3 reasons why Legoland falls apart

Posted on April 16, 2009



My family and I enjoyed a day at Legoland near San Diego. One of the luxuries of Orange County is living in close proximity to a few theme parks. Legoland was a day of kid rides, theme park food, and a lot of walking. I have never seen so many Legos in my life. Overall it was a typical theme park experience. That’s the problem, it was typical. Disneyland has nothing to worry about from its neighboring competitor. There are three areas that Legoland fell short in comparison to Disney. I think these reasons are transferable to whatever type of organization you lead. Creative leaders need to champion these three areas:

  • Experience. Legoland is focused on fun, not experience. They want to keep your kids busy and thrilled. They are trying to offer you a ‘service’. The problem is that we are in an ‘experienced’ based economy. Experiences are the only thing that is genuine and original. Fun and busyness is everywhere. Perhaps a few decades ago, a fun theme park was enough but now it just feels ordinary. Engage me in an experience. Convince me I am in another world. Transport me away from reality. That is why I am there.
  • Love is in the details. Sure big and loud are great, but people feel the most loved when there is attention given to the smallest details. What you see is what you get at Legoland- nothing more and nothing less. Miniland, a reproduction of world cities, was pretty impressive but it was dirty, peeling, and faded. This is the flagship attraction at Legoland and it just seemed old.
  • Story. There is a real lack of story at Legoland. The round, yellow headed giant Lego people just seemed like lifeless mannequins. There is no drama or tension in this Lego world. Sure they can take any shape the mind can imagine, but nothing can take the place of character development, affinity, romance, and passion. I felt I couldn’t identify with the lifeless automatons.

Notice that my criticisms have nothing to do with size, rides, cost, or convenience. They all are a distant second to experience, details, and story. However, the temptation is to focus on the former rather than the latter. Why? It’s easier. It’s easier to focus on the bigger and louder. It’s also the lazier and brainless solution to an organization’s problems.

So, as you work through what makes your organization distinct, don’t be brainless like our little, yellow headed Lego friends. Or else, you will soon find yourself in a million pieces for someone else to put back together.

Posted in: Design Rules