Update: LEGOLAND New York Officially Opens July 9, 2021!
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of LEGOLAND New York for over a year and a half. Our turn to preview the park (by virtue of purchasing “1st To Play” Passes) finally arrived this weekend!
However, our visit left us with mixed emotions.
On one hand, we were disappointed to make the 2-hour drive up to Goshen, NY and find that the park isn’t finished yet. On the other hand, what we did see makes us excited to come back once it’s completed!
What Was Open for Previews
LEGOLAND New York had previews through July 8, 2021. Tickets were available to anyone at a reduced price of $49 per adult and $45 per child. LEGOLAND New York is open fully as of July 9, 2021, at regular admission prices. You can purchase tickets at https://www.legoland.com/new-york/tickets-passes/.
While the park features seven lands to explore, the preview map shows the LEGO Pirates section and part of the LEGO City section as not being completed. These and the LEGOLAND Hotel were marked as “Coming Soon.”
As we explored the park, we found our experiences to be a little more limited than that, as not everything in the other lands was finished or open. Here’s a list of things we couldn’t do:
- The LEGO Factory Adventure (not running that day, but has been other days)
- The Dragon
- The Dragon’s Apprentice
- “West Coast” Section of Miniland
- Coast Guard Academy
- Fire Academy (not running that day, but has been other days)
- No Scheduled Shows in the Theater (still rehearsing)
- No characters for meets/photo ops (saw one character briefly walk through LEGO City area)
- LEGO Pirates Section
- LEGO Ninjago: The Ride (open intermittently, with issues)
- LEGO Ninjago Playground (not fully open)
A family friend visited the day after us and told us that they were able to ride the LEGO Factory Adventure. We also saw other posts/videos showing the Fire Academy was running at some point, so we’ll chalk some of this list up to bad luck. Hopefully the park will be fully open when we come back later in the summer.
First Impressions of LEGOLAND New York
So, keeping in mind that we didn’t get the full experience, here are 6 things that stood out to us on our first visit to LEGOLAND New York.
1. LEGOLAND New York is HUGE!
The park is 150 acres, which makes it the largest LEGOLAND ever built by Merlin Entertainment Group. By comparison, LEGOLAND Florida is 145 acres, and LEGOLAND California is 128 acres.
It’s important to note that this size difference right now just pertains to land/acreage. Both LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND California boast more in the way of attractions than LEGOLAND New York. But I’m hopeful we’ll see things added in the future.
The large park makes for a lot of walking. Plus, LEGOLAND New York is built on a hill, which makes it unique. You drive up and park at the top, and as you proceed through the park, you walk downhill via stairs and switchback paths to reach the bottom.
And as you might have guessed, that means you have to walk all the way back up to leave! Comfortable shoes are a must!
(If the folks at LEGOLAND are reading this, some sort of escalator, gondola or tram to get guests up and down in a fun way might be a good idea down the line!)
And on the subject of “BIG”… The “BIG Shop” is the biggest LEGO store I’ve ever been in. It’s huge.
2. Lots of Interactive Features
I lost count of how many times we said, “Oh look, a button!” or “What does that lever do?”. LEGOLAND New York appears to be loaded with interactive features.
Some don’t require buttons. Lisa stuck her head into a model lion for a photo and it roared!
Unfortunately, most of these interactive features weren’t working yet or perhaps were just not turned on that day. This may have been intentional given the current safety guidelines.
But, that’s definitely one of the things we’re looking forward to doing when we go back.
3. Unique Attractions
LEGOLAND New York is not simply a copy of the parks in Florida and California. While it does feature a lot of the same attractions, there are a few that are unique to this location.
The LEGO Factory Adventure is the newest and most unique attraction that you can only experience in New York as of right now. It’s a trackless ride with featuring technology that turns you into a minifigure! As I mentioned before, we didn’t get to experience it, but some friends rode it the next day and told us it was a lot of fun!
In addition, the NY version of the carousel features unique Brick creations for you to ride on as opposed to horses. Jackson also liked how they had The Dragon’s Apprentice coaster for little kids. And the Fire Academy attraction appeared to be more high-tech than the version we saw in Florida.
