(Written by Ernest)
As a die-hard LEGO fan, what is your ultimate wish within the LEGO hobby? Owning a very rare and limited edition LEGO set? Meeting LEGO Model Designers, or even the company’s CEO? Taking a tour of the LEGO factory where all the LEGO bricks are made? You might think that these dreams are impossible to achieve. But… what if I told you that the LEGO Inside Tour can grant you all these wishes at once? Interested? Read on! 🙂
The LEGO Inside Tour is a 4-day event in Billund, Denmark, specifically designed for LEGO fans to get to know their favorite company more intimately. Here is some information directly from the LEGO Inside Tour website: “The LEGO Inside Tour is a unique LEGO experience, which is often referred to as a ‘once in a lifetime experience’ by past participants. As a participant you are invited inside Ole Kirk Christiansen’s original house with the exciting exhibition of LEGO sets and models that can be dated all the way back to 1932. You will meet the LEGO Designers who are ready to meet you; they will introduce you to their daily work at the LEGO Group and provide you with a building experience unlike anything else. Experienced employees will guide you around the LEGO factories in Billund and specially designated employees will introduce you to their areas and any current projects. You will gain an insight into the unique culture and strong values that characterize the company. The LEGO Inside Tour also goes past the LEGO staff shop. The LEGO Inside Tour Award Show is held on Thursday afternoon, featuring the red carpet and highly-sought after prizes, and you are naturally the guest of honor. On the last day there is a guided tour behind the scenes at the LEGOLAND Park followed by a closing ceremony, at which you will received a unique gift produced in close cooperation with Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen especially for this year’s LEGO Inside Tour participants.” Here is a short video about the event:
It is interesting to note that a lot of LEGO fans never even heard of the LEGO Inside Tour, so it is kind of like an open secret. Even though few people know about the event, it has actually been around for a decade, with the 2014 LEGO Inside Tour marking its 10th anniversary. Since information about the 2015 LEGO Inside Tour schedule is going to be published in the middle of this month, now this is the best time to bring it to your attention and talk about it. Below is the schedule of a typical LEGO Inside Tour:
- Day 1: Arrive at Billund, Denmark
- Day 2: Meet the LEGO Senior Staff, visit the LEGO Idea House (LEGO Headquarters), and participate in the LEGO Building Competition
- Day 3: Visit the LEGO factory, go shopping in the LEGO Staff Shop, meet the LEGO Model Designers, announcement of the winners of the LEGO Building Competition
- Day 4: Join the LEGOLAND Billund Backstage Guide Tour, go to the Master Builder Workshop
Next, lets discuss some of the best features of the LEGO Inside Tour, starting with getting an exclusive LEGO set, which actually happens on the last day, but is one of the highlights of the event. This set is made in very limited quantities, is quite substantial (usually 500 pieces or more), only available to participants of the event, and is something related to LEGO’s history. The box of the set is also unique with each of them individually numbered, and at the box there is a photo of your tour-group (see photo here). This makes the set very memorable to the participants. In fact, these are some of those sets you will hardly ever find on the secondary market, as most people would never part with them. The guys from the BrickShow were lucky enough to get their hands on the LEGO Inside Tour Exclusive 2014 Edition, which is the #4000014 LEGOLAND Train (photo via Brickset.com), based on the train at the LEGOLAND Park in Billund, Denmark. If you are interested, you can watch the review video here.
And below is the LEGO Inside Tour Exclusive 2013 Edition, which is the #4000008 LEGO Villy Thomsen Truck (photo via Brickset.com). And you can see some of the previous years’ here: #4000012 LEGO Piper Plane (2012), #4000001 LEGO Moulding Machines (2011), #4000007 LEGO Ole Kirk’s House (2009) – you can sometimes find this set on eBay, here is the link for current listings: LEGO OLE KIRK’S HOUSE ON EBAY
Another highlight of the tour is meeting the LEGO Designers, and even the CEO of the company. They share with participants of the tour about their daily work, and their personal experiences and insights. LEGO staff members also give out their “business cards”, which are minifigs with their names printed on the torsos – also very unique items that are hard to find (photo below by Eric Lumsden).
Then there are the tours… you might have heard about the Ole Kirks House (photo below by bluemoose), but visiting the place where the LEGO legend begins is a whole other matter. In the LEGO Inside Tour participants have a chance to explore Ole Kirks House and hear more about LEGO’s history and learn about the culture and values which makes LEGO one of the top toy brands in the globe. There is also a trip to the headquarters of the company (called the Idea House), and to the LEGO History Museum which showcases the collection of almost all products ever made – including those wooden toys manufactured by LEGO dating back as far as 1932. And one of the most memorable events is visiting the LEGO factory, where participants can see the fully-automated process of LEGO brick-making.
On the second day of the LEGO Inside Tour there is a LEGO building competition where each and every tour member can hand in their own LEGO models. Sometimes due to the tight schedule people have to build their models overnight, but I think it’s totally worth to enter. Participants have access to a tremendous amount of LEGO elements, and it is definitely a blast to see other contestants’ models. The competition is judged by actual LEGO Model Designers. An exquisite brick-built trophy is awarded to the winning contestant. (Photo below: Inside the LEGO Idea House by Mauricio Vives)
Then there is also the LEGOLAND Billund Backstage Tour. Some of you might have been to a LEGOLAND Park, but I bet you have never explored the backstage of it. Participants can go behind-the-scenes and check out the technical operation of how LEGOLAND runs. In the guided tour participants are accompanied by LEGO Model Designers around the park, and afterwards there is a lot of free time to explore LEGOLAND on their own.
If you are reading this I bet that you are quite thrilled and ready to join the next LEGO Inside Tour, am I right? But don’t get too excited, because this one-of-a-kind LEGO experience costs DKK 13,000 (about US $2,300) per person for all ages. Yeah, it is expensive, and the price doesn’t include transportation to Billund, however it does cover decent accommodation at the LEGOLAND hotel and most meals. In addition, you must race against other LEGO enthusiasts to register online for upcoming tours. Last year it took only 270 seconds to get a whole year worth of tours fully booked! Anyone can register and participate, however children ages 7-14 must be accompanied by an adult. If you are still interested, you can register at the LEGO Inside Tour website (a link will be provided on the page for the registration form when registration opens).
To write this article I mainly used information from LEGO’s own website and Apple New Daily (which is something we have here in Hong Kong). Please note that some of the info may be not entirely correct as tours from year to year can change a bit. Furthermore, I’m a TFOL (Teen-Fan-of-LEGO) and this is my first article here at theBrickBlogger, so thanks for reading! Comments and constructive criticism are more than welcome! What do you think? Are you planning to go at a LEGO Inside Tour? Have you been to one already? Feel free to share in the comment section below! 😉
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