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LEGO Store at Downtown Disney

When I was five years old, I was given a set of blocks for Christmas. I loved this simple toy. With my imagination and these brightly painted pieces of wood I could build towers to the sky.


Blocks


When I was six, I was given a set of Lincoln Logs. Although I enjoyed this rustic construction set, I felt it was limited compared to my blocks that allowed for more possibilities.


Lincoln Logs


When I was eight, I received an Erector Set. For those of you too young to know about this toy, it was a collection of metal girders, pulleys, wheels, nuts and bolts, and an electric motor. With this engineering marvel I could build truly sophisticated contraptions. Not to mention, an Imagineer was able to use one of these sets to design “Soarin’.”


Erector Set


LEGO bricks were introduced to the U.S. in 1961 (I was nine). However, by the time they became a mainstream commodity, I had moved past the “toy” stage of my life. It wasn’t until I turned thirty that a friend gave me a set as a gag gift. Little did he know that he was actually giving me something that I would play with for the next fifteen years. But somehow when I moved to Florida, my set was lost in transit and I’ve never replaced it. I miss my LEGO bricks.

Here’s a picture of me looking a bit surprised when caught playing with my LEGO bricks.


Jack Play with LEGOS


A LEGO shop has been a permanent fixture at Downtown Disney for a long time. Over the years, a number of life-size figures, built from these interlocking blocks, have adorned the exterior of the shop. However, as different statues have come and gone, the sea serpent swimming in Village Lake has been a constant feature.


Dinosoar Lego

Flying Saucer Lego

T-Rex Lego

Sea Serpent Lego


Here’s a picture of a bird about to be eaten by our green and yellow friend.


Bird about to be Eaten


Recently, the LEGO store closed for an extensive remodeling. When it reopened two weeks ago, a number of Disney inspired statues had replaced the former outside figures. This first sculpture is from Sleeping Beauty. Here we see Prince Phillip atop his horse Sampson, trying to slay Maleficent as the dragon.


Sleeping Beauty Legos

Sleeping Beauty Legos

Sleeping Beauty Legos

Sleeping Beauty Legos


Further on we find Buzz and Woody, blasting off from RC Car in the exciting climax of Toy Story.


Toy Story Legos

Toy Story Legos

Toy Story Legos


And finally, we find Snow White visiting the Dwarfs at their diamond mine.


Snow White Legos

Snow White Legos

Snow White Legos


A leftover from the previous figures is a model of the typical family on vacation at Disney World. If you notice, the young boy is dressed in his pirate costume and his sister is a princess.


Disney Vacation Family

Pirate

Princess


Unless otherwise stated, Downtown Disney Marketplace and the LEGO shop open at 9:30 daily. On the morning I took these pictures, I arrived at 9:20 to find a group of people already waiting for the LEGO shop to open. I looked around and noticed that no other store had people milling about. This attests to the popularity of the product.

As the clock ticked closer to opening, a cast member was busy filling the outdoor play stations with a collection of LEGO bricks. Here, kids of all ages can build impromptu structures.


Dumping Legos

Playing with Legos


The LEGO store is huge and the walls are lined with dozens and dozens of LEGO kits. Numerous displays show guests what the completed product will look like. For the older kids and adults, more complicated kits are available under the TECHNIC label.


Lego Store

Lego Store

Lego Display

Lego Display

TECHNIC Display

TECHNIC Display


In the center of the store is a play station complete with computers. Kids can select different programs and play LEGO games or discover step-by-step instructions on how to build a masterpiece.


Play Station

Play Station


One wall of the shop contains several hundred clear plastic bins, each holding a different shape and color of LEGO brick. Nearby are two sizes of cups. Fill the large cup for $14.99 or the small for $7.99. This is a great way to supplement any collection or replace lost pieces.


Wall of Legos

Plastic Cups


Although not available at the moment, a separate room will soon be offered to rent for private LEGO parties.


Private Room


Inside the shop you’ll also find a great photo op with Buzz and Woody.


Buzz and Woody


So where did this outstanding product come from?

Woodworker Ole Kirk Christiansen of Billund, Denmark made his living by constructing houses and furniture for his village and the nearby farms. When the Great Depression hit, he needed to cut costs, so he began creating miniatures of his products as design aids. This eventually lead to him making wooden toys. In 1934, Christiansen named his new toy making company LEGO, which is a contraction of the Danish words “leg” and “godt,” which means “play well.”


Lego Logo


Plastic became available in Denmark shortly after World War II and Christiansen purchased an injection molding machine. His first plastic toy was a truck that could be taken apart and reassembled. Meanwhile, the Kiddicraft Company in the U.K. was producing interlocking plastic blocks. Christiansen, and his now partner son Godtfred, obtained samples of the Kiddicraft blocks. They improved upon the design and began selling their own product in 1949. The blocks were called “Automatic Binding Bricks” and were made out of cellulose acetate. In 1953, the bricks were given a new name: Lego Mursten, or "Lego Bricks."

