Apparently several readers made it their
New Year's resolutions to send me more e-mails! Here's what some of you
eMailbox for 1/31/01:
|"S" read our Legoland
Information Guide and wrote to me:
Being as I was one of the original Model Citizens (MCs) that
opened the park in March of '99, I have to take issue with the
statement noted below. I had been trained and had been working at
Legoland since February of '99. One month prior to the opening. I
had worked at the park for over a year and a half.
In addition, I share the story of
my close friend, Princess Erin. When Erin was 2 1/2 years old,
she visited Legoland with her family. As her older brother and
sister rode the train through DUPLO® town, Erin stood by the
fence crying. Although this train ride appears to be quite
gentle, she was too short to ride it.
(Since Princess Erin's last trip,
I'm happy to report that the height restriction on the DUPLO®
Train has been removed. However, several others remain in
Now, the issue I have is with the statement that there was a
height restriction at the Duplo Train. In the entire time that I
worked at Legoland, there was never a height restriction. As a
matter of a fact, as an MC we were told to use the Duplo Train
along with Fairytale Brook and Coast Cruise as alternative rides
for those children that did not meet the height requirements.
I am truly sorry about the hurt feelings of the youngster that
did not get a chance to ride. I understand, because I have
children of my own and I had to deal with some of these height
restrictions myself. I must point out however that the ride
requirements are posted at all rides and if there was an issue I
am confident that the MC operating the ride would have been happy
to help out the guest with any issues they might have had about
In closing I must address one more statement that you had made:
Of course I am concerned for the
safety of my child, but Legoland seems to have taken some of
these restrictions to an extreme level.
At the time I had left Legoland I was an Area Lead. I was
responsible for everything that happened in any area that I was
assigned to. I dealt with this particular situation many times
over. (the safety issues concerning height, etc.) It may seem
extreme to you and many others, but I personally feel that there
is nothing more important to me than the safety of my children
while we are at any theme park.
What is that phrase? ...... Better safe than sorry.... The
safety regulations are there for the safety of the guests. If they
seem extreme, wait until something happens to a child, then the
statement would be that there were not enough precautions taken.
Let's think about that. I would rather deal with the irritating
restrictions rather than see my child or children hurt.
DUPLO® Train never had a height restriction, then the Model
Citizens were not doing their job properly. When Erin's family
went to LEGOLAND, the MCs at the DUPLO® Train told her parents
that she was too short to ride it and would not allow her to do
Perhaps the over-zealousness of
LEGOLAND in assigning height restrictions to rides had caught up
with those MCs that day.
My problem with LEGOLAND's height
restrictions is not just that it leaves children and parents
unhappy. The issue you do not address is LEGOLAND's marketing
strategy, which targets families with children aged three to 12.
According to the Centers
for Disease Control growth charts, the average preschooler is
under 40 inches tall. This means the very children the park is
marketing itself to are barely able to ride the LEGOLAND rides on
their own and will, more often than that, require a companion in
order to do so.
Families with multiple children have a
worse challenge with the current height restrictions, because
LEGOLAND ignores the fact that children have younger siblings who
are too small to enjoy those rides they see their older siblings
riding. Furthermore, not all families have two parents, and even
the parents of two-parent families cannot always visit together.
This May, Matthew will have a new
sibling. If I want to take Matthew and his baby brother or sister
to LEGOLAND, we will be able to ride very few of the rides. As
your email pointed out, when I take my two children to LEGOLAND
after my baby is born, the three of us will only be able to enjoy
three rides together! Because of Matthew's height, there are
only two additional rides that he will be able to ride alone.
As far as I'm concerned, this is
deceptive advertising. LEGOLAND is marketing itself to families
with young children, yet when many families arrive there, they
find that there are many restrictions that prevent them from being
able to enjoy the park. This makes a visit to LEGOLAND
Legoland's Animal Safari ride
I have visited LEGOLAND and have
experienced many calm or slow rides there with Matthew. One that
most readily comes to mind is the Animal Safari ride, one of the
slowest, calmest rides in existence. I could very easily plop my
baby in my Baby Bjorn carrier, put Matthew in the driver seat of the
safari ride vehicle, and sit on the open side of the car (as I'm
sure an MC would direct me to do for my child's safety.) According
to LEGOLAND height restrictions however, the baby would be too
short to ride at all, while Matthew would be too short to ride
Because the Animal Safari ride only
accommodates two guests per vehicle, this ride is inaccessible to
families in my situation, unless they visit LEGOLAND with enough
adults to help babysit while everyone takes their turns waiting in
line, which for one family I know, could be up to three separate
For LEGOLAND to be marketed to
families who then face these frustrations, in my opinion, remains
unacceptable. Should kids be safe? Sure they should! If LEGOLAND
believes that these height restrictions must remain in place in
order to ensure guest safety, then the park's management must
either re-evaluate their rides and attractions, or they should
review their marketing strategy.
