Friday, 27 February 2015

Tourists Love LEGO: Wales Gets Building, The LEGO Movie 4D Adventure Coming to LEGOLAND

It seems that tourism involving LEGO has been going rather well recently. As well as boosting product sales, The LEGO Movie has increased ticket sales at the LEGOLAND theme parks around the world - leading to a new attraction coming, The LEGO Movie 4D Adventure at LEGOLAND. In preparation for the new season, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort team are readying the Driving School cars for opening day. Meanwhile, Bob Carney has build a replica model of Rhuddlan Castle as part of a campaign to promote historic sites in Wales to visitors. Read on for more info, images and videos.

LEGO have been able to report on 2014 being an extremely successful year - again - in their annual report.
Revenue increased by 13% in DKK to DKK 28.6 billion against DKK 25.3 billion the year before
The year's operating profit increased to DKK 9.7billion against DKK 8.3 billion in 2013 – an increase of 16%
Is that enough profit for printed bricks in all sets yet? Either way, the success is being partially attributed to The LEGO Movie, as well as the usual suspects (Legends of Chima is unsurprisingly absent from this comment).
Among the top selling lines in 2014 were core themes like LEGO® City, LEGO® Star Wars™ and LEGO Friends. LEGO Creator and LEGO Technic experienced high growth rates during the year, and a significant contributor to the strong sales growth in 2014 was THE LEGO® MOVIE product line which launched in conjunction with the release of THE LEGO MOVIE feature film in early 2014. The product line performed strongly across the full year.
So as expected, LEGO have had another good year. Throughout 2014 there was positive buzz around The LEGO Movie sets, with shortages almost occurring around April. A little more surprisingly, however, The Financial Times [paywall] reports that the LEGOLAND theme parks have also felt a boost from The LEGO Movie.
Nick Varney, Merlin’s chief executive, said: “Last year was a very good year for us thanks to the Lego movie and how we leveraged its success. If you look at the prognosis for this year, it’s a case of returning to the long-term trend of mid-single digit growth.”
Like-for-like revenue growth at Legoland parks was 13 per cent, helping to drive an 11.1 per cent growth in the group’s underlying profit before tax to £179m. Growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and ammortisation was 5.3 per cent to £411m and the company said it was going to pay a dividend of 6.2p.
To keep visitors number growing and provide fresh experiences, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort are refreshing the long standing and phenomenally popular Driving School. 
The LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort’s famous LEGO® City Driving School is being expanded and improved this year. To ensure the miniature Fiat cars are in tip top condition when the Resort opens on Friday, 13 March a local car wash was called upon to give them a thorough wash and brush up.
The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort team were at Platts Car Wash in Marlow to give the tiny 72cm by 144cm cars (roughly 1/8 of the size of a small car) the full valet service – from vacuuming, to hand polishing and, of course, a full car wash.
“We have lots of new cars in the fleet this year in our bigger and better LEGO City Driving School. We want to make sure ALL our vehicles are in tip top condition when guests get behind the wheel in a couple of weeks,” explained Lauren Moss, Senior Press officer at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort  “It may be a slow drive back to Windsor but these sparkling cars will definitely be on the test tracks in the new LEGO City area when we reopen.”
Another new attraction, coming to selected LEGOLAND parks later in the year, is The LEGO Movie 4D Adventure at LEGOLAND. Although little is known so far, Warner Brothers and LEGO are both involved and likely calling the shots. This is sure to be a popular attraction, as it will be the only opportunity for fans to see a new adventure with Emmet and the gang before The LEGO Movie sequel finally hits cinemas in 2018.

In Wales, they are plenty of historic sites to visit - and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, are tapping into the popularity of LEGO to raise awareness of some of the sites that are out there and to get visitors to be creative.

The campaign aims to encourage visitors to Welsh historic sites this spring, and to create models and artwork inspired by their own experience.
The model of Rhuddlan Castle, featured in the video, took six weeks to create, was made with 50,000 Lego pieces and was constructed by retired Illinois doctor Bob Carney.
Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, teamed up with the 72-year-old former dermatologist from Decatur, IL to create the Rhuddlan model, which was his 146th replica of a European castle made using only Lego elements.
While building the 7ftx5ft, Mr Carney took around 2,500 images, which have now been condensed into a short time-lapse film available on Cadw’s YouTube channel.
Cadw has launched a competition as part of the campaign asking families to have a go at building their favourite castle, out of any material they like, and Mr Carney will judge entries and present prizes to winners when he visits Wales for the first time this May.
Cadw’s ‘Pack your Imagination’ campaign will also see educational Lego road shows take place at two Cadw sites during the Easter holidays, a series of how-to videos released on Cadw’s website and the creation of a Lego art exhibition which will tour Cadw sites across Wales.
Mini Lego models inspired by seven of Wales’s most iconic sites have also been created and are available for visitors to have a go at building on site. Instructions and guides are also available on Cadw’s website for families to play at home.
Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “Cadw sites have been a source of inspiration throughout the ages, and this video is yet another way of promoting our fascinating monuments to different audiences.
“The video created by Mr Carney is a must watch, and I hope people are inspired to create their own replicas following visits to Welsh monuments over the spring. Free entry this St David’s Day is the perfect opportunity to explore our sites.
 “Encouraging people to get involved in heritage in new ways will ensure Wales’s fascinating stories are kept alive and passed on to future generations.”
Mr Carney is currently creating a model of Caernarfon Castle which will use around 60,000 bricks. The model will be displayed at a Chicago Lego exhibition this summer.
Speaking about his love of Welsh history, Mr Carney said: “I’ve been interested in castles since I was a child.
“When I decided to start modelling castles using Lego in 1986, I started considering possible projects and the castles of Wales came to the top as the best in the world.”
This May, Mr Carney, and his wife Judy, will embark on a mammoth tour of the historic sites of Wales and England. They’ll travel more than 2,700 miles to visit 74 historic sites over just 23 days.
“When Judy and I enter Wales I am going to feel like a child in a candy store with a pocket full of change,” Mr Carney said.
“There are so many wonderful castles in Wales, every place we visit is going to be a new thrill.”
Cadw’s marketing campaign will support Visit Wales’s ‘Have you Packed for Wales’ campaign, which will be launched in Wales and across the UK on 1 March. To find out more about Cadw’s ‘Pack your Imagination’ campaign, to submit your creations and to find out more about the Lego road shows, visit
It's no surprise that with the popularity of the brick being used to get families taking trips together, Merlin Entertainments (the company behind the LEGOLAND theme parks) are planning more parks around the globe. Korea, Japan and Dubai are all due for a LEGO theme park experience, and with the continued development of the current theme parks it looks like LEGOLAND will continue to follow the success of LEGO products.

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