Feel the Force at Star Wars Miniland
If you’re a Star Wars fan or live with one, either human or droid, you’ve probably already come across Star Wars Lego or Lego Star Wars games, but Legoland Windsor have just taken it all to a new level with their Star Wars Miniland experience. It opened the same week as the new Legoland Hotel so as part of our Twin Theme Park Adventure we lost ourselves for an hour or so somewhere in a galaxy far far away…
Face to face with Darth Vader
Suddenly there’s a life sized Darth Vader in front of me. I am close enough to snog him. Not that I want to. Honest. But I could. It makes me wonder what his breath would be like? Is there dental hygene on the dark side? I then reach out and touch C3PO. His glazed eyes stare back at me. He needs an optician, and I can’t even begin to speculate on where I might find an ophthamologist with droid experience.
This is a galaxy far far away
No, I’m not on another planet and I’m not at a Star Wars convention. I’m at Legoland Windsor, the day before a new attraction is due to open. Over the next few months and probably years, this intricate Miniland experience will undoubtedly be filled with people marvelling over the complexity of the tiny ewok and stormtrooper figures. But right at this moment there’s just my family feeling the force. Actually it’s just me and Stuart. The children bombed through at the speed of a light saber while we immerse ourselves in the world that they once claimed as their own.
It’s way too familiar
Matthew and Cameron watched the movies for years. I’ve heard the opening music and the jazz riff from the bar in Tatooine so many times they are tattoed on my brain. By the time they were six they had read every Star Wars book and comic and studied every intergalactic internet site. On cycle holidays we’d kill hours of boring pedalling by playing a Star Wars A-Z game; squeezing out a character’s name beginning with every letter of the alphabet. (We admittedly did struggle with the letter ‘X’- obviously not big enough fans!)
Star Wars lego is something worth lingering for
So now while we linger here, enjoying the memories of our sons’ childhood enthusiasms, they’ve rushed ahead for another go on the Atlantis submarine voyage in the theme park beyond. But I think this attraction warrants lingering; there’s seven famous scenes from six live action Star Wars movies to study, plus (according to Matthew) a bonus scene from the animated Clone Wars film.
It took 1.5 million bits of Lego to build, and it sings, dances and moves. Lights go on and off, and the Millennium Falcon even takes off. This Lego world in miniature follows the chronological path of the Star Wars time-line and I can only imagine how exciting that would have been to the boys only a few years ago. I have a taste in my mouth and I realise it’s nostalgia.
Feel the force as a mini figure
Under one of the Miniland sets, a plastic tunnel leads to a perspex bubble viewer. Children can crawl into it and stick their heads up into the set itself, to see the Lego close up and feel part of the scene. As my kids aren’t around, I brief Stuart of my plan to crawl in. I shuffle along on my stomach and push my head up into the small space. I pose for a picture feeling like I’m in a goldfish bowl.
Another family comes in and I duck down, hoping they don’t notice me. They stand against the set to admire the workmanship, and consequently block the tunnel exit. I am now stuck. It’s claustrophobic, and being too big to stand up, I find there’s only room to squat. But I’m too old for squatting and my knees give way.
Why is everyone looking at me?
I can’t breathe very well in this dark enclosed space. I push myself backwards through the tunnel and out through the legs of the mother, muttering a panicked apology. Her teenage children look on appalled. It must look like their mum has just given birth to Jabba the Hutt.
The great thing about Lego is that everyone can do it. As I peruse the final exhibits, I convince myself that that with enough time, patience and money I could have a go at making any one of those models. Indeed many of the kits are for sale in the adjoining shop. It’s there that I find my children, not on a ride at all, but gathered around a huge boxed set.
“This one is three hundred and fifty pounds Mum!” Cameron shouts. “That’s like, three ipods!”
“Can I have it for my birthday?”asks Hannah hopefully.
In another universe.
We leave empty handed but inspired
I know that if I bought them one now they’d be as engrossed as they ever were in the strange and wonderful world of Star Wars. They may have outgrown the Empire, but they’ll never escape the positive force of Lego.
Disclosure Note: Thanks to Legoland Windsor Resort who allowed us to check out the hotel and park to bring you this story.