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LEGOLAND California - Guest Article

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LEGOLAND California photos © Rick Millikan, 2006.
Photos © Chris Millikan, 2006.
LEGOLAND California is a 128-acre theme park largely in Carlsbad in Southern California. Below is a guest article about visiting the theme park. Please note that many features have been added at this guest article was written: see more about LEGOLAND California.

Lego Magic at Carlsbad

Guest Article by Rick Millikan

Denmark's Legoland has long charmed travelers. So much so that this creative Danish toy company developed similar theme parks in England and Germany, and -Legoland California: lion-in June 1999-- in Carlsbad, California. Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, this new colorful 128-acre amusement park gives families one more good reason to visit sunny Southern California.

I've always admired the Danes' clever Lego bricks as much as their tasty Danish pastry. Once, my son, daughter and I created a rainbow of rocketships, race cars and intricate forts. They've graduated into other pursuits, so it was with my lovely wife Chris, our friend Ellen and her intrepid daughter Bianca that I explored the Lego magic at Legoland California.

Coast Cruise

Just within the main gate, we boarded a boat and crossed an open lagoon into Miniland. Passing such world icons as the Eiffel Tower and Sidney Opera House, majestic Mt. Rushmore appeared on the side of a small hillock. There, Mini workers were auguring out President Lincoln's ear wax.

On the opposite shores, Master Lego Builders had utilized over 30 million interlocking bricks to recreate New Orleans at Mardi Gras, New York City’s Times Square and San Francisco. Motoring near, we observed these cities' famed bridges, busy tugs and waiting freighters. A subsequent stroll allowed us to closely examine the humorous, surprisingly authentic details.

A Park that's Easy to Enjoy

The Danes sure know how to enjoy themselves. Walt Disney was said to have discovered the blueprint for his successful theme park at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital. Legoland California has created similar eye-appealing landscapes and vibrant architecture, including whimsical Lego sculptures.

Unlike Disneyland, Legoland California remains remarkably uncrowded. Visits are relaxed and carefree even during the busy summer months. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are especially suitable. During our Saturday visit in January, line-ups for the rides hardly existed. [Editor's note: check a site such as TripAdvisor for more recent comments on attendance at Legoland California.]

'Coasters, Creatures, and Fairy Tales

So without a moment to hesitate, Bianca and I hopped onto The Dragon roller coaster. After a pleasant meander through a castle's Lego treasure rooms, we rocketed out a window, soaring into wild loop-de-loops.

Later, we explored the park by a pathway through a glade where Lego forest creatures dwelt; by pedaling "Lego-cycles" on an elevated track with a bird’s eye view; and by a jeep safari, riding among life-sized Lego giraffes, wildebeests, and roaring lions.

We then boarded the Fairy Tale Brook cruise. After a grumbling Lego Troll almost dropped his bridge on our heads, familiar scenes from children’s literature surrounded us. The three pigs’ housing projects looked promising. Seeing and hearing the animated storybook characters encouraged me to warn Hansel and Gretel: "Don't act like Lego block heads! Don’t be taken in by the wily witch in the Gingerbread House!"

Should I have worried? Their Danish creator, Hans Christian Anderson assured us, did he not, that "they all lived happily every after."

On With The Show

In addition to theme rides, four shows amuse audiences several times daily. Picking two highly rated productions, we sped to our first choice: "Lego Racers 4-D". After donning some cool polarized glasses for this 3-D animation, we entered a virtual reality space race. Accompanying our gnarly Lego hero, we rocketed forth through Lego Racers' 4th D: real smoke, wind, snow and water. And our team won!

Next we sauntered over to see "Ken Johnson and His Fine Feathered Friends". Ken the master ventriloquist acted as straight man, setting up his cheepy chums’ outrageous humor. His birdie pals, a glamorous cockatoo Matilda and an aspiring buzzard named Clyde, not only involved the younger audience in lessons about life, but charmed everyone with their zany antics.

And don't forget...

Legoland California photos © Chris Millikan.Legoland California photos © Chris Millikan. 2006.
One last activity beckons even the weariest park adventurer. Souvenirs! From among eye-catching selections of every size and description, Bianca bought a Lego Harry Potter. Her mom Ellen purchased a Lego girls’ soccer team. Chris and I reminisced about the days when our kids took Lego toys everywhere, and settled on a photo booklet about the amazing Land of Lego.

Smiling faces in the photo album reflect our fun filled visit. Once more, those bright colorful bricks created magic in our lives. This "ageless" Legoland California adventure will long be remembered.

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