2019 Inside Tour report

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The first two LEGO Inside Tours of the year took place in Billund, Denmark in June, and Brickset member Jennifer, aka RavenDragonWing, was lucky enough to be selected to attend the first one.

Whenever we post about the tour there are always gasps of 'How much??' in the comments but it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that's worth every penny, as Jennifer's report will attest:

My friend Russell and I have been trying to attend the tour for something like 12 years, and, finally, this year, we got lucky!

Since the tour started Wednesday, we decided to head to Billund on the Sunday before, which meant leaving the USA on the Saturday.

Upon arrival, we took a taxi to the LEGOLAND Hotel, and then we were directed to walk over to the brand-new Castle Hotel (tip: tell the taxi driver the Castle Hotel). The hotel was so new, it still smelled new. You can read Huw’s recap here.

View image at flickr

At check in we received a folder. Inside was a polybag, a non-discosure-agreement to sign, a LEGOLAND Billund Season pass and new this year, a year's pass to the LEGO House. In the room we found a LEGO set and a hand-written note.

After dropping off our bags, we headed to LEGOLAND. I have been to the Billund park before, the one in California, and Windsor, but this one is by far my favorite.

Monday, we walked around Billund, had some pastries at the yummiest bakery, hit the Loplet thrift store where you'll find lots of old LEGO items being sold off by the locals, and some grocery stores (I love going to grocery stores in whatever country I am in) then to the LEGO House. We ate at the Mini Chef place: we thought the food was actually really good.

View image at flickr

Tuesday, we did more walking around waiting for our friend Krys, who we were pleased to learn was also on our tour, to arrive and then we went to LEGOLAND together.

Day 1

Wednesday, day 1 of the tour. Taxis were provided, but Krys and I decided to walk to the LEGO House.

Each participant got their LEGO Inside Tour minifig torso and we got to build our own sigfig. There were also goodies on our chairs. We saw a video welcoming us to the tour and had a meet and greet with our wranglers (Stuart, Mike, Astrid, and Line). There were only 7 kids on our tour, and 2 of those were almost of age. Mainly it was AFOLs and their SO, with 1 person who won his tour pass and was not into LEGO, but his kids were.

There were pastries, water, coffee, and tea provided for us. We then had a trivia contest, I did not win.

Then off to the LEGO Idea House where we were separated into 2 groups. We got to walk around the museum and then got to go into the vault (always a pleaser). I got to hold my first set all over again.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

We then got to have a traditional Danish lunch, which was surprisingly good. We were then herded to the LEGO Innovation House. I heard was this was new this year. The Innovation House is where all the set designers work.

We got to hear about some cool stuff coming out, learned how sets are designed, and participated in a building challenge. Then, we went back over to the LEGO House (there is a lot of walking!) where we picked up our goodies and were asked to be back to the LEGO House for dinner.

Dinner was in the Mini Chef place and many designers were present to eat with. Mel Caddick and Jamie Berard sat with us. After dinner we went back over to the meeting room where they had set up another building challenge (design a MOC). Not many people stayed late, I was tired and wanted to be awake in the morning for Day 2!

Day 2

Day 2 started with the shopping experience at the employee shop. Almost 2 hours of LEGO shopping? Yes please!!! They gave each person a box to fill to be shipped home. No phones are allowed in the shop (they had you put them into a storage brick to be given back on the bus). I brought a print out of what I was looking for, and a calculator.

Then we were off to the warehouse to see how the bricks are made and stored (again our phones were taken and placed into the brick). We also got to see the pick-a-brick side of things (missing parts, parts bought on their online site, etc).

Afterwards, we were whisked away for more goodies and then talks with the Ideas team and one that spoke about “where to source your brick”. Then lunch! We got to eat lunch in the cantina of the warehouse, yummy food. We were then divided into groups of 4 and we participated in a team speed build (my team did not win). Back to the hotel for some down time before dinner.

Dinner was at LEGOLAND at the western themed restaurant. I got to try “brick fries” and I sat with Mel and Jamie again. After dinner we headed to the LEGOLAND Hotel convention rooms for the award ceremony. The guy who won his ticket was given a trophy (his kids were over the moon). I won a trophy for best story telling.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

The trophies were built by the designers. Mine was designed by Ricardo Silva.

