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Miniland (Windsor)

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This article is about the attraction. For the area, see Miniland (Area, Windsor).


Miniland
Towerbridge
Park: LEGOLAND Windsor
Area: Miniland
Opened: 1996
Related attractions: Star Wars Miniland

Miniland is an attraction in LEGOLAND Windsor which allows tourists to walk around landmarks recreated in LEGO form. The models are made entirely out of standard LEGO bricks, and are in various scales. People are also displayed around the models, made out of standard bricks, instead of being minifigures. The original layout took over 100 model makers three years to complete.[1]

Locations

United Kingdom

BTtower

BT Tower and a VUE Cinema.

London

London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is the main focus of Miniland, due to the large amount of landmarks and the proximity to Windsor.

London has a large amount of vehicles in it, including cars, boats, trains and buses. A London Duck Tour vehicle, the firm being a partner of the park, also appears.

As in real life, the River Thames runs through the centre of London, with small boats lining and, in some cases, travelling down, the waterway. Multiple bridges span the river. The first bridge lies near the Palace of Westminster. Westminster Bridge is painted a bluish-green to represent the House of Commons, which it is situated nearest to. Previously in this spot was a railway bridge.[1] Before then, Westminster Bridge was situated at the site of the Millennium Bridge.[2]

The Millennium Bridge was designed to celebrate the year 2000, but was closed for repairs shortly after, due to the way it wobbled. London Bridge is modelled on the current bridge to take that moniker and location, the first originally built by the Romans. Downstream from London Bridge is Tower Bridge, which was released as a set in 2010, is perhaps the most iconic bridge in the city, due to its towers.

The South Bank is the area south of the River Thames. The main feature is the London Eye which is also owned by Merlin Entertainments Group. The model rotates. South of that is Waterloo station. It is one of the busiest stations in Europe. Trains leave the station and head round the rest of Miniland, there is a Eurostar train in the station. City Hall is also in the area. It is home to the London Assembly.

Canary Wharf is featured. Canary Wharf is the major business district in London and contains many skyscrapers. One Canada Square is currently the tallest building in the UK and so also the tallest building in Miniland. 8 Canada Square is the home of HSBC and another skyscraper rounds of the trio of buildings, most likely 25 Canada Square. Cars are parked outside including a police car. A train station is situated next to Canary Wharf.

Legoland-canarywhard

Canary Wharf

The Gherkin is a London skyscraper. At the top of it is a restaurant. It is 40 storeys high with glass windows. Inside there are offices.

A London Underground tube station is featured. It is based on real stations on the line, though has the name "Brick Park". Trains stop at the station. A fossil can also be seen at the station. Inside are maps of London and the Underground, benches can also be seen.

BT Tower is the tall cylindrical building. It is a major hub of communications, and until the 1990s, did not appear on maps as it was classified as a "secret". The Vue cinema nearby is based of their flagship venue in Leicester Square, and the Empire is also there. The square contains many other cinemas and is home to many film premiers. In the square are a few shops and bistros. Nearby is Hamleys flagship store. In the real store, the LEGO aisles are in the basement. The Miniland version was for a brief period placed in the window of the actual store.

Buckingham Palace is the primary residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The first monarch to live there was Victoria in 1837. Foot Guards, famed for their red jackets and bearskin hats are in charge of protecting the palace. Outside the palace is the Victoria Memorial, dedicated to the queen of the same name. You can see a royal carriage and a Rolls Royce inside the grounds.

Horse Guards Arch is the official entrance to both Buckingham and St James's Palaces. Both mounted and dismounted sentries take turns on guard here. Through the Arch is Horse Guards Parade. It is a large parade ground and is where the monarch's official birthday celebrations, the Trooping of the Colours is held. The guards march up and down the track. The Queen can be seen watching along with The Simpsons family. Down the Mall from Buckingham Palace is Admiralty Arch. It separates the Mall from Trafalgar Square. Next to the Mall is St James's Park. Trafalgar Square is a square famous for its statues, named after the Battle of Trafalgar. It has Nelson's Column in the centre, dedicated to Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the battle. Four lions flank the column. The square contains two fountains, dedicated to two other admirals, Lord Jellicoe and Lord Beatty, who both served during the First World War. There are also four plinths, three containing statues (of George IV, Major General Sir Henry Havelock and General Sir Charles James Napier). The fourth plinth is host to artwork that is often changed. The National Gallery is on Trafalgar Square and is known for having over 2000 paintings. St. Martin-in-the-Fields church is also in the square.

