Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[BILLUND] How to Legoland in Denmark

It seems to me that in Europe, the farther north you go, the colder and more expensive it gets. I was actually toying with the idea of going as far as Copenhagen then crossing the bridge to Sweden before I go south. The good thing is I did not. In effect, I just spent half a day in Billund, and not without reason. Perhaps Scandinavia and I are going to meet again, but for now I came for one sole purpose: Legoland.

I taught you how to Disneyland in Hong Kong and Japan before, now it’s about time you learned how to Legoland. Before we proceed, though, here are a few words of caution. Legolanding is almost similar to Disneylanding in a way that both would entail a lot of reminiscing, camwhoring, and taking photos. If you are looking for thrill rides that will take your breath away, then I am sorry to say that neither Disneylanding nor Legolanding is for you. Both activities are really just all about cuteness and nostalgia.

What the heck am I saying? You see, the target market here are kids, and those who were once kids, which means everyone. Disneylanding is cool for anyone who has been exposed to Disney through movies. Legolanding is more appropriate for those who used to play and collect Lego. And because those activities are usually linked to your childhood, expect some inevitable waves of throwback Thursdays in your head.

Does this mean that I will not enjoy Legoland if I am a thrill seeker? If you plan on Legolanding in Malaysia, the answer is no. I am not sure, though, because it has been more than a year since I Legolanded there. I do not remember any thrill rides. If you will be Legolanding in Denmark, however, there is one thrilling roller coaster ride which you can take advantage of, but the queue is always of box-office proportions. Make sure you eat a lot of patience for breakfast before you go.

Let’s go direct to the point now. How do you Legoland in Denmark? First, you have to get there. Billund Airport is less than 10 minutes away from the theme park by bus, and all buses going to and coming from the airport stop at Legoland. There seems to be a lot of flights using Billund’s airport, including Ryanair, that fantastic airline whose flights always come with a free two-hour delay. But what if you are not taking the plane?

If you want to thread the cheapo path like I did, what you will have to do is get your ass to Germany, preferably somewhere north. Take the train, or carpool all the way to Denmark. From Flensburg, it took me no more than an hour to get to Kolding. How much? 7 Euros! And this is not a joke. Germany has a lot of awesome and cheap carpooling services. Use them. A slower train will get you there for more than double the price. From Kolding, take bus 166. An hour later, you are all set for Legolanding.

The lines were long but they were moving. Legolanding Tip #1: Buy your ticket online. Why? If you buy your ticket online, you get a discount. Printing an online copy of the ticket gives you a printout with a barcode on it which you can use to skip the lines. I did not print mine because I’m an idiot, which meant I had to line up again to get a hard copy at the main office. All cool, though. No major drama.

Legolanding Tip #2: Prepare your camera. Legolanding is not complete without the requisite camwhoring in front of every Lego miniature version of the world landmark of your choice. At first I thought that this park would be Eurocentric because this is Denmark anyway, right? I mean, the one in Malaysia only had Asian attractions for display. Well, the Danes prefer a wider scope. Not only will you see African and American attractions here but there’s also Star Wars and some other fictional settings.

But of course there will be more attractions from Scandinavia, which is true for the Miniland area of the park. You even have a miniature Billund Airport there just in case you are curious how the airport looks like. As is customary for Legoland, the vehicles do move, so taking videos instead of just pictures is also a good idea.

Legolanding Tip #3: Sunscreen. I know, we are not going to the beach, but most of accessible areas in the park have no roof, and we were all reminded of that when it suddenly rained. This is when you decide to buy a really expensive umbrella or just make do with whatever protection the park map could give you. You can also seek refuge in the Lego shop which is obviously indoors, and which brings us to Legolanding Tip #4.

Withdraw your Danish Krones. If you are a collector, believe me when I say that you might just have a heart attack once you get in there. Touted as the largest Lego shop on the face of planet Earth, everything you need from hard to find heads to various accessories can be bought inside that shop. I found the collection rather lacking, however. They don’t even have enough supplies of the Avengers sets I was looking for.

Legolanding Tip #5: Try to enjoy the rides. Even if you are a 49-year-old woman suffering from midlife crisis, you were also a child once. And you'll at least have an idea what Lego is, right? Even if it wasn’t you who spent hours trying to make sense of those bricks as a kid, you might have at least seen your brother or your cousin do so. Relive your childhood. The rides are not the real attractions here but rather just used as instruments to better showcase the Lego creations spread out across the park.

I guess the tips end here. As for the experience, this is my first theme park outside Asia so it was rather strange swimming in an ocean of blonde people. In any case, a theme park is a theme park regardless which side of the planet it is on, and the more popular ones are going to be crowded most of the time. I Legolanded on a Wednesday but it didn’t help, maybe because it’s summer vacation in Europe anyway during that time.

Now that you know how to Legoland, let’s get to the more serious issues like budget. How expensive is Denmark? Let me clarify that I am no expert here because I only stayed for less than a day in the country, but man, I can assure you that it isn’t cheap. Have you lived anywhere in China? If so, then you'll find it amusing to know that the Danish Krone and the Chinese Renminbi almost have the same face value when converted to another currency. Okay then, what’s the point?

The bus ride from Legoland to Billund Airport cost me DKK 20. That bus ride took less than 10 minutes. In China, you can get anywhere on a bus with just around 2 renminbi. 1/10 of the price, people. The hotdog sandwich and Coke combo I had at 7 Eleven cost me DKK 50. RMB 50 can buy you a simple meal set in a good restaurant in Xiamen.

This means that if we are going to use Manila prices as a point of comparison, we'll just both end up in tears. So let’s not do that. No no drama, we don't want no drama. And stop converting everything to Philippine pesos. You might just lose your sanity. Of course, items bought inside the park will be expensive but the prices I used for comparing are from Kolding. I suppose Copenhagen will be even more expensive, so plan accordingly if you want to stay longer in this country, or anywhere else in Scandinavia for that matter.

From Billund, you can fly almost anywhere in Europe. As for me, I went straight to the airport and boarded a plane to Portugal, where the promise of beach and sun awaited me with open arms. Goodbye Northern Europe, you frigid bitch. Off to the warm embrace of sizzling Iberia! Woohoo. Sorry, I really hate cold climes.
[BILLUND] How to Legoland in Denmark

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