Posted by: anglopole | June 11, 2014

Legoland Rip-Off

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Two weeks ago I took my kids to Legoland, Windsor. I had received four tickets as a gift and so I was super thrilled at the thought I was saving A LOT of money. I invited a friend of mine to accompany us and started getting ready for the trip, thinking all I would need would be picnic for the day and, of course, petrol to get us there! I am sure some of you reading it are smiling at the thought of my obvious naivety! 

I studied the Legoland website to see how I can prepare for the day out. I noticed they offered this gadget called q-bot for those wanting to avoid queueing. It is a great idea, surely. Well, it would be if it wasn’t for the price of this device. The basic one costs 15£ per person! All it does for you is, you can book a ride and then wait the exact same amount of time you would if queueing, but you can just walk around or do something else while waiting. It sounds good if you have a small family. I chose to get three of those q-bots, knowing that it would be the kids having all the rides together with my young friend. That was the first blow to my joy over not having to pay for the entrance for the 4 of us. 45£ gone before I even got to the park. When it came to using the q-bot, sadly it is not as convenient as one might think, as the large crowds and lack of enough places to rest, meant that we had to stand anyway and the kids were getting impatient and bored. We could not walk to far away from the queue as we would have missed the rides. I should have gotten q-bot express for 30£ (per person) or better still, q-bot ultimate 70£ (per person) in order not to have to be stranded around the queues. Yet, spending 90£ or, 210£ would be a great expense for me…. Let alone if I wanted to take part in the rides. Now, imagine the cost for larger families. Don’t get more wrong, it is a normal business kind of thinking to want to earn extra by providing extra services, BUT…….. The q-bot prices are far too high for the services rendered and also, when it comes to children, the Legoland management know very well, that the parents will want to make this day out special for the children and queueing is not special or fun, and so most people will go for offer of pre-booked rides in q-bots. Now, after an aggressive treatment I went through last year, I still am not fully there when it comes to fitness. So, I knew I would need to park closer to the entrance. You’d think that parking would be included in the entrance price! Nope! Forget it! I had to pay 5£ for all day parking. It may not be much, but added to all other expenses impossible to avoid, it was just another unnecessary cost. There is no other place in the area that people might want to use the car park for. Why charge for parking then?! The parking lot belongs to Legoland, and once you pay the entrance fee, you should be able to park for free.

We got to Legoland early in the morning, before the opening. Now, we had our tickets, and q-bots but we still had to queue to enter, and then had to queue to get the q-bots meant to help us avoid queues! 😉 Ridiculous, isn’t it?! Now, all set and ready to start exploring the park we ended up stuck….. in a mighty queue to enter the further part of the park. Why? The park opens at 9.00 am, but the rides open at 10.00!!!! So, when you get there in the morning thinking that you’d beat the queues and crowds, let me tell you, you won’t!!! You start the day with kids getting bored and frustrated.

ImageWhy open the park at 9.00 am and not let people walk around to whatever rides they want to start their day with?! The crowds would have spread around and the queues would have been smaller if the people were allowed in at the time of the park opening. I seriously do not get this extra hour of waiting! All the crowds are kept between the entrance gates and the barriers leading to different sections of the park. Of course the shops in that area are open. I am sure the idea is that the parents, wanting to entertain their kids, would start the day buying toys for them……

Now, my younger son is into cinema, so he really wanted to see one of the 4D movies in the cinema in Legoland. When I was getting the q-bot I was told I needed to pay extra 2£ per person to book the thing for them…. nobody advised that at this time of the day it was really unnecessary to pay for avoiding queues there as few people start with the cinema…….. So, I paid another 6£ only to get there and enter the cinema without any queue! 

ImageI wonder if they feel proud with themselves about how skilfully they fool people into all the unnecessary expenditures around the park? Anyway, by this moment I already spent over 50£ on top of the tickets that would have cost me about 130£! 

Many rides in Legoland are super fun water ones. The kids loved them. Fortunately, the weather was lovely and very very warm as they could get dry quicker. 

ImageThe children’s joy is priceless, of course. The Legoland management know it and use it to the full. In order to get dry fast, you can use dryer booths BUT, of course, it is NOT for free. You have to pay 2£ for 3 minute session, which is not enough to get dry, especially if someone wears jeans! Now, why not give a certain amount of tokens with each ticket for people to use those booths within the ticket price?! Only if they want to have unlimited wet rides they’d have to pay after exhausting their tokens…. That would be much more fair, I think. There are quite a few rides where you can get wet, and so be prepared to spend at least 10£ to get dry! Most rides offer a photo taken of you, and these are about 10£ on average! I passed that one and enjoyed taking my own photos. Lots of to lotteries on every corner, with assistants enticing the kids to make their parents pay for various shots to win a toy. 

What I found really tiring was the limited amount of benches or other places to sit and rest while waiting for your relatives to come back from a ride. They charge so much for everything, welcome crowds and so you’d expect the place is crowd friendly and one where you can have fun with no stress. It’s not so obvious….. Prepare to be frustrated and exhausted, let alone skinned 😉 

The one thing I found good value for money was a refillable drink bottle that you just paid once for and then could have refilled with soft drinks as much as you wanted throughout your visit to Legoland, and it’s a nice souvenir too. 

I loved watching my kids having fun, but I think the whole experience is totally over priced and is a classical rip-off. 

 

 

 


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