Thursday March 31st, 2011 marked the grand opening of Star Wars Miniland. After much anticipation and just a few teaser pictures from LEGOLAND, it was nice to finally see the finished product. I tried to get in on the actual official opening, but it was so packed that I didn’t get a chance to even get into the park until it was all over.
There are 6 clusters, focusing on main scenes from the 6 different movies. My only complaint was that some of the classic scenes were so far away from the viewing public (2-3 feet or more) that its really hard to see the details.
Now being as I worked at LEGOLAND and I took care of Miniland for 4 years I do understand why models have to be far away. If models are too close grasping little (and big) hands can make off with models. Its happened before, in fact I had to rebuild the hearse for New Orleans as one of my early assignments due to that very reason. And even if the model is too big to be stolen, they can easily be damaged even if they are glued.
What I found almost more interesting than the finished product was the time lapse video LEGOLAND released of all the Model Makers and maintenance workers hard at work getting the Star Wars area ready. I’ve been there; working long, hard hours for weeks and even months on end to get everything ready for opening day. It is a truly unique experience working so closely with your coworkers for so long on such tight time restraints. A lot of minute details have to be remembered, all while making sure to finish it all on time.
I always enjoy seeing LEGOLAND grow, in some ways there will always be a part of me that remains at LEGOLAND with my friends and former coworkers who still work there. Star Wars Miniland is a nice addition to Miniland USA and a much better replacement than Daytona which I never really liked (even when we installed it). I have to admit, I do miss Miniland Kennedy Space Center, as I created several fun models for that cluster, but I also know that the Space Center lives on at LEGOLAND Florida, Windsor, and Billund. 😉
I have a whole bunch of pictures of the whole Star Wars Miniland area on my Flickr photostream. I was also told by one of my friends in maintenance that it looks almost as amazing at night because of all the LED lights. I’ll have to test that out when the park is open in the summer. 🙂
Tags: 2009 LEGO sets, 2010 LEGO Sets, 2011 LEGO Sets, Daytona, Flickr, Hearse, Kennedy Space Center, LEGO, LEGO bricks, LEGOLAND, LEGOLAND Billund, LEGOLAND Florida, LEGOLAND Windsor, Master Model Builder, Millennium Falcon, Miniland, Model Building Secrets, Model Shop, New Orleans, Sculpture, Star Wars, time lapse