As we had been staying in Ascot at the weekend we finally had a chance to use the half price Happy Meal vouchers for entry to Legoland Windsor on Monday. There are so many ways to get discounted entry into the park I am surprised any one pays full price (unless like me on a previous visit you didn't read the small print...):
- Kellogs cereal packets and Wotsits have buy one get one free
- Tesco and Sainsbury's reward points can get you in free
- Buy in advance from the web site and get reduced prices
Based upon previous experience we got to the park at just after 9 and so were able to get parked up easily. You can get your entry tickets at this time without a long queue but then have to wait to be allowed in through the barriers at 9:30. Once through the barriers we headed to the top of the path down to the side of the park we wanted to go to first. They don't let you past this point until 10 but if you are near the front then you are in a prime spot!
Whilst waiting we discussed which were the must do rides that we wanted to do first. Being organised and prioritising is the best way forward. As soon as the lady let us through my kids (despite me telling them no to!) ran down the hill to the first ride Viking River Rapids. We were the first people on the ride so had to wriggle aimless through the queuing system and duck under barriers to get there!
By the time we got off the ride we were pretty damp despite having taken waterproof coats to wear on the wet rides. So as a family we decided we might as well do another wet ride straight away! Therefore the Pirate Falls Treasure Quest was ride number 2. This time we had to wait a little while but the queues still hadn't built up. As per usual on this ride the grown up at the back gets the wettest...
Once off the ride we headed to the nearby Dragon and my son went on for the first time ever (he was 3 last time we went). I think the fact he hadn't seen the ride first meant he wasn't scared! After that we encountered our first slightly longer wait for the Dragon's Apprentice but I opened up the cool bag to give everyone a snack whilst we were waiting for our turn:
Whilst waiting I had seen the Knight's Quest which looked more of a ride for my son than some of the others. So we joined the queue for that one. My daughter started chatting to another girl waiting in the line who turned out to be 6 days younger and from Manchester. They decided to sit next to each other leaving me with my son. I have to say that even though its not a scary ride the motion on it made me feel slightly sea sick and I won't go on it again..
Both my children wanted to go on the Jolly Rocker pirate ship so we found our way to the entrance. I don't think my son had ever been on one of these before but he seemed to enjoy it. The sensation of leaving your stomach behind was pretty awesome. By now I had discovered it was 11:30 and I was amazed we had been on so many rides already. I enforced a toilet break at this point before the kids let me have a rest by playing in the new Castaway Camp play area whilst I put together our ham rolls.
Looking for a change of area we headed over to the Kingdom of the Pharaohs and they chose the Laser Rider to go on next. This was probably the longest queue we had all day and the one in which all our tempers were frazzled. I don't think being in the semi darkness helped much.. If you really want to do this ride I would do it first thing as it wasn't worth the long wait...
My daughter had heard of a submarine ride so we headed over to the Atlantis Submarine Voyage this was a 45 minute wait in the sun but they have cunningly put an ice cream/drinks kiosk part way along! If you are allowing your children one cold treat then I would save it for this queue.. The ride itself was one of our favourites as we were taken through an aquarium in our sub. The kids were amazed to be so close to sharks:
There was information on screens in the cabin too and when the ride finished this one flashed up:
There were then some more tanks to explore and they had fantastic child sized domes in the middle:
For some reason my daughter decided to do fish impressions in this one:
I would say this was a must do ride for all ages:
I fancied another sedate ride so we went on the Dino Safari much to my daughter's disgust! It was nice just to pootle round in our cars looking for the various lego dinosaurs:
There was more of an adrenalin rush on our next ride the Squid Surfer. This was another pretty long queue and whilst we were waiting the heavens opened and the coats/ponchos all came out. Some people didn't want to stand in the rain so vanished off but we decided that as we were queuing for a wet ride it didn't really matter! My daughter managed to get the wettest on the ride as some how she was in range every time someone triggered one of the water bombs..
We were a bit chilly by now so I gave in to buying each of us either a hot snack or coffee before I persuaded the children that we had to watch the Pirates of Skeleton Bay Stunt Show. I hadn't seen it since the park first opened but I knew the children would love it. Of course they chose a seat in the soak zone so all photographic equipment had to be put away for the duration of the show:
Yes we did get wet but my daughter also got to press a button during the show to soak a baddy. I would say its worth noting the show times and try to fit one into your day. There are some pretty spectacular stunts and some funny bits too.
As it was now after 4pm we took advantage of kids eating free with a paying adult that applies in a few of the restaurants. We chose the pizza and pasta buffet bar as we could all eat as much as we wanted for the price of my meal. A good range of pizzas, a couple of pastas and some yummy salad too. No wonder it was so popular!
When we came out it was like a monsoon so we decided to have a last go on the Viking River Rapids as we couldn't get much wetter! It was great to see how happy my children were at being soaked to the skin:
This is my daughter anticipating the final drop:
At this point we should probably have left but the children wanted a last go on the log flume which by now looked like it was in a proper tropical rain forest due to the torrential rain:
Unfortunately they had to halt the ride whilst we were waiting as it wasn't safe to let people on. After a while I gave up waiting for it to restart and took the children up the to shop at The Beginning. It was heaving in there as everyone else was hiding from the rain too! Such a relief to get out of there and back to the car... Once in the car the children changed into dry clothes just wish I had been able to get out of my soggy shorts and shoes.
As lots of people left early due to the weather we got caught up in the drag of traffic leaving the site. If you need to get away promptly you need to leave earlier.. My car also misbehaved and I had 30 minutes of sitting blocking the traffic until the engine decided to restart!
So here are our top tips summarised:
- get a deal in advance either from your supermarket, with tokens or buying online
- take waterproofs and have dry clothes and shoes in the car!
- if hot take swim things for the new Duplo Splash Safari
- arrive early so you are ahead of the big queues
- plan your favourite rides and get there first whilst queues are shorter
- check all age/height restrictions on rides so you don't waste time queuing to find your child is too short or too young/old
- take plenty of drinks and snacks to keep you going whilst waiting in a queue
- ensure regular toilet breaks or made so you don't have to suddenly exit a queue
- do wet rides back to back so you don't need to keep drying out then getting wet
- check out show times so you don't miss something you really want to see
- kids eat free after 4pm in certain restaurants so its worth waiting until later