My 7-year-old son had off from school the other day so we decided to beat the crowds and go to Legoland in Ridge Hill in Yonkers. Beat the crowds? There were only a handful of kids there. And for good reason.
When you enter Legoland, they usually greet you for the “Factory Tour,” where LEGOs are made. With no one in sight, we looked around on our own and tried to “make” our own LEGO. When we turned the cogs in the machine, nothing happened. The machine was broken. So was one of the touch screens for the virtual Make Your Own LEGO.
In MiniLand, where the towering city skyline and stadium is made of LEGO, there are several spots where kids can press buttons and light up a section of the display or make something move. Some worked, others didn’t. The “grass” in the displays was torn up in places, and the display itself was dusty and dingy — I know that the Master Model Builder cleans it regularly, and while the creations are still fun to gawk at, the area could definitely use a refresh.
We were excited to visit the Star Wars-inspired MiniLand models, where you can race LEGO spaceships by turning a wheel and/or pressing a button, but it only “kind of” worked. I say “kind of” because the spaceships sometimes moved, sometimes didn’t, and the button sometimes made them go forward and sometimes didn’t. My son slumped his shoulders.
The central climbing area was closed for renovation; they told us when we entered and handed me a $10 coupon to come back, but I assumed there was enough other stuff to keep us busy. Wrong. There are literally four other things for a 7-year-old: build a LEGO car and race it down a ramp, build a tower to try to withstand an earthquake (buttons broken), watch a LEGO-themed 4-D movie, or take a spin on the Merlin Apprentice Ride. All of these were fun but hardly enough to keep us busy more than forty-minutes. (We went on the shoot-em-up ride at the beginning, but it’s pretty questionable for young children.)
As we decided if we were going to build another car or sing dated karaoke songs in the “Friends” preschooler area, another parent looked at me and said: “Are they kidding? I paid over $70 and this is it?”
I felt the same way. Bring the cost down, Legoland, or amp up the experience. On this visit, we felt nothing but duped, and I had to write this to keep anyone else from wasting their money. Legoland is opening their new Ninjago-themed interactive climbing area on April 4th, so I’m hoping that they’ll rethink the rest of the space as well. The Master Building Academy, which could be a wonderful place for kids to interact with the creative builders at Legoland, was empty.
“Maybe we should go home and build our own LEGOs,” my son said. And we did.
Hopefully, when the new Legoland Theme Park opens upstate in Goshen, it will offer a truly inspirational LEGO experience. Because in Westchester, Legoland Discovery Center’s pieces just don’t fit.