Everything is awesome about The Great LEGO Race VR coaster


LEGO inspires great imaginative creations. At LEGOLAND Florida, The Great LEGO Race is the first VR coaster that is awesome for all ages.

Located west of Orlando, Florida, LEGOLAND Florida is a popular theme park for families. While many theme parks cater to high adrenaline rides and popular characters, LEGOLAND blends entertainment and imagination through its LEGO-themed rides. On March 23, LEGOLAND Florida opened the Great LEGO Race, the first VR coaster designed for kids.

WINTER HAVEN, FL — March 23, 2018 — The Great LEGO Race opens at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort)

Theme parks are always looking for new ways to bring in new guests as well as keep returning guests excited about their next visit. While building a new attraction from scratch is timely and expensive, revising an existing ride is becoming a popular trend. The Great LEGO Race takes an existing roller coaster and offers a completely new spin on the ride experience.

The VR experience has riders experience a race against five different LEGO mini figures. With Pirate Captain, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Trendsetter and Wizard ready to go, the rider feels like they are directly racing alongside these other racers. As everyone goes through the brick-built environments, the VR environment syncs to the existing roller coaster’s drops and turns.

During the 2017 IAAPA, I was able to see a preview of some of the VR visuals. The preview was impressive, but the ride itself is even better. After experiencing the ride in its entirety yesterday, I can say the experience is astounding. I definitely felt as if I was in the middle of the race with all the other mini-figures.

WINTER HAVEN, FL — March 23, 2018 — The Great LEGO Race opens at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort)

The ride begins as the five racers get ready for the race. As the coaster car climbs, the race course takes shape. New pieces and lands are built throughout the experience. Twisting lakes turn into frozen streams. Sometimes the course disappears only to find a new path.

Unlike a traditional roller coaster, this VR coaster doesn’t allow the rider to anticipate what’s coming next. Usually, a rider can see a big drop or hard banking turn and prepare for it. But, since the VR headset alters your view, the rider only sees what’s happening in the now. It feels as if you have been propelled into a LEGO mini-figure video game and are directly part of the action.

The best part of this VR coaster experience is that the visuals are 360 degrees. Being able to look all around and see difference visuals while riding is definitely an awesome experience. This aspect keeps the coaster exciting time after time. It’s almost impossible to see every aspect of the ride in just a single event. Each time through shows a new detail that you might have missed.

WINTER HAVEN, FL — March 22, 2018 — The Great LEGO Race at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. (PHOTO / LOCK + LAND, Chip Litherland for LEGOLAND Florida Resort)

According to Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making, the experience was “inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys.” The ride has kids experience different LEGO lands and themes, just like how kids use their imaginations to create epic adventures with their own mini-figures and bricks. The ride is an extension of the LEGO experience.

This VR coaster is the first of its kind “designed for kids.” To experience the complete VR capabilities of the coaster, riders must be 6 years old and 48 inches tall. Other VR integrated coasters/rides have more restrictive requirements. The VR design, video and ride were all done with consideration of the child rider. In this ride experience, youngsters can finally have the immersive VR experience at their level.

The VR headsets are relatively easy to use. LEGOLAND staff does a great job explaining how to use them. Also, each headset is tethered to the car, so there is no worry about the headset flying off during the ride. Children and adults shouldn’t have a problem using them.

While the ride was designed with younger riders in mind, the Great LEGO Race is a lot of fun for adults. LEGO building sets have no age limits. Who hasn’t spent time imagining a world where the mini-figures have epic adventures? Personally, it felt like I was a kid again. For a few minutes, my imagination took over, I embraced the experience, and I remembered what it was like to just have fun.

LEGOLAND Florida The Great LEGO Race VR coaster awesome for all ages, photo by Cristine Struble

The Great LEGO Race should be a successful addition to LEGOLAND Florida. The theme park’s LEGO NINJAGO World was a huge hit with both casual guests and theme park enthusiasts. Guests should probably expect longer average wait times during the first couple weeks.

It will be interesting to see how other theme parks adopt the VR coaster concept for their theme parks. While other theme parks have tried VR technology on roller coasters, it hasn’t been used in kid-themed rides. This type of addition could bring fresh experiences to rides that have lost their popularity.

Also, VR technology and simulators are becoming more and more prevalent. Some of the recent, extremely popular rides like Pandora’s Banshee and Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York, both use simulators to bring guests impressive experiences. With Universal replacing the Dragon Challenge with a more family-inclusive ride, it will be interesting to see how simulators or VR experiences will play a role in that ride.

The Great LEGO Race is definitely a fun experience for both kids and adults. A visit to LEGOLAND Florida definitely needs to include at least one ride on this VR coaster. I would recommend riding it once in the morning and again before you leave the park. A double experience could help you capture all the little nuances that you might have missed on the first ride.

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LEGOLAND Florida is located near Orlando, Florida. Tickets can be purchased online or at the park.

Are you ready to experience an awesome, epic VR coaster? Get your engines revving for The Great LEGO Race.