*This is another Beyond Toxicity’s long and photo-heavy blog post. Tips to visitors and tourists as well as suggestions to Legoland Malaysia’s officials are included in this entry. Enjoy!
Of all the amusement and theme parks I’ve been to, Legoland Malaysia is the most colorful! Nothing compares to its vibrant bricks that directly inspire everyone’s imagination and creativity to build, build and build. I’ve been to some remarkable theme parks around the globe like Sea World in San Diego, Disneyland in Anaheim, Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California, Universal Studios Singapore, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Sea Life Park, Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park in Hong Kong, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter Underwater World in Auckland, New Zealand, Genting Highlands and Aquaria in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, even our very own Enchanted Kingdom, Manila Ocean Park, Star City and Nayong Pilipino back home, thus, I have grown a personal appreciation and somehow I have defined my own standard. In so many ways, going to these kiddie places has been incredibly memorable when I became a family man and started sharing the wonderful experiences with my wife, Tina and our son, Gabby.
Like most kids, I grew up playing Lego. And now that our son’s into Lego too, experiencing the theme park made entirely of these timeless bricks was beyond fantastic! I remember, Tina and I first saw Legoland Denmark on TV via The Amazing Race. Never did we imagine that we would enjoy the same Legoland here in Malaysia so soon! It was surreal actually!
THE INSIDE STORY
I am grateful to Legoland Malaysia for inviting me twice to their media events that I failed to attend to due to some reasons. If you must know, my name was included in the list of bloggers and media who were exclusively invited to Legoland Malaysia’s Media and Family event last September 1st; that’s 2 weeks before the park opened to the public officially. Then recently, they threw another event last September 14, 2012 and during its opening last September 15, 2012, but I was only able to bring my feet and my family to Nusajaya, Johor Bahru where the very first Legoland in Asia and the 6th in the world is raised, last Sunday, September 16, 2012.
The Public Relations people who invited me on Legoland Malaysia’s behalf were gracious enough to still offer me via email a complimentary pass to the theme park for my personal review and blog feature. We only had to pay for Tina’s admission fee of RM140 (US$ 45+) and Gabby’s was waived because he was so fortunate and clever to spot a promosi on Munchy’s Captain Munch chocolate cookies at a popular grocery in Penang a few weeks back.
DIRECTIONS WHERE TO GO ARE ALWAYS ESSENTIAL
I tried to reserve a Deluxe Room via email recommended by the PR people of Legoland Malaysia however, it was too late because most hotels were full due to the anticipated opening of this theme park. I ended up booking a budget hotel that wasn’t bad at all; I did it few minutes before we left our apartment in Penang to head to Johor Bahru.
From our budget hotel in Johor Bahru, we were brought to Legoland Malaysia by a blue taxi cab that we hired for the day for RM 100 (US$ 32+). Good thing that the local driver’s already familiar with the roads because we noticed flags of Legoland Malaysia were only visible a few kilometers from the park itself. I highly suggest for Legoland Malaysia’s officials to put more directional signs like flags long before the Coastal Highway; better put signages at Larkin and Kota Raya bus stations, Singapore-Malaysia exit and entry points and install brochures with map in hotels because not all drivers, visitors and tourists have GPS. We’re just so fortunate to meet the taxi driver who picked us up from the hotel before 8AM and after 20 minutes or so, my family and I arrived at the ticket counters of Legoland Malaysia. We’re too punctual for the park’s opening at 10AM.
Another thing that could guide patrons of Legoland Malaysia is installation of signages of where to queue to buy and/or collect tickets at the gate. Expectedly, signs should be put at the vast parking lot, drop off points and the main entrance to the park. It’s always comforting to see signages that say, “This way, please!” My family and I were second in line but to our disappointment there was no sign that could have directed us to go to the 2 counters after Counter 14; those were the only 2 ticket counters assigned to issue Day Passes/Tickets as Counter 1 to 14 served only those who availed of Annual Passes. There’s a single flat screen TV monitor that showed what counter to go to but it was only turned on few minutes before 10AM where people were already on the wrong queue. Also, there were no labels of queues, just digital ticket counter numbers.
