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[REPORT] Visit to Star Wars Miniland


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#1 Praiter Yed

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

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This is my report on the trip to the Star Wars Miniland Experience which I won here on Eurobricks. I wasn't sure whether I should tag this onto the end of the raffle thread so if the Mods' feel this goes better there please move it.

I have waffled on about distances and the journey so some of you might want to go straight to the Legoland part  :wink:

Winning, Organising, Travelling and Arguing.
Before entering the raffle for a preview of the Star Wars Miniland, I cleared it with the family to make sure we could go in the event that I won. Well, on Monday morning when I found out I'd won things all went a little pear shaped, my kids both had parties they were supposed to be going to ('and were looking forward to') and my missus had work commitments! I pointed out that "I did ask if we could go at short-notice" and received "WELL I DIDN'T THINK YOU WOULD WIN' as a reply. After some, erm, debate, the kids agreed they would rather visit Legoland than party, work commitments were rearranged and it was up to me to organise the trip.

I offered my two extra tickets to an old friend who is a massive SW fan and also a bit of a closeted AFOL - he was over-the-moon and couldn't wait to tell his son. It was at this point that I found out that the prize was not exactly what I initially thought, I assumed I'd won 6 tickets to Legoland including a visit to the new Star Wars Miniland but in fact what I had won was a one hour preview tour of the new SW exhibit. OK, I was still happy, my friend lived closer to Legoland and had offered to let us stay the night before, so I was looking forward to seeing an old mate and making the most of the weekend, I was however, dreading breaking this news to 'the Wife'. As I suspected, voices were raised, the issue of distance versus time was brought up without the slightest mention of the word 'parsecs' and Mrs. Praiter decided not to come. It was only my persistence and the use of the phrase 'seize the day' that eventually persuaded her to tag along.

So, Friday came and the prospect of a 3 hour drive with a two year old was not something I looked forward to but a train journey was certainly not an option (UK members will know that British trains are as crap as they are expensive). As it happens the boy slept most of the way, leaving only my 10 year old girl to occasionally shout 'are we nearly there yet'. We arrived at midnight, quickly got the kids to bed and spent the night boozing and reminiscing into the early hours. The next day we did a bit of sight-seeing had a nice lunch then set off on another 1 1/2 hour drive to Legoland. The boy slept again and but there were more shouts of 'are we nearly there yet'.

Legoland
Arrival at the Legoland Hotel was at 3.30pm for a 4pm start of the tour. We were offered free refreshments, sandwiches, cakes, coffee/tea and soft drinks for the kids. There was plenty to keep the children occupied while we waited, play rooms full of Lego tables, a staircase shaped like a giant tree, brick-built animals and statues, a brick city to admire, even the lifts were fun!

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At 4pm we set off through the Legoland Park, this was the first time I've visited Legoland and I really enjoyed walking past the massive miniland displays. Even though they couldn't go on the rides, the kids enjoyed the walk too and for the two year old we were given a brightly coloured push-along car for him to travel in.

At last we reached our destination and the bit you lot are interested in. We marched through the entrance of the Star Wars Miniland to the sound of the Star Wars theme and were followed by two Imperial Stormtroopers! My boy was unfazed, he sees them almost everyday on my t-shirts. I was immediately struck by how dark it was, there was atmospheric lighting and sound effects throughout the exhibit.

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I should point out that my Missus was in charge of the camera and was mostly off photographing the kids so sadly I was left taking shots on my mobile which didn't really work due to the atmospheric lighting. The images shown here were kindly supplied by my mate FB...

The first display was from The Clone Wars

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Next up was The Phantom Menace, an L-shaped display featuring a huge Theed Hangar with lift-off/rotating Naboo starfighter, Theed Palace and an epic battle scene between Gungans and (100 :wink: ) Battle droids.

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The Attack of The Clones display featured The Geonosian Arena (complete with some impressive arena beasts) and the battle of Geonosis. There were some really good Gunships and Drop-Ships in this scene but the pics either had too much flash or were out of focus (sorry :cry_sad: ).

