The Legoland Experience

Dare I say it? I like Legoland more than Disneyland. It’s less crowded, less overtly commercial, and since Neil’s been going there since the year it opened, we already have many fond family memories there. Disneyland works hard at being a pleasant place, and it is an exceptional amusement park, but it can’t overcome my memories of 2-1/2 hour waits, bad dates I’ve had there, and my unpreventable nostalgia for the old $13 ticket books which required you to ride a carousel as well as a rollercoaster .

Neil has an ambassador card, and we hadn’t used his complimentary tickets yet, so making Legoland a part of our surprise Hollywood audition adventure weekend was a no-brainer. By now, we know the park pretty well, so we made a beeline for the few rides that have the longest lines as the day goes on. One of them, the Skycopter, was closed until 10:30, so we let each of our children drive the cars. This year, Kelly was old enough for the Volvo Junior Driving School.


Even though she drove like this and constantly needed to be steered by the park employee, she still got a driver’s license–twice!

Another nice thing about Legoland is that it has a lot of play areas, not formal rides, so to say, and these are actually our family’s favorites, so we could enjoy the park without having to wait in a line at all. There’s a Hideaways corner, where children can climb up and around and though a maze like structure, and a Playtown with small slides, playhouses, a small train, and, of course, Duplo blocks to build with. Neil loves the Adventure Club, where you walk through looking for hidden keys. Kelly can’t get enough of the fountains, and we’re sure to always pack a bathing suit and a towel for her when we go:


And for the adults, the Legoland Miniland is absolutely amazing. It recreates the highlights of interesting American cities, including Ferndale, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C. This year, they’ve added Las Vegas, and we marvelled at wonders like the Legoland Mirage, complete with fountains:


and noted omissions, like Caesar’s Palace (our favorite casino) and the rollercoaster on New York New York.

Legoland also constantly keeps adding rides. Usually, Peter and Neil go to a Brickmaster session in the morning when they visit, so we hadn’t had a chance to ride some of the new rides yet. This time we could. Normally fearless Kelly looked nervous on Captain Cranky’s ride, which was like riding a canoe on rapids. We tried out the world’s smallest flume, and Kelly looked eagerly at the adjoining water park. Peter went on the Knights’ Tournament, which has frightened both me and Neil, because you’re essentially at the end of a huge robotic arm that whirls and twists you around. Peter discovered we could “bomb” him with water while he was being twirled, so we did exactly that:


Then Peter dared me to try it, and since there was no line, I did. It was actually a lot of fun. I likened it to a horseback ride, because the horses I ride put a lot of energy into trying to get me off their back, and if they had hands, I’m sure riding would be exactly like this.

And this was the year Neil dared to ride the rollercoasters, and found he was having a great time. In fact, there was so much to do and see, we barely had time to squeeze it all in to the day. We headed back north to Los Angeles, tired but happy.

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