Legoland. The day we heard it was being built in Florida sent chills through our spine. My husband was born to be a Legogineer (if only we wouldn’t have to move to Denmark) and has trained both of our children in the appreciation and art of the Lego craft. Ali can build a Lego set from the directions at a speed that would beat any teenage boy, and Noah will play with any Lego automobile for hours until it literally falls apart and I take it away from him amidst a gullywashing of tears. Then I put the pieces on the mantel to wait for his Daddy to get home and rebuild it into a completely new and magical automobile.
So, although I personally have zero Lego skills, we are a Lego family. And when we got turned away from Disney, we knew exactly where we would go next.
We walked into the park and the kids began frantically running from sculpture to sculpture, assuming I’m sure that the world had ended and we had been whisked off to heaven, which certainly has streets made of gold Legos.
Of course they could never run to the SAME sculpture, but fortunately, Legoland was infinitely less crowded than the maxed out 100,000 people at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, so I managed to keep my freaking out to a minimum.
The great thing about Legoland is that it is made for younger kids.
And I have younger kids.
So the rides were much less imposing, and had nice, achievable height limits.
Ali and Chris rode a rollercoaster that required 40”, and Noah and I went on a Lego train ride that required 36” (of which Noah was just barely.)
Of course, my risk-averse six-year-old hated the ridiculously tame rollercoaster, but Noah, after realizing that he couldn’t escape the rollbars of his ride,
really enjoyed it.
They had a lot of “typical little kid” attractions that seemed totally lame to me but my kids loved, such as a two-story carousel and a rope-treehouse area. I think they appreciated having familiar fun mixed in with the unfamiliar.
Speaking of unfamiliar, Ali was just barely old enough to ride the big kid lego cars (which still moved at a snail’s pace, making her very happy.)
They were for 6-13 year olds, so when they separated the kids from the parents, I was very nervous on her behalf. She’s not exactly the do-it-without-a-responsible-adult’s-help kind of kid.
But when they opened the gate, she ran, found a car, buckled up, lifted her thumb to let them know she was ready, then drove away.
…immediately crashing into a wall and getting stuck.
I just knew she was going to panic, with huge kids zooming up and almost rear-ending her, but miraculously, she unjammed herself and took off, showing a streak of independence that I was elated to experience from the sidelines.
Noah, meanwhile, was more than a little malcontent.
Because all he had wanted to do from the first mention of the word “Lego” was to be put in a quiet room full of Legos ready to be built. And he let us know that at least 256 times in the first hour on site.
Because that’s what you get when you build a theme park around an introverted activity – unhappy introverts.
Sure, he liked sitting in the big car,
But not without asking once more when he was going to get to build.
We distracted him for a bit with what ended up being the kid’s favorite part of the entire day: Miniland USA, where they had a stunning collection of Lego scenes, including a Star Wars area,
(which they didn’t understand but appreciated nonetheless),
(Especially Darth Vader,)
(Where Noah checked out things a little too close for Darth’s comfort,)
and many cities such as San Francisco, where Noah especially obsessed over the fire truck saving the crazy cat lady with curlers in her hair and dozens of cats,
(“But can I get in and play with them, Mommy?”)
(“No. FOR THE LOVE JUST LOOK!”)
Chris and I appreciated the San Fran Full House scene, although we thought an angry Alanis Morissette pining after uncle Joey would have really added a lot.
New York city was fantastically huge,
Washington DC was complete with a moving marching band,
Pirate ships floated along a castle wall,
Sunken ships were off the coast of St. Augustine,
The space program was represented well,
And a bunch of other cities in Florida that I didn’t photograph because I was too busy sprinting after my amazed two-year-old.
Also, each exhibit had buttons to prompt interaction, such as making a firetruck squirt water at the kids, the marching band play music, and so on.
Various other life-size Lego creations were spread all throughout the park, including this Ford SUV (if only it had been a flex),
And impressive Zebra butt.
Because what Lego creator doesn’t want to figure out the dimensions and make a plan for a life-sized Zebra butt?
But despite the double stroller, zero-to-minimal ride lines, firetruck water squirts, five-minute Orlando rainstorms, and the fact that my kids are from Alabama, the heat and the park exhausted them quickly.
Which is when we realized: we make kids like modern lightbulbs: low-energy. All they want to do is lay on their stomachs and build Legos. And that’s okay.
So we took them in a store to cool off, where Ali went crazy with her Dad at the Pick a Brick wall and Noah was SO RELIEVED to FINALLY see some Legos he could build, for Brick’s sake.
And ultimately, what they remembered most fondly were the water misters spread throughout the park.
But we came, we saw, we conquered,
And we didn’t leave until our kids were swimming in their own sweat and had adopted a perma-yawn.
Which took an entire three hours and thirty-four minutes.
Because we do theme parks like the little old lady that goes to the buffet to get half a chicken breast and nine green beans.