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Entrance to Legoland Windsor
|Slogan||Play your part|
|Location||Windsor, Berkshire, England, U.K.|
|General Manager||Sue Kemp|
|Operating season||March to November|
|Area||150 acres (0.61 km2)|
Legoland Windsor is a child-oriented theme park and Resort in Windsor, Berkshire in England, themed around the Lego toy system. The park opened in 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 operate the park, with the Lego Group retaining part ownership (30%). The facilities are mainly targeted at children between three and twelve.
- 1 History
- 2 Areas
- 3 Park operation
- 4 Q-Bot
- 5 Incidents
- 6 Awards
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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. The grand opening of Legoland Windsor occurred in March 1996. During its first season, the park attracted over 1.4 million guests.
In April 2005, Lego made the decision to sell the Legoland parks, due to rising losses across the whole company. On 13 July 2005, Legoland was acquired by the Blackstone Group and control of the parks passed to Merlin Entertainments.
- The first new area, Castleland, opened on 14 March with the park's first rollercoaster, Dragon.
- Lego Mindstorms Workshop opened on 1 May.
- Dragon's Apprentice opened before the start of the season and The Balloon School opened, after construction delays, in April.
- Water flume ride X-Treme Challenge opened on the slope in front of St. Leonard's Mansion in August.
- The park opened for its first Christmas season between 20 November and 3 January.
- Construction started on the Creation Centre and Rocket Racers in January and both opened in December.
- The Wave Surfer opened after delays, in April, with one of two turntables operational for the first weeks.
- The park opened for its second and final Christmas season between 18 November and 7 January.
- The Imagination Theatre was converted to a 4D cinema at the end of the season with the lighting booth fitted out with two large projectors, a large quantity of control equipment, a 36-foot (11 m) projection screen and a number of different theatrical effects machines, such as wind machines, snow machines and fog machines, in the truss rig.
- The Jungle Coaster and Wave Surfer opened as part of Adventure Land, with the lake renamed Adventure Land Lake, for the start of the season.
- The Fire Academy in Traffic, and Dino Dipper and Dino Safari in Adventure Land opened for the start of the season.
- The Adventurer’s Express was renamed The Orient Express.
- Digger Challenge opened and Spellbreaker 4D was introduced alongside Lego Racers 4D in the Imagination Theatre for the start of the season.
- Whirly Birds was renamed Chopper Squadron and the Mindstorms Workshop switched from using Lego Mindstorms to the NXT system at the start of the season.
- The Land of the Vikings, along with Mole-in-One Golf, were readvertised as new for the 2008 season, with Vikings' River Splash finished and the second ride of the land, the Zamperla 'Rocking Tug' Longboat Invader, opening after being delayed from 2007.
- Merlin Entertainments announced a 5- to 10-year-plan to spend £30 million on Legoland in an effort to make it a resort with enough attractions to sustain 2- or 3-day visits.
- Rocket Racers was reopened.
- New land, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, opened, with existing, rethemed carousel, chairswings and ferris wheel, new Sallys ride Laser Raiders, utilising the current tent for queuing and new buildings for the ride, and Scarab Bouncers, a Zamperla Jumping Star ride.
- A new spider was placed on top of the spinning spider ride, with the previous one residing on the hill between Spinning Spider and Longboat Invader.
- Crossed Ribs and Knights Table restaurants changed to table service and a new family and female toilet block was opened in Lego City, replacing the previous Explorer's Institute attraction.
- The Wild Wood area was re-themed to Pirates Landing, and Jolly Rocker, a swinging ship opened. As well as the renaming of Pirate Falls to Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench.
- Atlantis Submarine Voyage an underwater submarine adventure opened in May.
- Rocket Racers closed on 10 October to make way for a new attraction for 2012.
- LEGOLAND Windsor Resort Hotel opened in March.
- LEGO Star Wars Miniland Model Display opened, replacing Rocket Racers which closed in 2011.
