London: A Happening Place (London bus 40220).

So I recently placed a shop.LEGO.com order, primarily because the small London Bus img_793140220 was being offered as a free gift with purchase over $AU120. And I am glad I did.  It cannot be a coincidence that there has been a rush on nifty London based sets appearing this year.  Any Day Now (well… November 17th) will see the opening of the LEGO Flagship Store at Leicester Square.  This promises to be quite a store, indeed one of the largest in the world.

So in 2016 we have seen the Creator Big Ben (10253); Buckingham Palace  in the Architecture range (21029) and now the iconic Double Decker London Bus (40220) has made an appearance, along with the teasing images of Lester, the minifigure mascot for the new store.

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Lego Certified Store to Open at DreamWorld on the Gold Coast

Australia’s first ‘Lego Certified Store’, is set to open in November 2016. It will be located at Dreamwlogo_dworld, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.  The shop will cover an area of 350 square meters, and as a Certified Store, is designed in partnership with the LEGO group. Construction is due to begin in July.

Owned, and operated by Ardent Leisure, Dreamworld’s parent company, the new store will feature exclusive products releases and events. Being located at Dream World, the LEGO Certified Store is looking to add to the attraction of the precinct, which is one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.  There will be access to the store from outside and within the park: so you shouldn’t need to pay to get in.  How much you pay before you leave is, of course, up to you!

LEGO Certified Stores are owned and operated by third parties, as opposed to LEGO brand stores seen throughout Europe and USA (which are owned and operated by LEGO).  The store layout is  fairly consistent around the world, and includes a ‘real’ Pick-a-Brick wall, a ‘Brand Ribbon’ display of assembled models, and the ‘Living Room’ – an interactive play area.

With tourist numbers in South East Queensland continuing to increase, the LEGO Certified Store will become a destination in itself for many LEGO fans, young and old, into the future.

This news follows on from the announcement of a LEGOland Discovery Centre opening  in Melbourne in mid 2017, at Chadstone shopping Centre.  It will be interesting to see how the retail experience to be offered there will differ to the one on the Gold Coast.  The shops operating in LEGOland parks around the world are NOT operated as LEGO Brand Stores, and exclusive sets are not generally available to be purchased there.  LEGOland Parks and Discovery Centres have been operated by Merlin since 2005, not the LEGO group.

Discussion on various forums regarding other LEGO Certified Stores around the world suggest that Pick-a-Brick walls, where you can fill a cup with a selection of pieces from wall mounted containers, are not a guaranteed feature.  PaB purchases are also more likely to be charged by weight rather than volume. The other significant difference with LEGO Brand Stores is the applicability of LEGO VIP points.  Apparently LEGO VIP points are not awarded at LEGO Certified Stores as they are in LEGO Brand Stores, nor can they be used to supplement your purchase.  Exclusive sets are sold in the LEGO Certified Stores, so this will be a great opportunity for travellers to pick these set up BUT fitting them into your luggage may not be the thing if you are looking to maintain that ‘Mint In Sealed Box’ experience. The Lego Certified Store is likely to offer polybags and monthly builds. It is unclear as to whether these will be the same offers seen at LEGO brand stores.

The rambling brick is excited by this  development, but is still going to visit Billund and other stores in Europe this year! Gold Coast will have to wait…

The full press release for today’s Announcement can be read here: Continue reading