Friday, August 30, 2013

Keeping Legoland Nursing in Public

A snack break at Legoland California. 
In the $15/day stroller we rented for carrying our stuff, you can see my 7-year-old
Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin tote from donating milk when Magoo was a baby. 
I'm a huge fan of the milk bank, and I'm glad I got to
donate at least a little milk from Bellybean
before he turned a year old.

This post started as part of my Photo Challenge, but we had so many great non-nursing photos from our 1.5 days at Legoland, and enjoyed it so much,
that it's also a bit of a review.  Kind of a diversion from my typical post,
but I hope it is enjoyed, and maybe informative for
anyone planning a trip to California!

was so much fun.  We had a shared birthday party for the boys this year with an Elephant and Piggie theme, but it was very nearly Lego-themed.  Eight-year-old Magoo likes them, four-year-old Sweet Pea really LOVES them, & fourteen-month-old Bellybean loves finding them on the floor and putting them in his mouth.

I highly recommend planning your day.  As I looked over the map writing this, I see now we missed more than we realized.  It's smaller than Disneyland so it's easier to do most things in a visit.  (It also wasn't as busy and wasn't as hot, so we weren't quite as overstimulated as we've often been on our few Disney trips.)  But there really is a lot of cool stuff, so if you know your priorities, you may miss less than we did.  Check out the interactive park map - I wish we had! 

Nursing in line for a ride before handing Bellybean off to his Nana.
The amusement park rides are best for Sweet Pea.  Magoo would prefer more daredevil rides.  Bellybean wasn't allowed on most of them (which was ridiculous for some of the super tame ones).  But they were perfect for our most ardent Lego lover. 

You can see rides by height restriction here.  We were told that we could have taken turns riding without having to wait in line twice (if we told the Model Citizens beforehand - yes, employees are called Model Citizens), but since Nana's "too short" for any ride with height restrictions, Bellybean always hung out with her while we were on rides he couldn't go on.

We read a tip to go to the back of the park first and start with the big rides that get long lines.  We kept getting distracted, but luckily I'm still not sure which rides have really long waits, because most of our lines were pretty short.  I did think that the staff and the set up for the rides was consistently and incredibly inefficient, though - so thank goodness lines were short! Rather than try to go to the back of the park again, I'd go over the interactive map and go to the coolest rides early in the morning. 
We all wore out Eat Local breastfeeding shirts from
Central Texas Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

on this day (except for Bellybean - the smallest was way
too big for him).  I loved being able to find Adam, Magoo,
or Sweet Pea so easily by looking for one shirt color)

The Lego displays were really fantastic. Miniland, especially, was so impressive.  Miniland rocks.  Totally rocks.  Some of the displays are even interactive!  Sweet Pea loved sending the lego people to get married in Las Vegas! 
And In the Miniland Marina the boys had fun steering small (not Lego) boats from afar for a couple of dollars each.  Lego Star Wars Miniland was super awesome.

Nursing in Miniland while the boys
marveled over the Star Wars displays
The water park was fun but unnecessary.  Actually, you can get plenty wet in the Pirate's Cove area, and may want to plan your trip accordingly.  Maybe spend the hottest part of the day there, or maybe go until before lunch, then take a break to change - or dry off (for a fee) in the hysterical family dryers - before eating and moving on to dryer areas.  The Aquazone Wave Racer will also get you wet, and it's not in Pirate's Cove.

It would have been nice to have checked out the Sea Life Aquarium instead of the water park, since we're boycotting the Austin Aquarium. Oh, well.

You can (or we could at the time) take your own food in - always good for saving money, as well as time when you just want a quick snack.  And good for picky eaters, too, of course!  We had lunch and snacks with us thanks to my mother-in-law.

The Pizza and Pasta Buffet was great.  We lucked out and were there during a period in August when kids ate dinner free!  Everyone liked their pizza, and when Sweet Pea special ordered chocolate milk, we each got a bottle.  The best part, though, is how they handled my food allergies.  A manager or someone in-the-know talked to me, and confirmed with the chef that there are eggs in the gluten-free pizza dough.  So while I couldn't get a special GF pizza, they did have GF spaghetti.  And they made me a salad with oil and balsamic vinegar, so that I wouldn't get sick from gluten cross-contamination, trying to eat off the salad bar.  My food was really good and the service was stellar.

