Legoland to open first Asian theme park in 2012

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Malaysia” href="">Legoland Malaysia will feature miniature Asian landmarks, including a 42,500-brick Taj Mahal and a replica of Malaysia‘s twin Petronas Towers -- which will become the tallest Lego model in the world -- when the theme park opens in late 2012.

Photos: A behind-the-scenes look at Legoland Malaysia

Expected to draw 1.5 million visitors annually, Asia’s first Legoland will be just across a waterway from Singapore, where a Universal Studios theme park opened in 2010.

Geared toward children ages 12 and under, the 76-acre Legoland Malaysia will include 40 rides, shows and attractions set amid six themed lands: Adventure, Imagination, Castle, Town, Xtreme and the signature Miniland. An additional 43 acres will be set aside for future expansion, including a water park.

The $240-million kiddie park, the sixth Legoland in the world, will be anchored to a Lego-themed hotel and a shopping district similar to Universal’s CityWalk or Downtown Disney.

Over the last two years, a team of 32 Lego artists has been busy building 15,000 models for the new park.

The centerpiece Malaysian Miniland, which will employ 20 million Lego bricks, will offer miniature replicas of the Southeast Asian country’s best-known landmarks and locales, including:

* Dataran Bandaraya, the main square in Johor Bahru, the capital of the southern Malaysian state of Johor.

* Jalan Wong Ah Fook, one of the busiest roads in Johor Bahru.

* Sultan Ibrahim building, the former state secretariat building in Johor Bahru.

* Sultanah Aminah Hospital, the biggest such facility in Johor Bahru.

* Datuk Jaafar Muhammad building, named after the first chief minister of Johor.

* Istana Besar, the royal palace of the sultanate of Johor.

* Perdana Putra, the Malaysian prime minister’s office in Putrajaya, a city south of Kuala Lumpur that serves as the federal seat of government.

* Putrajaya mosque, a Lego model that took 4,600 hours to complete and weighs 440 pounds.

* Sultan Abu Bakar state mosque, which took Lego model builders more than six weeks to build.

* Kuala Lumpur International Airport, one of Southeast Asia’s largest airports.