The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

When you can give children a bit of magic – Legoland Malaysia

on March 19, 2014

Have you seen the way children’s faces light up when they feel something really special? It happens when they see a certain someone; when it’s their birthday or Christmas and they see presents and decorations; when the occasion of asking for ice cream is answered with a yes for a change.

For the many times a day in our role as parents that we have to put good behaviour, healthy eating, life affirming activities above things that children really consider fun, it is good to be able to let go of the reins for a few days and let them have such a good time they feel dizzy with it.

Holidays are exciting enough as it is for children. The anticipation of packing suitcases and what should they bring; the travel to the airport; the long sleeves and long trousers for the flight; the airport and all the buzz that comes with it. The arrival at the other side and getting to the hotel; disbelief our ‘home’ is now just one room; the endless reassurances that we haven’t actually moved from Singapore really, followed swiftly by the questions about what are we going to do. How about have long sleep ins, take in some culture, drink wine at lunchtime and stay up all night because we can? Not for you kids? Ok.

So Husband and I didn’t break the news we were going to Legoland Malaysia until three days before we were going. This was to save ourselves the endless reiteration of how many more sleeps it was going to be. Far easier on yourself to employ this tactic too. #1 packed his suitcase full of toys and took some persuading to leave nearly all of them at home because there’s no room in the car and he found it hard to believe we can go on ‘holiday’ without catching an aeroplane.

It’s a 40 minute drive to the border of Singapore to get to the bridge that takes you into Malaysia. It’s long enough to answer on loop the questions from #1 and 2.

‘Are we there yet?’
‘Not yet, we’ve just set off.’
‘When will we be there?’
‘Well, we have to cross a big bridge first.’
‘Is this the bridge?’
‘No, this is just a regular bridge.’
‘Is this the bridge?’
‘Not this one either.’
‘Is this the bridge?’
‘No.’
‘But you said it’s across the bridge Mummy.’
‘Would you like some snacks and a drink?’

Perhaps we should have just took them there and shouted ‘Surprise!’ But then we wouldn’t have had the anticipation and excitement of the last 10 minutes of the journey as we all looked out for the road signs to Legoland.

Then suddenly #1 is the first eagle eyed one to spot where we should be heading. ‘I see it, I see it. Over there! LEGOLAND.’ Really? How do you know what it looks like? We get our first sighting of the Legoland Hotel in the distance and it looks like a hotel made of, well, Lego!

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I’m well beyond five but I’m so excited too! It’s a hotel that looks like it’s made from Lego! We park up in the basement and find our way to the lifts and get our first glimpse of Legoland and the giant Lego figurines outdoors. The lift doors open and inside, the walls are decorated with Lego murals. We enter the lift, press G and then suddenly disco lights rotate from the ceiling throwing spinning blue lights everywhere and ABBA’s Dancing Queen bursts out from nowhere filling the small space.

It’s only a DISCO LIFT!

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A Disco Lift! How cool is that? Already we were won over. What could be more uplifting than a Disco Lift? If all companies had Disco Lifts, productivity would definitely increase.

Right by the hotel Reception is a magnificent Lego castle and pirate ship with Lego all around it for children to play with. It certainly helped to keep them entertained as we waited to check in. We didn’t think our room would be ready until 4pm but found it was ready by midday. Another boogie in the Disco Lift before we headed off to find our room. #1 and 2 were amazed with #3 joining in swept away by it all! The carpet, the walls, the doors, every detail is all about Lego in the brightest, boldest colours.

We chose a Kingdom themed room, the whole floor was decorated with the Lego Kingdom characters. You could also choose from Pirate or Adventure themes. I’ve stayed in some pretty amazing hotel rooms and some pretty dulls ones too but never one that was so much fun with its colourful walls and carpet. The Lego crafted interiors were quite brilliant as was the thoughtful added touch of a sink in the bathroom especially for the small ones.

