Monday, December 22, 2008


For the past few years, a certain red plastic bucket has been conspicuously perched in the center or off to the side during most of our family gatherings. I've moved it about a thousand times. It's there during Saturday morning cartoons, scripture reading, home-teacher and grandparent visits, and it invariably comes out during 'quiet time' on Sunday afternoons. Did I mention that I've moved it a thousand times?

But I don't complain. You see, I have a deep respect for the humble Lego--those stackable, snapable, bricks of plastic that have captured my children's imagination and povided hours of (mostly quiet) creativity for all of them. I would say that Legos have been the best value of all the toys we've ever bought. I know families that have passed down their Legos through generations without letting them go.

So, I'm glad that I remembered someone telling me about a Lego store in Orlando. I had heard that you could buy just the pieces you wanted, and be free from the confines of the ubiquitous "set", which is just about the only way you can buy Legos these days.

With Christmas just around the corner, I suggested that we might make a "quick stop" before beginning our treck home from Florida, and possibly score a bag of wheels (very valuable parts). Silly me.

The store was set in a lovely shopping area in Downtown Disney, filled with plenty of venues designed to relieve vacationers of their money. But it quickly became clear that the Lego store was everyone's favorite. Kids and their families would hang out there for hours - just as we did, maybe even bring a lunch over (we didn't).

I trooped my girls over to the Disney souvenier emporium next door to find an 'official' souvenier but they didn't last ten minutes. No one over there seemed to be having any fun. I smiled secretly to myself as we made our way back. Big business marketing tactics have always bugged me. Aparently they bug my kids too.
I sat and watched my happy kids and made a few observations about the Lego place:

It was set up for kids to play, get creative, and have fun!
There were amazing things to look at.
There were tons of pieces to tinker with.
It wasn't geared toward one gender or the other.
I didn't notice any blaring or otherwise annoying music.
There were no annoying sales 'gimmicks' or pressure.
The sales people really seemed to enjoy being there.
My kids would have been happy to stay there all day.
We didn't spend much money, but left feeling really satisfied.
I think Santa would approve.

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