For the past year, every time my daughters and I have driven past the construction site for the LEGOLAND Hotel, which is nearly every day, we have oohed, ahhed and fantasized about all the magical things that could potentially await us there. We finally were able to see and experience the magic first hand as the first ever LEGOLAND Hotel opened up its doors for media and its very first guests a few weeks ago.
My eardrums are still rattling from my kids’ screams as we pulled up to the front of the hotel. Their excitement was off the charts.
While I checked in, my kids played around in the LEGO brick pit located right there in the lobby, as well as the big pirate ship that overlooks the lobby. I probably could have let them play in there for hours, alas it was time to go check out our room.
All the rooms in the hotel are LEGO themed, either Adventure, Pirate, or Kingdom and we had Adventure. The squeals of excitement continued when they saw their own little area of the room complete with bunk beds (plus trundle) and their own TV. After having an intense game of Rock, Paper, Scissors for the top bunk, they clamored around the room and searched for all the LEGO themed décor items and hidden treasures (each room comes with hidden treasures).
From there it was off to the Bricks Family Restaurant for a buffet with a huge array of choices for both kids and adults. The kids’ buffet is mini-sized, so they can grab their own plate and help themselves to whatever they want (though you may want to supervise so they don’t walk away with a plate full of dessert).
Oh, and I almost forgot about the BEST part of the hotel. I almost don’t want to tell you about it because part of the thrill is the surprise factor but I just can’t keep it a secret. Each elevator is a DISCO elevator, complete with 70’s tunes and disco ball lighting. But shhhh, don’t tell your kiddos. Keep it a surprise and have your camera ready. You will want to capture their reaction on film!
FIVE FUN FACTS ABOUT THE LEGOLAND HOTEL
• Each guestroom’s restroom is equipped with a built-in toddler seat for your potty training little ones.
• Free Valet Parking.
• Peep holes at both adult and kid eye levels.
• Each room comes with a bucket of LEGO bricks for your kids to enjoy during your time in your room (just be sure to leave them there for the next guest).
• There are two locations within the hotel that serve wine and beer in case you like a post-theme-park nightcap.
Giving guests the opportunity to stay in a LEGO-themed family-friendly hotel after a full day or two at the Park, SEA LIFE® Aquarium or the Water Park, is the perfect icing to a LEGOLAND Resort vacation. You and your kids will flip for it. Rooms are booking up quickly, so book your stay soon!
Model Mom Mary
A few days ago, my daughters and I attended an early screening of the new 4D movie called LEGO® Legends of Chima, now showing at LEGOLAND® California at the LEGO Show Place.
Even if you and your kiddos aren’t well versed in the intricate and compelling backstory to the Legends of Chima, you are sure to enjoy this 12-minute action-packed 4D adventure.
The basics you should know before seeing the film.
• Chima is a land of and for animals.
• CHI is the name for a powerful element that everyone covets (and fights over). It is both a source of life and potential destruction
• Skunks emit a stinky smell.
Beyond these basics lies an elaborate backstory to the Legends of Chima and the fight over the CHI. Check out LEGO website for more on the history of the Chima characters and their battle for the CHI.
As for the new film, the animation is adorable and my kiddos laughed all the way through it (and put their hands up in the air trying to touch all the images flying out at them). Parents, you’ll also love it because it provide you with a place that you can rest your feet for 12 minutes.
LEGO® Legends of Chima is now open to the public! Be sure to grab your show guide as you enter the Park for show times.
Enjoy the show! Brick regards,
Model Mom Mary
Some of my favorite memories from when my daughters were young, are of the three of us wandering the paths of LEGOLAND® California. Even before their current obsession with LEGO® products, they simply loved walking around LEGOLAND, seeing the sites and enjoying the fun attractions built just for little ones.
I became an expert at tackling the Park with two kids in tow, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to do with one parent and two (or more) kids. Here are our favorite rides that you can ride with only one parent and two (sometimes more) kids.
