This past weekend we stayed in Orlando and on Saturday we visited Legoland near Tampa. The park was about 45 minutes past Orlando, so it's definitely something you have to choose over Disney since you drive right past Disneyworld on the way. We stayed in a hotel in the Downtown Disney area and on Saturday morning we woke up and drove to Legoland. The park was actually quite a bit larger than we expected and there were many different rides throughout the park. Most of them were geared for kids 4-12 years old and we were a bit disappointed that there were many rides that Paige wasn't tall enough to ride. There was even a horse ride that she was tall enough to ride, but you had to be 4 years old to ride it. That broke her poor little heart and she cried almost the entire time Connor rode it.
It was a hot day too, which made everything more difficult. Most of the rides had shade for the lines, however the lines took longer than we expected. At times there would be a short line and you'd expect to wait 5 minutes and instead would be in the line for 30. Most of the rollercoasters only had one train and the turnover was pretty slow between rides. The rides were cute, but most of them were just barely a step up from a carnival ride. They were definitely not on par with Disney standards, but they were still pretty fun. I think it would have been better if the day hadn't been quite so hot and the lines moved along a bit quicker.
Overall we had a great weekend. Paige has been awfully moody lately. One moment, she's sweet as a princess, then she's howling and shrieking and rolling on a public bathroom floor. A few minutes after her fit, she's sweet again telling you how much she loves you. It can be a huge challenge at any time, but especially in public in the heat. Connor was probably better than most kids would be, but at Legoland I struggled to keep my patience with him because he complained almost constantly about everything we talked about doing. It was hard to know which things he'd like since we'd never been to the park before. Most of the rides were slow and made for young children so I wanted him to try them all. As soon as we'd say we were going to ride something he'd freak out and tell me how there wasn't going to be enough air to breathe up in the sky where the ride was going, or that he was sure it'd hurt his tummy and he'd throw up. There were quite a few rides we didn't ride that I think he probably would have enjoyed if he'd tried them, but Andrea and I discussed it and decided not to push him to ride anything he wasn't ready for. He liked everything after he tried the rides, and the only one he didn't end up liking was the wooden rollercoaster. We all rode that rollercoaster and it was a bit bumpy and fast.
Connor did an awesome job driving the boat. Unlike Disney rides, many of the rides at Legoland were actually fully controllable. Connor had to push a gas pedal and steer the boat through a windy path. He ended up passing a few other kids and Andrea said she didn't have to help him at all.
Paige has had a bit of driving practice lately, and it showed on the car race. The younger kids (3-5) were on a small track and the older kids had another area. Paige had a little trouble keeping the gas pedal depressed, but she steered well around the track and passed a number of kids that were definitely older than her. She was very excited about it and kept yelling to me "Daddy, I passed another one!". I felt a little bad for some of the kids because some had clearly never driven anything and didn't even go around the course once.
Connor and the older children got to drive around a simulated town and had to obey traffic laws and stop signs. Connor did very well, but was almost too good about following the rules and didn't pass some of the awful drivers that got stuck. The poor guy spent half his time behind awful drivers, waiting for an attendant to get them unstuck.
Legoland had a number of shows, and we only went to one of them. It was a "Volunteer Firefighter" show and was mostly an excuse for the performers to do acrobatics and spray water on the kids in the first three rows. Connor and Paige really enjoyed it. Andrea and I thought it was pretty cute, but would have liked real seats instead of concrete steps to sit on.
Paige's favorite ride was the carousel, which we rode a couple times. She loved the horses and before the ride started, we always named our horses.
Since it's October they had a Trick-or-treat area set up. The kids walked down a path and they got goodies from the little houses along the way. They weren't quite as generous as at Disney, and some of the people just passed out Lego catalogs instead of candy. The candy was yummy!
One of Connor's favorite parts was the little Lego Towns. They had all kinds of different things built entirely out of Legos. We didn't figure the kids would be interested, but once Connor spotted it he had to see everything. Paige didn't care about it, so Andrea took her somewhere else while Connor and I looked at everything. In front of some of the models there were buttons and Connor loved pushing them to see what they would do. Some buttons made a marching band march and play music, others would trigger cars to move, or a fountain of water to blast you.
Connor took a picture of me next to Darth Vader.
We had enough fun that we do plan to go back some day, but probably not for another couple years. Paige should be old enough by then to ride everything and Connor won't quite be too big to enjoy it.