Today my son and I spent the day at LEGOLAND Florida, one week before the park’s official Grand Opening on October 15. We managed to “sneak” in early thanks to AAA, who was hosting a special preview weekend at the park and offering discounted tickets. We’ve had a real whirlwind trip so far, as I surprised Alexander with the trip yesterday after school (I’ve earned big mommy points!). In order to make the most of our trip, we got up at dawn to get over to LEGOLAND by 8:00 am. There were other LEGO nuts like us waiting in line, and they let us in a few minutes early. So by 9:00 am, we were oohing and aahing over the scenes in Miniland and heading off for our first ride. Here are our impressions of our first day:
- Entry this morning went smoothly and maps and showtime sheets were plentiful. LEGO characters were roaming about for photo ops, too.
- Every park employee we met seemed happy, professional, and most importantly, enthusiastic. Most went out of their way to greet us an ask how our day was going. In fact, while we were waiting to enter the park one of the park employees recognized us from the surprise letter to Alexander I’d posted — that was fun!
- Lines were very short during the morning, but picked up quite a lot by mid-afternoon. At 4:00 we saw that the line for the Boating School and Driving School were quite long — about 30 minutes by my guesstimate. I saw considerable larger crowds than I expected overall, in fact. I anticipate tomorrow’s preview day to be packed.
Alexander’s favorite attraction was the Ford Driving School, with the Clutch Powers “4D” movie, Miniland, and Pharoah’s Revenge coming close behind. In fact, he enjoyed everything with two notable exceptions — Technic Test Track and The Dragon (both are coasters and he’s not a coaster fan at all).
- All rides we went on operated well and were enjoyable, with one tiny exception — the free-floating boats in the Boating School seemed overly hard to manuever. Even the employees acknowledged this. It’s entirely possible I was particularly dreadful at steering the boat, too!
- Food tasted good, but the lines were long and tables were scarce. The line to get into the Fun Town Pasta and Pizza Buffet was out the door! We opted to eat at the Market Restaurants, where lines were shorter. Unfortunately, they didn’t have all the items on the menus — no kids pizza, no white rice to go with their Asian Fusion cuisine.
- Nearly everything was open, which was impressive for a park that isn’t technically open yet. The only closed attraction we really wanted to visit the LEGO Factory, and we are hoping it will be available tomorrow.
- The stores are well stocked with Grand Opening shirts and hats, and, of course, LEGOs! Lots and lot of LEGOs, from sets to individual bricks to make-your-own-minifigures. I recommend the store beside the LEGO Factory where you can pick your own bricks — Alexander picked exactly the ones he needed for his “remote control” and it cost us just $1.40 because they charge by weight.
Minifigure trading! I discovered that you can bring minifigures from home and trade them with employees who have minifigures on their nametags. Totally cool! Gonna have to try this in the future.
- The live entertainment was surprisingly good — the Pirate’s Cove water ski show was unusual and entertaining, and The Big Test show was a hoot!
I’ve taken hundreds of photos and nearly two hours of video, but it will take some time to get it all out there. You can view some photos now at our Facebook page and at the PassPorter Message Boards. Watch for more from me in the coming days and weeks!