Today LEGOLAND Florida welcomes its first guests into the newly-opened World of Chima expansion, adding thousands of new LEGO bricks to form an elaborate new expansion featuring one of the park’s best rides to date.
The centerpiece of the World of Chima is The Quest for Chi, an interactive water ride that, like the rest of the park, is aimed squarely at young children, offering a chance to fire water canons at targets that include LEGO characters and others on and near the ride, ensuring no one leaves the area dry.
Yesterday, LEGOLAND held a grand opening ceremony for the new area, also offering a sneak peak at what guests could expect as it officially opens to the public today.
Video: World of Chima overview and interviews
Video: World of Chima grand opening with Laval and Cragger
Laval and Cragger, main characters from the “Legends of Chima” line of LEGO building kits and new Cartoon Network TV show of the same time, were in attendance at the grand opening along with key executives and a selection of children chosen to be among the first to experience it all.
The Quest for Chi
The majority of the World of Chima expansion is taken up by the elaborately themed area containing the new Quest for Chi attraction. Guests step through a giant lion’s head, revealing the 45-foot tall “floating” Mount Cavora towering over a winding waterway with life-sized LEGO boats, each guided by Laval.
The roughly 5-minute attraction is slow-moving, but with a goal to ensure every passenger leaves soaked, an aspect that unto itself is fun for kids. See it all in action in the video below, featuring a multi-camera POV edit of the entire ride.
Video: Full Quest for Chi interactive water ride
Armed with water canons easily powered by a swiftly spinning crank, kids and adults not only blast away at other passing boats but also aim at anyone nearby. But revenge is sweet as LEGOLAND has positioned equally powerful (and free to operate) water canons along the ride’s walkways giving the opportunity to fire back.
Approaching the ride, the “Chima” story is told through a well decorated queue, featuring oversized statues of lion leaders in a dimly lit palace type environment. Screens play clips from “Legends of Chima” to introduce characters and the story, which features animal tribes battling over much-desired chi orbs that give life and energy.
Once on board, up to 8 guests each choose a water canon station on one side of the ride’s boat, armed and ready to fire at will.
Ponchos are required only for those not wanting to leave the Quest for Chi completely drenched. If the ride’s many water elements don’t soak riders, it’ll definitely happen as other boats aim for anything that moves.
While slowly passing through scenes featuring the many “Chima” characters, guests can fire at nondescript targets to activate small animations. But for the most part, these moments (and targets) are unnoticeable, leaving largely static scenes to look at. Thousands of tiny LEGO bricks were used to build each of the 2-3 foot tall characters, some of which are accompanied by dialogue heard while floating by.
It’s not at all a thrilling, or even entertaining, experience to simply sit and watch the scenery. The goal with the Quest for Chi is to get involved, cranking up a water canon to shoot at everything while getting simply soaked. This “splash battle” style of attraction is something that has been successful for LEGOLAND in their California park, as general manager Adrian Jones notes that there’s something inherently fun about getting wet, particularly for young children.
The ride’s most impressive moments come when passing near underneath the “floating” Mount Cavora, with a waterfall cascading from all sides, and ultimately sailing into a giant crocodile’s mouth, filled with mist hiding the short dark ride-style scenes within.
Ultimately the ride succeeds in its simplicity for those eager to get wet. The water canons are the most basic kind of fun, though an increased level of interaction with props and scenery would have greatly improved the experience. But firing away at other riders is guaranteed to bring a few laughs while the overall setting of the ride provides one of LEGOLAND Florida’s best themed areas.
For even smaller guests, the World of Chima also offers a small water play area called Cragger’s Swamp, filled with mist and bubbling water fountains and jets that circle a few LEGO characters.
Those needing to run off a little extra energy can certainly do so around this area while parents stand off to the side.
For older guests, the World of Chima offers a chance to play with some of the more interactive LEGO toys called Speedorz. Kids and adults can try their hands at aiming and firing small LEGO vehicles across ramps and through hoops, requiring a bit of skill to complete.
The final element of the World of Chima, naturally, is a store, selling plenty of related merchandise from apparel to a wide range of LEGO building kits, toys, and dress-up gear.
Kids can don the outfits and become Chima warriors aiding Laval and other characters in their search for the ever elusive chi orbs.
The World of Chima should not to be expected to live up to the level of themed immersion of other recent area theme park expansions, like Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Disney’s New Fantasyland - but it’s not meant to. LEGOLAND Florida makes no apologies that their target audience is young kids, with adults along for the ride. And armed with the new Quest for Chi ride, there’s no doubt that the park has been enhanced by this expansion, featuring an exciting new world of characters and themes for LEGO fans to enjoy.
More photos from the World of Chima at LEGOLAND Florida:
(Photos by McKenzie L Stewart)