NUSAJAYA: AS the doors to the first Legoland theme park in Asia officially opened to droves of people yesterday, Johor and Iskandar Malaysia moved ever closer to becoming a major regional entertainment hub.
Such was the response to the theme park that more than 35,000 annual passes offered at special rates have already been sold, with more than 60 per cent being taken up by locals.
Legoland Malaysia general manager Siegfried Boerst said the park was expecting a big crowd over the weekend because of advance ticket sales.
He said the RM700 million theme park, which occupies 30ha in Iskandar Malaysia, comprised seven parks with different themes. It is the sixth in the world after Denmark, the United Kingdom, California in the United States, Germany and Florida, also in the US.
Legoland Malaysia features replicas of iconic Asian landmark such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Great Wall of China, India's Taj Mahal and also Singapore's Marina Bay, recreated using more than 25 million Lego bricks.
When fully completed in 2014, Legoland Malaysia will feature Legoland Hotel to be managed by LL Themed Hotel Sdn Bhd and a water-themed park.
The landmark development is estimated to be worth RM1.6 billion.
"To see the happy faces and smiles of children enjoying the rides and the park, that is why we build Legoland. It is an exciting moment for us," said Boerst.
Visitors waited several hours in line before the park was officially opened at 10am, but they were not disappointed as several activities were planned for them throughout the day.
In fact, they were even entertained as they waited for the doors to open, with performances by a brass band brought from Lego's home country, Denmark, and a special dance dubbed "The Power Dance" by Legoland Malaysia employees.
Bernama reported that Legoland Parks-Merlin Entertainment managing director John Jakobsen said the company was happy with the presence of thousands of visitors from various places, including Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.
"This has proved that Legoland Malaysia does not only attract local visitors but also those from foreign countries, and we are planning to introduce more new games in the future."
The day ticket for locals is priced at RM110 for adults and RM80 for senior citizens and children aged 3 to 11. For foreigners, the tickets are priced at RM140 for adults and RM110 for senior citizens and children.
Annual passes, allowing unlimited visits, are priced at RM275 for adults and RM210 for senior citizens and children aged 3 to 11.