When I heard LEGOLAND was opening in Westchester, I was so excited because my little Noah is a huge Lego fan.  He may not be able to read yet, but he can build cars, rockets and Transformers from Legos and I will continue to nurture this love of building and engineering no matter how many tiny pieces of Legos I may step on. So, for Noah’s 5th birthday we decided to explore LEGOLAND, but of course, we decided to go at the exact wrong time.

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Noah’s birthday coincided with the opening week of LEGOLAND Discovery Center but, uncharacteristically, I was very unprepared and we decided to go on a last minute whim that morning.  Wow, were we in for a surprise.  First, we just typed in LEGOLAND into the GPS and found our way to a mall. We were completely confused… I thought LEGOLAND was a theme park, you know, like in San Diego or Orlando (we haven’t been to either) so we were a bit bewildered.  Then we saw the line wrapped around the corner just to get a ticket. We were told all the online pre-sale tickets were completely sold out and no more tickets would be sold, yet no one moved. No one seemed to know what was going on. They decided they would start selling tickets. So, one line was for new tickets and another line for pre-sale tickets. Both lines moved at a snails pace. We waited about an hour before getting in and then waited more once we were in. Sadly, the people who bought time specific tickets online, weeks in advance, seemed to wait just as long.

I have to give them a bit of a pass as it was just their first week and I’m sure they’re still working out the kinks (but I believe they did soft open earlier).  In any case, once we were in, the kids had a blast! Yes, we waited a VERY long time for the 2 small rides, but the kids didn’t seem to mind too much because at least it was indoors and air conditioned.  Both Samantha and Noah loved Kingdom Quest. You sit in an open car (2 rows - we fit 5 of us) and each person gets a gun and you shoot at skeletons and trolls to save the Princess! Even Annabelle who is only 2 liked the ride even though she can’t man the guns.

My favorite section was MINILAND - a mini NYC made from 1.5million Legos. Since we bring the kids into the city often, they loved recognizing all the buildings and especially loved pushing the buttons that activated some of the Lego creations.  I just think it’s so amazing how anything can be made from Legos.  I think a lot of people just rush through this but I really suggest taking your time and appreciate all the work that must have gone into creating this mini land.

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Noah’s favorite section is Lego Racers: Build & Test. Here, my little Lego lover could create his own vehicles with the various bricks and wheels along with several downhill race tracks. Noah would have been happy to stay here the entire time!  It does get crowded and a lot of bigger kids do get pushy but Noah seemed to manage and enjoy.

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Samantha’s favorite section was the Lego Friends Karaoke room. There is a large TV with 20 some odd recent pop songs the kids can choose and sing at the microphone stand.  Samantha would stay here the whole time.  The good thing is that the songs are only about 30-45 seconds, not the whole song which is genius because it gives more kids a chance to participate and who really wants to listen to 1 kid sing a 3 minute song. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be a way to cancel a selection - you have to sit through the whole song.  It would be nice if there was a bit more organization as kids just need to push their way in. There’s no sign up or order so some kids can hog the mic and some don’t get a chance.  There’s also lots of pink and purple girlie legos to play with here and a make your own Lego cupcake kitchen area.

For Annabelle, there is a small under 5 section with a big foam Lego pit and a small slide - Duplo Village. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing.  At under 36 inches, Annabelle can’t go on the other ride, even with an adult, and can’t go into the climbing structure.

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In the middle, there is a nice sized soft play climbing structure which I think are the Fire Academy and Construction Site, however, the website says the Construction site is only for 36″ and under, but I found there was only 1 entrance and it was for kids 36-54″ as Annabelle was unable to enter. Oh, you also must have socks! It’s nice because it is in the middle of the entire area so I could kind of keep my eye on them from almost anywhere as my kids are never at the same attraction at the same time.

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Merlin’s Apprentice is the other ride here which I really don’t recommend waiting for.  I think we waited at least an hour to go on it and it wasn’t that great. You sit in this chair and pedal to “fly” but it really is a bigger version of a ride you’d find at a carnival or the Dumbo ride at Disney. It just goes in a circle. It only talks 8-16 people at a time and the boarding and de-boarding just seemed to be so slow.

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4-D Cinema: All the kids loved this. They have 2 different movies and the screen outside the theater tells you how many more minutes until the next showing so you don’t have to wait unnecessarily. The movies are only about 10-12 minutes each and includes wind, rain, bubbles, etc for that 4th dimension.  The kids got a kick out of both, even Annabelle, who refuses to wear the 3D glasses. Plus, it’s short enough to hold their interest.

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There is also Earthquake tables where you can build with Lego or Duplo on these tables that will shake. We also did not take the Lego Master Builder Academy as Noah just wants to build his own but they have these classes pretty regularly (for free). And of course, there is a decent café with lots of tables. Near the Café are the birthday party rooms. I’m sure these book up fast so call early. I think it starts around $25 per guest.

We spent about 2-3 hours here and it’s manageable even when it’s just me with the 3 kids. I know many may complain that it’s small but for me, it’s the perfect size. Just big enough to keep them happy but small enough to keep an eye on all of them and get out without spending my entire day there.  As a one time visit, it probably doesn’t feel like you get your money’s worth as it is about $20 per person for everyone 3 years old and up.  We decided to buy the family annual pass for $230. It allows 1 years unlimited entry for 4 specific people. Each additional family member is $55 (vs $60 for a regular individual). We decided the annual pass made sense for us since the kids liked it enough, we live close enough, and either James or I can handle it solo with the kids in any type of weather (we did the zoo last yr and really only used it for a few months out of the year).

Also, parking (with 3hr validation) is cheap ($1.75) and it’s part of the Ridge Hill Mall so places to eat and shop.  The facility itself is stroller and wheelchair accessible. The bathrooms are nice and clean and has changing tables.   I suggest not going on the weekends, if possible, as it gets really crowded but if you get there right when it opens, it’s not so bad.

We’ve now gone at least 5 times (over 4 months) so we’ve gotten our money’s worth and the kids still love it and ask for it all the time - so it’s a big WIN for us!