It seems like ages ago that we went to Legoland, although it was after half term. Time flies when you’ve got blog posts to write! We’d received vouchers after writing my bucket and spade list post, and I’d decided on the day after half term as a good day to go. Someone had told me that Mondays were generally quiet in term time so we packed our bag, sun lotion and drinks and off we drove.
I’m originally from Windsor but when I was there it was still Windsor Safari Park, so it’s a bit like déjà vu. I’ve only ever been to Legoland for work meetings, so it was nice to see it from a leisure perspective. Only I’d not counted on the fact that that Monday seemed to be an inset day for an awful lot of children. Arggghh. Thankfully we arrived just after opening, but crikey it was busy. And disappointingly, Legoland didn’t seem to have known either how busy it was going to be. Thankfully N isn’t really big enough to do the faster rides, and those were the ones with the hour long queues, although we did have to queue for 30 minutes on a couple of rides.
I’d checked out on the Legoland website for advice before going, and decided that we’d head to Duplo Valley first of all. On the way we stopped at Sky Rider (making the most of a short queue on arrival) we saw to get N into the mood and trying out the rides. He loved driving around in the air above everyone else. Then it was off to get him changed and into the Splash Safari. I’d packed N’s swimwear and it was just warm enough for a good old splash. There was only one other boy in the area at first, so N was happy to choose where he wanted to go and what water he wanted to shoot or spray.
His face was so funny, there was so much water to watch out for. He likes it in the swimming pool, and is gradually getting better with showers (he doesn’t have a problem having water over his head or anything), but I imagined that he’d want to go running in and out of everything. But no. He emerged afterwards, and was hardly wet on his swimwear. A bit of damp hair and wet legs and that was it! Not like the other children who’d arrived who were loving standing underneath the water everywhere.
The changing rooms are perfectly fine. Nice and colourful, although N wanted to know why they were outside. I have to remember that he’s only 4, and doesn’t understand the logic of an outdoor splashzone likely means outdoor changing facilities.
Duplo Valley has a great playground – lots of climbing frames, all themed around different houses or building types- so fire station, police station, castle, pirate ship etc. I think N was a bit overwhelmed by the choice of what to see and do, because he just wandered rather than playing and using the equipment. But he then spotted the little train so I had to cram my legs into a carriage to go on it with him.
The Valley Airport ride was next on the agenda. These helicopters were a great idea because the child can drive them up and down, and turn them left or right. N loved these, taking control straight away.
Earlier on we’d queued for a while because N had wanted to go on the river raft ride, but once we’d go to the top and N saw the dinghies he wasn’t keen so we left. Argh, annoying – although not as annoying as all the children I saw crying because they’d got to the front of the queue to then be measured and told they’re too short. I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t measure their children at the start of the queue when they enter it, or go to the area where they officially measure the child’s height then provide a wristband so you know which rides they can go on.
I did wonder after that whether N would go on any water rides, but yes, he wanted to go on the Fairy Tale Brook. This was a gentle boat ride looking at all the fairy tale Lego creations. He loved it, pointing out all the characters, and even though we had a touch of rain it didn’t worry us.
He kept saying ‘it’s all Lego’, and once we got home later he kept telling people the same thing.
It was nearly time for lunch but we headed to Lego City so N could have a go at driving the cars in L Drivers. These are great, there’s a track for age 3-5 year olds and one which is much more exciting around a whole ‘city’ for 6 years+. The children have a ‘driving lesson’. In the younger ones it entails, strap yourself in, foot down for forward, foot off for stop. It was really sweet watching N sitting in the ‘class’.
He looked like the youngest one there, but it was certainly noticeable on the track which children were used to driving vehicles of some sort. There was only N and another older child who didn’t crash into others, or the kerb. Great fun.
After queuing over 30 minutes to have a go on the track, N wasn’t fussed about getting his own driving licence which saved me money. He just wanted to get some lunch.
I never take more than snacks with us when we go out for the day. Because it’s just me carrying bags, I didn’t want to carry lunch as well as everything else, so the plan was to just get a sandwich from somewhere. But this is where the plans all fell down. For some reason, none of the snack stops were open. No ice cream stands. None of the sandwich/café stops. I presume because it was outside of school holidays, but big mistake for Legoland and their income missing out on all those sales.
