Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell
Two days ago we told the boys that they were going to LEGOLAND. Fantastic, great bargaining tool for them to behave in the restaurant we were in.
Two LEGO mad boys aged 9 and almost 4. This was going to be EPIC.
The drive up to LEGOLAND filled with excited chatter as the boys looked for the Lego characters that are distributed along the side of the road. Then the hotel, questions about the rooms that we could not answer, but it does look great!
We arrived at about 10.40am, the priority car park looked pretty empty but the main car park was filling up. The sky was blue but the weather windy so I wondered whether all the rides would be open. We had to collect our tickets from the aptly named Ticket Collection. There was a small queue but the staff were efficient, very smartly turned out and welcoming.
For some reason the tickets that we were given wouldn’t scan through the turnstiles, so we walked to the end and were simply let through. The children were so excited by now, but sensible adult mode took over and made us all use the facilities while they were close. They are very clean and whether it was because it was close to the beginning of the season but no queue! Always a bonus, especially when you have reluctant children in tow.
What to do first? We have been before and usually head straight for Atlantis but thought we’d just see how we go. The first ride/experience that we decided to go on was LEGO Chima 4D experience. We walked straight in and on the children’s instructions sat straight in the middle 2 rows from the front! This is an area that is FLAGGED up that you WILL get wet, but when the children are happy… we all get wet! This is amazing. The 3D experience is fun enough but with the wind, fire and “rain” it really does make the whole experience fantastic. All of us left the room beaming and laughing at such a great start to our day. We followed the pathway round and soon came to Duplo Valley, this is a bright and colourful land designed for the smaller ones. They have rides that toddlers and such like will enjoy, as well as the much advertise Splash Park. We decided that we would carry on through the area and ended up in the Mini Land. As I said earlier we have been before so we didn’t spend a lot of time walking around the wonderful mini world that LEGO have created. You really are taken on a trip around the world, with famous landmarks cleverly crafted from thousands upon thousands of pieces of LEGO. We carried on along the pathway and found ourselves at the LEGO City area. This is a really popular area as the children get to earn their own driving licence. Cleverly and thankfully for us the 2 driving experiences are split into age appropriate areas. So we split up temporarily and I headed with the youngest to the driving school for ages 3-5 and my eldest went to the 6+ area with his dad.
There was a small queue at the one that I went to, we even thought that we would be finished before my eldest had been on, as we knew that the older ones have a small briefing before they drive. We walked straight to the point in the queue that said approx 15 minute wait from there, not bad I thought. Unfortunately the wait was longer than 15 minutes and I am not entirely sure why. I was so grateful that my son did not start getting ancy though. He decided just being really quiet and shy was the way forward… I can live with that! Once we arrived at the front of the queue, we were let into the small enclosure. A really enthusiastic young lady took a photo of the children and gave them such simple instructions on how they would drive the car. She asked the children a number of “fun” questions to get the children involved and start the fun.
A short time later it was time for the driving to begin, I was enthralled to learn that my son is actually quite the competent driver! Hardly a crash into the barriers in sight, in fact I think that Lewis Hamilton would have been proud, the only time he did wonder off kilter was when we distracted him.
After a few nail biting laps, the car stops and the children make their way to the exit. A very jovial man then hands out the licences that they have earned. Parents are encouraged to clap and the children all beamed with delight. As did my eldest despite this being the 3rd/4th licence that he has achieved! It is a lovely little touch. You can pay extra and have your child’s photo put onto the licence but we chose not to.
Onwards we went, we walked past the boats and my eldest yells Zebra’s, yes he thought that the Zebra LEGO models ahead were real! I do wonder sometimes about his sanity!
Onto Atlantis, I was amazed to see the smallest EVER queue that we have had there, even on a previous visit when we had purchased the Q-BOT (a very clever idea to avoid long queues), I don’t think we even waited 5 minutes before we were climbing into the bright yellow submarine. So exciting!
We were the only family on the blue side of the sub, which meant we had plenty of room. The door was shut and off we went. Now without a shadow of a doubt we all love this ride. It is great to be down there amongst the fish. The sheer delight in my sons’ voice as he spotted his first shark, it was priceless. His little face was so animated with joy that at that moment was perfect.
At the end of the ride there are several crawl into aquariums that the boys love. It is great to see their faces in the middle of the tank smiling and waving at us through beautiful coloured fish. Just passed these there is a small unit that the children get a hands on experience with some fish, they nibble at your skin, it doesn’t hurt it just tickles. There also is a shop at the end of the ride and a photo selling stand (these are at a lot of the rides). They can provide a fun souvenir of the day, however today none of the ones that we were in captured us all in a good way, some were hilarious!
My youngest had said that he was starting to get hungry so after a photo (we took) with a large LEGO submarine, another toilet break a last ride before lunch on a Dino Safari. This is a “jeep” ride that takes you through an adventure land. There are pictures in the car for you to look out for and that you can earn points for each spot! There is also the chance to earn more points finding a Giant Parent Eating Spider! This obviously amused the younger ones of our group. Onto lunch, not all of the eateries were open but as the weather was so windy we had already decided to try the Pizza/Pasta restaurant for the first time. This is a sit down restaurant that is totally covered… a bonus, I was freezing. It was hard work dragging the eldest past the S.Q.U.I.D. Surfer. On a previous visit on a lovely warm day we had a total blast on this ride, I was not going to be tempted today… perhaps after lunch I said!
