heck of a lot of money for one day out.
We had a fun day and stopped for lunch within lego another £28 and lunch was (what's the word) basic, pizza, chips, drinks. The kids then asked for an ice-cream another £5
The rides were okay we had a ridiculous wait for the laser riders of 95 minutes even though we were advised by the member of staff on the door that the ride was fairly empty, a clever queing system meant we didn't know about the wait until it was too late to back out. we started to discuss the virtues of q-bot with others in the que but we were told it cost £15 for q-bot (I must look that up as that seems an awful lot of money for something so simple)
we were all dissapointed with the new Viking's river splash it didn't seem finished, I didnt see any viking's made out of lego and the splash didn't happen, we were all expecting a drop like similiar rides at other parks.
All in all the day was great but its far out weighed by the high cost to get in. What happened to having days out in the summer holidays, the average family can't afford more than one, and both my husband and I work, and we still gulp at the cost.
I am sure Legoland are shooting themselves in the foot as parents will not return so often due to the high entry cost and many will avoid the gift shop on the way out as we did. I just couldn't justify more money for one day out, it's a shame as I do believe all children deserve a souveneir from their day out.
I took my Disabled Son and 2 daughters to Legoland recently, and had a wonderful day out with them. We were given Fast track passes on production of proof of Disability(letter from his specialist) which meant we could go to the exit of a ride and get on next so we didn't have to que.
It was a wonderful day all the staff were really helpful and helped me with my son to get on and of rides. We went on nearly every ride as we didn't have to que we had the time to my son is 3 years old and there was so much for him to see and do his face was lit up all day.
All the rides were great for any child aged 2-13 older children would probably find it boring but it is a great day out for the little ones and great access to all areas and rides for the Disabled, overall it was a lovely day out and unforgetable experience for all the family.
They have a wet play area aswell but be warned and take your swimming costumes! The fire engines there are great for any child my little lad loved these and went on them 3 times but they are hard work for the parents!
I would Highly recommend it for a day out for any child.
Firstly I will appologise for this being a long one but I feel there is a lot that needs to be covered to make this a thorough review, Legoland is a big place and there is a lot to it so hopefully you wont fall asleep reading.
Legoland is a family theme park which is open between the months of mid March and November. Owned by the Merlin entertainment group the park is entirely themed around the much loved and ever so popular toy Lego, now seeing that my four year old son has taken a keen interest in all things Duplo and Lego we thought that this would be the perfect place to take him for the day.
Located on the outskirts of Windsor in Berkshire Legoland is easy enough to acess via the M25, M3 and M4 and sign posted on all approaching roads to the park to make it that little bit easier if you dont know the area well.
The Park has a large amount of parking although you will find that the later you arrive the further away from the entrance you are more likely to be parked up. Parking itself costs £2.00 per vehicle, thats unless you are a merlin anual pass holder then it is free, you just scan your pass upon exit. You can purchase your parking ticket at any of the kiosks or booths within the park but remember to do so before you leave of you wont be able to get out.
If you would prefer to park closer to the entrance then you can use the Prefered Parking section of the car park but this will cost you £6.00 per car and their is only a limited amount of spaces so you need to look at getting there for opening to get a space.
Now like most of the Merlin Entertainment theme parks Legoland does come at a cost, on the day prices are as follows:
an Adult ticket costs £38.00
a Senior ticket (60+ years) costs £29.00
a child between the ages of 3 - 15 years costs £29.00 Under 3s are free entry.
Now if you decide to pre book your tickets online before you go then you can benefit from a 10% reduction in the price of your tickets and it also means that you wont need to que up at the kiosks to purchase tickets you just print them off at home and when you get there go straight to the turnstyles which saves time as during peak season queing for tickets can involve a bit of a wait.
The park itself is spread across 150 acres and split into 11 different areas of which are all individually themed and boast many exciting attractions of which I will try to explain to you:
The name really says it all, this is the entrance area to the park itself and is where you will find the ticket booths, ticket gates, guest services, gift shops, photo collection points, QBot kiosks and other facilities such as toilets and cash machines.
Located at the top of a hill it gives you some stunning views across Legoland itself and the Windsor, Heathrow areas.
From here you will find that there are two pathways which lead you down into the park, these paths are quiet steep so not suitable for everyone so there is a Hill train that you can use to take you down into the park. Its been designed so that it is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and let me say its a gods send at the end of the day when you are all walked out and need to get back up to the top of that hill.
This areas is aimed at the younger visitors to the park and is one that my four year old son thoroughly enjoyed, it features :
Duplo Play town - this is a soft surface family adventure playground aimed at children under the age of five years old.