• Coastersaurus: This is a perfect ride for three people, as long as the little ones are all over 32”, because the cars can seat three people in a row. It’s also an excellent way to expose younger riders to the thrill of a coaster without it being too scary. My kids adore this ride!
• Fairy Tale Brook: This ride is slow and sweet and great for any size group, of any ages and heights.
• The LEGOLAND Express: This “choo choo” never ceases to fascinate my kids.
• Captain Cranky’s Challenge: This ride is a MUST as long as your littlest ones are at least 34”
• Fun Town Police and Fire Academy: If all your kids meet the height minimum of 34” this ride will get that competitive drive going!
• Coast Cruise: This ride is a definite must for first timers to the Park as it will take you to several vantage points behind the scenes of Miniland that are simply fascinating.
• Beetle Bounce: Another great one for when both kids are over 36”.
In addition to all these rides, there are also several attractions and shows that any size group can enjoy, including:
• Miniland USA
• DUPLO Playtown & Water Works – DUPLO Village
• Swabbie’s Deck – Pirate Island
• Dig Those Dinos – Dino Island
• Pharoah’s Revenge – Land of Adeventure
Just to name a few! There are also several live entertainment options throughout the park that are fun for the whole family. Be sure to grab a show guide when you enter the Park for show times and locations. The Big Test is our personal fave! For all things to do with little ones under two, check out this post on “What To Do When You’re Two.”
Model Mom Mary
Looking for something fun to do with your kids on New Year’s Eve? Well look no further because LEGOLAND® California is the place to be. Complete with party favors, fireworks, and a full-blown outdoor musical festival for kids, LEGOLAND throws a bang up party with their very own time zone for kids.
Not only will your family be able to enjoy an entire day in the snow-filled winter wonderland of Fun Town, but also, at 2:30 pm, kids will be able to get their groove on when the concert fun starts at Miniland. The rockin’ line-up of performers is listed below and you can read more about each of the bands in last year’s line-up post. Our family favorites are Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band and, of course, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players.
After the concert, just when the sun has set and the kids are feeling tuckered out, LEGOLAND will ring in 2013 with a Brick Drop (a la Times Square ball drop) and will finish off the festivities with an awesome display of fireworks. It’s the perfect family-friendly way to ring in the New Year (and it still leaves you time to hit the town for the real midnight if you’ve lined up a baby-sitter and you somehow have enough energy).
Kids’ New Years Eve Concert Line-Up
12pm – 2pm Sneak preview of the bands in Fun Town on the Holiday Stage
2:30pm One World Chorus backed by Aaron Nigel Smith and the FUNdamentals
3:20pm Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
4:00pm Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
5:00pm Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players
6:00pm Brick Drop and Fireworks
This is one of the best nights of the year at LEGOLAND California so I hope you’ll join us! Happy 2013!
Model Mom Mary
It’s time for those of us So Cal residents to trade in our flip flops for a pair of snow boots and head to LEGOLAND® California for their special version of SNOW! Last year was the first year that LEGOLAND experienced snow fall in Fun Town, and this year, they are not only celebrating Holiday Snow Days, but they are also celebrating Winter Nights every Saturday*, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, where the Park will stay open until 7:00pm.
* Other Winter Nights dates are: Nov. 24; Dec 1, 8, 15, 22, 23; 26-30 (all 7pm closing on these dates).
RETURNING this year:
• Snow Play: This is a blast for kids of any size. Throw snowballs, build snowmen, or sled down mini-hills.
• Holiday Entertainment: There is constant entertainment during these winter nights between the Jingle Jammers (official glee club of LEGOLAND), a new Holiday version of LEGO® Friends LIVE, and holiday themed costume characters including a LEGO Santa and Toy Soldier.
• LEGO Holiday Tree: Every night at 5:00pm, beginning on November 29th through Dec. 25th the larger-than-life holiday tree made out solely of LEGO bricks will be lit by a special park guest.
