CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Next spring, Legoland California in Carlsbad will become the first of all nine Lego theme parks worldwide to open a Ferrari Build and Race interactive attraction.
The new 4,500-square-foot venue will allow park-goers to snap together their own miniature Ferrari race car from custom-designed Lego bricks, test the car's racing ability on three different test, speed and steering tracks. Then, using state-of-the-art technology, the visitor's race car will be scanned into a computer system where it will then be digitally projected onto a Lego racetrack that was built to resemble the Pista di Fiorano, a track in Italy where Ferrari tests its full-size race cars.
Tom Storer, Legoland California senior project manager, said the new digital scanning system will use a form of augmented reality to take the digitized cars around the track in a simulated race. Racers will use touchpads to control their digital vehicles as they move around the track. Up to eight teams at a time will be able to compete in the races. For smaller children, there will also be a Duplo build zone onsite.
Legoland California Resort President Kurt Stocks said the Carlsbad park was chosen for the Ferrari Build and Race attraction because Southern California is an important market for both brands, Lego and Ferrari.
"This is the one and only in the pipeline right now," Stocks said. "For now this will be the world's first and the only 'build and race' Ferrari attraction."
Lego and Ferrari have a long history of collaboration. For more than 15 years, Lego has been licensed to create Ferrari-themed race cars building sets ranging from basic toys for small children to elaborate Technic sets for serious builders, like the 19-inch, 1,677-piece Ferrari 488 GTE "AF Corse #51" set, which sells for about $170.
An even bigger Ferrari -- a full-size, hand-built Lego model of a Ferrari F40 race car -- will greet visitors when they enter the Build and Race center in Carlsbad. The attraction will take over the current Lego Movie Experience building in the park's Imagination Zone, near the main entrance. The theater is relocating to the large new Legoland Movie World section of the park, which debuted last May.
The new Ferrari attraction and the expanded Lego Movie World area are expected to be big visitor magnets when tourism season kicks off next spring.
From March 2020 to April 2021, Legoland California was closed, idling more than 1,300 employees. The park fully reopened in mid-June last year and since then, Stocks said business has been good.
"We actually did have a very strong summer, which was something we anticipated in terms of pent-up demand," Stocks said. "It's not just our park but both of our hotels and our Sea Life Aquarium have had exceptional summers. That's enough to give us absolute confidence that 2022 will be a really strong year."
Opened in March 1999, Legoland California has more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, including a water park. It is operated by Merlin Entertainments, which oversees 135 attractions, 21 hotels and six holiday villages in 24 countries. There are now nine Legoland theme parks worldwide, including three in the United States, including Legoland New York Resort, which opened in Goshen, New York, in July.