“Muuuum, I really don’t like this,” screamed Meribel as, already drenched, she got squirted with more water on the Vikings’ River Splash, while her parents laughed maniacally.
“I WANT TO GET OFF!!” added Sonny, standing up and looking for an exit, which wasn’t available, since we were in one of those round things which bounce down the rapids, rebounding off the sides and soaking you periodically.
Since it was the hottest day in about 10 years, getting drenched was what we needed. Usually the British climate doesn’t accommodate such water ride indulgence, but despite getting properly wet, we dried off in minutes.
Our kids found it a little hard core, they preferred the more sedate Fairy Brook, a gentle meander down a river, looking at giant fairy tale characters made out of lego.
Starter coaster, Sky Rider and the submarine adventure, Atlantis, had to be done a couple of times and the Star Wars exhibition, Driving School and the 4D theatre showing the new Chima film, enhanced with snow and fire, were also favourites.
The last time we went to Legoland, we had a great time but I did come away feeling like I had spent much of the day queueing. Which is incredibly boring no matter how positive you try to be about it.
So this time, since we had saved so many coupons and special offers three of the four of us got in for free, we treated ourselves to the Q-Bot. We went for the cheapest option, which was £60 for the four of us and added instant access to the first ride for an extra £1 each.
The Q-Bot regular, doesn’t allow you to queue jump, but it does mean that as soon as you get onto a ride you can cue up the next one, get there for a given time and go in a separate entrance so you don’t have to queue. In effect you book your slot. The waits gave us chance to hang out in the shade, have a drink or something to eat, go to the toilet, visit the shop or stroll around enjoying the amazing lego constructions.
It’s a fantastic, memorable day out for small children, up to the age of about nine. Or older if they’re lego loving and not the white knuckle type, like mine. We’re already planning the next trip.
The expectations were so high that I was braced for disappointment, but luckily, other than the blip on the rapids, it was a great day for all four of us.
Tickets: There are so many offers for Legoland, on food packets and Tesco clubcard, that you don’t have to pay full whack. So get that sorted before you go. If you have a pre-paid ticket with a bar code, you can walk past the queues and straight up to the turnstile, scan the ticket yourself and you’re in.
Queueing: If you’re on a peak day, a Q-Bot undoubtedly enhances the experience. The Q-Bot Express, which costs £30 per person, cuts the queue time in half and Q-Bot Ultimate allows instant access to any of the rides, but is a whopping £70 per person. We were perfectly happy with the Q-Bot Regular for £15 per person.
If a Q-Bot is pushing the budget too hard, the rides which appeal to young children, such as in the Land of the Pharoahs, tend to have short queues. Also the pirate show, the puppet show in Miniland and the 4D theatre are good places to get quick access.
Shop: It’s not cheap tat, there is serious lego on offer here. Luckily the kids had saved their pocket money for months as there are a lot of high ticket items. They were delighted with their purchases and are enjoying playing with them now we are home.
Food: There is loads of choice of food, no shortage of takeaways and several sit down places. For me it wasn’t particularly tempting, but I am atypical as don’t eat meat and don’t really like junk food. Taking a picnic saved a lot of money, but did mean we had to cart it round with us. The Duplo family restaurant offers a very reasonable all you can eat buffet for £11 for adults and kids eat free after 3pm.
Take your swimmers: Or at least get the kids to take theirs. New for this year there’s a splash and play experience, in Miniland, for them to cool off.