(UPDATED) 12 things to know before taking your kids to Legoland Malaysia
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
With Legoland's newly-opened SEA Life aquarium, the Legoland theme park in Johor Bahru, Malaysia just upped its attraction for Singaporean families, on top of its world-class rides and attractions, and short drive from Singapore.
UPDATED - 8 December 2019 (original post 13 May 2019)
The Legoland theme park in Johor Bahru, Malaysia is a familiar and attractive destination for Singaporean families. Our family has been to the theme park quite a few times and we totally dig the place. What's not to like - it has world-class rides and attractions, is just a short drive from Singapore and the favourable Singdollar-Ringgit exchange rate makes you feel like there is a 60% discount off all your spending there!
There are plenty of great blogposts on the Legoland theme park with pictures galore (sharing some of my favourites below). So rather than recount our days at Legoland, I thought it better to answer questions parents often have about the theme park given that the many considerations we have when we travel with kids - Is the place suitable for young kiddos? Are there enough activities to keep children occupied? What dining options are there for my picky-eaters?
So here's our review and 12 things you need to know before taking your kids to Legoland theme park in Malaysia.
1) Are the rides suitable for young kids?
I would say yes for those age three till tweens. There are a number of rides the park categorises as suitable from as young as two till at least six years old but of course, height restrictions apply and most require adult accompaniment for kids that young.
Also, different kids have different stomachs for amusement rides. We have been to Legoland when one kid was as young as five, and the oldest was when one kid was nine. The background to this is both my girls have low fear thresholds for thrill rides and I’m not one to cajole them into a ride if they’re not ready. So even though they did not try all the rides, they still enjoyed themselves tremendously, with enough to entertain them the entire day.
Here are Big E and Little E's top ride picks for kids their age:
Merlin’s Challenge, a spinning ride for age four and above (note the age limits mentioned are for adult accompanied, not lone riders) that goes pretty fast, but not too daunting for young ones.
Royal Joust, mechanical horse-riding for age four and above. This is non-adult accompanied, obviously.
Lego Studios for 4D movies. Choose from five movies and various timings. These movies change periodically. No age limit. If you do not want to get too wet when there are water sprinkling scenes, choose seats that do not look too wet when you enter the theatre - they are tell-tale signs the water sprinklers are not aimed at those seats.
The kiddos also hung around quite a bit at Lego Mindstorms and Lego Academy, an air-conditioned Lego building area for all ages. The air-con was also a welcome respite from the heat outside, I must add!
The Lego Ninjago 4D ride is a must-visit for all Ninjago fans! Well, even if you aren't fans, the ride's still pretty novel. The hallway to the ride is lined with Ninjago interactive exhibits before you arrive at the highlight - a 4D ride where riders fire shurikens at enemies via hand gesture sensors. At age six and eight, the kids were a little spooked by the loud sound effects on their first attempt, but they soon got used to it and we ended up riding eleven times and leaving with sore arms from our virtual battles.
Dragon's Apprentice is a roller coaster for young kids, a lot less daunting than the bigger roller coaster The Dragon. Our kids were a bit nervous before first trying it out when they were seven and nine, but after the first try, they wanted to go on it again and again! It's relatively mild and suitable for young children. Riders for the former between 100cm-119cm and above 4 years old needs to be accompanied by rider of at least 16 years old. You can ride alone if you're above 6 years old with a min height of 120cm.
Rescue Academy is where you power a fire-engine using hydraulic pumps, put out a fake fire when your rescue vehicle reaches the end, then return to the starting line again. Use a lot of arm strength and pump like mad If you're hell bent on being first among the rescue vehicles, if not, just go slow with the pumping and let the vehicle dawdle along. Kids would like the part where they shoot water through a hole in the building to put out a "fire". For ages four and above.
The Ninjago & the Realm of Shadows at the Lego City Stage, a very impressive live show, where you have puppet masters maneuvering large Ninjago character puppets throughout an engaging Ninjago story line.
