Legoland Windsor Resort
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Legoland Windsor Resort, also known as Legoland Windsor, is a child-oriented theme park and resort in Windsor, Berkshire in England, themed around the Lego toy system. The park opened on 17 March 1996 on the former Windsor Safari Park site as the second Legoland after Legoland Billund in Denmark. In common with the other Legolands across the world, the park's attractions consist of a mixture of Lego-themed rides, models, and building workshops. The park was acquired by Merlin Entertainments in 2005, which now operates the park, with the Lego Group retaining part ownership (30%). The facilities are mainly targeted at children between three and twelve.
Entrance to Legoland Windsor
|Location||Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK|
|General Manager||Thomas Jellum |
|Opened||17 March 1996|
|Operating season||March to November|
|Visitors per annum||2.2 million (2017)|
|Area||150 acres (61 ha; 0.61 km2)|
The park had 2.2 million visitors in 2017, making it the second most visited theme park in the United Kingdom and the 10th-most visited in Europe.
The Lego Group began research for the development of a second Legoland park after Legoland Billund in 1987, with over 1000 sites considered. In January 1992, Windsor Safari Park went into receivership and the 150-acre (0.61 km2) site was chosen. Throughout 1992 and 1993, planning, design, site preparation and the design and construction of models began, and new homes were secured for all the safari animals. 1994 saw the installation of services, foundations and infrastructures, and in 1995, one year prior to opening, Big Ben was installed in Miniland. By this time, buildings and attractions were becoming established and in September, advance bookings were opened for entrance tickets. Final installations were completed by the beginning of 1996 and at this point, the Legoland Windsor staff-base was recruited. Legoland Windsor opened on 17 March 1996. During its first season, the park attracted over 1.4 million guests.
In April 2005, Lego decided to sell the Legoland parks, owing to rising losses across the company. On 13 July 2005, Legoland was acquired by the Blackstone Group and control of the parks passed to Merlin Entertainments.
|Themed areas and key locations within Legoland Windsor Resort|
The park is split into 11 themed lands, incorporating various attractions, restaurants and shops: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Valley, Miniland, Adventure Land, LEGO City, Pirate Shores, Heartlake City, Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs and Lego Ninjago World.
The Beginning is the entrance to the park and is accessible before park opening. Also in the area is the Hill Train, a funicular, 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge railway down a curved slope, using previously abandoned vehicles from Brazil. It is the only attraction retained from Windsor Safari Park, being revamped when the park opened with stained glass windows made from translucent Lego bricks by local school children. It travels 300 metres between The Beginning and Lego City, with a height difference between the top and bottom stations of approximately 27 metres.
The Creation Centre closed and was converted into three new areas. The first area is a Lego Star Wars model display. The second area is the Lego Star Wars shop, and the third area is the Last Chance Marketplace, where discontinued Lego products are available for purchase.
The Imagination Centre is just above Miniland. It features educational attractions: LEGO Reef, Lego Mindstorms NXT-based Lego Mindstorms Workshop and Robolab Workshop.
Miniland is a miniature park in Lego form, depicting towns and cities from around the world, using nearly 40 million Lego bricks in models often at 1:20 scale. The area features a number of animated models, interacting with each other. Motor vehicles use cables under the paths emitting radio wave signals to steer and allow charging when required and overnight. The train system runs on tracks, slowing for stations using slow down bars and also charging, and the boats use rubber loops under the water driven by motors, with sensors to detect the boats for operating bridges and locks. The system, with lights and sounds, is run by 14 computers using 300 kilometres of underground cabling.
Duplo Valley, previously Explore Land, Duplo Gardens and "Duplo Land", is aimed at younger children. It opened in 2013 after a refurb of the land. Featuring the Rides & Attractions: Fairy Tale Brook, DUPLO Valley airport (Previously known as Chopper Squadron), Duplo Train, DUPLO Valley Theatre, Raft Racers, Splash Safari, Brickville and Drench Towers.
