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In a LEGOLAND resort far, far away...

By Gavin Musgrove

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A miniature version of London's most famous landmarks, all made out of LEGO.
A miniature version of London's most famous landmarks, all made out of LEGO.

Lightsabers at the ready for a battle against Darth Vader himself. Reporter Gavin Musgrove has lots of fun at the new Star Wars-themed attraction at Windsor

STAR Wars fans can now be transported to another world thanks to the magic of LEGO.

Young Padawans can see some of the classic battle scenes re-enacted from the most famous sci-fi franchise of all time, painstakingly put together brick by tiny brick.

Star Wars has been discovered by millions upon millions of youngsters since the very first and still the best movie of the six – A New Hope – hit the big screen way back in 1977 with Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Hans Solo, R2D2 and co.

Part of the enduring success of Star Wars has been due to the merchandising. There has been a galaxy of spin-offs by creator George Lucas, and one of the most successful of all is LEGO Star Wars.

Hundreds of the movies’ characters have been given the LEGO treatment – even X-wing fighter pilot Biggs Darklighter and the evil Death Star, albeit this one is not 160 kilometres across, won’t be mistaken for a moon and is not capable of destroying entire planets.

However, it just might take you as long to build it as it did the Galactic Empire construction workers!

This comes from someone speaking from bitter experience having an eight-year-old Star Wars and LEGO fanatic for a son.

So knowing the blood, sweat and tears that goes into making even the most simple creation helps put the latest LEGOLAND Windsor Resort attraction into some perspective.

The LEGO builders par excellence have brought the battles of Geonosis, Hoth, Christophsis and four other key scenes from the Star Wars movies to life using 1.5 million bricks – not that I counted but that’s what LEGO says in its literature.

There is no interactive ride as part of the LEGOLAND Star Wars Miniland Experience – it’s a walk-through but it’s still impressive, particularly for kids more familiar with the shop-bought-sized models.

It follows the chronological path through the Star Wars timeline and retraces the major events of the beloved saga featuring 2000 LEGO models, authentic sounds and lighting effects.

Legions of Stormtroopers take to the battlefield against the Jedi and Rebel Alliance while spaceships made at a 1:20 scale fly overhead.

AS part of the official opening of the new attraction, LEGOLAND Windsor Resort laid on a special Star Wars -themed day with a host of related goodies including photo opportunities with the likes of Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Darth Maul and even Luke Skywalker’s Land Cruiser, and there was a Padawan training camp for children to test their lightsaber skills against the original man in black himself, Mr Vader.

The park plays host to several special themed days every year and they are well worth looking out for, judging by what was on offer for the launch of Star Wars Miniland.

The new attraction is just a small part of LEGOLAND and there is too much to pack into one single day even if you did not have the inevitable queues which can be lengthy for the most popular rides. Unlike the US theme parks, there is no in-line entertainment.

Thoughtfully, however, LEG-OLAND bosses have just opened their first hotel – with 150 bedrooms – on site meaning that there is not far to go to recharge the batteries overnight and start all over again next morning. Even at the quietest times of the year, it will probably take a day and a half to enjoy all the rides in the different zones making up LEGOLAND Windsor, including Adventure Land, Knights Kingdom, Miniland and Traffic.

It’s not Disney World scale but it’s still big.

Must-dos are the fantastic Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show, the Land of the Vikings water ride, S.Q.U.I.D. Surfer and a visit to Miniland to see the world’s greatest landmarks all made out of... you’ve guessed it.

Naturally there is also a chance to buy mementoes of your visit including from Britain’s largest LEGO store.

TO get there travel by rail from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton on the riverside service – it’s a one-hour train journey then 10 minutes by taxi or bus which leave from near the station at regular intervals. There is also a free LEGLOAND bus from Windsor to the resort – see the LEGOLAND Windsor website for more details. Alternatively travel from London Paddington to Slough, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the service, and a taxi from Slough to LEGOLAND which will cost around £10.

Make a weekend or longer of it and see the famous Windsor Castle, enjoy a river boat cruise, stroll over the Thames to Eton and its school or enjoy some of the many events which have been lined up as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic rowing at Dorney.

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