Toilet signs are in Malay, with no English or Mandarin translations.
Signs, signs and more signages please! We, the guests and visitors of Legoland Malaysia deserve to be informed.
What nearly spoiled my day was when I learned that my complimentary pass wasn’t endorsed properly by the PR people to the ticketing office. I could have easily paid for my admission fee but I was promised via email of a free entrance. There was neither media ID nor media pass/ticket provided. I believe it was a non-communication on the part of the PR and the ticketing office of Legoland Malaysia. Some important things have to be organized here. Nonetheless, I have to admit that a certain Legoland Malaysia staff named Fara was so caring, generous and apologetic enough to attend to my concern and escorted us to the gates of the park sans waiting on queue. THANK YOU!
Soon after we entered the park, we felt we stepped into one of a childhood’s dreams! The moment was euphoric!
GASTRONOMIC TREATS IN LEGOLAND MALAYSIA
I know. One doesn’t go to a theme park to engage in a digestive feast or simply to sample their culinary offerings but then again, no one can deny the fact that enjoyment is incomplete when the stomach is half-content, worse, empty. Fret not for my family and I proved that Legoland Malaysia is more than meets the eye! This newest theme park in Asia can also satisfy the appetite and the usual cravings with the variety of food and beverage choices they have.
Before you further escalate your excitement to know how Legoland Malaysia looks like, allow this blog to be different from the others that already featured Legoland Malaysia. I’m highlighting one of human necessities first prior visual pleasure. After all, this blog is all about giving reverence to my family, FOOD & fun! Behold, a shameless rundown of what filled our tummies the entire Sunday when we were there…
We had brunch at Market Restaurant. The space was noteworthy, just like the wide array of delicious dishes available. Combo meals of a Half Roasted Chicken with either Barbecue or Black Pepper Sauce come with soda and mushroom soup cost around RM 23 (US$ 7.50+). The servings were huge to meet my big appetite, tasteful too!
Tina had that British classic, Fish and Chips…
While Gabby enjoyed the pasta that I topped with parmesan cheese generously and a large cup of Strawberry Smoothies (RM 10 or US$ 3.27). He doesn’t like beef balls that much, so his parents came in to the rescue
There were a lot more choices plus desserts like cakes available in slices too, however we can only consume as much.
The not-so-light-afternoon snacks that we savored for hours inside that thank-goodness-airconditioned-restaurant consisted of Beef Lasagna, cups of Cappuccino, Oreo cupcake that’s to die for! Chocolate cupcake, Apple and Cinnamon pie and Turkey Sandwich in Focaccia bread and Hot Chocolate. Can you guess who-had-what? Anyway, it was all glorious!
We only ate at The Market Restaurant and The Cafe; these are two of Legoland Malaysia’s restaurants inside the park; there are others like Pizza Mania where pizza, pasta, soups and desserts are on the menu and the ones outside the gates like KFC and others. We’re happy to know that Legoland Malaysia offers international cuisine! People who aspire to be global should take note.
HYGIENE AND SANITATION : DEFINITELY A PRIORITY
Apparently, it’s not enough that food looks enticing and tasteful. Legoland Malaysia, like other theme parks around should also maintain hygiene and sanitation particularly in food handling. Flies and other insects should be kept away and controlled at all times. We appreciate that the plates we had in Legoland Malaysia were prepared and served satisfactorily.
SOUVENIRS, SOUVENIRS, SOUVENIRS!!!
After we gained entrance to Legoland Malaysia, Gabby got hold of the map from the gate and we wasted no time; we all trooped to the very first gift shop.
Look what Gabby, Tina and I came up with mix-and-matching Lego parts…
Our very first souvenirs were a Gentleman, an Indian and a Punk! Gabby, Tina and I were delighted!
Legoland Malaysia’s 76 acre-park has 7 themed areas with more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions. The 7 themed areas are The Beginning, Lego City, MiniLand, Land of Adventure, Imagination, Lego Kingdom and Lego Technic.
