Legoland Windsor: 55 million blocks build excitement
By DAVID HODGE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2011
Typically, children might come up with several reasons for trying to persuade their parents to visit a theme park, but Legoland Windsor offers a bit more than that.
It has 55 million reasons, to be precise.
That’s how many Lego pieces are found in the park’s 150 acres, which, according to its website, is dedicated to children ages 3-12.
And there’s more to the park than those impressive Lego reproductions of famous landmarks, natural and mythical humans and animals, and pieces of machinery, such as the space shuttle. This is also a traditional theme/amusement park. A visit could easily last an entire day.
Legoland Windsor, which opened just west of London about 15 years ago, is the second park operated by the makers of Legos to be opened in Europe. The first was in Denmark and the third is in Germany near Günzburg.
A true theme park, Legoland has something for all ages. For the kids, roller coasters, water rides and multiple free-play areas are plentiful. For adults, there are live-action stunt shows, carnival-style games to win that essential stuffed animal for the youngsters and a walk through Miniland and its mini-landmarks.
The park has 11 areas with no shortage of activities. Visitors can ride the Vikings’ River Splash in the Land of the Vikings, tackle The Dragon in the Knights Kingdom area, or ride the Scarab-bouncers in the Kingdom of the Pharaohs. An added feature for many of the water rides is that spectators can often interact with those on the ride via water canons and water guns for extra soakage.
Miniland is home to nearly 40 million Lego pieces that are fashioned to re-create famous landmarks in the U.S. and Europe — as well as various styles of architecture found in Europe. Many of the landmarks are found in London and England, such as Wembley Stadium, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Brighton Pier and Stonehenge. They are both pretty and realistic, and the attention to detail and the obvious amount of work needed to maintain such a display are truly astounding.
The ambient audio sounds around the displays add to the experience.
And while the structures are models, they are not all small. Many of London’s skyscrapers tower overhead; the largest being the Canary Wharf Tower at more than 17 feet high. Legoland says it took three model makers 850 hours to complete — using 200,000 Lego bricks.
Perhaps the cutest attraction in the park is the L-Drivers area where children ages 3-5 can drive small electric cars around a tiny circular track. Each child is awarded a Legoland driving license afterward. It’s a physical reminder of a fun day at the park.
Legoland's model makers try to accurately duplicate some scenes, but also include a little whimsy. In this one, Homer and Marge Simpson, center with blue hair, and their three kids join the crowd in the bleachers at a sporting event. Also found among Miniland characters was Darth Vader leading a platoon of Storm Troopers.
DAVID HODGE/STARS AND STRIPES