It’s Easter Day, and like many families, we are planning a family day out. There are all sorts of sites that we can go for a day with the family, and as you probably are already aware from this blog, I do enjoy the rather excellent English Heritage sites where we can enjoy some of the country’s history including Berta. However, today I am reminded of a trip to a theme park, a less common occurrence for me. It was eight or nine years ago, and my wife and I decided to go to Legoland with my wife’s sister and her other half. We had no kids, but presumed that, as fans of Lego as children, then we would enjoy the park, even though we may look a little odd not having any children with us.
We headed for Windsor, home of the UK’s Legoland, arrived, parked, and headed in to see what was there. It was great fun seeing all of the Lego displays, and being reminded of good times as children when playing with the bricks. We watched a Lego train go through the Lego Channel Tunnel from Lego London to Lego Paris. It was wonderful. I always liked Lego and Meccano as a child, as they allowed you to play with your imagination as much as with the physical pieces.
There were also a series of rides at the park, and we did go on some of these. Given the target audience for the park, we assumed that none of the rides would be too scary, which is good for me. I may enjoy going to obscure parts of the world, and even flying on more obscure aircraft, but theme park rides really are not my thing. We went on one or two sedate rides, and then found ourselves queuing for a log flume ride around the park. We expected it to be good, given the number of people waiting to get on, and when we eventually got to near the front of the queue, we could see that there was a sign saying that the minimum height for the ride was 1m. I pointed out that we were all significantly over 1m, and asked if this was an issue. No, we were assured by the staff who seemed to be well placed as they could not have been much older than those playing with the bricks, and the four of us got into a single car. We quickly realised that although the maximum capacity of the cars was four, it was intended for an adult and three children, or perhaps two and two and a push. Four adults, and a couple of them being of the larger variety, was a bit much. This manifested itself by all four of us not quite being able to comfortably sit down, and as the person not quite sitting managed to get on a seat, one of the others would pop up. Rather than a nice sedate log flume ride around the park, we were rocking back and forward with the motion of us trying to sit down.
The ride was a gentle trip around part of the park, culminating in being lifted into a hut on top of a slope and splashed down into a pool of water. We had previously watched others getting wet as they splashed down. We got to the bottom of the slope that would see us lifted to the little room at the top, and our car stopped there. We assumed that we would have to wait for there to be some space between cars. When another car crashed into the back of us, we did start to think that we were too heavy to be lifted. We turned and waved a cheery “hello” to those behind us. They waved an awkward hello back. A third car joined our queue, and then another. When there were seven behind us, Martin – my sister-in-law’s other half – decided to do the decent thing and climb out of the car. This had two effects. Firstly, we started to lift as planned up the slope. Secondly, a voice on a speaker instantly announced “DO NOT GET OUT OF THE CAR!”, implying that they had been watching us for some time, but no doubt their amusement was such that they were not able to react to our predicament. We were worried as to what might happen to Martin, and then remembered that we were at Legoland. He may get bitten by a Lego snake, or savaged by a Lego lion, so we did think that he probably would survive.
Meanwhile, we were still on our journey up the slope. We juddered to a stop, and fell back a bit, and finally were lifted to the top, blatantly still much too heavy for the ride. We stopped in the darkness of the room at the top, giggling incessantly. Then, the doors opened, and we hurtled down the slope towards the pool at the bottom. We hit the water with an almighty splash, significantly more than the other cars had all day, which caused us to be absolutely soaked, and for our giggles to be belly laughs. It also caused a wall of water to move away from us, caused by the huge splash that we created, and we watched with schadenfreude as those laughing at us suddenly realised that the wave of water that we had created was heading towards them, and before they could move, the huge wave came over the fence and soaked those watching. However, this did not dissipate all of the energy of the wave, and headed back towards us to soak us a second time.
We got back to the beginning of the ride, where Martin was waiting with the staff. A young member of the team asked “Do the four of you want to go around again?”. We suspected that, perhaps, that was not the best plan.