Monday, July 31, 2017

Legoland Day 1! - California, Day 11 {Sabbatical SW trip}

Monday, June 26, 2017 was our first day at Legoland California at Carlsbad. This was the kids' ultimate destination and they were raring to go. We left Jackson and Janae's as early as we could, but since the park didn't even open until 10am, we weren't in that huge of a hurry. It was certainly an adventure parking and walking in amidst big crowds of people. 

It was so overwhelming to walk in there. I had no idea where to go or what to do, neither of us did. I had read it works well to start at the back of the park and move forward against the crowds. We maybe sort of tried to do that and quickly failed. Once inside the gate, we turned left and were mesmerized by the first thing we saw, the Lego Batmobile. Thanks mom for the Lego Batman Movie before we left or else we couldn't have enjoyed those new attractions as much!

Next up was this little Lego Safari that the littles would ride the following night on our way out.  

Cute little Samuel. I like his little smile.  

We went through the Lego Friends area where peppy teenager girls in wigs were acting in a play. It was a little too young even for nine year old Evie. Past that was the Duplo area the wasn't busy so we stopped and let the littles ride a little train. 

They loved it. 

Next we went out to the main drag, again overwhelmed, and since the Kid Power Tower ride line was short, we rode that once. Two of you sit in a little bucket and you pull yourself up and down a pole with a rope.  

Samuel was very little help, ha ha.

Noah and Evie actually did the work of pulling themselves up, but Terry and I did all the pulling for Ezra and Samuel respectively. My hands were sore! But at the top you did get a good view of the park. 

From there we just kept following the path up and back into the park. Right around lunch time we ended up in this Fireman's House something. You and your team had to pump your way across the city square...

...and once you arrived you had to put out a fire.  

The littles needed more help. 

We were very hot after that since that area was pretty exposed, plus it was past 1pm, so we went into the Lego Factory next-door. 

We tarried in the gift shop on the other side. Samuel bought an airplane here and we all got buttons that said First Time at Legoland, or something like that. 

The kids all played with buckets of Legos for a bit. 

Even though it was mostly pretty little kids, that didn't stop Noah from building! 

Right outside the door was Emmett from the Lego Movie posing for pictures. Oh man, we had to get in line for that and thankfully it wasn't long. I felt sure that despite Chris Pratt being in Hawaii filming Jurassic World 2, surely he was actually inside that little Emmet costume. Ha! I just love Chris Pratt. He's so funny! 

It was already 1:30pm by that point and we were wearing out with hunger and just being dazed, confused, and overwhelmed, so we initiated our save-money-at-Legoland-by-not-eating-in-the-park plan. We went back to the gate, had our hand stamped, and walked back to our van, retrieved our sandwiches, chips, and apples, and sat down on the ground under a big shade tree. We had a nice time both days outside the park by doing this.

Coming back in, we shopped at the Big Store for quite a while. How cool is that Batman?!

This time we went to the right after entering the park and ended up in the Ninjago portion. Very cool Lego creations out front. 

We did the Ninjago ride, which was just an interactive video game where you sat in this car which moved to different screens and you fought bad guys by moving your hands over the sensor to shoot. It felt very real and at one point I literally felt like I was falling. Evie was scared, but it was fun. Of course Noah did the best.

I took a picture at the end. 

The kids played on a small rock wall when we exited. 

Cute little Ez. 

Next we walked back down the path... 

Lego Giraffs sticking out of the kid building. Ha ha. 

I thought these Lego buffalo where pretty cool. Those plants that make up his hide were living and growing. 

Next was Coast Cruise, where we rode a little boat around a pond like a safari and were told about the various Lego creatures. 

An ox thing. 

Big ol' dinosaur. 

I just remember that this elephant was not hollow inside but was solid all the way through with Legos. He was big. 

After the animals we went over to the Lego Miniland portion, and that was what Noah was the most excited about. Here's London's Big Ben and the ferris wheel.

