I was very lucky to be invited to a preview night at the brand new Westfield Doncaster LEGO Certified Store.
The store, which is Victoria’s very first LEGO Certified Store will officially open its doors to the public on Thursday, 3 October 2019 at 10am.
It’s a pretty big deal for us Victorians to get our very first LEGO Certified Store – and from discussions I’ve had with Alceon and LEGO, we can probably expect more stores in the state if all goes to plan and demand for LEGO continues to keep up.
For the opening day specials, the first 100 in line will receive a gift bag, and as usual, there will be the 40145 LEGO Store Set gift with purchase by spending over $199, as well as kids entertainment and balloon art.
In terms of notable sets, there were plenty of LEGO Friends sets, which are really hard to get ahold of as they’re sold out pretty much everywhere,
You can also expect to see other big ticket items such as the new UCS Star Destroyer, as well as the Disney Train AND Disney Castle on shelves if you’d like to drop some serious cash on some serious sets.
As with any LEGO Certified Stores, the main draw apart from the massive selection of LEGO sets on sale is undoubtedly the Pick A Brick Wall.
The AFOLs (Adult Fan of LEGO) that attended tonight’s event pretty much made a beeline to admire the selection at the PAB Wall, which was admittedly very good with plenty of cool elements like green flower studs, and 2 x 2 round grey tiles.
For those of you who dislike braving the crowds and traffic at Chadstone, or live close to Westfield Doncaster, the PAB Wall is going to be one of the biggest highlights of the store.
Oh and of course, there’s a Build A Minifigure station, where you can customise 3 minifigures for $19.99. The parts selection wasn’t particularly impressive, and I hope we get to see more unique accessories and minifigure elements soon.
Each LEGO Certified Store in Australia has its own distinct mosaic, and brick-built statues, and Doncaster’s mosaic proudly reps the beloved trams of Melbourne.
I like how playful the mosaic is, and it makes for an awesome photo backdrop for store visitors.
What else is distinctly Victorian? Australian Rules Football or AFL for short! Tonight, this amazing brick-built model of two footy players jostling for a ball was unveiled, and I was very impressed by the model.
For one, the movement within the minifigures is really cool to see, as most other LEGO statues tend to have minifigures just standing still. It has a certain kinetic feel to it, like a moment in a footy game frozen in time.
I also enjoyed how expressive the faces on the players were, especially this little guy on the ground.
LEGO Certified Stores are designed to be the purest form of experiencing the LEGO brand, and I could immediately tell that a lot of features in this store were designed with young kids in mind.
The open layout was great, allowing you to seamlessly browse from shelf to shelf. It isn’t the biggest store, in terms of its overall footprint, but they were very clever with the space.
There are tons of different interactive elements like this LEGO City Fire display, where kids can crawl under and pop their heads to view City sets in a 360 view, and press a button to activate lights and sounds.
Another fun little contraption is this “Who are you” panel, where you can scan the palm of your hand and it will assign a random minifigure to you, which I thought was a lot of fun.
There’s also this screen, which employs augmented reality technology – by standing in front of it (masterfully demonstrated by Cade, winner of LEGO Masters) and holding a LEGO hand in your hand, you can see a virtual model of the set in question assemble itself.
It’s pretty neat, and I think kids will have a lot of fun using this to bring the LEGO sets in the store to life.
There’s also a small City Fire car.
Where you can take silly photos like this.
Apart from that, it’s really your typical LEGO Certified Store experience – there are bits and bobs like Brickheadz, cups, and Minifigure Packs across the store, and as more stores like these open, it will only become a norm as this retail experience becomes a lot more accessible to those across the country.
It’s a net benefit and an overall great thing that we’re getting more LEGO Certified Stores. It’s an absolute treat and delight for kids and families, especially those that have never experienced a LEGO store to walk in and just be immersed by all things LEGO.
Westfield Doncaster is fairly easy to get to, and is a pretty swanky shopping centre and doesn’t have the same parking problems that Chadstone has, so for us Victorian LEGO fans, it’s great to have more options.
While there is a VIP points program where you earn points from purchases in any Alceon-owned LEGO Certified Store in the country, it’s still a long, long way away from integrating with the core LEGO VIP program.
While most people will scoff at the Alceon VIP program, I think the benefits will start to become more and more apparent when there are stores across the country, and you’re able to earn and redeem your points at your nearest LEGO Certified Store.
At the rate Alceon and LEGO Australia are going, it wouldn’t be too inconceivable to imagine multiple LEGO Certified Stores in each state, in key regions that service a large number of the population, and at that point, the Alceon VIP points become a lot more compelling.
I also really appreciated the level of engagement and play features designed for kids – it’s great that kids and families can just walk in and play with LEGO, or any of the interactive screens as it becomes more of a hub for all things LEGO rather than just a simple shopping experience.
So yeah, it was a blast to attend the Doncaster LEGO Certified Store preview event and rub shoulders with the boys and girls from LEGO Masters, as well as my fellow LEGO Fan Media.
It’s a small tight knit community, and it’s always great to hang out with like-minded people who just love LEGO.
The LEGO Certified Store in Doncaster opens its doors on Thursday, 3 October 2019 at Westfield Doncaster!
If you have the chance to visit the store, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!