At age five and seven, my kids still enjoyed Duplo Playtown, an outdoor play area for younger kids, but it could not capture my kids' attention when they became older. Colourful and interactive equipment, along with a mini train ride, should keep younger ones amused.
For kiddos five and below, there are still some rides and attractions to keep them entertained as long as they are accompanied by adults. These include the Junior Driving School for ages three to five, Beetle Bounce for ages two onwards, the Legoland train, Observation Tower, Boating School for one year and older, Lego City Airport from three years old and the Technic Twister from age four.
There are also a number of playgrounds like The Shipyard and The Forestmen’s Hideout young ones would like. Note that while some rides allow young children, like the Lost Kingdom Adventure - which says ages two and upwards - where riders shoot laser guns at objects in an ancient temple, my then 5-year-old was a bit traumatised by 'scary' displays like Egyptian mummies.
Another example is The Great Lego Race, a roller coaster thrill ride where you can opt to wear a virtual reality headset. The ride says six years and upwards to ride and I’ve seen kids that young try it out, but no way would my girls go on it, not even at eight years old. So it all varies kid to kid. And as parents, we all have a good grasp on our kids’ fear threshold.
There’s a very detailed list of the rides on the Legoland website if you’d like to research more
2) Are the rides suitable for adults and teenagers?
Thrill-seeking adults and teenagers probably wouldn’t find Legoland Malaysia extremely exciting. Slightly older kids and adults may like The Great Lego Race (see above), Dino Island and The Dragon, which are all for six years and above. But the hubby gives his thumbs-up to The Great Lego Race, and that’s coming from someone who loves thrill rides. He suggests going without the headset for a more heart-pounding experience!
While most rides are not going to send your heart racing, there are note-worthy attractions that adults and teenagers would enjoy like the Lego Ninjago Ride, 4D movies, Ninjago live show and Miniland. I certainly did.
3) When to visit?
I’m not one for crowds and whiny kids in long queues, so we'd tend to opt for non-peak periods to visit. But when you have primary-school-going kids, you’re pretty much confined to weekends or school holidays. Unless you like jostling with the crowd and queuing up, try avoiding visiting during Malaysia's school holidays where it can get crowded, and the week or two before it. We most recently visited Legoland the week before the start of the Malaysia school holidays, and there were throngs of students from school excursions!
If you're planning a trip longer than a day, hotels are also cheaper outside of Malaysia's school and public holidays. The Malaysian school holiday timing differs from those in Singapore, so check online on Malaysian school holiday timings before planning your trip.
4) How much and where to buy tickets?
The Legoland Malaysia website has a number of options, like packages which include tickets to the main Legoland theme park, water park and the newly-opened aquarium, SEA Life. There are savings if you book online and/or purchase tickets for more than one theme park (called combo tickets to be used up either over one or two days) compared to buying physical tickets at the Legoland entrance.
But I hardly purchase tickets from the Legoland website because the catch is you have to select your day of visit upon purchase and the ticket can only be used on that day (we’re talking per entry tickets, not annual pass for now). The trips we made to Legoland have so far been for a few days as the kids like to visit the water park and Puteri Harbour and I appreciate the flexibility of visiting the attractions subject to weather. If the weather is expected to be sunny, we’d head to the theme park and water park first and leave Puteri Harbour - which is sheltered - if showers are forecasted for the day.
That said, if like me, you like some flexibility on your visiting dates, it doesn’t mean you have to pay more at the entrance. Quite often during school holidays, some banks like Maybank and HSBC, run credit card promotions for Legoland theme park entrance fees. Maybank and HSBC have offered discounts as much as 30% when you pay with their credit cards at the ticketing counter. The price turns out comparable if not slightly lower than the online prices. Singapore’s NTUC has also had promotions for Legoland tickets.
