Hmm. I have really mixed feelings about Legoland, and I’m actually finding it quite hard to put in words exactly what it was that we didn’t like about this place. The Legoland in the UK is just so different – nicer somehow. Yes, Florida has the lovely blue skies and open space, but after spending nearly 2 weeks visiting Disney and Universal, we all agreed that Legoland just had a totally different feel to the other parks.
Now I’ve spent quite a bit of time in my life learning to be an observer – after all, it is how some of the best writers find inspiration. Perhaps if we didn’t look at things in this way – notice every little detail and change in atmosphere, well maybe then we would have enjoyed Legoland more. I know that sounds a bit weird, but let me put it this way – Disney and Universal have very, very clearly pumped a lot of money into their parks. They are totally about drawing in the tourists, and they do everything they can to appeal to that customer base. Legoland, well.. it felt like we were the only tourists there.
The theming was a bit ‘nothing’ (I’m not even sure I could define any clear areas) and the majority of staff were downright miserable. It’s a real shame actually, because all the Lego stuff was pretty amazing – as it always is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I need to be totally immersed in a fantasy land to have a nice time. We were quite happy walking around in the sunshine looking at the cool models. I’m just saying that if you expect it to be another Disney-like day in your Orlando adventure, well you might be a little disappointed. Saying that, the change of pace was really nice and Legoland made a welcome break from all the crowds.
The thing about travelling with a toddler was that Willow had no idea what she was looking at – she just wanted to climb over the barriers and touch the Lego. She was too young to appreciate how intricately detailed these models were, and too old for us to distract her with a bowl of fruit while we took the time to appreciate them. We were in that awkward in-between stage!
Luckily there was a carousel (Willow’s new favourite thing) and a pretty pathetic train ride that she absolutely loved – even if we were curtly told ‘only one adult per child allowed love’. Oh well – daddy it is then!
The one really good thing about Legoland was the lovely, clean indoor play area for very young children and babies. If we wanted to spend our whole day inside, this would have been great. We did do a nappy change there at the Baby Care Center – and the facilities were fantastic. The staff were much more friendly, and were ready and waiting to wipe down the change mat once you’ve finished – although both women were kinda shocked by Willow’s cloth nappies, along with the fact that daddy did the nappy change and we had no rubbish. I also noticed a little curtained area for breastfeeding, as well as bottle warming facilities, which I thought was really good.
Willow had a great run around for half an hour or so while we gathered our thoughts, but really we felt like we could have been anywhere. You don’t go all the way to Florida to spend your trip inside one big, bland room. In the end we decided to leave early and spend some time in the villa’s pool. Perhaps we’d been theme-parked out by then, or perhaps Legoland didn’t offer much more than we’d already seen before. Either way, I was grateful that we’d got our tickets for free. Had we paid full price I think we’d have been disappointed.
Overall it was a weird day. From the minute we arrived I just didn’t feel as safe leaving the pram unattended like we’d been doing at Disney and Universal. The kids running around were a lot more boisterous and out of control, and I felt very self-conscious of the fact I was carrying an expensive camera. Willow was too young for some stuff, and actually too old for others – there was nothing we really felt met us in the middle. On a positive note, the apple fries are everything they have been bigged up to be – absolutely delicious.
Take a look here and see if I’ve posted about the rest of our trip