January 16… built out something like this:
Technically, we didn’t do much of Disney at all today.
We rented a car. We drove about 40 miles south. And we visited a little theme park called LegoLand Florida.
We had three LEGO-crazy kids with us on this vacation. Claire is a quiet-but-creative builder about whose explorations with the bricks I’ve written on numerous occasions. My niece and nephew are fanatical: they actually have a LEGO room in their house, a whole room devoted to nothing but building with LEGO. (They’ve got a big house, but still… a whole freaking room!)
So we went to LegoLand, because the kids love their LEGOS.
Here’s the thing: Disney does things at the gold standard of awesome. They are in a category all their own when it comes to ride efficiency, theming, coolness factor, customer service, and a smile-on-every-face-ness. It’s a candy coated un-reality and no one can touch them. In the last days of your vacation if you choose to divert yourselves to a theme park that only measures up as a somewhat distant silver or bronze standard theme park, you gotta expect to be a little bummed.
Don’t get me wrong: it was cool. The place was filled with a crazy and massive collection of LEGO structures — a life-sized Darth Vader, a full-sized Ford Explorer, miniature but-still-twenty-foot-tall skylines from New York, Vegas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and so many more, and even a fifty foot bust of Albert Einstein — and we were in awe of them all.
But the rides were, well, meh. It was a theme park geared at the under-12s, to be certain (so we had the right kids along, anyhow.) But the queues were slow and awkwardly managed, a couple of the staff were a little more grumpy than we’ve been used to for the last week, and a bunch of the pieces were shut down or simply not operating because they were water-rides or resulted in you getting wet.
But then all that is just compared to Disney World. So it’s neither fair nor in the same category. If LegoLand was within a hundred miles of my house I’d have an annual pass and be there every other weekend, no doubt.
Highlights of the day included:
1) The tooth: Claire’s morning was less occupied with LEGO than it was with her tooth, which got bumped and wiggled loose shortly after we got to the park and ultimately fell out around lunch time. There were a lot of tears in between.
2) Claire’s first solo coaster? Well, she and her cousin went by themselves on the little mouse-cart-style coaster in the Technic-land. She was beaming.
3) Karin managed our rental van and did a great job driving on the Florida highways. Unfortunately, when she went to drop off the car, the shuttle back had a sick-to-his-stomach passenger on board. We got the slightly disgusting play-by-play in the Google Hangout as we waited for her.
We hit up Downtown Disney for a late dinner, and fixed up our last plans for our last day. (Everything seems to be working, but we’ll find out tomorrow.) A chilly boat ride back to the resort, a quiet stroll back to our suite, and now we’re just sitting here listening to the Epcot fireworks booming in the distance.
Tomorrow? One last Disney Day. Sigh… is it almost over already?