Well, that's not what Legoland is like at all.
We were let out in front of the Legoland hotel (where I'm sure the beds are very hard and bumpy). Across the street were the ticket booths and lines. Strange, tinny music echoed in the cold air. Little kids ran around in snow suits. We bought tickets and went in.
And here's what we discovered: there are millions and millions of bricks at Legoland, but almost all of them are fenced off. This is a theme park. The theme is "Legos." That doesn't mean you get to actually touch any. People come for the rides.
Most of the rides and areas are based on older product series - Knight's Kingdom, Polar Land, Pirates, Vikings - that children today might not even recognize. There are roller coasters and spinners, splash-rides and pop-shot booths. It's not much different than most theme parks.
world leader in tire production, based on units produced - 381 million in 2011. Lego, by its own estimates, has produced over 400 billion pieces since 1949, when they began making the "automatic binding brick." Incredibly, the pieces from that first year are compatible with modern bricks - there have been changes made to the plastic and the process, but not to the basic design.
The company also opened more theme parks. The Billund one is the first, built in 1968, but there are five other, newer parks and three more on the way. Lego says that 1.4 million people visit each of the six parks annually. I believe it. Legoland was packed.
Which is why the themepark was a little disappointing. Not only were the rides less Lego-centric than they could have been, the rest of the place just didn't feel that imaginative. They do have brick-shaped french fries, but that was the only theme-specific food - what about Lego waffles (their waffles were normal shaped)? Or Lego-decorated brownies, carrot cake and cookies? How hard would it be to put on a few dollops of frosting? And what about a few bricks to actually, you know, play with? Instead, there's a Nintendo video game center and a movie theater.
Sadly, we left a little disappointed. Not that it wasn't fun. It just wasn't the experience I'd dreamed of. It's not a place I would recommend, unless someone really likes tame amusement park rides and happens to be close by.
Still, it was fun to think about the toys again, and to see Miniland. The tiny, leaf-covered houses and people were perfectly charming. They were weathered and a little faded from the elements. It had me wanting to build something.