Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Building a Day of Fun at LEGOland Malaysia

When we first told the kids we were moving from Texas to Malaysia, we dangled a visit to LEGOland Malaysia, in front of them as enticement. A couple weeks ago, we finally delivered on our promise, and oh, what fun we had! We've visited the California location of LEGOland a few times, and the newly opened Malaysian park is very similar to that one. The only significant differences are the smaller size and the Asian spin on landmarks in Miniland. To me, the similarities are a great indication that these rides and concepts have already been proven successful in other parts of the world. Located in Johor, just across the border from Singapore, LEGOland is perfect for children ages 2-12 years old. Its over 40 attractions include rides, shows, playground areas and hands-on fun with LEGO bricks.

Hold on tight on Project X through the switchbacks and big plunge.

Fun Rides are the Main Attraction
LEGOland has everything from the DUPLO Express train perfect for toddlers to medium-thrill roller coasters and flume rides for older children. (If your kids really want high thrill and fast speeds, Universal Studios Singapore may be better suited for them.) 

Preschoolers chug around Playtown on the LEGO Express.

The Driving School in LEGO City lets kids ages 6-13 years old motor cars through a street course complete with intersections, traffic lights, a roundabout, and two-way traffic. You don't see that at most theme parks! Children as young as 2 years can try out the simpler Junior Driving School.

Kids rule the road at Driving School.

At Kid Power Towers, pull your chair up hand-over-hand 9 metres to the top of the tower and then gently glide back down to the ground.

How high can you go before time is up on Kid Power Towers? Don't worry adults, you can try, too.

Hit targets with your laser gun to score points while riding through the ancient Egypt-themed Lost Kingdom of Adventure.

Amusement park ride and arcade game in one at Lost Kingdom of Adventure.

There are tons more rides at LEGOland. These are just a few of them.

Hands-on Building with LEGO bricks
When you've had enough of the heat or need to escape the rain, head indoors to one of the building centers. For children older than 8 years, be sure to try LEGO Mindstorms where they can build a robot and do easy, graphical, computer programming to complete missions. Be sure to go by and make your reservation early because the six 45-minute sessions with 8 spots each fill up quickly. If they're too young, you can always get a brick kit and building diagram without any reservations needed.

Satisfy the emerging engineer at LEGO Mindstorms.

At Build & Test, kids can try their hand at building race cars or earthquake-proof structures. Challenge other cars on the sloped racing ramp to see whose is the fastest. Make a skyscraper on a shaking platform, go from 0 to 10 on the Richter Scale, and see if yours is still standing at the end.

One nice touch at a few queue areas is the LEGO table where kids can occupy themselves while parents keep their place in line.

Watch Live Action and 4D Shows
The LEGO Studios 4D Theatre rotates through 3 movies. What's a 4D movie? You wear 3D glasses to watch the film and enjoy the added physical special effects like blowing wind, flashing lights, and in the case of LEGO Racers, falling snow. If you really care about which exact movie you watch, get there 20 minutes before showtime. We didn't have a chance to watch the live action shows at LEGO City Stage, but the pictures made them look entertaining.

Run around the Playground
Perhaps your kids are tired of waiting in queues or building things. Let them burn off some energy at the playgrounds located around the park. DUPLO Playtown is ideal for the youngest visitors. The Shipyard and The Forestman's Hideout are aimed at the older ones. Pharoah's Revenge has lots of ball-popping fun.

Kids run while mamma rests at The Forestman's Hideout in LEGO Kingdom.

The miniature 1:20 scale replicas of Asian landmarks built out of LEGO bricks is the centerpiece of the park. Take your time strolling around and look carefully. The designers sneak in clever little scenarios and tableaux. Push buttons and watch the action start, but be careful if you're standing in a puddle. You'll probably be squirted with water. See my Miniland post for highlights.

Angkor Wat LEGO-style

Details and Tips
What else do you need to know?
  • We were there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (opening to closing times) and still didn't have a chance to try out everything on a medium-size crowd day. Estimated queue times ranged from 15-60 minutes.
  • Keep in mind how hot it can be, so bring a hat or even an umbrella which can provide both shade and rain protection. Queueing areas are covered, but you'll be in the sun when walking around.
  • Rides close 1 hour before closing time. Miniland remains open until the end of the day.
  • Don't forget comfy shoes because you'll be on your feet all day.
  • Either bring your own stroller or rent one just inside the entrance for the younger kids.  
  • Some rides have height requirements (at least 110 cm on many rides) or age limits.
  • Restaurants around the park offer both Asian and Western halal-certified fare.
  • Numerous restaurants are just outside the main entrance if you get there early or linger after closing.
  • Both Malaysian Ringgits and Singapore Dollars are accepted in the park as payment.
  • Two prayer rooms and a Baby Care Center are located within LEGOland.
  • Of course, you have lots of opportunities to buy LEGOs toys here. It's definitely a much, much bigger selection than at Toys'R'Us.
  • See my post about how we took a taxi from Singapore to LEGOland
Push the button and activate the geyser on AquaZone Wave Racers.

