Honest review of the Legoland Windsor in 2021 experience
Updated for 2021!
I was glad to see Legoland Windsor back in action after the 2020 and 2021 lockdown periods, and we decided to visit. I was quite interested to see how the experience would differ this year with all the coronavirus measures and social distancing in place, and now that I've been there, I wanted to share a review, and some thoughts and tips with others too! So here is a review of Legoland Windsor in 2021 and the coronavirus measures and social distancing at Legoland. There were some issues definitely, even if overall we had a nice day.
I have previously written about how to do Legoland Windsor on the cheap and where to get cheap tickets - be sure to check that out for good tips!
Entry and exit
Parking was strange, as they ask you to leave a space of one car between cars due to social distancing. We arrived late morning, so after a while of driving about looking for a free and not a very faraway spot, we just parked in one of those empty spots... I suspect leaving a space between cars is expected in the early morning, so people keep their distance. By the time we were parking there was hardly anyone there.
On entry our temperature was taken, and bags cursorily checked. Tickets were scanned off our phones. As we arrived around 11.30AM there were no queues and we got straight in, very quick process. I have seen some reviews stating that morning queues can get very long due to these checks.
As we arrived late, we were very late leaving, and again walked out and drove out with no waiting around.
Coronavirus measures inside the park
If you are over 11 years old, you have to wear a mask on some of the rides. Anything that is indoors, and some of the bigger rides are ones where mask is compulsory. Do bring a reusable one, or buy one from the shops, but the ride attendants also give out disposable ones for people that have forgotten theirs.
On the rides, there will be empty rows or seats between different family groups. The rides are also regularly cleaned - some appear to be sprayed after each run like Mia's Riding Adventure, and some periodically cleaned with wipes, like Fairytale Brook. On the Monster House Party there were also additional air filterers inside, and family groups were asked to stand and sit spaced apart - I suspect similar measures are in place in other inside rides/attractions too.
Few rides were closed due to social distancing measures or scheduled maintenance, but overall I felt there was plenty of rides and attractions left.
Plenty of hand sanitisers are dotted around the park, and on entry and exit for all the rides. People did seem to use them quite frequently.
There was a one way system for all the shops, and masks had to be worn. We didn't go to any of the inside Lego exhibitions, and actually don't even know if they are open. If they are open, a one way system and a mask would certainly be in place in those too.
There are markers on the ground with arrows pointing that people should walk on the left hand side - most people ignored this to be honest, and the signs were quite easy to miss anyway.
Sorry to say this, but if you are concerned with social distancing, an amusement park is not for you and Legoland will not be a good experience for you. People are walking all over the place, not paying a blind bit of attention to social distancing, practically bumping into each other.
It does appear that the intake of people is lower, but due to the coronavirus measures the rides take less people in and additional cleaning creates pauses in the service. This means that the queues are as long as ever. While there are social distancing reminders on the ground people just don't pay attention to them. And even if people did, the way the queues snake around you would be standing very close to the people on your left and right anyway.
I personally was not too happy with this aspect of the visit, but at the same time, it being outdoors and us being relatively young and healthy (and we have probably had it already anyway!) I was not overly concerned. I would have preferred good social distancing, but I did not let it ruin my day. People are out there having a good time, they forget, and it just unfortunately happens.
Food and drink
We brought our own picnic, but if you want to buy food at Legoland, be mindful that there may be long queues for food and only limited food places are open.
For drink and ice creams there were plenty of stalls around. Additionally for drinks there are a few (not many) drink dispensers around the park - I saw one at Heartlake City and around the driving rides. You can buy a cup (deals from £8-£12 per cup), which you can then fill as often as you like with a variety of soft drinks. You can also fill your own water bottles for free, but sorry to say, only water is free! The all you can drink soft drinks won't work without the special cup.
Drench Towers / Splash Park
No pre-booked tickets are required in 2021!
Splash Park was free to enter, and was very busy. Parents don't need a swim suit here, but no shoes allowed.
Drench Towers (on a busy, warm weekend day) had a queuing system. There was a queue to enter for a 20 minute slot, after which the area was quickly cleaned, and the next slot allowed in. Social distancing was definitely not possible, especially with so many kids running about, but it was fun nonetheless. Parents need a swim suit only if they are going into the structures, but if you are in the sidelines you won't need one. No shoes though.
One of the best parts of the day for us.
Shows and character meets
The awesome pirate show Return to Skeleton Bay, the one with explosions and speed jets, has been added again in 2021. Tere are also a couple runs of Lego Friends girls dancing on the same stage. The app didn't seem to update on the show timings though, so we missed out on that and on the day we were there it was not sure if the shows would go on.
Some Lego Friends girls are also doing meets at Heartlake City, every hour. App shows these times. There were other character meets available too around the park. There was a cordon in front of the characters, and a social distancing spot marker, so children can stand for a photo opportunity but won't be able to go close.
Our experience and feelings about the day
Overall, despite everything, we had a nice day out. My seven year old sighed at one point: "I am happy", bless her. She is a big Lego fan.
If we had health concerns, or were very anxious about social distancing, it would have been very uncomfortable experience, but I was already prepared for it to be busier than I'd like so it didn't come as a surprise. That said, the park has done probably as much as it can with the cleaning schedules and social distancing on rides and one-way systems. It is an unfortunate effect of the design of the park and human nature that social distancing is nigh on impossible at Legoland.
We went during the heatwave so it was pretty unbearable at times, and our slot at the Drench Towers was probably the best part of the day. While the queues were long for some rides, we use the Legoland app to estimate where queues would be shortest - these were fairly accurate expect when a cleaning schedule put a stop to the ride. I knew there would be some closures, but I felt there was plenty of rides and things to see anyway.
The only thing that left a sour taste in our mouth was when we queued to Monster House Party, and the ride broke down. Instead of telling people straight away, it took a long time for the staff to say what was the hold-up, and people were waiting in sweltering heat up to an hour in the end, when the wait time in the app was 20 minutes. The staff should communicate straight way ride breakages so people can choose to either wait or leave the queue.
One amusement park visit a year is enough for me, so next time we will visit will be in 2021! If you are interested in visiting, why not have a look at my tips on how to get cheap tickets and do Legoland trip on a budget!
Have you got any questions about Legoland this year? Or if you have already been, how did you find it 2020?
You might also like: How to do Legoland Windsor on a budget