Thursday, July 7, 2011

v2, d374: Legoland

The second day (first full day) of our vacation was pretty much Robbie and Daddy's Day Out.  We rented a car and drove about an hour to Legoland, the theme park where pretty much everything is Legos.  I was actually not a huge Lego kid growing up for some reason, but Robbie has some Duplo blocks that he absolutely loves sometimes, so he was pretty excited to be going to a place called "Legoland," even if he didn't really know what it was. 

It was overcast and chilly pretty much the entire day, which is actually pretty close to perfect theme park weather unless you planned on getting terribly wet.  Robbie was really excited to go on his first roller coaster. He's loved watching Youtube videos of roller coasters because they're like trains.  I thought he was adequately prepared for the fact that they go pretty fast...well, Robbie's first coaster was an outright disaster.  He didn't like waiting in line for thirty minutes, and then as soon as the mighty Coastersaurus (the tamest coaster in the park) took that first hill, he bawled the entire rest of the ride.  He was actually ready to go home at that point, and I was afraid our day was going to go down in family history as one of the biggest bummers in summer vacationdom.  Just next to Coastersaurus was a small sand pit that kids could dig in, so I let Robbie play in the sand for about fifteen minutes.  That took some of the edge off the coaster fiasco, but he was pretty apprehensive about going on any more rides.  In fact, any time I'd ask if he wanted to go on one, he'd ask, "Is it a slow ride?"  Our next ride was the Safari Trek, where an electric miniature jeep carries you down a winding path with a bunch of safari animals (and one panda?), all made entirely out of Lego.  (By the way, if you grow tired of the "It's made of Lego!" shtick, the park is going to get really old really fast)  After our safari, we went to find some pizza and instead Robbie found some water cannons he could play with for about twenty minutes.  The pizza place was also next to a playground.  The playground had a small train ride. 

We were pretty good for the rest of the day from that point.  ;-)

One high point of our Legoland trip was the 3-to-5-year-old go kart track.  (For 3-to-5-year-olds, that is.  I don't believe the track was between three and five years old)  The cars were electric, but they weren't on a fixed track, so the kids were actually driving them.  They had to push down on a gas pedal and steer at the same time.  There were two guys working this ride, and their job was to get kids un-stuck when they'd crash into the corner or the guard rail or each other.  Meanwhile, the parents stood around the track and got pictures.  Robbie had so much fun driving these little electric race cars.  And he was, bar none, the worst driver on the track. Once he finally got the pedal down, it generally took all of his concentration to keep his foot pressed on top of it, so he wouldn't steer.  Then they'd free his car, and he wouldn't be able to go.  I'd shout for him to push the pedal, and he would, but only for a second, and just long enough to get in the middle of the road and cause a traffic jam.  I mentioned they had two guys keeping the thing running?  Yeah, one of them was almost permanently assigned to keeping Robbie from causing major traffic jams and every turn. 

At the end of each "race," the two ride operators hand each kid a Legoland Drivers License--basically a small card with the Legoland logo and a space for a picture and their name. Robbie got his and ran all the way to the exit to meet me.  "Daddy!" he said, "I got a ticket because I was the winner!" 

You sure were, kid.  You sure were.

Toward the end of our day (cut a bit short because we had to get back to the airport to get Kim and because Robbie was now on his second day with no nap), Robbie was starting to get frustrated.  All through the park there were these awesome displays of Lego.  Motorized vehicles, entire cities created in miniature, animatronic farms, train systems--and Robbie saw all of these Legos that he couldn't play with!  After awhile, I asked if he wanted to do another ride, and he said, "I want to find Legos that I can play with!"  So we finally found the part of the park set aside for Lego fanatics to build to their hearts content.  After a few trips down the race track with the car he and I had built, it was just about time to go.  As we were about to grab one last snack, however, I heard a very familiar tune playing somewhere nearby. 

"...Can we build it?  Yeah!  Can we fix it? Yeah!!"  

Yes, I'd know that Bob the Builder song anywhere.  I'd known there was a Bob the Builder "4-D" show somewhere in the park, and I'd tried all day to find it on the map and hadn't been able to.  Yet here we were, suddenly in the presence of Bob himself.  Robbie got a picture taken with the big guy as I checked the show schedule.  It was ten minute until the last Bob show of the day.  So we closed out our day at Legoland with a 4-D Bob the Builder movie, and then Robbie slept in the car all the way to the airport.