Lego City, formerly known as Traffic, is themed around transport. Balloon School: Experience the ups and downs of a hot air balloon ride. Coastguard HQ: a boat school ride for children Fire Academy: help the firefighters here participants are challenged with powering a LEGO fire engine and putting out a ‘burning’ building. L-Drivers: drive school for 3-5 children LEGO® City Driving School: drive school here children can drive their own car
Heartlake City (formerly Lego City until redecoration in 2015), based on the LEGO Friends produce range, includes two rides that opened in May 2015: Heartlake Express, a railway ride round Land of the Pharaohs, and a Disk'O coaster called Mia's Riding Adventure. Also in the area is the "Return to Skeleton Bay" pirate stunt show, and "LEGO Friends to the Rescue", a live music concert around the harbour performed by the LEGO Friends.
Land of the VikingsEdit
Land of the Vikings is situated behind the Hill Train; this was opened in 2007, and is based on the plunderings of Nordic Vikings. This land is home to two attractions, Vikings’ River Splash: An attraction manufactured by ABC Rides and features Lego models, water sprays and cannons along its course. The other attraction is Spinning Spider located at the bottom of the area, this ride is a spinning teacups style ride where guests ride in log-style gondolas as an animatronic LEGO spider gnashes it's jaws and breathes smoke on a web above.
Kingdom of the PharaohsEdit
The Kingdom of the Pharaohs contains "Laser Raiders", an interactive dark ride through an Egyptian tomb where visitors shoot targets to gain points.
Pirate Shores features a log flume, Pirate Falls, a play area and a pirate ship ride named the Jolly Rocker. From 1996 to 2010, this area was known as Wild Woods.
Knights' Kingdom (originally Castleland and NEXO Knights' Kingdom) features The Dragon roller coaster, which starts inside the castle themed station, passing Lego tableaux, before travelling outside reaching a speed of around 30 mph (48 km/h).
Adventure Land is situated around a lake at the bottom of the park. The main attraction is Atlantis Submarine Voyage by Sealife, which features "submarine" vehicles used to travel through the tank. NEW for 2019 is the Haunted House Monster Party, featuring Lord Vampyre and his ghoulish ghouls. Experience a party like no other at Legoland Windsor Resort!
Legoland Windsor typically opens from March to November, with closures on some days.
Attendance has steadily risen since 2005. Legoland Windsor regularly draws more attendees than the original Legoland Billund Resort in Denmark; in 2011, it became the tenth-most popular theme park in Europe, a position it has held every year since.
Rides and attractionsEdit
|Aero Nomad||Kingdom of the Pharaohs||1996||Zamperla||A small ferris wheel ride offering views over Kingdom of the Pharaohs and the centre of the park. Originally named Brickadilly's Ferris Wheel when opened in 1996; rebranded Aero Nomad in 2009.|
|Atlantis Submarine Voyage||Adventure Land||2011||MACK Rides||An underwater submarine ride that takes riders on a journey through an aquarium.|
|Balloon School||LEGO City||1999||WGH Transportation||A ride containing six balloon gondolas (4 guests each), attached to arms linked to a central turning arm. Balloons can be raised or lowered at the riders command.|
|Brickville||DUPLO Valley||2013||Unknown||A playground for children based upon a town created from LEGO Duplo bricks.|
|Castaway Camp||Pirate Shores||2014||Unknown||A large adventure playground for children based upon a Pirate ship and features towers, slides and climbing nets. Formerly named Pirates Training Camp / The Rat Trap.|
|Coastguard HQ||LEGO City||1996||LEGOLAND (track/course)
|Guests can drive electric LEGO-style boats through a course, accompanied by a mixture of LEGO and plastic 3D models. Originally named Boating School at the park's opening in 1996, renamed Coastguard HQ in 2015.|
|Desert Chase||Kingdom of the Pharaohs||1996||Unknown||A carousel located within the Kingdom of the Pharaohs area at LEGOLAND Windsor. Originally named Brickadilly's Carousel at the park's opening in 1996, renamed Desert Chase in 2009.|
|Destiny's Bounty||Ninjago World||2008||Zamperla||A Rockin' Tug ride originally located in Land of the Vikings as Longboat Invaders, which opened in 2008. Renamed to Destiny's Bounty in 2017.|
|Discovery Zone featuring MINDSTORMS||Imagination Centre||Unknown||LEGOLAND||125px||Home to the park's National Curriculum relevant Educational Workshops. In this attraction guests can construct LEGO models and program robots in various workshops.|
