Like most children, those colorful little bricks were a huge part of my life growing up. The building blocks of my childhood as it were. So, when I learned that I was going to Denmark, the birthplace of Lego, I made up my mind quite early that I would make a pilgrimage to the child’s holy land. A pilgrimage seemed fitting; while I did not worship LEGOs as a child I did use them to create temples. So, off I went, across the open expanse of Western Denmark with my two Haribo bags bought specially for the occasion in my backpack and an expectant smile on my rosy face. I felt like a kid again.
However, there was a problem: Logoland was not the place I imagined. Here’s the place where I wish I could say “It was better!” but this isn’t that kind of story. Yes, Legoland was fun, but it wasn’t the children’s Shangri La I had envisioned.
I almost didn’t get to experience any of this though as my day started off with a near disaster. By that I mean it started off with me almost being late. 68 minutes after missing the first train out of Humlebaek I scrambled up the stairs of the bus departing from Copenhagen on its way to Legoland in Billund. Despite the setback, I was on the bus and arrived in Legoland about four hours later.
The ride through the plain Jutland countryside to Legoland did not inspire a lot of confidence in the magnificence of the park. The drive reminded me a lot of driving through Central Washington (though again, to flat) which, while beautiful in its own way is not necessarily the most exciting place. We passed miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) of farmland interspersed with a few towns and gas stations. Coming from the US where mini-cities seem to spring up around amusement parks, the two small signs were the only indication that there was anything here except more farmland. And then we saw it. The large circular drive in front of the entrance surrounded by huge blue, yellow, green, and red bricks. This is what I was expecting. I can only imagine that for a child walking under this gate beside the stacks of LEGOs could only be comparable to walking beside the pillars of the Parthenon.
I was finally at Legoland and it felt much like I thought it would! And then something strange hapened. I walked into the gate and the first thing I saw was a clothing outlet store. And then another one. And, what is more important, the buildings housing these stores weren’t even created entirely of LEGOs! What kind of a ripoff is that! Legoland implies a land made of LEGOs, not a normal strip-mall with just an above average number of LEGOs in the windows, at least that what child Riley had conditioned me to believe all of those years ago. Needless to say, I was outraged.
Fortunately my anger passed as we went through the rest of the park. There were many LEGO’s and many amazing things made out of LEGOs, the crowds were small due to school starting two weeks prior, and ride passes were included in the admission cost. In fact, I actually started to feel better the more I explored. Granted, I was still a little let-down, but I think that mostly stemmed from the fact that the chairs and tables were not made entirely of LEGO and the sidewalks were a plain gray instead of multicolored. Though, having stepped and sat on my fair share of LEGOs I can understand why those decisions were made.
Ok, so I had overcome my anger with Legoland and started to enjoy myself. Once I did that a few things really stood out to me. First, the ice cream. Maybe it seems better as I am writing this because I am hungry but I do remember that the ice cream was great. I didn’t plan on getting ice cream but once I saw that I was close to being the only person not walking around with a cone I began to feel the pressure. You might be wondering why everyone had these cones. Because they are delicious, that’s why. I can’t explain what it is exactly but it seems to be less sugar and more cream which translates into the fluffiest ice cream you’ve ever had without being overpowering. It does help that the whole thing was dipped in chocolate chips. Yea, that helped a lot actually. And that was just the soft serve ice cream. The real amazing looking ice cream comes in scoops, and in a cone which has an opening as big as both of my fists pressed together. The thing is huge. I can’t tell how many scoops it has but it is at least four, and on top of those four-plus scoops there is strawberry jam, a whipped cream like substance, and topped with an amazing treat called a flødebolle. I would show you a picture but it is something you really should experience for yourself. Wow, I wrote a lot about ice cream. Maybe I should have called this post “Ice Cream” instead of “Legoland.” Oh well.
Back to Lego’s, the miniland area was very impressive and by far my favorite. I can’t say why exactly but it was interesting seeing not only the enormous cities, ships, and palaces but also the small people. Legoland did a great job of keeping the displays interesting even past the initial wow-factor. Looking down at the recreation of a small German town only becomes more exciting as you can see story lines playing out in the miniature people residing there. An old couple holding hands or a young one walking away from everyone else. There was a man kicking the tire of his broken down car while his son and wife looked on from the roadside. Hidden between a building and the small shrubs which served as a forest was a moose and a man taking pictures of it. There were miniature men with miniature cameras everywhere, as if poking fun at the large men taking picture after picture. Yea, this was definitely my favorite.
When not admiring the small world we did explore the full-size world. Like I said before, ride tickets were included in admission so we did a few rides. My friend Kirsten would be upset if I didn’t mention that she beat me twice at a laser tag type game.
Well, it looks like I have somehow managed to write too much again. Someday it will be shorter and more consistent. I could just cut this down but that would require editing and editing is for squares.
Despite my early complaints I certainly had fun at Legoland, and in retrospect it seems even more enjoyable than when I was there. I think you could take this as a nice analogy for childood, which makes me realize that it did, in a strange way, fulfill my goal in making me feel like a kid again. The problem I had wasn’t with Legoland, it was with me and my expectations. It was a marvelous time but it was not the toy equivalent of the Wonka Factory. If you happen to find yourself in the middle of nowhere in Denmark I would certainly suggest stopping by. If you happen to find yourself a student in DIS I would strongly suggest stopping by and saving quite a bit of money by going through DIS.