Everything is awesome*
*except for some of the language.
It’s 9.30am on a chilly Sunday morning in October. I’m negotiating my way across a gigantic car park with two very excited little people in tow. At last, we reach the gates of the Promised Land (or ‘Legoland’, as it’s otherwise known).
And the very first thing I see is this sign:
As a writer, it’s basically my job to spot things like this. But, as a customer, I was really taken aback by how unwelcome it made me feel. Of course, I’m not saying they shouldn’t search people, but there are nicer ways to warn people about it. (PREFERABLY NOT IN BLOCK CAPITALS.)
Pretty much any parent will tell you that Legoland doesn’t come cheap. I don’t expect them to roll out the red carpet or anything, but a little warmth wouldn’t go amiss. All it would take is something like: ‘Welcome to Legoland. We might need to search your bags on the way in for security. Have a great day’.
Mind the gap between the dragon and the platform
Maybe I need to get out more, but I also noticed that a lot of the ride announcements used that strangled bureaucrat-speak beloved of rail companies. They’d say things like, ‘Please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete standstill’.
Which bugged me for two reasons. Firstly, it’s no fun – and as such it’s totally off-brand. This sort of language just feels joyless, even if they try to disguise it by reading it out in a comedy, ‘OO-ARR!’ pirate voice.
And secondly, I had to keep translating it for my kids: ‘That means you have to stay sitting down until the submarine/train/dragon stops’. This is important safety information – why would you express it in a way that your audience (mostly young children) aren’t going to understand?
Pretty much everything else at Legoland is awesome, and I know I’m nitpicking here. But, at the end of the day, what they’re selling is an experience. And language is one of the building blocks (sorry) that make up that experience. An important one.