Duplo Train - this ride is a small railway, its a bright colourful train that travels along a figure of eight track, not the most exciting in the park but certainly suitable for the younger, smaller guests.
Extreme Team Challenge - This is a ride where you should prepare to get soaking wet and requires two riders (my Fiance and son loved it) You board an inflatable dingy at the top of the hill and then when the green light shows the platform you are on raises and you begin to race the other dingy to the bottom.
Chopper Squadron - is a ride that involves lego themed helicopters that rotate around a central colum, the rider is able to control the movement on the helicopters going up and down.
Waterworks - this is a water play area in which young children can play with the numerous interactive water features such as fountains and water cannons. The day we went it was a really warm summers day, perfect for this area but it does get very busy and remember to take your lil ones swim wear and sun screen and you will need a towel as they will get very wet and the likely hood is that so will you.
Fairytale Brook - This is a lovely enchanting little ride great for younger children, it involves a nice relaxing boat ride through different animated fairy tale scenes including little red riding hood and hansel and grettle. Each boat holds four people so we found it good for a family ride.
Cuddles corner - This is a take on the 'build a bear' factories which you find in shopping centres across the country. Your child is able to chose a bear which a member of staff will then stuff , you are then able to chose from a large selection of Lego themed clothing for your bear to wear. You can also purchase swimwear for your children to use within the waterworks section and it also has a section where you can purchase items and have them personally engraved. A good place for lego land to cash in on their branding.
This area is just like a 'little city' it has its own harbour, train station, restraunt, a variety of gift shops and what city isnt complete without a building site. You can even find lego built black cabs parked up on the side of the streets and little workmen sticking up through the manhole covers. The harbour is also home to the pirate and Johnny Thunder stunt shows which are held at different times throughout the day. Features include:
Digger challenge - this is suitable for those of five years plus, Legoland have 12 mock JCB diggers and after watching a short video the children have to tranfer as many balls as possible into a metal container. Now one point about this ride is they require that the child who wants to have a go has proof of ID in photographic form..yes you read that right! they want ID to prove that the child is old enough to have a go, now how many children at the age of five actually have a passport as this is the only photographic ID that children have, they say its because of safety requirements.
Orient Expedition - this is a lovely train ride suitable for those of all ages that takes you for a journey across different areas of the park.
To be honest compared to the others I dont really see that Adventure land has a specific theme, The rides in this area are:
Wave Surfer - This is a really fun ride that you should be prepared to get very wet on, it involves lego themed jet skis which are connected at a central turntable which rotates at quite a speed , you can control the jet skis so that they either move away from or towards the centre. Other guests that are watching are able to detinate water like bombs from under the surface and fire water cannons directly at you as you aim to dodge these as your spinning around, its a really great laugh especially when you have other family members watching and trying to get you soaked.
Dino Dipper - This ride is suitable for the younger guests, it is a loop of cars which travel around at high speeds over a series of bumps, I wouldnt advise to go on when you have just eaten and some younger children may find it a bit too bumpy, my four year old wansnt too keen on the sudden jolts.
Dino Safari - this ride is more suitable for the younger guests, its a safari car that can fit two people that takes you around a track that features giant model lego dinosaurs all around, my son thoroughly enjoyed this ride, he called it the "Dinosaur hunt" ride
Mini land is an amazing section of the park and has many depictions of European, and Americam buildings and monuments. It has an amazing London section which includes models of the Gherkin, the Millennium Bridge, The London Eye , Canary Wharf, St Pauls Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. The attention to detail all of these models is absolutely amazing, the workmanship that goes into these to make them look so realistic makes these a true work of art. Its an area which you could spend hours looking at although not really one for younger children as my 4year old got really bored.
This is a fantastic section for children and adults alike, it gives children the chance to get behind the wheel, whether it be a car or a boat and let lose, my four year old son absolutely loved this area but be warned the waiting time for the following rides were quiet long.
Driving School - this is designed for children between the ages of 6 - 13 years old and it gives them the opportunity to drive cars and earn their own driving license which you see many children proudly wearing as they walk around the park.
L Drivers - this is the same as driving school but all on a smaller scale for children between the ages of 3 - 5 years old. My son had an absolutely fantastic time driving around in the electric car and was so proud of the license that he achieved from it.
Boating School- I have never had so much fun watching people in boats attempting to stear a course, here a maximum of three people can stear a battery powered boat around a course avoiding all the obstacles on the way. My son and fiance had so much fun although this was the one ride that had a waiting time of 1hr and 20 minutes, although I believe this could have been something to do with the boats batteries kepy dying half way around and members of staff kept having to wade out around the course to rescue and pull them back in.
