If Disneyland is the place where magic happens, then LEGOLAND is the place of awesomeness.
I must be one of the last few people from the island of Singapore to go to LEGOLAND at Iskandar Malaysia. Almost everyone I know can boast of a ‘been there, done that‘.
I’ve been biding my time, waiting for Nat to finally hit a height of at least 90 cm so he can be allowed to take some rides at the theme park and the time has finally come.
So to LEGOLAND we go! How can we not be found in a place of endless awesomeness of Lego, Lego and more Lego this holidays when I have ardent Lego fans in the house?
We checked out the LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort’s hotel, theme park and water park earlier this December, and here are the highlights (as well as the not-so-high ones, as you will read) of our short getaway by car, with three children aged 5, 4 and 2 in tow.
Presenting, Motherkao’s very own review on LEGOLAND Hotel, using the acrostics (what else?) L-E-G-O-L-A-N-D…
Leaving Singapore for the LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort
The LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort is definitely nearer than we thought it was. It was a relatively smooth ten-minute drive the moment we set off after custom clearance at Tuas Second Link. It was easy to drive there (Tuas Checkpoint SGD3.20 using the cashcard and only one toll to pass in Malaysia at RM15, so prep your Touch ‘n’ Go card), and much more direct than we had expected. Basically, just drive till you see Nusajaya Exit 312 and follow the huge brown ‘LEGOLAND’ signs that point you to the direction of LEGOLAND.
It was that easy – drive straight all the way, exit at 312 Nusajaya, look for the brown. Totally idiot-proof.
We were going to be checking in to the hotel, so we parked at the hotel carpark. It’s free-of-charge for guests and RM30 if you’re not an inhouse guest. Parking is sheltered and the carpark has ample spaces for parking (two basements), with many cars parked backside in (so I assumed it’s pretty safe, considering we were advised to park head in in Malaysia).
Exchange and Fair Trade
Prior to making this trip, I learned about the practise of swapping LEGO minifigures (also affectionately known as minifigs, in Lego-speak) from Wacky Duo’s post. Apparently, it’s a tradition which began in LEGOLAND Florida in which a complete minifig can be exchanged or traded with any staff in the resort who has a nametag that reads’ TRADE WITH ME’ as frequent and as often as possible.
If you’ve read Wacky Duo’s experience trying to do the minifig exchange (that was in October this year), you’d have learned that it wasn’t as pleasant as they had hoped it would be. Nonetheless, I placed my confidence, albeit a little too early, on this piece of press release by LEGOLAND and told Ben (the biggest Lego fan in the house and the owner of I-don’t-know-how-many minifigs) to prepare some for making exchanges. You know how those Lego blind packs work, right? How you can end up with the same figure five times after opening five packs.
So yea, I told him to fix up all his extras, pack them in his luggage and do his swaps should he find someone he wants to trade with.
At the hotel, we waited and looked around while playing at the lobby for exchanges to take place which we could witness. Nothing. No one did any. No trading was taking place. Curious, I asked the staff at the reception if the practice of swapping minifigs was scrapped. He smiled and said it still very much was ongoing, and asked if we wanted to exchange with him.
And then the LEGO-AWESOMENESS happened. My son, at 5 years of age, mustered his courage to exchange his first minifig, and there was no turning back.
Unlike what Wacky Duo experienced (the staff rejecting exchanges because minfigs were glued to their tags), everyone whom we subsequently asked, spoke with or even leaned close to just to examine their minifigs shared in the excitement of the minifigs trade. A very huge improvement since October 2014.
Ben then went on to exchange his second and third, and even gave his sister the courage to exchange hers.
And I had to join in the fun to exchange one, too. I was in LEGOLAND, for crying out loud, and I must do my part to keep this tradition alive, yes?
Now, that’s some awesomeness there. We were happy owners of new minifigs, completely mixed and matched in randomness, and totally loving them.
Remember to keep the tradition alive and bring some minifigs for swapping the next time you come!
Goosebumped by some unpleasant birds at Bricks Family Restaurant
The Bricks Family Restaurant is the place where buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. The LEGOLAND hotel has 249 rooms in total, so you can imagine what a feat it would be feeding all the hotel guests at breakfast.