In the beginning, the bricks were not well received. Consumers preferred wooden or metal toys. It wasn’t until Godtfred hit upon the idea of a toy “system” that LEGO bricks began to achieve some success. In 1955, LEGO released its first system, “Town Plan” and sales began to pick up.

In 1961, LEGO wanted to expand sales to North America, but lacked the capital to do so. A deal was eventually struck with the Samsonite Company, allowing them to manufacture and market the product. In 1963, a new, more stable plastic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS plastic) replaced the older formula. These new bricks are extremely durable as anyone who has stepped on one in their bare feet can attest. Ouch!

On June 7, 1968, the first Legoland Park opened in Billund. The park featured complex models of buildings designed to resemble cities and towns, built entirely out of LEGO bricks. The original park covered three acres, but unprecedented success pushed its boundaries to eight times its original size in the following years. Today, there are four Legoland Parks, the original in Billund, Denmark, a second in Windsor, England, another in Günzburg, Germany, and a forth in Carlsbad, California.


LegoLand


A fifth park is currently under construction on the old Cypress Gardens land located about 30 minutes southwest of Disney. It is scheduled to open in October 2011. For more information, click here.

Here are few astounding LEGO facts:

Approximately 19 billion LEGO elements are produced per year. 2.16 million are molded every hour, 36,000 every minute.

More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1958. There are about 62 LEGO bricks per person of the Earth’s population.

Approximately 7 LEGO sets are sold every second around the world.

Laid end to end, the number of LEGO bricks sold in a year would reach more than 5 times around the world.

There are about 2,350 different elements in the LEGO range; 52 different colors.

In LEGO brick production, only 18 out of every 1 million LEGO elements comes out defective.

LEGO makes 306 million tires a year, making it the world’s largest tire manufacturer. Goodyear Tire & Rubber makes about 200 million.

The LEGO Store at Downtown Disney is worth a visit. The sculptures alone are remarkable and the various kits available are mind-boggling. This store is a lot of fun for adults to browse and the kids will have a blast playing with the samples. LEGO bricks aren’t cheap. Anyone who has priced these plastic blocks knows that they come with a hefty price tag. Be prepared to part with some bucks if you decide to bring your kids (or husband) here.

I need a new set of LEGO bricks.



The previous post in this blog was Transportation and Ticket Center – TTC .

The next post in this blog is Candy.

Comments (22)

Kevin:

Awesome entry, Jack! Are you aware of AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO): the Documentary? It's a pretty astounding watch!

http://vimeo.com/9581676

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! I totally enjoyed your blog this morning. Even though my kids are older, the Lego store is still a must, and I'm sure the new store (additions) won't disappoint. We have many pictures of us posing with the Lego creations. The new pieces look amazing. I can't wait to see them in July, especially the one of Snow White and the 7 Drawfs.

Josh:

hey jack
when i was younger i used to love playing with legos. This shop lets me revisit my childhood a little bit and i love it. i also loved learning about the history of it. can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Greg Highfill:

Hi Jack,

I’m so glad to hear that the LEGO Store has opened at Disney Village! I will have to get over there this week to take photos, and check out the store. I can’t really afford to buy any, but it will be fun just to look.

On a more personal note, I remember your 30th Birthday Party, especially since you are only 10 days older than I. The photo of you playing with your LEGOS brought back some fun memories.

I’m also looking forward to the LEGO Land at Cypress Gardens!

Greg

Scott:

Another great blog! I love Disney, and I love LEGO.
I find it interesting that LEGO is such a huge part of Downtown Disney (and Disney in general), and now LEGO is going to have it's own "competing" theme park just minutes from WDW. Is there any talk of a stronger partnership between the two companies? I thought Disney would be concerned that a LEGO store at Downtown Disney would help advertise for the new LEGO Land park, perhaps taking business away from WDW.
I just wanted to see if you had any thoughts on this.

Jack's Comment:

The company that owns the store at Downtown Disney is different from the company that is building the new LEGO park on the old Cypress Gardens land. All decisions for the two locations are made independently of one another.

Although I believe the new LEGO park will ultimately succeed where others have failed in this location, they have an uphill battle. They're competing with seven huge theme parks in the Orlando area. Disney doesn't have a thing to worry about.

Erin Rix:

Excited to visit the new Lego store this June. My daughter is wanting pink legos, you haven't seen any at the new store? Thanks for the great blog and pictures.

Jack's Answer:

When I looked at my pictures of the "wall of LEGOS" I think I see some pink ones, but I'm not sure.

Darrell Shortt:

Jack,
Another great article! If you are interested, this is the web address for an article on what it is like to be a Lego Master Builder:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/2008/07/26/20080726legos0726.html

And this is an article on how to become one:

http://www.ehow.com/how_6596065_do-become-lego-master-builder_.html

It is really fascinating, because you have to be able to do more than just put them together. You have to have the ability to create anything on a whim. I had once read about a Lego Master Builder who, for his interview, was given a picture of one of our founding fathers and told to build him. He pointed out how difficult it is to take rectangles and build something round and in 3D!