Ballon School - Another nice relaxing ride for all of the family. This ride allows you to experience a ballon ride, as you rotate around the central colum you can pull on the the rope to take the balloon higher or release it to gently float back down, it gives some lovely views across the park.
Fire Accademy - You certainly need a burst of energy for this ride and it requires team work, we had such a laugh and you will almost certainly get wet. Teams of four people are placed into a fire engine which is hand powered by an up and down lever, you need to race other teams to get to the burning house then using the water extinguish the fire and then all jump back onto the fire engine and race back and be the first to win.
This area is where children can let their immagination and creativity run wild and experience different lego workshops to create lego models, test how they work and see how Lego and robotix can combine. These workshops include:
Mindstorms and the Robo test workshop - Now this workshop needs to be pre booked, its aimed for childrem aged 8 years and up and gives the child the opportunity to explore robotics and lego and how they can work together.
Build and test workshops - The build and test workshop is made up of three seperate sections:
-The creative zone is aimed at younger guests who can explore and play with brightly coloured soft bricks.
-Motion Zone that allows older guests to build cars and test them out and see how they fair and the Tremor zone which allows children to be creative and build towers out of lego bricks and then see how their building would withstand the tremors of an earthquake on the tremor table.
There are also two rides within this area, these are:
Space Tower - Another ride which requires some energy, the ride requires two people to winch themselves up to the top of the tower and then to slowly descend back down. this is another ride which provides some spectacular views of the park but does require some strength and energy.
Sky Rider - is an elevated tack ride which takes you around the Imagination centre area, at a nice slow pace this ride can give you some lovely views across Mini land and the rest of the park although if your not keep on heights then this ride really isnt for you.
-Kingdom of the Pharaohs-
This area is themed around Egypt and the Pharaohs and the main central piece to this is a six metre high statue of a Pharaoh made entirely out of Lego. Features of this area include:
Laser Raiders - this is an indoor laser ride where you are borded onto a car equipt with four lazer guns you are then driven through an ancient tomb in search of the lost hidden treasure. Using your lazer guns you need to battle the evil mummies and skeletons by fireing upon red and green targets to accumulate points. Its a fun ride but it did involve over an hours wait to get onto it.
Scarab Bouncers - Located within the Egyptian tomb (tent) this ride is certainly a bouncy one. You are raised up to the top of the ride before gently being bounced back down then it repeats a couple more times before being bought back down and stopping.
Thunder Blazer - this is what you describe of a chairoplane ride. Its basically a fairground style ride where you sit in metal chairs that are suspended by chains, as the ride rotates these chairs swing outwards.
Desert Chase - is aimed at the younger guests to the park. Another fair ground style ride this is a mini carousel that rotates around.
Aero Nomad - Another fairground style ride, this is a miniature Ferris Wheel that slowly goes around, a pleasant little ride that my son really enjoyed.
-Land of the Vikings-
this area is a Nordic themed area of vikings and full of adventure Features include:
Lokis Labrinth - this is an exciting hedge maze, you enter at a starting point and then need to find your way to the look out tower located at the centre of the maze. Its a good way to waste twenty minutes although keeping up with an enegetic four year old without losing him was good fun.
Vikings River Splash - this is a very popular rides at the park and has the ques to prove it as we waited just under an hour for a go on this ride. A fast flowing river rapid ride that takes you on a journey downstream but be prepared to get soaked as at every turn, there are sections of rough water, curtains of water that you cannot avoid and a combination of static cannons and ones that other guests can fire unon you to get you even more wet. A really great ride and better on those warm summer days where you can dry off quicker.
Spinning Spider - this is just like a giant spinning tea cup ride but on this one the tea cups come in the form of logs. Its basically a giant turntable with smaller turntables within that and then the logs mounted upon them, these all spin round and then using a wheel at the central colum of your log you can spin around even more. I wasnt too sure how my son would take to this one but it had him screaming faster faster and Mummy wanting to be sick.
Longboat Invader - Im not to sure how to describe this, al I can say is that its a rocking viking boat that turns. The boat rolls back and forth on a track which then later starts to turn and continues with this motion for some time, not one of the most exciting that we qued up for.
Pirates Landing is new to Legoland for 2010 and is an exciting new area children and adults alike which is themed around pirates, treasure and treasure hunting. Features include:
Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench - This one is a log flume ride that will almost certainly get you soaking wet, once you board the log boat you find yourself floating along a river, along the way there are many different pirate themed lego scenes for you to look at, you then find yourself making a steep ascent up into what I could only describe as a dark wooden shed, you see a few more lego models and some warning signs and then its the drop down which will get you soaked through. We all thoroughly enjoyed this ride, my son wasnt to keen on getting wet yet wanted to go on it again and again. Unfortunately its a very popular ride in the summer months and found waiting approx 40 minutes to get on.