Next stop : another Legoland Malaysia gift shop, The Big Shop that houses the largest selection of LEGO products in Asia!
Did I tell you already how Gabby’s so into Lego Ninjago? He watches the animated series and gradually collects Lego Ninjago items.
Obviously, the boy had his time inside The Big Shop…
Whenever we travel, we usually buy fridge magnets but most of them come in sets of RM 54+ in Legoland Malaysia; we didn’t see anything sold per piece so we settled for second best handy and more affordable souvenir, keychains! They’re sold at RM19+ a piece. Here are some of the cutest and irresistible choices…
As we are both fans of the movie series, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tina bought one of these Jack Sparrow key chains…
While I failed to resist something that will remind me of Harry Potter series and perhaps would keep me sane on a daily basis, Rubeus Hagrid keychain, FTW!
LET’S EXPLORE LEGOLAND MALAYSIA NOW!
But wait, the sun was so unforgiving! Johor Bahru has the greatest blessing of sunshiny weather making a day in Legoland Malaysia impossible to endure without SPF lotion and sun protectors. Believe me, they’re so necessary! We came in ready with cotton long sleeved shirts, sunnies and fedora hats; better if you have umbrellas but best if Legoland Malaysia could provide more shades for their visitors. Because the heat of the sun was almost unbearable, we wished for Legoland to be an indoor park but of course it’s pointless and futile. What is more practical is to suggest to its management to build more brick-inspired shades and improve more their airconditioning units! They could plant more tall trees too! Because it was really, really hot, we had to go inside the restaurants and some airconditioned attractions in between the stroll around the park. And like most popular kiddie theme parks, Tina and I hope for Legoland Malaysia to provide FREE potable and filtered drinking water fountains that would keep people from being dehydrated. More rubbish bins and toilets too, we wish. Boleh?
We went inside an open-air-theater and watched a comedy skit that left lessons to the young and old audience about awareness of common dangerous materials found in the house. I just didn’t get it why it had to start with graceful acrobatic act; to perk up the audience, perhaps?
I think it’s only in Legoland that minors are allowed to drive! Cool!!!
There was literrally color coding! Red, Yellow, Blue! Take your pick. See how the little boys loved it!
We continued to walk and reached the Land of Adventure… Amazing Lego Egyptian structures!
Moving on, more colorful and fantastic brick-structures ahead!!!
Most of the rides in Legoland Malaysia are for children whose ages range from 1-12. This Duplo PlayTown is very apt and safe for kids less 5. It’s so picturesque too!
Another interactive part of Legoland Malaysia is the Build and Test Center. The entire family can make vehicles, houses and buildings out of their imagination and Lego bricks and test them in the earthquake table and slopes.
One of the attractions of Legoland Malaysia that we all loved was the 4D studio (not in photos). I highly recommend it for all ages; surely, all members of the family can enjoy! Watching Lego characters in 4D movie with various effects was so cool! -There’s air/smoke, sprinkle of water and blowing of air to the audience; the theater’s nice too, spacious with comfortable seats. And again, the airconditioning was refreshing amidst the challenge of the sunny weather!
Gabby and I also had ultimate fun on this ride that to me, exemplifies teamwork. It’s a pull-me-up-pull-me-down kiddie ride and we loved our moments there to bits!
Despite the heat, the colors of Lego stuctures really made us smile ear-to-ear…
This area of Legoland Malaysia provides an atmosphere of the Medieval years. Children can enjoy the Royal Joust ride where they assume the role of a Knight while riding a Lego-lized horse. Older park visitors can ride the Dragon, a rollercoaster ride that takes its spin with excitingly looking twists and turns while kids can opt to queue and try its children’s version, the Dragon’s Apprentice.
We didn’t dare ride the Dragon hahaha! Tina has vertigo and Gabby’s not ready yet for such thrill-of-a-life-kind-of-ride even its junior or kiddie version, The Dragon’s Apprentice located almost right across, while I have an episodic phobia of heights. Oops!
