Legoland Windsor Resort
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Entrance to Legoland Windsor
|Location||Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK|
|General Manager||Simon Lane
|Operating season||March to November|
|Visitors per annum||2.250 million (2015)|
|Area||150 acres (0.61 km2)|
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 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 operates the park, with the Lego Group retaining part ownership (30%). The facilities are mainly targeted at children between three and twelve.
In 2015, the park had 2,250,000 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the United Kingdom and the 9th most visited in Europe.
- 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. Legoland Windsor opened in March 1996. During its first season, the park attracted over 1.4 million guests.
In April 2005, Lego decided to sell the Legoland parks, due 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.
The park is split into 12 themed lands, incorporating various attractions, restaurants and shops: The Beginning, Imagination Centre, Duplo Valley, Miniland, Adventure Land, LEGO City, Pirate Shores, Heartlake City (New for 2015) , Knight´s Kingdom, Land of the Vikings and 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, 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 and 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 you can buy discontinued Lego products
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 Valley, previously Explore Land, Duplo Gardens and "Duplo Land", is aimed at younger children. Featuring the Rides & Attractions: Fairy Tale Brook, DUPLO Valley airport (Previously known as Chopper Sqaudtron), Duplo Train, DUPLO Valley Theatre, Raft Racers, Splash Safari, Brickville and Drench Towers.
Lego City, formerly known as Traffic, is themed around transport
Heartlake City (formerly Lego City until redecoration in 2015) 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 Pirates of Skeleton Bay, a stunt show, and LEGO Friends to the rescue, a pop concert.
Land of the Vikings
Land of the Vikings is situated behind the Hill Train, it was opened in 2007 and is based on the plunderings of Nordic Vikings.
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.
Pirate Shores features a log flume Sponsored by 'Thames Rockets' in 2016, a play area and a pirate ship ride named the Jolly Rocker. Sponsored by 'Thames Rockets' in 2016
Knights' Kingdom features The Dragon roller coaster, which starts inside the fake plastic castle, 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, 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 9-year-old girl got her hand trapped in Pirate falls- The Log Flume. 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 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.
- 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 where sexually assaulted while at the park. Police are investigating 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.
- "The History of the Legoland Parks" (PDF). Windsor: Legoland. 2006.
- "Troubled Lego Sells Theme Parks". News. BBC. 13 July 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- The Global Attractions Attendance Report (PDF), Themed Entertainment Association, 2012, retrieved 16 June 2013
- Souvenir Guidebook, Windsor: Legoland, 1997.
- Where the Fun is Building (brochure), 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.
- Lego Hill Train Stats, UK: Hows.
- Google Earth
- "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. 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.
- Legoland Windsor Park Brochure, 2000
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