The restaurant is an eat as much as you like buffet. You pay on entry and are seated by a member of staff and can you can choose, a variety of pizza’s, pasta’s, garlic bread and salad bar. There also is unlimited top ups on your drinks. The only downside I thought there was there were no hot drink options. I was freezing and could really have done with a warming hot chocolate. The food went down well and it was time to get on the next ride, we decided to enter the Kingdom of the Pharaohs. This probably was the longest queue of the day but still went down quite fast. The children were still so happy and not yet tired so the queue went smoothly. I did have a barrage of questions about The Egyptians (year 4’s next terms project), I couldn’t answer most of them… opps! This is such a fun ride, laser guns with a counter… GAME ON DADDY… I lost! My eldest took it on the chin and was a true gent to his younger brother when he announced he had in fact won. We all high fived him and let him bask in his glory however false that it was! Bless. We walk passed the fairground style games, as tempted as my eldest was to try and win a large blue minion for his brother the thought of carry it around did not appeal!
Onto Pirate Shores and straight onto the log flume… no queue! YAAAY. Fantastic we love the log flume, well 3 of us love the log flume. It was a first for my youngest and at that moment (caught on camera) of decent there were tears… followed by laughter as soon as he saw the NAKED LEGO pirate and all was forgotten. We were all soaking and did I mention it was a cold day? So we very wisely invested in the £2 air dryer! We all stepped in and warmed our cockles for a few minutes. Grabbed a bucket of candy floss, coffee and a hot chocolate at a vendor and laughed our way to the Knights Kingdom. Again a split because of the age range of the children, my youngest chose daddy to accompany him to the small rollercoaster while I went with my eldest to the Dragon. He was desperate to sit at the back and low and behold we did. This is a great ride. We laughed together at the ups and downs of the rollercoaster, took the mickey out of each other’s reactions and bonded. Fab. Our photo was awful nothing to do with the technology just my awful face, my son looked so happy… remember those moments I mentioned earlier, perfection! We left the Knights Castle on a quest to find the rest of our family. It turned out that the youngest decided that he did not want to go on a ride instead play in the fabulous pirate play area. I do not think I have ever stepped onto such a springy surface in a play area. Felt really safe if there were to be a tumble, and that’s just me! The eldest and I again separated ourselves to go on the pirate ship. It must be our lucky day as there was NO queue and we got the seats we wanted right at the back. Now here is where it turned a bit drawn out. We waited a good 5 minutes maybe more seated waiting for adult riders to be found to be seated at either end of the rows. This has never been an issue before and it just made the ride seem so short. Bit let down to be honest, all that wait for that… felt flat.
I understand that there are safety precautions but it did seem a bit the world’s gone mad.
Time to leave our pirate friends, and head into Land of the Vikings.
Onto the Spinning Spider. We talked it through and decided that we were not going to freak the youngest out by spinning the inner wheel. Little did we know that he is a fiend for spinning and belly laughs all around as he joined in making us spin faster. There was no queue when the ride finished and the lady operator asked if we wanted to stay on… the boys decided for us. YES! This time we went even faster. They would’ve stayed for another go but Mummy and Daddy said a firm but giddy NO. I am not sure how quickly the boys made it up the winding path to Vikings’ River Splash but it was fast. Yes you’ve heard it before… NO QUEUE, luckily for me not a lot of wetness either. The sky now was turning rapidly darker and a downpour imminent, a quick go for the boys on the water guns to squirt the other riders on the rapids and a very quick walk as it started to rain to one of our favourite parts of LEGOLAND, the Star Wars experience. We have 2 LEGO Crazy Boys, we also have 2 Star Wars Crazy Boys. Heaven. This is an amazing interactive experience. The boys were in wonder as scene after scene and planet after planet and battles is laid out in front of your eyes. By now it was 5.10pm. A quick stop at the shop, well if I am honest a stop at the shop was next. I think the quick was hopeful on my part! The children were in heaven. A Charlie’s Chocolate Factory for LEGO lovers. From the smallest pieces, Duplo, LEGO Juniors, LEGO Friends, Simpsons, Super Heroes etc… etc… it is an amazing den for children. Some parents though a little bit scared as their child picks out the £80 LEGO set and try to steer them to a smaller on budget keep sake of the day. Luckily ours had taken their pocket money savings and topped up with £20 each both left the shop extremely happy with their purchases. One last toilet stop before we go… which were as clean as the first stop.
LEGOLAND is brilliant. It is in no way a cheap day out. With just entry a family of four will be over £128 lighter (April special deal if booked online 2 days in advance). There are ways that a family can save money. LEGOLAND takes part in promotions, token collections in national papers for free tickets, 2 for 1, Club card points or a Merlin Annual Pass can get you free entry. Booking online in 7 days + in advance can save you 25% off the gate price.
You could take a picnic. We did this on our first visit when my youngest was a baby and we had a buggy to carry picnic around in. There are lockers around the park, maybe you could lock your lunch in one of those and collect when ready. No visit to the shop.
However although it is not cheap, it is great quality, the rides are all in great condition (there are more than 55 rides and attractions). We did not even scratch the surface of what is available to do. We missed the Pirate show that we usually see… a tad cold to be jumping in the water I told them. The park is so clean! I saw several members of staff walking around with litter grabbers throughout the day. There are lots of bins and they do encourage recycling. The staff were all amazingly friendly, all well trained and smart. Going back to a previous visit when my youngest was a baby, it hit home that they have breast feeding cubicles within the baby change feed area. TOP MARKS. Anywhere that helped me breast feed in comfort is amazing.
I think that is should be left to the children to end the review, and this is what happened. We had not even got out of the park when my youngest looked up at me and asked, “Can we come to LEGOLAND again another day?”
They loved it, we loved it! Thank you so much.
Tickets cost £43.80 for children and seniors and £48 for adults. Save up to 25% buy booking online.
For more information, rides & attractions or to book tickets visit www.legoland.co.uk.
LEGOLAND Windsor, Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4AY