Disclosure: We were invited to attend a media event for the opening of The Great LEGO® Race at LEGOLAND® in Florida, in exchange for an honest review. However, all the opinions are 100% of our contributor.
The Great Lego Race – The Virtual Reality Experience Opens at LEGOLAND Florida
Ever had a Virtual Reality Experience?
The thrill of riding a roller coaster meets the technology of virtual reality on a brand-new attraction at LEGOLAND® in Florida. The Great LEGO® Race ran its first official course with guests at the wheel on March 23rd to resounding applause from the crowds. But is the ride worth all the hype and did it meet up to riders’ expectations?
Attending the Opening Day Media Event for the Virtual Reality Coaster
The weather was clear, though just a bit chilly. Traffic was perfect and we arrived in good time. The theme park was opening its very first virtual reality (VR) roller coaster built for kids, so this was certainly going to be newsworthy.
Opening Ceremonies that “Built” Excitement
The formal and official presentation began promptly at 8:30 AM ~ and I mean promptly! They went LIVE on their Facebook Page and kept the action going for just shy of sixteen minutes. After the initial greeting, we were then introduced to and entertained by the life-sized versions of the five teams being represented in the race. During their performance, they creatively shared a brief explanation of how things would work once we entered our “vehicle” and what to expect while “racing. ” It was a full show of musical and dance talent, ending in a blast of sparks and flare.
THINGS TO KNOW:
- Under 42 inches (1.06 m): Not tall enough to ride yet!
- Riders between 42 and 47 inches (1.06 m – 1.19 m): Can ride without the VR headset when accompanied by a responsible rider 14 years of age or older and at least 48 inches tall (1.21 m). The responsible rider must ride without the VR headset to supervise his/her companion.
- Riders 48 inches (1.21 m) and above can ride unaccompanied and with or without the VR headset.
- Guests must be at least 6 years old and 48 inches tall (1.21 m) to qualify to wear the VR headset.
- Guests in wheelchairs must be able to transfer to the ride vehicle with assistance from someone in their party. LEGOLAND® members would love to assist but are not permitted to lift guests into or out of the ride vehicles.
- If riders 48 inches or above wish to not wear the VR headset, that is acceptable if he or she is alone. Just remember that, if he or she is supervising a companion between 42 and 47 inches, neither rider can wear the VR headset.
The Wait Before The Race
Once the presentation was complete, there was time to spare. Media and their families were offered coffee, water, fruit, and muffins to tie us over and certain attractions in that vicinity of the park were opened at one point for us to enjoy. My two boys (and their father, no less) took the opportunity to ride the AQUAZONE Wave Racers and the Technicycle, both of which kept their attention for the short time we had to wait.
Time to Start The Engines!
Finally, it was time to get in line for our turn at the “wheel.” The wait was a bit more extensive than we had expected. Between each cycle, the “pit crew” was changing out GoPro cards as this was one of the perks we received. Completely understandable, but we were more than eager to get ourselves into the race.
Our turn was up. We were walking up a small flight of stairs to a level where a crew member shared with us how to use the VR equipment. “Eyes” up, pull down lap bar, clip hook to lap bar, put goggles in place and tighten the wheel in the back to secure. Easy, peasy!
The Virtual Experience
Once the goggles were in place, we saw ourselves in an illustrated garage. One of my sons said to look around. We were virtually surrounded by tires and tools.
Quick note: The goggles are designed to cover the ears so that you can hear the announcer during the race. This will likely impair your ability to hear anything else from you, including your ride companion and the “pit crew” – just wanted you to be aware.
Once everyone’s goggles were confirmed to be secure and lap bars locked, the picture in front of us changed. We were suddenly thrust into the middle of an actual LEGO movie race! The LEGO figure crowds were going wild and the competition looked fierce!
For the next few minutes, we were transported into the land of LEGO figures and landscapes. We were in the race with pirates, wizards, pharaohs, surfers, and trendies, all of whom were dodging rocks, braving fires and breaking barriers right along with us. There were dramatic drops and tons of curves to keep us alive and active in the race. But ~ who wins in the end? I guess you will just have to enter the competition yourself to find out.
Post Race Activities
What a great day to enjoy the rest of the park! As we had never been there before, we explored the park with eyes wide open and enjoyed the colorful layout and attractions the park offers.
We strolled through the Cypress Gardens, where you can find various kinds of flowers, statues, and LEGO® designs.
MINILAND USA was also fun to explore. It is an entire section designated to LEGO® building creations (my LEGO® fanatics loved this!).
We grabbed a quick snack of Apple Fries earlier in the day and then another quick bite a bit later at Pepper and Roni’s to keep our tummies from growling.
NOTE: LEGOLAND® in Florida has a wide variety of food options. From a pizza buffet to paninis and fried chicken, it would not be difficult to find something for everyone.
Attraction-wise, the boys found themselves quite a few that piqued their curiosity. They attended Flying School on a suspended roller coaster and braved the dinosaurs on the classic Coastersaurus. They even took a spin on Mia’s Riding Adventure. I think it would be safe to say my crew enjoyed themselves.
NOTE: LEGOLAND® in Florida has a plethora of rides and attractions geared more towards the younger generation. However, it is nice to see some thrill rides to keep the older siblings and (eh-hem) adults entertained.
Somewhere in between, we caught a 12-minute movie at the Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theater. My boys are pretty fond of the LEGO® movies (and anything 4D), so we thought this would be entertaining. Of note, there are strobe lights and loud noises as a part of this feature. This may affect certain individuals who may be sensitive to such.
Time to Wave The Checkered Flag
After packing in so much adventure, we finally ran out of gas and called it a day. On our way out, we picked up our park photo from the new attraction, The Great LEGO® Race. This was a nice way to commemorate our time there. We walked out of the world of brick and wonder having had an amazing day. The new virtual reality roller coaster truly was a hit for us. It was a fascinating experience that allowed us to be smack dab in the middle of a virtual LEGO movie.
So, yes. To answer the initial question…it WAS worth all the hype. I would anticipate that this will be a popular and focal attraction this summer at LEGOLAND® in Florida. It is a definite must-visit for those vacationing in the area between Tampa and Orlando.