The Taj Mahal.  

Eifel Tower. 

A very familiar Mount Rushmore with one exception - the little guys were cleaning George's ear.  They even moved! It was funny. 

The Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline. 

More of it. 

We walked over to Miniland once we departed from our boat. That front most section is part of the Las Vegas strip. 

We had driven by Las Vegas so it was cool to see the gold hotels. I liked the gold a lot. 

The kids played in a boat making area a bit. 

You could build a boat (with pretty sparse Legos) and then race it.  

Next up was Noah and I's most favorite part of all of Legoland, Star Wars Miniland! This is why this post is so long - I had a hard time leaving anything out because it was all so stinking cool. And there'll be even more detailed pictures tomorrow because we had to move fast this day because Terry wasn't feeling well and wanted to move on. But here's Quigon and Darth Maul battling. They even moved.

There's little Anakin about to take off by accident and save the day in Naboo. 

This section was new to the Star Wars area, it was from the new Episode 8 with Rey and Finn on Jakku. That little Millennium Falcon was supposed to move in and out of the fallen Star Destroyer ship like in the movie but it was broken. 

I had to have a selfie with my own personal favorite character, Han Solo. There was a whole row so more tomorrow. 

Back to the Episode Eight display with little Rey, Finn, and BB8 running away! 

Kilo Ren's ship!!! 

Little Rey in the ruins of the AT-AT and the alien that caught BB8. 

Huge Star Destroyer. 

There was also a section from the forest moon of Endor from Episode Six. That's Vader! 

Endor's shield. 

This was my favorite part - the trash compactor. All the characters were inside and it moved in and out and played the voice over from the movie! Ha! 

Moving on from Star Wars was the capital. Evie liked the little moving soldiers. 

Washington Monument. 

More DC stuff. 

San Fransisco I think...? 

I lied, back to Star Wars and the arena scene in Episode Two. 

The beginning of the Clone Wars. 

I kept coming back to the new Jakku section. I loved it! 

Here's Obiwan, Luke, C3PO and R2D2 overlooking Mos Eisley! 

The cantina scene!!! 

The Millennium Falcon! 

C3PO and R2D2 with the Jawas.  

Luke strung up in the Ice Monster's cave.  

Little Luke was ascending and descending into that AT-AT. 

The huge and awesome Death Star!! Those kids are admiring the trash compactor. :D

From there we walked to the best roller coaster in the place, Technique, and though the wait was 45 minutes, Terry and the olders wanted to do it. I took the littles to a nearby little ball house called Pharoh's Revenge, sat on the ground inside in the shade to ease my back, and let them go to town shooting and collecting balls. There was one point when Ezra was fighting with another boy just a little bigger than him on the second floor. I totally just let it happen because it's good for Ezra not to get his way all the time.

We walked over and just barely caught the others on the roller coaster. I wasn't quick enough with my camera to get the the initial biggest and funnest drop, but I managed to get a few after that. 

We kept walking north-ish, more towards the back of the park and took a granola bar break at one of the outdoor food places. A play started nearby and Evie sat down to watch it. It was a variation on The Emperor's New Clothes and pretty cute. 

Evie got a picture with the princess afterward.

During and after the play, the littles rode these play horses called Royal Joist a couple times. I think this was their favorite part of the day. 

This was like Ezra's third time on the horse and look at that face. It was so slow and tame and fast, but they both loved it for some reason. Slow is their speed. That's why the kids were the perfect age for Legoland - nothing is too big and scary there.

It was pretty too. I loved the long decorative grasses that covered the ground in the whole park. They don't mow it, it just grows long and flops over. Super cool. 

You can see the grass better here.

There's a lot of detail in every part of the park, it was really cute. 

Next around the bend was a big play area called Hide Away. It was a good place to sit down and rest while the littles ran wild. 

Man, I would have adored this playground when I was little. 

