woensdag 22 juni 2016

BeLUG Billund AFOL Tour 2016

It has finally happened, I managed to get to the Home of the Brick, Billund in Denmark.

Part of the 40 man delegation of BeLUG that travelled there as part of an invited RLUG program, I left past saturday and returned yesterday for a great voyage and an awesome time.  Everything really was Awesome as we say ;-)

The trip consisted of a bus journey of about 12 hours to (and later from) Denmark.  The sunday we would visit Legoland Billund itself, and the sunday involved a visit to the P-Storren, the Billund Moulding Factory, a lunch, the Lego Ideas House and a presentation of the Lego House that is being build and the concept behind it.

Saturday: travelling to Lalandia

Very early on the sunday morning, we gathered for our bus journey.  As we where spared some big traffic jams,  we arrived there only slightly behind schedule.  The bus trip was of the usual kind, including a Burger King lunch stop (salad for me, though some really took the opportunity to grab those burgers we don`t have in Belgium) and watching some culture on the television (Black Sails the full first season).

The delegation stayed at the Lalandia holiday resort, right next door to Legoland.  This bungalow parc has a big swimming dome, including some spectacular looking waterslides, but I didn`t go in that one though.

The market dome is designed in an italian village style, including a fantastic painted skyline.

Here, our welcome dinner was a mexican Fajita style buffet, which had great quality.  This looked promising :-)

The rest of the evening was spend with some chatter and after returning to the luxurious bungalows, it was time for an early turn-in as we had two good filled days on the menu.  And we put the shortest people of our bungalow team in the children bed`s.

Sunday: Legoland

For me, the personal highlight of the weekend.  The parc is truly amazing, and as we where there outside the `main season`, this meant no waiting times for the attractions.

But first, we had a strong breakfast of course, english style and a nice bowl of fresh fruits.

The parc is riddled with shops where some nice gadgets could be bought, as well as the Lego trains, this year`s park exclusive.  yeah, I wanted that pirate hat and eyepatch, for the BM-Antwerpen Pirate lay out.

 Legoland exclusive gimmicks, always great for a collection!
 One to build, to be seen soonish on this blog, and one to keep.
 Small souvenirs for the homefront

Ready for Antwerp!
Of course, the base and highlight of the park is Miniland, all great builds including working trains that travel between the different areas, waterlocks that work, and all kinds of interactive gimmicks like light, sound, watershooters and the likes.

 Billund airport

 Neuschwanstein, famous from the Sissy movies of the 50s

 He must have cursed on doing that rigging...

 Copenhagen royal palace

 Even Hero Factory found it`s way into Miniland

 Loved this `graffite wall` in the Hollywood area

 Trains moved between plots under the walkways for the visitors

 These actually worked, to allow ships to move from one area to the next.

 One visitor actually strolled into the plots themselves

 Enjoying the sunny weather

 It`s the Enterprise!

It also has a large miniland scale Star Wars display on hand.

The new Ninjago attraction was a ride where using 3D you where firing bolts of energy at all the different enemies from the story.

Next stop was the Western town, while not Lego`s most succesfull area, this was a well detailed area of the parc.

Then came the Halloween theme, with the Haunted mansion.  A "drop lift" ride was included inside, and because there is so much to see in the House itself, one does not notice he is waiting in line while going through it towards the actual attraction.

I personally loved this ride the most, the Pirate cavern.  It`s a slow boat tour, around some fantastic Pirate builds including a very large ship which left me drooling twenty-fold.

There was also some more things to see in the Pirate section, but we didn`t do those as it was just not warm enough to become soaking wet.

Next, the Viking Splash was on the menu, a wild water slide that wouldn`t make you all to wet... though Yuthana might not agree on this.

I skipped the Adventurers ride myself, guarding the backpacks.  I just had lunch and it looked a bit to stomach shaking for my taste.

It also featured a slower ride, where you had to `gun fight` your way through, based on their egyptian themes.

The Castle ride was build within, well, a castle, and was made of the same great formula as the whole parc.  Build are displayed around the waiting in line area, you then travel in the ride around some more builds, to end with a short, more or less wild (for children) rollercoaster.

The Artic themed ride is a short rollercoaster ride, but with a big suprise at the very end.  Yeah, I was suprised as well when it happened ;-)

And of course, a lot of Lego statues and builds are placed in the parc along the way.  The smaller child attractions like the Safari cars I didn`t do (I don`t think I would even fit) as well as some other thingies like the 4D cinema, but here are some more of those pictures in no particular order.

As to be expected, the whole parc is Lego themed, including the garbage cans.

Employees walked around dressed up to fit with the themes they worked in.

