During the May Bank Holiday LEGOLand Windsor hosted a Star Wars weekend to celebrate International Star Wars day – May 4th. As soon as I heard about this event I knew we had to be there. I say “we” but really mean “me”. The visit had the potential to be the perfect day as it included my three favourite things – LEGO + Star Wars + Family.
We opted to go on Sunday 5th May based on the fact the weather was supposed to be better that day. The 3 mile traffic jam that took over an hour to get through, suggested that many others had thought to do the same. Traffic is not a nice experience at the best of times but with a hyped up Toddler in the car I cannot think of anything worse. The cries of “I want a SNACK!” and the replies of “I haven’t got ANY LEFT!” could be heard for miles but I couldn’t help it, I get cranky when I am hungry.
The wait was worth it and the buzz of the crowd congregated around the entrance reflected the excitement of every child and man-child. As a privileged Premium Pass holder it only took a quick flash of my sacred card to see us safely through the lengthening ticket lines.
Our first taste of the Star Wars extravaganza was the life sized replica of a Land Speeder. Visitors to the park were offered the opportunity to have their photos taken whilst sitting inside the impressive Speeder. The order of the queue was patrolled effortlessly by a very realistic looking Gamorrean Guard. Unfortunately the realism was a bit too overwhelming for my Toddler son and despite my best efforts to encourage a Gamorrean cuddle, my son kept his distance. My camera and I really hoped this wasn’t going to be the case for all the characters we would encounter.
As my son and I giddily skipped deeper into LEGOLand we were confronted by a gaggle of Stormtroppers who ushered Darth Vader as he admired the view of Windsor’s answer to the Death Star… Windsor Castle. Even I at 29 years old and at 6 foot tall cowered in the shadow of the overwhelming figure of Darth Vader, so I held out little hope for my son embracing a photo opportunity. Surprisingly or worryingly my son strode towards big D with confidence and posed without prompting. Our encounter was peaceful, I got the photo I wanted and I got to keep my hand too.
We were on a high and the fun continued as we stopped for several more photos with loitering Stormtroopers. We continued our descent into the park via the well placed metallic play slides rather than the boring stairs. As we got to the bottom of the slides we heard the echoes of a bellowing Jedi Instructor at the Jedi Training Academy. I hoped that we would get to join in but before I could say “May the force be with you” I found myself stuffed inside the carriage of a rather cramped and cautiously paced DUPLO train – those damn Toddler mind tricks had fooled me again!
Time was passing quickly and the park had unsurprisingly reached capacity. Rumours had reached us that tensions were high as record numbers of enthused Star Wars and LEGO fans were being turned away. It was crammed and I sensed my Toddler was losing interest after spending 15 minutes sifting through footpath gravel for “good stones”. Luckily at his age he isn’t bothered if gets on any rides or not. I decided that we would wrap up our visit with a whistle stop tour of the park via the LEGO Train – Orient Expedition. To our amusement the train before us was occupied with a dozen or so Storm Troopers who were lapping up the attention from the crowds.
Our Star Wars adventure was nearly over but it wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Star Wars LEGO Miniland experience. The walk around attraction is packed with LEGO built scenes from the saga, my favourite being the over-sized Millennium Falcon and Planet Hoth. My son took advantage of the dimmed lighting and thought it would be fun to inject some adventure and drama by slaloming through the legs of people in front then dashing off out of sight. I managed to get a few photos before sprinting after him and wailing like a Wookie for my son to come back.
After my heart had stopped racing we made our exit via the LEGOLand gift shop. The wide choice of LEGO sets is phenomenally exciting and I was eager to help my son spend his pocket money. After enthusiastically pointing out the various Star Wars, Avengers, TMNT and LEGO City sets available it was a little surprising to see that my son had chosen a Princess starter set. Well who am I to tell him how to spend his money, and as that’s what he wanted that’s what he got.
In hindsight the day had probably come a couple of years too early for my son to get the most out of it, but seeing all the dressed up Padawans walking around the park gave me an insight of what I hope to experience in years to come.
As Yoda would say LEGOLand Windsor, do this again you will!