Just thought I'd pass it along.

keri:

Do you know when LEGO store opened in the marketplace? I recall it being there for some time, but I also recall visiting a LEGO store in the Norway pavilion at Epcot when I was small. I visited Epcot a couple weeks ago with my dad and was reminiscing about it, but neither of us could remember when the LEGO sculptures went away.

(For what it's worth, I'm 27 and have been visiting WDW since I was 6 months old several times a year until I went to college, so my memory could be one of those childhood things where it wasn't really a LEGO store, or it was only there for one season, or something.)

Reagan:

Jack,
Thanks for the update on the new LEGO store. This is always a stop for us. Before our most recent visit, my oldest son said that he was looking forward to getting something at the LEGO store. It was in its temporary location at the time. The line to the cash registers was so long (even out the door) that I talked him out of it. If I tell him that the permanent location is open again, I'm sure he'll want us to make a quick (1500 mile) trip! And, Jack, you should definitely buy yourself some more LEGO's next time you are there!

Rebecca:

This was neat, thanks!

Have you ever been to a Legoland?

Jack's Answer:

I have not been to any of the LegoLands around the world. However, I do plan on checking this one out when it opens.

Amanda:

Hi! I am a HUGE Disney fan and I will be going to Downtown Disney when I go this year and was wondering if there were a place to see pictures of past lego models at that store? It would be really nice to know!!!

Jack's Answer:

To my knowledge, there are no photographs of the former LEGO models

Hailey Gill:

I'm super excited to see the new Lego store!! Did they remove the lego structure of the sleeping man on the bench that snored?? He was always one of my favorites!! Keep up the great work, I always look forward to your blogs!

Jack's Answer:

Yes, the sleeping man is gone.

cathy m.:

Hi Jack,
Another interesting blog and we still have hundreds of lego blocks here at my home because both boys loved building with these and now my 5 yr. old grandson has acquired his own collection already.

My grandson is looking forward to his first trip to DW in September and going to the Lego store.

I enjoyed reading about the history of these blocks and now Lego's have branched out so they have larger ones for toddlers and they do have pink lego's too.
Take care

Heather Young:

Great Blog Jack!

When I was a kid you were no-one unless you had Lego.

On our trips to WDW we always visit the Lego Store at least once and always buy something.

My kids have both had the toddler sets and then moved on to the 'grown up' sets.

Thank you once again for a well researched and informative blog.

Take care

Mike:

Just so you know, I work for the LEGO company, and the plural for LEGO is LEGO. Like Sheep, is Sheep. Example, "I have many LEGO at home", or, "Look at all the LEGO!" :) Have a LEGO-Rific Day!

Jack's Answer:

And thanks for the information.

Because of your letter, I did a little more investigation. What I found was that LEGO (always in capital letters) is the name of the company. LEGO is a noun. When referring to the product the LEGO Company produces, it should be referred to as LEGO bricks or LEGO pieces (LEGO becomes an adjective describing a noun).

I've changed my blog accordingly.

Thanks again,

Barbara:

The new store looks great! We have always enjoyed looking at the sculptures and getting pictures taken with them. I look forward to seeing the new ones.

I have relatives that have gone to the LEGO park in California and they thought the park was more for younger children. So I don't think it will affect Disney at all.

Thanks again for a wonderful Blog. I love your picture from your younger days!

DW:

Is it just me or does anyone else think it's a little strange that the family dressed for their disney vacation has four dogs with them? :)

Jack's Comment:

No. It's not just you. I've wondered this same thing. I think the artist just got carried away. LOL

Casey:

Hey Jack! Awesome blog!!! Can't wait to see the new displays in person, but the pictures made me feel like I was already there! Do you happen to know if the LEGO store carries any LEGO Duplo sets for toddlers?

Jack's Answer:

Yes, the LEGO store carries a large selection of Duplo sets and other LEGO related products

Mary-Jane:

Jack, thanks for another great entry. You include many interesting details and wonderful pictures. I especially liked the Lego history and trivia! Does anyone remember the Lego Dad from the 80's who held the big camcorder on his shoulder? I actually said "excuse me" after accidentally bumping into him while backing up to take a photo! I guess the air of civility at WDW really rubs off!!

Clare C.:

With 2 sons, 1 younger brother, and a dad who are all "LEGO-maniacs" I am sure we will need to make a stop at Downtown Disney as well as the new LEGO park next time we're in the Orlando area. I hope you do buy yourself some more LEGO products. As I said, my dad is very into collecting/building/displaying LEGOS which makes him very popular with his grandchildren and anyone else who stops by his house.

Tracy:

I love the LEGO store. I only wish they had theme park exclusive sets like the Haunted Mansion and Cinderella Castle.

Cheryl:

I think these are so neat. AWESOME! That people can make such models out of lego's. I was lucky if I was able to make a lego house when I was a kid. Thanks for showing the pictures.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 2, 2011 5:00 AM.

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