Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Man turned away from LEGOLAND Discovery Center

July 9, 2013

Via CTV News

An article on the CTV News website from Canada brought about a little known and rather stupid (in my opinion) rule of the LEGOLAND Discovery centers — “Adults must be accompanied by a child to visit the attraction.” (straight from the website).

And sure, its on the website, but John St-Onge didn’t even think about checking there before he and his adult daughter took the 3 hour drive to get to the Toronto attraction. And who would? I certainly didn’t when I was recently in Chicago for BrickWorld. I only found out when I was there that they would turn you away at the door.

I was almost curious to go and see if they really would turn me away, even though I have a Merlin Pass — which lets you into all the LEGOLAND parks and discovery centers in the US. No one mentioned this rule when they were upselling me the pass at LEGOLAND California, and of course they don’t turn non-accompanied adults away at the theme parks, they’d loose too much money. I did end up making it there, but I went with a friend and her kids, so there wasn’t an issue — for me.

Apparently to compensate for this, they have an “Adult’s Only” night once a month, but that too is rather stupid and weird in my opinion. I suppose I can see reasons for not allowing lone adults into a kid’s attraction, but still, its not like there are lots of dark corners in the tiny two story building that takes less than an hour to go through. And as far as I can tell, its only the Discovery Centers, they don’t have this rule at the SeaLife Center that is next door to LEGOLAND California. I guess its okay for adults to want to see fish, but heaven forbid they want to actually look at the LEGO models.

There is an alternative to going to the Discovery Centers — LEGO Conventions (which have many more interesting models anyways in my opinion). And I have it on good authority that Mr. St-Onge has been invited to BrickFete, Canada’s only LEGO Convention happening this weekend in Toronto. As it is an AFOL (Adult Fans of LEGO) event, all LEGO loving adults are welcome. 😉

I still haven’t made it up there yet, partially because I already go to five conventions a year, and partially because its too near to the San Diego Comic Con, which is happening next week. But from all that I’ve heard its a great show!

I feel sorry for Mr. St-Onge that he didn’t know ahead of time, so I’m posting it here — if you want to go to a LEGOLAND Discovery Center take a kid, or they won’t let you in. Not cool Merlin Entertainments, not cool at all.

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BrickWorld Chicago 2013 Recap

June 25, 2013

Okay I know I’ve totally been MIA for the last couple of weeks and I apologize for that. BrickWorld was fun, amazing and totally exhausting! I’m still not fully recovered from the trip. That’s what happens when you only sleep 2-4 hours every night. 😀

So BrickWorld this year started out with a bang, literally. I happened to fly in just before a major storm that actually had torrential rains, lightning, thunder, and even tornado warnings. I only really experienced it while riding in the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel. Even though it went on all night, and lots of flights were canceled, once I was in the hotel / convention center I rarely looked outside as I was busy setting things up, talking with friends, and starting on all the LEGO Convention fun.

This year’s theme was Heros and Villians
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There was a set unveiling — the Sydney Opera House
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It looks really good in person and all that dark tan! Also there’s a 48×48 stud baseplate in blue!
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And they also showed what the next Cusoo set will be
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There were awesome models, here’s some of my favorites:

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I think this was my favorite micro scale model
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There was a lot of buzz about the new roller coaster LEGO compatible parts. I was going to get one, but I didn’t have any room in my suitcase, so I’ll be ordering one instead. 😉
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And this was rather random but cool — tiles and flowers making a “glove”
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What it looked like during Public hours
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I have tons more photos on my Flickr photostream although I know I didn’t get pictures of everything.

It was a great show and I look forward to next year. Now on to planning for BrickFair Virginia and Bricks by the Bay — back to back weekends I might add and cross country for me. But I’ll be at both. 😉

2012 LEGO Model Review

January 1, 2013

2012 Model Review

Happy New Year Everyone! As I reflect on this past year of 2012 I decided to make a compilation of all the models I created this year. To be totally honest, this isn’t all of them. I made over 30 wedding cake toppers and literally hundreds of earrings, necklaces and key chains. But this gives you a pretty good idea.

This has been a whirlwind of a year. I went to ten Conventions this year — five LEGO Conventions, three Comic Conventions, the McDonald’s Worldwide Convention and Focus 12 Convention. I had six large project (even if one of them was microscale) — 3 ft x 3 ft Statoil logo mosaic, 4 ft long McDonald’s building, a giant Harting Connector (the big black thing on the left), a 2 1/2 ft microscale replica of a home, 4 ft x 2 ft John Hancock logo and 10 giant bricks, and a 5 ft x 5 ft Google Chrome logo. I flew to Portland, Orlando, Chicago, Virginia, and Seattle. I drove to northern California twice, Phoenix and Vegas — while building the top of the Harting model the whole way in the car (I wasn’t driving 😉 ).

