Last week, we had a really fun chance to check out something A.P. asks me about every single month when his LEGO Magazine comes in the mail. Well, one of two things. One is LEGOLAND. He even has buy one get one free admission coupons he cut out from the magazine. Unfortunately, getting to and staying in Carlsbad, California from Grand Rapids, Michigan is a bit expensive. Even with coupons.
The other thing he always asks about is LEGOLAND Discovery Center. We were invited to a “VIP Sneak Peek” event to preview the LEGO Star Wars Days. Fortunately, getting to Chicago from here is less than a tank of gas. A a couple of Redbox movies, and you’re there.
It’s in one of those shopping centers that are built to kind of look like a city; with outside entrances to the stores because somehow, using a real door to get into Bath and Body Works feels entirely different than strolling in through a mall-type entrance between Justice and Build A Bear.
I didn’t expect LEGOLAND to be so big, honestly. It’s two stories, and about the size of a museum. Like a museum, there is a gift shop with (of course!) tons of stuff, but it’s not the focus of the place at all. I was very lucky that my kids were enchanted with two different activities in the same area. I just parked it and chatted up the other parents who were hanging around.
Maybelle rode this ride about 500 times. She was close, personal friends with the operator by the time the night was over.
A.P. spent two and a half hours building and racing LEGO cars. The process was:
- Step 1 – Build a car.
- Step 2 – Race your car.
- Step 3 – If your car loses, yell loudly and rebuild it. If your car wins, yell loudly. Either way, repeat Step 2.
The fact that it was Star Wars Days were completely secondary to my kids, until A.P. was ‘caught’ by some Storm Troopers and won a LEGO kit from them for excellence in Star Wars trivia. He was thrilled, then asked me to put it in my bag and went back to racing cars.
I wasn’t sure what to do with the Storm Troopers, and Darth Vader, and those guys in orange Hans Solo jumpers. Of course I knew they were not really from the movie, but still. It was weird to interact with them. They had guns.
There are also LEGO workshops, and I don’t know what happens in there except that my children went into a little room, sat down, and emerged about 20 minutes later with models of the Sears Tower and proud smiles on their faces. The employees are great with the kids. They are all about the ‘bricks’.
We were there during dinner time, although my kids couldn’t sit still long enough to eat. I ended up taking a lot of pizza home which, even as a leftover and having traveled several hours in the back of my mini-van was declared “pretty darn good” by my husband.
We have been home from LEGOLAND less than a week, but in that time I would estimate being asked when we could go back several hundred times already. I don’t know exactly when we will go – but I do know, for sure, that we will.
We were provided with admission and dinner from LEGOLAND Discover Center, but I was under absolutely no obligation to share our experiences with you. I just thought you guys would like hearing about them. All opinions are my own.