Legoland was only about 10 minutes from our hotel so we showed up at the entrance gate of the park just minutes after it opened. On the way to our parking spot, we saw a series of gated (remote) parking areas that, curiously, had only one type of car: A long row of Honda Odysseys followed by a section with rows of Chevy Pickup trucks followed by another section with Saturn coups, etc.
We just assumed it was Legoland employee parking and imagined that the employees all got together and decided to park in groups to be interesting or maybe just to make it easier to find their vehicle after their shift was over.
However, as we think back on it now (a day later), we vaguely remember that there might have been a nearby auto mall that could have leased a portion of the huge Legoland parking lot as overflow for their available vehicles. Of course, this isn’t nearly as interesting as our first idea of why the cars were parked that way! If anyone knows the real deal, please let us know. But enough about the parking lot – here are our thoughts on the Legoland itself:
Legoland is a huge park! 128 acres with more that 50 rides, shows, and attractions. When you consider that the park is based on the concept of models, it's pretty odd that Legoland lacks a distinctive scale. There are absurdly giant blocks and figures at the main entrance and miniature recreations of skylines and monuments (1:20 scale) scattered throughout the park. And there's models with bizarre proportions covering nearly every possibility between those two extremes. But it's not really a big deal since it just adds to the park's whimsey. Visiting this park feels like a walk through Gulliver’s Travels.
Our petite preschools skipped merrily down the narrow “Vegas Strip” and we snapped a dozen pictures of that journey but our photographs of that romp told a quite different story: Their innocent meander looked more like a scene from Gwenzilla vs Maddylon with 50 foot tall toddlers wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting citizens of Sin City.
As the day progressed, we eavesdropped on two separate conversations claiming that this was "the hottest day of the summer" and there would be "record breaking temps" but the temperature didn’t seem to break 85 degrees! Even so, we weren't taking any chances and were on the outlook for somewhere to keep cool. We understood that the California legal code seemed to mandate that all amusement parks above a certain size have a Pirate area, so we roamed a bit and found both pirates and water-fun at the north end of the park.
The girls spent a good bit of time innocently splashing and frolicking on the Lilly pads and charming squirty flowers of the toddler secion of the water park but it wasn't too long before they started to show a readiness to explore the exciting three story advanced water structure nearby.
This amazing creation looked like a cross between a pirate ship and a giant tree house. It was draped in nets (for climbing, of course) and adorned with numerous curtains of water, spritzing cannons, and other wet/cool features. Perched above it all was a 300 gallon drum that seemed to be fed constantly by two torrential streams of water but more about that later.
Mommy and the girls joined hands and ventured into the belly of this beast and Maddy had just enough time to wiggle free of Mom's grasp and cut into line and slither down the water slide before a loud bell rang and the 300 gallon drum above us dumped its contents - like the opening of the floodgates of heaven - directly upon our head. Mommy scooped up Gwen and held her tightly as we all disappeared beneath the downpour. Mercifully, it lasted only a few seconds but that was more than long enough to soak us from head to toe and scare the beejezzus out the everyone. I'm still not completely sure where Maddy was during the worst of this but when we found her, she was pretty shaken up. And she's our BRAVE one!
We wiped our nose and sloshed and squished our way to lunch (thumbs up for the Garden Restaurant) where we sat in the sun and tried to dry out between bites of PBJ and Tuna Panini. After a bit, we changed the girl's clothes and headed out in search of drier forms of entertainment.
Of all the things to do at LegoLand, we probably only did about half and a two day pass might have been a good investment were it not for the fact that this was our last day of vacation.
Because of our very successful Matterhorn experiment last week, we weren't afraid to try the girls on moderate-speed thrill rides so we had some unexpected fun and ended our visit to LegoLand on a happy note by doing the roller coaster twice before leaving the park and heading back to the hotel.
As the girls napped in their Peapods, Mommy's long time friend, Judy, drove out to visit us. Judy worked with Mommy from 1988 to 2000 and was Michael's God Mother. We've only seen her once since our 2001 wedding so this visit was really special! We all went to dinner at Tuscany in Carlsbad and the food was excellent! The little ones were happy to play with their new mini Lego play sets for a couple of hours while all the grownups ate and drank and chatted. It was a really wonderful dinner! Unfortunately, however, we lost track of time and finished too late to go to the beach so our two week Southern California vacation won't include any photos of sandy, salty, beach experiences. But we got this great pic instead!
(PS: Gwen woke up the next day and the first words out of her mouth was a question about where Judy was. Judy Leigh, you were MISSED! Please visit us again soon!)