Legoland Windsor Resort

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LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
Legoland Windsor Logo.svg

Entrance to Legoland Windsor.jpg
Entrance to Legoland Windsor
Slogan Play your part
Location Windsor, Berkshire, England, U.K.
Coordinates 51°27′49″N 0°39′04″W / 51.46351°N 0.65114°W / 51.46351; -0.65114Coordinates: 51°27′49″N 0°39′04″W / 51.46351°N 0.65114°W / 51.46351; -0.65114
Owner Merlin Entertainments
General Manager Sue Kemp
Opened March 1996
Operating season March to November
Area 150 acres (0.61 km2)
Rides
Total 55
Roller coasters 2
Water rides 6
Website www.legoland.co.uk
Legoland Windsor Resort is located in Berkshire
Legoland Windsor Resort
Magnify-clip.png
Map of Berkshire, UK, showing the location of Legoland Windsor at 51.46351°N, 0.65114°W (grid reference SU938747)

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%).[1][2] The facilities are mainly targeted at children between three and twelve.

In 2012, the park had 2.0 million visitors, making it the second most visited theme park in the United Kingdom after Alton Towers, and the 10th most visited in Europe.[3]

History[edit]

From 1969 to 1992, the site of today´s Legoland Windsor belonged to Windsor Safari Park, which had been founded by the Billy Smart's Circus.

The Lego Group began research for the development of a second Legoland park after Legoland Billund in 1987, with over 1000 sites considered.[1] In January 1992, Windsor Safari Park went into receivership and the 150-acre (0.61 km2) site was chosen.[1] Throughout 1992 and 1993, planning, design, site preparation and the design and construction of models began,[1] and new homes were secured for all the safari animals.[4] 1994 saw the installation of services, foundations and infrastructures,[1] and in 1995, one year prior to opening, Big Ben was installed in Miniland. By this time, buildings and attractions were becoming established[1] and in September, advance bookings were opened for entrance tickets.[5] Final installations were completed by the beginning of 1996 and at this point, the Legoland Windsor staff-base was recruited.[4] The grand opening of Legoland Windsor occurred in March 1996. During its first season, the park attracted over 1.4 million guests.[4]

In April 2005, Lego made the decision to sell the Legoland parks, due to rising losses across the whole company.[6][7] On 13 July 2005, Legoland was acquired by the Blackstone Group and control of the parks passed to Merlin Entertainments.[1][2]

Areas[edit]

The park is split into 11 themed lands, incorporating various attractions, restaurants and shops: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Valley, Miniland, Traffic, Adventure Land, LEGO City, Pirate Shores (New for 2014!), Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings and Kingdom of the pharaohs.

The Beginning[edit]

Hill Train
Creation Centre

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[8] railway down a curved slope. 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.[4] It travels 300 metres between The Beginning and Traffic and with a height difference between the top and bottom stations of approximately 27 metres.[9] 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 you can buy discontinued Lego products

Imagination Centre[edit]

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[edit]

A limousine within Miniland

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.[4]

Duplo Valley[edit]

Extreme Team Challenge

Duplo Valley, previously Explore Land, Duplo Gardens and "Duplo Land", is aimed at younger children.

Traffic[edit]

Boating School as seen from the Orient Expedition

Traffic is themed around transport.

LEGO City[edit]

LEGO City, previously My Town, had been invaded by Pirates and now features the infamous 'Pirates Of Skeleton Bay', a high-octane Stunt Show on water. The first Pirate Stunt Show ever to appear in the Park. Captain Birdsnest and his Crew battle out the Red Pirate for that all important treasure. The station for the 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge[10][11] Orient Expedition train ride is located in this area.

Land of the Vikings[edit]

Viking's River Splash on its opening day

Land of the Vikings is situated behind the Hill Train, it was opened in 2007 and is based on the plunderings of Nordik Vikings.

Kingdom of the Pharaohs[edit]

Lego brick animals

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[edit]

Pirate Falls

Pirates Landing features a log flume.

Knights' Kingdom[edit]

Knights' Kingdom

Knights' Kingdom features The Dragon roller coaster,[4] 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[edit]

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.

Park operation[edit]

After Dark Show 2007
Fireworks 2007

Legoland Windsor typically opens from March to November, with closures on some days.

Q-Bot[edit]

For the 2008 season, the Q-Bot queueing system was introduced.[12] 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.[12] 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.

Incidents[edit]

  • In 2006, a fire broke out in a storage barn onsite during the end of season fireworks on 28 October, with no injuries.[13]
  • 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 [14] 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.[15][16]
  • In February 2014, the park cancelled a private event organised by cleric Haitham al-Haddad due to safety reasons following a backlash and threats by nationalist groups.[17]

Awards[edit]

Since opening in 1996, the park has won a number of awards:

  • Voted UK's Number One Family Attraction by Group Leisure Magazine, 1999.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Legoland Windsor - The History of the Legoland Parks" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b "BBC News – Troubled Lego Sells Theme Parks". 13 July 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Themed Entertainment Association (2012). The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Legoland Windsor Souvenir Guidebook, 1997
  5. ^ Legoland Windsor: Where the Fun is Building, Park Brochure, 1995
  6. ^ "BBC News – Lego to Sell Parks as Losses Rise". 6 April 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "BBC News – Ailing Lego nears Theme-park Sale". 1 June 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Hill Train Stats
  9. ^ Google Earth
  10. ^ Narrow Gauge Railways - Miniature Railways Around The United Kingdom
  11. ^ Theme Park Review - Orient Expedition
  12. ^ a b "Legoland Windsor selects Lo-Q to reduce physical waiting time". Blooloop.com. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  13. ^ "BBC News – Fire at Legoland during Fireworks". 28 October 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "Legoland Parks". Screamscape.com. 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  15. ^ "Wasps create an unfriendly buzz at Legoland". BBC. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  16. ^ "Buzz Off Watchdog! LEGOLAND's Wasp Problem Makes it to TV". Completely Legoland Windsor. September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  17. ^ http://bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-26351500
  18. ^ Legoland Windsor Park Brochure, 2000

External links[edit]