Our eldest son (aged 6) has been asking to visit LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort for a long time. Recently our youngest son (aged 3) has also started to take an interest in LEGO® so we decided it was time we paid the theme park a visit. We had heard lots of mixed reviews so we were unsure what to expect. Legoland Windsor Resort is part of the Merlin Group of Attractions. Thanks to this relationship, we were able to collect the tokens from the Sun newspaper as part of their Superdays promotion in order to get two free entrance tickets. We decided to combine our visit to LEGOLAND® with a trip to Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Paultons Park, home of Peppa Pig World. In order to be well located to visit all three attractions, we choose to stay in a holiday cottage in the New Forest for a week.
LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Review
This was our first ever visit to LEGOLAND® Windsor resort so we were unsure what to expect. We had a great time with Miniland being one of our personal highlights of the park, but having a Q-Bot definitely helped.
LEGOLAND® Souvenir Cups
On entry to the park, we were offered souvenir cups which could be refilled for free all day. We decided to take up this offer as not only were they a great memento for the boys to keep they were also likely to prove reasonably cost-effective. The boys enjoyed getting them refilled throughout the day, whilst they tested the selection of available drinks.
Q-Bot – Ride Reservation System
Everyone I spoke to prior to our visit commented on just how crowded it can get at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort. I was warned to expect queues extending to over an hour for some of the more popular rides. We had travelled a long way and only had one day to spend at the park. In order to make the most of our day, we made the decision that we would purchase Q-Bot on arrival. Q-bot is a ride reservation system which allows you to enjoy some of the other rides and attractions whilst the system queues virtually for you. The system is currently available in 3 incarnations, Q-Bot Regular, Q-Bot Express and Q-Bot Ultimate.
We opted for Q-Bot Regular, which is the cheapest option at £20 per person. We were happy to pay this based on the fact that we had used our Sun Superdays tickets to gain free entry to the theme park. With Q-Bot Regular you select the ride that you wish to go on and your reserved ride time reflects the time of the actual queue length. This frees up your time to enjoy some of the other rides and attractions whilst the Q-Bot device simulates standing in line for you. Once your queue time has elapsed you either visit the attraction via a dedicated Q-Bot line or enter via the exit. The ride operator approves your Q-Bot reservation and immediately following approval you can select your next ride and the process starts again.
Q-Bot Express and Q-Bot Ultimate
There are some negatives with Q-Bot, the first being that it extends the length of time that people without the Q-Bot system have to wait. The Q-Bot Regular and Q-Bot Express are limited to 20 rides and attractions, meaning that you either have to pay extra for some of the most popular attractions or stand in the regular line.
At the time of writing Q-Bot Express costs £35 per person and halves the wait time. Q-Bot Ultimate costs £75 per person and gives you almost instant access to the rides and attractions and also includes Coastguard HQ and Laser Raiders.
Q-Bot regular worked really well for us. We made use of the Q-Bot whilst we ate lunch, looked at the models in miniland, took time out at a show and spent time in the numerous playgrounds.
Having acquired our Q-Bot we made a reservation for our first ride, Atlantis. This is the first time we had visited LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort. We did not realise both how hilly the park was and also that Atlantis was right at the back of the park. We had been pre-warned that sitting on one side of the ride offered a much better experience than the other. When we approached the front of the queue we asked the ride operator about this and he kindly ensured that our boys got seats offering the best ride experience. Our opinion was that the ride was okay but nothing amazing. It certainly is not worth queuing a long time for.
After we rode Atlantis we went to Driving School which we had also pre-booked using Q-Bot. The negative here was our younger son was not able to ride the same Driving school as our eldest and we could only reserve one or the other. Our eldest son got to ride and he really enjoyed it. Following Driving School we did Fire School before stopping for lunch. We all had great fun at Fire school, it is a very interactive ride with parents having to help out pumping the vehicles to make them move. When you reach the far end of the course, parents pump the water whilst the kids use the cannons to put out the fire.
