If your kids like playing with LEGO then they will absolutely love LEGOLAND Deutschland. This amazing theme park is located near the German city of Gunzburg in Bavaria (between Munich and Stuttgart), and if you’re driving from Prague, it will take you just about 3 ½ -4 hours to get there.
To get the most out of LEGOLAND, it is best to stay overnight (one night will do but 2 are better), and the closest and most convenient place to stay is at the newly-opened LEGOLAND Feriendorf (Holiday Village), which is just a short walk away from LEGOLAND itself. As is the case with most theme parks, LEGOLAND too, seems a bit cut off and isolated (from other large towns) when you first visit, but it is all very self-contained and efficient, so all of your kids’ needs as well as your own, will be well attended to throughout your stay.
It’s amazing just how much there is to do and see here that I need to split it into several sections: LEGOLAND Attractions; Eating; Shopping; Accommodation at LEGOLAND Feriendorf and Useful Tips.
There are over 50 different attractions split up into different theme areas which include: Miniland, LEGO City, Knights’ Kingdom, Imagination, Adventure Land, Pirate Land and LEGO X-TREME. Each one of these ‘lands’ contains several restaurants, shops, automated rides, playgrounds and toilets (all with kid-sized basins and baby change tables). Some toilets also have drinking fountains (kid-sized as well as adult-sized which is a cheap way to quench one’s thirst on a hot summer’s day).
As its name implies, Miniland showcases various cities from around Europe on a scale of 1.20. The displays are animated, so you can bring the models to life by pressing buttons and turning various switches. The model of Venice and Munich Airport, including the largest plane in the world, the Airbus A380, were most impressive.
2. LEGO CITY
We spent a lot of time in this section. It had an ultra-cool playground built to look like a shipyard (Die Werft), as well as the LEGO Factory. This showed a short animated film of how various LEGO characters come to life, followed by a tour of a small but actual LEGO making factory explaining and displaying some of the many facets that go into the production of LEGO such as packaging, quality control and distribution. LEGO CITY is also where young and older kids can test their driving skills in life-sized LEGO cars. We had to make a reservation for our 7-year-old a day in advance but he thoroughly enjoyed his 45-minute driving lesson. The fact that all of the instruction was in German did not matter and in the end he even got rewarded with a ‘real’ driver’s licence - photo and all!
My favourite ride, the BIONICLE Power Builder, is in this section as well. It is set indoors in a dark warehouse, which is made to look like a mine. You get a chip card, which once inserted into a computer, allows you to select different combinations of how you wish to be ‘thrown’ about by the BIONICLE ‘arm’. The levels go from 1-5 and my 7-year-old and I only ever went as far as level 2, by which stage, I thought my breakfast was going to end up covering the camera as it took our photo at the most extreme time of the ride.
All of the major rides take photos of you, which can then be converted into cups, T-shirts, fridge magnets or mouse pads (the magnets are the cheapest at about 3 EUR each).
3. Knights’ Kingdom
This section is dominated by a lovely medieval castle with a cool dragon roller coaster and among other things, contains several rides suitable for younger children (the royal jous and mini rollercoaster). For an additional fee (4 EUR) you can try your luck at gold panning or have your face painted.
This was Albie’s (3 ½- years-old) favourite section. He just loved going on the Pedal-A-Car ride, which was like a mini monorail cruising above the heads of the other visitors in this part of the park.
He was beside himself with excitement when daddy pulled him up into the air on a 9-metre high rope on the Kids Power Tower but best of all was the DUPLO Playground and DUPLO Water Experience. We spent hours playing here, and I ended up with a looking like a lobster afterwards (mega sunburn).
5. Adventure Land
This area has nice rides for young kids as well as for the older ones. There is a great playground which is entirely made out of wood and contains several levels and pathways for climbing, crawling and swinging.
6. Pirate Land
This is where we saw people strip all the way to their swimmers or alternatively wear raincoats (sold at vending machines nearby for 3 EUR each) in order to avoid getting wet. Captain Nick’s Splash Battle is where all the water action takes place.
7. LEGO X-TREME
This is where 7-year-old Robbie loved being the most, and his favourite ride was the Project X – LEGO Test Track, which was like a rollercoaster that in certain sections makes you feel as though you’re going to fall off the track. During my first go, I kept my eyes shut for most of the time and it was only after a few rides, that I was finally able to appreciate the spectacular views that it gave of the rest of the park. My hubby thought that he was back in Sydney and water skiing while riding on the Aquazone Wave Racers – another potentially very wet ride.