Who knows what I’ll be building next year. I’m certainly excited. 🙂

Hopefully you had a wonderful 2012 and welcome 2013!

New Digital Interactive Video Game in Chicago

November 15, 2011

A ground-breaking interactive window that gives children the opportunity to star in a game as a LEGO® Minifigure will be unveiled at the LEGO Group’s brand retail store at Water Tower Place in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, November 15.

Children visiting the store window will be able to watch as they are magically changed into a LEGO Minifigure. The hungry LEGO Dragon Brickley then pops out from the side of the window and encourages the children to feed it with virtual apples lying on the ground.

The interactive shop window uses a motion-sensing camera to ‘see’ the child standing in front of the shop. This information is processed by specially developed software and a powerful Intel® CoreTM i7 processor to convert the child’s motions into a LEGO Minifigure that is then projected on to a thin film screen applied to the back of the window.

The child can then control the Minifigure’s actions by moving arms and legs in a similar way to motion-sensitive controls use in console games.

The window is a further development of the thinking behind the popular augmented reality Digital Box that is in all LEGO brand retail stores. The aim of the interactive window and the Digital Box is to bring the LEGO brand experience to life in a new, exciting and immersive way.

The Digital Box allows customers to see what is in selected LEGO sets using a camera and a screen. When the customer holds a set up to the Digital Box’s camera, a 3D animation of the contents is shown on the screen, superimposed on top of the set.

The installation in the Chicago store is a pilot that will be used to gather information about the interactive window. No decision has been taken about putting the window into other stores.

The window has been developed by LEGO Digital Business in collaboration with Danish production company GreatHouse and with hardware powered by the Intel® Core™ i7 processor.

This sounds interesting, and I imagine it is fun for the kiddies. Hopefully there will be a video actually showing what this is all about soon. Although the press release says that there are no plans to put it anywhere else, my guess is that just like the Digital Box it will be in other stores eventually. Probably the Imagination Centers like the Disney LEGO Stores or the Mall of America LEGO Store.

If I do find a video, I’ll let you know. 😉

LEGO Buildings at the National Building Museum

August 25, 2011

During the end of my BrickFair Trip (after the convention) I was able to visit Washington D.C. for a couple of day. It just happened that Adam Reed Tucker — LEGO Certified Professional, designer of the LEGO Architecture sets, and founder of BrickWorld in Chicago, has a display of LEGO Architecture (what a surprise 😀 ) at the National Building Museum.

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So since I was in the area, I decided I’d check it out. 🙂

The first thing I saw when I walked in was the donation box, a replica of the museum.
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There’s even a model of the model in the model, how meta.
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A huge banner showed some of the models
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Adam made the famous “Corncob” Marina City apartments of Chicago.
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Jin Moa Tower (and a building I can’t remember the name of)
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Falling Water (without the water 😉 )
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The models are on display till September 9th. But unfortunately during the recent earthquake on the East Coast a couple of the models suffered minor damage.

Unlike most of my buildings, Adam’s models are all unglued. But, since they are LEGO they “can and will be repaired.” 😉

If you can’t get to D.C. you can see all of the models on my Baltimore and D.C. set on Flickr.

BrickFair 2011 and other LEGO Cons

August 10, 2011

Going BrickFair 2011!

Well, BrickFair 2011 is over and done with. As I am still on the East Coast and in a hotel, I can’t download all my personal photos of BrickFair quite yet –trust me, I have quite a few. 😉

But I did want to at least post my thoughts on the event. This was my first time to this particular event and so far, the farthest East that I’ve gone for a LEGO Convention before. I’ve been to the East Coast before, but not to this particular area.

The thing I like about going to new LEGO Cons is meeting people that you’ve never met before. Now, it’s wonderful to see all your friends of course, in fact LEGO Cons are pretty much the only time I see them in person depending on where they live in relation to me. But I also really love making new friends. 🙂

Going to a convention so far from home I didn’t know what to expect. I always have fun at LEGO Cons, you can’t help but not have fun. But you never know what the area will be like, if there are good food accomidations with in walking distance, if a car is needed, or how far from the actual cities or landmarks you will be.