While we were there, the world's largest Lego model, the Lego Star Wars X-Wing, was on display.  It.  Is.  Awesome.

This is what more than 5 million Legos look like.
The kids liked the Legends of Chima 4D movie.  You'll want to check showtimes when planning, and there are also certain times when costumed characters are out for photo ops and there are your standard dorky amusement park live shows, too (Sweet Pea loved the phoned-in one that we saw).
NIP in line for Lost Kingdom Adventure. 
They have Lego tables set up in the middle
of the line area to entertain kids while they wait!

We ran out of time to check out the hotel.  If you go, tell us about it! 

Phaoroah's Revenges was a favorite!  There are foam balls that kids can shoot, and send through air tubes.  The boys didn't want to leave! It would have made a neat social experiment to be a psychologist in there.  I saw the coolest thing happen.  In the center of the space, there was a big tube thing (see below).  If you put the balls in that big bowl-shaped part, they just sit there until you push the green button, and then they're blown up through the top section and come out the top.  Kids would do this with a few balls at a time.  I kept thinking that someone should round the kids up and get them to fill the bowl.  My son Magoo is an awesome leader, so he did try to yell loudly enough to get kids to work on a "cannon" with him in another area, but that didn't end up working out.  One girl, though, saw the potential of the bowl-tube-thing.  I never saw her holler for help or try to engage other kids in her goal.  But I saw her mother call to her that it was time to go, so she brought down the huge number of balls she'd been collecting in her jacket.  She loaded them into the bowl and as she struggled to get a ball out of her sleeve, someone hit the button, and boom!  It rained balls!  It.  Was.  Awesome.  And the rest of the time that we were in there, the kids were all working together to collect a ton of balls, and then hit the button once the bowl was full.  I thought it was a wonderful metaphor for leading by example.  Maybe for nursing in public.  Do it, others will see how awesome it is, and they will do it, too!  And you'll have made some really awesome changes. 

Photo Source
And now, because I just might have OCD, I have reviewed for you each ride we rode (and noted some things I wish we hadn't missed), and a few other entertainment things.  If you're not bored yet, this may do it.  But I know if/when we go back, I'll check over this list and make sure we hit the rides, etc. we like best first.  Scroll down to the end for some of our Legoland photos!  (The numbers correspond to the interactive map.)

7 Coastersaurus - Almost lame enough for Nana, so great for mid-level daredevil kids.
10 Safari Trek - FYI, 1 adult per car.  This is not the only ride for which this is true, as they're mostly not thrill rides but geared toward the kids.
11 Fairy Tale Brook - Perfect Nana ride - so we went around twice!

18 Kid Power Towers
- Looked pretty cool - sorry we missed them.
19 Sky Cruiser - At the end of our second night, the wait was 45 minutes (which the employee was not thrilled about - they were closing the lines at 8, not the rides).  If/when we go back, we'll want to ride this first.
22 Legoland Driver License - Wasted some time messing with this thinking it was like Disneyland's Autopia license before realizing it costs a lot to have them printed.  A lot.
Magoo at the Volvo Driving School
This Lego gal was getting her photo taken near the
Volvo ride.  The Legos really managed to draw
attention to her breasts, which I may be the only
to take note of, since I'm looking at it from a
"sexy boobs are okay in our society but
lactating breasts get the stink eye."
23-24 Volvo (Junior) Driving School - These two rides are split up by age.  Sweet Pea almost cried when he thought he wouldn't get to drive a Lego car, but thankfully we realized the Junior ride was right next to the one for 6- to 13-year-olds.  Wish we'd planned better for splitting up with only one camera, but there was a car to pose in afterward, too.

