On Tuesday, I got the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne located in the Chadstone Shopping Centre. The Discovery Centre is now officially open to the public so I hope that this review helps you decide whether it’s worth a visit or not.
I was a guest of the Legoland Discovery Centre (LDC) Melbourne during the Grand Opening. Special thanks to the marketing & PR team for the invitation.
The opening hours are the same as the shopping centre’s, and you’ll need a ticket or an annual pass to enter the Discovery Centre. Single tickets are $37.50 for adults and kids, although there are Concession Tickets priced at $27.50.
If you plan on visiting the Discovery Centre regularly, it might be more economical to buy an annual pass ($81 for individuals & $77 each for families which have a maximum cap of 2 adults) which grants you unlimited access to the centre all-year round.
There are also added benefits of the annual pass such as:
- Express Entry via the priority entrance
- Invites to exclusive passholder preview events such as Ninjago & Star Wars events
- 20% off in the cafe
- 10% off in the LEGO Shop*
- 10% off Birthday Parties
*on most items. From what the retail workers told me, this discount doesn’t apply to “Hard to Find” sets. These are typically D2C sets. It’s a little misleading as the Annual Pass page doesn’t mention this exclusion.
More information on tickets can be found on the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne.
I’ll offer my opinion on whether you should buy an annual pass at the end of this review.
Tip: Oh! If you’re planning a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre or even the shop, you will notice that a lot of the workers there have nametags with minifigures attached to them. Just like Legoland Theme Parks, you’re allowed to initiate a minifigure trade with them!
If you see a minifigure that you’d like, all you have to do is ask them to trade it with your own minifigure and they’ll have to say yes! This is a great and pretty fun activity that you can do, especially if you have a lot of surplus or loose minifigures lying about at home, so be sure to bring a small bag of minifigures with you when you visit!
The LEGO Shop at the Legoland Discovery Centre is an attraction of its own, and is possibly the most exciting fixture of the Discovery Centre for adult LEGO fans.
It’s free to enter the shop, but you’ll have to pay for the merchandise and LEGO sets that you want to take home with you.
I wrote a whole post dedicated to what’s in the LEGO Shop, as well as what you can expect from the Pick a Brick Wall, which is hands down the best thing about the Legoland Discovery Centre. You can quote me on that.
This review will be structured slightly differently due to the very unique nature of Legoland Discovery Centres. There was a media blitz recenty about a small minority of AFOLs outraged about the long-standing global policy of LDCs where adults are not permitted to enter the indoor playground if they’re not accompanied by a child.
For each section of the Legoland Discovery Centre, I’ll attempt to talk about its suitability from the perspective of a kid or an adult LEGO fan.
I’m not going to devote much commentary to it because I think the entire fiasco is the dumbest thing ever. You can read my thoughts here.
That said, if you are a childless adult, teenager or cannot afford to breed/rent a child, all is not lost as there will be special AFOL Nights organised every month. I believe that they’re scheduled to run every third Thursday of the month and these events will be specially for adults to experience the LDC.
The first Adult Night at the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne is scheduled for the 25th of May 2017. I’ll keep you posted on any other developments. I also recommend following my page on Facebook as I tend to share smaller snippets of news that don’t warrant an entire blog post there.
I may be there for the first AFOL Night – if I do make it, I hope to meet some of you there!
Entrance and Factory Tour
You begin your journey into the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne by entering a cool archway that’s designed in the shape of a massive LEGO minifigure. I gotta say, it was quite cool walking through it, and it does set the stage for what to expect, that you’re setting foot into a massive LEGO-themed indoor playground.
There are two minifigure statues at the entrance that make for a great photo opportunity. I’m guessing that these are the official mascots of the Discovery Centre – I’m not sure if they have names but they have pretty cool designs. I wish they’d make these into exclusive minifigures that you can get as a souvenir exclusively at the LDC.
After you’re done snapping photos with the minifigures, you’ll be ushered into the Factory Tour.
For Kids: The Factory Tour mainly consists of a room filled with screens and control panels where you can interact with the screens.
The screen completely encircles the room and you’re given a quick introduction (by a bunch of colourful talking robots) about how LEGO and minifigures are made, complete with video montages of LEGO Injection Moulding machines in action.
It’s a mix of fun and educational content, with extended segments on how robots are used in LEGO factories around the world. After watching the videos, an interactive section begins where you can use the joysticks on the control panel to “design your own minifigures” on-screen using a mix of heads, torsos and legs from the Collectible Minifigures Series.
The kids that were in the Factory Tour seemed to have a fantastic time interacting with the on-screen visuals, pushing buttons and creating their own minifigures.
