The Legoland pass for preschool aged children offers unlimited off-peak visits a year for only £60. Could this be the best value annual pass for stay-at-home parents? I take Tilly to find out.
As September becomes to loom I’m faced with the fact that I’ve got one year left with Tilly before she starts school. Looking after a preschooler can be damned hard work, with their threenager tantrums and seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy but we do have terrific fun too.
I’ve therefore set myself the challenge of making the absolute most of this last year when we can enjoy days out during the quiet of term time. When I looked at the annual passes on offer of local attractions, the Legoland preschooler pass seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. So off we set for our very first visit to the land of blocks.
Growing up, Legoland sounded like an amazing place but at that time it could only be visited in its home country of Denmark. By the time Legoland Windsor opened I was pushing 18 years of age and rather too old. At last, then, I have the opportunity to visit myself, enjoying it through three-year-old Tilly’s eyes.
Using the preschooler pass
At £60 the Legoland Windsor Preschooler Pass is a bargain when compared to normal ticket prices, which are just shy of £100 for an adult and child if you turn up on the day or £74 if you book online. The preschooler pass, which you can buy at the annual pass and ticket collection booths at the park entrance, is valid for a whole year, so there’s plenty of chance to get full value from it but its usage is strictly limited to term time weekdays and excludes peak summer.
As we’re nearing the summer holidays, the preschooler pass isn’t valid now until September. Still, it allows plenty of time to plan the trip and you know that it’ll be nice and quiet when you do visit.
A lot of people recommend planning visits to Legoland in advance. I think this is probably more relevant for weekends and school holidays, as none of the rides we rushed for at the start of the day got all that busy later on.
Some rides are height restricted, at either 0.9, 1.0 or 1.3 metres. At just over 0.9 metres, Tilly was tall enough to go on the slightly faster rides. Nevertheless, on this, our first visit, I opted to introduce Tilly to Legoland on the more gentle preschooler friendly rides to see how she got on.
Atlantis Submarina Voyage
A ride combined with an aquarium, Tilly enjoyed spotting the sharks, the drama of the ride and the fish tanks children can climb inside the middle of after the end.
Drive a boat around Lego City and spot various scenes. As Tilly hasn’t been in a small boat before it ticked that box and was a fun experience.
Heartlake City Express
An unexpectedly wet train ride around part of the park, providing good views over Lego City and Heartlake City areas in particular.
A little more sedate than the electric tractor ride at our local farm and fete go kart rides, Tilly enjoyed the driving school style briefing and then lapping some of the back markers.
Duplo Valley Airport
Making a helicopter rise, fall and turn, albeit gently, made for a fairly good fun experience for Tilly.
Fairy Tale Brook
A waterborne ride through a range of fairytale scenes, recreated in Lego. It gave the opportunity to get Tilly to identify some of the stories we’ve read in the past.
A rather dramatic name for a traditional ride, it’s nevertheless decent fun and Tilly was fine riding alone.
This last ride of the day proved to be something of a highlight. It’s a relatively gentle bouncing tower but the sensation of dropping was enough to delight Tilly who proclaimed “it’s my best thing!”, otherwise meaning it was her favourite ride of the day.
Next time I’m going to come better prepared for some of the water rides and we’ll step up the speed to some of the faster rides too.
Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show
A performance of acrobatics, water and explosions, it kept Tilly engrossed throughout. Make sure you check where you sit as there are splash and soak zones in the seating near the front. There’s also a performance by the Lego Friends girls but this was less impressive.
A playground for preschoolers, Tilly was really keen to play here despite all of the rides available.
Legoland’s splash park area for younger children, Tilly loved the surprise water sprays, some of which children can control. If you forget any swimming items, you can buy them from the shop next door.
The world in miniature. We only saw parts of this but it was mightily impressive, recreating cities and other scenes from around the world.
Lego Star Wars Miniland
A must for Star Wars fans. Tilly has only recently started watching Star Wars programmes and films but wanted to visit. There’s a mix of lifesized characters made out of Lego as well as scale recreations of some of the scenes from the films.
Undoubtedly the best thing about being able to visit during term time is just how quiet the park is. As it was the summer term there were several school groups on the site but nevertheless queues were largely non-existent.
The useful Legoland smart phone app includes queue times and as well as loads of other features for planning your visit and notifications of what’s on during your visit. It does eat up phone battery pretty quickly, so you might want to bring along a portable charger, but the app is really useful.
This screenshot of queue times taken a couple of hours after opening shows that with a couple of exceptions, queues were short and all of the other rides had queues of only 5 mins or shorter. Ideal when you’re there with an impatient preschooler.
Visitors to Legoland often comment on how the accumulated costs build up. I have to say we didn’t find that too much. Parking is £5 but I brought a picnic to limit food costs, which can be pricey in places. Tilly wanted an ice cream and hot dog during the day but both were just a few pounds. The ice creams are enormous so one scoop suffices nicely. We did inevitably buy a gift at the shop on the way out, but all in all I didn’t think it bad.
10 Top tips for visiting Legoland
- Use the Legoland website and app to plan your visit and see which rides are appropriate for your child
- It’s fine to bring prams into the park, which are a great way to carry changing and food bags
- Buy your preschooler pass from the annual pass or ticket collection booths and get the parking ticket at the same time
- You can enter the first area at 9:30 to be ready to hit the rides when they open at 10
- Start with the most exciting popular rides first to avoid any queues
- Bring swimming costumes and towels for the splash park and a change of clothes for wet rides
- Be sure to pack sun hats and sun cream on sunny days as you’ll be outside a lot
- Bring a picnic to minimise food costs
- Take the funicular train back up the hill to the exit at the end of the day. There’s a carriage for buggies
- Leave before 5pm to avoid the worst of the queues. Look at getting home via Ascot to avoid queues if possible (turning right on exit from the park
We made a really full day at Legoland Windsor, entering the park just after opening at 10am and leaving at around 4.30pm to miss the worst of the traffic. Nevertheless there were whole areas of the park we didn’t even touch on, so I’m in no doubt we could fill several more days throughout the year.
£60 for a single trip would be pricey for a single trip but given that we’ll be using it I hope for several more visits, I reckon it provides excellent value. Of course it’s limited to weekday, term time visits, but if you’re a stay-at-home parent within fairly easy reach of Windsor, then it’s a no brainer.
Disclaimer: The preschooler pass was purchased ourselves and all views are our own honest opinions.
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