I’ve been thinking this for a while… and a recent trip to the Manchester Legoland Discovery Centre (LDC) has confirmed it – Lego is AWESOME!
Lego could have died out years ago if it wasn’t for its ability to diversify and form strategic brand partnerships. This has meant that not only has Lego survived, it is thriving.
When we were in the queue for LDC on Saturday, I asked my four-year old boy Josh, what his favourite ‘things’ were. He said Harry Potter and Star Wars. The first thing we saw when we walked in the door was the Harry Potter and Star Wars Lego sets (and a giant Darth Vader made totally out of Lego, which was awesome!).
But these were not ordinary Lego sets. For Harry Potter, there is a Quidditch game, the Hogwarts Express and a Hogwarts Castle set, and for Star Wars there is a Death Star, Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter and much, much more. A little boys dream basically. And a bit further on in the shop, they have the computer games.
For the last six years or so, Lego has been releasing a whole range of Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo DS and Wii games. Lego Harry Potter, Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, Lego Indiana Jones etc etc – and the games regularly make it to the top of the charts.
Anyway, back to the LDC. Once we were in and greeted by very happy and friendly staff, there was plenty to do. First was the Lego Factory, where you learn how the bricks are made (yeah OK, that bit was pretty dull). But then, we were whisked off to Kingdom Quest – the mission is to become a knight and defeat the skeletons, vanquish the trolls and capture the beautiful Princess (standard Saturday night out in Leeds then!). You are seated in a rollercoaster type car and given a laser gun, before setting off to zap skeletons and trolls as they appear on screen on the journey. Great fun for a four-year old (and me and Kate)!
Next we visited the 4D cinema. On arrival we were given 3D glasses and I was wondering where the extra ‘D’ was going to come from. Halfway into the mini-film (which was a lego adaptation of Rapunzel) we found out. As the hero escaped on a horse with Rapunzel, we were sprayed with water and hit with wind! And then when it started to snow, little bits of foam came down from the roof – accompanied with the 3D glasses, this actually gave it a pretty good effect.
After that, Josh visited one of the great soft play areas, played with the various types of Lego in the Lego pit, before going home a very tired little boy.
It was a great day out – the thing that impressed me the most about the LDC was the enthusiasm and the professionalism of the staff. They obviously absolutely loved their jobs! They were all very friendly and helpful, but also very commercial – they never missed an opportunity to up sell, whether it be for annual membership at the reception desk or from a medium to a large drink in the cafe. Also, at one point in the afternoon a kid had been sick in the hallway, and a military operation to remove it followed! The Wizard operating Kingdom Quest was on his radio and before I knew it, a mop bucket came from a guy from one way and a ‘careful, wet floor’ sign came from the other, and the panic was over! Very impressive.
The Lego Group’s motto is det bedste er ikke for godt, which means ‘only the best is good enough’ (I’m sure that’s a line from the old Milky Bar advert?!) and you can see that come through in everything they do. I’d always liked Lego, but now I love it!
Oh and just for fun, check this video out – its mine and Thommo’s favourite video of all time!