We were able to get a ‘first look’ at Ninjago World at the grand opening ceremony last week and we can attest to the fact it is a real highlight at this imaginative park.
Just to start with, the latest expansion – between Land of Adventure and LEGO City – is a multi-faceted development, boasting a variety of elements that should appeal to all the family, especially the active ones.
In keeping with Lego’s mission statement, it is firmly aimed at children from 4 to 14, but it should appeal to others, too (not to mention their parents!). Like the rest of the park, it features the lush vegetation and garden-like surroundings that make this such an eye-catching place to visit, and it is something that general manager Adrian Jones (the Bloke from Stoke, as his staff call him) is extremely proud of.
He told us, “Ninjago World is a significant investment for us. It is a brand that is doing very well all around the world and it features first-of-its-kind technology for Lego parks. This is the third one we have built and each one gets a bit better, hence we think this is the best so far.
“Not only is it a major new attraction, it is also an indoor dark ride which is a real bonus in this climate, so we are very excited about it. I think people are going to come here and go ‘Wow – I can’t believe Legoland can build a ride of this magnitude and quality.’ It is also a family ride in a weather-proof environment and something with a great repeat factor.”
You enter under the Ninjago Archway and immediately encounter the first of the fun, active elements – the Ninja Training Courtyard. Here, four different challenges await budding ninjas, and kids will love the physical nature of three of them.
Start with Kai’s Spinners, where kids 5-12 can master the ancient art of Spinjitzu at a series of twirling, whirling, single-child platforms, then move on to Cole’s Rock Climb, a horizontal, right-to-left climbing wall to test kids’ strength and endurance (for ages 2-12).
Next up is Jay’s Lightning Drill and a chance for the 2-12 age group to practice precision and reflexes by pressing as many light-up targets as possible in a 30-second session. Finally, Zane’s Temple Build is a Lego building experience where kids of all ages can contribute to a giant model of the mountain-top Ninjago monastery from bins of loose bricks.
That completes the tests of the Courtyard, and, with those mastered, it is then time to enter the Main Attraction – Ninjago, The Ride. As Jones mentioned, this features unique technology for Lego parks, and riders need to pay attention to all the information during the interactive queuing area to be ready to join the 3-D world with a whole new array of challenges.
Here, riders get to join Kai, Nya and the other Masters of Spinjitzu and learn the task set by Sensei Wu to ward off the dark forces of Lord Garmadon and his Skulkins, as well as evil Master Chun and his Anacondral warriors.
The ride itself is a bit like Disney’s Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios but, instead of a pull-string ‘gun,’ this is all about your best ninja moves as you ‘fire’ lightning bolts, shock waves, fireballs and ice blasts at the array of villains you encounter on the 3-D screens with hand and arm movements.
Most importantly, there are FIVE signature ninja hand moves that you will need to learn to defeat Garmadon and Co – and boost your score on the ride. This is where the real challenge of Ninjago World comes in, and you’ll need to practice before you board your vehicle. Here’s what you need to learn (and it’s fine to try these moves at home!)
The Cobra: Hold your fingers like a snake’s head, then strike your arm forward.
Chops of Fury: Hold both hands in front of you, palms facing, and do quick karate chops.
The Fireball Flinger: Clench your hand into a fist, then thrust your arm forward while opening your fingers.
The Lightning Strike: Hold your arm at a slant and chop.
The Shuriken Shuffle: Hold both hands in front of you, palms down, with your arms bent so they touch your chest. Chop outwards repeatedly.
We found it quite difficult to start with, but the trick is to hold your hands about eight inches above the air-stream that comes out of the vent in the lap bar for each seat (which indicates where the sensors are that catch the movements and turn them into fireballs or lightning strikes) and move your hands quickly. The Chops of Fury was really effective for both of us; the Shuriken Shuffle, not so much! We did notice, however, that our arms ached – a LOT – after the ride and it felt like we’d had a real exercise workout at the end. Active it certainly is.
Your score builds up as you go from screen to screen and test to test (watch out for the final menace of The Great Devourer, the monstrous snake god), and you find out at the end if you are a Spinjitzu Master (or not). Susan was our Master on this occasion, but the best part is that it encourages you to want to ride again – and again! There are also some extra 4-D elements to the ride (think heat, smoke and wind), so be ready for a few sensory surprises.
At the end of the ride there is a typical photo opportunity of you in mid Fireball Fling (or Strike or Shuffle) and, sticking with the Florida Law that says all rides must end in the gift shop (OK, so it’s not a strict law, but it’s pretty true), you exit via Wu’s Warehouse, with a wide variety of Ninjago boxed sets and souvenirs.
Ninjago fans will also want to make a note of the forthcoming Warner Bros. film release in September of “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie,” a full-length motion picture from the same producers behind 2014’s smash hit “The LEGO Movie” and featuring the voices of Jackie Chan, Michael Peña, Dave Franco, Abbi Jacobson and Olivia Munn.
Until then, there is still the ride to keep everyone amused. Just remember to practice all those chops, shuffles and strikes!
If you have questions about Orlando’s theme parks – or anything else about the wonders of Florida – be sure to go online and ask Susan and Simon on the ATD forums.
Want to experience LEGO NINJAGO World for yourself? Click here, to view our great value tickets.
Liked this post? You may also like...