While we’re there, we can’t stop loving all the little details made of Lego bricks; the entire park is uniquely beautiful because of them! No corner was left unnoticed!
Mindstorm and Lego Academy’s airconditioning kept us cool against the hot weather in Legoland Malaysia. Gabby was interested to learn how to build and program Lego robots inside however, Tina found out that we should have registered early upon entry; Mindstorm was already fully booked in the afternoon. So there goes another tip -if you want your kids to enjoy this intellectural feature of Legoland Malaysia, head straight to Mindstorm located in Lego Technic area and reserved them a slot within the day.
A splash of water from those fountain was refreshing and fun indeed!
If a little splash from the fountain isn’t enough to cool you down, try riding Aquazone Wave Racers! Surely, you won’t finish the ride without getting soaked! Tee hee!
If you don’t want to try these rides, always keep a bottle of water ready at hand or buy a chilled soda to hydrate you while inside the park. You definitely need to drink more than a liter of water during a day out in Legoland Malaysia. It’s a must!
Also in Lego Technic area of Legoland, another rollercoaster ride awaits the daredevils and thrill seekers. There’s this Project X ride that spells happiness with its sharp twists and turns.
Luckily, we paid Legoland Malaysia a visit on its second day from opening because we chanced upon The Billund Band from Denmark playing beautiful music around the park and on stage at Lego Technic. They sang and played one of the most beautiful versions of Aint No Mountain High Enough! I wished the crowd was more responsive to dance but I guess they’re happy to just clap and stomp their feet like what I did.
At almost 3PM, we felt the need to eat again at the same time, enjoy the airconditioning inside the restaurant called, The Cafe. We had some snacks and the highlight of our stay inside was our meeting with the Magic-Clown, Coco! Look how Coco entertained the kids inside The Cafe, and to our surprise, he really pleased Gabby and made him flash his widest smile!
Coco The Magic Clown made several balloon creations for the kids inside The Cafe but we really appreciate that he made his biggest balloon creation for Gabby! He made our Legoland Malaysia day truly memorable!
In my humble opinion, the most impressive and stunningly gorgeous attraction of Legoland Malaysia is the Miniland! I was left in awe and Tina and Gabby were overjoyed even with the tiniest detail of those famous Asian landmarks. It made us feel we toured around Asia for few hours with small steps, less the hassles of traveling! I am lost for superlatives to describe Miniland in Legoland Malaysia. Hats off to those who poured sweat to build these amazing Lego brick structures!
MALAYSIA in MINILAND
I have been to PUTRAJA in Kuala Lumpur twice, I think and the Putraja pink mosque never fails to impress me, more so when I so its version built in Lego bricks! Kuala Lumpur was Lego-lized! Beautiful!!!
“The SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING is one of the oldest buildings in Kuala Lumpur and probably the most photographed. The Lego version is 7 meter long built in scale of 1 :20.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
They even recreated Kuala Lumpur Internationa Airport (KLIA) in Lego bricks complete with battery operated mobile vehicles and stationary aircrafts! Amazing!
MYANMAR in MINILAND
When I was at work, I showed one of these photos I took in Miniland depicting one of the famous spots in Myanmar, to one of my colleagues who hails from that country. She instantly smiled and uttered, “Yes! yes! yes! It’s in Myanmar!”. This is the Lego-lized KARAWEIK HALL in Myanmar.
“Karaweik Hall is a gigantic barge on the shore of Yangon, Myanmar. It was inspired by ancient royal barges. The word, “Karaweik” comes from the name of a mythical bird. Inside is a large restaurant where guests can see traditional crafts and dances.” – Miniland, Legoland Malaysia
INDIA in MINILAND
One of the travel destination dreams is TAJ MAHAL in India. I was silently jumping for joy like a kid when I saw its Lego version. The immaculate structure built because of love was immortalized and recreated in Legoland Malaysia.
CHINA in MINILAND
Stretching a length of 8,852 kilometers, the structure that can be seen from the moon, THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA majestically stands and lures the traveler in me. Who would not want to experience setting foot and touching those walls, brick by brick? Well, at least there’s a mini version made in Lego bricks in Legoland!