Pirate training camp - The pirate training camp is a giant wooden playground designed for both children of all ages and you will often spy adults on there having fun too.
Jolly Rocker - this ride is a giant swinging pirate boat. The ride swings back and forth taking you higher and higher each time before slowing back down and stopping. Althouh suitable for younger children who are accompanied by an adult our four year old son hated this ride, by the end it had him sheding a few tears and wanting off.
This is a really picturesque area that I feel has really been thought out and works really well, it themes around knights and dragons and is dominated by a giant lego themed knights castle. Features include:
The Dragon - Located within the castle itself the Dragon is a fast paced rollercoaster ride. Starting off within the castle it moves through a series of different rooms which all have different lego model scenes before exiting the castle and going out into the open where you find yourself racing through trees in a lovely picturesque parkland area. Now this rollercoaster is not for smaller children but Legoland have made up for this by creating the Dragons apprentice which is a smaller rollercoaster ride.
Dragons Apprentice - this is another rollercoaster that has been designed for those not big enough to ride the Dragon which I think is good of Legoland. Its a fast paced rollercoaster wit many twists and turns. My son absolutely loved this ride and we later found ourself waiting to go on it again that he loved it so much.
Enchanted Forest - this is ideal if you want a bit of peace, the enchanted forest is a beautiful woodland area which throughout you will find lego creatures all dotted around and nature sounds over the audio speaker system. As we walked around we noted that it seemed popular for those who wanted an area to sit down and picnic but to be honest its a bit boring and my son just wanted to get out and go on more rides.
Now like I have said these rides can involve ques and at peak times these ques can be quiet lengthly. Now Legoland have introduced Q-Bot, it costs £10.00 per person off peak and £15.00 peak. Q-bot is a virtual queing system where you are given a small red and yellow electronic device, it allows you to scroll through all of the rides in the park, to see their current waiting time and to reserve a place in a virtual line, now you still have to wait the same amount of time that you would if queing for the ride but instead you book your place in a virtual que so it means your not having to stand around waiting for say 50 minutes getting bored,when your allocated time slot comes around all you need to do is enter the ride at the Q bot entrance and you get through to the ride.
Now we decided to pay the additional money to use one of these and this extra time does give you the chance to have a look around at different areas of the park so does save you time,we took advantage a couple of times to grab something to eat or to have a look around mini land, its also great if you have a younger child who doesnt understand that they cannot just go straight onto the ride and have to wait an hour.
There are a few negatives though to the Q-Bot system:
-It only allows a maximum of 6 people per party to use the Q-Bot so if you are a larger party its not really beneficial to you
-You can only reserve one ride at a time and have to wait until you have finished that ride to reserve your next.
You can also purchase the Qbot Express, Now this is the same as the QBot but this allows you to reserve as many rides as you want to, great BUT... it comes at a cost of £40 per person (more than the £38 adult ticket to get into the park) although it would save you an awful lot of time.
Now due to health and safety restrictions there are height restrictions on a lot of the rides which means that younger children cannot go onto specific ones but Legoland have pretty much catered for everyone so there are rides that everyone can go on no matter their age so this shouldnt effect or ruin your day.
A selection of the rides also offer Photograph opportunities, that mid way through the ride your photograph is taken and upon exit from the ride you can review your photograph and decide whether or not you want to purchase. More often than not these photographs are hit or miss as you never know where the cameras are or when they are going to capture you.
If you are lucky enough to get a good photo then you can purchase them at £7.00 each. Legoland do offer a photopass, this retails at £20.00 and gives you four vouchers to use throughout the park on purchasing either ride photographs or magnet or keyring photographs. If your planning on purchasing a few it does work out cost effective as it means a combination of four means that you are only paying £20.00 and not £28.00 if you were to purchase individually. Also if you are planning on coming back the vouchers are valid until the 31st December each year so do not have to be used up on the first visit, we still have two left and will use when we return later in the year.
As well as the rides Legoland also has a selection of theatre shows, movies and stunt shows being shown throughout the day at different times and locations over the park, these are a great way to take a break from walking around and give you the opportunity to take a break. Each one usually lasts for approx 20 minutes. These include:
Pirates Of Skeleton Bay which is a Live stunt show.