And throughout the park you could find hard-to-find builds or displays that you are not going to see at your local LEGO store, like an actual build from LEGO Masters TV show.
4. Variety of Food
One of the many things on our to-do list was getting a batch of Granny’s Apple Fries. This is a must-get snack during any LEGOLAND visit.
We were also enchanted by the Wizard’s Nachos (cinnamon covered tortilla chips served with ice cream), and we found a quick vegan option at the rice bowl stand in Ninjago World for lunch that was affordable and filling.
While we didn’t get to try each and every food option, multiple indoor restaurants like Smoky’s Brick-B-Q, Brickolini’s Pizza and Pasta, and Royal Feast will give us options to beat the heat and take a load off our feet. And, if with food carts and outdoor options like Ninja Kitchen, we could always opt to get something quicker and enjoy it outside.
Knowing that the park offers options for different dietary lifestyles is a big plus.
5. I Love New York
Of course, LEGOLAND New York pays tribute to both the state and city it gets its name from. Merchandise is available that playfully expresses the familiar “I Love NY” slogan as “I Love LEGOLAND New York”.
On top of that, one of the can’t-miss highlights of LEGOLAND New York is the amazing Miniland, which features over 22 million bricks!
Within Miniland, there are several sections paying homage to New York., including:
- The Bronx
- Midtown Manhattan
- Greater New York City
The most eye-catching section is a recreation of midtown Manhattan. The buildings literally tower over you! And there are so many details you can find if you spend the time to look.
Lastly, you can find one of New York’s most iconic symbols, Lady Liberty herself, in not one, but TWO places. First, she appears in the New York City section of Miniland. Second, she can be found as a minifigure statue in the heart of LEGO City.
6. Low Capacity
LEGOLAND New York has few continuously loading attractions. The wait times for these rides can be long, especially when the rides don’t accommodate a lot of people on each run.
So we were a bit disappointed to see that some of the attractions were on the small side.
For example, the “Merlin’s Flying Machines” ride has six machines that each seat two people. That’s a maximum of 12 people who can ride at one time. What puzzles me is that it’s the exact same capacity as the Merlin’s Flying Machines ride at the indoor LEGOLAND Discovery Center over in Westchester.
Our Overall Impression of LEGOLAND New York
Like any first impressions, you risk rushing to judgment without having all the information. Based on what we were able to experience, the grade we would give would be barely passing.
Given the events of the past year that delayed LEGOLAND New York’s construction and opening, I’m willing to cut them a little slack for opening to previews before the park was complete. That said, I would advise anyone who wants to attend the preview days at the reduced price to wait as long as possible to try and ensure as many attractions are open as possible.
Because, the POTENTIAL for this park to be a lot of fun is there!
Finishing LEGO City and LEGO Pirates will add 6 attractions and more interactive features and food options. Smoothing out the hiccups and getting the remaining attractions up and running smoothly will make a big difference.
I’m giving out three sets of grades since your mileage may vary based on whether you bought annual passes vs. day tickets, having more luck than we did, and projecting the value once the park is fully opened.
Our Preview Experience: D/C-
This was basically a free visit for us. Our passes aren’t active yet. Miniland blew me away, despite being unfinished. But we couldn’t get on several of the attractions even in the areas that were open, including headliners like LEGO Factory Adventure and The Dragon rollercoaster.
Had we paid even the reduced price for our experience, the grade becomes a generous D.
Preview Potential: C+/B-
Looks like our passes won’t get us back in the park until after the grand opening. So the remaining preview period is for guests paying the reduced ticket price (plus parking). Assuming they work out the kinks/hiccups, the weather is cooperative, each attraction is up and running, I would give it a C+. Some entertainment options and character appearances could push that into B- territory.
Fully Opened Potential: B+/A-
Once the park is complete and hitting on all cylinders, I am predicting this will be a fun family destination either as a day trip or even a weekend getaway. I think it will be a solid choice for families to splurge on tickets just for the day. But, I think those that can opt for the annual passes and visit multiple times, spreading their pass over a 12-month period that includes 2 seasons, will get the most value.