Excuse the iPhone autofill typos
We really enjoyed Legoland. (We ourselves paid to go there, paid for lodgings, etc. This isn’t a review so much as assorted musings on Legoland versus Disney.)
The thing I liked about it the most was the total lack of oppressive narratives and characters that you often find at Disneyland. Disney is a rich, imaginatively overstructured sort of place that can get to feeling claustrophobic. It’s fun to be with characters you recognize, but at the same time there’s a strange kind of passivity that takes over at Disneyland. You get swept into the story and tracked along it, as if open-endedness wasn’t valued. You don’t realize it til you go elsewhere.
Legoland is refreshingly character-free. There may be the occasional Bob the Builder special exhibit or permanent statue of a Lego-bricked Darth Vader, but for the most part the visitor can enjoy buildings, figures, historical monuments, and model towns and cities. The worlds are free to populate with your own vision. There are stores where you can of course buy Lego bricks, but you can also sit and play for hours for free.
It’s a much more soft-sell, toned-down universe than the visual noise and stimulation of Disney.
The other thing I like about Legoland is the funky pixelated look that Lego’d objects take on. It gives everything a digital feel, at once more yesterday and tomorrow than Disney could ever be.
Keep in mind we only were there one day, and explored maybe two or three areas of the park. But I’m glad we finally went. The rollercoaster was the right size and scariness level for HiroP, and the car-driving ride was at an appropriate level of play. (The object of that area wasn’t so much bumper cars as simply mimicking what kids see and experience of city street driving. And I liked that no one was encouraged to be aggro, because very young children could also “drive” the cars.)
We’ll be back. It’s a relief to have somewhere to go that’s NOT subsidized by Anheuser-Busch. And the food at Legoland is surprisingly GOOD. They give you warm chocolate sauce to dip your generously-sized churros in. Yeah, awesome.