The fun of Legoland’s new Ninjago World begins before riders even get to the ride. Outside, by the dragons built of Lego bricks, are Ninja training stations where kids can practice spinning or rock climbing. At Jay’s Lightning Drills station, where reflexes are tested, the dads are having as much fun as the kids — lights flash and they slap the buttons as fast as they can.
Ninjago World, which opened in January, has its own character meet-and-greet with Kai and Nya, two Ninja stars from the TV show “Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu,” which inspired Legoland’s martial arts-themed realm.
At the center of it all is Ninjago: The Ride, where a ninja warrior battle is a fun test of how well each rider has learned ninja hand motions like the Cobra, Chops of Fury and the Fireball Flinger that are demonstrated on video screens along the course of the queue.
The premise of the ride is that each rider fires at the villains that appear on the 3D screens as the vehicle passes by them. In concept, it’s much like Toy Story Mania at Walt Disney World, where riders fire cannons at carnival-game targets and score points for their hits.
On the Ninjago ride, however, the technology is more sophisticated. The lap bars have motion-sensing technology that detects and measures hand movements over them. Riders don’t pull or squeeze a trigger; they wear 3-D glasses and make slicing motions with their hands that aim the virtual weapons, and they score points for hitting their targets. The trick is to keep hands about 8 inches over the sensor, a dot of red light.
I was too busy hurling fireballs at various villains — ghosts, spiders, skeletons, the evil Master Devourer — to watch scores, but at the end of the ride, I saw that I had managed to beat the 5-year-old sitting next to me by a substantial margin. His parents, however, each scored more than double my points. It doesn’t look like I’m cut out to be a Ninja warrior.
Hotel: The park, which opened the 152-room Legoland Hotel two years ago, now has a second hotel: the waterfront Legoland Beach Retreat. The retreat opened in April about three-quarters of a mile off Legoland grounds on the shore of Lake Dexter. The beach-themed resort has 83 colorful Lego-style duplexes, each with two units of accommodations, built around a pool and lighthouse.