Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LEGOLAND Japan Preview

We got to do a quick tour of LEGOLAND Japan a month before their Grand Opening, yesterday, for a family and friends preview with my husband who is a Project Manager for the company. We have tickets for all the preview days and will be going on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We didn't talk it up too much with our son because he had school and we thought it would be fun for our little girl, who turns two on Saturday, to have Wednesday and Friday by herself. We were treated to another great LEGOLAND experience and the little one had a blast!

As you can see, some things are still under construction in the area outside and inside the park. There is an entire shopping plaza with food, a SEGA store, a Sylvanian Families store and more... None of this is open, yet but should be around Grand Opening time.

We got in line a little early and excitement was building. They are going to have a hotel and Sea Life opening up in 2018. I think there's a chance we'll come back for that...

Approaching the entrance was really exciting. There is a whole new concept to this LEGOLAND park. It looks completely different from the other parks I've seen in the States, Europe, and Malaysia.

There is a large entry plaza and everything looks like it is built out of large scaled up LEGO bricks. 

I love the look of this! It is such a much more immersive experience than we've had before. You literally feel like you are walking onto a LEGO playtable and you are the Minifigure!

We see some familiar faces, like the big red dragon from some of the other LEGOLAND parks but he has gotten a makeover with a wacky colorful tail.

Then things go completely bananas! If mixing colors, and patterns stresses you out, I suggest you shield your eyes, here...

She liked the trippy hippie elephant!

We spent some time exploring the beginning with my little piggie-tailed one. Then got to go on her favorite ride - the carousel. It continues the scaled-up LEGO theme and instead of horses, it has this sense of LEGO randomness where some vehicles are LEGO motorcycles, tigers made out of LEGO "pieces", and DUPLO animals. Even the ceiling is the underside of a baseplate! It is cute, colorful and fun.

She loved it! She went on it a few times.

Maybe I'll do a post someday soon about what to do with the toddlers and little kids at LEGOLAND Japan like I've done over the years at LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California. I was really impressed at how this park really catered to this age group. They seem to be getting better and better at this and understanding that parents will be bringing groups of kids of a wide range of ages to this park and you'll find a lot more of the free play areas for the little kids scattered among the big kid rides.

This DUPLO area was a big hit, too. She spent a lot of time in here. 

After playing for while we worked up an appetite, which can be a problem when you are vegetarian or vegan in theme park...

My hubs already knew where to get the french fries. What is cool about this place is that there is an upper level where you can get a birds eye view of everything while snacking on your fries.

There's a Pirate Shores land here... and it's pretty awesome. 

Knight's Kingdom has both the small Dragon coaster for the littler kids... and the full sized Dragon coaster for the bigger crowd, although I'm pretty sure my mini-me is a little too little for both.

What happens to vegans that have only eaten fries? They get hungry again! Luckily there is a Pit Stop with smoothies.

I'm going to assume at this point that the smoothies are vegan except for the yogurt one. This is, however Japan, and they are known for putting animal products in everything so I will have to ask to be sure. I am also planning a post for what vegans can eat in this park like I usually do, but that will come after the Grand Opening on 4/1. 

I hear there is going to be a Pizza Pasta Buffet like there is in some of the other parks. The one in California is UH-MAZING. The one in Florida works, but it is a little more simple and not nearly as gourmet as CA. We'll see how this one compares. Maybe they'll have cheeseless pizza??? That is a thing here in Japan, and it's my fave.

I found the dopplegangers of hubby and I in the little play space by the Pit Stop. Fill my glass hubs!

Hubby said this is is his favorite model.

I really love this fountain. I will have to take a better shot when we go back. We were chasing a toddler, so it was all about her, today....

Get ur butt outa my shot!

*Warning - see that little door? You cannot stand up any higher than that little door when you get inside. Looks like you can from the outside but no. Oh, and when you're a toddler and your mom bumps her head because she is in hunchback position and is facing her feet, apparently it's hilarious. 

This was another great example of how they incorporated playing around the rides and how LEGOLAND Japan has become a much more immersive experience for the kids. Everything looks like it is made of actual LEGO pieces here and you are stepping right into the LEGO City sets! Careful on some of the slides here. My little got up the stairs with a group of kids behind her and went down this tall nearly vertical slide and there was nothing I could do to stop her. Heart attacks are no joke. 

There is a Submarine ride which I will not be going on. I'm not really a fan of small enclosed capsules that go underwater, as I've come to find out, thanks to Tokyo Disney Sea.

Everyone is SUPER friendly here! When you go to the parks in the States, you find the apathetic teenagers that don't really seem to enjoy their jobs or add to your experience. You will be hard-pressed to find someone like that working at a theme park in Japan. Everyone is smiling, happy, waving, friendly and the enthusiasm is contagious! 

Pay no attention to the mom behind the banana...

I have a feeling we will be spending a good deal of time at the Build and Test this weekend! This is where you build and race cars. My son LOVES these!

We need to get him into the robotics, too. Not sure if he's ready yet, but we'll see...

We rode the carousel one more time before we left to pick up the boy at school. I cannot wait to come back here tomorrow with the girl and try a few more things with her. I'm really proud of my husband and his team for all the great work they've done on this place. It was cool to see a unique approach to the design and not just another copy of what has already been done elsewhere.

I'm going to take a ton of pictures this weekend. I've been adding pictures and videos on my Instagram stories, Facebook and Twitter accounts and may even put up another post or two. Miniland is not open for the preview but I will definitely do a mega-photo post after the Grand Opening for all to enjoy, so make sure you follow me with the handy little buttons on the upper right!

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