Loco over LEGO-A A +A
Friday, June 6, 2014
SUMMER is officially over but our recent vacation at LEGOLAND Malaysia still brings back fond memories with the whole family.
After arriving in Singapore via Silk Air, we immediately rode our rented van to Johor Bahru, Malaysia which was just an hour away from the airport.
Sleepy and tired from hours of air and land travel in just a day, our kids automatically took their naps while on the road, only to be awakened during immigration and customs check.
We had to personally bring all of our pieces of luggage and check through the agencies which were located a floor up from the ground, all without the use of luggage carts as none were available. This was quite a tedious process for our party of ten with ages ranging from 3 to 72.
The kids’ weariness wore off instantly though the moment we arrived at our destination. Hallelujah! It was the LEGOLAND Resort after all, our fantastic home in Johor Bahru for two incredible nights.
Everything is awesome!
The four-star LEGOLAND Hotel, which opened late last year, has 249 spectacular rooms with pirate, kingdom and adventure themes, truly a kid’s version of Shangrila (not-so-young folks are in on it too – though still an “in the closet thing” for some).
The hotel’s lobby is a jaw-dropping spectacle with full-scale LEGO medieval castle, pirate ship and single-engine Cessna-type plane assaulting all senses when guests first enter. Like kids let loose in a candy store, we dug into countless LEGO and Duplo bricks, models and mini figurines enthusiastically assembling them in every nook and cranny, getting lost in the moment, almost forgetting to check-in.
An X-Box 360 video console and more unlimited bricks for playing were strategically situated across the hotel’s buffet restaurant, aptly-named “Bricks Family Restaurant.” Inside the resto, the adorable bricks continued to amaze us as these were artfully assembled into striking life-sized LEGO bakers and utensils.
And the cuteness continued as disco-themed elevators opened up for us with songs from the past such as “Dancing Queen,” and with disco lights going round and round above us. It was such a treat to see the younger kids dancing merrily to the music each time we rode the lifts.
From nostalgia and getting it all in our heads, we were excited and impressed to find out that our superb travel agent Ivy Tan of Frontier Travel and Tours booked us a premium adventure-themed room for our stay, with a bunk bed and king-sized bed for our family of four.
Being able to sleep in a LEGO-themed bunk bed (with a pull-out trundle bed) was a dream come true for my daughters and their three younger cousins. My brother’s room and ours were beside each other so the kids happily transferred from one room to another carrying with them boxes of Duplo bricks generously provided in the room.
The adults, on the other hand, felt like royalty with their king-sized canopy beds. Each part of the room had its own flat screen TV.
From the beds, walls, carpets, beddings, and comfort rooms (which had two separate sinks and mirrors, one for adults and another mini version for kids), everything was tastefully LEGO. Why, I wouldn’t mind staying in the room for a whole day!
A treasure box in the corner of the room intrigued the kids. There were four questions on a sheet of paper which they had to answer. All clues could be found inside the room. After much investigation, the mystery digits were unraveled and the code was finally broken. The kids shouted with glee when they found that there were three sets of LEGO toys inside the treasure box for them to take home!
As we turned in for the night, I am sure the kids were in LEGO dreamland, and it was definitely…awesome!
On a bright and sunny morning the next day, after our sumptuous buffet breakfast, we set off to conquer LEGOLAND Park, just 50 steps away from the hotel. Because we were in-house guests of the hotel, we had the privilege of going inside the park by 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than the other park guests.
LEGOLAND Park offers several themed areas of attractions. They included the Beginning, LEGO Technic, LEGO Kingdoms, Imagination, LEGO City, Land of Adventure and Miniland.
Whether one just wants to create and build LEGO structures, watch 4-D shows, marvel at the mini Asian landmarks or ride roller coasters, each remarkable attraction brought out the kid in us all. How do I know this? My husband who really doesn’t like posing for snaps as much as the rest of the family just could not stop himself from requesting me to take his photos, of course along with some of the LEGO life-sized figures that were placed all over the park. He was finally caving in to his LEGO nostalgia, ambling like a kid lost in Willie Wonka’s factory.
We were warned by friends who have been to LEGOLAND Malaysia that it was scorching hot at the park. So, we came extra prepared with sunblock, hats, sunglasses, shawls and umbrellas.
By 4:30 p.m., we decided to transfer to LEGOLAND Water Park just beside the park. It had a wave pool, over 20 slides and more than 70 LEGO models.
After depositing our things at the park’s locker, equipped with a high-tech finger scanner, we made the most of the time left trying out some thrilling slides. Being the designated “nanny” of the kids that afternoon, I had to look after them at the Joker Soaker area where they had tons of water adventure. At the novel Build-A-Raft play area, the children creatively customized their rafts using LEGO soft bricks before floating away along a river of refreshing cold water.
Before we knew it, the park staff reminded us that the Water Park would be closing its doors at 6 p.m.
Gathering our things from the locker, we showered and changed and hurried back to Bricks where my brother would be celebrating his birthday dinner --- an action-filled and packed day it was!
As I watched the LEGOLAND Hotel staff sing a surprise birthday song (complete with a birthday cake) and as the day was winding down, I could not help but feel the moment and reminisced how my once little brother used to go loco over LEGO more than thirty years ago.
That’s the endearing power of LEGO.
Those tiny bricks of magic truly transcended generations of creative builders and will surely continue to do so for more years to come!
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 07, 2014.