Since the littles were having so much fun, Terry and the olders went to find a bigger ride while I stayed behind. By the time the littles were done and I tracked down Terry, we were able to step right up and watch Terry and Evie ride "Knight's Tournament," which was like a robotic arm that wiggled you around.

It looked like great fun. 

Evie said she was worried she would fall out. 

Noah actually went first and Terry recorded him. He chose number four strength for his ride, out of five, and got jostled around pretty good.

Walking back past the Knight's Tournament to try to find more to do. It was pretty late in the evening and the lines were a lot shorter. Notice poor Evie's face here though. At this point she kept saying, "I wish I wasn't sick for Legoland!" The girl did not feel well. 

A better shot of Noah and Ezra.

We walked around the from back of the park where to the front-ish again (we were starting to get our bearings finally! it helped that there were less crowds now). We had tried to do the Driving School ride earlier when it needed fixing but now the line was nonexistent and it was working so everyone loaded up.

The preschoolers on the other side went first. They all had such a difficult time trying to figure out driving but in the end they all got their "driver's license."

Terry and Ezra joined me alongside the older kids section and waited for the others to begin driving. It didn't take long. Evie is driving away from us in the blue car and Samuel is in the foreground in his  favorite color red.

This was when Evie and Samuel just started driving. I think Evie stayed on the wrong side of the road about the whole time.

There's Noah looking so big in his little red car.

I like how Noah seems to know the rules of the road and even though everyone else is on the wrong side, that doesn't stop him. They all had to move for him. Ha!

Evie and Noah passing each other. The kids really enjoyed driving. They wanted to do it again the following night, which we did before leaving late again.

From there we went to another short line at the Helicopters. There's Terry taking the following video of Ezra.

Noah and Evie were next to me and Samuel. I let Samuel handle the controls while I took pictures.

It was almost 8pm, and the park closed at 9. The weather was absolutely beautiful and perfect now, and there weren't many people. I liked the park a lot more at that time of day. It was also fun for me to see all the different exotic flowers in California. I really enjoyed that about our time there.

Cute little Samuel and his mommy.

Here's Terry's video.

We walked around the corner and because the line was again so short, we thought we might as well jump on the Friends carousel. Even Terry and I rode a horse, though we felt like idiots with our long legs hanging down. Terry acted like it was super exciting. 

Hold on tight Honey.

Ah, cute little Dwidgie. Doesn't he look so happy?!!

And one more of Samuel and Evie.

After that we went across the street and looked through the Friends gift shop real quick. Evie had to make up her mind about what souvenir she wanted to buy.

I made Evie pose in the cool hot air ballon. 

Evie has outgrown all her dress up clothes and now it's so expensive to get them for bigger girls. This dress was $75! I have been meaning to do an internet search for it...

We stopped in the Big Shop once more before leaving but it was a mad house right before closing. The kids all really wanted to get something that day though so we went for it. They had saved their money for nearly a year just for this purpose. A selfie outside the gate showed how happy they were.

Awww so cute!

We hiked back to our van, which was a lot easier to find at the end of the day, pretty tired out. I was feeling a little let down that first day but Noah was bouncing around saying how it had been "the best day ever!!!" All the kids agreed. They had a fantastic day. I was relieved to hear it. From my adult perspective, it wasn't a ton of fun. It was a ton of standing, my back hurt, I was sweaty from heat, I was overwhelmed because of crowds, tired of standing in line. The kids didn't notice any of that stuff though. This was their perfect day.

Like usual, Ezra promptly fell asleep, this time clutching his long awaited for newly purchased blue Ninjago watch (Samuel had got one for Christmas so now they sort of matched). We wouldn't let them open anything until we got home in a few days.

We were staying at our most expensive Airbnb of the trip in a town called Escondido, CA, a half hour away. We stopped to eat at Chick-fil-A as a special treat. It was the kids' first time eating there and they loved it. We couldn't wait to get back to Legoland for day two!