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Islander
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Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:49 pm

Been meaning to write this for ages (well, since March 19th :P), but here's a trip review of the Annual Pass day at Legoland. Also, I've thrown in a bit of yesterday's visit, just for good measure ;).

So, on Friday 19th March I got to the park at around 09:30, and there were already some large-ish queues to get into the park:

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Rushed down to Pirates Landing, (the renamed Wild Woods), and collected my collector brick (seventh I’ve got – really like the concept!). While we waited behind the red ribbon, Jolly Rocker was testing

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The ribbon was then cut by a competition winning family, who then got first ride on Jolly Rocker. I was at the opening of Kingdom of the Pharaohs last year, which was a lovely little occasion, with Vicky Brown (general manager) giving a short speech to the assembled crowds, and then a shower of confetti as the ribbon was cut. In contrast, this year consisted of about one sentence from an anonymous staff member, which was a bit of a shame.

Strangely, the Jolly Rocker was still testing once the land was open – I’d have thought they’d time it so that all was open. Also, Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench was still void of water. So, had a bit of a wander and took some pictures of Pirates Training Camp, which is a renamed and slightly extended Rat Trap:

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^It's interesting to note that yesterday that blue chipping had gone, and had been replaced with normal brown chipping. Real, real shame, as it looked good.

It was nice that they had three really rather funny pirates walking around and interacting with guests:

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Jolly Rocker

So, when I noticed that the Jolly Rocker was up and running, I rushed over. Not that I needed to, as there was barely a queue (though there is a really long queue line, consisting of three separate cattle-pens with no options to skip any and shorten it…).

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(air gates)

Got to the air gates (not seen air gates on a swinging ship before – seems like a good idea), but as the cycle before me came to an end, the ride suffered some, well, technical difficulties. I won’t elaborate too much, but take a look at the two photos below, of before maintenance came, and after they had done what was needed. Suffice to say there was a slight problem with these falling off on the other side, and so maintenance decided to speed up the process on this side:

Before:
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After:
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Once that was sorted, I got on. Now, I don’t reckon it swings as high as it could – I’ve never been too fond of the Black Buccaneer at Chessie, as it really makes me feel queasy. With this, however, I was absolutely fine. Either I’ve become more of a man ( :D ), or they’re just playing cautious with their settings. Also, the health and safety surrounding the ride is a bit OTT. Each row can have no more than five (fine), but there must be an adult at each end of the row, in case the kids fall out. Also, absolutely no removing of hands from safety bars whilst the ride is in motion – the soundtrack (which I’ll come onto) is constantly being interrupted by staff telling riders to “hold on, please”, when anyone dares to stick their arms up.

That second point is very irritating, but the first point is a killer, as it makes loading the ride really rather slow and laborious – something that really shouldn’t be the case if they’ve gone to the trouble of installing air gates.

I read somewhere that the theming is poor – I really don’t feel that to be the case (aside from on the sides of the actual ship itself, where… well, the pictures above speak for themselves :P). The overall look of the ship, with the mast and sails, is quite nice. The area around the ship is beautifully planted, with a real Caribbean theme. There’s also a few rather nice Lego models, and a nice swath of blue chipping under the ship to make it look like sea. A few barrels dotted around really finalise the look.

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(not the best picture ever, sadly, doesn't show the plants)
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Also, the ambient soundtrack is rather awesome, with the Jolly Rocker using the park’s second Tussaud’s sound system. The queue line regularly gets jokes and interesting snippets from a lively pirate narrator, who also provides the safety announcements for the ride itself.

From yesterday: Oh dear, Jolly Rocker was really experiencing some issues yesterday. The ‘missing’ theming has now been screwed on, but the restraint system is really playing up, with riders having to be manually released from the ship quite often, after which it appears the whole ride needs resetting :no:. I don’t see why they’re having issues so soon…

...at least the Tussaud's system is getting well used, with the pirate often stating "we seem to be having a spot of bother on our decks..." :P

Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench

Well, not much to say here, sadly. Barely an upgrade at all – all that’s really been changed is that there’s new audio in the drop shed (something about playing with fire and dynamite being a bad idea), and four new water cannons have been added just after the drop, with triggers on ‘dry land’:

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…except on the AP day, only three of them worked, and yesterday none of them did. Really nothing that justifies the new 'Dynamite Drench' tag line.

