The latest addition to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is NINJAGO World, a new area with a cutting edge ride based on the popular, long-running theme. Brick Fanatics attended a preview to share a glimpse inside this new world
After several rainy days with thunder and lightning worthy of Jay’s own elemental powers, the sun was certainly shining down on the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort as media attended to visit the all-new NINJAGO World, the latest addition to the 21 year old brick based theme park.
Guests can take a leisurely stroll through the park to arrive at NINJAGO World, or take a shorter route past familiar areas such as Star Wars Miniland and the Viking River Splash ride to where a new and exciting area awaits.
Given that LEGOLAND Windsor is a family theme park, I was joined by a fellow AFOL and his two incredibly well-behaved children to get a full picture of the new NINJAGO World and ride. As an adult I always get slightly over-excited at the prospect of being at LEGOLAND, a special place to me for many reasons, but seeing the sheer anticipation from the point of view of children was nothing short of magic.
Loki’s maze was the latest of the older attractions to be moved on to the great theme park in the sky, allowing space for the fresh and ever-popular theme of NINJAGO to take its own rightful spot. On arriving at the gates we were greeted by two ninja who were welcoming guests to the newest attraction. The first thing that strikes you is just how clean and new everything looks, which isn’t always the case with some of the more well-worn areas in the park.
Everything you’d expect to be present is there; from the towering Japanese architecture, loosely inspired by some of the sets, along with plenty of other things to marvel at such as huge builds of the NINJAGO gang around the forecourt.
One unique area can be found underneath a pagoda to the left of the entrance featuring a brick-built ancient monastery sitting atop a huge icy mountain. This is surrounded by buckets of white bricks allowing budding creators to get a hands-on build going which can be placed on the mountain directly. It’s inspiring to have a slightly more incentivised free-build area than just the usual tables with studs on.
Leading towards the temple which houses the new 4D ride, there are some impressive dragon statues either side of the main entrance. It’s touches like this throughout the area that really add to the sense of escapism you want when you visit a theme park.
The NINJAGO ride is going to be extremely popular and to cater for the expected queues are long, dark corridors with mystical lighting and more ninja-themed décor at every corner. We were fortunate enough to try out the ride within minutes, but during a usual park day, visitors should expect to get quite familiar with these corridors during the wait.
Once you have reached the start point, you’re boarded in groups of four into a seated booth on tracks. Each member of your party will have a different colour/elemental power assigned to their seat which is activated via sensors directly in front of you.
3D glasses on and you’re away on quite an intense ride that uses every bit of energy you can muster to defeat endless bad guys. The booth moves along at a swift pace twisting and turning around corners whilst gigantic 3D screens surround your peripheral vision from every direction. This ride is the equivalent of button-bashing on Tekken as you violently jab, stab and punch your hands over the sensor to trigger your energy balls towards all adversaries on screen. All the bad guys are present from the original skeleton armies through to snakes and ghosts from the more recent NINJAGO series, which fans of the theme and animated series will get a real kick out of.
It’s harder than you think as the seat moves, the characters on screen move, and there are added 4D effects throughout the ride. There is definitely an element of competition between your row as scores are displayed in front of you; though how someone got 257,000 when our top score was 116,000 seems impossibly impressive. After about one minute in, your arms will feel ready to fall off from the exhaustive workout you’ve given them. This didn’t stop us from having another go straight after, though I suspect you’d need many, many more to totally master the true powers of the elements.
The younger fans in our party shared their thoughts with me. Marie, seven years old, said, ‘the ride was fun, some parts with the gigantic snake were a bit scary. I liked how the shots fired straight from my hands.’
Kobe, who is 12 years old, said the ride is, ‘very tiring for the arms, but it was nice. I particularly liked the interactivity. It’s not easy to aim though, so you end up firing at random.’
As is tradition, you exit via the gift shop which should provide NINJAGO fans with an adequate fix of merchandise and sets.
NINJAGO World places a fair bit of emphasis on it being a training camp for budding ninja. There is a climbing wall which wasn’t in use when we were there, but will be a great way of letting your kids use up any energy they have left after waving their arms wildly for five minutes on the previous attraction.
If an outdoor ride is more your thing, you can also ride Destiny’s Bounty which sees you board a small boat that sways, spins and slides until you’re realistically sea-sick. It is a re-theme of the Viking version that was situated there before, so nothing new to LEGOLAND regulars.
NINJAGO has extended beyond the confines of the new area, as the Miniland lawn stage plays host to ‘The Portal of Peril’ spectacle. Each show lasts 15 minutes, giving parents a well-deserved breather whilst the children can join in the pantomime-esque show on offer and brush up on their ninja moves.
In the show, a young ninja is determined to conquer his fears and master his true elemental power potential with the aid from NINJAGO characters Nya and the ever-enlightened Sensei Wu. As an adult you’re unlikely to find much of interest here, except short respite from intense kid care, but the children seemed to love it with some clever staging and crowd interaction.
On that basis, our young fanatics shared their views. ‘The show is fun and has some nice special effects, but really it’s aimed at a younger audience,’ Kobe explained.
‘I thought it was really fun. The moving snake head was really good and I loved the smoke which hid when the snake would appear and disappear. The hanging lights looked nice too,’ said Marie.
All in all, the new area is a suitably well themed addition to the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. The new NINJAGO World area is bright and welcoming, and injects a new bit of life into an area that was in much need of change. If you get a chance to go this year, I’d suggest you minimise the queuing and make this your first port of call before exploring the rest of the park for the familiar rides and attractions we’ve come to love from Merlin Entertainment’s brick haven.