We've been meaning to visit Legoland for ages but between it being so very expensive and us just being a bit rubbish, we hadn't got around to it before now. Then two weeks ago Legoland held a flash sale for their annual passes giving a 50% discount. With only a few weeks of term time left to visit before the summer break and with X starting 'proper school' in September, I jumped on it. £55 for a whole year seemed a lot more appealing than £40 for one day and I was keen to squeeze in a term time visit whilst we could.
So passes ordered, S booked Friday off work and plans were made! We crossed our fingers for decent weather and fortune smiled on us with one of the most glorious days we've had this year. Friday rolled around and off we went - the traffic gods smiling upon us as well. By the time we'd parked and walked to the entrance it was pretty much dead on 9:30am (the time the gates open). Then there was plenty of time go to the toilet and check the map of the rides before we were allowed through into the main park at 10am. Abandoning all advice to go to the far end of the park first, we headed for the closest ride and walked straight on. Sky Rider is a high-up monorail that gave us a great view over the park, particularly nearby Miniland.
X wanted to go on the Raft Racers so we headed there next. These are basically water slides you go down in a dinghy. We'd done a similar ride at Woodlands Park in Devon so I was confident X would love this and I was right. Annoyingly you have to go down in pairs so, as a family of three, this didn't initially seem ideal. However, we were able to take advantage of the 'parent swap' system which allowed the boys to ride whilst I waited at the top and then X to come back up and ride with me without us having to rejoin the back of the queue. This also allowed me to benefit from S learning the hard way that the boats are soaking wet when you get in them! So I saved myself a wet bum by throwing on one of those attractive disposable rain ponchos. Getting splashed is one thing - a soggy bottom is quite another.
Since the boys were already soaked, they decided to change into swim stuff and head into the splash area in Duplo Valley. This looked amazing and there was lots of seating available for those parents (like me) opting to watch rather than participate. I thought X would be in here for hours but the water was too cold for their tastes (despite it being a scorching day) and so it was only a short splash-about. By this point it was already 11:30am and X was hungry so we took advantage of having a good spot to sit in the sunshine and ate the sandwiches we brought with us. Food is incredibly expensive in Legoland so we opted for a simple picnic from home and I would advise others to do the same. We also took our own water bottle and it's easy to refill these at the various water fountains dotted around the park (they will also refill them with tap water for free at the 'hydration station' kiosks if you ask).
Picnic eaten, we headed on to Adventure Land and made our stop at Atlantis. This is a 'submarine' ride that allows you to view fish (both real and Lego) through the glass panels on the side of the vehicle. This was only short but held X's interest pretty well. Once we came back out into daylight, we took the opportunity to ask another visitor to take a photo of our family all together as I knew we'd end up with just photos of X with only one of us otherwise. We then headed on to the Dino Safari. I had been quite excited for this but actually it was the most disappointing ride of the day; there are only a few dinosaurs and the vehicle went past too quickly to see them in much detail as they were positioned quite close together. The dinosaurs are also supposed to be animatronic but this must be periodic as I didn't see any of them move as we went past.
An ice cream in Heartlake City and then we were into the Kingdom of the Pharoahs for a balloon ride on the Aero Nomad and to channel our inner adventurers on the Laser Raiders. This was our longest queue of the day by far at around an hour. X was as good as gold and at least there were some Lego models to see. When we finally boarded, X found the noise and the dark for this ride a little scary but we all enjoyed using our laser guns to shoot at the targets - we even hit some!
For our final ride of the day, we headed over into Knights Kingdom to where The Dragon lives. This is a roller coaster ride and I'd been looking forward to this one all day. I originally thought we'd be better with the smaller Dragon's Apprentice roller coaster for X but I'm glad we didn't as he absolutely loved this bigger, faster ride. It was brilliant and definitely my favourite ride of the day. I would have liked to have had two loops of the track though as you only get one and it's over pretty quickly. Still worth queuing for though. We also splashed out and bought the photo that had been taken of us on the ride as it was a great action shot and a nice memento to end the day.
Rides over and almost ready to go home, we paid a brief visit to Miniland where you can see Lego sculptures of famous landmarks. This didn't hold X's interest for long but they were very impressive to see. After that we headed back to The Beginning for one final stop - at the Big Lego Shop! As the name suggests, this is a big shop full of all the Lego sets you could imagine. As it was our first visit, we allowed X to take his pick within a price bracket and he chose a fab police van set. Finally, eight hours after our arrival, we exited the gates and headed home with happy smiles and aching legs (though my new flip flops kept my feet super comfy all day!).
I'd definitely recommend Legoland to anyone with kids and, living just under 40 minutes drive away, I think we will get our money's worth out of our annual passes. In the words of the movie theme song...everything is awesome! It really is.
Have you visited Legoland? What rides did you enjoy best? We'd love recommendations of what to try out on our next visit!