If I felt that way, I can only imagine how #1 and 2 felt. The squeals of excitement as they marvelled at the pictures on the wall, looked for clues in the room to find some treasure and the view of Legoland from our window with all the possibilities of play before us.

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It’s been a while since I’ve been to a theme park. The first time when I was ten was to Lightwater Valley, North Yorkshire with the terrifying Hell Slide. It felt like I had to build up all my courage to go on it. Yet a visit some six years later showed me that there was hardly anything terrifying about it. Funny, your perception of size when you’re young. There’s been Flamingoland, Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Thorpe Park; all filled with rides for the adrenaline junkies and whilst I’ve had my fair share, the thrill and relief afterwards that I survived is insurmountable. What is it about the anticipation and fear of a roller coaster ride that can leave you feeling alive and energised plus a little bit windswept?

To be honest, I’m not good with rides. Ever since I was a child and the annual travelling shows came to town and everyone from school went down to go on the rides for 20 pence a pop. I’m not good with the round and round rides. I come off them feeling green, followed by being sick. I’m ok with the rollercoasters. Sort of. I love the water rides. I did until going on that massive one at Thorpe Park.

I thought I had put those days behind me but it appears not and so I’ve had to put on my brave face and muster up the courage for that round and round ride. #1 shares my apprehension about the round and round rides and openly admits to not liking anything that goes round and round and too fast. #2 does not. She loves nothing more than fast rides and her favourite one is the one that bounces up and down from a great height. To be fair, these rides are aimed at those with a minimum height of 80cm and even I can manage the high octane thrills of those rides.

For old time’s sake, Husband and I went on The Dragon, a roller coaster for the over 120cm. He was going to sit at the back for maximum fling and I wanted to sit at the front for minimum fling. We decided to try the front first and go on a second time at the back. However, just the once was enough as we both looked at each other and confessed to feeling a little too flung about already.

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What the children really loved about Legoland, were the ‘grown up’ things they could do like drive a car and get their own driving license with photo ID, sail a boat, ride a massive fire engine, sit on a moving Lego train. They also loved the Lego Miniland which included landscapes they’d seen in Singapore. I was impressed with models of the beautiful places we’ve yet to discover in Asia.

Legoland Malaysia is not a huge theme park and you can get round all the different sections quite easily in just over half a day. There is perhaps only a handful of activities for children over ten years old to enjoy but the adjoining Water Park just a few steps away makes up for this with towering water slides, wave pool and tidal river. It’s exactly the invitation you need to cool down!

Spontaneous words of happiness and appreciation from children are precious. Like when they tell you ‘I love you’. So to hear them say how much they love something and how much fun they’re having, you know it is so true. It made me feel good that Husband and I can give them a memory like this.

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Quite soon it may grow into a rather fuzzy memory and certainly one day when they come across bigger, fancier theme parks, Legoland will not seem all that. But for now it is. I ask #1 what was his favourite part of the trip and you see a half smile forming as he thinks about it. Nothing, except for Radiator Springs or the Kingdom of Arendelle, could have captivated my children more than this.

We stayed for two days and I think that’s more than enough. There’s a lot going on and even those programmed to play all day can grow weary of the endless opportunity to play.

In my opinion, the one disappointment was the Family restaurant in the hotel that stopped serving at 4pm and reopened for buffet dinner at 6.30pm which can be late for small children. The food for children was cold and unappealing though #1 and 2 didn’t take exception to the huge array of sweets, ice cream, biscuits and chocolate fountain available. We felt for the cost of the buffet dinner and #1, 2 and 3 in tow, we couldn’t enjoy it as much as we would have liked. However, right opposite Legoland is a mall with enough restaurants to find something suitable.

This trip with #1, 2 and 3 was a brilliant couple of days and I will always remember the looks on their faces as they took everything in. Through their eyes, we saw the magic of having uncomplicated fun. For ourselves, Husband and I can see ahead of us the many new adventures to be had with #1, 2 and 3 and we’re looking forward to them all.

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