31 Lego Factory Tour - Somehow we missed that this was an option.  I'm really disappointed that we missed it.  Really, really, really.  Again, take time to check out the map and plan your priorities.  Something like Miniland is so cool you could spend hours looking around, but you may want to budget your time there and other places so you don't miss the things you think you'll like the most.
38 Treasure Falls - My guys got out of line because they were so unimpressed with the looks of this ride.
39 Soak 'N' Sail - Magoo had a great time running around this area while Nana and Grandpa tried to warm up Sweet Pea, who was freezing after being soaked on Pirate Reef.
40 Swabbie's Deck - Bellybean loved playing in the water here when he woke up from his nap.
41 Captain Cranky's Ride - Kind of silly and short spinning ship ride, but I'm a thrill seeker.
43 Splash Battle - Bellybean napped while the guys went on this.  They seemed to really like it!
44 Pirate Reef - The boys loved this - they rode it twice!
51 Hideaways - I lost track of Sweet Pea in here for long enough that it made me really nervous.  It's a really cool playground, but I'd have preferred to have done more of the rides.  I guess if lines had been awful, this would have been a more welcome respite. 
The smack-talkin' knight on the Royal Joust,
sword-fought by Sweet Pea.
57 Royal Joust - This is just for ages 4-12.  I thought 8-year-old Magoo would be bored by it, but he had fun on the little horse that went around a track.  Sweet Pea loved it, and I loved watching him pretend to sword fight a huge Lego knight as he passed it.

60 The Dragon - This ride starts out all Nana-friendly, riding calmly through some cool Lego scenes like one of the old Disneyland rides in Fantasyland.  And then suddenly you're outside and it's a fun roller coaster.  Would not have been Nana-approved! 

Dragon at Knights' Tournament
62 Knights' Tournament - Best ride in the park, maybe.  Would definitely ditch the kids and ride with Adam on a future visit.  You select your intensity level - or it's determined by the height of your child.  Magoo was really mad that he had to be a level two.  He tried to stretch and stand on his toes to look tall enough, but he was stuck with me at a two.  He's just lucky I didn't make him ride at a one with Sweet Pea.
65 Cargo Ace - They actually let Bellybean ride this one even though the map lists a height restriction.  I had to show that he could stand, and had to grab shoes to put on him, but the fact that he could ride made this one a favorite for me.
66 Lost Kingdom Adventure - One of those shoot-targets-with-your-laser-gun rides.  Which was awesome, for once, because I beat Grandpa, Magoo, Sweet Pea, and Adam!  (This is one ride that definitely should have allowed Bellybean).
71 Lego Technic Roller Coaster - This ride scared the crap out of me.  I am a thrill seeker.  I LOVE rides and I'm never scared (except maybe on traveling carnival rides)!  But this one feels more like there's nothing around you than any I remember.  Maybe it's just that I had my slim little Sweet Pea next to me and I felt like he could slip right out and just fall and fall.  But of course that couldn't really happen, so I'd totally ride again!
73 Bionicle Blaster - a fun spinny ride, just right for getting you a wee bit dizzy-sick just before dinner!  The Pizza and Pasta Buffet is just across the way.
74 Aquazone Wave Racer - very fun ride!  But it's a get-wet ride even though it's not back in Pirate's Cove. 
77 Xbox Family Game Space - I hate video games.  My kids love video games and do not have an Xbox.  I'm sure they'd disagree with me saying that the time we spent in there was wasted (even though watching them test driving a Kinect game was pretty cool). 
78 Lego Mindstorms - I was sorry we missed this until I realized it's for kids age 10+.  Sign up for a hands-on tutorial to build and program a robot.  Cool.
80 Duplo Play - This looks like it would have been a cool place to play!  (Definitely going to have to go back!)
81 Build and Test - Just adding to the "Wish We Hadn't Missed This" list...

82 Coast Cruise - Fun whole-family boat tour of some fantastic Lego models - like the elephant in the photo.
87 The Model Shop - Missed it, but would have liked to have watched the Master Builders work.

In the water park, the Build a Raft River was fun without much waiting.  Sweet Pea was cold, so he played near the Legoland entrance of the water park with a legos in water thing (Imagination Station), and then with some brick-sized legos.  We waited too long for the fun but super short water slide, Orange Rush, which you go down in a huge tube with a few other people.

And that's it.  That's the end of my review.  If you make it to Legoland, have a great time!  If you've got a nursling, be sure to keep Legoland nursing in public, and if you see a nursing mama, give her a high five!

Miniland - California

More Miniland

Star Wars Miniland

It looks like Bellybean is checking to see if Leia is lactating.

And that's the end of our Legoland California adventure!

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