On the plus side, a lot of the theming has been retouched, and animatronics that haven’t worked for years have started working again!

Pirates of Skeleton Bay

A new show for the Lego City Harbour for 2010, to tie in with Pirates Landing, and it’s actually really rather excellent! Take a look at some extracts here.

The story, to be honest, is a bit poor, a bit lacking, but it’s more than made up by the action, which is highly amusing and quite well choreographed. Also, it makes a lovely change having two narrators with mics – just makes the whole thing feel less ‘wooden'.

Jungle Coaster (or lack thereof)

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All that’s left of the Jungle Coaster is a few footers, a car, and the station structure (though that’s in ruins). The area is boarded off with advertisements for the forthcoming hotel:

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Lego City: A Clutch Powers 4D Adventure

This year’s new 4D film. It’s brilliant :D. Uses 3D and extra 4D effects really well, without the feeling that they’re being used for the sake of being used. If anything, a little too much water…

I like how they never get rid of films, so the Imagination Theatre is now home to four different 4D films – makes for great variety :).

The Dragon

The only other thing I can see, that has really been ballsed up, is the Dragon Coaster, which they are now running on three trains (having always run on two before). Now, for one reason or another (well, one being that kids must sit to the left of adults…), the loading time of the Dragon is really rather slow. Now, with three trains running, you always get one in the station, one on the inside/outside before lift hill 2, and one on the traction wheels outside the station. This means that by the time the train on the ride has reached LH2, it always has to stop, for a good 20-30 seconds, while train in the station is filled and dispatched, the train in front moved into the station, and the block cleared. This completely kills the coaster section. Half the train is adamant that the ride has broken down, and the other half is sitting weeping at how an already simple ride could’ve been ruined. Shame. Doesn’t help that the traction wheels on lift hill two seem to really dislike restarting with a train on them – there’s a rather ominous electric-buzzing, following by a bit of vibration, and then the train slowly starts moving forward, until enough momentum is gained for the motors to relax and happily push it up the hill.

This is sadly a case of capacity at the expense of the ride experience :no:.

Elsewhere

Not a huge amount to report elsewhere. A few food outlets have had a rename (for example, the Jungle Café is now the Mexican Cantina, i.e. the same as in other Merlin Parks), and the Big Shop has had two extensions, making it quite massive.

So, that’s it really. The Jolly Rocker is a nice addition, though health and safety is over the top, and reliability seems to be an issue. Theming, however, is excellent, and the new harbour show is equally good. The Dragon, however, has been slayed :no:.

There are more photos dotted around my site, cllw.co.uk.

Hope that, for a first trip report, this was OK :D
 
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Nightfall
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:54 pm

A very good trip report, I was starting to worry the park hadn’t opened yet after not seeing any other reviews (not that I went looking).

The Jolly Rocker does look good but the removal of the cannons and loading problems on the dragon make me worry about another Jungle coaster.

On that subject of the Jungle coaster I like the fact the remaining cart is one of the originals.

My annual trip is next week so it will be good to see the park again.
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DiogoJ42

Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:39 am

Good TR, but...
:no: Oh dear. Just what is legoland's problem? Not allowed to put your arms up on a swinging ship?!? One of the tamest rides ever made? For the love of god! #-o

Yet another reason why this Lego mad coaster fan will NEVER go there again. :(
 
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amcmaster1
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:41 pm

Thanks for a great review!

Nice to hear about Legoland I have not been there in years!
Wishing i was back in the Caribbean
 
NeilHD
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:39 am

I didn't go on the Jolly Rocker but it was plainly obvious that it doesn't go as high as the one at Chessington. I guess because it's aimed at younger kids. Although my 4-yr old has been bought up right and loves sitting at the very back of the Buccanneer!
 
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James6
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:22 am

Awesome, TR thanks :)

Interesting how The Dragon is now on 3 trains, is it identical to the other 2?

And was this specially built for this year, or has it been there before, just not used?


Thanks!
If you go down to the Towers today, you\'d better ride Th13teen. :P
 
Islander
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:17 pm

"James6" wrote:
Interesting how The Dragon is now on 3 trains, is it identical to the other 2?

And was this specially built for this year, or has it been there before, just not used?

The Dragon's always had three trains, two on the track and one in maintenance, or on quieter days one on track and two in maintenance, but as far as I can remember they've never run with three trains on track before.

