Warning: there may be a LEGO craze happening in Calgary right now, and even more locally, my house. Symptoms in children include fervent, constant construction, begging to see The LEGO Movie (my son’s reported “favourite movie ever”) just one more time and in my case, the ability to locate a missing piece with my foot in the dark. My daughter was introduced to LEGO Friends after complaining there were no “girl colours” in her brother’s stash and my kids are counting down the days before LEGO Kidsfest arrives in Calgary, the only Canadian stop on its tour.
It’s all LEGO, all the time around here so it seemed fitting to pay a visit to LEGOLAND California Resort during our visit to Southern California, one of our favourite family holiday spots.
At the top of our list was a visit to the behind-the-scenes movie set exhibit of The LEGO Movie. When we first stopped by in the morning, we were informed by a giddy staff member that extra scenes were being shot for the DVD release next month and the exhibit was closed, but would reopen later in the day. Fortunately, when we were finally able to make it in, it was entirely worth the wait.
The LEGO Movie Experience is a walk-through exhibit of inspired “sets” from the animated portion of the movie. There are 116 buildings, 165 vehicles, 15 spaceships, 3 dragons and 1423 mini-figures all making up a total of 3 million LEGO bricks. There is also the actual set of the non-animated scene in Finn’s basement. My son was pointing out things he recognized from the movie from that particular scene and my daughter was on a search to find Unikitty.
The set was originally built at Warner Bros. for filming and was relocated to Carlsbad’s LEGOLAND theme park as a hit attraction for movie fans.
Big screens play movie footage, as well as behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors, and some of the LEGO characters featured in the movie mill around outside, because apparently film work must be hard to find when you’re made of bricks.
LEGOLAND is geared for the age 5-12 crowd, with most of the rides requiring children to be at least 40 inches tall. My four year old was able to go on most of them but there were a few she was a bit too short for. Because she’s a daredevil and loves anything that goes fast, she wanted to ride The Dragon roller coaster more than anything else, and fortunately she was tall enough.
My husband’s highlight of our visit was Miniland USA. Twenty million LEGO bricks have been used to re-create seven cities in the United States, though the shopping and casinos in this version of Las Vegas were more limited than I remember from my visit to the strip. If you’ve always wanted to visit other notable U.S. sights, including the New York City skyline and the Mississippi River, but have been held back by the cost and hassle of having to hop on a plan for a trip across America, this exhibit is for you.
If you are far more fascinated by lands beyond our galaxy, you’ll likely love the Star Wars Miniland.
Although I loved the rides, the exhibits and clever attractions, my favourite part of the park was the playgrounds, where we were able to take a break to rest our weary feet while our unstoppable kids could climb, swing, slide and jump until they (and we) were ready for another round of attractions and excitement.
You can visit the main park at LEGOLAND in a full day, but much to our children’s disappointment we were unable to fit in the Aquarium or the Water Park in our visit. I suppose that means we’ll have to go back. I’m sure we’ll have to twist their rubber (or rather, hard plastic) arms to convince them.
LEGOLAND will be opening an additional LEGO Legends of Chima Water Park on May 24th and my kids have already asked when we’re going. I just need to find out if the visit includes private huts with minifig cabana boys or if that experience is sold separately.
LEGOLAND California Resort Contact Info:
Address: One LEGOLAND Drive Carlsbad, CA 92008
Phone: 1-760-918-LEGO (1-760-918-5346)
A big thank you to LEGOLAND California Resort for hosting our visit to their family fun attraction.