Bob the Builder in 4D at the imagination theatre and theatre shows of Little Red Riding Hood, The Elves and the Shoe maker and Goldilocks and the Three bears in the Duplo theatre for a younger audience
Across the park there are a veriety of differnt eateries for you to choose from. Whether it be Burgers, Mexican, Fried Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Rotiseries,Pizza, Ice cream and coffee shops or Hot dog stands they have them all, there are also a selection of picnic areas where you can sit down and eat your own food
The price of food we considered to be really reasonable, we went to one of the burger bars where you give them a table number,order and pay for your meal and then it is bought out to your table. Three adult burger meals with fries and drinks and a childrens meal with water and apple came to £21.00 which considered to some attractions we have previously been to was good value. The service was prompt, we probably waited approx 10 minutes for all of our food to come out together, It was hot and there was no issues of the food being under or over cooked, they also paid attention to the requests we made on one of the burgers and it came out how we wanted.
Located throughout the park you wiil find that there are many ameneties, Toilets and baby changing and feedign areas are located throughout the park so you dont have to walk far to find them. Toilets were always of a high standard and always very clean.
If you found your feet getting achy then there were lots of benches located all around the park which at times I was grateful for when my fiance and son went onto a ride without me.
There are many shops dotted all across Legoland, some selling products specific to the area which you are in at the time but all boasting the Lego branding. The largest of the shops and the one which we found the best was the Lego Big Shop, located at the begining it almost certainly sold the biggest range of lego products, it also has giant lego models of polular characters like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Harry and Hagrid from Harry Potter and the much loved Thomas the Tank Engine.
From novelty products like keychains, Teddies and magnets through to a large variety of Lego branded clothes, from boxed lego models to a section where you could pick and mix your own bag of lego bricks to take home this shop certainly had it all.
Because of the Lego Branding a lot of the products were what I considered overpriced although saying that the lego model sets were actually some of the cheapest which I have seen around.
Where ever you are in the park members of staff were always very friendly and polite, especially those who operated the rides, they would always be chatty with our son. If you needed to ask a question they were always were very helpful which I feel all adds to your day.
All in all our day to Legoland was a really enjoyable one with lots of fun had although if I was to be honest I would say that you really do need to spend more than one day there. We arrived there for 10:00am when it opened and was there until close at 7pm and we didnt get to see and experience everything that is there to see and we certainly didnt even manage to get onto half of the rides, there just isnt enough time especially when you take into account that at peak times you can expect to que for rides from anything from 20mins to 1hr 30 minutes which is where we did find that paying for the QBot came in handy otherwise we wouldnt have managed all that we did that day. We found that we spent a good 3 to 4 hours in the Duplo and Traffic areas alone. My son absolutely loved these areas as they are very much more child orientated and child friendly and means children can get more involved.
The only one downsides of our trip to Legoland this Summer is the amount of wasps across the park site,
This year Legoland have had a dramatic increase in the amount of Wasp nests found on site, the fact is you cannot escape them anywhere you go, they are there. Everywhere across the park are signs informing guests that they are trying to deal with the problem by setting traps, bringing in exterminators when the park is closed, emptying bins more reguarly and that if anyone within your party is stung to alert a member of staff to receive medical treatment.
Now its great these signs being all dotted around the park but they seem to be failing to address certain issues that seem to be attracting the wasps. Within the food areas guests food trays are left on tables instead of being instantly cleared away therefore attracting the wasps to the food areas. Also dotted all over the park are these nice bright pink round pots designed for guests to disgard their chewing gum, now these are great as there is no sticky gum on the floor for you to tread on but instead these are also attracting the wasps being sweet and sticky.
This wasp issue can make your day a little uncomfortable, especially if you dislike wasps as much as I do but I got on with it for the sake of my son and wouldnt let these little critters ruin our day, I dont think I would be saying that if any of my family had been stung and you were hearing of this occurrence often as you walked around the park.
I would highly reccommend this attraction to anyone and believe that it is very much a family orientated park and works well with children aged 3 - 15yrs which it is aimed, none of the rides are what you would call hard core so if your after a theme park purely for rides I would reccommend Thorpe Park, Alton Towers or Drayton Manor.
I also believe that one day really is not enough time to cover all of Legoland therefore thats the reason we will returning later in the year to finish off what we started, lets just hope next time around they have the wasp problem under control.
We went to Legoland as part of our summer break after experiencing Flamingo land (York) which was great fun and there's lot to do for old and young alike. We had to pay £38 each per adult & £29 for our 3 Year old, making a grand total of £95. We didn't have to queue to get in, which was a bonus. The park was well, mediocre with plenty of long queues to keep us busy (about 1/2 hr on average) which the kids loved. Two adult burger meals and a kid's meal was only £26, which compared to say a McDonalds was great value. You could walk across the whole park in about 10mins, so you don't have far to walk. When we left we were charged £2 for parking. What I'm saying is, I won't be back, it's a rip off and boring!
