Yesterday, I took my family to Legoland. It was the perfect day since the rain never got as far as San Clemente so we had blue skies. We haven't been to Legoland since it first opened and it seems like very little has changed. This time around my son was six and tall enough to ride every ride in the park by himself. My daughter is two and not tall enough to ride much of anything.
The first thing I noticed is the park needs a paint job. Everything seemed a little duller since it first opened. A lot of the Lego sculptures seem to have faded and the ones in the water had some discoloration due to water damage.
On the other hand, the cast members there were very friendly and helpful. They were able to quickly get people on and off the rides. This helped a lot since most of the rides are very low capacity.
Yesterday, the park was very uncrowded probably because of the threat of rain. Most rides were easily ten minutes or less waits. The kid power hill thing reached 120 minutes so we stayed clear of it. The Knights Tourament robot arm wasn't working. It looked like fun but really low capacity. Six arms holding two people each. I think that is money legoland could have spent on something better with higher capacity where families can ride together.
My son's favorite ride was the Aquazone. He loved riding it and dodging the water explosions set off by spectators. My favorite was the Dragon coaster because of the cool Lego dark ride portion. The track layout reminded me of space mountain. Lots of right turns. My wife enjoyed the fairy tale boat ride and the fire department show. My daughter loved the duplo play land area, the Lego pits and the train.
The 4D Racing movie was funny and not loaded with a ton of special effects. There was no shaking seats, smells and poking just a little bit of water. It was just nicely done with a screen up in one of the theaters. It reminded me of the first Disneyland 3D movie that was shown outside in the space place before Captain EO enclosed it.
The roller coasters were good beginner coasters. Nothing too fast or crazy. The dinosaur one lets the car go Thur twice. They were a lot like Gadget's Go Coaster and well themed.
The big boat ride around the main lagoon of the park reminded me of Storybook land but with a jungle cruise joke about the elephant squirting water. "Most people think that is water coming out of the elephant's nose but its snot." Lego mini land was amazing from a modeler point of view. All the cars drove without tracks and the ships were pulled around by cables. Lots of detail and animation on everything there. They even had a model of the new Freedom Tower that is replacing the World Trade Center in New York. Very impressive model. I also liked the Kennedy Space Center and Space Shuttle.
Over in town area there is a placed called the Adventure club. This was a very cool and a little creepy 'maze' thru jungles, an Egyptian temple and arctic cave. Lots of moving Lego models as you search for all the keys to solve the riddle. They should build a larger very of this as a haunted house walkthru. I can just imagine the Disneyland Haunted Mansion filled with Lego ghosts.
Over towards the back they have a climbing structure similar to DCA's Redwood Creek Challenge. Lots of slides and things to climb on. It's probably even better than the DCA version. They had three Harry Potter Lego characters there. It got me to thinking that this park needs a big Harry Potter ride or even better a Lego Star Wars ride! How cool would that be?
We ate at the Sports restaurant. The food was very good and was a typically restaurant price. It was a little less in price than Disneyland. The sports restaurant had something I wish Disney would do. They have an all you can eat buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets for kids. This is great since kids never eat everything and the two year old was free. The restaurant also has Lego play area so the kids can go play while the parents eat or wait for food. Good ideas. For the most part, the food was pretty decent and there wasn't lot of OVC carts thru out the park. The service was good too.
Basically, Legoland is a fun place if your kids are between two and ten. We saw very few teenagers there. The ones we did see looked completely board out of their minds. Legoland and DCA share a lot of things. Lots of very small off the shelf rides but I think Legoland themed them better. Legoland is a smaller park and doesn't have to live up to the Disney standard but actually does a better job at it than DCA does. I noticed also they close the park for two days a week probably due to crowds. I wonder if Disney would ever do that?
If I were running the place I would reverse the price schedules and make the kid tickets more expensive than the adult ones. The price is also about the same as any other theme park which makes me wonder if its worth it. We got in with a free child admission and $10 off each adult ticket from the 50th anniversary Lego bucket offer. That made the price more reasonable. Make sure to look for discount offers before going.
In summary, the park is great for less than ten year old kids. Its worth an annual pass if you live in the area with little kids. Otherwise just find the discount offers and bring your lego manics once a year. The place needs more new and bigger things that adults and kids can ride together. There is alot of potential there. Lego just needs to invest more in it.