It had a videogame-like feel to it, and kids seemed to love pushing buttons. It’s a good start and I really like how interactive this entire section was. Even during the non-interactive video bits, the kids were enthralled as they learned how LEGO is made.
For Adults: Holy crap, I just wanted the entire Factory Tour to end as soon as it began. The video montages were pretty cool but it’s nothing that you can’t find on Youtube. The thought of being locked in a dark room filled with excited screaming kids isn’t my idea of fun.
I also wasn’t keen on hogging space on the control panels to play the silly Make a Minifigure game.
I did think that the video was slightly nefarious. It seemed to subliminally tell kids that their dreams of working in a LEGO factory were close to zero, since the robots were taking over all the human jobs. I guess it’s educational in a sense that it’s preparing them for a future labour market where robots rule supreme.
After exiting the Factory Tour, you’re greeted by the first ride – Kingdom Quest. If you’ve been to a Legoland Theme Park, this should be a familiar ride.
Basically, you ride in a cart that can sit 4 and you go through a circuit where you have to use the flintlock pistols to shoot at targets such as spiders, skeletons and animated videos to score as many points as you can.
The entire ride is LEGO Castle/Kingdoms themed, so you’ll see familiar characters like Trolls, Skeletons and Knights.
For Kids: I imagine that kids are going to love this ride. They get to ride in a cart and shoot lasers at targets. It feels like an interactive video game and the scoring aspect gives it a bit of a competitive element to it.
The decorations in the ride are also pretty cool as there are life-sized LEGO trolls and all manner of LEGO elements such as giant treasure chests and weapons littering the entire ride.
The kids that I observed seemed to have had a great time and I overheard a few asking their parents if they could go on the ride again. I expect that this will be quite a common request as kids being kids will definitely want to go back to beat their high scores or their friend’s scores.
For Adults: The ride was actually pretty fun. If you’re there with a bunch of friends, the competitive element does get quite fun. I was in a cart with The Short News, Cheepjokes and All About The Brick. All About The Brick trounced us all in the game!
It’s pretty mindless shooting, but because there’s an element of skill involved, I had quite a bit of fun with it. The ride is quite short and it’s over before you know it. As an adult, I would probably be sick of it after the third consecutive ride.
After the Kingdoms Quest ride, you step into Miniland, which is hands down the best feature of the Legoland Discovery Centre. It was my favourite part of the entire thing, and for older LEGO fans, this is the apex attraction.
Miniland is essentially Melbourne, recreated out of LEGO bricks. The name is a little misleading, as it’s technically not built in Miniland Scale unlike the actual Minilands at Legoland Theme Parks.
The Miniland at LDC Melbourne is minifigure-scale, which I think is a lot more interesting and engaging, given that people are mostly more familiar with minifigs than they are with Miniland people.
It has all the major Melbourne landmarks that you know and love, and the designers did an exceptional job capturing now only the look of Melbourne, but the vibe as well.
Miniland is absolutely littered with minifigures – there are over 3,000 minifigures inhabiting LEGO Melbourne, and the sheer number of people really helps give off a vibrant metropolitan vibe to the displays.
The Melbourne Miniland also has a Day-Night cycle, so the lights go off at select intervals and the city lights come alive which is pretty cool. It was quite awesome to see the buildings and skyscrapers light up when the lights go down – it transforms the entire look of the city.
That said, the Day-Night cycle could use a bit of improvement. While we were there, I felt that the Night cycle lasted a bit too long, and after while it got quite irritating.
In certain parts of Miniland, it gets quite dark which means you can hardly see anything which means we were left waiting impatiently for the Day Cycle to return to get back to enjoying the finer little details of the city.
I really hope that the LDC tweaks the Night cycle so that it doesn’t take up such a long time. The city lights and all are impressive, but it gets old after awhile.
Miniland is filled with tons of Easter Eggs, and even though I spent most of my time at the LDC in Miniland, I probably didn’t get to properly take the time to fully take in all the details.
There’s a great sense of playfulness with the minifigure inhabitants as you can see in the photos above, so you’re encouraged to linger and “people-watch” to find all sorts of random scenes and characters.
I thought the Flemington Racecourse area, with the minifigures gambling was pretty funny, given that this is supposed to be a children’s indoor playground!
Also, no idea what these minifigures are up to.
I felt a little left out, so I actually flung my little own M-Tron guy to try and get near my buddies, but the execution was botched and now my sigfig is literally planking/faceplanting near them.
See if you can find me and take a photo of my planking M-Tron guy. I’m pretty sure it’s the only M-Tron minifigure of its kind in Miniland!
If you want to see more of Miniland, check out this video I took below!