Everyone got a set (all the same one) and we were treated to dessert and tea/coffee.

View image at flickr

Day 3

Day 3 started, and I was sad because it meant it was over. We got to tour the LEGO House before it was open to the public. Then we filed back downstairs to get our Inside Tour exclusive set. They had us pick numbers and the last person to pick received set numbered 1.

Sadly, it was time for the closing ceremony, where we could get our sets -- the LIT one, and those exclusively available in the LEGO House -- signed by the designers

Travel tips

Bring the big bag. I brought my biggest roller bag, a backpack, and a tote bag and I did not have enough room for everything so Russell and I ended up getting a K8 box to fill which we checked in it at the airport. It worked out much cheaper than posting it home.

Bring bubble wrap: thank goodness I had bubble wrap for my trophy! The LEGO store in the airport had things not available at the employee shop, LEGOLAND, or the store in the LEGO House, and is the only place that sells the airport set. Arrive a day or so early (or stay late) as the LEGO House and LEGOLAND close early and you may not get to see everything.

Overall thoughts

I had an amazing time on the tour. I really enjoyed interacting with the LEGO employees and other fans of the brick. I am rather jealous of everyone who's on the tours later in the year. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I get the chance!


You can apply for the 2020 events between October 28 - November 1, 2019. Find out more on The LEGO House website.

38 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Amazing! Sounds like a dream, though I could never muster enough money to go on that, let alone get picked.

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By in United States,

I’ve never heard of the employee shop before- do they have old retired sets or employee exclusives available to purchase?

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By in United States,

Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Can you violate the NDA to tell us what the next Modular looks like? Just kidding.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great write up! I can see why you won the best story teller trophy :)

2 questions:

Were the trophies glued together?

You said you were all given a box to fill in the employee shop - I assume you had to pay for the stuff to go in the box or was that included in the package?!

Thanks

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By in United States,

I am so excited for this. I am going on the Inside Tour in September. Thank you for writing this up for those of us who are about to go. It's very helpful!

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By in United States,

Sounds a good experience.

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By in Norway,

Yes, you have to pay for the content of the box at the employee shop. ;-)
And for export reasons all sets in it need to be unopened.
However, ALL the extra sets you purchase there can be unboxed at your hotel room - so make sure to bring lots of ziploc-bags to keep sets together. Unboxing saves a LOT of space in your suitcase. I brought a second suitcase for the tour, unboxed most of my purchases and still contemplaeted for a moment if I had to leave my clothes behind to be able to close the suitcases. :-D

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By in United Kingdom,

Glad you enjoyed it. I was lucky enough to attend 3 years ago, it doesn’t sound like it has changed much other than the Lego house now open (was due to ope; later in the year 8 went).

Best bit was the chance to chat to designers and also Stuart about the exhibits in the Lego house. Agree about luggage, take the biggest you can and travel with as few clothes, just managed to fit in all my freebies.

It is expensive but as the headline at the top said, it is definitely worth the price for a once in a lifetime opportunity. I did o; m6 own but would love to do again with one of the kids

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By in United States,

@GoldenNinja3000

The sets are discounted and there’s exclusive gear and suchlike.

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By in United States,

What an incredible moment to relive holding your first set, that's just so sweet!

Also just did the math (hopefully correctly). The website https://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/lego-group/programs-and-visits/lego-inside-tour says 14,500 DKK which comes to about $2200 USD. That includes two nights, breakfasts, catering, and tickets to Legoland. I'm not going to gasp, that's a lot of money, but not what I'd call completely unreasonable.

I only wish kids were free or cheaper--I guess if I ever go, I'll have to make sure to take extra good pictures for them ;)

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By in Canada,

Do you have to pay duties on the purchased items (the box or the extras) when you land back in the states? Do you have to pay VAT at purchase time?

Do you intend to try for tickets next year again?

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By in United States,

Glad you had fun! True story: I went to billund on a multi country trip 5 years ago and went to that exact bakery and Legoland! I didn’t get all those fancy exclusives but I did get series 12 CmFs a month early

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By in United Kingdom,

Its no wonder price is always brought up when its £1800.... I could get a full two weeks holiday to Disneyworld for that.

