Monday, 12 September 2011

Legoland Windsor with babies and toddlers


Legoland Windsor with babies and toddlers

This post was updated in June 2013.

We've been taking Harry to Legoland Windsor since he was about a year old. It's a fantastic place for really little ones, and I've put together some tips for how to make the most of a day at Legoland with babies and toddlers. This guide is aimed at children that are shorter than 0.9m and therefore don't meet the height restrictions for many of the rides, yet there is still plenty to do to keep them entertained.
The key bit - A suggested itinerary


This route plan will ensure that you can experience all the suitable rides and attractions with minimal waiting around. 
The most important thing is to aim to arrive at the park at least 15 minutes before it opens. It will take you this long to unpack the kids out the car and get through the entrance. Opening times and other information can be found on the Legoland Windsor website 
Once through the entrance, walk straight down to the Information Board and the Lego dinosaur, and take a right. There will be a barrier here where people will queue to enter the main park. Wait here until it opens. 


When the barrier lifts, you have two options to get down the hill. One is the Hill Train (which the kids may enjoy), the other is to walk. Given the time it takes to load the Hill Train, unload at the bottom and the position of the train exit, I'd recommend walking as the quickest route.
First make your way to Boating School. This ride is extremely slow loading, and within 20-30 minutes of opening will generally have a long queue. The quickest way to get to Boating School (assuming you have a pushchair) is to go down the ramps towards Duplo Playtown, walk past the Duplo Theatre, and walk past the Driving School to the Boating School.
Once you have finished the Boating School attraction, do the short walk to Atlantis Submarine Voyage and go on this ride. Whilst the loading on Atlantis is fast moving, it can get busy due to it being a new attraction, and is therefore worth going on early.
Then walk back towards the Boating School, over the bridge to the left and walk to the Laser Raider (not suitable for mums to be). Again Laser Raider is a ride that can get very busy, so worth doing early.
After Laser Raider, go on the Aero Nomad which is pretty much opposite. Following this, cross over the bridge near the Laser Raider and ride the Balloon School. You've now done the busiest rides in the park. 
By now the Orient Express should have started running (it normally starts later than park opening) so ride this next. You may get wet on this ride. After this make your way to Desert Chase
At this point, I suggest making your way over to Duplo Valley and doing the attractions there.  There are three things worth doing in Duplo Valley 1 - Watch the Puppet Show at the Duplo Theatre, 2 - ride the Duplo Train, 3 - let the kids play in the Brickville playground, which is a fun playground designed for little ones with slides, climbing frames, seesaws and so on. It can get quite busy. There is also Drench Towers which is a large waterpark area. We've not tried this out yet but it looks very good, depending on the weather! See the bottom of this post for more details.
If you've brought a packed lunch, I'd recommend sitting in the Duplo Theatre and watching the puppet show whilst eating it. Queues on the Duplo Train vary a lot in the day, one minute there will be no queue, next minute you may need to wait ten minutes. Try and avoid going on the Duplo Train straight after the puppet show, when the Train and the Playtown can get busy. A good tip is whilst the kids are playing in Playtown to keep one eye on the train, and when the queue goes down, whisk your child over to it.
Once you finish Duplo Playtown, go over and ride the Fairy Tale Brook. This ride was updated in May 2013. Again, avoid going on this attraction straight after a puppet show has finished as it can get busy. Another tip for the Fairytale Brook is to enter the ride via the exit, and therefore you can leave your pushchair a little closer to the ride, next to the Photo Booth. 
By now it will probably be early afternoon, by which time the park is filling, and the rides can have some relatively big queues. Use the rest of the afternoon to see the other attractions in the park. With the exception of the 4D Theatre, you don't need to queue for any of the below attractions:
Waterworks - This is an open-air water playground. Kids will get wet, and swimwear is recommend. It is situated next to the Fairy Tale Brook.
Miniland - Make sure you don't miss this - a large area of Lego models of famous scenes from around the world with moving trains, cars and boats. Generally very quiet with plenty of space to move around and get close to the models. Suitable to walk round with pushchairs. In particular don't miss the Space Shuttle Launch every few minutes.
As you move towards Viking Land there are the following attractions:
Enchanted Forest - a short walk through area with models of woodland animals. Suitable for a pushchair.
Loki's Labyrinth - a maze to walk around.
Pirate's Training Camp - a large outdoor play area. Adults can accompany smaller children around, but it can get quite busy with older children.
Halfway back up the hill are the Build and Test Workshops. These are several indoor areas where you can play with Lego bricks. One room is ideal for smaller toddlers with large bricks to build with, another is suitable for older toddlers with an area to build and test racing cars. The smaller toddler area in particular is usually very quiet and these rooms are perfect for some quiet time away from the crowds, and ideal if it is raining.
Close to this is the 4D Theatre. Check showtimes before making your way to this attraction. It's worth bearing in mind that the 4D Theatre requires your child to wear the 3D glasses. If they can't/won't then the picture will appear fuzzy.
Another show is the Pirates of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show. This is an outdoor stunt show, it may be a bit difficult for younger ones to follow and if it's busy you may need to arrive early to get a good position.
Once you have finished your day, I'd recommend using the Hill Train to take you back up to the top.
Once at the top, don't forget to stop at the Lego Creation Centre, which is an indoor exhibition where you can learn about history of Lego and see some models, for example the Crown Jewels. It is a very quiet indoor area, some areas are accessed by lift. Racers Store inside the Creation Centre is worth a quick look, it carries a range of discounted Lego products, for example pick and mix Duplo bricks.
Further information about the rides suitable for babies and toddlers:


