**This is a continuation of Holiday Time ... part 2, the events on these posts happened over a day and a half, it's just easier to group them together, to this extent they may not be in any particular order**
When they say you can't do Legoland in a day they weren't kidding.... hope you enjoy reading this post for our continued enjoyment through the various themed attractions and rides
Land of the Vikings
After a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, egg, hash brown and beans what better way to start your Legoland day then with a trip in the Spinning Spider , at least that's what my husband and kids told me. as we spun round and round faster and faster my stomach was beginning to tell a slightly different tale. Extra thanks should be given to the member of staff running the ride who sounded as if he loved his job as he announced "I'll give you a treat as it's your first ride of the day ....... and let you have a bit longer".
After this experience Loki's Labyrinth seemed a nice peaceful experience. It's basically one giant maze (word of advice..... a 3 year old is not the best navigator!) however you can get a great view from the top. This attraction was however a bit too mild for daddy and Ben who chose to take their chance at a wet trip on the Vikings' River Splash . Noah loved the fact he could see them from the top of the tower and when their ride finished we raced through the maze to see if we could make it to the entrance before they got there (we did).
Knights Kingdom was by far Noah's favourite, although he was too small for The Dragon he could ride the Dragon's Apprentice and wanted to go again when it had finished. This mini roller coaster is great for kids who are just starting out on their Theme Park adventures as it goes fast enough and at enough of an angle to thrill it doesn't have the huge drops or loops.
The Knights Quest looks like a lovely mild carousel train ride, until you get in it ... it's can actually get up some speed!!
Pirate Shores is Legolands newest theme for 2014, and part of it, the bit aimed at younger children, was still under construction (due to open in May).
To be quite honest there was nothing in this land that took our fancy at all apart from the Pirate Falls Treasure Quest (large log flume)... sadly Noah was too small to ride so we gave it a miss to choose a ride for him.
Kingdom of the Pharaohs
This section holds the traditional rides such as a lazy horse carousel "Desert Chase"and the swinging chairs of the "Thunder Blazer". The Thunder Blazer operator was another staff member with children at heart as she encouraged riders to "flap their wings" to make the ride go faster and "soar like aeroplanes" through the skies.
The Aero Nomad is similar to your fairground big wheel, except you sit inside a hot air balloon. Now hubby is not a fan of heights and the wait swinging back and forth in the air while people got in and out was really not his cup of tea. The views were fantastic tho and if you are very lucky you get to sit in the special carriage with the Lego Explorer.
As we love the Laser Ride at Manchester's Legoland Discovery Centre we chose to end our trip with this one, "Laser Riders". It was 4.15 so we had a bit of time (maybe even squeezing in 1 more as the queue estimator at the entrance boasted a small 15 minute wait time)............ 45 minutes of queueing inside in the dark surrounded by lots of tired children with nothing to keep their attention we got on the ride. This rideseemed to be a lot quicker then the one we are used too, no sooner do you enter a chamber you are out of it, so you don't get the benefit of the hidden secrets for shooting the targets (we expected something a bit bigger and better. As for it's claim of being an "adrenaline-filled journey" .... it wasn't, even the kids came off asking if that was it....a real disappointment, after a fantastic day. Please also note that the claim on the website is that this ride is one of the "most suitable for under 3's". I would say not as to get the benefit you need to shoot the gun, these are quite large and difficult to handle for very young children (Ben has just sussed it at 5)
Adventure Land houses the Atlantis Submarine Ride. The boys really enjoy this one as you get to go under the sea and look out the fish while hunting for the lost Lego treasure.
The Squid Surfer was a real hit with all of us. You get to control a jet ski and how fast you go and the overall experience depends greatly on whether you keep close to land or out in the middle. We found it worked best to curl in then spin out really fast. How wet you get depends on how busy the park is as the public can control water bombs that explode as you go past. Ben loved getting his own back on the people riding once we go off.
The Dino Safari is a nice jeep ride through the jungle spotting the various dinosaurs along the way.
Q-Bots and Ride Access Passes
Can;t be bothered to queue for the rides you can buy a Q-Bot, these start at £15 per person and increase to £70 pp allowing you faster or instant access t 20 of the rides without having to queue. To be honest if you have the additional cash to afford these then good for you, for those of us waiting in the queues while people constantly nipped in and went ahead of you it was really annoying. Especially if you have just told your children "you'll be on the next ride" (as they are 2nd in the queue) and a party of 4 arrive to 'jump in' and take your place.
There are also free ride access passes (limit 10 rides) available for those visiting who "do not understand the concept of queueing; have difficulties with everyday social interaction; have a limited capacity to follow instruction or to understand others’ emotional feelings or expressions, and may therefore become agitated or distressed if they had to queue for a ride for an extended period of time."..... whilst this sounds very much like every child under 10 I've ever met sadly they have to join the queue.
All inclusive.... well....
Whilst it would be lovely to think a park like this would be all inclusive please do look out for the 'hidden extras'. Whilst you would expect to have to pay for food and in the shops obviously there are some attractions that also have a charge such as the remote control boats in miniland, the remote control trucks in Lego city and Pirate Goldwash in Pirate Shores
Overall, on a quiet day, Legoland is great value for money. With the Merlin cards it was well worth the visit. On a hectic summers day when you may queue an hour for every ride the value would be very poor
There is plenty for younger children to do, however I wouldn't suggest going with any child under 0.9m tall as there is very little they will be able to go on.
Make sure to take a picnic unless you want to pay around £3 for a drink ... and a lot more for food.
**Leisure Vouchers - We had planned to buy a meal there both days as I had saved up some Leisure Vouchers which stated they were accepted at Legoland, they do not state any restrictions other than not using against accommodation. However they DO NOT accept these vouchers on anything other than entrance tickets, fortunately I checked this before we went rather than be left very red faced when producing them for a meal**.