Looking towards the future
A LEGOland Waterpark is scheduled to open next door on October 21, 2013, and a hotel is currently under construction. If we lived near the park, I could see us buying an Annual Pass.

I have seen many on-line complaints about the heat and the no-refund-due-to-rain policy at LEGOland. These people need to understand that this is standard theme park operations all around the world. I've been in near-typhoon conditions at Tokyo DisneySea, and they didn't refund money. I spent my childhood summers in Houston, Texas at the equally hot-and-humid-with-bouts-of-rain Six Flags Astroworld and managed to endure it. That's what Walt Disney World in Florida is like in July, too. I've had to keep track of my kids in a sea of identical Shamu gift shop raincoats at SeaWorld. My advice to these complainer is to just deal with it. If the grand daddy of theme parks, Disney, doesn't make allowances, I don't expect LEGOland to.

However, there is room for improvement to make this a truly top-notch park. Some rides weren't operational while we were there, and I've heard of a few stopping with guests still on them. Restaurant tables weren't cleared quickly. Bathrooms that were clean and fresh in the morning were stinky and lacking toilet paper by the end of the day. We waited at the ticket booth for 40 minutes, because only 2 were open. At one point, both were at a standstill waiting for the supervisor to help. Hiring more people or better training could easily solve many problems, so I hope LEGOland will take steps to remedy them. Despite these complaints, I would still happily recommend LEGOland to families with children 12 years old and under.

Related Posts
Asian Landmarks at LEGOland Malaysia Miniland
Taking a Taxi from Singapore to LEGOland Malaysia
Flashback to LEGOland California
Universal Studios Singapore

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.


  1. What an amazing place. Before you started doing Legoland posts I did not even know they existed. I wish our kids were young again. Love the Angkor Wat exhibit and your Details and Tips.

    1. It turns out that there are 6 LEGOlands around the world and 3 more are in the works. There's been a LEGOland in Denmark since 1968. I'd love to see what the Minilands are like in each one.

  2. I'm with Jan. You've opened a whole new LegoLand world for me. I have some munchkins that live next door who would love this place!!!

    1. My boy has been a LEGO fanatic since he was a toddler, so I knew this place was perfect for us.

  3. Other than the sculptures the rides all look exactly the same as the California park. I guess when you have something good you just go with it!

    1. I took the similarities as a good sign that it was going to be a great park.

  4. Thanks for the tour and a great review, Michele! It does look a lot like the Carlsbad one except for Miniland and some touches. They're opening a hotel Legoland CA next year too. I'm sure they'll get the kinks figure out soon. What an awesome experience for your kids to visit this new (yet familiar) park.

    1. I still need to check out that Aquarium next to LEGOland California.

  5. Replies
    1. A LEGOland is planned to open in Japan in 2015. I'd love to see what Miniland Japan looks like.

  6. I had a good laugh when I read that you bribed you kids with LEGOland.
    Sounds like they had fun.

    1. I guess we were looking for ways to make Malaysia seem familiar to them even though they had never set foot here. Tying it in with LEGOland California which they loved seemed like a good way.

  7. My kids would have gone crazy in a place like this. I wonder how many LEGO lands there are around the world??

    1. There are 6 LEGOlands - Denmark, UK, Germany, Florida, California and Malaysia. Three more are in the works for Japan, Korea and Dubai.

  8. I would have LOVED to have a driving lesson in Lego cars! But I would be too scared of the Power Tower though. It's *lego*, it can go kaput, can't it? LOL Too bad I've never been there, but then again I don't have a kid to take with me!

  9. We are going next Friday - can't wait! Thanks for this blog post ... gives some needed info before we head out (although a 40 minute drive can hardly be classified as heading out!)

    1. I'm undecided on whether it was worth it to use our Free Kids voucher which required us to buy tickets at the ticket booth. Doing it online is more money, but then you don't stand in a 40 minute line before you even enter the park.

  10. Lego has been around for ever, and it amazes me that it has become so popular. My Korean university students even get excited when I mention Lego. It looks like a great theme park if you have kids.

  11. It sounds fantastic - my LEGO-loving kiddos would love to visit! Thanks for the review and for linking up!

  12. Great post Michele. We loved it too as you know :) Our tips are similar, but I went on a less busy day.

  13. Thanks for this post, and your others about Legoland. It looks great! I think we're going to spend a night in JB either side of our visit and go on from there to Melaka. I'm going to show these photos to my daughter!

  14. Check out the hotels when they open in 2015. I'm pretty excited about these themed hotels!


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