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By in United Kingdom,

But that's hardly in the same league...

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By in United States,

Thank you for this! Hoping to have a chance to head over for this tour myself one of these days. I guess there's a pretty long waiting list though.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Huw: Guess its personal preference as to if it is or not, especially being a Star Wars fan. Just stating that £1800 for a 2 night stay and a tour is really pricey compared to a lot of other 'once in a lifetime' experiences out there.

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By in United States,

Sounds wonderful! Hopefully one day I'll be able to make it there as well :)

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By in Belgium,

As always, looks great, I just couldn’t justify the cost. What I am interested in is the Loolet shop mentioned in the first few paragraphs. Quick web search showed some interesting old sets on the shelves. Anyone ever been??

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By in United Kingdom,

Yes, and it's awesome! It's filled with old LEGO, among the usual flea market clutter. The stock is always changing so you never know what you might find.

However, most of the sellers know the worth of their items so you might not find any bargains, but you will find rare stuff in there.

Keep it a secret, though, we don't want everyone knowing about it!

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By in United States,

Might sound like a daft question, but do you get the opportunity to purchase retired sets at some point on the tour? Common sense tells me ‘no’, but I’ve always wondered.

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By in Germany,

I was lucky to join the LIT in 2016 (my first try). And it was worth every cent!

Once in a lifetime....

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By in United Kingdom,

;-)

How much??

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By in United States,

My wife and I got picked for the first tour in May of 2017. It was AWESOME!!! Congrats on being picked. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Although, I would love to do it again.

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By in United Kingdom,

Great report Jennifer! I was wondering whether you might write something extra when you had some snippets of information to share on the Brickset forum so it’s great to see a full review like this. Many things have changed substantially since the 2017 tours I was on (which were probably the last centred around the Legoland Hotel instead of the Lego House, which wasn’t open at the time).

“Not many people stayed late, I was tired and wanted to be awake in the morning for Day 2!” - I was tired and wanted to be awake in the morning for day 2 but stayed up til 2am perfecting my build, but then it just goes to show plenty of the award winners didn’t need to spend as much time as I did.

I think someone asked whether the trophies are glued - no they are not - hence the need for careful photographing, wrapping and dismantling. Mine was strong but someone on my tour had a trophy filled with 1x1 transparent round plates like the Ship in a Bottle - I bet some of those spilled in transit!

Also you can’t buy retired sets during the tour, everything is new or recent. That’s why i’m interested in the ‘secret finds’ because I had no idea they existed when I was there before ;)

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By in Canada,

How are people picked for the tour once they apply. Is it completely random or are there some criteria LEGO are looking for? I did read that first timers are a priority is that it? It does seem pricey but it would be such a blast!

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By in United States,

The Rancor - cheers for answering my question!

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By in United States,

Lovely report, thank you! I always love reading this. I applied once and didn’t get picked, and forgot to apply this past year. I’ll give it another go it would be amazing.

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By in United Kingdom,

There are no secret stock piles to purchase.... in the shop it's all current and there's a tiny bit of very recently retired/sale stock but it was nothing you'd call rare.

Beyond that they do stock and sell the GWP items, so you could pick up avengers tower, battle of hoth etc on the 1st tour... so they do assign those a price and you can get those which is as close to "stuff that's not in a lego store" as you're going to get.

these would be my tips...

My tips:

1. watch out for anything piled up on the counter at the register, that was the only place they had 40333 rather than on a shelf and some people missed it as we naturally walked right past on the way in (eyes looking elsewhere) and were preoccupied on the way out with stuff.

2. if planning on taking things home as well as shipped. if in doubt ask for an extra empty box from the employee store for repacking at your hotel... the ones you can find later on from elsewhere are not as large or sturdy.. the employee shop ones full of Lego weight around 16 to 20kg at check in my experience and fit onto the airport trolley. If get needy the staff at the Lego store in Lego House are wonderful at grabbing you an empty box from the stock room but they're not massive ones. I got lucky and got a brown outer box for 40366 Lego Dinosaurs from them in which to put my 3 x signed Dino sets... I didn't try the store at LEGOLAND but they may also give you a box.

