Last fall when we learned they were building a new LEGOLAND in the US, we knew we needed to go. In July 2019 we went to the original LEGOLAND in Denmark and enjoyed an unforgettable adventure.
The 41 mile drive took us about an hour and 15 minutes as the roads are 2 lanes and wind through vibrant small towns dotted with red barns and antique shops.
We lucked out and received a free early check-in to our room – a welcome surprise since we had a crew ready to potty and unwind a bit before hitting the theme park itself.
Park tickets are available by reservation (prepurchase) only as a way to limit volumes and be more Covid-19 compliant. We took advantage of a 2 day park pass with one hotel night promo which is just the amount of time needed to explore everything without feeling rushed.
The park offers a combination of visual candy (hundreds of LEGO sculptures) along with rides and carnival style games. Everything is designed for younger families, with rides even broken out into ages 3-5 and 6-14 in some areas.
First stop: the LEGO Carousel… kids can ride Duplo block animals or sit in LEGO teacups that spin. #1BigSis picked a giraffe with red spots and pink stripes.
After some construction time, we turned right and headed down the hill to MiniLand, the iconic miniature cityscapes of all LEGOLANDs. We visited NYC (complete with Upper, Mid and Lower Manhattan), San Fran, DC, and many other US landmarks.
Because the park is just a few months old, the cars and cultural references in these models are up to date. When we were in Denmark, the original LEGOLAND, I distinctly remember the building replicas surrounded by 1980s model cars, indicative of the era in which they were constructed.
We are just a week away from the 20th Anniversary of the attacks on September 11. This morning I watched part of a documentary commemorating the milestone anniversary and reflected on just how much has changed these last 20 years.
Not widely known, but Amir is obnoxiously good at winning carnival game prizes. Lucky for us, he’s that dad that always wins the giant stuffed animal on just the first or second try, ensuring that #1BigSis never goes home empty handed, and that I am constantly rearranging our giant stuffy collection back home to make room for new friends.
After game time, Amir took #1BigSis on the Pirate Ship Splash Battle (video below speaks 1000 words) and the Anchor’s Away spinning ship. #1LilBrother and I hung back with the stroller, and both our stomachs are a bit more delicate.
Lunch was admittedly the low point for the day. The park has been open just a few months now, but food service is definitely an area for improvement. We expect theme park food prices but have likely been spoiled over the years by Busch Gardens Williamsburg which, while costly, offers food that matches the price tag.
As I mentioned, the rides are well-suited for various age ranges. The cars are a popular spot, with ample staffing to keep drivers moving forward without crashing.
After the rides, we headed indoors to the Build & Test Lab where kids (and maybe an adult or two) can build cars they send down steep ramps and buildings they can subject to earthquake style forces to see how they hold up.
After the park, we headed back to our Kingdom to rehydrate, rest and change a diaper or two. #1BigSis watched the LEGO Ninjago Movie from her Kingdom bunk bed while I took in a little HGTV (my ultimate vacation relaxation).
For dinner, we stuck around the hotel and enjoyed pizza and Caesar salad at The Brick House. Dinner was admittedly much tastier than lunch, and offered a variety of family-style dishes for sharing such as roast chicken and veggies in a pan and pesto pasta.
Tomorrow we have another day at the park. We’ll explore the back half of the park that we breezed past today, including the Kingdom and Ninjago themed areas.
Time to put my feet up and take some Tylenol. Phew.