Based on my opportunities to
experience the LEGOLAND attractions firsthand, I think that
LEGOLAND would be fine if they simply re-evaluate the ride
restrictions on their very tame rides.
|Back to Disney, John wrote in:
Your "Storytelling at Disneyland" piece was good
advice. The last time we went to DL was April '97 during a heat
wave. We planned our days to include at least one storytime around
mid-day, and found it to be a great way to get out of the heat,
and off of our feet. What's more, the CMs that participated were
all absolutely top-notch entertainment, and my kids *loved* those
storytimes. We have autographs, pictures, and some video of those
I have a great tip for Goofy's Kitchen. Instead of going for
breakfast, aim more for brunch instead. Someone suggested this to
me, and we tried it. I don't recall when the kitchen closes, but
we timed our arrival for about 90 minutes before closing. There
were *tons* of people leaving, but very few arriving! Really, by
the time we were settled, the restaurant was at least 70% empty!
Yet, fresh food was still coming out, and nothing had run out.
The best part was that the characters had so few people to talk
to! They all spent lots of time talking to us, posing for
pictures, etc. And with all the characters that were working, it
was almost non-stop! My kids had a ball, and again, lots of pix
and video to enjoy after.
BTW, that buffet is a better value if it covers two meals. We
just had a light snack in the morning to tide us over, spent a
couple of hours in DL, and caught the Monorail over to the DL
Hotel for about 11 am.
for taking the time to offer these tips, John! In November, my
family was invited to a birthday party at Goofy's Kitchen. The
restaurant provided goodie bags and hats for all the children in
attendance. In addition to the dessert buffet, we had a birthday
cake personalized for the guests of honor, which was provided by
Goofy's Kitchen as part of the birthday party package.
For readers who are looking for more
information about character meals and birthday parties in the
parks, see the links in the side bar.
Cindy described the Storytellings as one of the highlights
of her last trip to Disneyland:
Loved the article on storytelling. It was definitely one of the
highlights of our last trip (along with the Fantasmic buffet). My
husband complains that we go to DL too much, but thanks to
MousePlanet I always get to find something new and unique for my
family to enjoy.
My daughter was just the right age last time we went for the
Princesses' storytelling (almost 3 years old), and she was just
spellbound by the whole experience. Even my son (6 at the time)
got a kick out of the "helper." I love this part of DL,
it takes everything that's big and overwhelming and just makes it
a personal, memorable experience that you won't forget.
Thanks, Cindy. What I really like
about your comments is the idea that the little things like
Storytellings make the Disneyland experience more personal and
intimate. It must be part of the magic.
I loved your section on the ride restrictions at Disneyland while
pregnant. Having had a baby last April and having been an annual
passholder for my entire pregnancy, one of the things that I loved
to do since I couldn't get on the 'good rides', was watch the
little kids interact with the Disney characters!
Princess Aurora meets
two more princesses
I loved to see their excitement and joy when they met their
favorite Disney character.
One of my favorite MousePlanet columnists (and a really great
person), Sue Kruse, described one of these magical moments
beautifully. You might need a tissue, (I always do) but if you
read this magical moment,
you won't be sorry. (If you have read it, you should probably
click and re-read it anyway. It's just that good. That's why I
keep sending people to read it.)
Wanted: Your questions and feedback! They will
help me plan future columns! Write me at: AdrienneK@mouseplanet.com
Send your Adrienne's
eMailbox / Parenting in the Parks questions or comments to:
Keep in mind all questions
submitted to the Adrienne's eMailbox column become property of this
site. They may be edited for length or style and in consideration of a
family readership. Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site
Not all questions may be
responded to, but all will be read so I can have an idea of what you all
think out there.
For more information
about Character Meals at the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World, visit
the following links:
Restaurant Resource - Character
Note: A new character
meal, Breakfast with Chip and Dale, is now available at the Storytellers
Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel. As with the other Disneyland Hotel
and Paradise Pier Hotel character meals, priority seating arrangements can
be made for this breakfast by calling: (714) 956-6755
Parenting in the Parks: Meeting
In this column, I gave
my own reviews and descriptions of the Character Meals at Disneyland.
Parenting in the Parks: Birthday
Parties At Disneyland
This column describes
how to arrange a party inside the park itself, at Redd Rocket's Pizza
Walt Disney World
Restaurant Resource - Character
This page provides a
list of each WDW Character meal and the characters who typically appear at
each meal. There is also a table available at the bottom of the page for a
quick reference guide.
experience taking kids to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp
counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she
started her favorite job, being Matthew's Mom.
Adrienne and Matthew
visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy, too.
Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain The
Happiest Potties on Earth website.