Legoland Windsor is a good theme park with regards to value for money yet it's expensive nature, perhaps inherent to being themed around a commercial product, makes preparation and deal hunting a must.
We went to the park mid Easter holidays and it was expectantly busy. The queue to get in was around 30minutes although the car park itself was free and we managed to park reasonably close to the entrance (a perk of getting there earlyish at 11am perhaps.
Then theres the fundamental problem with Legoland that you hit. We walked up to the ticket booths (moderate queues) and whilst queueing realised that the ticket prices were perhaps exceptionally high (£38 per Adult, £28 per Child/Senior).
Fortunately we were using Nectar. Recently the park has started letting you use Nectar points as part or full payment (couldn't use our 2 for 1 though with it directly) and in the end with some help from the attendant we got an adult free on 2 for 1 and sorted the Kids with Nectar.
People were using all sorts though, there were 2 for 1's all over the place and the Tesco Clubcard voucher things. So yes full price Legoland is ridiculous but I think if you look around enough a family of four with just normal 2 for 1's can be £76 total.
The day itself was enjoyable. We didn't purchase Q-Bots, as £10 per person really added up with a party of four, but on the whole Queues were not extortionate. Infact it seemed that really only the Pirate falls, Dragon coaster, Boating ride and Laser ride had queues at 45+ minutes.
In addition to this there were a lot of walk-about attractions. THings like Miniland and the kids play area took up an hour and a half on their own which eased the pressure to feel the need to Queue.
Food wise the park has picked up since 08 when we came. They have the standard healthy eating push (No MacDonalds) and we ate in this barbeque place by Pirate falls where they served wraps. Price was high but the quality matched it.
The final point I would make is with regards to the atmosphere and general customer service we experienced. The staff were very much on the ball with asking about peoples days, singing happy birthday to some kids and so on. This went hand in hand with a general feeling of safety, helped massively by this Lost parent sticker system.
On the whole a great day with something like just another ten and seventeen pounds to upgrade your ticket to an off peak annual pass (clearly their big thing to sell, unlike perhaps with Thorpe Park and Chessington where it is more of a sidething for the niche hardcore theme park goers).
Give it a try if your kids are over 0.9 and you have discount vouchers.
I live very close to Legoland and had only ever been once before having my son and remembered it was a great day out however very expensive at a whopping £38 pounds for an adult and £28 for a child.
You can buy tickets online via the website for £30.40 and £22.40 respectively, however still quite expensive.
They now do offers at the park that if you have bought a full price ticket you can pay £10 more and upgrade to an annual pass holder which gives you free entry all year long and gives you discouts of 10% off in the Lego shop at the park and 20% off food at the main restaurants within the park. You also get invited to special events and previews of new areas.
Last year I decided to use my tesco points to get an annual pass which cost £18 ( now £20 this year) of my points and gets you and adult pass and children under 3 go free which I think is such great value.
The park opens either 930am or 10am depending on the season and you have to get there early as the car park fills up very quickly and you can end up parking quite away from the park which can be tiring before you have even set foot inside.
There are also alot of queues at the gates, however if have an annual pass you can bypass these and go straight ahead to the turnstyles which is one less hassle.
Once inside the world is your oyster, you can either take a leisurely stroll downhill to the main park or if you have a little one and dont want them to get too tired out before the day has began then there is a little train that takes you down also which the kids love.
The park is imaculate and very well maintained and smoking is not permitted and there are a couple of designated areas should you wish to smoke.
As I have a 2 year old our choice is limited on what he can go on so we stick to a couple of areas but still plenty of choice, water area, duplo soft surface play area, a fairytale book, helicopters, balloon rides, boating school, dino safari ride, dino dipper, live fairytale shows, the famous lego mini land with miniture lego creations from canary wharf to NASA space station.
The map is clear with what rides have restrictions on them and a code for what they mean and if it is a ride with a height restriction, the staff have a measuring stick to make sure everything is as safe as it can be.
At peak times the queues can be lengthly and there is an option to purchase 'Q-BOT' which is a virtual queueing system for certain rides. It is £10 per person for a device and you can select the ride you want to go on, it logs the time and 'virtually' queues for you so you can explore other areas of the park instead of queueing yourself! then when it is your turn it sends you a message and you go to your ride through an express lane and on you get to your chosen ride! Sounds great, I have never done this as £10 each seem a little expensive for me.