“THE FORBIDDEN CITY was the emperor’s palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties -that’s more than 500 years! The entire palace has more than 980 buildings and covers 720,000 square meters.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia
Legoland Malaysia isn’t only amusing, entertaining but educational too!
BRUNEI in MINILAND
Tina, Gabby and I toured Brunei for half a day while on a layover en route to Auckland, New Zealand back in 2005. We’re amazed with most of the mosques, hotel, and museums we visited during our mandatory overnight stay there. One of those remarkable mosques we’ve seen upclose is Lego-lized in Miniland…
“The beautiful royal SULTAN OMAR ALI SAIFUDDIN MOSQUE in BRUNEI is located in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Its named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei. Its largest dome is covered in PURE GOLD!” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
VIETNAM in MINILAND
“HOI AN is a city in VIETNAM on the coast of the South China Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it’s a major trading town for Chinese, Japaenese, Dutch and Indian merchants. In modern times, tourists come to see the historic buildings, and visit the shops and restaurants along the water.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
LAOS in MINILAND
“PATUXAI is a monument of victory in the center of Vientiane, LAOS. It was built between 1957 and 1968. It’s made of cement that was originally meant for building an airport.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia
SINGAPORE in MINLAND
The pretty and charmingly expensive city of Singapore is Lego-lized represented by THE SINGAPORE FLYER, BOAT QUAY and of course, the iconic, MERLION.
INDONESIA in MINILAND
“PURA TANAH LOT is a beautiful temple built on a rock formation on the coast of BALI, INDONESIA. It can only be reached at low tide. At high tide, it’s an island! A special festival is held at the temple every 210 days.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
CAMBODIA in MINILAND
“ANGKOR WAT is a temple complex in ANGKOR, CAMBODIA. It was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. By area, it is the largest religious building in the world!” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
THAILAND in MINILAND
We failed to visit WAT ARUN last month when we went to Bangkok, nevertheless, we’re happy to see its Lego-lized version!
THE PHILIPPINES in MINILAND
Of course, we’re proud to see something that represents our beloved country in Legoland Malaysia! Out of our 7,107 islands back home, they chose BOLINAO, PANGASINAN to be Lego-lized Philippines!
“BOLINAO is a thriving fishing town on the coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines. In the town center is the Church of St. James the Great, built in 1609. Visitors come to Bolinao to see the colorful fishing boats and visit the beautiful beaches nearby.” -Miniland, Legoland Malaysia.
Within the vicinity of Miniland that Sunday afternoon, a simple yet lively parade entertained us! After watching the parade, we met again Coco the Magic Clown and one of the cast members of the show that morning, Mo, then we went to queue and hopped on the Legoland Express train!
What perfectly ended our day at Legoland Malaysia was the sight of Miniland at dusk. We intentionally waited for the sun to set at 7:30PM and maximized enjoyment until the park closed at 8PM. While Tina and Gabby were enjoying, capturing everything on video via her ipod, I had my time on my cam.
It was a fun filled, uniquely informative and entertaining day out in Legoland Malaysia! We were delighted with what we saw and experienced but it’ll be more exciting to see improvements on the park and its services as we revisit it in the near future. We absolutely like to experience the Legoland Malaysia Resort to be delivered on 2013 and the Legoland Malaysia Hotel that’s scheduled to be operational by 2014.
puts Johor Bahru and Malaysia itself a niche higher in the tourism industry scale
within Asia and the rest of the world!
Have you visited Legoland Malaysia or the other Legoland theme parks around? How’s your experience?
To those visiting Legoland Malaysia who are not from Singapore, it’s nice to head to Lion City before or after going to Legoland as it’s only an hour away (including Immigration proceedings in Malaysia-Singapore borders). You’ll appreciate crossing borders of two Southeast Asian countries on foot!
Legoland Malaysia is located in Nusajaya, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Visit their website via www.legoland.com.my