LEGOLAND New York is an urban version of the colorful plastic brick theme park that successfully reflects its locale. Each of its seven themed Lands features LEGO-brick rides, the artistic wonders of Master LEGO Builders and outdoor recreation on a variety of LEGO-craft.
LEGOLAND New York Resort, just two hours’ north of the city in the Hudson Valley, feels more sophisticated than its siblings in Florida and California. Like its big city feeder markets, the park is a melting pot of people, creativity and innovative ways to have fun together.
Anyone traveling with youngsters 3 to 12 will enjoy leaving behind the wired, Type A New York mindset for this welcoming world. Our family, ranging in age from 75 to 6, only spent 24 hours there. Yet, we all agreed a weekend would be better. When everyone is having so much fun, time flies.
Fall Fun at Brick-or-Treat
We were invited to LEGOLAND New York for the opening of Brick-or-Treat Monster Party. Weekends Sept. 24 through Oct. 30, 2022, the park turns autumnal with piles of pumpkins, hay bales and Halloween décor. Unlike many parks, guests of all ages are welcome to wear Halloween costumes. Pose with the world’s largest LEGO pumpkin. Made of 600,000 standard LEGO bricks, the stunning 3 by 6.5 feet LEGO pumpkin is wheelchair accessible.
Playful Halloween frights are scheduled all day. Join a LEGO Creative Workshop to build spiders. Sing and dance with Monster Rocker (a guitar-playing Frankenstein). Get wanded by Monster Security before you meet new LEGO characters like the Zombie Cheerleader.
Enjoy Brick-or-Treating for candy at park stations from 3pm to 6 pm. If that’s not enough of a sugar rush, look for a special fall twist on the signature Granny’s Apple Fries and pumpkin spice funnel cake. You won’t go hungry. Several food outlets are represented on the park’s app so pre-ordering a meal is easy to do.
Families have four new shows and interactive rides decorated with ghosts and skeletons. We loved being squirted and slimed during the 4D Halloween movie, “The Great Monster Chase!” Keep in mind for next year that annual pass holders who renew by August get free access to the park’s limited September to December opening days, in addition to the entire following year.
LEGO City Makes LEGOLAND New York a Winner
City dwellers especially love LEGO City and its urban services. In this land, the Coast Guard Academy relies on LEGO-patterned speedboats to teach young pilots. The Driving School puts ages 3-5 and 6-12 on two different tracks so they can practice taxi evasion skills.
At the Fire Academy, kids mount fire trucks made of LEGOs, propel them forward manually and practice shooting water at target “fires.” If only we’d brought some LEGO minifigures to trade with others, LEGO City would have felt like Herald Square.
Active Families Stay Busy at LEGOLAND New York
You don’t have to be a native New Yorker to have fun. Anyone who has spent hours with kids trying to find the right bricks will feel in sync with the environment. Just as our Ninja-costumed nephew fit right into Ninjago Land, we used jujitsu moves to fight virtual bad guys on Ninjago the Ride. From the Ninja Training Camp, we hiked out to their nature trail to the maze near the LEGO Castle.
Many rides require physical input to become part of the story. We hauled ourselves up by rope to win the Tower Climb Tournament and used bodily force to maneuver our Rogue Rider “jetskis.” The LEGO Factory Adventure Ride uses computer animation to shrink guests into LEGO minifigures. It is a gentle ride, as you’re buckled into swirling, slow-moving cars at the center of fast-moving swirling imagery.
At LEGOLAND New York, Miniland — that birds-eye view of a better world built from LEGOs –has a strong focus on New York state. In addition to a display about the park’s home in the Catskills, each of the city’s five boroughs is featured in miniature. Kids are entranced as they wander past interactive elements near the White House, move West across the Grand Canyon and watch traffic cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
Staying at the LEGOLAND New York Hotel
LEGOLAND has a lot of attractions within 150 acres of Hudson Valley hills. If you can afford it, we recommend staying overnight at the LEGOLAND New York Hotel to spread out your visit. A hearty breakfast buffet, included with rates, fuels day two.
A LEGO pirate ship, climbing structure and pit of bricks dominate the lobby. Other hotel facilities include an arcade, gift shop, tiny laundromat and fitness room, and an unheated outdoor pool. The 250 themed rooms decorated with 2D and 3D LEGO figures have a coffeemaker, minifridge and two TVs. Most have a queen bed, two bunk beds in a separate alcove and a bathroom with tub and shower. There are 17 suites accommodating up to seven guests with a sleeper sofa. Three family suites sleep nine with an additional set of bunk beds.
Choose to sleep in the Kingdom, Pirates, Ninjago, Harry Potter or LEGO Friends suites. Our Kingdom themed room was heavy on crowns and knights. And don’t ignore the creature guarding your treasure chest. An in-room scavenger hunt provides the key to open it.
Best yet, the hotel continues the day’s entertainment with a pajama dance party led by counselors. Relax; there’s no need to lose sight of the kids. The Brick’s Family Restaurant and bar are strategically located within close view of the activities. Despite the cacophony of music and ecstatic children, we city folk found the scene refreshingly peaceful.
Next Up at LEGOLAND New York
LEGOLAND New York is new; it will mature along with our kids. The trees will grow taller, the grass will fill in. Season passholders for the 2023 season anticipate cooling off at a new LEGO City Water Playground. My family is lobbying to heat the outdoor pool at the hotel. This and other improvements yet to come will be included with all single day tickets and Annual Pass reservations.
Expect holiday theming starting late in November through New Year’s. Then, the park closes until Spring of next year. Meanwhile, the LEGOLAND Hotel stays open. A popular getaway for New York City families, it’s a place to hang out where your kids are happy, entertained and safe.
Trip Planning Details for LEGOLAND New York
The LEGOLAND New York Hotel and theme park are fully accessible and encourage outdoor recreation. However, some guests have trouble with the paved sloping paths and stairs that lead to the hillside and lower-level attractions. If needed, rent stand-up electric conveyance vehicles or wheelchairs for the day at the entrance.
LEGOLAND staff are attentive and helpful – most are big fans. Several rides require participants to be 34” or taller and to ride with adults if under 44”. All rides and attractions are very safety conscious. While parents have more fun than babies in strollers, even infants are in for a treat at the well-staffed DUPLO Baby Care Station.
Getting there is easy with green options. LEGOLAND New York is about two hours north of Manhattan by Coach USA bus from the Port Authority. Families with vehicles will make the 60-mile trip in 1.5 to 2 hours.
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