Friday, July 19, 2013

Legoland California with Jon and the boys - Part 1

Jon, Jessica, and the kids are all visiting from Delaware for the weekend. Since the boys absolutely adore Lego, we ditched the girls and all drove down to Carlsbad near San Diego to Legoland!

 Having never been to Legoland myself, this was going to be a brand new experience for all of us!

I purposefully didn't do any research before coming to the park today. I had heard that it was mostly a kid park, but I wanted to experience it fresh first-hand. I was a little shocked at the ticket prices though. While Disneyland, the gold-standard of theme parks, charges $92 for a one-day one-park ticket, Universal $84 for a year pass, Knotts $62 day of and $43 in advance, Legoland charges $80 for one day or $71 in advance. That seemed a little steep, but we'll see how the day goes.

Maybe a little research would have been good. I don't know what any of these rides are, which ones are the favorites, which ones are good for kids, and what rides can be skipped.

Not knowing which direction to go, we took a right at the main entrance and ran into some of the boys' favorites! Star Wars characters! Chewbacca is a 7 foot tall Wookie, next to R2-D2.

Plus a life-sized Darth Vader.

Just around the corner is the largest Lego model ever built! This full-size Lego X-wing Starfighter measures 11 feet tall, 43 feet long, with a wingspan of  44 feet! Containing over 5.3 million Lego bricks and weighing over 26 tons, it took 32 Lego model builders over 3 months to put together. After being built in the Czech Republic, it was shipped to New York then brought to Legoland California.

 And the boys appreciated the giant Luke Skywalker.

Christmas is coming soon boys! I think you know what to ask for this year!

The first ride we came across that the boys wanted to go on was the Aquazone Wave Racers. These "boats" spin around a platform while you can steer them in and out. Here we discovered that it's going to be a little difficult with 5 people today.  With only 2 adults and 3 kids, most of these rides either sit 2 or 4. Not only that, but there are minimum height requirements to ride alone, so it looks like we'll be doing some child swapping.
Josh stood by the exit while Jon and Isaac jumped in one boat and Eli and I hopped in another.

Once we finished our turn, Isaac, Eli and I ran over to the water cannons to try to get Jon and Josh wet as they drove around.

Next up were the Bionicle Blasters, Legoland's answer to Disney's teacups. Only difference here is the is a 42" minimum height requirement, so Isaac can't ride.

Jon sat out with him while Josh and Eli rode with me. We kept spinning faster faster faster and the boys were loving it.

Looks like a dark ride to me! Let's hope for something unique!

The Lost Kingdom Adventure has an Egyptian theme going on in the queue. Maybe the designers thought the queue was going to move a bit faster because while waiting we heard the annoying safety spiel every 60 seconds. After the third time, even the boys said "I don't want to hear that anymore." After a 20 minute wait, we were at the front of the line. There's seating for 4 in each vehicle, so Jon went with the boys while I rode alone.

Inside was a dark ride combined with a shooting element, similar to Buzz Lightyear. Everyone had laser guns to fire at targets along the track. Hitting them caused some elements to activate and move around. I didn't follow the story much, but I think we were chasing some villian through an Egyptian tomb searching for treasure.

It's lunchtime! The boys and I camped at a table and examined the map while Jon grabbed food from the Knight's Table Barbeque.

I was looking forward to trying some new theme park foods! The rotisserie chicken was juicy and flavorful. Plus there were lots of different types of barbeque sauces to try. I thought it was pretty tasty. The kids meals were the standard fried chicken strips with fries, raisins and a juice box. No complaints from the boys about those.

For dessert, the park map showed Granny's Apple Fries was close by. I don't think I've ever tried an apple fry and was intrigued.

For $5.89 each, these were a little pricy. These apples had an interesting texture after being fried and coated with cinnamon and sugar. Topped off with sweetened whipped cream, we didn't have any problem finishing them off. Glad we got them fresh though. I imagine they wouldn't be so tasty if they'd been sitting around.

