‘Awe­some’ de­but for Lego Movie World

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel - By De­wayne Bevil [email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel.com or 407-420-5477; Twit­ter: @The­meParks

Bright and blocky Lego Movie World, the new­est land to open at Le­goland Florida, fea­tures rides that seem fa­mil­iar … but sport a twist or two.

The mar­quee at­trac­tion within this realm is Masters of Flight, a mul­ti­level sim­u­la­tor ex­pe­ri­ence that folks will spy from out­side the theme park. The ride rests firmly in what is known as the fly­ing-the­ater cat­e­gory. Folks sit, feet dan­gling, as they face an enor­mous screen and the il­lu­sion of flight.

Yep, that’s a lot like Ep­cot’s pop­u­lar Soarin’ Around the World, which shows off ex­otic global lo­cales to dan­gling Disney World guests. But at Le­goland, the story is about a com­pe­ti­tion be­tween mas­ter builders. Its look is that dis­tinc­tive dig­i­tal Lego style, and it’s full of con­tent, char­ac­ters and shift­ing sce­nar­ios. I found the brightly col­ored black hole to be es­pe­cially trippy.

Rid­ers start in a set of seats fac­ing a blank wall. Once the ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins, the row piv­ots around 180 de­grees to po­si­tion it­self be­fore the pre­vi­ously un­seen movie screen. It’s not a lift­ing mo­tion like at the be­gin­ning of Soarin’. Once in po­si­tion, there are bumps and jig­gles to go along with the in-flight vi­su­als, but they aren’t too se­vere.

In ad­di­tion, there are pumped-in aro­mas, such as pine, cot­ton candy and sea salt (plus a gen­tle mist­ing) to match on-screen ac­tion.

This is all pre­ceded by an en­ter­tain­ing pre-show safety video (and ride ex­pla­na­tion) pre­sented by the Em­met, a “Lego Movie” char­ac­ter. Here we learn that we’re go­ing to an in­ven­tion con­ven­tion with a con­test to de­ter­mine a mas­ter builder. It’s also where we are in­tro­duced to the tripledecker fly­ing couch con­cept, an up­grade from the dou­bledecker one seen in the film.

I ap­pre­ci­ated the know­ing, nearly self-mock­ing ref­er­ences to “awe­some” (as is “ev­ery­thing is …”) and “awe­somer” in the at­trac­tion, and I was amused by the brief “Where Are My Pants?” seg­ment.

In the first few days of op­er­a­tion, hour­long waits to board Masters of Flight were not un­usual, a Le­goland Florida spokesman said. One sec­tion of the queue fea­tures a Lego pit where kids can play while their adults con­tinue the back-and-forth mo­tion as­so­ci­ated with park lines.

That’s one of the tech­niques and strate­gies that the Win­ter Haven park uses to please its tar­get au­di­ence, the 2- to 12-year-old de­mo­graphic and, by ex­ten­sion, their par­ents.

Kids should be drawn to Unikitty Disco Drop. It’s a car­ni­val-style ride – eight bouncy seats sur­round­ing a cen­ter pole – built to look like the movie char­ac­ter. But the at­trac­tion, like Unikitty her­self, has its ups and downs, re­act­ing to the char­ac­ter’s moods. It makes for an un­pre­dictable trip if you’re on the ride. (Folks up there, who get a unique view of the park, were more likely to be laugh­ing by the ran­dom­ness of it all than to be scream­ing in fear.)

If you’re on the ground, you can tell by look­ing at Unikitty’s head, a rec­tan­gu­lar screen about 30 feet up. Her dig­i­tal ex­pres­sions match her cur­rent mood and mo­tion.

Bat­tle of Bricks­burg is a re­vamp of the park’s Quest for Chi ride, which closed last May. The ride sys­tem, rail and ve­hi­cles – an eight­per­son boat with on­board wa­ter can­nons — are the same. The at­trac­tion has been rethemed to in­clude gi­gan­tic Du­plo alien fig­ures. Rid­ers aim for tar­gets, which cre­ate spe­cial (trans­la­tion: wa­tery) ef­fects.

Spec­ta­tors can get in on the ac­tion with a few wa­ter can­nons on dry land. They’re free, but they’re also within a splash zone Unikitty Disco Drop re­flects the movie char­ac­ter’s mood at Lego Movie World at Le­goland Florida in Win­ter Haven.

for the Bricks­burg ride. (Note that many peo­ple aboard the ride get very wet.)

Lego Movie World also in­cludes a taco place, re­tail space, a des­ig­nated mee­tand-greet area for char­ac­ters and Benny’s Play Ship, a space travel-in­spired play­ground with a 30-foot twisty slide.

Other notes from Lego Movie World

■ The land is pop­u­lated by Lego fig­ures from the “Lego Movie” uni­verse, in­clud­ing the men­ac­ing Mi­cro­man­ager and Crazy Cat Lady. Ad­di­tional fig­ures, such as the Du­plo aliens, are made to look like huge ver­sions of the char­ac­ters. The big “blocks” are

25 times big­ger than a Lego brick.

■ Le­goland is sell­ing a pack­age called Early Ac­cess to Awe­some, an un­guided ex­pe­ri­ence through Lego Movie World that starts 90 min­utes be­fore the park Noah, 13, and Tucker Shimel, 9, of Apopka, en­joy the Bat­tle of Bricks­burg ride.

opens. It in­cludes good­ies such as meet and greets, lan­yards with cre­den­tials, a Lego Movie set and break­fast bar. The cost, in ad­di­tion to park ad­mis­sion, is

$74.99 ($69.99 for ages 3 through 12).

■ Lego Movie World wait times are posted on dig­i­tal

boards near ride en­trances. The boards were placed through­out the theme park a few months ago. They also share the wait times for other ma­jor Le­goland at­trac­tions, and those es­ti­mates are synced up with the park’s app.

■ Al­though Le­goland

theme parks around the world have sim­i­lar­i­ties and share ride con­cepts, Lego Movie World at Le­goland Florida is the first of its kind glob­ally.

RI­CARDO RAMIREZ BUXEDA/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL PHO­TOS

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