Now that I’ve been to 4 different conventions I’ve learned a few things. LEGO Cons can be expensive, especially when you are so very far from home. When going to a Con expect to spend betwen $800-$1000 for the whole trip minimum — and that doesn’t include the LEGO you buy. That only covers the plane ride or gas for your car, food, and hotel accomidations. If you can share car rides and/or hotel rooms do it, the trip is expensive enough without you having to pay the full price for where you will stay or how you get around.

Bricks by the Bay is the easiest for me to get to, as it is in Northern California and only about an 8-9 hour drive away. I could fly, but with its reltive closeness, I don’t see the need. So for me, I can bring my larger MOCs (My Own Creations) with out too much problems. Depending on where you live the Con may be close or very far away.

BrickWorld is by Chicago, but in the city. It is in fact in Wheeling, Illinos which is 40 minutes north of downtown Chicago. By mistake I flew into the wrong airport, there are two in the area. Fly in to O’Hare if you want to get there. The other one is just too far away any you don’t want to pay the taxi or shuttle fee.

BrickWorld does have resturants within walking distance but they run on the high to expensive side. My best recommendation is either be friends with someone with a car or bring lots of snacks from home so you don’t have to spend all your money on food.

I admit, I prefer to travel on the cheaper side. And even though I like to support the hotel that partners with the LEGO Cons, sometimes the price of the rooms are just too expensive. Its all a matter of convenience versus expense. It is really nice to just go down the elevetor to the convention, but if there is a cheaper alternative nearby and it is within walking distance or I have a car I will probably choose that option.

BrickCon is set at the Seatlle Center right in the heart of downtown. Both food and hotels are within walking distance. The first time I went I drove and stayed near by. Last year I stayed with a friend that lives in the area and rented a car. I was a little farther away, but I could still get around.

Oh, and that is another tip I have for you. If you can, come in on Wednesday to a Con and leave on Monday. I know not everyone can do this, but if you can add a day before and after the actual con, it is easier. Plus if you have any flight delays or unexpected situations pop up, you still have time to get to the Con. Staying an extra day after the Con helps mainly because if you are anything like me, you want to hang out with your friends as long as possible which means late, late nights. That extra day helps you recooperate for all the lost sleep.

I guess I’m lucky in that respect as going to LEGO Cons is part of my job. I don’t go to one now unless I’m a vendor there, because for me, I simply can’t afford it otherwise. And since I own my own business I can take that extra day or two during my trip.

In fact the reason I haven’t posted much since BrickFair ended was that I extended my stay in the area for a few days so I could actually see some of this area. I was in Baltimore yesterday and I’m in D.C. today. Getting the chance to see this nation’s Capitol was an opportunity I wasn’t about to pass up. Plus, now I’ve got much more building ideas to keep for a later date.

BrickFair itself I will cover in a later post, most likely in a day or two when I finally get back home. So for now I’ll sign off. 😉

BrickWorld 2010 Recap

June 21, 2010

BrickWorld, what can I say? It was cool, crazy, and a whirlwind of LEGO goodness. 🙂

I took about a billion pictures (okay maybe just 600). 😀

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Adam Tucker kicked it up a notch by creating a working “wooden” roller coaster.

One of the most enjoyable new challenges was the boat race.
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Mike Tighe’s “Fire Boat” although not the fastest, was certainly the most memorable.
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Nannen Zhang and Tyler Clites’ Containment Diorama stole the show with its presentation.
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It was great finally meeting some of my internet friends from all over the world in person. I met people from Canada, Europe and even Australia. Some of us have been online friends for years, but we had never met face to face.

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I really enjoyed Pepa Quin’s Futurama layout, but then I am a big Futurama fan.

I got an exclusive scope from Kyle of BrickForge — new prototypes that should be available within a few months
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I have to say the new Centaur body is my favorite. 🙂

I’ve got much more to share that will most likely be in several posts. I’m totally exhausted, drained, and still riding the BrickWorld buzz. BrickWorld was everything I thought it would be and more. To check out all my photos of the event go to my Flickr Photostream.

Off to BrickWorld

June 16, 2010

Safty First

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . .” The words of that song ring in my head this morning as a prep for BrickWorld.

My bags certainly are packed, both of them. I had to go with two in the end, even with those darn baggage fees. Its the only way I can take all the books, keychains, and other items I need to bring.

This will certainly be the start of a new adventure for me, I’ve never been to Chicago. Although I most likely won’t get to see much of it as I will be at the LEGO convention the whole time. 😉

Hopefully I’ll have internet connection so that I can keep you all posted on the goings on.