• Let It Snow: The festive 20-minute musical featuring a toy fairy, stuffed dog and toy soldier that come to life to make a little girl’s dreams of snow come true. The show runs at Play Town Theater from November 23 – December 31– be sure to check your show guide upon entering the Park for show times.
• Fireworks: From Dec. 26 – 30th at 7pm with best viewing in Fun Town.
NEW this year:
• Holiday Food Truck – Who doesn’t love a hot cup of cocoa to warm your hands on a chilly night? Now Fun Town will have a food truck serving bratwurst, Churros, and warm beverages like hot cocoa and cider.
• The Big Test Holidays – A new, re-vamped version of The Big Test will be running this holiday season, which might be the thing I’m most excited for since I’m a pretty big fan of Vern and the rest of the Fun Town crew.
• Holiday Village Build – A special event at LEGOLAND would not be complete without a building activity. Participating guests will help build a Holiday Village scene with bricks provided by Park elves and will receive a retail coupon valid at the LEGO Clubhouse (offer TBD) and can enter to win a family 4 pack of Resort Memberships.
• Holiday Lights – A very special treat during Winter Nights! Watch as the holiday lights twinkle to life and “dance” to music throughout Fun Town. This happens with the tree lighting (at Park close) when the Park closes at 5:00pm and it happens at 5:00, 5:45, 6:30, and 7:00pm when the Park is open til 7:00pm.
SEA LIFE® Aquarium is also getting festive with holiday themed shows and a Christmas Critter Animal Encounter.
For more details and special ticket offers for The Holiday Snow Days/Winter Nights go to LEGOLAND.com. Now get your snow boots and mufflers and come on down.
Model Mom Mary
The first two Brick or Treat Party Nights have been a huge success. For my kids the biggest highlight has been the singing Witchettes who perform throughout night. Check out this quick video highlighting the Witchettes and some of the other entertainment that can be seed during the Party Nights.
The creativity and entertainment doesn’t stop there, however. Other highlights of the party nights are the tap dancing skeletons that roam around the party and the splash artist who creates mesmerizing works of art by literally splashing paint on a giant canvas. I will bet you an order of Granny Apple Fries that you won’t be able to guess what he’s painting until the very last flick of his brush.
One of these years I am going to get crafty and come up with some clever costumes so I can enter the kids in the costume contest, though the competition is might stiff and seems to get tougher each year. Get a load of these jellyfish costumes that won Best Creative.
There are two more party nights left, October 20th and October 27th. Hope to see you there!
Model Mom Mary
Starting this Saturday night, October 6th, and running every Saturday in October, LEGOLAND® California will be holding a fun-filled, spooky party called Brick-or-Treat Party Nights, consisting of wickedly wonderful entertainment, spooky trick or treating and a dance party you won’t want to miss.
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights are a perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit, and they are also the best place to get the most bang for your Halloween-costume-buck. If you have spent a lot of time, energy and/or money on your kiddo’s costume this year, be sure to join us for the annual costume contest.
Here are some important things to know about the contest:
• NEW location this year! It will be in Miniland on an ALL NEW stage.
• Registration begins at 4:00pm in the Imagination Zone (the alcove next to Coast Cruise) and ends promptly at 7:15.
• You must be registered by 15 minutes prior to the start of the category you have entered -- so sign up early if you can.
• The categories this year are Pirates at 5:30, LEGO® at 6:30pm and Creative at 7:30pm.
• Kids 12 and under are eligible to participate.
• Talk your kiddo through the process of being up on the stage & possibly being interviewed on the microphone.
• Have a snack/food before going up on the stage.
• Pool friends together since there is a group award in each category this year.
• Everyone gets to walk away with a participation ribbon, and the experience of showing off their awesome costumes, so everyone’s a winner!
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights are what my kids and I look forward to most every October. To read more about all the fun, click here. Hope to see you there!