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For Revenge of the Sith there was a huge battle of Kashshyyk display plus a Mustafar landing platform and animated battle between Anakin & Obi Wan

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Now we come to the interesting bit...  :tongue:

For A New Hope a massive Tatooine set-up featuring multiple scenes including the Lars' Homestead, Tusken Raider attack, Mos Eisley Cantina and a massive Millennium Falcon that lifts off from the Mos Eisley hangar. There's a small tunnel in this section that leads to a viewing bubble in the middle of the display - I'm only of medium build but it's clearly designed for children and I decided not to risk getting stuck.  :laugh:

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Possibly my favourite section was The Empire Strikes Back (it's a toss up between Tatooine and Hoth). As we walked into the Hoth area we were faced with The Dark Lord of the Sith himself (or at least someone dressed as him), my boy refused to enter, nice to see Lord Vader is still scaring Younglings after all these years. The Hoth section featured Echo base and the Battle of Hoth, plus a Wampa cave with truly a hilarious Wampa. The battle scenes were suitably epic and the AT-ATs were awesome!

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The Return of the Jedi area focused on the battle on the Moon of Endor possibly all the scenes you'd expect here; Ewok Village, Attack on the Bunker, various scenes from the movie featuring AT-STs and Speeder bikes. The highlights for me were the HUGE landing platform with a brilliant Lambda Shuttle and the absolutely MASSIVE shield generator.

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After staying in the SW Miniland way longer than we were supposed to, we were allowed a quick visit to the exclusive Star Wars shop. I hung on to my cash but admired the lifesize brick-built statues of Darth Vader, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca.

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Finally back to the hotel where we were given some rather nice gift bags including LSW Heroes Sticker books, Darth Vader Key Light and a Magnet Set (old style not glued!  :sweet: ).
Now for the 200 mile drive home; 'are we nearly home yet'.

More pictures in my Brickshelf

Summary:
Meeting up with old friends, nice food, booze and sightseeing made the whole weekend worthwhile and Star Wars Miniland really was the-icing-on-the-cake. Everybody had a great time and although Mrs. Praiter failed to be amazed by BIG Lego models (even Canary Wharf didn't impress her (some people just aren't into Lego)) she did have her photo taken with Darth Vader. Without entrance to the rest of the park it's not really worth a 400 mile round trip (imo), but that's not to detract from the awesomeness of this attraction, it truly is a fantastic addition to the park and definitely worth a visit.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that as my 2 year old was allowed in without a ticket my friend was able to take his daughter along too and so as not to split up the their family we were very kindly given an extra ticket for Mum - thanks JD  :wink:  :thumbup:
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#2 KielDaMan

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:30 PM

Praiter thank you very much for sharing your overall experience on the Grand Opening of the Star Wars Miniland Experience in LEGOLAND Windsor. I sure hope you and your family and friends enjoyed your weekend getaway even on short notice (and even if the missus isn't much of a LEGO fan. :laugh: ) Really your effort on taking pictures and coming up with a nice write-up is very much appreciated. :cry_happy: :thumbup:

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#3 KimT

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:04 PM

Thanks for a great report Praiter.
I'm sure you're a  very lucky man to have a wife that knows where to draw the line.
Without a strong wife we'd all go nuts and spend everything on LEGO.
Make sure to buy her flowers for being in the real world.

Sounds like you had a great trip - perhaps you should convince her to take a trip to Billund for the EB Event?
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#4 JackJonespaw

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:16 PM

Very nice report! I enjoyed seeing these!

#5 Praiter Yed

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:15 PM

View PostKielDaMan, on 15 March 2012 - 06:30 PM, said:

Praiter thank you very much for sharing your overall experience on the Grand Opening of the Star Wars Miniland Experience in LEGOLAND Windsor. I sure hope you and your family and friends enjoyed your weekend getaway even on short notice (and even if the missus isn't much of a LEGO fan. :laugh: ) Really your effort on taking pictures and coming up with a nice write-up is very much appreciated. :cry_happy: :thumbup:

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Thanks KDM, yes we all really enjoyed it and even the weather was nice, I hope I didn't sound too downbeat about it, because it really did all work out perfectly. I've just realised that I forgot to even thank Eurobricks in my report  :blush: - how rude! Thanks EB for the chance of a wonderful weekend :thumbup:

View PostKimT, on 15 March 2012 - 08:04 PM, said:

Thanks for a great report Praiter.
I'm sure you're a  very lucky man to have a wife that knows where to draw the line.
Without a strong wife we'd all go nuts and spend everything on LEGO.
Make sure to buy her flowers for being in the real world.

