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Legoland California Debuts New Dinosaur Land and Parade
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Marking its 25th anniversary in Carlsbad, Calif. outside of San Diego, Legoland California recently opened a new land, one dedicated to dinosaurs. Part of the “massive” dino picture is a safari with a dinosaur theme, and a river expedition.

The land, dubbed Dino Valley, opened during the spring. It is located near the park entrance, taking the place of what's now the 1.3-acre Explorer Island. A complete retheming was done to shape a prehistoric land. Unchanged and apt for the newly imagined area is the popular Coastersaurus ride, an attraction at the park since 2004.

The prehistoric era has been welcomed, according to Kurt Stocks, president of Legoland California Park. Explorer Island was one of the older lands at Legoland and lacked a consistent theming. He notes that the area was in place for 20 years, making it ripe to create a new and immersive land. “Any time we launch a brand-new land it's a significant moment because we don't have a lot of land in the park…when you get a chance to create that fully immersive experience on an epic scale it's significant. And dinosaurs are such a winning theme… it was a simple decision to make.”

The land features a newly revamped Dino Dig along with two new rides which reshape their previous incarnations as Fairy Tale Brook and Safari Trek. 

The new land joins eight other themed areas. The choice of Dino Valley as a theme grew from guest research and surveys concerning what theming is most appealing for kids ages 2 to 12, according to park spokesperson Christina Fillippis.

Along with the existing Coastersaurus, Dino Valley offers the Duplo Little Dino Trail, which took the place of Safari Trek.  Four person vehicles replaced the previous ride's two-seaters, as passengers traverse a new track from which they can interact with fiberglass dinosaur models, as tall as 7-feet. Cameras placed in the vehicles allow kids and parents to trigger movements in the dinos as well as voice and sound effects.

Explorer River Quest, replacing Fairy Tale Brook, is a river expedition featuring a giant T-Rex. What was once a brook will become a jungle river, with both dinosaurs and other elements that will make guests feel as if they are “seeing dinosaurs coming to life,” Fillippis related.

As to Dino Dig, the redo still allows kids to do digging of their own to reveal fossils, but the experience will be enhanced, and also include the opportunity to interact with new characters in meet and greets. A build-and-play area is also located here. The park describes the play area as “where imagination meets prehistoric wonders.”

Coastersaurus alone remained unchanged, with its Brachiosaurus and 10-foot tall Parasaurolophus, both beloved parts of the tot-friendly ride.

Stocks views the new land as a “nice opportunity to create three sets of rides” with appeal to the entire family, as well as launching the new Duplo ride to appeal to preschoolers.  

Prior to the creation of Dino Valley, the last new land at Legoland California was The Lego Movie World, which opened in 2021.

Stocks adds that along with the new Dino Valley land, the park is also premiering a new parade, the first of its kind for a Legoland theme park in North America. It is  similar to a parade that made its debut a year ago at Germany's Legoland Deutschland Resort. The California iteration features designs based on Lego icons like Ninjago, City Deep Sea Adventure, Duplo, and Friends, and  also includes a Lego City fire truck and a pirate ship. Throughout the parade, there will be costumed characters who will dance and sing.

“As the first Legoland park in North America, it's remarkable to see how Legoland California's legacy of play has inspired generations of families over the last 25 years,” Stocks says. “It's a privilege for us to debut North America's first-ever Lego World parade in 2024, alongside our newest land, Dino Valley… I can't wait to see what families discover, build, imagine, and create with us in the year ahead.”

Scott O'Neil, the CEO of Merlin Entertainment states that he views the coming year as one of "unparalleled excitement and boundless creativity, echoing the very essence of the core values of Lego.” With the park's 25th birthday in full swing, he describes a visit to the park next year as providing an immersive, “celebratory atmosphere, surrounded by special birthday décor and new experiences that all serve as a constant reminder of our 25-year legacy…Dino Valley and the brand new Lego World Parade will showcase an extra dose of celebratory cheer, inviting families to join us and build together in another quarter-century of laughter, play, and the timeless art of memory making."

The summer months will offer GO Xtreme featuring professional athletes performing astonishing stunts. Summertime will also see a return of Red, White & BOOM, an event in which picnic games and building activities by day are joined by fireworks in an evening show replete with patriotic tunes. And in September and October, Brick or Treat and a Halloween themed show will be on tap, with the Holidays at Legoland closing the year, featuring Lego Santa.

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