noun (pl. -chos)
1 : a blanket with a slit in the middle so that it can be slipped over the head and worn as a sleeveless garment
2 : a waterproof garment resembling a poncho and having an integral hood
We arrive at LEGOLAND Windsor at approximately 3.30pm on a cold, damp Wednesday afternoon with the intention of experiencing the park with the enthusiasm of an excited child. After entering the gates and negotiating the first toilet break of the visit we are met with a pretty impressive view of the whole park area. In the distance we see the beautiful Windsor Castle (i think) although it could’ve been a shopping centre, and we begin our descent to tackle the first ride of the day – Viking’s River Splash!
On reflection, without a change of clothes and on such a day as this a water ride shouldn’t have been our first port of call. However, we are young adventurers and this is the first ride we come across so we approach with little or no hesitation. Even the wet seats did little to deter us. This excitement and lack of regard for personal comfort proved a great choice as the Viking’s River Splash was a whole lotta fun! Wetness rating was about 6/10 but well worth it and I don’t fancy our chances of drying off with the dark clouds looming.
Being dry is overrated. After a little walking we discover the Dragon Coaster so we queue for about 15 seconds and then jump on the back. It is FREEZING! The cold air that hits your face as you twist and turn along the track doesn’t really go well with wet hair and damp trousers. As we finish the ride there are few people waiting to climb aboard so we go round again… a pretty quick ride and it did go some way to drying my clothes.
A gentle stroll across the park and it’s easy to tell that the Easter holidays are not yet upon us. There aren’t many kids in today and those present are probably too young to have even started school yet. We wouldn’t have to queue for the rides so i wasn’t complaining, although the wet trousers were ensuring a few moans here and there…. we’ll come back to the wetness.
Approaching the Jungle Coaster, we become more aware of the fact we don’t look like the average group of LEGOLANDERS as the ride operators appear to rub their hands together and cackle manically. This may not have happened but somehow it seems like it should have – as the Jungle Coaster came to a stop I felt my service station lunch was desperate to make an appearance. A pretty good coaster although maybe I am a little too old and experienced to fully appreciate the excitement that fellow younger riders were clearly experiencing.
So anyway, feeling a little jaded and cynical about roller coasters and my lack of appreciation for them – we approached what appeared to be a pretty small water ride. The Wave Surfer is a circular moat-like track where you ride round on a jet-ski type thing. If this sounds rubbish then my cynicism is translating well. But, I have been converted by the power of the Wave Surfer – this is seriously the greatest ride in the history of the world! Friends and enemies afraid of a little water can activate the water bombs in an attempt to soak you as you steer erratically in an attempt to create the ultimate wave. So much better than I ever thought it would be and I didn’t even care that I was once again soaked.
As the afternoon begins to draw to a close, we spot the coolest kid at LEGOLAND. The kid is unaware of how cool he/she actually is and as you have noticed I am unaware on the gender of said child. There is one thing that separates this ‘superchild’ from us mere mortals with our drenched sleeves and damp pants – it is known as a ‘poncho’. Don’t try and picture this creation because your thoughts will never do it justice. It is yellow, it has a LEGOLAND logo on the back and it has a hood. However, we later realise it only has short-sleeves – this minor imperfection will not tarnish the fact this is the best £3 I ever spent!
After the purchase is made, the rest of the afternoon is a blur. I am delirious with glee, glee being a word I haven’t used since another such historical occasion as this. With a poncho on my back and a skip in my step I attack the Pirate Falls. The first carriage we attempt to board is knee-deep in water so we grab the next one…. only our ankles will be soaked in this one. After a pleasant float along the winding approach, we begin to climb the track to the inevitable drop and subsequent splash. As the rear member of four riders, the water appears to feebly adhere to gravitational laws and congregates around me as we continue our ascent. As gravity again rears its ugly head, we plummet towards the biggest splash of the day! I am now immune to water and the feeling of wetness and so would happily ride again but 5pm is approaching fast.
We haven’t even ridden the Longboat Invader yet and so head for one of the newest rides at LEGOLAND Windsor. It doesn’t really look like I should fear it but I just wish I had given it more respect. I exit feeling a little worse-for-wear while a couple of kids a least 20 years my junior clearly had a fantastic time. Maybe I should stick to the water rides…
Time really is against us as we enter Loki’s Labyrinth. If we get lost in here then will they send a rescue team when the park closes? As each one of us attempts to win the race to the centre, I cheat a little by sliding through smalls gaps between blockades and the hedges. As we enjoy the view from the centre of Loki’s Labyrinth we realise it is time to draw this glorious afternoon to a close and head for the car.
As we slowly climb the paths towards the exit, I notice a LEGOLAND train full of other visitors taking the easier option to the top of the hill. I don’t envy them one bit – our glorious afternoon at LEGOLAND will not be tarnished now by such laziness! In the distance Space Tower shows ‘people’ climbing via ropes and a debate breaks out as to whether the climbers are human or LEGO… a coffee rests on the outcome.
They were human. No coffee ever changed hands.