Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Legoland California

It is hard to give Legoland a review when we went to Disneyland the next day.  Disneyland has such detail in everything and most everything is well maintained.

I found the hours to be very restrictive.  They opened at 10am when we went and closed at 5.  It takes a little bit to get a feel for the park when it is your first time.  Once you do then you only have a small amount of time to get a goodly number of things in.

We went to Legoland on a Monday in early to mid May.  It wasn't too crowded, but they also had rides where half the seating for the rides was shut down.  Perhaps that was because it was a slower time of year for them, but it did significantly impact wait times on some of the more popular rides.

One thing I just found that is interesting that Disneyland doesn't appear to offer is a Google Street View through the park

After reviewing things after the fact I am seeing several things on their web site that we did not go see that could've been interesting.  I did not realize you could take a tour of the Lego factory.

The rides at Legoland that I went on were all very tight for me to get my legs into.  I'm just over 6 feet tall.  I don't think that is an uncommon height.  It made for a couple of potential safety issues.  As the rides spun you around my knees were banging into things which could've caused injury.  Also, as I entered and exited the rides there was potential for me to fall as it was difficult to keep my body stable.  Just to be clear, the resolution is not to make maximum height restrictions on the rides, since there are many people that will be over six feet tall or have long legs that will come to the park with their kids.  Restricting who can ride would decrease the value of their experience.  Disney's rides were tighter than they should've been, but Legoland was worse.

Land of Adventure
Beetle Bounce
My nine and up kids seemed to enjoy this ride.  It had a bench that seated six or eight people.  It had a bar that came down and secured you.  Then the bench would ride up and down much like an elevator, except that it didn't go all the way to the top before bringing you part way back down.  It would go up and down at varying speeds and bounce you.  My nine year old boy liked it, even though he would hunch over the security pad and wrap his arms around it as if he was terrified.  He went back on it several times.  I think the
wait time was ten minutes at most for this ride.  They could've trimmed that significantly, by having the entire ride operating.  There was only one pole giving people rides.  There was at least one other pole there and it was not in use.

Cargo Ace
This was my seven year old daughter's favorite ride.  It is several little planes that fly in an oval low to the ground.  On the long side of the oval it is just a flat ride.  As you curve at the end of the oval it tilts you up in the air slightly, banks, and increases in speed.  Then quickly slows back down on the straight away.  I don't like spinning, jerky, get your tummy rides and this was nice for me, other than my knees banging into the metal front of the cockpit.

Dune Raiders
This was basically just a stick your feet in a bag and ride down a big slide.  As big slides go, it wasn't that big. Again the bag was difficult for me to fit in, but it was a nice simple ride.

Fun Town
Skipper School
This ride was drained and not functioning when we were there.  Not sure what the issue was.  Maybe it was under maintenance, which I saw no one working on it, or perhaps it was a cost cutting measure during the off season.  Seems like they would want off seasoners to have a good experience too, so they can keep people coming to the park all year.  This was not our experience.

Sky Patrol
This was a slow ride that had a little helicopter that was pushed up in the air by a pole under it.  It went up and then turned a little.  I could tell if the kids had control over the turning and/or the height they went up, but it appeared that it was possible that they did.

Volvo Driving Schools
This was was a confusing attraction.  They had two courses.  One for kids 3-5 years old and one for older kids.  Our kids were interested and they got in line and then we started seeing signs that seemed to indicate that you had to get them a license to participate.  The license appeared to be five dollars and then something extra that we didn't understand, so we gave up.  Not really a great advertisement for Volvo.

It looked like when we got into the park there was VIP parking for anyone driving a Volvo. It was weird and I don't understand the connection to Volvo and Lego.  Maybe Volvo purchased them at some point.

Pirate Shores
Captain Cranky's Challenge
This ride is a small pirate ship.  It starts out swinging the bow and the stern back and forth.  It then turns you sideways and slides on that same track.  I was expecting big swings which I don't like, so I was very apprehensive.  Once I realized that it wasn't going to be as bad I liked the ride, but by that time it was over.

Splash Battle
This ride was pretty lame.  The cannon they give you to shoot the other players on the ride can rarely reach them.  You ride the little boat around a predefined track.

The one potential great thing about this ride is that the cannon is positioned that when you turn one of the corners the water will reach the walkway outside the ride.  Not even people in line for the ride, but just people trying to find their way around the park.  I had a really good shot at an unsuspecting mom with a stroller and a couple of kids, but I did not take it because I felt bad and I had no child riding with me to blame it on.

