Birthday surprise

Like anyone, we had a lot of existing commitments for the upcoming months. When we decided to take a year to travel it meant that we had to decide what to honor, what to postpone, what to decline, etc. Over the last couple of years we've tried to spend Walter's birthday (July 31) at Schlitterbahn with the Joneses given that Schaefer's birthday is the same day. So we had to decide whether to delay our Europe departure to early August or to go and spend Walter's birthday in Europe.  When Jie realized we could visit Legoland Denmark we scheduled the start of our trip such that we had the right amount of time in Sweden and Norway before flying down to Legoland the day before Walter's birthday.

Even better, we didn't tell Walter. He didn't know where he was going until the minute the shuttle bus turned into the Hotel Legoland parking lot and he saw the sign. Jie and I are still kicking ourselves for not recording his face at that moment. It was a priceless.

We had a blast at Legoland, spending one evening and one full day there. Now that Walter can ride all the rides we spent almost all of our time on rides that we legitimately enjoyed. Jie got some nice photos of Walter and me on a few of the roller coasters, and I got nicely soaked on the Viking ride. We got in the park right as it opened as we stayed at the hotel onsite and the weather was cold and rainy so we had it to ourselves early on.  We lapped through about 10 rides before the crowds thickened. At that point we bought an express pass to cut to the front of the line. It wasn't too expensive, $30 per person for 9 rides. After we finished that off we bought one more for Walter and me and we raced through 5 more rides in the last 90 minutes the park was open. Most lines were running 30-60 minutes, so we got our money's worth! Oh, and Walter even rode a roller coaster once without us!

We also convinced Jie to join us on the Ice Pilots ride, which is one of those rides with the robotic arms that flail around with you in a seat on the end. Walter and I managed to get 3 rides in the morning before the park got crowded and then a couple of more at the end of the day. Here's a video of Walter and Jie going together (this is significantly tamer than the ride Walter and I had just completed).