Piccadilly Circus is a round open area with a large amount of shops and the West End nearby. It is known for its neon signs and video display. The LEGO version also holds various companies names. The Shaftesbury Memorial, located in the circus, is dedicated to the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, a Victorian philanthropist. A statue of the Greek god Eros is in the square.


Covent Garden Market Hall is featured. The Covent Garden area is famed for shopping, entertainment, and its street performers including a mime.

The Palace of Westminster is more commonly known as the Houses of Parliament. It is home to both houses, Commons, and Lords. The Gothic design of the building makes it instantly recognizable. Big Ben (St. Stephen's Tower is the actual name, the bell being called Big Ben). It is perhaps the most famous landmark of London.

St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the biggest cathedrals in the United Kingdom and was for over two hundred years the city's tallest building. The Tower of London is over 900 years old and currently holds the Crown Jewels (LEGO versions are on show in the park in the LEGO Creation Centre). Beefeaters guard the tower.

The London area then ends up back at Canary Wharf, where a Docklands Light Railway system runs through. It runs past the Lloyd's building, which is notable for having its stairs, elevators, pipes, and other services outside, leaving uncluttered space inside.

A construction site is located near to London, with various vehicles such as cranes on site. This represents the site of the Olympic Games stadium, it contains many offices and even portaloos. The Millennium Dome used to be on this site. Next to it is Wembley Stadium. This model is based on the 1923 version, which was demolished in 2003 in favour for a new design. The stadium was home to events including the World Cup Final 1966, the 1948 Olympics and Live Aid, and is recognizable due to its twin towers, inside are two teams, the reds stretching and the blues having their photo taken with the cup. A streaker can also be found running across the pitch before being apprehended by some police officers. One side of the stands is removed to allow visitors to see the pitch easily. LEGOLAND banners surround the stadium.

Rest of England

Kingsnorth power station is in Kent and is powered by coal and oil. Nearby is a port, Newcastle, with railway tracks and cranes, and cruise boats including a P&O ferry. Also in this area are buildings from Grimsby Docks - Victoria Mills (now a block of flats), the distinctive blue and red cranes loading crates onto a cargo ship, the dock offices and the iconic dock tower. There are many lorries from British companies lining the port including Tesco and Argos. A train track runs through this industrial area, going past factories, the power station, a dock, and a clock building. The Albert Dock from Liverpool is included at the port.

Burgh Island is a small tidal island off the coast of South Devon in England near to the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea. It contains a small pub called the Pilchard Inn.

The Smith's Arms claims to be the smallest public house in Britain. It was a blacksmith shop and once King Charles II stopped there and asked for a drink. The blacksmith didn't have a license so one was granted. Nearby is Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire. Behind it is Glastonbury Tor, a hill which has a tower on top.

A lifeboat station sits at the bottom of a cliff. There are 235 Royal National Lifeboat Institute stations in the UK and Ireland. Above on the cliff top is Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre four miles from Land's End in Cornwall. It is putting on a production of Hamlet. Wind turbines are featured in the hills nearby, as well as a small fishing village.

Silverstone is a British racetrack which hosts formula one. It and a fun-fair sit in a separate area. The actual racetrack has many spectators, and it has a pit stop for vehicles. At the front of the building are vans from sponsors, including Coca-Cola, there is also a dare devil jumping four double-decker buses. Near that the is a bar. A race can take place if visitors press the buttons. The fun fair has many rides including a Ferris wheel and tea cup ride.

The English Channel separates France from the rest of England. On the edge of the Channel is a lighthouse and a pier.

Brighton Pier and sea-front is also featured. Brighton Pier contains a helter skelter, swinging pirate ship, and a hook a duck attraction. A rock formation nearby resembles Durdle Door. by the Pier is Brighton which contains a few shops and a church.

By Brighton is a country side village. In the main village is a church, a train station, and a pub. The pub is called the Afflecc Arms, a painter is painting the side of the building. Outside the village is a cricket pitch being invaded by sheep from a neighbouring farm. The farm is near to the pitch, it has a welcome sign, some cows, and a tractor.

Leeds Castle is a British castle in Kent, that dates back to 1119. Near the castle is a hot air balloon. A canal connects the castle to the English Channel. As you follow the canal down there is a camp site opposite a water wheel. there are many bridges spanning it including a footbridge, a rail bridge, and a small vehicle bridge.