Model Mom Mary
It’s barely the end of summer but many of us are moving our sights quickly and swiftly on to Halloween. The LEGOLAND® California Events and Entertainment department is currently hard at work to make this year's Brick-or-Treat Trail and Brick-or-Treat Party Nights the best they've ever been. Over the years, this annual event that takes place from 5:00pm – 9:00pm on Saturday nights in October has morphed from a fun opportunity to Trick-or-Treat and show off some creative costumes to a full-blown dance party, complete with singing witches, ghoulish stilt walkers, tap dancing skeletons AND fireworks.
Whether you’ve been to the Park every year for Brick or Treat, or you will be attending this year for the first time, this year’s schedule of events is something you can’t pass up!
FIVE REASONS WE CAN’T WAIT FOR BRICK-OR-TREAT:
1) The Annual Costume Contest: Every year this is a highlight of the Party Nights because the creativity and cuteness of the costumes is just too much to stand. This year there are a few changes to make it even better.
• The contest will be held on the new Miniland Stage to allow more room for the contestants to strut their darling stuff (in previous years it’s been up at Castle Hill).
• The contest categories this year are Pirates at 5:30pm, LEGO® at 6:30pm and Creative at 7:30pm. Sign up for your category at least 15 minutes prior to the start times listed above. [Registration closes 15 minutes prior to each contest]
• This year, they are offering a 4th prize in each category for BEST GROUP entry, in case all your kids want to dress up as all the Angry Birds characters or the cast of Madagascar 3.
• BEST NEWS OF ALL: 1st winners in each of the three themed categories will receive a LEGOLAND themed prize package with a Family Four Pack of Resort Memberships! 2nd, 3rd and Best Group winners will receive a LEGO toy and tickets.
2) The Hubble Bubble Dance Party: There is a reason this event is called a Party Night, because with all the fun music, it is definitely a party. Shake your groove thing with Hubble Bubble, Zany Zelda and The Witchettes at the Courtyard Theatre Stage for some serious BOOgying.
3) Art Attack: One of the highlights of last year’s Brick or Treat for me, was the live action painting station in which dancing artists throw paint on a huge canvas, seemingly willy nilly, until the last drop is thrown and a recognizable image is revealed. This wows audience members every time. I’m so glad it’s back again this year. Check it out on the Imagination Zone Stage where you can also meet the new Lord Vampyre costume character in between Art Attack paint shows.
4) Brick-or-Treat Trail: Trick or Treating on the Brick or Treat Trail is a perfect warm up to the real deal. Here are some things to know about the trail.
• Trail hours: The Brick or Treat Trail on the Enchanted Walk and the Bonus Treat Station at SEA LIFE are open Saturdays in October 12:00pm – 9:00pm and Sundays in October 12:00pm – 5:00pm.
• The Brick or Treat Trail on the Miniland Overlook (Model Shop Rooftop) is open only for Party Nights on Saturdays from 5 – 9pm.
• You can choose to go to one of the two trails inside the Park--they are essentially the same, with the same delicious treats given out at both, so you are not missing out on anything if you choose one over the other. The Enchanted Walk Trail has a bit more ambiance because it feels like you're walking through a forest, but the Miniland Overlook location is typically a faster line. Either way, the lines go quickly so don't be concerned if the line looks too long.
• The treat stations are stocked with LEGO magazines, stickers, crayons, healthy snacks, and of course some candy.
5) Fireworks - A real party isn’t complete without fireworks. If your kiddos aren’t worn out from all the excitement, then this is a perfect way to end the night.
Some of the new additions to Brick or Treat Party Nights this year include:
• A LEGO Monster Fighters Scavenger Hunt throughout Miniland.
• A LEGO Monster Fighters themed Building Competition at the Hero Play Room in the Imagination Zone.
• A GIANT 10-ft tall LEGO Lord Vampyre group building event that guests can participate in starting October 6.