Desert Chase - a traditional carousel
Laser Raider* - a ride with laser guns through a labyrinth, not suitable for mums-to-be
Aero Nomad - themed big wheel, small capacity
Orient Expedition* - longer train ride with lots of Lego animals, you may get wet
Balloon School* - rising and falling gondola with rope to adjust height, small capacity
Fairy Tale Brook*  - gentle boat ride through Lego story book scenes, avoid just after the Duplo Theatre finishes
Boating School* drive your own boat about, this is very popular, you may get wet
Atlantis Submarine Voyage - submarine journey under the sea
Duplo train* - small, short train ride
Hill Train* - not really a ride but transport up and down the hill. May need to fold pushchair if busy.
* for these rides, babies must be sitting without assistance
Facilities for families 
  • Parking costs £2 or you can pay £6 for preferred parking closer to the entrance.
  • Pushchair rental is available on a first come first served basis at £12 for a double and £8 for a single from the Lego Big Shop as you enter the park.
  • Lost child stickers and maps are also available here.
  • Lockers are available for £1 which is non-refundable.
  • Free water is available from water fountains throughout the park.
  • There is a breastfeeding area in the Baby Care Centre in the First Aid building in Lego City with locking rooms, a chair and plenty of space for a pushchair.
  • Pit Stop Cafe and City Walk Restaurant have a microwave and bottle warmer. Some restaurants have baby food available, ask a member of staff behind the counter. 
  • Baby Change facilities are plentiful and pleasant.
  • There are a range of reasonably priced family friendly restaurants, with suitable food and highchairs.


Tips
If you are intending letting your children play in the Waterworks area then pack a change of clothing and/or swimwear and towels. Drying facilities are available, but at extra cost.
You will need to leave your pushchair at the entrance to rides and attractions. Take a small, easily removable bag for valuables to carry with you, and tie something cheap and memorable to the handle, such as a bright scarf, so that you can easily find it again.
At the end of the day it can be a long walk back up the hill to the car park with a pushchair so consider taking the Hill Train. You may need to fold your pushchair.
Look out for the Lego models throughout the park, like the cars outside the Orient Expedition that children can climb in.
On the rides at Legoland with our toddler

Update June 2013 - The Duplo Playland is no more. It has been replaced by Duplo Valley, which is a water play area for children (swimming costumes/swim nappies required). This area opened in May 2013 and so is likely to be busy because it is so new, although of course it is weather dependent. There is also a new large Duplo playground in this area, Brickville, and the Fairy Tale Brook boat ride has been updated. You can read a very good review of the updated Legoland areas here.

Disclaimer - I have no affiliation with Legoland Windsor, we have just spent many happy days there and I wanted to put together some information for other parents that might otherwise feel that it was not suitable for their younger child. Prices and other information correct at time of writing, please check the website for up to date information.


14 comments:

  1. What a brilliant post - I'm hoping to take my daughter to Legoland for the first time this autumn so will look back at this post again before we go. Love your blog, especially all the kiddy craft ideas, which I will be stealing! x

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  2. What a helpful guide! I am sure lots of people will be grateful for this. Really enjoying reading your blog.

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  3. Great tips my dear! we visited Legoland a couple of months ago and I wish I had read this before hand!

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  4. Thank you so much! We are planning to go to Legoland tomorrow with out 14 month old and this has helped no end!

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  5. Thanks for this. We're thinking of visiting with our children (aged 11, 8 and almost 1) in the summer. It's good to know there are plenty of things the baby will be able to enjoy. The actual Legoland website is a bit vague about what babies under 90 cm are able to go on, so your guide is extremely helpful.

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    1. I'm so glad that it was helpful :)

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  6. Thanks this guide is great. Our baby is 7 months old and I was worried she would be too young but you have put my mind at rest :)

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    1. I'm so glad to help, I hope that you have a lovely time!

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  7. So in your opinion what rides would be good for a 7 month old? She does sit up by herself but will they let her sit by herself on the rides you put a star next to it? First time mom here and we are visiting the park with relatives

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    1. I can't guarantee that they will let you take the baby on the rides as it will be at the discretion of the ride operator, but I'm fairly sure that we've taken a baby or small toddler onto most of them. Many times the child can't sit on your knee so will need to sit next to you, well supported. I'd particularly recommend the Orient Expedition (a train ride, make sure that she's well protected from water jets though!), Fairy Tale Brook (a small boat ride) and the Hill Train (it's a way of getting up the hill really but it's quite fun and she should be able to stay in the pushchair), she may be too small for the others to support herself. It's also worth visiting the Build and Test Workshops where there is one room with large Lego bricks that she can sit in and play with. You can also push her around Miniland to see the buildings and trains. I hope you have a nice visit and this was helpful, do let me know if you have any more questions and I'll try and help!

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  8. Thanks! Really helpful as going with my 1 year old tomorrow! !

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  9. This is really useful information thank you, we are taking our grandson for his 4th Birthday and now know where to head to first.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad to help and hope that you have a lovely time!

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