My only bit of "meugh" was that apparently you could exchange just random put together minifigs in the park in every store, food truck or employee, but that I didn`t know.  Well, next time I`ll be "armed" with a whole lot of police and firebrigade figures when I go there!  But considering this is a parc aimed at young children, it never the less was a great experience and one I`ll happily repeat.

Saturday evening: The Dirty Brickster

After returning to the parc, it was dinner time again, and this time we got fries and potatoes with chicken and ribs, the dinner of champions

Moving on, we played The Dirty Brickster with the attendees of the trip.  I had entered a pull back Technic formula one car as a present, and went home with a nice stack of polybags (two more lake guard for my forces!!!) and I really wanted the "joke gift" that was attached to the package, a Nanoblocks santa claus.

And then, it was time for a nap ;-)

Monday: The Lego tour

Early wake up call on the Sunday, as we would be going on the Lego tour.  But of course, we had to strengthen ourself first once more.

The first stop, anticipated by many, was the employee store where you could buy sets at greatly reduced prices.  And sometimes, those minus 50% sets had an additional minus 50%, making it so that the Dol Guldur set came down to 186.50 DKK, equalling... 25 euro.  You could only buy one of each set, but someone grabbed a second one for me, and I a set he wanted because he was already at his 5000 DKK limit you could purchase, so that all worked out nicely.

Let`s say it is worse then a heap of females tossed into a fashion outlet (picture by Kris Bollen)

After that, it was time to move to the Billund Moulding factory.  Pictures, like in the store, where not allowed to be taken, but it was a great learning experience.  You also could grab a doublesided engraved brick (instead of a piece of candy actually) when going out, but I sneaked out two so I could stack them and have the whole text visible.  And yes, I selected those colours on purpose, red and white being the danish flag colours.

Next, there was a lunch in Billund itself.  Now, my steak wasn`t all that great (and ice cold), but it was a nice way to chat with people and catch up on things.  There where also 5 Lego employees present, and Lego people don`t use business cards, they use minifigs as cards.  I managed to aquire those from Tanja and Yun Mi here.

It was also here that the special Event brick, sponsored by Cathy from Mijn Blokje, was handed out to the attendees.  I`m proudly wearing that on my Brick badge.

Next, we moved on to the Lego Ideas house, which is a Lego museum detailing the history of Lego from the days before the brick until now.

 Me and the founder

 Not available in the P-Storren, but here on display

 Aaaaaah, my childhood

 The bottom line of Lego!

 That one is still on my wish list

 Hey look, my first Castle (yep, the yellow one)

 Who remembers this?

 Even the don`t touch signs are made from bricks

 Old television spots where played all the time

 Classic moulding machine

 The famous wooden duck
It is also the home of Memory Lane, a large archive where almost every set of Lego ever made is stored... and you where allowed to touch it!

The next and final part of the tour is the Lego House, which is called The House of the Brick and whom they want to make the `capital` of Lego worldwide.  It`s opening is planned for autumn 2017, and the concept is really great as Astrid and Stuart walked us through the in and out`s of the project, from it`s design up to what it will stand for.  And all those present received the exclusive minifig!

And I managed to obtail Kim`s business card here as well.

And so ended the toured day at the heart of Lego and it was back to home base.  here, the dinner was once again top, Panos and his team of Pepe`s Cantina had really outdone themselves for our final dinner. The starter was a bruschetta with tuna and salmon, followed by a hump of beaf with mashed potatoes and vegetables, rounded out with some delicious brownie, mouse and icecream desert.  I had a great chat with the restaurant manager and the cook, and I managed to obtain some of his recipies for the `brown sauce` from this night, as well as the tomato chili sauce from the first night.
 Our birthday princess, Jean-Michel

Yeah, they where lucky they had someone with a cook license with them to actually cut up the hump of beef ;-)

That evening, there was also a one hand build activity with the Batman Scuba set, won by Stefaan Eeckmans, but at that time I was already under the shower as my knees really demanded some rest after these hectic two days.

Tuesday: and we are back to the homefront

And so it all ended, the bungalows where put back in order, the bags brought back to the bus (thanks to busdriver Mark for such a great service he provided to us all trip long) and we started the rather smooth journey back home, in the end we only had about 30 minutes of delay, not to shabby on an 800 kilometer drive through rush hour in Germany.

 And the keys are returned, ending our stay
 The final breakfast

 Seems some aren`t that young anymore...

Lunch was at a KFC for me, a nice wrap with chicken fillet, and then the last straight line with the Back to the Future trilogy ended this memorable trip.

Thanks to BeLUG`s Stefaan Naessens for organising the trip, it was a lifetime experience and edged into memory.  Later this week I will also bring the not so subjective report on the BeLUG blog, compiling all the picture books I`ve received from our members for use (Facebook, Flickr etc) so you can see a lot more of material and opinions.

But for now, Leg Godt!

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