Legoland Malaysia is here!

Early on Sept 1, I stood in the queue, patiently inching my way through the thick crowd to the ticket window.  It was a Private Event for the media but I saw groups and families trickling in after 10am, probably the media’s families and guests, joining the throng in front of the bank of ticket windows.  Several young ladies standing in the queue behind me were curious about the park brochure in my hand and asked to borrow it for a peek before they entered the spanking new Legoland Malaysia theme-park in Nusajaya.

"Tall footballers" outside Pizza Mania
in Imagination, Legoland Malaysia

As they pored over it, I couldn’t help overhearing their discussion in strategizing on how they should start in an anti-clockwise direction so that they can dry off from the possibly-getting-wet rides before they reached the next attraction.  I politely interrupted, informing them that there are Body Dryers provided for use at a small fee and they seemed rather impressed by my knowledge of the park.  Rather than taking credit for being such a know-all, I confessed that I just read the info from the brochure!

By this time, they also spotted my press-card that I held ready for presentation at the ticket window because identification was required to get my admission ticket.  This started a friendly chit-chat with these ladies from Starhub Media, Singapore about my work and Legoland Malaysia’s much anticipated opening to the public on Sept 15.  

Builders with dinosaur near entrance to Duplo Playland

Our lively banter made the wait easier and one of them even warned the others in jest, to be careful of what they said because I was listening! 

Looking at the gathering crowd, I spied photographers armed with tripods and cameras among the sea of people waiting at the park entrance, proving that there is much interest in the first Legoland park in Asia by a host of local and international media representatives.

Facade of entrance to Legoland Malaysia, Nusajaya, Johor
It struck me that I was standing on this site to witness the ground-breaking ceremony before the start of construction, officiated by Dato’ Abdul Ghani Othman, the Johor Menteri Besar on 2 December 2009.  

And I’m here again now to see that the park is open and ready to welcome visitors.  In my report on the ground-breaking event in 2009, I said that “Legoland Malaysia is one step closer to becoming a reality” and as I stood in the queue, I realized that it is indeed a reality now! 

A team racing to put out a fire at
Rescue Academy
Looking back to that similar sunny day in 2009, I remember picking my way across an expanse of dusty red earth to join the media group seated under several tents pitched on a spot in the 76-acre site of Medini North in Iskandar Malaysia.  The event organizer had arranged a gimmick where the Johor chief minister would shift a lever in a hydraulic excavator to tip its bucket filled with thousands of multi-coloured Lego bricks.  This gesture of tipping a gigantic mound of colourful Lego bricks to the ground with a loud crash marked the start of construction that turned a vision into a tangible reality!

The souvenir item I received from the ground-breaking event – aptly a bagful of Lego bricks – was given to my young nephew to add to his Lego collection.  I can recall how proud he was to create a unique double-propeller plane from these bricks.  I’m glad that a new generation of children will be introduced to the world of Lego with the opening of Legoland Malaysia this September while many adults can fondly relive memories of their childhood spent in hours of creative fun, playing with Lego bricks.

Visitors capturing a memento in a photo with Bricky!
My reminiscing ended when I reached the ticket window and received my admission ticket.  Armed with my ticket, I joined the queues again – this time to get my ticket scanned before entering the park.  I made a beeline for the Guest Services Counter at The Beginning to ask for directions to the Media Center in the park and was pointed the right way with instructions to look for it behind Einstein in Lego Technic. 

Before finding that giant portrait of Albert Einstein sculptured in Lego bricks, situated between Lego Mindstorms and the Lego Academy, I was distracted by enthusiastic yells from riders enjoying their experiences on the Technic Twister and the Aquazone Wave Racers.  While I was watching them thrilling to spinning and splashing in their rides, my attention was suddenly riveted to shrieks above, coming from excited riders on the aerial tracks of Project X, the park’s fastest ride.  When I finally found my way to the Media Center, I also met Siegfried Boerst, the park’s General Manager, who was being filmed for a TV show.

Peggy with Siegfried Boerst,
General Manager of Legoland Malaysia
Boerst is certainly upbeat about the opening of Legoland Malaysia, the sixth Legoland park in the world that joins five other Legoland parks located in Denmark, England, California, Germany and Florida.  While all the rides, restaurants and attractions are opened in the park, construction is currently in progress on the adjacent Water Park (opening next year) and Legoland Hotel (opening 2014).  It’s interesting to learn that the 249 family rooms in the hotel are designed in Lego themes for guests to enjoy the Lego experience beyond their day in the park!

I explored the park and saw families with young children, teenagers and young adults enjoying endless fun with inter-active experiences in attractions that are designed to the highest international quality standards. 

While the park has lovely garden landscaping that included young saplings that will eventually become a canopy of trees, I just wished they would grow shady more quickly because my delicate skin was getting deep-fried even though I kept myself shaded from the scorching sun! 

Visitors twirling and spinning on the Technic Twister
Children of all ages have endless fun at the Build and Test Center
Kids get behind the wheel at the young learners' Driving School
Look out for interesting sights like this medieval catapult in Lego Kingdom
and try to find that missing man!
Segget Walk along Johor Baru's Jalan Jalan Wong Ah Fook with
a backdrop of iconic city landmarks in Miniland

But one thing is for sure – Legoland Malaysia is certainly an attraction that Johoreans can be very proud of.  For more info about Legoland Malaysia, visit website: 

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 14 September 2012

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