Words by Kimatni Rawlins
I must say the LEGO master builders are some pretty extraordinary individuals. Especially after witnessing their skillsets and craftsmanship firsthand at designing and replicating everything that could possibly be imagined into actual LEGOS. Cars? Yes! Entire cities? No problem! King Tut and his pyramid? Easy! Wait a minute, what about people and animals? Well, they just might be the simplest of them all for the masters to construct. If you don’t believe the hype make sure to cross off the kids’ bucket list with a fun, family adventure to either LEGOLAND California Resort and the LEGOLAND Hotel in Carlsbad, CA or the property in Orlando, Florida. After our thrilling vacation I now have much more respect for the art form.
Growing up I was a pretty inquisitive child with a strong passion for inventing and analyzing. Like most, I just had to know how things worked whether it were clocks or stovetops. Of course some of my inquiries were pure danger so mother introduced me to LEGO bricks. As with many kids I built and destroyed LEGO concoctions all day long. Not only was it an escape from reality (as if I knew what that was then) but years of this specific activity strengthened and organized my mind into one that is both detailed oriented and artistic, basically meshing the left and right brains. Though, I really doubt this is the reason why parents threw buckets of interlocking plastic bricks our way — mainly to keep us busy since iPads and iPods were yet invented — nevertheless The LEGO Group has made master builders out of millions of little people. When The LEGO Moviefinally hit the big screen childhood love was rekindled for parents across the globe while also attracting a new crop of young creators including our little ladies with the introduction of Wyldstyle.
After watching my 10-year-old daughter assemble her first LEGO masterpiece, a pink and white Yatch from the LEGO Friends collection, we knew the perfect birthday present would be an excursion to the West Coast to spend a long weekend in search of The Special at LEGOLAND, partially built from LEGO pieces of course! With three months of planning we booked our tickets on United Airlines using miles to fly from Washington, DC to Los Angeles. Actually there is a cadre of entire city replicas at the park with DC representing alongside Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco and many others. Mika and Aya were astonished at the size of these metropolises and their intimate details such as LEGO cars parked on the streets and LEGO people communing outside. Staying onsite was a bit pricey but the benefits, convenience and experience far outweighed the tax on the wallet. My wife and I decided on a package deal comprising a suite that slept seven and multiple-day access to both LEGOLAND and the Waterpark for a family of four. A few amenities when staying at the LEGO Hotel include:
- Separate kids’ bed area with bunk bed and trundle bed
- Fully themed hotel with interactive LEGO features throughout
- Complimentary breakfast buffet
- Exclusive early entry into LEGOLAND
- LEGO brick to build with during stay
- Treasure Hunt with welcome prize
- Nightly children’s entertainment
Upon landing to LAX we picked up our Korean SUV provided by Hyundai who is headquartered in Orange County, California. The 2014 Santa Fe Sport FWD 2.0T was perfectly sized for myself and three girls toting cross country luggage and gear. For the first night we checked into the W Hotel in Hollywood so our daughters could inhale a taste of the bright lights and hopefully run into some of their favorite Disney actors. The next day we rose early to hit Veggie Grille and fuel on healthful foods before the 3-hour road trip to Carlsbad. Our Cabo Bronze crossover provided enough get-up and power from its 264-horsepower turbo 4-cylinder engine with smooth shift transitions from the 6-speed automatic transmission. Steering wheel mounted cruise control functions, 19” allow rims, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, an 8” touchscreen/navigation, 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound Audio system and 27 highway mpg made our journey comfortable and entertaining. The girls, who are very tech savvy, thought they were sitting in a BMW based on the congenially, sophisticated interior until I told them we were rocking out in a Hyundai. Our $33,385 Santa Fe also incorporated the rearview camera which is always a positive for parking and city maneuvers.
Once you pull up to the hotel, LEGO magic hits instantly. The entrance is dominated by an oversized LEGO cowboy riding high on his LEGO horse’s hind legs and the lobby features a LEGO dragon’s layer and a Wyldstyle tower/pit full of LEGO bricks to keep the kids occupied until check-in is complete. Tired from the journey? No worries, every elevator ride transitions into a disco party with strobe lights and classic hits until the door re-opens. After a good night’s sleep rise early, get something to eat, hit the pool or gym and then head out to the parks for the day. Whether it’s hopping on rides, enjoying the LEGO Movie Experience, signing up for workshops or shopping at the onsite LEGO store you and the kids won’t be disappointed. LEGO simply doesn’t allow it.
There are more than 60 thrilling rides, shows and attractions to choose from at LEGOLAND. Play your part and visit www.legoland.com for a lasting memory the family will cherish indefinitely.