Wales

Caerphilly Castle is a medieval site heavily defended by water. It is Wales' largest castle and the second largest in the UK after Windsor. The castle actually leans more than the leaning tower of Pisa, because Oliver Cromwell unsuccessfully tried to blow it up.

Nearby is a small Welsh village, containing a church, the village shops, a railway line, and a game of rugby. The sport is widely associated with Wales.

Following the railway along, you go past another small collection of buildings with a few cars including a Beige Reliant Robin on a bridge, a Green VW T3, and a broken down Red Citroën 2CV, then another church with a wedding taking place.

Scotland

Loch Ness is prominently featured, the body of water is famed for its monster. On the shore is Urquhart Castle. By Urquhart Castle is a submarine in the loch looking for the monster. A small fishing village is sat on the banks of the Loch.

Eilean Donan is a small Scottish island famed for its castle. The actual castle was destroyed in the 18th century, the current one being created in the 20th century. The island has an official population of one person.

Blair Castle is the building behind the Highland Games. Its owner, the Duke of Atholl, is the owner of the only legal private army in Europe, the Atholl Highlanders. The Highland games are a series of events that celebrate Scottish tradition, including bagpipes, pipe bands, and heavy events such as the caber toss. Behind the castle is a Helicopter.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is well known for its Castle, which sits atop Castle Rock. A royal castle has been on the site since the 12th century. The town itself features the Royal Mile, which leads from the Castle to an Abbey, and lots of historic buildings, many of which feature in Miniland. The city also contains a horse statue. Near the city is a parachutist jumping off a hill.

Jedburgh Abbey is a ruined abbey close to the English border. Near the model of the abbey is a small town. The town seems to be based on Tobermory, famed for its colourful houses.

Europe

Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands, as well as being one of the main areas in The Netherlands section of Miniland. Amsterdam has many canals with tourist boats in. The city model also contains many shops and buildings and even a garbage truck. It contains many real world places in Amsterdam including a clock tower. Because the country is extremely low lying there are many canals and rivers running throughout the Miniland section.


Tulips are a main export of the Holland, so there are many tulip farms dotted around the countryside.

Belgium

Leuven is a city in Belgium. It contains a town hall, with around a hundred flags hanging up around the building. A cafe/bar complex sits next to the town hall, chairs and tables are outside with customers drinking, and a delivery van with creates of beer.


Italy

A walled Italian city, San Gimignano is known for its towers. A flag is hanging out of one of the towers saying "go Italy".

Another Italian scene is a plaza. A Mafia scene can be seen in the area. This town is more rural with a wagon being pulled along by some horses.

Sweden

Small Swedish buildings and villages are included in scenic countries. There is also a series of locks in one of the canals by a lake. Figures resembling the pop band, ABBA, can be seen in the area. A river-way runs through, with many types of boats on its banks. There are also many lakes and rivers including one with a boathouse.

On the banks of the river there is a timber yard with boats outside. Just down stream there is a sea plane next to a large hotel and a cruise boat. Next to that there's a church with a wedding going on inside.

Denmark

Denmark is famed for its wind turbines, being Sweden's top energy supply. There is also lots of lighthouses around the wind farms. By one of the wind farms there is a beach and a caravan site.

There are also many farms with sheep and a tractor.

A bridge spans the lake. One one side of the lake is a large town.


France

France contains buildings in Paris, including Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, which is a Catholic church built on the highest point in the city. Behind it is Mont Saint Michel, a tidal island off the coast of Normandy.

La Roque Alric is a small village in the south of France. The village has several houses and cars. The Tour de France passes though here.

Honfleur is a fishing port on the estuary of the river Seine. The town contains a market square, a church, a port, and a train station.

United States

Kennedy Space Center is in the park. A shuttle-launch is featured on a launch dock. Every so-often smoke is released to simulate a launch. A few buildings are located as well as vehicles, including a main control base. Multiple rockets and space vehicles sit on display, while astronauts can be seen training. Next to the training astronauts is the Everglades as the base is in Florida, it has a small hovercraft and alligator. By this is the main control centre with a water tower. A truck can be seen carrying a satellite passing a group of astronauts doing star jumps. A bus saying "Kennedy Space Center" passes one of the main shuttles with tourists passing by (Obi-Wan Kenobi hiding underneath), there is also an astronaut being spun around in special equipment. The visitors' centre is in between most of the rockets. At the front there are check in desks with tourists including someone in a wheel chair. There are gas tanks at the back of the building along with a couple of training astronauts.


