July 26, 2002
Carlsbad, CA — Savanna Cathey, 6, of Ridgecrest walked through the gates at LEGOLAND® California and into the history books on July 25 as the popular theme park's five millionth guest. Savanna, soon to be a first grader at Faller Elementary in Kern County, was immediately surrounded by cheering and clapping Legoland characters and employees. The young girl was excited – and at first overwhelmed – to receive the coveted honor…a Legoland Ambassador pass, granting her free admission to the park for the rest of her life. She also received $500 LEGO® dollars to spend in the park, huge baskets full of LEGO toys and a front row seat to the new LEGO RACERS 4-D feature film.
Although it opened its gates just 3 years ago, the popular destination has already been honored as one of the top family theme parks in the nation.
Forbes.com ranked Legoland among "The World's Best Amusement Parks" for its innovative rides, many of them kid-powered, and its wide range of activities geared toward youngsters 2 to 12. In addition, thousands of readers of FamilyFun Magazine, a subsidiary of Disney Publishing, rated Legoland the second best amusement park on the West Coast. The 128-acre park was only edged out of the top spot by Disneyland, according to a recent issue of the national magazine.
"Savanna represents an important milestone for Legoland California, and for the entire LEGO Company," said Bill Haviluk, president of Legoland California. "Welcoming guest number 5 million to our park after just three years of operation shows we're offering our guests the right mix of fun, creativity and adventure to bring them in."
Amusement Business Senior Editor Tim O'Brien, who covers the theme park industry around the world, agreed with Haviluk's assessment.
"LEGO is a strong brand globally, respected for quality and getting things right," O'Brien said. "Legoland California has stayed true to that brand, incorporating the toy lines seamlessly into rides, activities, shows – the whole entertainment package."
Other than the movie parks like Universal and Disney, O'Brien pointed out, Denmark-based Legoland is the only theme park in the world owned by its brand.
Two of the park's biggest draws this busy summer season bring popular LEGO toy lines to life. The smash new LEGO RACERS 4-D feature film plays several times daily to packed audiences in the LEGO Show Place Theater.
When the sun goes down, the excitement heats up in the drum-pounding, foot stomping BIONICLE Jam 2K2 – the Legend Continues summer song and dance extravaganza. The all-new musical adventure springs from the award-winning BIONICLE line of action toys. The line has captured two "Toy of the Year" awards from the American Toy Industry Association for "Most Innovative Toy of the Year" and "Best Boy Toy of the Year."
Also playing at Legoland this summer are The Big Test firefighter show, Medieval Merriment at Castle Hill, a magic show, and a ventriloquist. Sharing the spotlight with the shows is a wide assortment of rides including three coasters, an "around the world" cruise, a safari tour, driving school and the pedal-powered Sky Cruiser monorail.
O'Brien said last year Legoland ranked 46th out of more than 450 parks in the nation. It was one of only 52 welcoming more than 1 million guests each year.
The family theme park opens at 10 a.m. daily until Labor Day, after which the park is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. An operating calendar is available online at www.Legoland.com. General admission for kids 3-16 and seniors 60+, $33.95; Adults $39.95. The park is located at the Cannon Road exit off I-5 in Carlsbad just 30 minutes north of San Diego and one hour south of Anaheim.
Legoland California is a 128-acre family theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. Just like with LEGO toys, kids are the ones who make things happen at the park. They drive, pedal, squirt, climb, jump, stomp, slide, steer, pull, click, push, gallop, laugh, build and program their way through more than 50 rides and attractions. There are only three other Legoland parks in the world – Legoland® Billund in Denmark, Legoland® Windsor outside of London and Legoland® Deutschland near Gunzburg, Germany.
Photo and artwork courtesy of LEGOLAND® California. All rights reserved.