Although I was a die-hard Legomaniac in my youth, I must admit that Legoland California was never really a priority destination for me. By 1999 every 12 year old I knew was into video games, building bike jumps, and juvenile vandalism. Lego was for the kiddos and when Legoland California opened up I was less than a month away from becoming a pubescent teenage monster.
|Teenage Monster (Not Me Though.)
However, I'd say most people leave the park thinking that Legoland California seems to focus more on the spectacle of seeing sculptures made of Lego rather than blowing up the scale of their toys. When I mentioned to friends or coworkers that I'd be visiting the park with my nephew the most common critique I'd hear is that Legoland is boring because it's mainly just Lego sculptures. They'd tell me that the rides are only exciting for younger children and that the park in general is pleasant but for older kids it's not worth the drive or expense. That wasn't exactly the first time I had heard of Legoland's lackluster reputation but it is important to note that almost everyone agrees that younger guests always seem to have the most fun. Seems like a big “no duh” sort of situation. The toys are marketed towards younger kids and guess who likes the park the most?
|An Accurate Lego Version of Bartok.
|Aunt Hilda: The Canadian Lego Goddess.
|"Get To Da Lego Choppa!"
I later spotted the Governator again in the Block of Fame section of the park.
|Fisherman's Wharf Seals
There is some decent Lego artwork sprinkled throughout the park but it was hard to ignore the dilapidated sculptures and general lack of care for some of the attractions. The park is celebrating its 20th year of operation which should give Lego some motivation to repair or update the scenery. Much of the artwork, while not necessarily bad, just seems to follow trends that were popular 20 years ago. Sort of how animation styles from the 90s look dated now, Lego artists have evolved much more over the years and I think it's time to swap out a majority of the statues with something more contemporary. The existing works aren't intrinsically bad, just older.
Ultimately I must say: don't let the name fool you; Legoland is definitely more like a small regional theme park than Disneyland. For a lot of people, that's not a bad thing at all. If you think your kids are small enough, you can get the tickets cheap enough, and you come prepared knowing what to expect, everyone will have at least a little fun. Also, be prepared to visit the gift shops often as they are practically half of the park but ultimately that's to be expected when you visit a theme park based on a toy series.
|I Dig This Spooky Guy.