Top Tips for LegoLand Windsor – my personal advice for a happy day

Entrance_to_Legoland_WindsorFollowing on from my advice about DisneyLand Paris , I thought I would do something relatively similar for Legoland Windsor.

I’ve had the pleasure of going there so many times (probably well over 30 in total) over the past 15 years, and I still love going to that place. Having said that, the park seems to have got a lot busier in the recent years, which means that (unless you are careful) you may get disappointed with your visit. This blog post is to try to help you get your best out of your day.

Here is a link to a map LegoLand_Windsor_Teacher_Map (which was downloaded in 2014, but seems to be based on 2013, so it is slightly out of date when you read it) to help explain what I mean.

Before you even start, be aware that there is SO MUCH to do in Legoland, you’ll never be able to do it all in 1 day. That’s actually a good thing – as I say I must have been there over 30 times and I still love it and get a thrill as I walk through the entrance gates!

  • Set your kid’s expectations that Mummy and Daddy are going to try to fit in as much as they can, but there will be things that they miss out on.
  • It also may be useful to tell them that you are going to tell them what rides to go on (to begin with) rather than to ask what they want to do. In my experience, asking kids what ride they want to go on next just wastes a huge amount of time (walking between things). In general, apart from the initial 1 or 2 rides in the day, you should be just going on the very nearest ride to you that doesn’t have a bad queue … don’t waste time walking across the large park to each ride, just because they’ve seen it on the map/leaflet!

Whilst you are packing:

  • Remember to pack swimming trunks/towel for your kids (see later).
  • Also bring pac-a-macs to avoid getting wet on rides
  • I suggest you bring a packed lunch – this is not just money-saving, it gives you something to do in the queues (see later). Top this up with buying ice-cream (if hot) & doughnuts (if cold) as necessary.

It’s a VERY long walk from the main park to the car park, so I would try to avoid having to do this during the day. Therefore:

  • Bring the lunch with you in a rucksack
  • Try to avoid bringing push-chairs (if possible) for your kids – they can become very annoying dragging around the park.

Also, to set your expectations, be warned that you have to pay for their car-park. This is sneaky (in my view) but if you know in advance it cushions the blow.

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OK then, let’s start the day:

  • On busy days the ‘standard’ route to LegoLand can get ENORMOUS traffic delays. Have a look at a map beforehand and try to have a ‘backup plan’ (where you approach via any obscure route).
  • As far as I know, it opens at 10am (do check for your day). Make sure that you arrive at least 30 minutes before, ideally 35 or 40.
    • Assuming that you want to use some vouchers (e.g. Kelloggs cereal vouchers) there can be a relatively long (?15 or 20 minutes?) queue to the customer services (which is where you generally swap your vouchers for ‘real’ tickets).
    • You also want to do all the logistics (adjust backpacks, toilets etc.) and still be there for the minute it opens, hence why getting there in advance

If you get there too early, don’t worry. There’s enough open beforehand to kill 20 minutes, for example: shop, ice-cream, and (most usefully) a Miniland Star Wars exhibition. As you walk through the ticket barriers, if you head straight ahead you’ll be blocked by a cliff (with a great view of the park, and also of London if it’s a nice day). There will be two queues into the park – one to the left, one to the right.

  • In general terms, the left hand queue is best for ‘younger’ kid’s rides, and the right hand for ‘older’ kid’s rides. If you’re new to LegoLand, I shall assume that you’ll head left

If you’re really keen then you can get to the front of the queue (when they ‘release the rope’ and allow people into the park). However, it’s only really worth it if you are a quick family (e.g. no buggies etc.) so I’m going to assume that you are NOT that. I’ll therefore assume that there will be some people in front of you when the time comes. Try to go as quickly as possible (of course) but don’t rush/run or you’ll no doubt have a few accidents on the way. Don’t panic, all will be fine.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to get into the park a.s.a.p. Here’s where you will have to start negotiating with your kids. They’ll want to stop and look at things (or slide down the slides, which are by the steps during the descent of the hill). Tell them no – they can go on the slides on the way home!

  • Aim straight for the ‘long queue’ ride that you’ve earmarked (I suggest the ‘boats’ or the ‘driving school’ – see later) and don’t spare the horses until you get there!

