Build the perfect family holiday: choose from these 6 LEGOLANDs (or do them all!)
If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve also got crates of Denmark’s most famous export, LEGO. In a classic case of ‘build it and they will come,’ this modest toy has built an empire. And its theme parks are about to rake over the world.
Empire buildingLEGO is older than nearly all of its fans: the plastic brick was invented in Billund, Denmark, in 1958. Fast-forward 56 years and there are six LEGOLAND destinations across the globe: the Danish original, two in the US, one in the quintessentially English town of Windsor, Germany’s LEGOLAND Deutschland and the newest (and closest to Australia) in Johor, Malaysia. The theme parks are designed for kids 2 to 12 years, and all have Duplo Gardens, with bigger bricks for smaller kids.
Try the originalGo back to where it all began. The first LEGOLAND opened in 1968, just beside the first Lego factory. “My oldest boy wanted to go to Lego’s heartland,” says Jacqui Davidson, who has taken her three active boys, aged 12, nine and six, to the original LEGOLAND in Denmark, and visited Malaysia’s LEGOLAND three times. “LEGO is more educational than other theme parks,” she says. “The kids do building workshops, have competitions and even robotics courses. It’s inspiring, and it’s not just a boy thing.”
Eat, breathe and sleep LEGOIf too much LEGO is never enough, check the family into the LEGO Hotel attached to your LEGOLAND destination of choice. The rooms have either a pirate, kingdom or adventure theme. “I would definitely recommend LEGOLAND Billund Hotel,” says Jacqui. “There’s LEGO kitsch, LEGO soap, LEGO shampoo, LEGO pillows, and the excellent, very child-oriented buffet in the bistro.” The four-star Hotel LEGOLAND also specialises in corporate teambuilding using LEGO (and let’s face it, if you can’t team-build here, then where can you?!)
Water playIn Malaysia, Jacqui’s boys give the new Star Wars section a big thumbs-up, while the grown-ups love Miniland (which reproduces Asia’s top landmarks, such as Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and the golden temples of Burma, in Lego). “Be prepared with water and umbrellas for shade,” she adds. The best thing is its waterpark, she says. “If you’re in Malaysia for more than 24 hours, you’ll need a swim.” With balmy temps also the norm in California and Florida, both of the US theme parks conveniently have fabulously fun waterparks.
Enter the dragonIn comparison, Bernie Jackson took his three kids, aged 10, eight and four, to visit LEGOLAND Deutschland over two rainy days, which kept the crowds at bay. “The kids loved it. The park was manageable enough for the older kids to explore by themselves, and there was plenty to keep the four-year-old in awe. The biggest hit was Captain Nick’s Splash Battle, and while our youngest was a late-adopter on the Dragon Coaster, he rode it until the park closed.”
What’s next?2014 saw the launch of the Lego Movie, featuring the voices of Hollywood greats including Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson, about an evil tyrant’s plan to glue the LEGO universe together. There are also another three LEGOLANDs in development, across Dubai, Japan and South Korea.
But wait… There’s more!Not even the 2015 Super Bowl could escape the Lego treatment. Enter the Brick Bowl – the brainchild of British animation house A+C Studios. The three-minute clip is a journey through nine of this year’s Super Bowl ads edited together to make a story – and it took them an incredible 36 hours to create. Watch the video now and be amazed. Because everything is awesome.
This article by Belinda Jackson was published on Art of Money blog by GE Money.