5 Ways for Windsor’s Top Family Attraction to Improve Before our next Visit!
Last month I took my children to Legoland. They were super excited and had a wonderful day. And I did too… except in unusually un-Pollyanna style, I couldn’t help but notice that for the money we had paid for our day out (even with the 30% early bird online booking discount), we weren’t exactly getting a whole lot of quality in return. Maybe my standards had gotten higher since I last visited almost a decade ago, but I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that unless it sharpens up its act, Lazy Legoland is definitely going to be hearing a lot more of the same from its summer flurry of tourists and day trippers.
And here are my 5 reasons why:
1) Give Us a Proper Welcome!
Have you seen the jaded, faded shade of your Lego people holding their Lego letters alongside the road leading to the entrance to the theme park? Maybe because you see them every day you haven’t noticed their general lack of vibrancy and lustre, but a bunch of discoloured garden gnomes would look equally enticing! Put up some new ones… and give them shiny new pieces of alphabet to hold while you’re at it. First impressions and all that. If you are daring enough to bill yourself as one of Britain’s top attractions, then you’d better start jazzing things up a bit and giving us some breadcrumbs of excitement leading us closer to our much anticipated day of family fun. It ain’t rocket science!
2) Miniland or Clapped Out Model Village?
Miniland, to the uninitiated Legoland visitor is pretty much the first stop as you snake your way around the winding paths of this brick built kingdom. And last time I was there with my then three year old niece, wow, Miniland literally blew me away! So what happened to the colours, Legoland? The greys have almost turned white, the bricks have been bruised and battered; quite literally weathered by The Weather. Can’t you be bothered to change them every couple of years? I know (well actually, I don’t because I have better things to do than construct a replica of Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower), that this must take time. But even if it was a ‘money thing’ surely you could find a bunch of enthusiasts – much like Britain’s beloved vintage steam railways have had to – to do you the honour? The contrast was only made even starker when we chanced upon the latest exhibit; a wonderfully festive Glastonbury Festival set-up complete with stage, rock stars and campers… and most importantly, eye-catching coloured bricks! It was awesome. And it also made everything else look utterly dull in comparison. Walk around. Preferably with a notebook, a camera too. Look at the difference in shades and hues and take note!
3) Pick Your People Up!
I wasn’t sure if the Lego figures lying all over the re-created scenes of Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square had been involved in a punch up after a daytime pub crawl or had all randomly fallen onto the pavement in some mass zombie-like trance. Pick them up! How much effort would it take? And while we’re at it, sort out the dead leaves and cobwebs too…
4) Employ People of ALL Ages
Now maybe the older staff just happened to be hiding the day we were there, but all I could see were teenagers and early twentysomethings in red uniform stretching out as far as the eye could see. There were teenagers in the shops, teenagers in the food outlets, teenagers ‘manning’ the rides, teenagers on the ticket booths and teenagers staffing the car parks. Lego is the love of all generations so reflect that back to the rest of the world with some equal opportunities style employment. Perhaps then numbers 1-3 on my list will magically take care of themselves!
5) Sort Out The Food
Three burgers – in McDonalds-sized, possibly smaller – baps, three measly bags of fries, two piddly bottles of water and 1 slightly larger bottle of water: total cost £17 something! I don’t recall what the something was, I was that stunned… It isn’t good enough. It just doesn’t cut the complimetary mustard. True, we didn’t venture into the other establishments, but after the ‘joy’ of queuing in the ‘Burger Kitchen’, frankly we’d seen enough . You may bill your burgers as ‘succulent’ and ‘superb’ but me and my kids beg to differ.
Look, we loved the other aspects of Legoland, really we did; the amazing variety of rides, the Heartlake City section full of the ‘Lego Friends’ characters – something brand new since our last trip, and the shows. Yes, you’ve totally nailed it with the shows. But you have to get the basics right. And at times it felt like you wanted nothing more than yet more money from us once you had us captive. Caricature and tattoo stations flanked the paths enticing children to ask their parents to break into yet another tenner. And the retail opportunities appeared to have sprung up just about everywhere since we’d last checked you out. Isn’t one large shop at the exit enough? And then we come back to the food thing. We’d stayed overnight with friends the evening before so a picnic wasn’t even an option for us. But if it was… oh, we so would have packed one. Imagine the luxurious hamper for 3 we could have whipped up on £17 something!
We will be back, this time with clipboards and pens in our rucksacks. And like those annoying mystery food diners who frequent eateries under cover, you won’t know it’s us (haha) but if those poor Lego figures are still left being trampled on by other Lego figures in central London, we’ll flippin’ well clamber into the street scene and rescue them ourselves.