Another option I’d check out for that flexibility and low price is Klook. Their Legoland entrance ticket fees are also comparable to the online Legoland website prices and Klook's tickets are open-dated (meaning the tickets are typically valid for a couple months). You just have to bring printed copies of your tickets and skip the ticketing queue.
Well, if you’ve already planned for a day trip and there is only that one day you can go, then that doesn’t leave you with much choice. You’re going rain or shine. But if there is some flexibility in your travel plans, choose an option that doesn't restrict your visiting day. A friend once told me she and her friends spent half a day under a shelter at the Legoland water park as they held pre-purchased dated tickets - the trip felt like a waste of time and money.
5) Are one-day combo tickets worthwhile?
The one-day combo tickets sold on Legoland’s website are very reasonably priced. The catch is you can only visit both the theme park and water park - and now with option of adding on the new SEA Life - on the same day, or two-selected days if you choose the two-day combo. Unless you have visited both parks for the umpteenth time and only looking to go for selected rides at both parks, I wouldn’t recommend it.
There are sufficient rides and attractions to entertain the family for an entire day and my kids were not even ready to go at the end of the day when the parks were closing! That is especially so for the theme park. The water park is not as big as the theme park and half a day might be alright but it’d be a lot of rushing off from one park and shorting yourself of the theme park’s experience.
6) Are annual tickets worthwhile?
Definitely. The theme park annual pass only costs slightly more than the day pass and can be purchased on the Legoland website. During promotions, an annual pass can cost the same as a day entry tickets on its website. When we were queuing outside Legoland, the annual passes were also offered by Legoland staff for the same price as a day ticket you purchase at the ticketing counter. Definitely worthwhile if you plan to make more trips within a year or plan to visit the theme park more than once during your trip.
That said, we have not bought annual passes much as we love Legoland. I don’t like the feeling of being obliged to go to a place just to make my spending worthwhile as I still value flexibility more.
7) Re-entries allowed?
Combo tickets and annual passes (see above) allow for multiple entries (on the day/days you opted for when purchasing tickets). Day tickets allow only one entry per day, but multiple entries per day for annual passes. That said, some online reviews mentioned that the theme park allows day re-entry for Legoland Hotel guests if you let them know ahead of exit that you’re staying at the Legoland Hotel. But before doing so, best to check ahead if you stay at the Legoland Hotel.
8) Where to stay?
Many folks opt for Legoland Hotel which is right next to the three theme parks as it is the most convenient and also for the full experience of a trip to Legoland. But it is also one of the more expensive hotels in the area, one reason why we have not stayed at the Legoland Hotel ourselves. But reviews for the hotel is great (see reviews below) and if you have a big family and/or travelling in a large group, it can be quite worthwhile staying there as they have rooms that can accommodate up to eight.
There are many more less expensive options which are not too far from the theme parks. One area popular for Legoland visitors is Puteri Harbour which is where Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and Thomas Town are (though they are only open till end 2019!). We always stay at Hotel Jen at Puteri Harbour. We like the spacious room, club lounge, breakfast selection, great service and its location next to restaurants and shops at Puteri Harbour. They provide shuttle services to and fro Legoland - just a 5 to 10 minutes ride away - in the mornings and evenings.
There are also many serviced apartment options like Somerset Puteri Harbour Iskandar Puteri which is next to Hotel Jen and Somerset Medini Iskandar Puteri a two-minute walk from Legoland. The former has a scheduled shuttle service to Legoland. But the thing with serviced apartments is that they are not full-fledged hotels, so don’t expect the frills like an extensive breakfast buffet spread.
Whether you choose to stay close to the Legoland parks or at Puteri Harbour, both areas are not terribly exciting except for their main attractions which are the theme parks, though Medini Mall - a stretch of restaurants and fast-food joints right next to Legoland - has upped its attraction recently with additions like supermarket, Ben's Independent Grocer, and VR amusement center, VRinity late 2019, along with new playgrounds.
