A hands-on spirit permeates LEGOLAND California more than most theme parks, from the kid-made vehicles in the Build & Test play area to the pulley-driven Kid Power Towers ride. LEGO Ninjago World takes that magic to another level, focusing on LEGO’s line of spunky ninja characters.
The one-acre NINJAGO World zone sits near the park’s entrance and is festooned with LEGO statues of guardian dragons and ninja warriors, as well as four play areas—each designed to cultivate a different ninja skill. There’s Zane’s Temple Build, where kids can build with LEGO bricks along the perimeter of a LEGO Asian temple. Nearby, kids can test their balance on the playground-style Kai’s Spinners, showcase their agility on Cole’s temple-oriented Rock Climb, or test their speed by pushing lit-up buttons in Jay’s Lightning Drill speed cage. Recharge at the Ninja Kitchen with a banh mi sandwich on crusty baguette or a steamed bao bun, filled with your choice of crispy pork belly, lemongrass chicken, or baked sweet chili tofu—another good example of LEGOLAND California’s ability to diversify its menu beyond hot dogs and pretzels.
Then get ready for the main attraction: NINJAGO The Ride. The 4D interior-style ride seats up to four riders in a car, then glides through 13 areas guarded by NINJAGO foes like Lord Garmaddon, King of the Skulkuns, or the snake-like Great Devourer (who, it turns out, can only be defeated if everyone in the car works together). Wearing your 3D glasses, you fire at targets and earn points along the way. But rather than using a laser gun, you “shoot” with your hands, like a wizard. Sensors over the lap bar help bring that magic to your fingertips—a cool fantasy-come-true for riders of pretty much any age.
“We’ve really taken the principle of ‘hands on, minds on’ to a whole new level,” says Peter Ronchetti, general manager of LEGOLAND California Resort. “We’re firing the imagination to another degree by using gestures to propel fire and ice. It’s bridging the gap between the old way of using physical props—bricks and the like—with the new world of virtual technology.”