We often take a picnic when visiting Theme Parks in order to save some money. Today we decided to purchase lunch in the park but we found it to be a bit of a challenge. Despite the theme park being pretty busy a number of the eating establishments were closed. With the limited options available to us, like lot’s of other families, our boys choose hotdogs. There was a ‘baguette bar’ sandwich kiosk but unfortunately, this was closed. This meant that there weren’t many alternatives to choose from other than sausage butties. The crazy thing was that you couldn’t buy the adult and children’s meals from the same kiosk. This meant that my wife had to queue for the children’s meals whilst I queued at the opposite kiosk for the adult meals.
The Dragon Rollercoaster
Whilst we ate lunch the Q-Bot virtually queued for the very popular Dragon Rollercoaster ride. Having the Q-Bot was great because it meant we could walk straight on some of the more popular rides. The dragon was an interesting ride. The rollercoaster is split into small sections which take a lot of the fun away from what could be a really good ride.
A Disappointing Ride
When you initially depart the station the ride slowly travels through the castle where there are some nice Lego scenes to view. This is followed by a short faster section of track. The problem is that the ride then comes to a halt whilst you are held on the lift hill. You are held at this point until the train in front completes its course. Once the train in front is clear you can then experience the second section of the track. On completion of the second section of track, you then spend a significant amount of time sitting outside the station whilst the train in front is reloaded. We were disappointed with this ride which is supposed to be one of the parks flagship attractions.
Vikings’ River Splash
Following our ride on The Dragon roller coaster, we rode Vikings’ River Splash and the Spinning Spider. With us visiting LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort in October the queue for Vikings’ River Splash was none existent. Whilst we rode Vikings’ River Splash we set up the Q-Bot to virtually queue for Balloon School.
Beware, you get a lot more than splashed on the Vikings’ River Splash ride which explains why there was no queue..!!
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After riding the Vikings’ River Splash and the Spinning Spider we still had some time to wait until our ride at Balloon School. To fill in the time we took a ride on Fairy Tale Brook. This was a tranquil boat ride which passed by a number of Lego models depicting scenes from famous fairytales. The boys enjoyed the ride trying to guess which fairytale each scene was depicting.
Following the Fairy Tale Brook ride, we headed over to Balloon School. This was an interesting ride where you are seated in a LEGO® themed gondola. The children get to pull on a “gas valve” cable to increase altitude, whilst the ride rotates.
It was now mid-afternoon, we stopped for a drink and the boys spent some time in the Brickville interactive playground. This is one of the many playgrounds dotted around the park. The boys also rode the DUPLO train which was located alongside the playground.
After burning off some energy we took some time to look at the models in the excellent miniland. No doubt this has to be one of the highlights of the entire park. The models are really well made with lots of attention to detail. A number of the models also move and others have interactive elements. Our boys really enjoyed the dragster race challenge.
Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show
Following our wander around miniland, we headed back down to the lower section of the park. Here we rode the Scarab Bouncers and watched the Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show. The pirate-themed live-action show featured acrobatics and some impressive stunts. The children really enjoyed the Pirates of Skeleton Bay show which took place in the Heartlake Harbour Arena.
The park was nearing closing time and we now faced a long walk up the hill back to the top of the park. Rather than walk, we caught the Hill Train back up to the entrance at the top of the Hill.
Once we got to the top of the hill we decided to have one final ride. We rode the Sky Rider which gave an overhead tour of miniland. This was located a short walk back down the hillside. The children enjoyed going back down the hill to get on the ride because, alongside each flight of steps, there is a slide.
LEGOLAND® Collectable Pop Badges
Like Chessington World of Adventures, which we had visited earlier in the week LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort also offers collectable pop badges. The badges are an opportunity for children to collect a range of free pop badges during your visit. We found that the badges were much harder to acquire than they were at Chessington World of Adventures. The boys were disappointed that they could not swap their Chessington World of Adventures badges for LEGOLAND® badges.
LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort Summary
We enjoyed our visit to LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort but we did feel that the park is overhyped for what it has to offer. Miniland is excellent but some of the other Lego models looked tired and in need of some TLC. There are some good rides and attractions but nothing too dissimilar to what you would find in any other theme park. The park had a good selection of rides and attractions suitable for all the family. Despite being billed as some of the feature rides, we were disappointed with both The Dragon roller coaster and the Atlantis ride. We were also disappointed with the limited food choices at lunchtime and would recommend that you take a picnic. In summary, we would say that LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort is worth a visit but not somewhere we would return in a hurry.