Puteri Harbour also has a selection restaurants and shops including the DC Superheroes Café, Sushi King and Toys ‘R’ Us which kids would like, and it also has a great harbour view and occasional events to boot. Sanrio Town and Thomas Town would, however, close at the end of 2019, which unfortunately is likely to lessen the attractiveness of the area.
9) How many days to stay?
One day for one park (Legoland theme park, Legoland waterpark, Puteri Harbour's Sanrio Town, while SEA Life which only needs an hour can be squeezed in somewhere) is just right but there are other nearby attractions worth visiting in Johor, like cheap eats and shopping in Johor. But cheap eats and shopping are usually not on our kids’ priority list. So far we have limited our trips to four day three nights where we hang out at each park for a day (Legoland theme park, Legoland water park and Puteri Harbour) and we keep the last day for R&R and swimming at the hotel, and then make a slightly earlier trip home so as not to get stuck at the custom peak hour queues.
10) What’s there to eat?
Unless you hold re-entry tickets (see above), you’re basically confined to dining within the theme park. The food in the theme park is nothing to shout about (as with most theme parks) and probably overpriced for Malaysia standards. The fare is common but kids-friendly like pizza, pasta, fries etc. Note that you’re not allowed to bring food into the theme park.
11) What else is there to see and do in the vicinity?
The Legoland water park which is situated between Legoland Hotel and Legoland theme park. Their entrances are within a short walkable distance from each other. A new aquarium, SEA Life, also officially opened on 9 May 2019. There's also Puteri Harbour which houses Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and Thomas Town (this will close at end 2019). See “8) Where to stay”.
12) Best way to go?
We have friends who drive to Malaysia all the time, but there are also those who have qualms about driving a Singapore-registered car to Malaysia. Whichever way you feel, there are still cheap options like taking a bus or coach. Driving directions and other transport modes are covered in detail by Legoland over here.
With young kids, I find it a pain holding their hands and luggage while queuing at the customs, hence we’ve opted for private chauffeured cars for all our trips. There are several such transport companies if you google online. We’ve gone with Go Heng Transport Services and MST Transport so far and basically, they will ferry you point-to-point between Singapore and your hotel/Legoland in Johor at timings you opt for. The former charges SGD70 per way and the latter SGD100 per way which you pay in cash to your driver when your reach your destination. Not the cheapest option but it does away some of the hassles of travelling with young kids.
Bonus tips for your trip
- Before you go, check for ride maintenance dates. The first time we went to Legoland, the Ninjago ride was on maintenance. What a bummer right? The Legoland website shows the ride maintenance dates typically up to a month. This is also another reason why I prefer tickets and trips with some flexibility. But that said, in our latest trip some rides were closed for maintenance though it's website didn't say so, could be unexpected technical difficulties and they does depend on your luck.
- Bring hats and umbrellas. There is not a lot of shade when you walk from ride to ride at the park. So slap on the sunblock and bring hats and brollies before you go.
- At the park, consider hiring a stroller at the guest services counter near the entrance. If you have kids who are used to walking everywhere and have an abundance of energy, good for you. But if like us, you have kids who turn whiny walking under the hot sun, keep them and yourself sane by hiring strollers at the park if you don’t want to bring yours. A single cost RM53 and a double cost RM72.
Here are some other pretty good reviews of Legoland theme park in Malaysia:
Awesome Family Fun: Our Legoland Malaysia Review by Where's Sharon
Legoland Malaysia Review by The Wacky Duo
Legoland Day 2-3: Legoland Malaysia by MadPsychMum
And a couple more on Legoland Hotel, Malaysia:
Legoland Hotel Malaysia by Singapore Motherhood
2D1N Legoland Malaysia Hotel Review by Mitseuki
Legoland Hotel Malaysia by MadPsychMum
What other great tips do you have for visiting Legoland Malaysia?
Disclaimer: We paid for all our trips and the opinions expressed here are strictly my family's and my own.
©Vivian Teo. All content & photos are copyrighted to Vivian Teo unless otherwise specified.