The wonderful people at LEGOLAND Windsor invited the four of us to have a sneaky peek at ‘Duplo Valley’ last Saturday, before it opened to the public. We’re not overly far from Windsor, and a quick fly around the M25 got us to the LEGOLAND Hotel for 10am. We collected our wrist bands and made our way on to the Park to find ‘Duplo Valley’, a quick walk past the Driving School and Boating School and we were there.
For those who don’t know, the Splash and Play area is in the open-air, it’s not enclosed. It was a freezing cold day, and not really ideal weather to be donning swimming things, but G an I braved it. When you get into the Splash and Play area, there are around 8 changing cubicles, with lockers to the side, these are £1 and it’s non-refundable, there is also a ‘hay-stack’ drier too.
The Splash and Play is split into two areas, you have the DUPLO Splash Safari which is designed for pre-schoolers and toddlers. It has a variety of massive DUPLO animals that squirt water, there are a variety of water jets, and little ‘tipping buckets’ for the children to play with. Adults don’t have to go into this area, and can watch from the edges. G and I spend a little bit of time in this area, and had fun. I was slightly annoyed that there was a crocodile at child level, which looks like it’s designed for children to sit on, but they aren’t actually allowed to sit on it? G gave me a bit of a ‘WTF?’ look as she was ushered off! There were staff in wetsuits and Hawaiian shirts helping the children with the equipment and playing with the children, it was a nice touch.
It’s also worth noting that the water in the area isn’t heated, it was a bit cold. Obviously it would probably be fine on a roasting hot day, but it was a bit BRRRRR on a 9 degree May day!
We then ventured up to the part designed for bigger kids, the DUPLO Drench Towers, which is the largest outdoor water play structure in the UK. It’s fairly similar to the play tower in the Cariba Creek Water Park in the Splash Landings Hotel at Alton Towers. Right the top of Drench Towers is a massive DUPLO brick that fills with gallons of water, and when it’s full it tips over and drenches most of the structure with water. It’s an incredible sight!
The structure has several slides, and two flumes at the top, the slides are for children only, and the flumes are for children and adults. There are small tipping buckets and lots of things for children to play with on the structure, again, the water isn’t heated, so if it’s a cold day, you’ll get colder! 🙂 Everything is finished to a high standard and should hopefully look awesome for years to come!
We spent about 45 minutes playing in the entire Splash and Play area before the cold got the better of us! We jumped in the Haystack Dryer to get dry and warm up a little before heading to the cubicles to get changed. It irked me slightly that the lockers don’t refund you, it’s not unusual to forget something from your bag, or to put something in the lockers. Especially if you’ve got kids in tow! I’m also not convinced how they’ll cope with so few changing cubicles on a hot day, time will tell!
The rest of Duplo Valley is looking very good. Both kids really loved the fantastic new play area, Brickville. The theming is wonderful, and has lots of little touches that really make it look awesome, J cried when we finally dragged him away!
Also in Duplo Valley you have ‘Fairy Tale Brook’ which has been restored ‘brick by brick’, Fairy Tale Brook is one of the original rides that opened with the park in 2006. It’s been looking a bit sad in recent years and is looking fantastic for its refurb, it also adds some new scenes too! Both kids loved this, J looked at each scene with wonder, and smiles, and G had fun working out the fairy tales, it’s a nice family ride!
We also paid a visit to the Duplo Puppet Theatre, G enjoyed the show which mashed up Elvis songs with the Pied Piper of Hamlin story. It worked well and provided G with lots of giggles!
After the fun in Duplo Valley we decided to head back to the Hotel for the Barbecue lunch that was laid on in the fabulous ‘Lego Suite’. It was here we met George Sear, a fabulous Magician from Essex, Georgia was mildly starstruck as she’d seen him on Friday Download on CBBC. He was very good, I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of him on TV in the future! Watch one of his tricks here.
The rooms at the LEGOLAND Hotel aren’t available until 3pm, so we decided to head back into the park for a bit longer. We tried Atlantis, I’d missed this on our previous visit, and it is FAB, I’d really recommend it, a fantastic mash-up of Merlin’s Sea Life Centres with a nice ride.
Another favourite was the Boating School, G loves this, she’s pretty good at steering the boat too.
G wanted a go on her favourite ride, ‘The Driving School’, it’s designed for pre teens to drive round in Electric Lego Cars around some roads, complete with crossings, junctions and traffic lights. The queue for this is always very long, so it’s well worth picking up a Q-Bot for it! You child can also pick up a ‘Driving Licence’ when they’ve finished (I think it’s £8). The staff on this ride are fantastic!
It was now approaching the time to check in to the hotel and see our room! I’ll write about that in the next part.. See that here
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