Hartley: Going where everything is awesome, hopefully | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Going where everything is awesome, hopefully

The following is an excerpt from my son’s extensive Christmas and birthday wish list (see if you can sense a theme): “Lego pasenger train, lego frate train, lego snow plow, lego space shutel, lego helacoptur, other lego helacoptur, lego airport, lego fire stayshun and a lego mini cooper for Mommy.”

If you guessed that the theme is that my son is a poor speller, you’d be wrong. I made those errors. They only slipped through because the editor also thought my son spelled them wrong.

If you guessed that the theme is that my son is completely obsessed with building things out of little plastic bricks, you’d be spot on. I know I’m not the only parent who deals with this, but holy cripes; my kid practically can’t stop building stuff. When he takes a break from Legos, he usually just goes and stacks more blocks to build cities and cruise ships in Minecraft.

And don’t get me started on his bedroom floor. You honestly can’t walk in there barefoot. It’s a minefield of little pointy things just waiting to stab you in the heel.

Granted, I haven’t exactly done a whole lot to dissuade him. I took him to see “The Lego Movie,” obviously, and we got to go to an advance screening of “A Lego Brickumentary” — which, by the way, was directed by my Oscar-winning friend Daniel Junge (not to name-drop or anything).

And I do have to admit that when your kid is obsessed with Legos, it makes shopping for gifts really easy.

But I have sown the wind, as they say, and I have reaped the whirlwind. Due to my lack of intervention and occasional participation, my son is now a full-blown Lego maniac, which is a little concerning. I know I don’t have to tell you all the tragic tale of Zack, the original Lego maniac, but it didn’t end well.

Realistically, though, other than my son’s bedroom floor and the rest of the piles of little bricks scattered throughout our house, the Lego obsession isn’t a big problem at home. Heck, it keeps him quiet and occupied. Why should I complain?

But when we go to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Florida each winter, we enter the gravitational field of Legoland, which is a mere two and a half hours away by car. That’s when things can get a little testy. We haven’t made the drive and each year it leads to upset feelings and more than a little sulking.

That all ends this year, however. This year, we’re taking the plunge. My son sat Mommy down the other day for a real conversation and explained that he wanted to go to Legoland for his birthday, so we’re flying to Orlando, renting a car and spending two nights and two days at Legoland before we head south to see my folks. Then we’re flying out of Palm Beach so we only have to do the long drive once. It’s ingenious, really. I’m glad my mother thought of it.

So what exactly is Legoland — other than my son’s dream destination — and will I be able to survive two days there? I ask because I figure you, like me, probably don’t know too much about it. I thought the idea of a Lego-themed park seemed pretty cool in theory, but I kind of doubted I would have the nerve to ride the Ferris wheel if it were actually made from Legos. It would be impressive, sure, but would it be structurally sound?

Being the concerned parent that I am, after I made our reservations I decided to look up Legoland to see what it’s all about. Turns out it’s an amusement park with lots of rides, attractions and a water park made from real construction materials and not little plastic bricks.

There’s something called Coastersaurus that I presume is a roller coaster and another called Flying School that will make my pilot-wannabe son start speaking in tongues when he learns it exists. There’s even a ride called The Dragon because I think it’s a law that all amusement parks have to have a ride called The Dragon.

My son knows we’re going to Legoland, but he doesn’t really know when. I think he thinks it’s still a long way off (it’s in two and a half weeks), so he hasn’t started freaking out with anticipation yet.

That’s good. Now if I could just stop freaking out with anticipation, we’d be all set.

Todd Hartley once built a little wall out of Legos. It was the most complicated project he could handle. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.

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