Unless you live in London, New York, or L.A., you probably don’t see celebrities walking the red carpet in person every day. But for this Best Week Ever, we are taking a road trip to a movie premiere in the well-known cultural capital of…Winter Haven? Legoland Florida (which we cover in-depth in the new edition of Beyond Disney) recently hosted the global debut of the newest installment in their hit cinematic franchise, and I was lucky enough to get an invite to last weeks’s premiere of The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure.
Legoland counldn’t have picked an unluckier day for their big blowout, because the wind was blowing and rain was coming down in buckets as dusk fell. The storm was slacking by the time I arrived at the park, which is about a 75 minute drive from my home, mostly along poky Highway 27.
Check-in for the event began around the park’s closing time. While the media huddled under the entryway to stay dry, we were handed color-changing LED wristbands to wear. They would turn out to play a part in the presentation later on.
As a former theme park special event supervisor my heart went out to Legoland’s team, who did their best to compensate for the weather. Here’s the “interactive” red carpet they set up — featuring fog machines and lighting effects — and a giant golden Emmet-shaped award, intended for photo ops that were forced inside.
Instead, the festivities sheltered inside the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater, where the LEGO Movie 4D film is now playing daily. The confines in the entryway were cozy to say the least.
Prior to the premiere, the press lined up for some refreshing mock-tails (non-alcoholic, of course)…
…and a colorful buffet.
Munchies in hand, we sat in the theater seats and awaited the main event.
Before long, the evening’s celebrities arrived for their indoor red carpet media moment. Unfortunately, none of the stars in attendance were involved in the LEGO Movie 4D in any way. In fact, they were mostly from television series and YouTube vlogs that I’d never heard of before. However, tweens I took to the event with me recognized many of them, so obviously my Logan’s Run life-clock is long expired.
Finally, it was time for the big debut of The Lego Movie 4D A New Adventure. The premiere screening was prefaced by a switch-throwing ceremony, which involved the audience’s wristbands (remember those?) glowing in synch with the emcees’.
Here’s a video from Legoland with highlights of the ceremony and celebrity interviews:
Obviously, no photography was allowed during the film itself, but they did release this footage to give you an idea of the 12 1/2 minute attraction:
As far as 4D attractions go, The LEGO Movie 4D lacks the bells and whistles that you’ll find in similar Orlando attractions. There are no moving seats (like Shrek 4D), animatronics (like MuppetVision and ITTBAB), or live actors (like T2/3D) at Legoland, and in-theater effects are limited to fans, light projections, and lots of water. The actual 3-D is also disappointing, as it uses a dated polarized projector instead of the brighter, sharper 4K Dolby 3D systems used in all new Disney and Universal attractions.
To be fair, most kids won’t care about any of the above, because they’ll be so happy to see their favorite LEGO Movie pals (save Batman and other licensed characters) reunited on screen ahead of the 2018 theatrical sequel. Parents should smile and snicker as well at the satire, which casts Patton Oswald as Risky Business, the “less expensive” brother of Will Ferrell’s Lord Business, and owner of a LEGO Movie-themed theme park designed to enslave Emmet and Wyldstyle.
There are a lot of witty one-liners crammed into the brief story, many of which will sail right over youngsters’ heads. (I missed some myself, thanks to a somewhat muddy sound mix.) But it doesn’t get snide and cynical like the Shrek flicks; there’s a healthy moral along with the humorously self-aware mocking of consumerism.
After the film, guests and celebs could get photos with new life-sized mascots of the movie’s stars. These characters will be available for meet and greets in the park, especially during LEGO Movie 4D Weekends on Saturdays and Sundays in February.
By the time the party was over, the skies had cleared and it was a perfect night for walking the red carpet…albeit in the wrong direction!
Will your family make the trek to Legoland next time you vacation in Florida? Let us know what you think of the park in the comments below!