Legoland raises the standard for Deep Sea Adventures

July 2, 2018, 5:14 PM · Now, that is how you do a theme park submarine ride!

Legoland California this morning opened its Lego City Deep Sea Adventure, a submarine ride through a 350,000-gallon aquarium that will be home to more than 2,000 live sea creatures. Being Legoland, that's not all that visitors will find once underwater. There's a nifty game element included where young explorers can discover "lost" Lego treasure on the ocean floor, as well.

Legoland officials opened the ride this morning with a brief ceremony:

And then we got to wait for nearly an hour during a rather inopportune downtime. But Legoland eventually got the subs moving, and we moved inside to board.

My only quibble would be that perhaps Legoland should have invested in a load belt, as stepping from the stationary platform onto the moving submarine can be a bit tricky for younger (and older!) visitors, especially since you are immediately descending several steps into the 12-passenger sub.

But there's plenty of space inside those subs, and everyone gets a window that affords wonderful views of Legoland's underwater environment. In addition to the rockwork, reef, and Lego models, the Deep Sea Adventure aquarium houses Blacktip Reef Sharks, Southern and Cownose Stingrays, Blue-lined Seaperch, Bigscale Soliderfish, and Foxface Rabbitfish.

Legoland officials said that the aquarium is not yet fully stocked, now housing only about half of the total number of sea creatures that eventually will swim in the habitat.

As if watching sharks and rays swim past your window were not enough, Legoland has added a slight game element here, where young explorers can tap a screen above their window each time they float past one of the Lego "treasure" models. Those include a crown, a pearl, a sword, a portrait, a treasure chest, and six gems.

Between the treasure hunt and the ever-changing view of the animals, Lego City Deep Sea Adventure rewards visitors who come back to experience the ride again and again. With 12 passengers each on the eight subs and a four-minute ride time, Legoland should be putting through nearly 1,200 visitors per hour once the ride is moving reliably. That's a decent number to help ensure a briskly moving line. (Legoland is pulsing the queue through the pre-show, with a brief interior queue following.)

Southern California theme park fans have seen attempts at submarine rides before. SeaWorld San Diego's attempt didn't last the year, with an elevated track, glitchy video and no water or live animals in sight. Disneyland's subs have endured through several iterations, but they're not nearly as comfortable as these subs, nor do they offer as engaging a journey. With the game element here, Deep Sea Adventure invites kids to become active in their viewing of underwater environment, instead of just passively watching the show roll past.

Replies (6)

July 2, 2018 at 6:55 PM

I loved listening to the kids on this video--they're completely engaged by the whole experience! On my last visit to the pre-Nemo submarines at Disneyland, there were kids on our sub who were completely into the wonder of the attraction: "A FISH! I see a FISH! A CLAM!! I SEE A CLAM!" That sense of wonder disappeared in the Nemo Revamp IMO, but I felt it again here. Good job, Legoland!

July 3, 2018 at 8:55 AM

Took my 4 year old on the original version of this at Legoland Windsor at the weekend, an impressive ride but the loading system is a real pain for the intended audience of small children. A shame they haven’t learned and improved in that sense.

I got of the ride thinking why on earth havent SeaWorld introduces a ride like this

July 3, 2018 at 10:53 AM

Looks great. I hope they are better at maintaining their rides in the US than here in the UK. Legoland Windsor has Atlantis (more or less the same ride), which was great when it opened a few years back. Unfortunately Merlin has a poor record of maintaining their rides and the interactive elements no longer work and parts of the ride look quite tired. A shame as it was a really great ride!

July 3, 2018 at 11:15 AM

I agree with Kurt-N. The Legoland Windsor version is so bad these days it is not on our "things to do" list when we visit with the grand kids. Let's hope California is better served.

July 3, 2018 at 11:21 AM

As someone who still misses the old 20,000 Leagues ride, this was a fun watch, not just for kids but adults too. Of course, time will tell as it's legendary how sub rides need so much work to maintain and prone to breakdowns but as it looks now, a great addition to the park.

July 4, 2018 at 9:00 PM

Kurt-N - I’m not going to hold my breath. Merlin is pretty awful at main tint their U.S. parks as well.

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