|The Dragon||Knight's Kingdom||1998||WGH Transportation||Guests travel in a dragon rollercoaster train through a dark-ride section in a castle featuring scenes of animated LEGO models before accelerating up a lift hill and completing two figure-of-eight circuits before returning to the station.|
|Dragon's Apprentice||Knight's Kingdom||1999||WGH Transportation||A smaller companion to the park's larger coaster - The Dragon.|
|Drench Towers||DUPLO Valley||2013||Unknown||A water play structure themed to LEGO Duplo featuring a tipping water 'brick' and various coloured slides. Only open during summer months.|
|DUPLO Valley Airport||DUPLO Valley||1996||Unknown||A ride where guests can control a LEGO-style helicopter, by using a lever to guide it up or down. 2 guests per helicopter. Originally named Whirly Birds at the park's opening in 1996; renamed to Chopper Squadron (2006) and then DUPLO Valley Airport (2013).|
|DUPLO Train||DUPLO Valley||1996||Unknown||A small train completing a small circuit.|
|Fairy Tale Brook||DUPLO Valley||1996||WGH Transportation||A gentle boat ride where guests pass through LEGO depictions of fairytale scenes (such as Aladdin, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) in a leaf-shaped boat. Revised in 2013.|
|Fire Academy||LEGO City||2005||Unknown||Groups of 4 can enter a fire engine to compete against other guests to extinguish the 'fire' in a building. Guests must use levers to power the truck down a track to the building, exit the truck and use water pumps to aim at 'fire' in the windows of said building. Guests must then power the truck back to the starting line, the first team back wins.|
|Haunted House: Monster Party||Adventure Land||2019||Vekoma Rides Manufacturing||A madhouse attraction. Spoilers of the ride ahead.
Guests enter the queue line where addictive music plays, building up the atmosphere. The queue snakes towards the Haunted House entrance, where guests then climb a set of stairs as they enter a showroom depicting portraits of ghoulish ghouls. A pre-show is played explaining the attraction along with some strobe lighting effects and minor humour. Guests are then invited into the banquet hall, where the party begins. Slowly the banquet hall rocks back and forth, as cackles ring out from Lord Vampyre. Suddenly, the whole room is flipped upside down and various lighting effects occur. After a few minutes, the ride slows. Lord Vampyre hopes all guests enjoyed the party and head down a set of stairs, and out the building. There is no gift shop for this ride. The ride is similar to Hex at Alton Towers (another Merlin Entertainments operated park) and The Haunting at Drayton Manor.
|Heartlake City Express||Heartlake City||1996||Severn Lamb (train)||train ride that seats 150 that begins in Heartlake City and travels past Kingdom of the Pharaohs (through the queue line of Laser Raiders), Miniland and travels through LEGO City before returning to Heartlake City, and features LEGO constructions of various animals (originally to represent LEGO character Johnny Thunder's expeditions), and Johnny Thunder himself. It also features areas where watching guests can push buttons to activate water sprays from the mouths of models, such as a tiger. Originally named I-Spy Express at the park's opening in 1996; subsequently renamed Adventurers' Express (2002), Orient Expedition (2005), and Heartlake Express (2015).|
|Hill Train||The Beginning
Land of the Vikings/Kingdom of the Pharaohs
|Before 1996 (opened as part of Windsor Safari Park)||Unknown||A funicular railway shuttling guests between the top and centre of the park down a hill (hence the name). There are two trains, each feature three carriages (one red, one blue, one yellow) which pass each other on the journey. This feature was carried over from Windsor Safari Park.|
|Jolly Rocker||Pirate Shores||2010||Huss Rides||Originally situated at another park, Jolly Rocker is a rocking pirate ship that seats 35 people and opened in 2010.|
|Knights' Quest||Knight's Kingdom||2005||MACK Rides||A Mack Old Train ride, originally located in Adventure Land (opened in 2005 as Dino Dipper) but moved to allow for construction of Atlantis Submarine Voyage. Renamed to Knight's Quest in 2011. Riders spin quickly in a circle over bumps in a LEGO train.|
|Laser Raiders||Kingdom of the Pharaohs||2009||Sally Corporation||Guests travel in a cart through interactive scenes and user laser guns to shoot targets and earn points.|
|L-Drivers||LEGO City||1996||Garmendale||A smaller version of Driving School for younger guests (aged 3 to 5).|
|LEGO City Driving School||LEGO City||1996||Garmendale||Guests aged 6 to 13 can drive LEGO-style miniature electric cars through a series of roads featuring a range of LEGO models and 3D scenes.|
