What are your earliest memories? Mine include rummaging through wet sand, selecting small nuggets of gold and exchanging them for a pirate-themed medal, before finally changing into a dry, beryl-coloured t-shirt in the shadow of LEGOLAND’s Arthurian castle.
Now, as the Windsor Resort celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday, my family and I have returned to make some new memories. It is a wonderfully hot summer day, and my soul is singing as we explore Miniland, where some of the world’s more well-known landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower, are immortalised in nearly forty million LEGO bricks. I crouch down to take a photo of London in miniature, when a mallard appears from behind a building, rather breaking the immersion somewhat. Eventually the comparatively-huge waterfowl finishes rampaging through the LEGO city and moves on, allowing me to take the desired photos.
Continuing through the colourful kingdom we hear the familiar, upbeat music of Fairy Tale Brook, one of the most relaxing rides I have ever experienced. We climb into a verdant green vessel, entranced by the fresh water smell of the river. Along the banks, we see intricately built LEGO models of valiant knights, elegant princesses, and rather suspect elderly ladies inviting lost children into their gingerbread houses. It’s easy to forget how creepy old folktales can be!
Leaving the rest of our family to enjoy the enchanted boat ride again, my sister and I meander to the recently opened realm of LEGO MYTHICA. Supposedly, every creature a child built from LEGO bricks lives here, which should make for some intriguing encounters. Upon entering the land, I am immediately besotted by a white and blue creature, known locally as the ‘Owl Leopard’. Apparently, it took sixty-four hours and over fifteen thousand LEGO bricks to assemble the plumage of this beautiful beast, with its fierce eyes and even fiercer claws. Despite never having met this animal before, I now wonder how my life had been complete without it.
Growing rather warm in the noon day sun, my sister and I join the queue for the Flight of the Sky Lion, which is thankfully shaded. We step onto our blue place markers and the lights grow dim. I feel a strange sensation; is this… excitement? I love LEGOLAND, but having practically learned to walk at the Windsor Resort, I tend to look upon the attractions with a sense of nostalgic endearment, rather than excitement. Now, however, I find my mind unsettled. I’m apprehensive, I’m nervous, I’m ready for something special. We climb into our seats and brace ourselves for a trip on the UK’s first flying theatre, uncertain of what to expect.
Suddenly we swing round and find ourselves hurtling through a neon-tinted portal into the world of LEGO MYTHICA. Spray from a tumbling waterfall soaks our faces as we fly through the air, racing a herd of unicorns and dodging the pincers of a slightly annoyed lava crab. Soaring in the wake of the Sky Lion Maximus, we skim over the surface of the sapphire blue sea, dodge the hungry mouths of giant carnivorous plants and admire the flight of Crystal Flame, LEGO MYTHICA’s resplendent Fire and Ice Bird, as she spins in an elemental whirlwind.
Once the flight is over – far too soon, in my opinion – , I look at my sister, head spinning with delight. ‘That’ I gasp ‘is the best ride I have ever experienced!’ I stagger back into the summer sun, astonished that after twenty-five years of visiting the park, LEGOLAND can still find ways to amaze us.
As the hour grows late, we trudge back up the hill to the main entrance, passing the brightly-coloured gift shop and candy-scented restrooms, further enriched with new memories and ready to make some more.