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Wednesday, 20 July 2011
A few days ago, we took R&S to the true home of the small colourful plastic bricks that have been blessed by parents for keeping children occupied for years (and equally cursed by the parents who have had the misfortune of treading on them with bare feet)! Lego is after all a Danish invention, created by a wooden toy designer in the 40's and and named after a shortening of the words words “lege” meaning “play” and “godt”, meaning “good” or "well" in Danish, so of course (and partially thanks to being worn down by two children under the spell of the power of TV advertising, we had to pay a visit to the original Legoland while still here.
As it's at least a three hour drive to Billund on mainland Denmark (the town where Lego HQ is based), we decided to make a break of it and booked a last minute “luxus chalet” at Ribe Camping nearby. Thanks to overdosing on festivals in my youth, I don't really do tent camping nowadays, so the very smart hut with a spa bath suited me just fine. I might have gotten a little carried away at my excitement of actually having a bath (Denmark is a shower loving country!) by making the mistake of putting bubble bath in it, but through the cloud of bubbles, luckily managed to turn the spa off before the bathroom completely resembled an Ibiza foam party.
We arrived at Legoland bright and early having parked at least a mile up the road (and paying an extra 50DK for the privilege of it!), but the children enjoyed getting a sneak peak at the attractions on the walk there, and I thought that at least the queue would have gone down by the time we got to the gate. Wrong!! I will admit that we English have a penchant for queueing that is often mocked by the rest of the world, but we have good reason for this - it works. People do not often dare push in, it is usually civilised and the queue gradually disappears in an orderly fashion - simple! But not at Legoland DK. Entry was a complete Viking bun fight, which put me off going in to be honest, but we eventually made it inside.
We started off with the rides with the smallest queues for R&S who were hyperventilating with excitement at finally being there. Unfortunately S was a bit too small for quite a few of the rides, but after testing them out, his danger-mouse sister very kindly told him that he wouldn't have liked them anyway (which he actually believed!). As the Rough Guide points out, older children might well be disappointed by the rides, they are quite tame and short to say the least, but our littlies loved them - especially The Dragon, a Harry Potter inspired affair where you are taken through a castle at a leisurely pace whilst passing lots of Lego models on a similar theme, before it finally ramps up a bit and flings you around outside for a few seconds. Also worth the wait, the 4D Cinema experience, and the Pirate Splash Battle which the kids loved, but you do get soaked...
Some rides aren't worth the wait though, and we foolishly made the mistake of waiting for a ride called The Timber Ride (most of which was hidden from view I will point out), where a huge trough of Lego sat in the middle of the queuing system so that children could happily play while the parents waited. This turned out to be quite a bad idea. We were stuck half way down the queue when S stole a few bricks from the roof of R's Lego “Famous Five house”, and soon her little brother was gripped in a strangle hold, and with Lego flying everywhere there wasn't much we could do trapped inside the wooden barrier! Upon wriggling free, he made a bid for freedom, which had me panicking at the thought of him being lost in the vastness of this place. Fortunately my other half managed to climb over the barriers, and found him not far off playing peekaboo with a baby. After this we managed to reclaim our place for a ride that lasted for less than a minute and was quite frankly on a par with those little coin rides that you see in the entrance of supermarkets. Not impressive!
The main reason we were here of course was Lego World which made the visit worthwhile. We were worried that R&S might be a bit small to appreciate it, but they were mesmerised by the miniature cities with their moving cars and boats etc. It soon became apparent that the cities represented were mostly those of the surrounding countries that the park obviously attracts the most visitors from, but they were nice to see none-the-less, and the attention to detail was incredible. Incidentally, my four year old pointed out that the bricks are all actually glued together, so there's no point in trying - just in case you are tempted!!
As theme parks go (and I am not that enthusiastic about most I hasten to add), it was a nice day out. It's great for families with small children, and although the entrance is expensive, you can cut costs by booking on-line which saves quite a bit, and bringing your own food and drinks etc. with you. Finally, don't forget to write your telephone numbers on the arms of any small people you may have with you, just in case!! Let me know what you think if you visit!