This is also where you will find LEGOLAND ATLANTIS by SEA LIFE. This indoor underwater world is inhabited by 1000 fish, which live together with models consisting of over 1 million LEGO bricks. By moving along an 8-metre long glass tunnel, visitors can come down to the ocean floor of the mystical sunken city of Atlantis and walk face to face with sharks, rays and tropical fish. Unfortunately we came 2 weeks before the opening of this attraction and didn’t get to see it.
There is no shortage of places to eat and drink. Each ‘land’ has several restaurants, most of which are ‘Self-Service’ (you choose your food and then take your tray and pay at a cash register). Most kids’ meals also include a drink and are priced at around 6.50 EUR each. The choice is the usual pasta, pizza, hot dogs, fish dishes and fries but there are also salads, vegetarian dishes and a selection of wholemeal products. There is only one Full-Service Restaurant and this is the Dino Grill located in LEGO X-TREME Land. It also contains an indoor play-area.
For snacks, there are plenty of ice cream stands, some of which also offer waffles, crepes, coffee and cakes. If you have a young baby, then you can choose from a wide range of HiPP organic baby food at the HiPP Baby Service Center, which is located in the Imagination Area, close to the DUPLO Playground.
As is to be expected, there is a massive array of LEGO toys, clothes and souvenirs to choose from at the numerous stands and shops situated through-out the theme park. Many of these goods are only available for sale here and some are even cheaper than at home in Prague. One of the most amazing items which I saw for sale, was the STAR WARS Millennium Falcon model, priced at a cool 520 EUR. The LEGO men egg holders, which are kind of fun, were a lot cheaper at about 8.50 EUR for a set of 2.
Accommodation at LEGOLAND Feriendorf (Holiday Village)
This is where we stayed for 2 nights and it was fantastic. There are basically 3 accommodation options at this Village, namely, camping with your caravan (this is the cheapest), or staying in the Knights’ tents (more expensive) or renting a family chalet (least cost-effective but best for those of us who like our creature comforts).
There are numerous surfaced and unsurfaced pitches available each with an area of approximately 75m². Most have electric sockets. There are 2 shower blocks with toilets, 2 washing-up rooms and 1 waste-water processing plant. A bread roll delivery service is available in the mornings and visitors staying at the campsite can also enjoy the breakfast buffet in the holiday village (an additional 5 EUR p/p). Throughout the season, the campsite is open daily from 7.30 am to 10.00 pm following check-in at Reception, and is accessed by the means of a vehicle access card.
The Knights’ Tents-
These are permanently installed with room for 3-6 persons. Beds, mattresses and sheets are all provided, so all you need to bring is a sleeping bag and a pillow.
The Family Rooms (chalets)-
These are designed for a maximum of 6 people and are available in 4 different themes – Pirates, Knights, Adventurers and Racing Car Drivers. In the 4-person family rooms there is an additional choice between standard and superior pirate rooms. We chose the Pirate Room. It was decorated with LEGO models, pictures, a LEGO parrot and even a life-sized LEGO treasure chest. The whole room gave the feeling of being on a ship. One of the best things was that the boys’ bunk bed was in a separate small room with a door, making it much easier for them to go to sleep at night. It got a bit chilly at night but the timed heaters in the bathroom and main bedroom made this completely tolerable. I also liked the dark blue drapes in the boys’ room which kept out the early morning sun.
If it is within your budget to do so, I strongly recommend staying at the LEGOLAND Holiday Village. The houses are great, you’re just an 8-minute walk away from the park and also get to enjoy a true holiday atmosphere by being in this place along with so many other families with kids. During our stay (a long weekend in May), I think that the Czech visitors even outnumbered the Germans, Austrians and French!
The LEGOLAND Holiday Village has a Reception House, where you can buy basic stuff such as suntan lotion, shampoo etc and the staff will answer any of your queries here. Right next to it is The Restaurant where breakfast (buffet-style) as well as dinner gets served. Of course, there are lots of LEGO blocks and toys available for kids to play with. The Holiday Village also contains several free-standing playgrounds, which keep the kids going in the mornings (the theme park opens at 10am) and then in the late afternoons.
•If you have small kids, start your day at the park in the LEGO CITY area.
•If you are in a rush, you can get an EXPRESS PASS which allows the use of 22 attractions at the park for a day without the need to wait.njkm,,.,
•Get a free kidspotter wrist band, so that you can quickly re-unite with your off-spring, should you get separated.