• A World Record Attempt on October 12. Wear your Vampire costume to LEGOLAND on October 12 to help break the world record for the most vampires assembled with completed 10ft tall LEGO Model of Lord Vampyre!
Now start working on those creative costumes and fancy dance moves and we’ll see you there!
Model Mom Mary
Less than ten minutes after the last guests leave one of my kids’ birthday parties, I invariably hear both of my daughters plotting out what and where they are going to have their NEXT birthday party. Typically their initial ideas are no longer cool or hip by the time the next year comes around, but that’s why birthday parties at LEGOLAND California are such a genius idea. LEGO® products never go out of style and playing at a theme park is just about as much fun as any kid could ask for.
There are two types of birthday parties you can throw at LEGOLAND. The first is called an Express Birthday Party. It includes a birthday button (which you can get even if you don’t book a party, so be sure to pick one up at Guest Services), discounted admission to the Park, and a LEGOLAND birthday cake.
The second is an Ultimate Birthday Party experience and includes: discounted admission into the Park, party invitations, LEGO themed party place settings and hats for children, LEGOLAND birthday cake, LEGO gift for each child, private party pavilion for one and a half hours of festive celebration, and a special one-use Ride Exit Pass.
You can select from three party venues including Knight's Table which offers BBQ ribs or chicken, hot dogs, chicken tenders, The Funtown Market which serves stir-fry, pasta, hot dogs, chicken tenders and a salad bar that I love, and Brickolini which features gourmet pizza, pasta, breadsticks and salad.
We just attended an ultimate birthday party a few weeks ago at Funtown and the kids had an absolute blast.
Both of these options are for parties of ten or more and must be booked at least two weeks in advance. You can book online or by calling 760.438.LEGO.
Model Mom Mary
If you’re throwing your own LEGO themed birthday party at home, check out our Pinterest Board dedicated to LEGO themed parties for some inspiration. You will be amazed!
The maintaining and refurbishing of the LEGO® models at the various LEGOLAND® Parks and Resorts around the world seems like an intensely laborious job. Sure it’s fun playing and making models with LEGO bricks, but not many people know all the work that goes into to keeping those models looking so good. So, I sat down with Tim Petsche, Model Shop Supervisor at LEGOLAND® California Resort, to find out just how they take care of the Park’s models.
According to Tim, the refurbishing of the models is a three-stage process. First the models are taken out of the Park and sandblasted with high pressure air in a booth. This process removes all the grime and the gunk and gives them a matte finish. Then they are steam cleaned and then put through a paint booth, similar to what a car would go through. They are sprayed with a clear protective coat that protects against UV rays and the elements. The refurbishment process can take from one to three weeks, depending on the size of the model.
What I found to be extremely interesting is that out of all the LEGOLAND Resort locations, California has the “harshest weather conditions.” Being a SoCal native, I nearly spit my coffee out when he used the word harsh to describe our warm, sunny weather conditions. However, as Tim explained, our warm, sunny climate is harsh on a LEGO brick. The plastic used in LEGO bricks is actually not bothered by cold and wet elements, but sun drenched UV rays lessen their lifespan dramatically. With exposure to too much UV light, over time, the bricks begin to crack and break down on a molecular level. Plus, our beautiful weather allows for the California Park to be open all year long, whereas the Windsor and Denmark properties are closed during their winter off-season, providing a respite to the models when they are put in storage for the winter.
Before the Park opens every morning, the model builders do a walk-through of the Park, inspecting all of the models, with safety being their number one concern, and then cosmetic issues second. The most recent model to be refurbished is the Mariachi Band, which is one of my favorites (though it didn’t make my list of Top 5 Favorite Models). When I noticed it missing last week, I was glad to know that it was just being worked on and not gone forever. Those guys are a hoot (located in Fun Town).
To learn more about the life of a Master LEGO Builder, check out my interview with Master Model Builder, Gary McIntire.
Be sure to check out the latest models that have been added to LEGOLAND California in the new Pirate Reef area.
Model Mom Mary