For Kids: Kids will definitely love checking Miniland out, but not as much as adults. They’ll definitely be impressed and this is also probably a great place to teach them about the geography and landmarks of Melbourne. I also think that kids will enjoy looking through all the different scenes and minifigures, however I don’t think they’d want to spend all their time here if they could be playing with bricks or going on rides.
I caught a few kids getting quite impatient and were trying to drag their parents out from Miniland to go check out other areas of the centre.
For Adults: Miniland is THE attraction for adult LEGO fans. I had such a blast here, and I really can’t wait to go back to visit again to check Miniland out again. You really get to marvel at Melbourne’s best landmarks, and appreciate the intricate designs and settings. The mechanical sections such as the working tram, Melbourne Star and other interactive sections are just the icing on the cake.
If you’re an adult LEGO fan with no interest in kiddie theme park rides, expect to spend most of your time here. I do think that Miniland is worth the admission price as it’s that good.
Legoland Discovery Centre Hub
After exiting Miniland, you emerge into a vast open area that I call the hub as it connects you to a bunch of other exhibits and attractions. In the photo above is something they call the “Earthquake Table” where you’re meant to build the most structurally sound tower out of Duplo bricks.
To test the structural integrity of the towers, you can trigger an “earthquake” by hitting a button which causes the baseplate that your tower is built on to vibrate violently. It’s a pretty fun novelty activity and is something that both kids and adults will enjoy.
Located in this area is also the LEGO Racer Build & Test, where you can build your own LEGO cars and race them against others to see how fast they can go down a slope. It’s quite fun as it not only encourages creativity but also a bit of engineering precision too.
Littered around the Hub are also playpits and tables where kids can play with loose LEGO bricks. These pits filled with LEGO were really popular with the kids.
There’s also a LEGO City-themed play area that should be really fun for kids. It’s a soft play area and it does look pretty large and from what I could see, kids were having an absolute blast in it.
I don’t think adults are allowed inside… and if you’re one, why would you want to?
The Cafe is located within the Hub Area, and apart from these neat brickbuilt food items and portraits of Hot Dog Man and Banana Guy, there was nothing really noteworthy here.
I suppose it’s decent if you want a quick bite or drink, especially when you need a break but I wouldn’t really eat here especially since there are so many better dining/snack/drink options in Chadstone.
If you like coffee, go check out Axil Coffee Roasters, one of my all-time favourite cafes in Melbourne, which has an outpost just a stone’s throw away from the Legoland Discovery Centre.
I really like these brick-built flower pots that were in the cafe area. These were constructed by the Master Model Builders, Dave and Lewis!
I also didn’t enter the 4D cinema, as I’ve already experienced it in Legoland Theme Parks. Basically, you’ll watch a short 4D Movie (a Nexo Knights one was screening) which is about 15-20 minutes long.
They’re animated in the same style as the Nexo Knights cartoons, and the whole “4D” effect is essentially wind, water spray and foam hitting you in your seat, in sync with the action that happens on-screen.
Unfortunately, they aren’t showing the LEGO 4D Movie, a kind of a spin-off of The LEGO Movie which introduces President Business’ brother (voiced by John C Reilly) but according to the official website, it’s coming soon.
For Kids: These 4D movies are aimed at younger kids, so they’ll definitely enjoy the cartoon clips, as well as the environmental effects in the cinema. My only concern is the Nexo Knights movie – unless they’re already fans, they may not enjoy it as much as something more general like the LEGO 4D Movie. Hopefully they add in more movies soon.
For Adults: It’s worth a shot to experience the 4D Cinema at least once – it’s kinda fun, but you may be a little put-off because of the kiddie movie. I don’t like getting stuff like water and foam on me, so this wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed. That said, once the LEGO 4D Movie comes out, you should totally go see as I really enjoyed watching seeing the likes of Emmet and Wyldstyle on-screen again when I caught it at Legoland Malaysia.
Situated in a corner of the Legoland Discovery Centre is the Duplo Farm, a small Duplo-themed playground which has a slide and a small barn. This area is designed for smaller children (aged between 2-5) to play with as opposed to the LEGO City play area which is for slightly older kids.
There’s also a LEGO pit in the Duplo farm, but instead of regular LEGO bricks, we have these oversized foam bricks! They work almost as well as regular LEGO, and you can build with them as you would normal LEGO, but they’re a lot spongier.
I really love these soft bricks and always look forward to messing with them everytime I’m at a Legoland.
Oh these oversized LEGO benches at the Duplo Farm were super cute.
It goes without saying but this area is definitely NOT for adults.
Merlin’s Apprentice is the second “big ride” at the Legoland Discovery Centre. The ride is super simple, you buckle yourself into these small carts and when the ride starts, you spin around as the carts go up and down. You can pedal to make your cart go higher, but that’s pretty much it with this ride.