Around the corner was a giant playground with kids running around everywhere.

The boys took off for the rope tunnel with Isaac leading the way. Neither Jon or I would easily fit in the rope tunnel so we let them go and explore by themselves.
Maybe not the best idea... After a couple minutes without seeing them, Jon headed inside to look for them, while I stayed by the entrance. Next thing I knew, a crying and screaming Isaac was running out the exit looking for his dad. Good thing there was a Legoland employee to stop him before he could get too far. Guess we're exploring the rest of this playground together. 

 We climb up rope ladders together, across hanging bridges, and through tunnels.

Yes, tunnels. In some cases, the only way to get to certain sections with the slides was to crawl through these tiny tunnels, which is no problem for the kids, but it's a little tight for me with a backpack and a camera.

All of us took turns going down the slides. Isaac has a look of combined terror and enjoyment going down the slide.

The boys appropriately locked up.

Coming up next was the section I was looking forward to most. Miniland USA shows scenes from lots of major landmarks recreated in Lego. How cool of a job would this be to build Lego models?

In Washington DC we can see the White House with the Washington Monument in the background.

The boys enjoyed the US Capital building. In front of many of these models are buttons to press that cause something to activate. Here there is a marching band that play music and circle around.

Over at the New York skyline, the boys enjoyed the Grand Central Terminal with the train that went back and forth under the city. 

The Las Vegas Strip was represented really well here.

We've stayed at the New York New York.back in 2004 for my 24th birthday. 

The Mirage even had a volcano that erupted out front.

And Treasure Island had a couple ships out front.

Fun to see the Eiffel Tower because we just got back from Paris.

And back in January, we stayed at the Palazzo, sister hotel of the Venetian.

Here's our favorite part of Miniland USA. The Star Wars lands! Let's follow the movies in order, even though it's not how they're laid out.

On Tatooine we see Luke purchasing R2 and 3PO from the Jawas.

After being attacked by Sand People, Obi-Wan and Luke look out to Mos Eisley Spaceport.

Pushing a button here caused the cantina musicians to come to life and rock back and forth while playing the cantina song. Han and Greedo are sitting at a table in the front.

Docking bay 94 housing the Millennium Falcon.

Next we visit the ice world Hoth. We start with the Wampa having captured Luke.

Then join the battle already in progress. Luke Skywalker repels up and down the standing AT-AT Walker.

We see the doctor who helped Luke recover.

Then see Luke's X-wing before he takes off to Dagoba to visit Yoda.

On Endor, we visit the Ewok village in the treetops.

Plus get to participate in the fight to bring down the shield generator.

Pushing a button causes the hammers to hit the side of the AT-ST Walker and a speeder bike to circle around.

Vader leaves the planet to head to the Death Star.

We've successfully captured the shield generator!

Sigh... Alright, let's get through this. From episode I, on Naboo we see an opee as it grabs the Gungan ship.

We also see the battle between the Gungans and the droid army.

And inside the palace get a glimpse of the lightsaber duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul.

Episode II at Geonosis, we see the Clone War.

And see the Geonosis Battle Arena.

From the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, we see Christophsis.

On to Episode III, we see the battle on the Wookie homeworld Kashyyyk. 

Over to Mustafar, we see the epic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the river of lava.

Watch as the drama unfolds!

Rounding out the first half of the trip report, are the mini figure representations of some popular characters.

R2-D2 of course.

The mighty Chewbacca

Posing next to our favorite characters.

Jon and I both like Han Solo.

Quite the flowing golden locks on Luke Skywalker.

Wicket Warrick, the first Ewok to find Leia on Endor.

Next to Leia Organa

Of course we see Vader.

And everyone's favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett.

Isaac is a huge fan of Yoda.

While the boys like Captain Rex from the Clone Wars tv series.

Finishing off we see Anakin Skywalker.

There's so much more to see here at the park! We'll continue in part 2!

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