There are restaurants dotted around the park which offer mostly fast food which is good quality and around £4-5 and again you get your 20% discount if you take advantage of the annual pass. There are also a carvary which I havent eaten at and there are stalls selling ice creams/ drinks etc however there are plenty of picnic tables and green areas should you wish to keep costs down and bring your own.
Overall a good day out for adults as well as the kids. I havent ventured into the depths of the park however I have never seen a bored face at Legoland!
Living, as I do, about ten miles away from Legoland, and having two children, I have had many an occasion to visit the park. Having recently signed up for an annual pass I have been interested to see what's new for 2010, and hope that I can give a few tips from my experience of the park this season, and an idea of whether Legoland is worth the trip.
The first thing to say about Legoland is that even compared to other UK theme parks it does get incredibly busy, even on some non-school holiday days the car park can be surprisingly full. If you are going to visit I would strongly advise arriving by 9:30, ready for the 10am opening or, failing this going after 2pm when younger children are starting to flag - you can check out opening times on the website. There you will also find details of ticket prices, entry is paying for those of 3 and above, 2010 prices are £37.20 for an adult and £28.61 for a child, though you can get 10% off this price by buying in advance online through lego or lastminute.com, though as a prominent notice informs you at the gate there is no refund in the case of inclement weather. Judging from the number of people clutching Tesco clubcard letters at the gate, payment by Tesco points is a popular choice - entrance for one day will set you back £10 in tesco points of £20 for an annual pass, which is what I have purchased. In any case, it is definitely worth hunting down a 2 for 1 day, but regardless being aware that a trip to Legoland is not likely to be a cheap day out.
The next thing to say is that the theme park is probably not going to be a great destination if you don't have children with you. There is one roller coaster type ride (one seems to have gone this year to make way for a hotel I believe), and a couple of more thrilling rides like the river falls ride, but in the main Legoland is likely to appeal to children - particularly those over 90cm. My reason for that precision in child height is that actually if you have a child under 90cm you will find that there is very little they can actually go on. There is one small train, the woodland fairy tale brook ride and a few fairground stylee rides that are available to the youngest visitors, and "Boat school", which is showing its age but still quite good, but truth be told it is very limited, so be warned. It's the reason why I didn't go at all to the park last year as my youngest certainly didn't want to watch whilst her less vertically challenged sibling got to have all the fun. Take toddlers and small babies if you must, but be prepared for the fact that you may end up pottering around the model village made out of lego rather than going on too many rides. Oh and if you are a smoker, this year I noticed that the park is a smoke free zone (the only place you can smoke is in a small area opposite the Fire Academy, which amused me I have to admit). I have seen the staff enforce this quietly, but rigidly.
So, children over 90cm at the ready, and cigarettes stubbed out, how best to proceed on your trip? If you arrive early, I find that it is a good idea to have an idea of which area you want to most go to and head straight to that ride, refusing to be diverted by any of the nice little touches on the path down the hill that are there to entertain, such as the animated one man lego band or the slides that are on the side of the steps down the hill. You can be sure of about 40mins or so of unhampered fun whilst the masses work their way down the hill. The park, which is on the site formerly occupied by Windsor zoo, is in a bit of a dip, there is access via the Hill Train, but buggies and wheelchairs will require some pushing as you travel around the site. We tend to head straight for driving school where young drivers can manoeuvre their own car, or Fire Academy which is great fun as the whole family gets to climb aboard a fire engine and pretend to put out a fire.
Queues do build up, however, and for the biggest rides on a school holiday ride you will find waits of an hour or more are commonplace. Most people I know in this area have visited, and indeed many of them have passes and everyone has a horror story of the day they went where they could only get on three rides, or they queued an hour to get into the car park. Legoland have tried to address this problem by the introduction of "Q-bots". These are little tamagotchi-alike machines which you hire, they allow you to reserve a space on a ride and go straight to the front of the queue. Unfortunately for the paying public this comes at a price, £10 per person on top of what is already an expensive entry price. I haven't actually paid up for the pleasure but every day I have visited the queues to buy this right have been quite long is anyone else sensing an irony there?). My friend who has hired a bot informs me that it is not as good as it looks, yes you are given a slot, but you can only reserve one at a time and sometimes the slot you are offered can be an hour off, okay you don't have to physically stand in the queue but it does mean that you may not be able to fit in another ride in the wait, you can cancel but if you miss your time then it is gameover. I think because the season passes are, on the scale of things, quite good value if you are going to go a few times in one calendar year (the park is closed October through to March), at £67.50 for an adult or £49.50 or via the aforementioned Tesco vouchers, the plain truth is Legoland has a lot of visitors, all the time. I don't know why Disneyland can provide a queue easing facility for free, whereas Legoland seem to see big queues as a way of extracting even more money from guests and creating a goat and sheep scenario - I don't think I will be buying into the Q-bot but you may want to do so if you are only visiting for a day and you think it may ease the experience.
