I wish I’d been the inventor of small plastic bricks that hurt your feet when you stand on them and get stuck in the hoover #goldmine. Legoland is surely on every child’s ‘must visit’ list but to get the most out of it, do some advance planning. The Legoland website is your starting point for planning a visit to the theme park in Windsor but these top tips below should also help to make your day go more smoothly.
- GO FOR 2 DAYS
Legoland is a manageable size for a day out with kids but to do it all at a reasonable pace consider going for two days. That way you can do everything including going on your favourites multiple times ‘again, again!’ without the stress factor of ‘its 2pm and we haven’t even been on the Dragon yet!’ style pressure. Or perhaps that’s just me trying to fit it all in.
Legoland has arrangements with various local hotels whereby if you book a package for 2 days with 1 night accommodation then the 2nd day is free. If you don’t live nearby it also means you aren’t driving there and back in a day and makes for a more relaxed and less frenetic visit. We stayed at the Heathrow Airport Premier Inn Bath Road with this deal . It isn’t in the most picturesque or glamorous location but you aren’t there for the hotel ambiance you are there for the plastic bricks. It was about 30 mins drive to Legoland from the Premier Inn. I have also heard good things about the Beaumont Estate Hotel which has a pool and is 4* and perhaps a more tranquil environment than Heathrow Airport. My own kids are desperate to stay in one of the Legoland Hotels #maybeoneday.
2. BEAT THE QUEUES
Queues can be the bane of a day out at a theme park. Who wants to spend 20 – 60 mins queuing for every ride? Who can keep kids entertained in multiple queues throughout the day? Who wants to pay only to stand in line half the day? Nobody. We have successfully reduced the queues 2 ways.
Firstly, we went on a Monday in October in term time (thank you inset day!) The weather was cold but luckily dry, the park was empty. Not only did we not have to queue for any rides, we often didn’t need to get off we could stay on and go round again (and again….) until we wanted to get off. Not an option on all rides but certainly on some. You can do everything in the park this way without the queuing.
Secondly you can buy Q-Bots. These are controversial. Some think they are a great way of beating the queues, others think that its unfair that if you pay more to buy a Q-Bot you reduce your own queue time but are effectively ‘pushing in’ in front of others waiting patiently who haven’t bought a Q-Bot. Confession time, call me Machiavelli, but I have bought Q-Bots for Legoland. There are different levels of Q-Bot and we bought the most basic. It added significantly to the cost of our day out but it also transformed our park experience. You select the ride you want to go on via the Q-Bot device and it buzzes you when you can go to that ride. When you reach the ride you enter via the Q-Bot entrance and can either go go straight on or are in a much smaller queue. Whilst you are waiting for your Q-Bot to buzz you can visit the non-ride based activities fitting them in instead of queuing. There are 20 rides on the Q-Bot experience. For the rides not on Q-Bot e.g Laser Raider – head there straight away when you get to the park before the queues build. You can actually pay extra to add on a couple of extra rides such as Laser Raider but I’ve never opted for that – the basic Q-Bot is all I have ever tried. You need Q-Bots for all members of the family who want to ride unless you take it in turns to do Q-Bot rides – which kind of defeats the purpose!
3. PAY LESS
There are always offers at Legoland for buy one get one free tickets, kids go free etc so check out the available deals via the Legoland website and through other routes. Moneysaving Expert have a Legoland offers page. Never pay full price! What I save on special offers I reinvest in a Q-Bot so technically I am not saving any money, just queue time.
4. DONT GET STUCK GETTING OUT
Apocryphal tales of people taking 3 hours to get out the car park abound. Time your exit carefully -if you stay for fireworks and leave at the end you are doomed to exit hell. We left before the fireworks for that reason, yes we missed it but hey-ho, after a full day at Legoland we were heading back to our hotel for dinner and a rest rather than hours stuck in the car punching the steering wheel in frustration whilst throwing haribo at the kids. Mumsnet has great parking exit tips, follow their advice and save your sanity.
5. EAT WHILST YOU WATCH THE SHOW
The swashbuckling Legoland Pirates of Skeleton Bay show takes place on the lake in the centre of the resort at various times during the day so make this your lunch stop. This way you miss no ride time whilst stopping to eat but consider whether you want soggy sarnies when you decide whether to sit in the wet zone. If you want to take a picnic to Legoland you can leave it in one of the lockers at the entrance but then someone needs to pop back to get it. Alternatively take a light picnic you can easily carry and top up with munchies bought at Legoland. Staying in a hotel doesn’t mean you can’t take a picnic – stop at the supermarket on way and grab some lunch. Our hotel allowed us to store our freezer blocks in their freezer overnight so we just popped our supermarket picnic and freezer blocks in our picnic bag and were good to go.
6.DONT FORGET THE LEGO!
Its easy at Legoland to focus on the rides but don’t forget to stop and admire the Lego. Throughout the park are the most amazing lego structures but I also love Miniland where 40 million lego bricks recreate cities and scenes from around the world. I particularly love the Cornish harbour with Minack theatre made of lego. The Star Wars Miniland Lego display is a must for fans of the Force. The Imagination Factory is where kids get the chance to get their hands on some lego and do some building themselves and look out for the works in progress by the Lego engineers.
7. TAKE A BREAK – WATCH A SHOW
The 4D theatre is a great option to put your feet up for a bit, like all theme parks you’ll be doing a fit bit of walking. The 4d theatre shows various films throughout the day all with the 3d experience plus the 4th dimension – it may rain or snow or shake with thunder or fire may light up the theatre. There are not that many 4d theatres around so grab the chance.
8. PRIORITISE YOUR FAVOURITE RIDES
Our favourite rides are here (link to fave rides thread).
It pays to do a bit of research in advance and work out which rides and attractions are going to interest your kids the most. As I have twins I only have to cater for one age group but if you have a range of ages spend a bit of time online figuring out the best route around the park. Height restrictions apply on some rides so check those in advance. Legoland give a useful sample itinerary here.
9. BE PREPARED TO GET WET
The water rides are some of the best rides there. Particularly if you go on a day when queues are minimal and you go on several times, you are going to get wet. I once got off the Pirate Falls Treasure Quest log flume ride only for someone queuing to take one look at me and decide she wasn’t going on (bad hair day?) Viking’s River Splash was once so quiet that we were able to stay on and go round several times but after the 4th drenching of ice cold water the appeal had begun to diminish. Squid Surfer is another water favourite. Take some spare clothes for the kids and even yourself and you can also shell out for the human dryers which will warm you up a bit even if you don’t get much dryer. In summer take swim stuff for the Drench Towers and Splash Safari sections. If you don’t want to get wet the Atlantis ride takes you on a submarine ride to the ruins of Atlantis inhabited by real marine life and you wont even get splashed.
10. USE THE PLAYGROUND BETWEEN RIDES
Kids and queuing aren’t a great combo. So an opportunity to let off some steam and have a run around in the Castaway Camp comes in handy. You can have a play here whilst waiting for your QBot to buzz or give yourselves a break from waiting in line.
11. EXIT VIA THE GIFT SHOP
Somehow we managed to skip the Lego shop. I consider this one of my greatest parenting achievements. You may not be so lucky.
For my Legoland post on the best rides and attractions click here.
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