Because breakfast time for most normal, functioning human families starts from 9am to 10am, the human traffic swells to an all-time high at this place at this peak hour. A wait of 10 minutes or more is usually expected before you get a table, which was fine by us, since the feeling of hunger can be easily forgotten by the distractions all around the entrance of the Bricks Family Restaurant, namely the soft Lego play pits and Xbox corner.
I’m ok with waiting (but not for too long) during my holidays, really. We didn’t really wait very long anyway. 15 minutes thereabouts to me is acceptable.
But I am not ok fending off crows.
The first time we had breakfast there at this restaurant, we were seated outside.
I know crows are nobody’s fault, but it was harrowing to be eating with crows watching us, ready to attack our food the moment we were gone. And since it’s a buffet, how many times would we be gone? And the thing with crows is that they are oblivious to young children. Smaller children are hardly humans they should be fearful of, and I constantly feared for our lives having that meal. I know I’m exaggerating a bit here but you get the drift.
I get goosebumps having a crow or two watch me eat. I am terrified of crows. And my children too.
On our second day we were assigned indoor seats, thankfully. And that was when I could taste my food a whole lot better, even though I was also constantly worrying for the children who were outside. Anyway, since I could taste my food a little better than the day before, I am so not glad to be saying that the food didn’t taste fantastic. It was mass cooked, for sure; and I wouldn’t blame the folks either because serving up breakfast to so many people everyday during crowded school holidays season sure isn’t an easy thing (the restaurant can seat up to 465 guests). Nonetheless, it was disappointing to not get good food in Malaysia.
Because Malaysia to me has always been about good food.
Other Hotel Facilities and the Slowly Slowly Movement
LEGOLAND Hotel itself deserves one full day of your time to explore and to immerse yourself in.
I will state from the onset that their check-in and check-out times will make a fool out of you if you’re a true LEGO fan – who would love any moment of admiring the details in Lego construction and pieces – and if you intend for your stay at the hotel to be only one night and not more.
Check-in is at 4pm and check-out is at 11am. Tell me, how to stay only for one night?
Most people that have done the hotel stay and park visits will tell you that the best way to experience the entire resort is to stay for at least two nights. I’m glad we did. We were very kindly hosted by LEGOLAND for our first night, and offered corporate rates for our second, complete with a complimentary one-day Theme Park and Water Park combo pass for the entire family.
The kiasu mother in me had grand plans to make the best of our stay. The grand plan, like what most people’s itinerary (or so I heard and read), was to hit the road by 8am, reach the hotel to leave our luggage by 9.30am and then start our theme park fun the moment the park opens its doors at 10am. When it gets too hot and we need to cool down from the heat, we’ll adjourn to the Water Park just next to the Theme Park after lunch and spend the later part of the afternoon there. When the Water Park closes at 6pm, we’ll head back to the Theme Park for the Christmas programme and lights since it closes at 8pm.
Sounds perfect? Apparently NOT.
The husband learned of this plan and gave me two very specific instructions on what NOT to do for this getaway: rush everyone around like a mad mother hen; spoil the holiday by yelling at the kids.
And then he said, judging from the flow of my very packed itinerary, I was definitely going to do both. He requested for this holiday to be as relaxing and as fun as possible, and that there be no to-do-list to check.
So out of respect for the man who’s worked so hard the whole year long, we did the “slowly slowly”. Slowly slowly get ready and wake up anytime we wanted, slowly slowly drive to Malaysia (we avoided the AYE traffic by setting off at 10am), slowly slowly leave the luggage in the concierge, and then slowly slowly head to Medini Mall (next to Theme Park) for lunch. After lunch, slowly slowly explore the shops for old school snacks and take kiddy rides for RM1.
Then slowly slowly walk back to the hotel and explore the play pits at the lobby, building, stacking, building, stacking. Slowly slowly walk around to look for minifigs to exchange, and then try our luck for an earlier than 4pm check in, which we got, at 2.30pm.
And then slowly slowly walk to the themed hotel room, admiring the details on walls, carpets, furnishing, decor and elevators along our way. This slowly slowly gig turned out to be extremely relaxing, and FUN!