It’s up to you to decide what is your first ride, but here are a few rides that tend to have long queues:

  • Boating School (37)
  • Driving School (38 – older kids)
  • L-Drivers (39 – younger kids)

The boating school is quite sweet, but nothing amazing. The weird thing is that it gets HORRENDOUSLY long queues during the day, and it simply is not worth waiting 50 minutes in a queue for it. I tend to always go for this first, and if the queue is 15 minutes or less then go for it (you’ll not have the chance later). If you get there and it’s a long queue, then quickly dash to either the Driving or L-Drivers schools (depending on age) and get in those queues.

After you’ve done your first 1 or 2 rides, my advice (as I said earlier) is that you should be just going on the very nearest ride to you that doesn’t have a bad queue … don’t waste time walking across the large park between each ride.

All of the rides (from now on) will have reasonably large queues, but here are a few that I’d recommend in particular:

  • SQUID Surfer (33)
  • The ‘small’ rollercoaster (10) – this is actually better than its bigger brother (9)! The queues can get long, but it’s actually a lot of fun and well worth it.

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Here are a few that I personally think are disappointing (avoid unless you particularly think they will appeal):

  • Dino Safari (34)
  • Laser Raiders (19)
  • The ‘big’ rollercoaster (9). This is slow/boring/disappointing.
  • Vikings river splash (5). Looks better than it is

The Lighthouse show (26) is excellent for the adults – but seems to be less exciting for the kids, so I suggest you avoid it (at least for your first visit). In theory it’s a good place to sit and have lunch whilst watching the show, but in practice you have to get there VERY early (e.g. at least 15 or 20 minutes) before the show to bag your spot, and even then you might not get a great view. The show is spectacular, but the kids seem to prefer the rides.

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Is the park busy? Well here are a few rides which are pretty good but (for one reason or another) have shorter queues than they deserve (therefore recommended if it’s busy):

  • Spinning Spiders (8)
  • Scarab Bouncers (18) – this is actually inside the ‘exit’ from the Laser Raider, but you can easily get to them without going to the Laser Raider. There never seems to be a particularly long queue, even though the ride looks great (I have to admit we’ve never done it!)
  • Longboat Invader (7) – We *loved* this when we last went.
  • Fire Engines (41) – queue varies, but often it’s short.
  • Fairytale brook (42) – very simple, but quite charming, and we’ve had some fun on there many times.

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Try to put off going to the following until later in the day (when the queues have really got bad) because obviously they have NO QUEUES (so leave them as emergency):

  • the fabulous Lego model village (57)
  • the maze (6) – if you put some ‘effort’ into this (i.e. act like a fun/silly family together, and make a game of it) then you can have quite a lot of fun in this.

Of course you can also just play in the FABULOUS parks:

  • Dry park (44/47)
  • Wet park (44/47) – bring swimwear and towels!
  • There’s also a fabulous-looking park at ‘Castaway Camp’ (labelled 13 on this old map). Not been in it, but it looks good for older kids.

Don’t do these parks too early (whilst ride queues are small) but also don’t leave this too late (they can get very busy on a busy day).
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Use your snacks/lunch wisely.

  • Feeding your kids a sandwich in a 30-minute queue is a great way to keep them occupied/distracted. Don’t just sit on a bench to eat … eat when there’s a use for it!
  • One good trick is to go see the puppet show (27). It is excellent (very funny) but get there at least 10 minutes before it starts, to get a seat. Whilst you are waiting, you can eat your lunch.

By far the best two places to get ice-cream and doughnuts are:

  • Near the lighthouse (near the toilets). Trouble is, not many places to sit and eat after getting it 😦
  • Papa Moles (41). I particularly like here because there is lots of seating outside with a good view of the park. Good place to sit and rest 🙂

They have lots of good flavours of ice-cream in those two places – from my memory the caramel is best. However, the queues can get HORRENDOUS at peak times, so think ahead and choose ‘unpopular’ time to snack!
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If it rains:

  • The puppet show (45) is undercover. EXCELLENT when it’s wet, although obviously it’ll be popular
  • 4D cinema shows (50) – ditto
  • X-box zone (24) – this is slightly hidden so might be less busy than you might think.

My personal favourite activity is to RUSH to the discovery zone (55) where (effectively) there is a room with two ramps in it. You build cars and the kids race them down the hill. Sounds simple but (trust me) the kids ADORE this. The problem is that there are only limited numbers of wheels available, so get there quickly (as soon as you think it’ll rain) and bagsy your wheels before the other kids/parents do! The only problem is how to get your kids OUT of there. I’ve been in there almost an hour several times in the past.

I do hope that these hints help someone out there – have fun!