The thing about making promises to kids is, you really do have to keep your word. So on Sunday, even though it was actually starting to SNOW we headed off to Legoland for a special press preview before the park opens this weekend – wrapped up in every available piece of clothing we could find.
As soon as we arrived we did impressions of headless chickens at a theme park, trying to decide which ride to go on first, before finally looking at the park map (doh) and agreeing that it made sense to go on the rides where we were likely to get wet, last.
Since we hadn’t been to Legoland for a few years there were quite a few new attractions to discover, including the absolutely brilliant Atlantis Submarine Voyage, which gives you the chance to ‘control’ a submarine as you go in search of underwater life. ‘A SHARK,’ Ben screamed as he saw the teeny tiny cousin of Jaws swim past. Afterwards Harriet rushed over to play with some sort of sea crab and Ben popped up inside a tropical fish tank.
The new 4D movie experience Lands of Chima is fab. The kids also went on old favourites include the Boating school and the Driving school. Sadly Fairy Tale Brook (always my favourite) was being renovated.
We also went on the Dragon rollercoaster and the Kingdom of the Pharaohs. Pirate Falls and Miniland we saved until last, when we could no longer feel our faces and the mini Buckingham Palace was covered in snow.
Despite the bitter cold, though, we had a fantastic day at Legoland, with lots of laughs.
But what shocked me was how much everything costs.
Legoland entry tickets, for example, cost from £34.20 per adult, and £27.45 per child, if booked online. If you don’t take a packed lunch – and when it’s not warm enough to sit outside chances are you probably won’t be self-catering, unless you’re really hardy – then the food options are limited. We ate at the Pirates BBQ – £5.45 for a kids’ meal, nearly £10 for an adult’s – and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the food was awful. Not through any fault of the staff, I should add, who were absolutely charming. But because of the poor quality burgers and tasteless fries, which may as well have been made from LEGO bricks. We did however enjoy a box of mini doughnuts (£3.95 for 20, and warm).
My other niggle is Q Bot, which is the Legoland version of Fastpass. Unlike Disneyland Paris, however, where it’s free to Fastpass and based on first come first served, at Legoland Q Bot starts at £15 per person and goes up to a whopping £70. And that’s without the cost of the entry ticket and the yucky lunch.
We finished our day at Legoland exploring the Star Wars Miniland, which features scenes from all the movies, faithfully recreated in LEGO. There are buttons to push and all sorts of things going on and it’s genius. And ultimately, this is what Legoland is about, and why we’ve returned year after year – the magic of LEGO, and having fun.
And here, to prove my point, are Ben and Harriet on the Dragon rollercoaster.