|Mia's Riding Adventure||Heartlake City||2015||Zamperla||A Zamperla Disko ride where guests can board LEGO horses and spin in to the air.|
|Miniland||Miniland||1996 (often updated with new models)||LEGOLAND Model Makers||A showcase of LEGO recreations of world landmarks, made of over 40 million LEGO bricks. Scenes feature the Elizabeth Tower/Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Notre Dame and many more.|
|Model Making Studio||The Beginning||N/A||LEGOLAND||Watch the LEGOLAND model makers complete LEGO creations.|
|NINJAGO The Ride||Ninjago World||2017||Unknown||A dark ride where riders use their hands to shoot.|
|Pirate Falls Treasure Quest||Pirate Shores||1996||Zamperla||A traditional log flume ride featuring various LEGO depictions of pirates based upon a story of a rivalry between two crews. Originally named Pirate Falls at the park's opening in 1996; renamed to Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench (2010) and then Pirate Falls Treasure Quest (2014).|
|Pirate Goldwash||Pirate Shores||1996 (assumed)||N/A||At an additional cost, guests can pan for 'gold', which can be traded for a souvenir medal.|
|Raft Racers||DUPLO Valley||1999||Unknown||Guests can ride a rubber dinghy along one of two coloured slides down a bank. Originally named Extreme Team Challenge when the ride opened in 1999; subsequently renamed to Raft Racers in 2013.|
|S.Q.U.I.D Surfer||Adventure Land||Dual water carousel|
|Scarab Bouncers||Kingdom of the Pharaohs||2009||S&S Power||Two small frog-hopper style drop towers that can each sit 6 children and 1 adult.|
|Sky Rider||Imagination Centre||1996||Premier Rides||Originally opened in 1996, guests could pedal a LEGO-style cart around a track overlooking Miniland and the park, as well as travelling above Imagination Centre. Between the 2001 and 2002 seasons, the pedals were removed, a lap bar introduced and the ride was refurbished to be electronically powered.|
|Splash Safari||DUPLO Valley||2013||Unknown||A small water playground featuring DUPLO characters, replacing the Waterworks attraction which occupied the area prior to 2012.|
|Spinning Spider||Land of the Vikings||1996||Unknown||A spinning teacups style ride where guests ride in log-style gondolas as an animatronic LEGO spider gnashes it's jaws and breathes smoke on a web above.|
|Thunder Blazer||Kingdom of the Pharaohs||1996||Unknown||A small chairswing ride. Originally named Brickadilly's Chair-O-Plane in 1996 when the park opened; renamed to Thunder Blazer in 2009.|
|Vikings River Splash||Land of the Vikings||late 2007||ABC Rides||A river rapids ride. Guests travel through scenes featuring LEGO models of Vikings and dragons and pass a viewing point where riders can squirt using pump water guns. The ride concludes with bucketfuls of water being tipped and a climb back to the station.|
|4D Cinema/Imagination Theatre||Imagination||2003 (as a 4D cinema)||Unknown||A cinema hosted in a large tent featuring 4D effects. New shows are introduced and old shows removed every few park seasons. Since 2016, the cinema has been showing "The LEGO Movie: A 4D Adventure".|
Former rides and attractionsEdit
|Bum Shaker||Wild Woods (Pirates Landing)||1996–2000||Two hand-pump on-track cart ride circuits near the Rat Trap. Removed and replaced by The Truck Stop which was later replaced in 2009 to make room for Jolly Rocker.|
|Explorer's Institute||LEGO City||?–2008||A walk-through attraction themed around a rainforest, ancient Egypt and the Arctic.|
|Jungle Coaster||Adventure Land||2004–09||Mack||A large Wild Mouse roller coaster, now located in Legoland Florida as Great Lego Race. Removed to clear land for Legoland Hotel.|
|Magic Theatre||LEGO City||1996–2007||Showcasing illusions using LEGO models.|
|Mole-in-One Mini Golf||DUPLO Valley||2007–13||Known as Wild Woods Golf during construction; replaced with Drench Tower.|
|Rocket Racers||The Beginning||2000–11||A computer game themed around the Lego Racers product line, housed in the Creation Centre, where eight drivers select vehicle components on a touchscreen computer before racing against each other using arcade-style seated controls.|
For the 2008 season, the Q-Bot queuing system was introduced. For a per-person fee, guests are provided with a small pager-like device to "reserve" places in queues virtually, allowing guests to use their queuing time elsewhere in the park. The initial contract between Q-Bot developers Lo-Q was for 1 year from 8 April 2008. This contract was extended for 2009 before a new 3-year contract was signed on 26 March 2010. Three tiers of the device are available at different prices which reduce the queue time by different proportions.
