Monday, August 26, 2013

Legoland Discovery Centre in Vaughan Mills

A true block buster!
It took me one visit to the new family attraction at Vaughan Mills to resume my love story with the most wonderful toy in the world. Lego fans will truly feel they get their money's worth at Legoland Discovery Centre.

Last week, I spent some time with a friend who felt bad that as the summer was closing she had not found the time yet to do something special with her 11-year-old son. 

I convinced them to come with me to Legoland. Our young builder gave the place two big thumbs up, and so did we!

What to expect
Past the admission desk, we waited in a small lobby for a staff member dressed in a white overcoat to lead us into the Lego "factory" where we learned everything about the manufacturing process of the world famous bricks.

The factory is a prologue to the line-up of activities which lie ahead: laser ride, small 4D movie theatre, workshop room,  large indoor playground, twirling ride, sections with tons of blocks to indulge in our own creations (including one with Duplo blocks for younger kids), racing tracks to test our constructions, small karaoke zone, cafeteria and more. 

The attention to detail of this attraction is not unlike what you'd expect at Disneyworld. (Check their washrooms!)

Toronto cityscape at Legoland
Our personal favourites
We LOVED the superb Miniland for which the local building team recreated Toronto's landmarks (and a few more from other cities). Every time the night fell over the city, it allowed us to admire the pretty city lights. We were even treated with small firework displays projected on the walls of the attraction. So lovely! 

Rogers Centre
The 4D movie theatre presented three different 10-minute films (an electronic board by the entrance advertised the title and hour of the coming presentation). 

The shorts are accompanied by modest wind and water effects. Don't miss the movie Clutch Powers which is, in my opinion, at par with Pixar's Toy Story. (Moms will appreciate the moment when our free-falling heroine tries to save the situation... while holding on to her little Lego wig.) 

Merlin's Apprentice Ride at Legoland
We were surprised to discover that the pedals on Merlin’s Apprentice Ride had a function. You need to push them to go up and down. 

The Kingdom Quest Laser Ride lasts all of four intense minutes (and you can hop on it as much as you want). Our young companion scored 27 000 points, far beyond his mom who got 10 000 and me with my pitiful 4 000 points. 

In the store of the Discovery Centre, it is possible to buy Lego bricks by the colour and by the weight. Isn't it great? I've seen kids helping themselves directly from the monochrome containers to build a creation which was then weighed. It costs $14 per 100 grams (a big handfull).

Good to know
All kids must be accompanied by an adult. All adults must enter with a child aged 3 to 12 years old. (The Centre offers a monthly Adult Night allowing fans 18 years and older to enter without a child.) 
  • Adults can accompany their kids on every ride. 
  • There's no in & out priviledge. Visits usually take 2-3 hours. 
  • Socks are mandatory in the playground.
  • The colourful cafeteria sells $4 sandwiches and snacks and beverages (cold or hot). Outside food is not allowed on the premises. 
Super washroom at Legoland
Buy your tickets online in advance. It will allow you to avoid the line-up.
  • The small lobby where everyone waited to get in the movie theatre was full when we opted to watch a show yet, we all got in. 
  • Allow five minutes per 12 people ahead of you in the line-up at Merlin's Apprentice Ride.
  • About birthday parties: You need to make reservations (six weeks ahead of time) for a minimum of 10 paying kids. It's $25 per child but free for the birthday kid and one adult for every five children. This buys you the exclusive use of a room for an hour, a meal, the cake and unlimited access to Legoland activities. 
  • To avoid tantrums at the end of your visit, let your kids know what to expect in the Lego store. You might want to negotiate that you're willing to go only if they promise not to ask for anything at the store. Or you could give them a small allowance. I noticed many options under $10. My friend opted to give her son a lump sum with the permission to top it off with his own money to buy what he wanted. 
Legoland Discovery Centre
Where: Vaughan Mills, 1 Bass Pro Mills Drive, Vaughan. (4A section is the closest to the entrance leading to Legoland (near bowling attraction Lucky Strike Lanes). 
When: On Labour Day weekend, open Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday & Monday from 10 am to 7 pm.  At other times, open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm. (Last admission two hours prior to closing time.)
How much: $18/3-12 yrs, $22/13 yrs +, free for kids 2 years old and under. (Annual pass to be considered if you plan to attend more than three times in the year.) 

Related blogs:
TOP-10 Lego ideas on Pinterest
I-SPY a jackhammer guy
CN Tower at Legoland

Test drive at Legoland 
Toronto City Hall
Air Canada Centre
The ROM on Bloor Street West


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