- Legoland Windsor will rename and extend Duplo Land as Duplo Valley for 2013, including adding new attractions Brickville, Duplo Splash Safari and Duplo Drench Towers, and enlarging the existing Duplo Puppet Theatre.
- LEGO Legends of Chima 4D Movie was added to the Imagination Theatre.
- LEGO Hero Factory opened in the Imagination Centre
The park is split into 11 themed lands, incorporating various attractions, restaurants and shops: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Land, Miniland, Traffic, Adventureland, Lego City, Pirate Landing, Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the pharaohs.
The Beginning is the entrance to the park and is accessible before park opening. Also in the area is The Hill Train, a funicular railway down a curved slope. It is the only attraction retained from Windsor Safari Park, being revamped when the parked open with stained glass windows made from translucent Lego bricks by local school children. It travels 300 metres between The Beginning and Traffic and with a height difference between the top and bottom stations of approximately 27 metres.
The Imagination Centre is just above Miniland. It features educational attractions Build & Test Workshops, 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 Land, previously Explore Land and Duplo Gardens, is aimed at younger children.
Traffic is themed around transport.
LEGO City, previously My Town, is a mock-up of a small Lego town.
Land of the Vikings
Land of the Vikings is situated behind the Hill Train, it was opened in 2007.
Kingdom of the Pharaohs
The Kingdom of the Pharaohs contains "Laser Raiders", an interactive dark ride through an Egyptian tomb where visitors shoot targets to gain points.
Pirates Landing features a log flume.
Knights' Kingdom features The Dragon roller coaster, which starts inside the castle-shaped building, 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.
Legoland Windsor typically opens from March to November, with closures on some days.
For the 2008 season, the Q-Bot queueing 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. Most rides can be selected with Q Bot, with the exception of those which boast large or thin alleyways.
- 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 were received, 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 September 2010, the park's high quantity of wasps during the season was featured on Watchdog, with general manager Sue Kemp appearing with host Anne Robinson and confirming new signage, actions and details on the website.
Since opening in 1996, the park has won a number of awards:
- Voted UK's Number One Family Attraction by Group Leisure Magazine, 1999.
- Windsor Safari Park - The original attraction where Legoland Windsor is situated.
- "Legoland Windsor - The History of the Legoland Parks" (PDF).
- "BBC News – Troubled Lego Sells Theme Parks". 13 July 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- Themed Entertainment Association (2012). The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- Legoland Windsor Souvenir Guidebook, 1997
- Legoland Windsor: Where the Fun is Building, Park Brochure, 1995
- "BBC News – Lego to Sell Parks as Losses Rise". 6 April 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "BBC News – Ailing Lego nears Theme-park Sale". 1 June 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 1998
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 1999
- Christmas at Legoland Park Guide, 1999
- Christmas at Legoland, Promotional Leaflet, 2000
- Legoland Windsor Park Brochure, 2000
- Legoland Windsor Show Times, 12 March - 8 July 2005
- Higham, Nick (10 June 2003). "BBC News – Royals get to grips with Legoland’s Bricks". Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- Legoland Windsor Park Brochure, 2004
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 2005
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 2006
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 2007
- "Explore a whole new land at legoland windsor" (PDF). Legoland Windsor. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
- Legoland Windsor Park Guide, 2008
- Frary, Mark (13 March 2009). "Whats new at Legoland for 2009". The Times (London).
- "Back due to popular demand". Legoland Windsor. March 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- "Rocket Racer's Last Lego Rally". 9 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
- "Duplo Valley". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Google Earth
- "Legoland Windsor selects Lo-Q to reduce physical waiting time". Blooloop.com. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
- "BBC News – Fire at Legoland during Fireworks". 28 October 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Legoland Parks". Screamscape.com. 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Wasps create an unfriendly buzz at Legoland". BBC. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- "Buzz Off Watchdog! LEGOLAND's Wasp Problem Makes it to TV". Completely Legoland Windsor. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Legoland Windsor.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Windsor and Eton.|
- Legoland Windsor
- Legoland Windsor Park Map (Flash Animation)
- Legoland Windsor Guide at ThemeParks-UK