•The least crowded rides are located to the rear of the park and you’ll have shorter waiting times immediately after the park opens or in the last hour before they close (N.B. all rides close an hour before the park closes itself).
•Due to the limited number of spaces available, you need to reserve your spot first thing in the morning to get into the LEGO Mindstorms Workshop or LEGOLAND Driving License.
•The restaurants are least crowded either before 12.30pm or after 2pm.
•You can borrow baby buggies at the Mini-Markt close to the entrance (cost 4 EUR and a 6 EUR deposit) – they must be returned to the same spot at the end of the day.
•Bring your hats and suntan lotion. I got very burnt and it was only early May.
•Get a stamp on your hand (invisible) if you decide to leave the gates of LEGOLAND and wish to return within the same day. It will allow immediate re-entry.
• On their birthday children may visit the park for FREE. (Offer only valid with an ID and for children celebrating their 3rd to 11th birthday.)
•If you don’t want to carry around your shopping bags, then leave them in one of the lockers located at the entrance, right next to the Mini Market - Charge: EUR 2.00, EUR 3.00 or EUR 4.00 (depending on size).
•Before you make your bookings, be sure to check the LEGOLAND website for special offers. These can often save you loads of money!
OPEN: From 4 April to 8 November, 2009 from 10 am until 6 pm. Longer opening hours apply on weekends, during vacation time and on public holidays. From 27 July to 23 August, LEGOLAND Deutschland is open until 9 pm every day. From 4 to 20 May, 2009 and from 15 to 23 September, 2009 the park is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
ADDRESS: LEGOLAND Deutschland, LEGOLAND Allee, 89312 Günzburg, Germany; Service Tel.: +49 (0) 180 5 700 757 01; Service Fax.: +49 (0) 180 5 54 5801; Fax: +49 (0)8221 - 700 399
DIRECTIONS: By Car from Prague: The distance is about 500km - 3 1/2-4 hrs driving time. Drive: Praha- Plzen- Rozvadov then higway A7 in the direction of Ulm, after Nueremberg drive down on the A8 in the direction of Munich. Between Munich and Stuffgart exit the highway in the direction of Gunzburg. By Train from Prague: Option 1:Train leaves from Hlavni Nadrazi and you have to change at Nuremberg and Donauworth. Option 2: Train leaves from Hlavni Nadrazi and you change only once at Regensburg. Each journey will take 8 hours plus. Cost: (approximate and during peak months )= Adult Return: 3536 CZK, Children 6-15 cost 327 CZK and Children under 6 travel free. More info on http://www.cd.cz or call Tel: 22 11111 22 (24- hours service in Czech, English, German or Russian). By Plane: Stuttgart Airport is about 1 hour away by car on the A8 and Munich Airport about 1.5 hours away by car on the A8. Günzburg Railway Station (a public shuttle bus service from Günzburg railway station is available). If you already find yourself in Germany, then from Stuttgart Airport it’s about 1 hour by car on the A8 and from Munich Airport about 1.5 hours on the A8 Highway.
TICKETS: 1- day Ticket Adults (34.00 EUR); 2- day Ticket Adults (55.00 EUR); 1- day Ticket Children (3-11 years) / Seniors (60 years) – 28EUR; 2- day Tickets Children (3 - 11 years) / Seniors (60 years)-(valid for one person on two consecutive days – 50 EUR) = get a 10 % discount by booking in any of these categories online via the LEGOLAND website.
1- day Family Ticket (NEW 2009) - Valid for 4 people (Children, Adults, Seniors) for the joint visit on a chosen day- Only Avaliable Online! = 99 EUR
LEGOLAND® Annual Pass Adults= 55 EUR; LEGOLAND Annual Pass Children (3 - 11 years) / Seniors (60 years) = 50 EUR; Children 0-2 years free.
ACCOMODATION COSTS AT LEGOLAND FERIENDORF (HOLIDAY VILLAGE)-
1.THE CAMPSITE - From € 140 for 2 adults and 2 children* (overnight accommodation including a 1-day-ticket).
2.THE KNIGHTS’ TENTS - From € 204 (2 adults and 2 children*) - overnight accommodation incl. breakfast and a1-day ticket).
3.FAMILY CHALETS - The cost for a 4-bed room chalet (knight, adventurer, racing driver) starts from € 257 for 2 adults and 2 children* -overnight accommodation incl. breakfast and a 1-day
ticket . * Children: 3-11 years of age
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.legoland.de (click on English flag)