- In 2006, a fire broke out in a storage barn onsite during the end of season fireworks on 28 October, with no injuries.
- In 2008, after noise complaints, Jungle Coaster plastic housing was placed over the cars, leading to reduced capacity to two adults per car, due to weight restrictions. However, at the end of the 2009 season, the ride was removed  and the site used for hotel construction.
- In May 2009, a nine-year-old girl got her hand trapped in The Log Flume in Pirate Falls. The police, ambulance and fire brigade were all called. The ride remained closed the next day as health and safety checks were done and the ride has since been altered.
- In September 2010, the park's large number of wasps during the season was discussed on Watchdog, with general manager Sue Kemp appearing with host Anne Robinson and confirming new signage, actions and details on the website.
- In February 2014, the park cancelled a private event organised by Islamic cleric Haitham al-Haddad due to safety reasons following a backlash and threats by nationalist groups.
- In August 2016, two six-year-old girls were sexually assaulted while at the resort, leading to a police investigation over the incident.
Since opening in 1996, the park has won a number of awards:
- Voted UK's Number One Family Attraction by Group Leisure Magazine, 1999.
- LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort (10 June 2015). "Awesome Awaits at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort" – via YouTube.
- "The History of the Legoland Parks" (PDF). Windsor: Legoland. 2006.
- "Troubled Lego Sells Theme Parks". News. BBC. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- TEA/AECOM (2018). 2017 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- Souvenir Guidebook, Windsor: Legoland, 1997.
- Where the Fun is Building (brochure)
|url=(help), Windsor: Legoland, 1995.
- "Lego to Sell Parks as Losses Rise". News. BBC. 6 April 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Ailing Lego nears Theme-park Sale". News. BBC. 1 June 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Legoland Windsor Resort Guide" (PDF). Merlin Entertainments. 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- Lego Hill Train Stats, UK: Hows.
- Google Earth
- TEA/AECOM (2016). 2015 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/ERA (2007). 2006 Theme Park Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/ERA (2008). 2007 Attraction Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/ERA/AECOM (2009). 2008 Attraction Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2010). 2009 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2011). 2010 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2012). 2011 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2013). 2012 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2014). 2013 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2015). 2014 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- TEA/AECOM (2017). 2016 Theme Index: The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF) (Report). Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Brickadilly's Fairground Rides (retired)". Completely LEGOLAND Windsor. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Electric Boats and Cars | Theme Park Ride Manufacturers | Garmendale". Garmendale UK. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Muscle Maker & Bum Shaker (retired)". Completely LEGOLAND Windsor. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Explorers' Institute (retired)". Completely LEGOLAND Windsor. 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Jungle Coaster - Legoland Windsor (Windsor, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom)". rcdb.com. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
- "Magic Theatre (retired)". Completely LEGOLAND Windsor. 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Mole-In-One Mini Golf". Unofficial Guide to Legoland Windsor. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Rocket Racers (retired)". Completely Legoland Windsor. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- "Legoland Windsor selects Lo-Q to reduce physical waiting time". Blooloop.com. 17 February 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
- "Fire at Legoland during Fireworks". News. BBC. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Legoland Parks". Screamscape. 15 March 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "Wasps create an unfriendly buzz at Legoland". BBC. September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
- "Buzz Off Watchdog! Legoland's Wasp Problem Makes it to TV". Completely Legoland Windsor. September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
- "Berkshire", News, England, UK: BBC.
- "Sex assault on girls aged 6 at Legoland". 12 August 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Legoland Windsor Park Brochure, 2000
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Legoland Windsor.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Windsor and Eton.|