Legoland, the world of plastic bricks' magic, brings a lot of memories and emotions.
I remember the first time we discovered Legoland with little Sasha who was about 4 and a half years old. I look at the old photos from the days when photos were still regularly printed and not just stored digitally, and his beaming smile tugs my heartstrings. He was such a cutie.
|Sash in Legoland|
Our lovely boy was entranced with the Miniland and enjoyed the rides for younger kids. He was small and portable then.
We returned there two more times, the last time, when he was 8 years old, growing more and more autistic and having sensory issues, and I was pregnant. That trip was so stressful, with Sash getting a sensory overload, and becoming frustrated with the queues, that I vouched never to step there again.
Until last Monday, when we took Eddie to Legoland for the very first time. He's been talking about it for years, but I just couldn't see how we could make it a fun event if we went as a family of four.
This week Sasha's class went on a residential trip to Butlins Minehead, and we decided to take Eddie out of school for several days to do things with him, which we cannot do otherwise.
The school trip ended for Sasha earlier than planned, as unfortunately his anxiety went through the roof. We had to change plans, but Monday was all about Eddie and Legoland.
The tickets are £47 per person, which is a total racket. I had a voucher for one free ticket (you can find these vouchers on boxes of cereals or chocolate - look for them in Poundland for the best value).
And they are making money out of everything. You would expect them to have some discounts on LEGO sets and minifigures, but no, the prices are not competitive at all.
And I totally resent paying £2.20 for a small bottle of water. That is a rip off. We had a bottle of water with us, but it happened to be a very hot day, and the water didn't last long.
Maybe because it was Monday, many food stalls and ice cream booths were closed, and the choice of food was very limited.
We visited most of the areas, but as we had to travel by bus, train, taxi to Legoland, we arrived at 12.30pm, and that didn't leave us much time until 5pm, when the park closed. We couldn't leave home earlier, as we needed to get Sasha to school first for his trip.
We started with the Land of the Vikings and the Vikings' River Splash, which thankfully didn't last long, as it made me utterly queasy. While I moaned, Eddie enjoyed the ride and deemed it too short.
Eddie loves Ninjago characters, and the second area we visited was Lego Ninjago World. He admired all the statues around the Ninjago pavillion.
The Ninjago ride was quite entertaining, with digital interactive screens.
We moved on to the Kingdom of the Pharaohs, and the fun Laser Raiders ride. Am I being too childish to rejoice at the fact that my score of shooting the baddies was the highest?!
By then we were a bit on the hungry side, and hoped to get something to eat at the Heartflake City area. We have picked the wrong time, as there was a singing performance going on the stage in front of the cafes, with music blasting at the top level, and the most talentless singing from the crew who, I presume, were supposed to be the Lego Friends characters.
We had a quick peek at the Heartflake cafe, but all the pastries and donuts seemed to be covered with half a pound of sugar each.
Adventure Land has a cool boat ride called SQUID Surfer. We queued for about 20 minutes in the heat. The boy in front of us was too short to be allowed on the ride, even with his father, and he was inconsolable. While I appreciate the safety reasons, I still think there should have been someone measuring children at the entrance to the ride, so that people didn't waste their time or have their hopes dashed.
Eddie went on his own, and had a fabulous time.
Someone at the church told Eddie about the young drivers' course, and he was intent to drive a car.
While they were queuing and driving, I did a bit of plane-spotting. The planes were crossing the sky, one after another.
I thought we'd run through the Duplo Valley, but Eddie begged me to let him into the Drench Towers.
There is a shop next to it, where you can buy towels and swimming trunks. We got the trunks, and off he went to splash in the cold water and going down the slides. He was wet from head to toes, but so-so happy. A pity we couldn't stay longer there, as we had half an hour left til the closing time, and he wanted to build a minifigure at the Imagination Centre and have another look at the shop.
We walked through the Miniland, which is the most creative and beautiful area of Legoland, with the famous landmarks from around the world built from Lego bricks.
There were scenes from picturesque Italian towns...
Italian piazza in all its glory
I loved how the Dutch homes got colourful reflections in the water.
Magnificent Belgian architecture... I believe this is Leuven.
I loved the ruins of the abbey in Scotland (does anyone know what is it? We were running by then and I had no chance to read all the plates).
We found St Basil's Cathedral, representing Russia (and looking at that photo, I realise I so need to go on a diet).
London's landmarks took a whole big area.
And it being less than a month after the Royal wedding, you couldn't escape it in Legoland either.
Having arrived at the train station in Windsor, we saw this rather excellent piece of Lego art.
Meghan and Harry appear as Lego characters, leaving the Windsor after the ceremony.
I wish we had another couple of hours to see more of the Miniland, and also visit the Knights' Kingdom, but it was time to leave.
Eddie did build his minifigures and bought a set of Lego Minecraft figures as well.
He's been talking about it all the week, and says he wants to go back there.
Have you recently visited Legoland? What was your favourite part?