Treasure Falls
This ride was good for those that walk a baby coaster experience, because they can't stomach regular coasters.  People like me.  You around in this water trough and drop and splash a couple of times.  I was apprehensive about the drops at first, but they weren't bad.  A little jolting, which I don't like, but not bad.

The bad thing is that the seat is terrible uncomfortable.  As I recall it was a fairly thin piece of wood or metal barely big enough to sit on.

Castle Hills
This was one of our favorites.  It is a huge multilevel play structure.  Things to walk, climb, and swing on.  one might call it a jungle gym.

There was a single file entrance/exit and an attendant that wouldn't allow children to leave without a grown up.

There was a lot of seating, but it was most on knee high curbs keeping in shrubbery.  There was one three person bench, but was taken up by a young couple making out.

Knights Tournament
This was one of my twelve and fifteen year old kids' favorites.  It was a robot arm that articulated into varying different configuration to twist and turn the two seater at the end of the arm.  It was an interesting concept.

They had four arms, but only two of them were being used.  I think my kids waited as much as a half hour to get on it.

The ride had four or five levels.  Level one did not turn you upside down.  The higher levels turned you upside sound and twisted and turned you about at increasing amounts depending on what level you chose to experience when you got on the ride.

Royal Joust
This ride consisted of a slow moving Lego horse on a track that wound through a courtyard.  There were voices that played as you went through the course.  It was nice for my youngest, but boring for the nine and twelve year old.

The Dragon
The waiting line sent you into a castle.  I didn't go on the ride, but I think there was stuff to look at while you waited in there.

The ride was a very basic roller coaster.  It had a little speed with relatively mild twists, turns, leans, and hill.

Wild Woods Golf
This was a miniature golf course.  We skipped it, since it appeared to cost extra.

Granny's Apple Fries
There was an interesting food concept that I saw people walking around with.  They appeared to be a small French fry looking box with thin sliced fried apples in it with a plop of whipped cream or frosting on the side for dipping them in.  I would've like to try them, but the portion was small and pricey.

Imagination Zone
Aquazone Wave Racer
This was a nice little ride, but very basic.  You ride in this little jet ski sized thing.  It was nice because you stand.  It made it easy to get in and out of and also to ride as you didn't have to pack yourself into it.  It stood two people, maybe three if they are small.  The back person had a comfy mess thing to lean on.  It was very nice.

It gave you the opportunity to get a little wet.  While you road spectators could press buttons and make little explosions in the water.  It didn't get you a ton wet, but it gave the spectators some fun to try.

The ride was a attached to a circular thing that spun you around.  It wasn't very exciting, but if you wanted more excitement you could turn your steering while out and swing the vehicle away from the dock and get a little centrifugal force thrill and your feet get a little wet too when you do that.

Bionicle Blaster
These were little spinning pods much like the tea cups at Disneyland.  These pods were shaped with Bionicle parts.  It was a decent ride and I think all of my kids liked it.

Lego Technic Coaster
The concept they were pretending here is that you were testing an experimental vehicle.  You road in this dune buggy sort of thing on a roller coaster track.  It had big hills, speed, twists, turns, and the whole bit.  They even take your picture at the big part and try to sell it to you.

I was standing and trying to take pictures, but really had no good vantage point.  Afterward I saw the pictures they had taken on the screen.  I didn't need a profession photo.  A picture of these screen would've been good enough for me, but as I was trying to take it the girl behind the counter was yelling to me to not take pictures of the pictures.  For some reason I let her sway me and I really regret it.  Do they really have a right to tell me I can't?

I contrast this with the Disneyland experience.  Disney is called the happiest place on Earth.  One of the reasons for that is how they deal with situations such as this.  At least one of the Disney's rides let me email the pictures they took of me on the ride if I wanted, to myself for free.  Also, at Disneyland where there were places where they had professional photographers that would sell you the pictures they took with their camera, they encouraged you to take your own pictures too and the Disney staff would take them for you.  I don't think the pro photographer was volunteering to use our camera to get a shot, but the employee running us through the place did.  If you want a pro shot, it was there, but you weren't forced as the only way to record your experience.

The Disneyland photo experience kept me relaxed and unpressed.  The Legoland experience not only tensed me, but made me angry.  Anger is a very much oppositional emotion to happiness and contentment.

Miniland USA
This was a large area where there are miniature Lego creations of various parts of the United States.  It was very interesting.  My wife and son took a picture in front of Times Square.  When I looked at the photo of them for a second it looked like they were standing in the actually Times Square.  Then I noticed the slug bug made out of Legos behind them.

Miniland Star Wars
This was a nice little area where there were Lego replicas of scenes and places from the Star Wars movies and TV shows.

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