Sounds like you had a great trip - perhaps you should convince her to take a trip to Billund for the EB Event?
I hope I haven't painted Mrs. Praiter in a poor light, she really is very sweet and was concerned that we would spend an awful long time in the car for a fan event the kids wouldn't really enjoy. But of course there was loads for them to do and even the toddler had a good time (we could tell because he was well behaved although I did catch him trying to climb into the ROTJ display  :tongue: ).
As far as being strong and limiting my Lego spending, she's recently banned me from BL for the second time  :sceptic:, I just hope she never reads the 'Whats Your Recent Lego Star Wars Purchase' topic :devil:
There's no chance of me going to Billund - although I could try saying 'seize the day again'. :laugh:

View PostJackJonespaw, on 15 March 2012 - 09:16 PM, said:

Very nice report! I enjoyed seeing these!
I'm glad you liked it JackJonespaw. And there's plenty more to see in my brickshelf.

I believe it's the big opening weekend this weekend - is anybody going along? Would be nice to hear some more opinions or even see some more pics.

Edited by Praiter Yed, 16 March 2012 - 10:15 PM.

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#6 Brickmamba

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

jaw dropping stuff, favorite got to be the tusken picture
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#7 mrklaw

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:44 PM

I popped along with my family this weekend - they had a 'star wars invasion' weekend to celebrate the opening of the miniland exhibit. Tons of stormtroopers, Rebel pilots etc walking around, and they were nicely themed too - Legoland windsor has an 'enchanted forest' section and they had an ewok in there along with speeder bike riders etc. and an RC R2-D2 which the kids loved.

Seeing a guy in a stormtrooper outfit is fun. Seeing twenty of them walking in formation towards you is quite a rush. A lot of them had cool voice changers which gave off radio static too.

few pics from the event

Lord Vader inspecting the damage from the attack on hoth
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ewok in the forest
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speeder bike guy
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#8 Mr Man

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:15 PM

View Postmrklaw, on 27 March 2012 - 01:44 PM, said:

I popped along with my family this weekend

It most have been bloody hot for the guys in Stormtrooper armour :laugh:.

Great pics.

Oh and congratulations Praiter Yed :grin: :blush:.
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#9 mrklaw

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:10 PM

View PostMr Man, on 27 March 2012 - 03:15 PM, said:

It most have been bloody hot for the guys in Stormtrooper armour :laugh:.

Great pics.

Oh and congratulations Praiter Yed :grin: :blush:.

Even worse for the TIE fighter pilots that were there

#10 Praiter Yed

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:32 PM

Thanks for the update and pics mrklaw, that looks like a really great day out especially with virtually the entire Imperial Army present :laugh:. Did you enjoy the SW MIniland?

I wouldn't worry too much about the Stormtroopers and Tie Fighter Pilots, they've probably got fans in their helmets - it's the Ewok I feel sorry for.

View PostMr Man, on 27 March 2012 - 03:15 PM, said:

Oh and congratulations Praiter Yed :grin: :blush:.
Thanks Mr Man  :grin:
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#11 mrklaw

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:57 AM

we only did miniland right at the end, so it was a bonus that Darth Vader was there (they also had a lifesize lego Darth Vader walking around).

Liked miniland a lot. Didn't really care for the prequel trilogy, but loved the OT trilogy sets. The millenium falcon was just massive and gave me goosepimples. The Hoth scene is so iconic and is just beautiful to look at. And the Endor layout with the Shuttle was sublime - I've just built the UCS imperial shuttle and the miniland one dwarfs it!

Hopefully they'll do one every year - it was very popular at a time of year where the park is usually fairly quiet (just opened)

Edited by mrklaw, 30 March 2012 - 10:58 AM.


#12 CaptainBermuda

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:01 PM

I just love life-size models out of lego. This whole miniland seems so great! I would really like to go there some day
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#13 Esurient

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:31 AM

Wow, sw miniland looked fantastic. I would love to go there someday too.
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