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An Absolute LEGOLAND Corker!

An Absolute LEGOLAND Corker!
We’ve done 'holiday camps', we’ve spent weeks in soft-play centres and have more children’s parties to our names than many a clown.

So when we decided to go on a Ninjago Weekend Break at the LEGOLAND Hotel in Windsor we pretty much figured that we knew what to expect. A couple of days that suited the kids down to the ground but which ultimately wouldn’t mean much to us other than the ability to sit back and watch the kids have fun. We were right about the fun the kids would have, but what surprised me and my partner Sarah was just how much us grown-ups would enjoy it too.

I have to admit, I was pretty much smitten as soon as we approached the hotel and saw the giant dragon outside breathing smoke, and when I entered reception my jaw dropped and hit my 7 year old son on the head. His dropped and hit my 4 year old son. His dropped and hit the floor. Do you look at the life-sized Ninjago figure, the hundreds (or is it thousands) of mini-figures on a feature wall behind the check-in desk or the colourful, central merry-go-round of pirate ships, submarines and dragons? It was certainly eye-catching. Sarah and my daughter Caitlin were more reserved but even they were won over by the time we entered our family room. Each floor is themed and we travelled past the Kingdom and Pirate floors to the Adventure one. You step out of the lift to be greeted by a LEGO Indiana Jones and walk along corridors decorated as a pyramid interior to enter a room themed to within a inch of its’ life. Scorpions on the wall, spiders on the ceiling, rats under the tv, all in LEGO; the whole thing is amazing to look at and there is always something more to find. We were in the hotel for 12 minutes before my partner summed up our awe with three simple words: ‘Attention to detail’.
Caitlin and the LEGO Man

On the bed was a quiz based around the room and its many interesting features. Once these were worked out we had the combination to the safe (guarded by a monkey) and to three goody bags featuring enough LEGO goodies to send the kids into raptures. It was a fabulous start to the weekend and set the tone of excitement and fun right from the start.

But we had no time to stop and went straight into dinner. The restaurant is fantastic. The service is great, as you might hope, and the buffet food was perfect. Tom, my eldest, can be choosy but there was something here for everyone from your standard kids food (chicken, chips, beans) to healthy choices (salads, fruit) to fun deserts from the serve-yourself ice-cream machine! The buffet choice makes it unrushed and means you can pick and choose whether to have a large meal or dip into several different choices. Whilst you amble through the ranges the kids pick out LEGO sculptures galore: dogs eating sausages, LEGO chefs falling into their creations, gigantic LEGO deserts that look good enough to eat!

The restaurant level also has a play area where later on the kids were entertained by dancers and dragons. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives and we were finally able to just sit and stare, amazed by the surroundings. The breakfast on the following two mornings were similarly wide-ranging and we started both Saturday and Sunday stuffed to the brim and ready for the day.

The 3 Kids at LEGOLAND
On the Saturday we were able to visit some of the rides from the park. It might disappoint some that the entire park is not open but we found that the rides that were open were well chosen. For older kids it might get a bit repetitive because they would probably be able to get around much quicker than our party (two lazy adults, three kids under 7) but for us it was perfect. Of particular interest was the submarine journey in Atlantis. It was great fun and both boys asked to re-visit this later in the day. One of my personal favourites (and another one we re-visited due to popular demand) was the Star Wars mini-land. Key scenes from all six films in LEGO. Awesome.

The afternoon was given over to Ninjago themed activities. These were creative (building ideas), competitive (LEGO Ninjago battles) and physical (kung-fu demonstrations and teaching). This was supposed to run from 2 till 5 but to be fair our three lost their concentration after a couple of hours. Still, we merely went to the indoor pirate-themed splash pool in order to work up an appetite for dinner!

Evening entertainment in the style of various martial arts demonstrations was advertised for the kids but with ours we found that they were so tired after the excitement of the day that bedtime by 8 was possible, despite the fascinating new bedroom. That suited us to the ground, but I’m sure that families with older kids were able to keep the fun pumping till 10 or late!

The weekend wasn’t cheap but there are some pretty good deals around
at the moment in the lead-up to Christmas. Even so, Sarah and I both agreed that this was a fantastic weekend, a truly original one that made you smile at every corner and quite often made you gasp with admiration at the thought and planning that had gone into the creation of the hotel. As far as the kids were concerned any question of a return visit was simple to answer in a great, big, fat affirmative and all three were slightly disappointed when the following Saturday we resolutely stayed at home. The resort is a blast and offers a really attractive, surprisingly relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable weekend for all concerned. Well done LEGOLAND, we loved it!


Dave Fouracre aka "Dave the Dad" is a regular feature writer & blogger for TheBabyWebsite and is Dad to two sons and a daughter!
November 2012

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