Traveling with Tots: Puteri Harbour and LEGOLAND (part 2)

We went to Puteri Harbour and LEGOLAND over the weekend but had quite a different experience with each place. We found Puteri Harbour a nice getaway for families with toddlers but we probably won’t return to LEGOLAND until B is older, say kindergarten age and some issues mentioned below are fixed (or the trees grow!)

My review is split in two parts:
Part 1 is on the Puteri Harbour indoor parks: Hello Kitty Sanrio Town and the Little Big Club featuring Barney, Bob The Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, Thomas & Friends
Part 2 is about LEGOLAND for families with tots under 3 years

GO OR NO GO?
At the moment, there’s little shade from the elements (sun or rain) in all the main parks. In the few covered areas, there’s no proper ventilation (fans/AC) besides those in the restaurant, cafes and theatres. There’s also no shuttle bus, train or buggy system that enables you to hop on-and-off at the various parks within LEGOLAND, so quite a challenge for the very young (or very old). We visited because we were already going to Puteri Harbour the day before, and our friends with older kids wanted to check LEGOLAND out. Unfortunately for us, it was an extremely hot and humid day when we were there. My 2+ year old was wiped out despite a 2.5 hour nap after lunch, refused to go out again in the hot sun so we had a free and easy afternoon, before entering again later. Bottom line: When deciding, the weather and your tot’s the boss!
LEGOLAND Malaysia park map

If you don’t mind the heat and have LEGO fans in the family:
GO if your toddler is gung-ho and has older siblings. Spend at least 2 days so you’re in no hurry, and can enjoy the cooler evenings
WAIT until your preschooler is older.  Admission is free for kids under 3 but most rides have a strict height or age minimum
– Ticket combos are cheaper online so research and buy in advance

If you cannot tahan outdoors or crowds, DON’T GO!

HOW TO GET THERE?
– BUS: Book a return trip via coach bus (~SGD$20) or opt for the Causeway Link buses. More info here
– CAR: See step-by-step driving directions here

WHERE TO STAY?
As the Iskandar area is still under development, the nearest hotel options are LEGOLAND or Traders Hotel (Puteri Harbour). We stayed at LEGOLAND hotel for the unique experience with its distinct play areas and thematic rooms.  Basic rooms accommodate 2 adults + 3 kids with a king bed (master room), a bunk bed and trundle bed (attached suite).  The hotel is also right next to LEGOLAND and the Medini strip mall which has slightly better food. All hotel guests get free parking and early 930a entrance to LEGOLAND (vs 10a public admission). While overall family friendly, I felt a few things could be improved: Earlier than 4p check-in, later than 11a check-out, lower shower heads (or longer hose) as it was hard to clean shorter/young kids.

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Kingdom theme kids room = bunk bed + trundle

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LEGO play areas (top: park entrance, bottom: main entrance)

WHAT TO DO: 10 ideas for families with tots under 3 years

1) Eat a big breakfast. The hotel buffet is good and opens 7a-11a
2) Get in as soon as the door opens to avoid the queues!  Dress for the heat, bring a hat/umbrella and not just shades
3) Enjoy the LEGO CITY park to yourself. Ride on the express train, airport planes and boats. Compete in the Rescue Academy in your choice of fire engine or police car.  Catch a show at City Stage and let the tot freeplay at the Shipyard while you catch a break. The junior driving school is quite fun but minimum age is 3 years
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4) Proceed next to IMAGINATION, the park for toddlers and preschoolers. There’s a Musical Fountain at the entrance, and an Observation Tower which rotates around so you can view all of LEGOLAND without breaking a sweat. Tots will like the brief DUPLO Express train ride, delightful DUPLO Playground (which is also the only covered play area), and the LEGO 4D Studio which alternates shows every 45 minutes or so. There’s only one thing they can’t do here – the Power Tower (minimum age: 5 years or 100 cm)
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5) Exit to the Medini strip mall for lunch where the food is better (not fantastic) than in-park fare
6) Stroll through MINILAND to view the amazingly detailed LEGO models or take the LEGO CITY train till your kid dozes off
7) The hotel is the best place away from the heat and crowds to take a nap, so ask for late checkout if you need to.  Even the covered areas in the park and Medini mall are quite stuffy with lots of flies 😦
8) Catch indoor LEGO movies, meet-and-greets and live shows
9) Chill out at the hotel LEGO play areas and nearby LEGO shops
10) Visit some local eateries near LEGOLAND for dinner

Note: Majority of activities and rides at the Water Park, LEGO TECHNIC, KINGDOMS and LAND OF ADVENTURE parks are unfortunately not suitable for young kids below 3 years.  If the weather’s good and you have time, feel free to “window shop.”

We made it!
We made it, pheew!

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