Legoland Malaysia is hot. Burning, blistering hot.
In the media advisory sent to us for the visit, we were told to bring “Photographic ID, sunblock, hats/caps for young children, comfortable footwear, an umbrella just in case”. By the time my family and I passed through the entrance, we were already regretting not taking that advice, because after visitors are greeted by a giant white canvas tent and a short covered walkway to the entrance, that’s pretty much where the shelter ends.
It may be because Legoland has only just been completed. The trees scattered around the theme park are still young and not luscious enough to provide shade and cool respite for visitors, and the grass that would have added colour to an already colourful establishment, is already losing its colour from the sun’s unforgiving power.
Or it may be what surrounded Legoland — nothing. There are a number of construction projects in the vicinity — future shopping complexes and carparks to milk the popularity of Johor’s new attraction — but work had only just started. Legoland Malaysia stands in the middle of a barren landscape, like a quail egg frying in a large wok.
But what a quail egg. 7 themed areas boasting over 40 rides, shows and attractions for families with kids between 2 to 12, including a beautiful spread of famous Asian landmarks in miniatures painstakingly built with millions of Lego bricks.
We start at The Beginning, where you are flanked by Legoland’s 2 flagship stores, the Big Shop (1,000 square metres of the largest selection of Lego toys in Asia), and the Brick Shop (a pick-and-mix concept offering 275 different Lego bricks sold individually, which sadly wasn’t ready when we were there).
There’s also The Cafe, a resting place offering ice cream sandwiches and drinks in case the sun was too much for you to handle (and we had only just entered the premises). During our visit, we found the food would have been a lot more enticing if not for the flies hovering around the counter. To be fair, it was more an environment issue rather than a cleanliness issue; after all, the place is brand spanking new. Not to worry, though, there’s plenty more food as you venture further into the theme park.
Speed is the trademark of Legoland’s thrill-seeker’s section, featuring a spinning teacup-style ride, a fast water jetski ride and a switchback roller-coaster dubbed Project X. The roller coaster looked really exciting when we passed it in the morning, but when I finally decided found some courage to try it out in the afternoon, it was temporarily closed due to a technical fault.
Next up is Lego’s very own castle setting complete with jousting knights (translated as a cute horsey rail joyride for small kids), a markedly faster carousel for both young and old, and The Dragon, Legoland‘s other major roller coaster ride. Not wanting to neglect younger kids that want to scream their heads off, the Kingdom also has an adjacent mini-coaster ride called The Dragon’s Apprentice, headlined by a cuter, more smiley dragon.
Situated at the back of the theme park is Imagination, where a Build and Test Centre is open for kids and adults to create their own inventions out of Lego components. There’s also Playtown, a shaded (finally!) series of playhouses and a mini-train ride for toddlers and preschoolers. Bigger kids will like the Kid’s Power Tower, where up to 2 people at a time hoist themselves up a 3-storey high tower on a rope pulley and let go to a cushioned drop. Imagination is also where the 41-metre high observation tower is located, but just like Project X, by the time I got there, all I got was an apology and an embarrassed smile from the Legoland staff minding the entrance.
Land of Adventure
It’s only slightly reminiscent of the Universal Studios’ “The Mummy” attraction at Resorts World Sentosa, but it does feel rather more authentic, you know, because of THE HOT BLAZING SUN. A single monumental Pharaoh made completely of Lego bricks stands overseeing the melting, dripping mass below him as they try to enter the Lost Kingdom. Smaller kids can take a ride on the Beetle Bounce, a 15-foot bouncing tower with gigantic Lego beetles resting at the top.
The urban wing of Legoland Malaysia is a set of circuits for children to learn driving on kid-sized Lego cars and boats, as well as an airport (which was out of service when we were there), an amphitheatre, the boarding station for the round-park Legoland Express train, and a nice, cool Market Restaurant serving main course meals and no flies. The larger Driving School puts older children through an instructor-guided lesson on traffic rules, and on completion, kids get an honorary driving license for their efforts. The Junior Driving School just lets preschoolers drive round an oval track. There’s also a Boating School (parental guidance is advised for younger children, and parents with actual driving licenses will find the boat controls quite familiar), and a group competition course called Rescue Academy which involves large hand-cranked civil defence vehicles and squirting water at a “burning” building.
Easily the star attraction and set in the very heart of the theme park, visitors can balk in wonder at the detailed miniature scale landmark buildings and scenarios lovingly created out of more than 30 million Lego bricks — the largest centrepiece of any Legoland Park in the world. It’s also the only area of Legoland Malaysia where we really appreciated the sun’s presence; we were so engrossed with taking photos of the 17 clusters, we didn’t realise how sunburnt we got until we headed back to The Beginning and tried to wipe the sweat off our necks (ouch). How fantastic is it? We’ll just let our photos do the talking.
Is it worth the sunburn?
Given that this was a media preview, the theme park has a number of kinks to work out in the next 2 weeks (keeping the rides from breaking down, taking care of the fly situation in The Cafe, and dealing with the ultra-excessive hot weather that beats down on most of the theme park for the bulk of their opening hours). That being said, die-hard fans (and people who are used to the really hot sun) will not be disappointed; soaking in the sight of Miniland alone is worth the price of admission, and Singaporean visitors already should find the day pass quite reasonable compared to the cost of Universal Studios.
It’s also ridiculously accessible for Singaporeans despite it being an overseas destination; shuttle buses set off at scheduled intervals from Singapore Flyer, through customs and to the theme park in about an hour or so (depending on the queues at immigration).
And despite the weather shining mercilessly down on our parade, my family still enjoyed it enough to purchase annual passes (it’s still on discount until the park officially opens, and my wife’s birthday was coming up, so…). But we’ve most definitely learnt our lesson; next time, we’re bathing ourselves in a bucket of sunblock, bringing gigantic golf umbrellas and loading our backpacks with drinking water.
Oh yes, and loads of money for the Lego toys, too.
Go to Legoland Malaysia for updated place info.Posted in Uncategorized