Review: Legoland Discovery Manchester
We went to Legoland Discovery Centre a couple of years ago and, while we thought it was okay, we weren’t that impressed and didn’t think it was value for money at all. We’d heard, however, that some attractions had been added so we were pleased to get the chance to go back and try it again.
You still enter the Legoland Discovery Centre through the shop, which I’m not wild about, but we didn’t have to queue for very long so our two boys – 8-year-old Harry and 3-year-old Joe – weren’t too tempted. From there you go to the holding bay (you can have your photo taken with a Lego Buzz Lightyear on the way in, but my two weren’t interested – where there’s a short animated film about Lego. Last time, Harry loved the film and would’ve happily stayed to watch the whole thing, this time we went straight through to the Lego Factory Tour.
This isn’t really a factory tour – it’s just someone showing the children how Lego bricks are made – but the children enjoyed it and at the end they got their own Discovery Centre piece of Lego, which they were pleased with.
From there, we went on the Kingdom Quest ride. Last time we queued for ages for this ride and I was incredibly annoyed at how rubbish it was. This time we didn’t queue for very long at all, but it was still rubbish. It’s like the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast ride at Disneyland Paris – you trundle around shooting at ‘baddies’ with a laser – but unlike the Buzz ride, it’s slow, unconvincing, our lasers didn’t seem to work very well. It’s all really just a bit feeble.
We loved the Miniland model village again, with its little Lego versions of Blackpool (complete with tower, pier and big wheel); Manchester with another wheel, the Urbis Centre and Old Trafford; the Lake District and more. Every few minutes, the lights dimmed to show off the lights on the models and fireworks appeared on the walls.
Once through Miniland, you’re into the main space, which is dominated by a soft play area and cafe. The cafe was really busy and there isn’t enough seating – as soon as we walked in, we remembered this from last time. We got some lunch and the boys ran off to fling themselves down slides and into ball pools, etc. Once they’d exhausted themselves, we had a go on the Merlin’s Apprentice ride, which we really enjoyed, and then we had a play of some Lego. Finally. I was disappointed to see the Lego Friends area – all pink and lavender – but my boys flung themselves straight in there and had a great time. They also loved the earthquake tables and the huge rubber Lego bricks. (I kept trying to build a huge rainbow, but Joe kept knocking it down. I got quite narked.) Harry had a go on the Forest Pursuit ride – driving cars around a set – and he seemed to enjoy it, but I think it was a bit young for him and it was too old for Joe, so we didn’t get the best out of it.
Our last stop was the 4D cinema, which the boys were so excited about they queued for about 15 minutes. We all absolutely loved it, even though Joe found the 4D so convincing that he screamed his head off more than once. For me, the 4D cinema was the highlight, definitely, but the boys liked the earthquake tables the best.
We all enjoyed it much more than last time and it has definitely improved – more rides, more variety – but, as we were leaving, David said, “It’s basically just a glorified soft play centre, isn’t it?” and I’d been thinking exactly the same thing. Which is fine as it goes, but possibly not for 60-odd quid for a family of four.