For all intents and purposes, it’s a pretty boring ride since it’s quite passive (except for the pedalling) and I don’t think that you’ll keep coming back to this ride, even for kids.
LEGO Friends/Heartlake City
Now this area was a bit of a surprise, because I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Right next to the Duplo Farm is a small enclave dedicated to LEGO Friends. It’s obviously aimed at young girls but there’s quite a bit here, even for adults.
Situated in the middle of the LEGO Friends section is a collection of very impressively built and designed LEGO friends buildings that are based on actual Friends sets. We have super-sized versions of Heartlake High, Heartlake Grand Hotel, Emma’s House and even Heartlake Lighthouse.
The buildings are very well designed and adult fans who are into LEGO Friends will have a great time admiring these builds, and all those dolphins in the sea!
There are also play areas where you can build with LEGO Friends bricks, minidolls and animals which I think is pretty cool. I was pretty surprised that they had Minidolls and animals – I do expect a lot of these to go missing from the Discovery Centre.
Last but not least is the Creative Workshop, a small enclosed room which is the domain of Master Model Builders Dave Holder (read my interview with him to find out more) and his co-worker, Lewis, whom you may remember as one of the finalists from the Brick Factor competition.
I really liked that they kept and displayed some of the models from the Brick Factor competition, a nationwide search to find the Discovery Centre’s Master Model Builder. It was a very nice touch to commemorate some of the great builds and designs that emerged out of the competition.
The Creative Workshop is where Dave and Lewis conduct workshops for kids, showing them all sorts of LEGO tips and tricks. The setup is pretty interesting, there’s a round table where kids can sit at to observe the Master Model Builder in the middle as he instructs them on specific builds.
There wasn’t any workshop running, and from what it seems, initially, the builds will be quite basic. You can see above that there were LEGO-shaped containers which contained parts, an instruction booklet that kids can follow, or they can do freestyle builds if that’s what they fancy.
Here’s Lewis (left) and Dave (right) in the Master Model Builder Workshop, which is a small room adjoining the Creative Workshop. This is where they build models (like the brick-built flower pots in the cafe), fix up models and do their magic.
Be sure to say hi to them if you’re visiting!
Final Thoughts: As you can see, the Legoland Discovery Centre is designed and built primarily for young kids. As an adult, I had an okay time at the centre – I wouldn’t call it the most exciting afternoon of my life, but I had a decent time at the opening.
As an adult, Miniland was hands down my favourite part of the centre, and I can safely say that I couldn’t get enough of it. The rides, and other attractions just didn’t appeal to me at all, but I did enjoy just browsing through the centre, mostly because everything is LEGO-themed.
Oh and the LEGO Shop is brilliant.
The centre is playful, and evokes a very fun and whimsical atmosphere that will particularly make you happy if you love LEGO as much as I do.
Where the Legoland Discovery Centre really shines is how much fun it is for younger kids. Being there and observing kids interact with the rides, attractions and different play areas was all that I needed to know to assure me that this is going to be quite a successful indoor playground.
If you have a kid who loves LEGO, the Legoland Discovery Centre is a dream come true and I guarantee you that your kid will have a blast.
Which is what the entire Discovery Centre is unashamedly designed for – it doesn’t make any concessions to try to cater towards the AFOL crowd which it never should.
It’s a great place for kids to interact, learn and most importantly have fun with LEGO and LEGO-themed rides. I’m really glad that Merlin chose Melbourne to be the site of the first Australian Legoland Discovery Centre – we’re really privileged.
Should you buy an annual pass?
I think if you have kids who love LEGO and are young enough to appreciate indoor playgrounds, an annual pass is a great idea, especially if you live close to Chadstone. One thing I know about kids is that if they love going somewhere, they can revisit it constantly and it’ll still be fun for them.
As long as you visit the LDC more than 3 times a year, the annual pass pretty much pays for itself. Now it gets a little dicey if you have a large family, but I think it’s a worthwhile investment.
The 10% discount at the shop is also another huge benefit, but mostly for adult LEGO fans. 10% doesn’t even come close to the 20 – 30% discounts that you can get from major retailers, but if you intend on raiding the Pick a Brick Wall often or buying tons of stuff, the annual pass is worth a purchase, especially if you can maximise the value by attending the adult nights.
If you just intend to visit once, or are coming from interstate, a single ticket will suffice.
So yeah, that’s it for my review of the Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne! I hope you enjoyed reading it and I’d like to know what you think of the Discovery Centre now that you have a better idea of what you can expect inside.
If you’ve visited the Discovery Centre, I’d also love to hear what you thought of the entire thing! If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section – I have a direct line of communication with the Discovery Centre, and I can attempt to get you answers, if I’m unable to field them myself.
Thanks for reading!