Having been to Lapland Uk for the previous three years to see Santa, we decided it was time for a change. Mainly because we were worried that the boys would start to see through the same concept for a fourth year running. We were after somewhere where we could stay over and make time for a family focused weekend before the madness of Christmas ensued. And what with the boys being big fans of lego and Legoland itself, we thought we would give the Legoland Santa Sleepover a go.
Read on to find out what we thought of our Legoland Sleepover.
What we loved about the Legoland Santa Sleepover:
- The park was much quieter than in the spring and summer months. This of course meant less queuing, which is clearly a good thing. Whilst some paid extra for the Q-Bots, we really didn’t feel it warranted it.
- There were enough rides open to make the visit worthwhile and to keep all three kids (ages 4, 9 and 12) happy. We especially enjoyed Lazer Raiders, the Haunted House and Ninjago. Understandably the water rides weren’t running, which was a good thing. As it was cold and I wouldn’t fancy walking around the park wet in winter.
- There were some nice festive touches in the park. The park looked pretty with its Christmas lights and we liked spotting Santa in the miniature Legoland world. The kids also enjoyed making toys with Mrs Claus. They put together a mini lego train which they got to keep.
- Meeting Santa was by far the highlight. He was just lovely and wonderful at making small talk with the kids. We also managed to slip him a note via his elf helper before we went in so he knew little bits about the kids and what they had asked him for. This definitely helped in terms of his credibility.
- The trail to visit Santa was also pretty with its festive lego sculptures and snow capped Christmas trees.
- In terms of the hotel, we loved the theme rooms in the Castle hotel. The separate bunk bed area with additional pull out bed was ideal for us. Usually finding hotel rooms to cater for five is always a challenge so this was a nice change.
- We also liked the mini treasure hunt where the kids had to answer the clues to be able to unlock the safe door and find their gift. They each received a Legoland lanyard, a small lego storage / lunch box and a lego reindeer to make.
- The hotel areas with their areas for lego building and some of the lego sculptures were all a nice feature.
- The indoor pool area in the main hotel with its splash slides and water squirters was good fun and a nice break from the park itself.
- In the evening, at the main hotel there were Lego characters to meet and some childrens entertainment. This meant we could have a quick drink at the bar before heading out for dinner.
- By staying in the hotel we had access to the park for an hour before it officially opened. The countdown into the park with the staff was good fun and added to the excitement.
What we thought could be better:
- Whilst meeting Santa was lovely, for observant kids it wouldn’t be difficult to spot the many Santa huts. I think this could have been better laid out.
- Apart from the waffles and doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce, we did not have a good thing to say about the food at Legoland. In terms of what is available in the park, it is mostly junk food. Also as the park is set up more for summer, there are only limited in-door areas which wasn’t great, as it was so cold.
- Breakfast at the Castle Hotel was dismal, we didn’t even have a decent cup of coffee. Tables were left uncleared, there was food over the floor and the quality of the food was generally poor. I don’t think I’ve ever not been able to stomach a fry up before. We couldn’t face dinner there so we opted to head out to Loch Fyne, a five minute drive away.
- I also didn’t feel that they adequately catered for intolerances. As I have a dairy intolerance I was pretty much stuffed when it came to buying food. Even at the bar the only snacks they served contained chocolate which for me is a no go.
- The service received was very mixed. Whilst there were some very friendly and enthusiastic staff there were an equal number of grumpy staff. I couldn’t help but feel that this put a dampener on the visit.
- The place felt quite tired and like there was a lack of care. For example our room had very little toilet paper, no Nespresso coffee (as promised) and the youngest’s bed hadn’t been made up. The lego in the room for the kids to play with was less than adequate too. All of course quickly rectified but it should have been in-place.
- They didn’t have the usual amounts of lego to play with while waiting at the queues, there was some at the Dragon Apprentice but none at the Driving School which was one of the longest queues we encountered
- The park looked tired, where some rides weren’t open there was no effort to screen them off and it made it look scruffy.
- We also felt that whilst the park wasn’t that busy, we still queued longer than needed for certain rides. Particularly for the train and the Driving School. It appeared that many of the cars were out of action and so they only left a few people on at any time.
- Despite having early access to the park before it officially opened, there was a problem with the rides being signed off. Consequently we arrived at Ninjago only to be turned away. We then headed over to the Dragon roller coaster (The Dragons Apprentice) which wasn’t open either. The staff weren’t particularly apologetic about any of this, they just blamed the management and shrugged. but it kind of negated the advantage of getting in early!
- No fault of the park of course, but it was cold. That meant that any waiting felt longer as you battled with the elements.
Our Verdict of the Legoland Santa Sleepover:
We had a fantastic time, and there were some definite highlights. The fact that the park was quiet with less queuing than in the summer months was a definite bonus. We also loved the hotel, with the lego theme rooms and the lego sculptures dotted about everywhere.
Whilst the kids loved it and had no complaints, overall I just didn’t feel like there was enough of the Christmas magic to make it as special as it could have been. Yes they had a reported 2,500 Christmas Trees dotted throughout the park, along with the constant piping of Christmas music. But you couldn’t escape that the resort felt much more tired than in the Summer months.
I also felt that whilst some of the staff were excellent, we also encountered way too many staff on the grumpier side. It felt like a distinct lack of care and we just felt like a number being pushed through a busy park. Such levels of service are never acceptable but especially so when you’re trying to ensure festive cheer.
I appreciate that it was a tall order to follow up to Lapland UK, but I really do think that Legoland could up their game. They need to remember to put their customers at the heart of the whole experience as it has the potential to be so much more magical than it was.
You can see more of our visit here:
Additional Information on the Legoland Santa Sleepover:
For booking Legoland holidays visit their website: https://www.legoland.co.uk/
For our top tips on making the most of your visit to Legoland see 25 top tips for Legoland.
We paid for our visit to Legoland and they were not aware of our visit or that we would end up writing a review.