Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Trip to Legoland - Christmas 2013

The day after Christmas we take the kids to Legoland - their first real theme park. Legoland didn’t exist when I was growing up in San Diego so it’s Mark’s and my first time, too. Through Google it costs us $278, which works out to nearly $70 per ticket. It sounds high but it does includes free tickets for next year.

So we get in the door but then there’s still the pesky issue of actually convincing the kids to get on the rides. To get a feel for where we’re starting from, they never even let us put money in the quarter rides outside the supermarket (when they’re sitting on them and the rides are stationary), and freak out if we suggest it. It takes quite a bit of convincing but they finally get on the Cargo Ace airplanes with us which simply go around in a circle. They say they like them but don’t want to get on again. The first hour Mark and I wonder if this will be worth it. 

Kathy and Mark hold up James and Julia so they can check out the Lego pizza. This was pretty much the highlight of the first hour. 

The Cargo Ace airplanes
Their next ride, Dune Raiders, involves them sitting on a blanket to go down a long slide with three humps. At each hump my kids - but no adults - hit the back of their heads on the back of the slide. I sense this ride wasn’t well thought out.

Dune Raiders, a.k.a. The Head Hitter. Clearly this is a stock photo since no children are getting the back of their heads pounded.
But then the kids discover The Hideaways. It’s a 3-story play structure and Mark and I exhaust ourselves following them through it. The worst is when we pursue them through one segment that goes from the first to the third floor through a series of about eight switchbacks - sized for kids - that you have to climb up and over. In other news, Mark sees James shush kids on the slide that are having a good time.


James and Julia scramble up the nets at Hideaways, a multi-level play structure.

Daddy gets in on the fun.

After lunch we hit the boat ride, Skipper School. After almost an hour invested standing in line Julia has a tantrum right as we’re loaded into a boat. She wants to ride with Daddy and she’s stuck with me. Eventually after 2 ½ minutes she stops crying. But then we have other problems. I thought this boat was on a track and steered itself so I didn’t do too much, but then our boat keeps getting turned around. And even when I start actively commandeering the boat, things still do not go well and we continue to get turned around. Mark starts 1 boat in front of me and finishes 11 boats ahead of me. And James tells me from the shore, “I’m a good driver. Mommy, you’re a bad driver.”

Julia gets over her tantrum in 2-3 minutes because she gets distracted by Kathy's horrible boat driving.
You know you're not doing a great job driving the boat when you get passed by 11 boats and the 9-year-old in front of us here gives you instructions on how to steer.

Next, the kids have never played in the snow before so they’re pretty thrilled to visit the Snow Days section of Legoland.

Julia tries to get snow flurries out of James's hair.
They make and throw snowballs (and sometimes are helped by a Snowball Scooper - apparently a job at Legoland), sled (their favorite part), stack extra large Lego blocks (a little random to have in the snow but James goes for it), and add Lego features to the snowman. 

Julia has a snowball made by a professional.

Sledding was a big hit

James and Julia wait in line with Kathy for more sledding. Like any good mom she makes them carry their own sleds.
Giant Lego and snow: the perfect mix?

Mark gives the snowman some Lego accessories.
They do two sessions in the snow play area. We also go snow tubing next door, but that’s more of a bigger kid activity. They go tubing by themselves and it’s pretty fast. They report that their butts hurt.

Mark and Julia play Slapsies while waiting in line to get back into the snow area.
James post-snow tubing
The kids beg to return to The Hideaways and we oblige them though it means missing out entirely on the Dino World and Duplo Village lands of the park. They really love running around the walkways, nets, and slides of The Hideaways. I also briefly lose James. He scales the two stories of switchbacks mentioned earlier and I size those up and am like, “See ya kid!” I tell him I’ll meet him above but when I get to the third story there are two kid-sized tunnels separating us and he is nowhere to be found. I use my cell phone to call Mark who’s with Julia and he finds James right away. (For the record, when found, James is not upset and is having a jolly good time. Apparently I now speak like I’m in Mary Poppins.)

More fun at the Hideaways

As we go to leave the park, James suddenly decides he wants to go on the Royal Joust ride that he didn’t want to go on earlier. It’s a cute little Lego horse ride made for one child (and no parent) that goes around a track. Again, this is the same kid who won’t let me put money into the rides at the supermarket! Julia hems and haws and ultimately does not go on.

The Royal Joust ride marks the first time James has gone on a ride by himself.
Mark notes that when James is hyper he’s braver. This explains his willingness to go on the Royal Joust ride and also how he went down a long enclosed slide in the dark in the haunted house-like Adventurer’s Club walk-through attraction. (Julia went through it once and didn’t like it and didn’t do the slide. James asked to go again.)

Julia sits on Lego waterslide guy at a cafe while waiting for food.
At the end of the day the kids watch fireworks over the park while they eat pizza. Afterwards they ask us to carry them through the park to the car so they can “fall asleep in our arms.” It’s 7:30 p.m. when we leave - their bedtime - so they must be exhausted. They sleep in the car and it’s only the second time ever that they don’t melt down when we rouse them to get out of the car. All they want to do is get back to sleep.

James enjoys a churro dipped in chocolate sauce.
They talk about Legoland for months afterwards, and James while making conversation with other kids, occasionally asks, “Have you been to San Diego? Have you been to Legoland?” 

Riding Lego reindeer and riding in Lego Santa's sleigh

The whole family with Santa in front of the world's largest Lego Christmas tree

1 comment:

  1. I wish Legoland had been here when you and Michael were young. It looks like so much fun.