Sunday at Legoland

We tipped outselves out of bed early on Sunday morning, packed our bags with all manner of snacks, and set out for Legoland to celebrate the new “9 year old” status of our youngest. We have been to Legoland several times before, and although extortionately expensive (even after halving the gate price with vouchers), if the weather is good it makes for a great day out with children. Or rather, it should have made for a great day out, but I’ll get to that later.

The slightly guilty highlight of the day for me was queueing for the Viking rapids ride behind a group of twenty and thirty-somethings who looked like they were heading out to an exclusive restaurant for the evening. They had already endeared themselves to us by pushing past us to join the queueapologising in an offhand way for elbowing all five of us out of the way.

The “alpha female” had some kind of huge mid-2000s Jennifer Aniston hair, fake boobs, false eyelashes, and makeup applied with a trowel. Her best friend had a miniskirt, glittery tights, and high heals. The men of the group were a mix of “trying to look like a rugby player”, and “trying to look like you have money”. We looked wide eyed at each otherknowing all about the ride we were queueing forand whispered “why would anybody dress like that to come to a theme park with wet rides?” The icing on the cake was when the machine selling waterproofs wasn’t accepting any moneymeaning they were going on the ride with no coatsjust their designer label handbags without fasteners.

We had a whale of a time on the rideas our boat spun and crashed it’s way through the rapids, we were sprayednodelugedwith water, while shouting, screaming, and laughing like idiots. We had stowed everything deep in our bags while in the queue, but we still left the ride soaked to the skin. Thank the maker it was a hot, sunny day!As we left, I spotted the group that had been in front of us in the queue, looking like comically drowned rats (complete with running mascara and “just woken up hair”), having an argumentative inquest about taking out legal action. I couldn’t hide a huge grin as we all held hands and headed off into the rest of the park.

So. Apart from making our own fun around the rest of the park, and oggling the incredible creations in “Mini-land” (think vast model cities made from LEGO bricks), why did I mention that it wasn’t as good as it should have been?Let’s start with the restaurant having run out of all alcoholic drinks BEFORE lunchtime. How about the restaurant bringing our meals out ten minutes apart with no apology? How about the restaurant not giving us enough cutlery, and then flat out ignoring our request for more? How about the card machines at the two rides I might have wanted to buy photos not working? How about several of the drinks stands running out of pretty much everything by mid afternoon? How about the main rollercoaster being broken down for much of the day?There was something else that appeared to be prevalent throughout the park that troubled me tooand I’ve thought long and hard about commenting on it or not. There were a lot of foreign families in the park where it’s culturally “accepted” (not sure if that’s the right term) that the women look after the childrentherefore there were groups of perhaps two or three women with groups of seven or eight children, and maybe one or two fathers or grandfathers who were glued to their phone in the crowd throughout. None of this is remarkable until they want to go on a ride, and the rules all over the park stipulate that small children MUST be accompanied by adults, or older children on ALL the ridestherefore you cannot have six small children with two adults Oh, the arguments. We ended up waiting for an hour for one ride, because argument after argument erupted as people neared the ride and realised that no amount of threats, or intimidation were going to sway the (excellently trained) staff.

It wasn’t all bad though.

We ended the day with a movie in the 4D theatre, and although the trailers ahead of the movie hurt your eyes (they were incredibly blurred), the movie itself was excellentpushing the 3D glasses to their limits, while pelting you with REAL wind, rain and snow to fit with scenes in the movie.

On our way out of the park we stopped at the LEGO shop, and the newly crowned Miss 9 looked around at things she might spend her money on. Shame on LEGO for not having discounts in a park they own, and that you’ve already paid handsomely to enter. All of our children looked around at the prices of the kits aghastknowing full well they could buy them from a number of places online and get much better value for moneywhich is exactly what they did, save for a few minifigures to remember the day.