Legoland's newest show
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
by Lisa Perkis, guest contributor
The week of June 23-27 was preview days for the new Legoland show
Sports Jam. I took my girls, ages 6 and 8 to the Legoland Sports Center
to check it out.
While we were waiting for the Sports Jam show the girls tried out some
of the activities in the Sports Center. The small area contained a soccer
kick, a football throw, a rock climb, and a basketball toss. The whole
sports center looks rather makeshiftno shade or vegetation, chain
link fences dividing the games and painted asphalt throughout.
The Sports Center isn't as nicely themed as the rest of the park. Photo by Lisa Perkis.
Maybe that's what a real sports center looks like, but it was pretty
low rent compared to the other nicely themed areas of the park. The line
of kids waiting to play the games were shortbetween 15 and 20 kids,
but Legoland has notoriously slow loading procedures and not enough model
citizens (what Legoland calls its employees) manning the games.
If you think Autopia has a slow queue, you've never experienced 40 minutes
of sheer hell waiting for 20 kids to load onto the Royal Joust on Castle
Hillsomething Disney would find a way to load in 30 seconds.
The Sports Center games are standard fare, but the lines are pretty slow. Photo by Lisa Perkis.
The girls were hot and tired by the time they made it to the front of
the queues, and once in the game, were only allowed a few minutes to kick
or toss the balls. My older daughter declared she did not want wait in
line anymore after the soccer kick, but the 6-year-old hung in there for
all the games, save for the rock climb as it was an extra six dollars.
We also tried the Bionicle Blaster; one of the newest rides at the park,
and right next door to the Sports Center. The attraction is basically
teacups shaped like Lego pieces, but with the same steering mechanism
and same turning platform as the classic Fantasyland attraction. However,
halfway through the ride, the cups get very speedy. We did not turn the
wheel, but felt good and got motion sick anyway. The queue was short and
the girls rode it several times.
Bionicle Blaster, Legoland's version of Disneyland's teacups. Photo by Lisa Perkis.
Fifteen minutes before show time, the bleachers were opened and performers
started warming up, skating and biking on the large ramps. Kids were encouraged
to sit right up to the chain link fence enclosing the ramps in close proximity
to the performance and were provided with mats to sit on. The sound system
was very good, and playing upbeat jamming' music. Model citizens
came out before the show to throw sports balls to the kids.
Children get the best seats in the house. Photo by Lisa Perkis.
When the show started, dancers called Ultimate Sports Fans
came through the audience and continued to dance throughout the show.
At times they would roll giant soccer or basketballs out and dance around
them. I thought it incredibly cheesy, but of course my girls felt that
was the highlight of the show. I guess Legoland knew what it was doing
in hiring them after all. Some of the narration was pre-recorded, and
some done by the Sports Fan/dancer guy.
The show lasted 15 minutes, all tightly scripted. Each performer had
time to do a couple stunts and they cycled though several times. The big
climax came as the biker jumper over the Legoland mascoteliciting
many oh and ahs of admiration from the kids (and adults). Announcements
at the beginning and end of the show gave the standard kids, don't
try this at home, and to wear their safety gear, and so on.
A bicycle stunt being performed. Photo by Lisa Perkis.
As in all Legoland shows, the performers remain onstage for several minutes
after the show to give high-fives and shake hands with the children. This
is a little touch I appreciate about the parkthey like to make things
up close and hands on for the kids.
Overall, the Sports Center area of the park was below standard in what
I would normally expect from Legoland. Hopefully they will expand it and
make it more accessible for greater numbers of kids and add more activities.
However, the Sports Jam show was very well done, and over before it began
to be tiresome. My girls, who are not particularly sporty, enjoyed it
very much. I suspect kids who bike/skate or play basketball would be in