3. if planning on taking boxes home, take your own duct tape... the ones on sale in the nearby supermarket are narrow, short and expensive. I got through 2 rolls and it wasn't as much as i'd have liked but didn't have time to get a 3rd, think they were 3m long and about half as wide as you'd expect.

4. Remember that excess baggage on flights can be a box rather than a bag, way larger than the largest suitcase... as long as it is under the weight.. check your airline for rules but for example I taped 3 boxes together (1 large and 2 small) and was under my BA weight limit which for an excess bag (£65 charge) is 32Kg. BA allow the size of that excess baggage of 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in). Mine arrived at LHR with zero squashing etc.. perfect condition. But as I went Club (on points) it was priority tagged so may have been loaded on top/last.

5. Don't miss the polybags which are in various places, there are some end of aisle, in the middle on stands etc - but there was a lot on the side wall at the very the bottom under the keychains and stationary. Basically they were all over.

6. LEGOLAND exclusive items are there so don't get in the park. eg. sets and gear such as swords, shields.

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By in United States,

I'd lock myself in the vault and live the rest of my days in there, never to be heard from again!

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By in Norway,

had a great time may 2016, lots of interesting places to visit, unfortunately the lego house was not yet finished, great guides.

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By in United Kingdom,

Even as fans who love Lego so much we've filled half our home with Lego I still couldn't see me and my partner wanting to pay that much for the experience. I adore Lego but it seems way overpriced, perhaps if it was cheaper and or offered a little more I'd put it on my 'places I dream of visiting' list.

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent write up. Really makes me want to go. I think I’d need a substantial windfall first though.

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By in Luxembourg,

Thanks for the report. Your final words some up me feelings as well. The designers and staff are just lovely people.

I was lucky to be selected for the 2nd LIT in June this year (and nobody knows how that selection really works). And it was awesome! I see that they changed the schedule slightly but overall it was very similar. I found the 2nd evening with the the awards absolutely brilliant. Mostly because something went wrong with the presentation and Justin, Samuel and the other designers had to improvise, which was hilarious. The trophies were brilliant, and luckily Ilia Gotlib, who designed mine gave me some hints as to how to get it back home in a few pieces.

If you are going, carefully read what @Shropshire has written. I was warned by the LIT staff that people tend to underestimate what they will buy and bring home and they were right ;-) My suitcases were bursting and I had to leave some shoes behind:-D.

I know we are not supposed to talk about the price, but honestly if you can afford it go ahead. Compared to how much some spend on LEGO sets, spending some of that on a tour isn’t absurd. And if you think it’s too much, they have other offers for tours as well.

I am looking forward to trying to go again in a few years time with my kids so they can have that « once in a lifetime » experience too. Seeing how the teenagers in our group reacted was eyeopening. In the meantime I’ll cherish the memories of what were absolutely fantastic, worthwhile and at times quite emotional 3 days.

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By in Canada,

@d.m.t.arnold yes, unless they've changed protocol! my dad won a trophy and it was indeed glued together, though it was just a plain trophy, the same as that one minus all the nature decor.

Thanks for this report!!! It's nice to hear of more fans getting to have the experience!! It's so amazing and talking to the different designers and staff members is a dream come true; they're all so lovely and insightful!!! I'm happy you won a trophy, that's a great extra memento!! It's sad to have to leave but the inside tour really is something that stays with you.

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By in United Kingdom,

I genuinely fear for my wallet if I ever get there... The things are so simple for us Europeans here in a sense that we do not need any bags. All you do is organise your DPD postage and there is no limit to what you can actually take home...

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By in Germany,

Did you see the exclusive LEGO® Billund Airport Set (4000016) at the Lego Airport Shop or is it sold out`?

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By in United States,

I'm a tfol, so my only hope is that my parents might take us within the the next few years

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By in Luxembourg,

@3legokids,
When I left Billund there were loads. That could change easily but to be honest it's the only place where you can buy them (allegedly) and so I would assume that they are more than interested to always have some in stock.

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