A happy birthday holiday in LEGOLAND Germany
GUNZBURG (Germany), June 1 — Spring is in the air, the flowers are in bloom... perfect weather for visiting LEGOLAND Germany which happens to be celebrating its 10th birthday this year.
In that time, the theme park has grown to become one of the most kid-friendly tourist destinations in Europe, offering over 50 attractions made out of 55 million LEGO bricks and a Holiday Village overlooking the entire park area which consists of eight worlds of adventure.
Bright blue, yellow, red and green are the main colours of this beautiful theme park with rides suitable for children as young as three to 12 years of age. From the spanking new Asian-themed Flying Ninjango ride to the special Star Wars MINILAND area, new visitors to the park will not be aware that it has been running for the last 10 years. Everything still looks spanking new.
“It was a bumpy start, I would say. We had a lot of learnings... good learnings as well. We are the fourth park and we should be the mother of all LEGOLAND parks here so we have learned from the three other ones. Of course, during the first 10 years we have to learn a lot. All these experiences have been built into the future park which we will have in Malaysia. So I guess what we have learned in the first 10 years combined with the other three LEGOLAND parks, you will benefit in Malaysia,” said Hans Aksel Pedersen, general manager of LEGOLAND Deustchland.
Come September 15, 2012, Malaysia will be the first country in Asia to have its own 76-acre LEGOLAND in Johor Baru. To date, 35,000 pre-opening annual passes have been sold online. LEGOLAND Malaysia is modelled very closely after its sister theme park in Gunzburg, Germany. It will have seven main areas, over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions including six dining spots, the biggest LEGO shop in Asia and a unique MINILAND featuring Malaysia’s own Petronas Twin Towers, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, India’s Taj Mahal and many more iconic landmarks.
Experiencing LEGOLAND for the first time is an indescribable experience. You are never too old to ride any ride nor are there any rides too dangerous for children. In each area, children of all ages will have the time of their lives pretending to be a pirate, an adventurer, a knight, a high-tech explorer, or even a driver.
From the moment you walk into LEGOLAND Germany, you are greeted by large colourful LEGO models shaped like bakers, scuba divers, animals, sea creatures and more. Some of them sing, play music and you can touch and play with the LEGO models. In conjunction with the 10th anniversary, LEGOLAND has introduced the Flying Ninjago Ride with a Ninjago MINILAND at the entrance area.
“The Flying Ninjago is the latest addition to the park this year, it is a flying attraction so you actually control your own dragon. You sit on your seat and by twisting the wings of the dragon, and with a lot of courage you can go up to 22 metres high and with some skills you can do 360 rolls in your seat. Very interactive like all other rides in LEGOLAND,” Pedersen explained about the latest addition to the park.
Currently one of the hottest rides at the park, the waiting time was almost an hour, with a long queue of thrill-seekers waiting to get on the dizzying, exciting Flying Ninjago. Almost all the shops in LEGOLAND Germany sell the Flying Ninjago merchandise, if you’d rather buy a keychain than get on the mind-spinning, heart-pumping ride. If rollercoasters are your cup of tea, there is the Fire Dragon at the Land of Knights or the thrilling Project X at LEGO X-TREME. There are also smaller rollercoasters for younger children so they won’t miss out on the fun.
If you don’t mind getting wet, there are plenty of adventures such as the Jungle X-pedition where your canoe drops from a 12m waterfall. What LEGOLAND Germany offers is family fun with hands-on participation, imagination, creation and educational values. It is non-stop action, exploration, awe and relaxation in a park that brings the whole LEGO brand to life. Kids who are familiar with thematic LEGO sets will be drawn to the “real-life” knights and pirates they played with at home.
“Based on our high-quality service and our focus on the target group — families with children between three and 12 — we have been elected as the most child-friendly park in Germany four times,” said Pedersen. Pristine boulevards, well-manicured greenery and great customer service are also reasons why LEGOLAND Germany is so popular among tourists.
Having spent 48 hours in LEGOLAND Germany, I would say that the fun never stops and on the day of the anniversary, it was fun to meet Olli, one of the mascots of LEGOLAND in MINILAND, as he took photos with children from all walks of life. Even parents couldn’t resist getting their photos taken with the friendly green dragon.
A 10-per cent discount was given on all merchandise to mark the celebration of the jubilee and there were many people purchasing LEGO sets and girly-themed toys from the newly opened LEGO Friends shop. As night fell, I could still see kids getting caught up in a flurry of activity while the prep team set up fireworks to kick off the year of more attractions, rides and activities.
As the pyrotechnics exploded across the sky, you could see the Observation Tower lit up with bright lights and the view was simply spectacular from MINILAND. Everywhere around the park, families sat on benches or stood somewhere near the Darth Maul Fotopoint to get a video or photos of the fireworks. The magnificent sight lasted almost 20 minutes and it was just simply magical.
Having been to many theme parks while growing up, there is always a little child in me that feels amazed whenever I experience the wonders of theme parks. I asked Pedersen how LEGOLAND Germany stays competitive in a growing market of theme parks opening up around the world.
Pedersen said that “LEGOLAND is not just a theme park. We are a LEGO theme park and you know LEGO is the world’s biggest brand in toys... they are constantly coming up with novelties. And of course we take advantage of the novelties so when they change the whole assortment a year or two, that automatically keeps us relevant for all the children. You see when the children visit us here, they know all the different rides because they know the Nijango, they know the Star Wars, they know everything and by knowing that combination of LEGO and a theme park, we stay relevant.”
“We will have LEGO Kingdom, Imagination, Land of Adventure, MINILAND, LEGO City, LEGO Technic and The Beginning at LEGOLAND Malaysia. People who have visited the LEGOLAND theme parks in Billund, Windsor, California, Germany and Florida have said that MINILAND is one of their favourite attractions. Fire Dragon or Dragon Coaster as it is called in LEGOLAND Malaysia is a favourite among families.
“The most popular ride is our Dragon Coaster. It is a rollercoaster but it starts from inside a castle. The first part of the journey goes through different rooms, all themed with LEGO, animated and you see a story in there. At the end of the tour of the castle is a wizard and with his magic wand, he turns into a real roller coaster,” added Pedersen.