I said I would mention the things that were new in the park. During my enforced absence from the park, it's true to say lego has had a bit of a renaissance, so it was interesting to see how that had played out in the park. They have rebranded the area at the bottom of the park as "Pirates Landing" (would it be churlish to point out a lack of apostrophe here?). There is a new Pirate ship ride, but mainly they have renamed the log flume and slightly overhauled the children's playground, which used to be called the rat run, by adding a few boats to it. The change is cosmetic really, though the new ride in the "Kingdom of the Pharoahs" which is Indiana Jones based and involves firing a laser gun is totally new - I'd love to be able to tell you about it but my wussy children have refused to go into the entrance twice now as it is dark and scary. It's meant to be good.
One thing I think that has improved is the food and the general customer service. The fare on offer does seem to be a bit more varied, there are hamburgers and chips as you would expect but also Mexican food and also a restaurant serving real food. Being a cheapskate I normally take my own food and there are plenty of places to picnic, and then you can indulge in a donut or icecream, at 20% "off" if you are a season pass holder. The staff who serve you have obviously been primed to ask you if you have a pass at every available opportunity, and there's a lot of calling you "guys" and asking if you are having a nice time, but to be fair the staff do a pretty good job at sounding genuine and making the ride experience fun - I'm not sure why the employee on one ride insisted on star jumps from the adults though!
As you wander around it's fun to spot all the lego models, which are testament to the fact that the park has been open a while - lego does fade and get battered in the sun and rain it seems. The park is though cleaner than I remember and all in all it's a pleasant place to wander around. It all seems to be very safe and the rides are well maintained. I did wonder if they hadn't become a bit over health and safety notice made though whilst waiting last for "boat school", a notice next to the tubs of duplo told us not to "build too high towers, for your own safety" - where's the fun in that?!
It's worth taking a trip to the Imagination Theatre if you can, which offers a choice of "4-D" shows - the 4th D isn't, sadly the ability to travel through time, but along with your 3-D glasses expect to have water squirted at you and wind to blow as you watch a film. We didn't see the Bob the Builder film but saw the Lego city film which was pretty good actually. Don't miss out on the small area near the Skyriders where you can build and test a small drag racer or duplo tower's resistance to earthquakes, it's fun.
When you are done with the 50 or so rides, again more details on the website, there are plenty of opportunities to spend any money you may have left on merchandise. Though Lego no longer own the park, as it is part of the Merlin consortium, they do have a good range of items that you won't necessarily find elsewhere. The lego sets are no more expensive than elsewhere, you can buy loose bricks at the big brick store for £4.99 for 100grammes, lego sets, clothes and the obligatory lego key ring. Most items seem good quality - in Duplo land there was a Build a Bear alike with stuff your own toys and an outfit being available for £15, which seemed a fair price to me.
I forgot to say earlier but if you are visiting in Summer, make sure if you have children that you bring a towel and swimming costume, in Duplo land there is a huge water play area, coming prepared will avoid you ending up chasing your children around in their pants. I should probably also say that as you would expect all the other facilities you might want if you have kids are there - there's good changing and feeding areas, a lost child sticker system and lego pushchairs available to hire. Dogs are not allowed into the park, apart from guide dogs, but there are free kennels on a first come first served basis.
Legoland is, in my opinion, worth visiting and I do enjoy going there, that said if I were paying full price and just going for one day I would be disappointed if I didn't get to experience many rides, which is a definite possibility on busy days. The newly re-vamped Legoland for 2010 is pretty similar to the one I visited endlessly in 2007 through to 2008, but I do think they have made an attempt to keep up with the times with new rides and particularly the 3D films and more varied food. I hope that if you do visit some of my tips will be of use and that you will enjoy your day. Me, I'll probably be spending the Summer there!
www.legoland.co.uk for full details
I was very dissapointed with Legoland. I had very high hopes before going there but sadly was shocked. We arrived about 10.30 and it took over 40mins to get through the main gate. Inside initially looked ok but the rides were simple to say the least... My real concern was the amount of time you had to wait for the rides (between 1hr to 1.30hrs per ride) is a bit bad to say the least. The cost of everything within the park is extortionate. The cost to get in is extortionate for what you get.
My children were really bored due to the queues. on the plus side the layout was ok and miniland was very good. The rides were not of a theme park quality so if you think there are big rides you are in for a shock. I would say it is aimed at very young children. My 8 year old thought the rides were poor.