We ended up heading to the new Heartlake City, hoping that the café there would have something quick to takeaway. We’d just missed the pirate show, and the Lego Friends show was due to start in a bit so it was packed out beside the lake arena area. Needless to say there was a queue for the cafe. By the time we got to the front of the queue – just after midday, we found there was no food. So, a café that either wasn’t selling food (isn’t that just a coffee shop?) or had run out by midday! Not only that, but they’d not thought to put a sign on the door our outside telling people there was no food.
So, being hungry by that stage (and annoyed), we ended up in the Pizza and pasta buffet place. This was more expensive than I’d planned, but did the job, and it even got N eating (my) pizza (and he’s eaten it since then as well – result!).
Refuelled, we wandered over through the various areas so we could get to Pirate Shores to play at Castaway Camp. It’s a playground, but is a little big for N.
He was just wandering backwards and forwards, but couldn’t get any further up, so I ended up rescuing him so we could find some more rides to go on.
In Land of the Pharoahs, the ‘Thunder Blazer’ carousel drew us in – I thought I’d get away with him going on his own, but he wasn’t tall enough to I had to stand next to him.
We didn’t stay long in that area. The problem with (or good thing about) Legoland is that there’s so much to see, and so many areas to explore. To see them all definitely takes longer than a day. On the way to the Knight’s Kingdom we spotted these beautiful poppies.
N just had to stop and have a touch of them.
I was astounded in the Knights Kingdom. I’d only headed that way so he could see the castle. But instead he decided he wanted to go on the Knight’s Quest ride. He was fine heightwise, but in the past he’s not been that good with rides that have spun and gone on a long time. This one just goes round a circular track and up and down, but it was seriously fast. I thought he’d say no by the time we got to the front of the queue, but he was determined to go on it. I was surprised by how young some of the children were that were going on, but every child on it seemed fine, even the smallest ones. N loved the ride – I think he’s going to be like me on rollercoasters and rides – laughing lots and talking lots rather than screaming.
We didn’t have much time left, and I wanted to show N the Miniland Lego creations. Of course he’d spotted the Fire Academy and wanted to have a go at putting out the fires with the fire engines. This was the place that was different to all the others. There was a big queue, and no signs to say how long the wait was. The queue was talking ages, compared with all the others which had at least moved quite fast. We’d hardly moved at all 25 minutes in when N announced he wanted the toilet. So we gave up queueing and set off for toilets.
The toilets seemed to create an impression on N, purely for the size of the cubicles. Obviously being a family park, they’ve catered to allow a parent to have room to go into cubicles with their children. Every time since that we’ve been into a public toilet, N’s made some comment about how small they are compared with Legoland’s.
We stopped off briefly back again in Brickville in Duplo Valley for a quick play, then it was through to Miniland.
Miniland is what Legoland is really about. Displays of lots of different countries and landscapes of the world. It’s great spotting the ones you recognise and if you’re lucky like us, you can round a corner and see the Lego designers and builders completing and repairing various buildings and models.
It was great to see London, especially as only 3 days before we’d visited London, and saw some of the same sights in real life that Legoland presented.
It was unfortunately that some of the interactive displays didn’t seem to be working on the day were were there. I quite fancied some drag racing. But N still enjoyed looking at and enjoying the buildings.
N really couldn’t get his head round this running water on the walk back to The Beginning. I tried to explain where the pump was that the water was falling from and the track the water was following, but he just wasn’t connecting. I suppose N’s head was just full of other thoughts.
Time was getting on and we wanted to be out of Windsor before rush hour, so we just had time for an ice cream and a visit to the main Lego shop to buy a small box of Lego. One Monster Truck and a Twister later, and we were heading back to the car.
Legoland really is a great day out (or weekend if you can spare it). It is expensive, especially with all the queuing, so do look out for deals. There are queue jumper tickets (which really wind me up – surely that’s so anti-British!?!) that you can buy, but that’s a lot of money to add on top. Then parking tickets (grr, another annoyance – we didn’t see a bus either in Windsor or in the car park, so how else are you meant to get there – along with family and bags/lunches etc.
If I went again, I’d probably think about taking food – again pricy, as expected, but I’d not take the risk again of food places not being open.
The depressing thing is that I got a taste of what every day trip out will be like in terms of business, post N starting school in September.
Have you been to Legoland? What was your favourite part/ride, and what recommendations do you have for others going?
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