“The original Legoland is considerably better than its successors”
Legoland theme parks are present in many different countries. The company currently owns parks in the United States, Dubai, Malaysia and Japan. There are three different Lego resorts in Europe as well, and it all started in Billund nearly 50 years ago. Legoland certainly isn’t the most beloved amusement park for coaster enthusiasts. Parks in this chain are generally known to be busy, expensive and also quite uninteresting for anyone older than 12. When I visited my first Legoland in 2012, that cliché (unfortunately) seemed to be correct. Legoland California was the least fun part of our theme park trip at the American West Coast. I decided that it would be my first and only Legoland visit ever, but I need to reconsider that statement. While planning our Danish coaster trip, we noticed that a return flight from Billund was the cheapest option. And it would be very hard not to visit the world-famous theme park which can be found right next to Billund Airport, right?
Attention to all coaster fanboys: all of Legoland’s major coasters are built in the same corner of the park. And it’s good to know that this area is particularly uncrowded in the early morning. At the moment we enter powered coaster Dragen at Knight’s Kingdom, we have the ride almost entirely for ourselves. Please don’t expect too much of a thrill, since the layout mainly consists of wide and slow turns. Despite the non-convincing coaster part, Dragen is a great family ride with elaborate theming. The station was integrated in an impressive medieval castle and the ride starts with a few surprisingly good dark ride scenes.
Up next is a ride that’s called X-Treme Racers. With a name like this, you’d expect it to be one of the world’s most thrilling dueling coasters. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a standard wild mouse coaster with an exotic theme. The ride itself is everything but spectacular: this mirrored version of Europa-Park’s Matterhorn Blitz (minus that cool vertical elevator… damn) is so slow that it doesn’t provide any fun.
Polar Land is home to the third and final chapter in our coaster bingo hunt. And believe it or not: despite the fact that both other roller coasters were built by Mack, exactly this Zierer machine turns out to be the most spectacular coaster at the park. That’s strange in a certain way, since this German manufacturer is mainly known for its simple kiddie coasters. Polar X-Plorer, however, is certainly in a different category. This coaster is comparable to Verbolten, a ride which recently blew my mind at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Although this Danish version is obviously smaller in size, the ride offers quite an intense start. Unfortunately, the free fall element turns out to be a disappointment and the ride’s theming isn’t spectacular either. Don’t get me wrong: Polar X-Plorer is a fun ride, but this could’ve been so much more.
The biggest thrill of Legoland Billund can also be found at snowy Polar Land. Ice Pilots School is without a doubt the most unique ride Legoland has to offer: a moving robot arm! Before boarding, you get to compose your own experience on a touchscreen. Therefore you can make this ride as intense or lame as you wish. We created a moderately intense ride and I’m actually very happy that we didn’t go any further. I really wouldn’t want to experience such an intensive ride, as my head was already spinning after this medium ride.
Dark ride lovers have a two different options here at Legoland. And whether you like it or not, both of them are interactive. The first one is called called Templet. The wonderful exterior made me believe that this could’ve been an amazing attraction, but unfortunately I was wrong. The decoration inside the building isn’t that nice and the ride itself turned out to be very short. Furthermore, the laser guns didn’t work properly and that’s kind of a bummer in an interactive dark ride.
Ninjago – The Ride offers a particularly more interesting experience and you’ll find this attraction at a brand new Asian section. I really don’t know the background of Ninjago, but it seems to be something like Power Rangers meets Mulan. This interactive dark ride is pretty cool because it uses some techniques I’ve never seen before. You don’t shoot with laser guns here, but you get to eliminate the bad guys with ninja-like hand movements. Can you imagine four people waving their hands in front of a 3D screen? That’s without a doubt very funny, but I should tell you that the system works perfectly. I’m usually not that much into interactive dark rides, but this one actually blew my mind.
Prepare to spend a full day at Legoland Billund, because it has a ton of attractions. The park offers a rapid river (we didn’t manage to ride it because of technical difficulties), a stunning log flume, a panoramic tower and much, much more. Legoland even features its own aquarium. Atlantis by Sea-Life is included in park admission, so it’s definitely worth a look. The Atlantis theme is a perfect fit, but you’ll have to survive a boring pre-show before entering. The actual walk-trough is much more interesting, as the aquariums turn out to be notably bigger than I was expecting.
Miniland is the centerpiece of every Legoland: it’s an area where famous monuments, cities and buildings are reconstructed with Lego bricks. They mainly focus on landmarks which can be found in the (very wide) surroundings of the park. That’s why we saw reproductions of San Francisco and Las Vegas at Legoland California, whereas this Miniland has been mainly built around Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The level of detail is amazing and I could watch these beautiful masterpieces for many hours. Windmills are turning, ships are sailing through the Dutch canals, cute Lego cars are driving along the roads and giant airplanes are taxiing at a replica of Billund Airport. It’s a great pleasure to wander through Miniland since you always notice new details and hidden gags. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the good shape of Miniland. This area looks tidy and very well maintained.
Miniland is one of the main draws of Legoland Billund and they regularly add a novelty. One of the latest additions is a massive display called World’s Tallest, with replicas of five super-tall buildings. Legoland built its own versions of Burj Khalifa, Shanghai Tower, Makkah Royal Clock Tower, One World Trade Center and Taipei 101. They needed lots of Lego bricks, 830.000 to be precise. The result is overwhelming and visually appealing.
WORTH A VISIT?
Although we only spent six hours at Legoland, we have been able to ride nearly every big attraction and I’ve really enjoyed this day. Legoland is a theme park with a fine array of family-friendly rides, good theming and even the food department did a great job. On top of that, staff are once again very friendly, as usual in Denmark. However, you should keep in mind that the park is focused on young children. So don’t expect any major thrills and please know that the existing coasters are quite soft.
Legoland Billund is known to be the best theme park of its kind in the world and I can imagine why. If I compare this park to the namesake in California, then I liked it a thousand times more. Nevertheless it didn’t amaze me like Fårup Sommerland and Djurs Sommerland did. Legoland is lacking the typical Scandinavian atmosphere and it looks way more international and commercial.
Photo Gallery 2017
What’s your favourite Legoland theme park? Is your hometown represented in Miniland? And do you understand the park’s huge popularity? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.