A large version of Mount Rushmore is located nearby. This is out of scale with the rest of Miniland. Mount Rushmore is a landform which has four American Presidents faces carved into it. The presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.


Easter Eggs

Miniland is regularly updated to contain political figures, celebrities, TV characters, and other iconic or topical events. These scenes are regularly changed and updated.

Television shows & films

Top Gear

Notable figures include Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and The Stig, located at the race-course, with a Caterham. They were added to the park in 2009.[3]

Little Britian

Little Britain characters Andy and Lou also appear, located near the London Eye.

Star Wars

Star Wars also has characters on display, near the Shuttle launch. It has Darth Vader leading a legion of Stormtroopers, with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda looking on.

Star Wars is not the only license to receive this treatment, Batman also has a small feature, with Batman, Robin, and the Batmobile appearing outside VUE Cinema.

In March 2012 an indoor Star Wars section was opened to the public which replaced Rocket Racers.

Doctor Who

Since the revival of the show in 2005, Doctor Who characters have been added to London. Enemies and allies are constantly changed, but it always includes the TARDIS, the Doctor, and his companion. Characters have included The Doctor, Amy Pond, Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Rose Tyler, K9, Daleks, Davros, Sontarans, Cybermen, Ood, Captain Jack Harkness, Vastra, The Silence, and a Headless Monk.

Political figures and royalty

Real world characters include Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and Queen Elizabeth II.

To mirror real life protests at nuclear-powered plants in Britain, LEGOLAND added protesters to their miniland plant. During the G20 meeting in London, April 2009, they added world leaders outside Downing Street.

In response to the result of the 2010 General Election in the United Kingdom, which led to a coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the park had David Cameron and Nick Clegg, (Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders, respectively) carrying Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister before the election, out of 10 Downing Street, having lost.

Royalweddingminiland

Crowds gathering at Buckingham Palace

Royal Wedding

For the 2011 Royal Wedding, Buckingham Palace was designed to simulate the day; with multiple scenes being created.

The scene took 30 hours and 10,000 bricks to create. It was first placed in the park on April 1 just before the wedding. Each figure has taken an hour to create out of 30 or 40 bricks. Multiple figures were added as guests where announced in an attempt to keep the scene as accurate as possible. Sue Kemp, a director of LEGOLAND Windsor, said it consisted part of the parks 15th Birthday celebrations.[4]

Figures featured included The Queen, Prince Philip, other members of the Royal Family and the Middletons; the couple (Prince William and Kate Middleton); the royal corgis and other wedding guests, such as David and Victoria Beckham.[4]

Diamond Jubilee

For The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a special model of Her Majesty was put on display. The model featured the Queen dressed in white, with a blue sash (the Garter Riband), and wearing a silver crown with 48 actual diamonds set in it. They again appeared on the Miniland Palace balcony, however the duke of Edinburgh didn't appear on the Palace balcony in London due to illness.

Creation

The vehicles that move on the roads; the buses, cars and lorries, are controlled using radio signals and timers, to ensure they steer and stop.

The moving boats make use of rubber loops, attached to motors which are controlled by computers. The computers can sense where the boats are, and so can then open bridges and locks.

The system is run by fourteen computers using 300 km of underground cabling.[5] It uses nearly 40million LEGO bricks.[6]

An audio tour was featured in the 2001 season, but was removed at the end of it.

Special events

In late 2011, a competition was run which enables those younger than 15 to become "Mayor of Miniland". Winners will receive a special plaque saying "Mayor of Miniland" and their name, four annual passes, an "Ultimate Q-Bot" for use by four people, a plaque in Miniland, a LEGO key and be able to open the park at the start of the 2012 season. To enter you need to answer questions related to the park.

Notes

  • Miniland crash

    Crash at miniland.

    Due to the fact that Miniland is outside, some of the buildings and models have dis-coloured due to exposure to the UV-rays from the Sun. An example of a dis-coloured model can be seen on the right. It's assumed that The LEGO Group/Merlin Enterprises have these models replaced with an exact replica but with new bricks.

Gallery

See also


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 An old guidebook, not sure when it was, I only have fragments - cjc
  2. File:Legoland-old-Westminsterb.jpg
  3. Top Gear
  4. 4.0 4.1 BBC News
  5. LEGOLAND Windsor Souvenir Guidebook 1997
  6. Miniland at LEGOLAND Windsor

External links


LEGOLAND Windsor

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