Now, this is complete conjecture on my part, but I did notice what appeared to me to be some new sensors on the track in the station - perhaps things were modified over the closed season to allow three-train operation? Whatever happened, it wasn't a good move in my opinion...
 
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:19 pm

^ Thanks :)

I think, if they can speed up, it would be a good thing :D

I just don't see why they are SO over the top, E.g. Kids can only sit on left.
If you go down to the Towers today, you\'d better ride Th13teen. :P
 
Porsmond
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:52 am

So I was at the park saturday for the after dark event, The new Pirate Ship looked ok I thought, themeing isnt too bad and fits into the area well,ride experience was ok, but it didnt go particually high and it was on a rather short setting, sadly It was playing up big time though with many mini multiple brakedowns, and one very annoyed looking maintenance person who kept having to be called to reset the ride etc. I could only manage 2 rides because of so many problems and stoppages and on one of those, it was cut short because of a brakedown so it was a bit annoying,OMG its only a Pirate ship, why so many problems already
The report said about staff saying no arms are allowed in the air while riding, well it looks like this rule has quickly gone out the window(I wouldnt be suprised if they had complaints, it is a bit of a petty rule afterall) because no such rule was in force saturday, many people had their hands up including me, and nothing was said from any staff.
The Dragon - 3 trains were being run saturday and YES its very pointless, because no matter how quick the staff were(and they were quite quick on most occasions) I noticed from observations that a train was ALWAYS being stopped on the second lift hill(always approx 30 seconds) this doesnt really improve capasity one bit, because that same train will ALWAYS be waiting on the brake run as well whereas on a 2 train op, at least the train on circuit would always clear the second lift, and usually always go straight into the station too, also this confuses nearly everyone on the train who thinks its broken down, just silly IMO

I've done an update from Saturday too, I know you've seen pictures already of the new land(Sorry retheme of existing area) but more pictures is always good right. Update at address below

[url=http://porsmond.bravepages.com/LegoLand/Legoland4/Lego.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;]http://porsmond.bravepages.com/LegoLand ... /Lego.html[/url]

ENJOY :)
 
Islander
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:06 am

"Porsmond" wrote:
The report said about staff saying no arms are allowed in the air while riding, well it looks like this rule has quickly gone out the window(I wouldnt be suprised if they had complaints, it is a bit of a petty rule afterall) because no such rule was in force saturday, many people had their hands up including me, and nothing was said from any staff.

It was definitely in force on Sunday, so sadly no, the rule hasn't been dropped :(. I guess some staff members just realise that trying to enforce it is futile...

...in fact, as well as hearing "hold on to the safety bar, please" quite often, I also heard "Please stay firmly seated, and do not allow yourself to raise out of your seat" stated over the PA a couple of times. I dunno, perhaps it's one particularly picky ride op, but if it's a general rule, oh dear... :no:

"Porsmond" wrote:
The Dragon - 3 trains were being run saturday and YES its very pointless, because no matter how quick the staff were(and they were quite quick on most occasions) I noticed from observations that a train was ALWAYS being stopped on the second lift hill(always approx 30 seconds) this doesnt really improve capasity one bit, because that same train will ALWAYS be waiting on the brake run as well whereas on a 2 train op, at least the train on circuit would always clear the second lift, and usually always go straight into the station too, also this confuses nearly everyone on the train who thinks its broken down, just silly IMO

:yes: Very good way of putting it, thanks :). Glad it's not just me that made these observations...
 
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Re: Legoland Windsor: 2010 Opening Review (picture heavy)

Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:17 pm

I took my nephew on Sunday for the first time since Fireworks last year and while he was watching the pirate show for the second time I went to the 'scary' rides. I got wetter than usual on Vikings river splash though the rain curtains weren't on. I don't understand why the queue for this is so short when Pirate Falls was showing about 60 minutes (I didn't bother). I also hate that you can't skip the zigzag queue.

The Dragon was terrible. Exactly as you say, stopping halfway round and the lady doing an announcement to stay in our seats. I don't see how it helps capacity much, perhaps they should slow the train down during the indoor part. That would make the ride take longer early on and avoid the stop surely. I did get flashbacks of the Jungle Coaster and the safety bar digging in when it stopped suddenly. I hope next time it is 2 (or 1) car operation or the stop has been eliminated.

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