After we thoroughly checked out our hotel room (next point), we headed to the hotel pool for a leisurely swim.
The pool occupies a decent, peaceful space comprising an infinity pool (1.2m) overlooking the two parks and a children’s wading pool (0.6m). The kids had a good time slowly slowly splashing water and doing their dipping rounds, and it was all together completely relaxing once again.
Before dinner, we walked around the hotel lobby again and realised that there were many daily activities taking place. There was a Build-a-Lego themed challenge daily, and for the month of December everyday, the best construction of something Christmassy wins a prize. All you needed to do was to use the bricks in the playpits and make something to the theme of Christmas and leave it at the reception counter. At the end of the day, all entries would be judged and a winner chosen.
That night we were there, there was also a ‘Guess the Number of Bricks’ contest in which we were invited to estimate the number of Lego bricks in a jar. Ben won that, that night, and earned himself a certificate and Lego brick keychain.
In addition to these things happening, we also slowly slowly checked out other play areas…
The lounging corner (where we watched a cartoon of the history of LEGO)…
And were treated to a good time of carolling by the LEGOLAND folks…
So much to slowly slowly do in one day!
LEGOLAND Hotel Room – We’re in a Kingdom!
Our hotel room. Ah, our hotel room! The highlight of our trip. Such details. Such awesomeness. How impressive!
The LEGOLAND Hotel has 249 themed guestrooms, following the three popular Lego lines – Pirate (think skulls and bones), Adventure (think Revenge of the Mummy) and Kingdom (think knights and armours). Each room can sleep up to 5 guests, with a king-size bed for adults, and a separate sleeping area for up to 3 kids, complete with a bunk bed, a pull-out trundle, their very own TV and a box of Duplo bricks for the young ones. The bathroom also comes equipped with a washbasin for children. What awesomeness!
But the best part – the best thing for me was the details in the room and that we had a room with a view. Everything was made to fit the theme, from the beds and the carpet to the wallpaper and even the Lego decor in the room!
A Treasure Hunt and 4 Mystery Numbers
The highlight of our hotel stay, for my eldest son, the hugest Lego fan in the house, was the thrill that there’s a mystery box to unlock in the hotel room.
So we were told that there was a special sheet of paper to search for to get the questions for clues to unlock the mystery treasure chest. Ben jumped to work immediately, and wasted no time locating and counting the items that’s requested of him for his task.
I cheated by calling the reception for the code while he was busy at work so that I knew the code to unlock the chest before he did. Hurhurhur.
Nonetheless, the boy solved the mystery on his own, and was extremely elated to have found treasure inside the treasure chest!
It was his reward indeed, but one he gladly shared with his siblings because he is such a sweetheart – a Lego Spiderman magnet, a Lego Ninjago keychain and a Lego brick keychain!
Night time at LEGOLAND Hotel – A Beautiful Sight
I don’t know if you’ve done it. But we did. Take a slowly slowly walk in the still of the night and just soaking in the Christmas atmosphere and the idea that we’re in LEGOLAND.
Di Mattoni Restaurant
We were very glad to have found decent Italian fare at this restaurant in LEGOLAND Hotel, and that very much made up for the harrowing breakfast experience with the crows. The food here at Di Mattoni was extremely delightful, and we were really happy dining here. This restaurant deserves a mention especially, because despite being a place for fine dining and all, they catered completely for the kids – word search puzzles, colouring and Lego bricks to keep them occupied, you name it – while we waited for our food. Service was excellent as were the cocktails and dishes.
There you have it, a L-E-G-O-L-A-N-D review of the LEGOLAND Hotel, with more awesomeness than we imagined. So glad we initiated our Slowly Slowly Movement the first day we were there to thoroughly enjoy food, company, and LEGO!
LEGOLAND Hotel, we’ll be back!
Coming up: A review of the LEGOLAND Theme Park and Water Park
Disclosure: We were hosted by the good folks at LEGOLAND Malaysia for the purpose of this review for one night at their Kingdom Premium Themed Room, and offered a corporate rate for our second night. No monetary compensation was received for this post, and all opinions here, including being deluged by waves of awesomeness, are our own.